The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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PHANTASMS OF THE DEAD.               291
bors or any one against whom she had a grudge. In fact, the shapes alleged to have been produced are protean.
Another alleged phenomenon of cognate character is that of so-called spirit materialization. In the production of this phenomenon the conditions are the same. The medium goes into a trance, or hypnotic state, and projects the shapes of various persons, generally of the deceased friends of some of those present. A good medium will produce any number of visions, of any number of persons, men and women, large and small. Spiritists believe, of course, that the real spirits of their friends are present, and are thus made visible to mortal eyes, and in many instances tangible, and able to hold a brief conversation with their friends. As the intellectual part of the performance of these alleged spirits is always on a par with that of other forms of spirit manifestation, subject to the same limitations and governed by the same laws, we must come to the same conclusion as to their origin, namely, that, whatever it may be, it is not due to spirits of the dead.
The old stories of the power of magicians to conjure alleged spirits are also raised into the region of probability by these considerations. They also observed the same conditions required in all the other cases mentioned. By the performance of certain impressive ceremonies, which they were taught to believe were necessary, they were said to be able to evoke so-called spirits and to do many other wonderful things. The ceremonies and incantations, together with the impressive environment with which they surrounded themselves, the incense, the slow music, the " dim religious light," the solemn invocations, all had a tendency to throw them into the subjective condition, and thus enable them to evoke the shapes desired. That these shapes were lit' eral creations of the subjective personality of the magician, rather than the actual spirits invoked, there is every reason to believe. Nor are we alone in that opinion. Eliphas Levi, than whom no modern writer on the subject of magic is better informed or more hone6t in the expression of his real convictions, gives utterance to the following: