EFFECTS OF ADVERSE SUGGESTION. J J
many attempts have been made by good clairvoyants to earn this money, but every attempt has ended in total failure. Volumes might be written detailing such tests and such failures.
Exhibitions of the phenomena of spiritism are constantly liable to utter failure in the presence of avowed sceptics. Every one who has attended a " spiritual" seance is aware of the strict regard paid to securing " harmonious conditions; " and all know how dismal is the failure when such conditions cannot be obtained. It frequently happens that some one will inadvertently remark that " spirits never come when I am around;" and in nine such cases out of ten the stance will end in failure when such a remark is made. Any argument against spiritism, especially if addressed to the medium, or any controversy on the subject in his presence, will destroy all chance of a successful exhibition. Investigating committees nearly always fail to observe the promised phenomena when the character and objects of the committee are known to the medium. Thus, the Seybert Commission, a majority of whose members were pronounced sceptics, utterly failed to witness any phenomena which might not be produced by legerdemain. In their report they take occasion to say :
" Our experience has been . . . that as soon as an investigation, worthy of the name, begins, all manifestations of spiritist power cease. . . . Even the very spirit of investigation, or of incredulity, seems to exercise a chilling effect and prevents a successful manifestation."1
It will be observed that the last sentence betrays the fact that the writer regards " the spirit of investigation" and " the spirit of incredulity" as synonymous terms. It is certain that the Seybert Commission as a body did so regard them, and made no effort to conceal the fact from the mediums who submitted to be examined. Every medium
Seybert Commission, Report, p. 15.