206 THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
to satisfy, for many whose reasoning powers have failed to grasp the logic of the theologian. It were an unwelcome task to throw a shade of doubt upon the validity of evidence which to many seems to be " confirmation strong as proofs of Holy Writ; " and if in the perusal of the following pages such doubt arises, the reader is begged to discriminate between the question of the validity of evidence and the question of fact. For, be it remembered, I shall not undertake to prove that the souls of men do not live after the death of the body. That question stands just where it has always stood. It is a problem which, outside of revelation, is no nearer a solution than it was when Job propounded the momentous question. Neither will I undertake to say that the spirits of the dead do not and cannot communicate with the living. I do not know. But I do undertake to say, and will attempt to prove, that the phenomena of spiritism, so-called, do not constitute valid evidence of the ability of spirits of the dead to hold intercourse with the living. In doing so, no attempt will be made to deny the phenomena of spiritism. On the contrary, I shall not only admit the possibility of every phenomenon alleged by any respectable number of reputable witnesses to have occurred, but I shall also assume the substantial accuracy of the.general statements made by spiritists regarding the leading phenomena of spiritism. But I shall attempt to explain their origin on other grounds than the supposition that they are caused by the spirits of the dead. In other words, I admit the alleged phenomena, but deny the alleged cause.
I will not waste time, however, by attempting to prove by experiments of my own, or of others, that such phenomena do occur. It is too late for that. The facts are too well known to the civilized world to require proofs at this time. The man who denies the phenomena of spiritism to-day is not entitled to be called a sceptic, he is simply ignorant; and it would be a hopeless task to attempt to enlighten him. I shall indulge in the hope, however, that by explaining the origin of the phenomena on rational