You are visiting Aisle L-1 in the Legacy Room,
of the Garland Memorial Library

Interview With
Judge John W. Edmonds
and Dr. George T. Dexter
Judge John W. EdmondsInterviewed by Michael E. Tymn

John W. Edmonds, who served as Chief Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, is believed to have been the first true psychical researcher. Following the advent of the spirit communication epidemic that hit the world with the so-called “Rochester Knocking” in 1848, a number of educated and prominent men and women observed various mediumistic phenomena, but Edmonds carried his investigation beyond a few casual observations. Beginning in early 1851, he sat with numerous mediums, closely testing them in every conceivable way in search of the truth.

Before being elevated to the State Supreme Court, Edmonds (1816-74) served in both houses of the New York legislature, including as president of the Senate. These “interviews” are based on the two books, Spiritualism, Volumes I and II, co-authored by Edmonds and Dexter. Volume I was published in 1853 and Volume II in 1855. Except for words in brackets, which have been inferred and added to allow proper transition and flow, the words are verbatim from the books. The questions have been tailored to fit the answers.

Judge Edmonds, it is my understanding that you began your investigation of mediums in January 1851, soon after the death of your wife. Is that the case?

“[Yes,] I was at the time withdrawn from general society. I was laboring under the great depression of spirits. I was occupying at my leisure in reading on the subject of death and man’s existence afterwards. I was invited by a friend to witness the ‘Rochester Knockings.’ I complied, more to oblige her and to while away a tedious hour.”

I read somewhere that you expected to uncover fraud.

“I was all this time an unbeliever, and tried the patience of believers sorely by my skepticism, my captiousness, and my obdurate refusal to yield my belief. I saw around me some who yielded a ready faith on one or two sittings only; others again, under the same circumstances, avowing a determined unbelief; and some who refused to witness it at all, and yet were confirmed unbelievers. I could not imitate any of these parties, and refused to yield unless upon most irrefragable testimony.”

What were your religious beliefs at the time you commenced your investigation?

“I had in the course of my life read and heard from the pulpit so many contradictory and conflicting doctrines on the subject that I hardly knew what to believe. I could not, if I would, believe what I could not understand, and was anxiously seeking to know if after death we should again meet with those whom we loved here, and under what circumstances.”

What happened at your first sitting?

“My first interview (sitting) was with the rappings (one rap for each letter of the alphabet, so three raps for ‘yes,’ and one for ‘no’), and three things struck me as remarkable. One was that under the circumstances it was beyond all cavil that the sounds were not produced by the instrumentality of any person present. Another was that my mental questions were answered, when I knew no person present could know what they were, or even that I was asking any; and a third was, that I was directed to correct a mistake I had made in my written memorandum of what was occurring, when I knew that no one present was aware that I had made a mistake, or what it was.”

Do you recall the mistake?

“A communication was being spelled out by the alphabet, and I was writing it down. I wrote, ‘No one. Not wo.’ My mistake was not seen by any of the party, but it was corrected by [the raps] spelling out ‘Number one. Number two.’”

What did you make of the rappings?

“Of course I was on the look out for deception, and at first relied upon my senses and the conclusions which my reason might draw from their evidence. But I was at a loss to tell how the mediums could cause what I witnessed under these circumstances…I thought a good deal on what I witnessed, and determined to investigate the matter and find out what it was. If it was a deception or a delusion, I thought that I could detect it. For about four months, I devoted at least two evenings in a week, and sometimes more, to witnessing the phenomena in all its phases. I kept careful records of all I witnessed, and from time to time compared them with each other, to detect inconsistencies and contradictions. I read all I could lay my hands on, on the subject, and especially all the professed ‘exposures of the humbug.’ I went from place to place, seeing different mediums, meeting with different parties of persons, often with persons I had never seen before, and sometimes where I was myself entirely unknown. In fine, I availed myself of every opportunity that was afforded, thoroughly to sift the matter to the bottom.”

Were you assisted by anyone in your investigation?

“After depending upon my senses, as to the various phases of the phenomenon, I invoked the aid of science, and with the assistance of an accomplished electrician and his machinery, and of eight or ten intelligent, educated, shrewd persons, examined the matter. We pursued our inquiries many days, and established to our satisfaction two things: first, that the sounds were not produced by the agency of any person present or near us; and, second, that they were not forthcoming at our will and pleasure.”

Would you mind relating a little more about those early investigations?

