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Echoes of the Week

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1291, p. 582.

December 10, 1864


...On Saturday night twenty-five gentlemen, some on the press and others gathered from the different classes of society, witnessed an especial séance with especially provided tests of the Davenport Brothers. The head of these gentlemen, Mr. Edmund Yates, wrote an account of this meeting, from which it would appear that the spiritualists were not quite so successful with these sceptics as with a mixed company of spectators. The gentlemen retired puzzled but not satisfied, the conclusion of the chief guest being that in calling the brothers "sorry mountebanks" he did them great injustice. "I believe them to be," he continues, "the very cleverest conjurors whose performances I have ever attended." This judgment is arrived at, perhaps, after too perfunctory an inspection. In the Morning Post, Captain Richard Burton has deposed to some very startling deeds of these conjurors. Whilst suspending his belief, the great African traveller, who surely is sceptical enough on most points and who has seen most systems of Indian jugglery, deposes to hearing strange voices, feeling rough hands, seeing drops of fire from the ceiling, and beholding all those strange doings in the dark séance which have puzzled most of us. Mr. Howitt, in a recently-published letter, proclaims the ultimate triumph of spiritualism over the ignorant opposition of a ribald press, to the writers on which he calls out, "Go ahead, gentlemen, and in a very short time you will have pilloried yourselves amongst the opponents of vaccination, electricity, steam, and railroads to the amplest satisfaction of your very worst enemies."...

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