This is a claim usually made by clairvoyants, or rather, fortune-tellers, who advertise in the daily papers.
To be most regretted, in some of the spiritual journals, as “seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, born with a veil,” and claiming for that cause wonderful ability.
There is no reason why a seventh daughter or the seventh son should be more sensitive than the sixth or the first. As far as the “veil,” is concerned, it is always present, and the peculiarity to which so much stress is given is simply an accident, having no significance pathologically or psychologically. Were a discussion of the anatomy and physiology of this subject admissible in these pages, the folly of the claims made for the “veil” would be apparent, and pretension would not impose on the ignorance of the credulous.
In the times past, of ignorance of the laws of nature, everything out of the common observed order was considered supernatural.
All the superstitions which have their source in such misconceptions linger in the light of the present and mock the intelligence of the age. Spiritualism in its phenomena and philosophy is entirely distinct from and has no relation
whatever to the soothsaying, fortune-telling makeshifts of the past. The “veil” has a place with the “goose-bone” prophecy of the weather, the observation of the spleen of slaughtered animals to find what the winter is to be, and countless other signs which prove their folly by their having no relation to the causes of the results prophesied.
Say what we will of the fallibility of such communications, there is that, be it superstition or educational bias, which endows the unseen realm of spirits with supernatural insight and power; and although it is constantly reiterated that no influence, beyond the dictates of reason, should be given preference, too often reason is silenced by the voice of delusion.
From this cause, circles and mediums imperfectly controlled by uncultured spirits have been productive of most deplorable results. The circle is not the means of amusement for an idle hour, nor mediumship a toy to engage the curious. Both are surrounded by dangers. Too often the ignorant accept the vague utterance received from a moving table, or of a trance medium, as infallible authority, and allow the current of their lives to be changed thereby. They are filled with the vain conceit that they are specially ordained for missions; they ventilate their inanities from the rostrum. They flood the press with their drivelling vagaries; they put their conceit into their lives, and become unbearable nuisances.
Unless the spirit realm can be approached with unbiased judgment and uncompromising reason, it becomes dangerous ground. Over its quaking surface will-o’-the-wisps shed fantastic light and mock the guiding stars.
Here fanaticism grows apace, and flaunts its folly in the face of wisdom.
“Thus, saithe the Lord,” becomes “thus saithe the spirits;” with even more disastrous results. Responsible reason yields place to an irresponsible spirit intelligence that impels its blind devotees, not in the course of right, but in the opposite direction. Hence flows the flood of communications from the great departed which would disgrace a schoolboy as compositions. Their bad grammar and rude style might be referred to imperfect control, but they have such a dearth of ideas, the sceptic pertinently inquires if Washington, Webster, Clay and Parker have become drivelling idiots.
Communications can be written and signed with the names of the departed adds a horror to the thought of death!
Not for a moment are such communications to be accepted as genuine, and the giving of such great names of itself should awaken suspicion.
The higher order of spirits withhold answers that would be detrimental to the inquirer; but usually, whatever questions are asked are freely answered, and the future, wisely concealed from mortal gaze, because man lives by necessity for to-day and not to-morrow, is truly or falsely prophesied. There is no end of the follies thus engendered. The wish in the questioner’s mind is echoed from the table or lips entranced, and is received as the voice of Fate, and the feet run swift to its fulfilling.
Reason, judgment, common-sense are cast aside in a race where credulity follows the pretending leadership of inanity.
The irresponsible control breathes with poisonous breath on the most sacred relations of the family, and in a moment, as with a “thus saithe the spirit,” the accumulated joys of a lifetime wither. Or it sends its willing dupes on missions of reform, to which Don Quixotic performances are serious history.
The morality flowing from such source cannot be otherwise than an echo of desires. It is the carnival of individual license, and from it come fanatics of lust, advocating their doctrines with unblushing impudence.
All great movements have their dangers, and the brighter the light, the deeper the contrasting darkness. If the finger of the world’s scorn be pointed at manifestations—which are mushrooms growing in the heated air of ignorance, sensuality and selfishness, and not in the substance of the movement to which they are superficially referred—the world is most just in its condemnation.
Can a medium when he desires, throw off the control, and have some mediums the power to drive away evil spirits, and send them to hell?
The lingering superstition in the mind of the questioner is the motive of these questions. The story of Jesus casting out devils, and their entering swine, has borne fruit. How difficult to escape the bondage of the ignorance of the past, and understand that the old ways of thought are obsolete! A sensitive need not fear in passing into the independent state against his wishes. Yet having entered it, his will is in partial abeyance to a dominant mind and he might find it impractical to free himself from such control.
But if what has many times been repeated on the nature and culture of mediumship be observed, there is not the slightest danger in yielding to such control. Evil or undeveloped spirits will not by their presence disturb those who are their opposites, but will be repelled, and hence if one thinks himself “obsessed” by such, his first attention should be given to himself, to find out wherein he is in error. If his own spirit is in the ways of righteousness he need have no fear. As eagles seek the mountain heights, leaving darksome caverns for noisome reptiles, bats and owls, spirit intelligences who are good seek those who reach upward to the heights, and those who have not outgrown their animal propensities attract intelligences of a lower order.
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