“At my [second] interview, several things occurred to attract my attention. None of my questions were asked orally, some were written, and some merely framed in my mind, yet all were answered correctly. Once I began writing a question which I had thought, and it was answered when I had written only two words of it. Again was I told to correct a mistake in my minutes – for I was a novice, and did not do the business as well as I might – and we were told of what was occurring in the adjoining parlor with a person who had entered the room since we had left it, and which, on throwing open the folding doors, we found to be correct.”

So, what was your initial reaction to all that?

“I was startled, for here was to me evidence from which I could not escape, that my most secret thoughts were known to the intelligence that was dealing with me. There was no avoiding the conclusion. Reason upon it as I would, imagine what solution I might, there was the fact plainly before me, and I knew it.”

I understand that the communication sometimes came through in other languages.

“I have known Latin, French, and Spanish words spelled out through the rappings, and I have heard mediums who knew no language but their own speak in those languages, and in Italian, German, and Greek, and in other languages unknown to me, but which were represented to be Arabic, Chinese, and Indian, and all done with the ease and rapidity of a native.”

In your book, you wrote that one medium told you about the death of your friend, Isaac T. Hopper.

“[Correct], about 10 o’clock in the evening, while attending the circle, I asked if I might put a mental question. I did so, and I knew that no person present could know what it was, or to what subject even it referred. My question related to Mr. Hopper [who had been ill], and I received for answer through the rappings, as from himself, that he was dead! I hastened immediately to his house, and found it was so. That could not have been [known] by anyone present, for they did not know of his death, they did not know my question, nor did they understand the answer I received. It could not have been the reflex of my own mind, for I had left him alive, and thought he would live several days. And what it was but what it purported to be, I can not imagine…On [another] occasion the medium in New York was told that his sister was sick in the State of Michigan. A few days afterward he received a letter through the mail, giving him the same information.

How about physical phenomena?

“To detail what I witnessed would far exceed the limits of this communication, for my records of it for those four months alone fill at least one hundred and thirty closely-written pages. I will, however, mention a few things, which will give a general idea of that which characterized interviews, now numbering several hundred…I have known a pine table with four legs lifted bodily up from the floor, in the center of a circle of six or eight persons, turned upside down and laid upon its top at our feet, then lifted up over our heads, and put leaning against the back of the sofa on which we sat. I have known that same table to be tilted up on two legs, its top at an angle with the floor of forty-five degrees, when it neither fell over of itself, nor could any person present put it back on its four legs. I have seen a mahogany table, having only a center leg, and with a lamp burning on it, lifted from the floor at least a foot, in spite of the efforts of those present, and shaken backward and forward as one would shake a goblet in his hand, and the lamp retain its place though its glass pendants rang again. I have seen the same table tipped up with the lamp upon it, so far that the lamp must have fallen off unless retained there by something else than its own gravity, yet if fell not, moved not…I have frequently known persons pulled about with a force which it was impossible for them to resist, and once, when all my strength was added in vain to that of the one thus affected. This is not a tithe – nay! not a hundredth part of what I have witnessed of the same character, but it is enough to show the general nature of what was before me.”

I recall reading somewhere that all this tomfoolery was intended by the spirits to prove their existence. Is that what you understood?

“[It was said at one sitting that] ‘these manifestations are given to mankind to prove their immortality, and teach them to look forward to the change from one sphere to another with pleasure.’… I was satisfied that something more was intended than the gratification of an idle curiosity; something more than pandering to a diseased appetite for the marvelous; something more than the promulgation of oracular platitudes; something more than upsetting material objects to the admiration of the wonder-lover; something more than telling the age of the living or the dead, etc.”

What was that “something more”?

“[It] was the intelligence displayed by this unseen power. That was almost always manifested at every interview, and the question that obviously presented itself on the very outset was, whether that was from the mind of any mortal present, or from some other source. So that, even if it had been established that the sounds and physical manifestations of which I have been speaking were produced by mortal agency, still the question remained, whence came the intelligence that was displayed? For instance: What was the power that read the thoughts which I had buried for a quarter of a century in the depths of my heart? What was the power that knew my interrogatory the instant it was formed in my mind? What was the power that read the questions which I had written in the solitude of my study? What the power that revealed my secret purposes to the bystanders, and the purposes to the bystanders, and the purposes of others to me?

But did you ask the communicating spirits what it was all about?

