MEDICAL CRITIC AND
PSYCHOLOGICAL JOURNAL. JULY, 1863.
Art. I.?GHOSTS, PATENT AND PRESCRIPTIVE. "
Je n'invente pas,
Our gliost-seers would do well to profit by tlie larger experience of some of their Eastern brethren. In dealing with the
as the physical, it is always advisable to proceed from that which is best known to that which is least known. This " is more particularly the case when, as in recent so-called spirit manifestations," we are called upon largely to modify or entirely to set aside time-honoured convictions of the supernatural. Now, Persia and conterminous countries have luxuriated in m affluence of spirits from time immemorial. There the true believer is never out of ear-shot of denizens of the other world, ^nd he is apt to be elbowed by them at any moment in the highways and byeways, or in places of public resort. The ancient rabbins, who at times were subjected to a ghostly pressure so great that their apparel might be seen to fret beneath the spectral attrition, did not move amidst a denser mob of spirits than the true believer of our own day. He can never be certain, from an ordinary examination, such as we are accustomed to bestow upon strangers, that the unknown whom he may accidentally jostle in the streets, or who may sit beside him in the coffee-shop, or prostrate themselves with him in devotion in the mosque, may not be spirits. The inability to distinguish a spectral from a real personage at a glance, when the former choose to frequent the resorts of men under the ordinary aspects of true believers, would signify little, if it were not that the spirits are inflict prone to take offence and swift to punishment when offended. In fact, they are a vindictive race, the good spirits equally with the evil; the evil, by reason of their nature ill-begotten ; the good, consistently with their religious No. XI. D D
Ghosts} Patent and Prescriptive.
For the good spirits are true Mohammedans, and such they are permitted by the Koran to take vengeance at least " equal to the injury that hath been done them."?(c. xxii.) The religious and somewhat pugnacious character of the higher orders of Oriental spirits is not an isolated phenomenon. It is common, perhaps, to the popular conceptions of the spiritworld of all races and times. The modern spirits of whom Mr. Howitt is now constituted the great historian, and Mr. D. D. Home is one of the chiefest apostles, possess this character in a very appreciable degree. They pride themselves on their quasi Christianity, and on the fact that the present civil war in America was mainly brought about by their machinations. "The Northern people as a body," said the spirit of Washington, in a communication made from the spheres on the 7th of May, 1801, "have long looked upon slavery with disgust. They have felt that it was the great blot upon their name as a But they had not, and never would have had, the nation. power to relieve themselves from its crushing weight, had theynot been aided and abetted by spirits who stirred up the elements of discord and strife between them and their Northern The South, waxing haughty and presumptuous by brethren. long immunity in wrong, and fancying in the arrogance of feeling engendered partly by her own dominant state which slavery has developed, and partly by the lying fabrications of newspaper editors, who, if they did not wilfully lie, perverted the truth to such an extent that the Southern people were led to believe, in their simplicity, that the great majority of the minds of the North were on their side?the South, I say, instigated by these things, and still more worked upon by the unseen work of spirits, their proud and defiant natures naturally attract around them, have been hurried, blindly and impetuously, into this war?a war fatal in all worldly points of view to them, but rich in blessings to this and all -succeeding times, morally and spiritually."* This is as pretty a
on Various Subjects; intended to Elucidate the Causes of the Changes upon all the Earth at this present Time, and the Nature of the Calamities so are that rapidly approaching,