“[Certainly], one of the first of [my] questions was this: What is this which I am witnessing? Is it a departure from nature’s laws or in conformity with them? Is it a miracle, or is it the operation of some hitherto unknown but pre-existing cause, now for the first manifesting itself? The answer I got was: It is the result of human progress, it is an execution, not a suspension, of nature’s laws, and it is not now for the first time manifesting itself, but in all ages of the world has at times been displayed.”

As you and others have often asked, Cui Bono?

“To that inquiry I have directed my earnest attention, devoting to the task for over two years all the leisure I could command, and increasing that leisure as far as I could by withdrawing myself from all my former recreations…I found there were very many ways in which this unseen intelligence communed with us, besides the rappings and table tippings (automatic writing, direct writing, trance voice), and that through those other modes there came very many communications distinguished for their eloquence, their high order of intellect and their pure and lofty moral tone; at the same time I discovered many inconsistencies and contradictions that were calculated to mislead.”

Calculated to mislead? I don’t understand.

“The difficulty in all this matter lies in our expecting too much perfection in the spirits, in looking upon them in knowing more than they do, and as being able to do more than they can; in other words in the erroneous conception of the true nature and character of the spirit world…[Moreover] I have good reason to believe that there is in the spirit world much opposition to this intercourse with us, and that a combination has been formed to interrupt and, if possible, to overthrow it, and one mode is by visiting circles and individuals, exciting their suspicions of spirits, and bad thoughts as to their good faith and purity of purpose.”

So there may very well be reasons why some passages in Scripture warn against it?

“Oh, how sad is the mistake of him, who from a superficial examination, ventures to pronounce it all evil! He may as well enter the dens of iniquity in this great city, and hearing amid its festering wickedness the mingled shout of blasphemy and ribaldry that will ascend before him, thence infer that such is the character of this whole community.”

There was so much wisdom that came through.

“[The] general character has been such as to warrant me saying that I have been struck with their beauty – their sublimity at times – and the uniformly elevated tone of morals which they teach. They are eminently practical in their character, and not in a sentiment is to be found that would be unacceptable to the most pure and humble Christian. The lessons which they are those of love, kindness, and are addressed to the calm, deliberate reason of man, asking from him no blind faith, but a careful inquiry and a deliberate judgment… [At one sitting] it was said, ‘Imitate Christ in his humility, in his submission to the will of God, and in his love to man, and you will be acceptable to God.’”

I understand that that the discourses from Swedenborg and Bacon were received through Dr. Dexter’s hand. Would you mind explaining a little of that?

“The handwriting of each is unlike the other, and though both are written by Dr. Dexter’s hand, they are both unlike his; so that with ease, when he is under the influence {of spirits}, he writes several different kinds of handwriting, and some of them more rapidly than he can write his own. This he cannot do when he is not under the influence; and I have never seen any person that could, in his normal condition, write with such rapidity, at one sitting, four of five different kinds of handwriting, each distinctly marked, and having and always retaining its peculiar characteristic.”

Although Swedenborg and Bacon appear to be in agreement with each other, one of the difficulties in accepting all of this spirit communication is the fact that there are occasionally various contradictions relative to what is supposedly truth. I take it that this is because the spirits are at different levels of advancement.

“[True], there are at times contradictions and inconsistencies in spiritual intercourse, as all must be aware, but there is one remarkable fact, viz., that amid all these incongruities – through all mediums, whether partially or highly developed – from all the spirits who commune, whether progressed or unprogressed, there is a universal accordance on one point, and that is that we pass into the next state of existence just what we are in this; and that we are not suddenly changed into a state of perfection or imperfection, but find ourselves in a state of progression, and that this life on earth is but a preparation for the next, and the next but a continuation of this.”

It’s often said that the messages are distorted by the mind of the medium. Are you in agreement with that?

“I know of no mode of spiritual intercourse that is exempt from a mortal taint – no kind of mediumship where the communication may not be affected by the mind of the instrument. Take my own mediumship as an illustration. The visions which I have are impressed on my mind as vividly and distinctly as any material object possibly can be, yet in giving them to others, I must rely upon and use my own powers of observation, my own memory, my own command of language, and I not infrequently labor under the difficulty of feeling that there is no work known to me that is adequate to conveying the novel ideas communicated. I am often conscious that I fail, from poverty of language, in conveying the sentiment I receive with the same vigor and clearness with which it comes to me. . So it is also with what I may call the didactic teachings through me. Sometimes the influence is so strong that I am given, not merely the ideas, but the very words in which they are clothed, and I am unconscious what I am going to say until I actually say it. At other times, the thought is given me sentence by sentence, and I know not what idea or sentence is to follow, but the language used is my own and is selected by myself from my own memory’s storehouse. And at other times the whole current of thought or process of reasoning is given me in advance, and I choose for myself the language and the illustrations used to convey it, and sometimes the order of giving it. But in all these modes there is more or less of myself in them, more or less of my individuality underlying it all. It must indeed be so, or why should I speak or write in my own tongue rather than in a dead or a foreign language unknown to me?

Before you released your reports to the public, what was the popular view of all this spirit intercourse?

“I was early aware that the world at large looked upon the subject as exceedingly trivial and inconsiderable. I was not surprised at this, because I saw that what reached the general ear through the common newspapers of the day was almost always unimportant, and frequently absurd and ridiculous. There were good reasons for this. The conductors of those journals desired to insert only what would amuse their readers, and were unwilling, and often refused, to open their columns to the graver and more important matters that flowed from the same source. And then they who received those more serious communications did not often feel themselves called upon to court the scoffs and sneers and persecution of the world, merely for the purpose of giving to that world that which aimed only at the general good.”

What made you decide to go public with your findings?

“I went into the investigation originally thinking it a deception, and intending to make public my exposure of it. Having from my researches, come to a different conclusion, I feel that the obligation to make known the results is just as strong. Therefore, it is mainly, that I give the result to the world. I say mainly, because there is another consideration which influences me, and that is the desire to extend to others a knowledge which I am conscious can not but make them happier and better.”

I know you received much criticism from politicians and the press for making public your views. Do you have any regrets?

“I knew full well what I should draw down upon myself by speaking out. I could not mistake all I saw around me: one universal shout of ridicule and condemnation of all who professed to believe, nay! even of those who went into the investigation at all, unless they came out of it fiery red in their denunciation of it as an ‘atrocious imposture.’ I knew full well that truth was every born with many a bitter pang, and most to him who gave it birth. And I had no right to expect, nor did I expect, to escape this common and apparently inevitable fate. But I confess that at first I shrank at the prospect before me.”

Why do you think so many people scoff and sneer at what should be welcome news?

“His wisdom is that of the driven sheep, which leaps over an unreal obstacle because another sheep has just done it before him; and of him, at least it can not be truly said, ‘Never does nature open her breast before a worthy mind only that it may behold, and then fall asleep.’”

Thank you, Judge Edmonds. Any parting thoughts?

[“Let me leave you with the message given to me at one of the sittings]: ‘No one can begin to progress until he has correct ideas of the future existence; and it is only when not in error on that subject, only when knowing our spiritual nature and destiny that we begin to progress.’”

Interview with George T. Dexter, M.D.

Dr. Dexter, thank you for sitting so patiently and listening to this interview with Judge Edmonds. Would you mind if I put a few questions to you?

“[Certainly, however] it should be understood that I was not only conservative in regard to this question of spirit communication when it was first presented to my consideration, but I was positively opposed to it, and regarded the whole matter as either a foolish delusion or an absolute, outrageous deception, and that this opposition continued long after such proof had been offered.”

George T. Dexter, M.D.
George T. Dexter, M.D.

I understand, but please tell me about your introduction to this whole subject of spirit communication.

“I made arrangement with a friend to invite to my own house a medium of considerable powers, and thus to have an opportunity of careful investigation where I knew there could be no collusion, and the chances for deception would be very few. Previous to this time, about the 10th of September 1851, I had never witnessed any spiritual manifestation, and neither had any of the member of my family been present at a circle; both they and myself were entirely ignorant of the whole subject…For the first time, I heard the peculiar sounds called spirit-raps. I was not satisfied with the results of the sitting, though many mental questions were propounded and answered correctly.”

As I recall reading in Volume I of your book, things really happened the next day when you again sat with the same medium. Your nine-year-old daughter was suddenly seized by some unknown force, her arms flailing in all directions.

“ [Very True], this effect of the magnetic influences was so sudden, so strange, so entirely unexpected by the child, that she became very much alarmed, and running to her mother, who was also deeply moved at this unlooked for manifestation, she said, while her voice trembled with fear, ‘Oh, mother! Take me away, take me away;’ but her arms were forcibly wrested, as it were, from her mother’s neck, and thrown violently up and down, and yet while they were so rapidly and forcibly moving in all directions, every fiber of the textures quivered as if trembling with palsy.”

Very Strange. And what happened then?

“One can easily conceive of the deep impression this singular exhibition made on us all. And the more so, when, having soothed the frightened child, we induced her to remain in the circle some twenty minutes longer, her hand was made to write legibly and in bold, large letters, not in the least resembling her ordinary handwriting, full answers to all our questions, both mental and oral. And what was yet more remarkable, she wrote rapidly and easily, and the style of the composition and the spelling far excelled what we know was the character of her original attempts at composition, or her spelling, previous to this time.”

And how long did this go on?

“The circle was immediately formed after breakfast…About one o’clock [my daughter] was ordered to leave the circle by the spirits – as being fatigued – and not immediately complying with the directions her chair was drawn from under her by some invisible agency, and she fell to the floor. She arose to go to the next room, and as she was passing a sofa she was taken up bodily, by the same unseen force, and deposited upon it, as gently as if laid there by her parents. At this sitting, there were many correct answers given to questions, and of such a character as satisfied some individuals that the spirits of their friends were there.”

Were you satisfied that spirits were responsible?

“I could not bring myself to believe that spirits had anything to do with the matter. I tried to explain it by the action of the mind over mind, or the power of magnetic motion, and many other reasons, but I was not satisfied. I was as much in the fog of my own solutions of the phenomena, as I was at the singularity of the disclosures….The idea that spirits of our deceased friends could hold communion with ourselves on earth, could impart their feelings to us, give us a description of the various stages and conditions of their progress in the spheres above us, that they are constantly with those to whom they are attached, except when called away by the duties they are required to perform, that they have the power, through this new discovery, to explain to us every act of their spirit life, and receive from us the ordinary ideas which characterize our existence and connection here, was so strange, wonderful, and extraordinary, so incompatible with my education, so much opposed to all my preconceived opinions, conflicted so much with my religious belief, and with all that I had been instructed the Bible revealed to us, when compared with all I had seen at the circle, bewildered me. But I could not understand – I did not believe.”

But your investigation continued. What else did you observe with your daughter?

“I have witnessed [her] so completely under the control of the spirit that speech, motion, and even thought itself was at the command of the spirit influencing her. I have listened to the most elevated thoughts couched in language far beyond her comprehension, describing facts in science, and circumstances in the daily life of the spirit after death, which were corroborated fact by fact, idea by idea, by other mediums with whom she was entirely unacquainted, uttered by a little girl scarce nine years old. The same medium I have heard repeat verse after verse, impromptu, of poetry, glowing with inspiration and sparkling with profound thoughts and sentiment, and yet this child never wrote a line of poetry before in her life. I have taken notes of certain circumstance revealed to me through one medium, and then at another circle, and through another medium who knew nothing of my intention, and who was unacquainted with the first medium, have had the same statements made, in every particular corresponding with those I received.”

This is fascinating. Please continue.

“I have heard an illiterate mechanic repeat Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Chaldaic, and describe the customs and habits of men living on the earth thousands of years ago, which have been found correct by the researches and discoveries given to the world by those who are and have been engaged in the exploration of ancient nations, either by their architectural remains or through their hieroglyphics. I have been present when a medium answered many questions in the Italian language, of which she was ignorant, and also uttered several sentences in the same language, and then gave the name of an Italian gentleman of whom she had never heard, but who was when living the friend of one of the party at the circle.

How about your own mediumship? How did it come about?

“I was sitting alone in my office, late at night, and was leaning back in a rocking chair, my right hand resting on the arm of the chair. I was not, neither had I been thinking of spiritualism, for my thoughts were occupied in the subject I had been reading upon a few moments before. As my hand lay on the arm of the chair I felt a singular sensation in the whole limb, as if the arm were grasped by two hands at the upper part. I attempted to raise it, but was unable to do so, and as soon as I made the effort to move it, the fingers were bent down tightly on the arm of the chair and grasped it firmly. Immediately the hand began to tremble, and as I watched the movement the whole limb was shaken violently. At this moment I distinctly heard two loud raps on the upper part of the upper part of the side wall of the room, and it then occurred to me that his unseen power, whose manifestation I had so often witnessed, was in some way operating on me. To satisfy myself, I asked in an audible voice, ‘Did the spirits just rap?’ There were three distinct raps in reply. I then asked, ‘Are the spirits trying to influence me?’ Again, there were three distinct raps. At this I arose from my chair, arranged my books, and retired.”

I remember reading that this continued to happen but you resisted the influence.

“[True.] After this concerted and continued attempt to impress me had passed over, I refrained from visiting circles, and thought by staying away I might be free from any impression; on the contrary, my arm would be moved when asleep, and awake me by its motion. During the time I abstained from sitting in the circle, I was twice lifted bodily from my bed, moved off its edge, and thus suspended in the air. The first time I was so dealt with, I had retired to a different room from the one I usually occupied. I had not been asleep, and was conscious of everything around me. As I lay composing myself for sleep, I discovered my whole body was slightly trembling in every fiber. I attempted to raise my hand, but I could not move; my eyes were closed, and the lids fastened. My mind was unusually active, and I noted every thing that took place with an intenseness of perception I never before experienced. My bodily sensation was likewise increase in power. As I lay there unable to move a limb, my body was lifted from the bed, and moved gently toward the edge, and with the bedclothes over it; there it remained a moment, and then it was moved off the bed into the room, suspended in the air, and there held for an instant. Just at this time the fire-bells rang an alarm, and my body was suddenly brought back to the bed and deposited in the same place I had previously occupied, with sort of a jerk, as if it had been dropped from the hands which held it.”

How did that affect you?

“I was deeply moved at this special evidence of spirit manifestation. The repeated and determined attempts to bring me under their control had been disregarded when the impression left me. Heretofore my arm had been the organ to which their efforts had been chiefly directed; now my whole body was subjected to their influence, against my will and desire, and all my efforts and struggles to resist them. For the first time it occurred to me that, perhaps in this evident design to develop me as a medium, I might, by submitting to their direction, arrive at the whole truth of spirit intercourse with man. I felt impelled to ask if there were spirits in the room. Three distinct raps were given in reply, indicating they were present; and then too deeply agitated to question further, I again returned to bed to ponder over this, to me, incontrovertible evidence that spirits could indeed influence man, the truth of which I was then willing to admit.”

As I recall reading, you then had another experience similar to that.

“[Correct, and] I sought opportunity where I might witness more of their doings. When in pursuance of this design I attended circles, my hand was seized and made to write. At first the sentences were short, and contained a single idea, but as I became developed they wrote out many pages, embracing various ideas and subjects…From the first essay of the spirits to influence my hand to write, it was the medium by which many, both friends and strangers, communicated with the circle; but when the design was apparent that they had developed me for a special object, my hand was controlled by two spirits, whose names will be found recorded in [our book] as Sweedenborg and Bacon.” (Note: For some unstated reason, Sweedenborg, not Swedenborg, is the spelling always given to the mystic’s name)

Are you conscious of what is being written through your hand?

“I know nothing of what is written until after it is read to me, and frequently, when asked to read what has been communicated. I have found it utterly impossible to decipher it. Not only is the thought concealed, but after it has been read to me I lose all recollection of the subject, until again my memory is refreshed by the reading. This peculiar effect on my recollection occurred more frequently when the spirits commenced writing, and I have been told by them that it was produced by their efforts to separate the action of my own mind from their thoughts, when teaching on a subject which required several sittings to finish.”

Must you always sit in a circle for the writing to take place?

“It was necessary during the early period of my development that I should sit in a circle before my hand could be moved, and sometimes I would sit for an hour or more before any perceptible influence would be discovered. As my susceptibility increased, the impression was felt almost as soon as the circle was formed. Now I am instantly under control the moment the business of the evening has commenced, either with or without the aid of individuals. Often, when I am alone in my office, my hand will be moved and I will be obliged to abandon every other purpose till the spirits have concluded their communication…[At one time] I was compelled to rise [from my sleep] and procure pencil and paper, and a long communication was written before they would permit me again to sleep.”

Are the things written by Swedenborg and Bacon consistent with your beliefs?

“I reiterate this statement, that it may be understood, that the teachings revealed by my instrumentality in [the book] contain thoughts, sentiments, and statements differing in toto from my own views when they were communicated. It will be observed also that the style and expression of Sweedenborg is unlike that of Bacon, and while the latter at once plunges in medias res the former almost invariably commences his teachings with some thought individual in its application to the circle.”

Thank you, Dr. Dexter, for explaining all that. Is there anything you’d like to leave my readers with?

“[Yes,] there could be but one decision to which my mind could arrive when its prejudices and educational biases were forced to succumb to the power of reason. And when at last the truth opened to my view, I beheld in this intercourse of the ‘spirit out of the form’ with ‘the spirit in the form’ the positive demonstration of the immortality of the soul. In the thoughts which they uttered, the glory and might, the wisdom, power, and love of our Creator were made manifest.”

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