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FOREWORD This book is a faithful record, so far as I can make it, of the most marvellous phenomena which have come under my observation during the last sixteen or seventeen years. I have used my notes (made immediately after the sittings) and also my reports to the American Psychical Society (of which I was at one time a director) as the basis of my story. For literary purposes I have substituted fictitious names for real names, and imaginary... more...

The main purpose of this book is to exhibit a fair delineation of the credulity of the human mind. Such an exhibition cannot fail to be productive of the most salutary lessons. One view of the subject will teach us a useful pride in the abundance of our faculties. Without pride man is in reality of little value. It is pride that stimulates us to all our great undertakings. Without pride, and the secret persuasion of extraordinary talents, what... more...

INTRODUCTION. Sir Walter Scott's "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft" were his contribution to a series of books, published by John Murray, which appeared between the years 1829 and 1847, and formed a collection of eighty volumes known as "Murray's Family Library." The series was planned to secure a wide diffusion of good literature in cheap five-shilling volumes, and Scott's "Letters," written and published in 1830, formed one of the earlier... more...

INTRODUCTION. An article in The North American Review, for April, 1869, is mostly devoted to a notice of the work published by me, in 1867, entitled Salem Witchcraft, with an account of Salem Village, and a history of opinions on witchcraft and kindred subjects. If the article had contained criticisms, in the usual style, merely affecting the character of that work, in a literary point of view, no other duty would have devolved upon me, than... more...

A TREATISE OF THECONFESSION AND EXECVTION OF MARY SMITH,CONVICTED OF WITCHCRAFT, and condemned for the same: of her contract vo-cally & in solemne tearmes made with the Diuell;by whose meanes she hurt sundry persons whom she enuied, with some necessary Propositions addedthereunto, discouering the wickednesse of that dam-nable Art, and diuers other speciall poynts, notimpertinent vnto the same, such as oughtdiligently of euery Christian... more...


CHAPTER I. THE SEARCH The subject of psychical research is one upon which I have thought more and about which I have been slower to form my opinion, than upon any other subject whatever. Every now and then as one jogs along through life some small incident happens which very forcibly brings home the fact that time passes and that first youth and then middle age are slipping away. Such a one occurred the other day. There is a column in that... more...

CHAPTER I. WHAT IS THE HUMAN AURA? The above question is frequently asked the student of occultism by some one who has heard the term but who is unfamiliar with its meaning. Simple as the question may seem, it is by no means easy to answer it, plainly and clearly in a few words, unless the hearer already has a general acquaintance with the subject of occult science. Let us commence at the beginning, and consider the question from the point of... more...

ITHE SILENT, SUBTLE BUILDING FORCES OF MIND AND SPIRIT There are moments in the lives of all of us when we catch glimpses of a life—our life—that is infinitely beyond the life we are now living. We realise that we are living below our possibilities. We long for the realisation of the life that we feel should be. Instinctively we perceive that there are within us powers and forces that we are making but inadequate use of, and others... more...

o not begin the new year by recounting to yourself or others all your losses and sorrows. Let the past go. Should some good friend present you with material for a lovely garment, would you insult her by throwing it aside and describing the beautiful garments you had worn out in past times? The new year has given you the fabric for a fresh start in life, why dwell upon the events which have gone, the joys, blessings and advantages of the past!... more...

THOUGHT AND CHARACTER THE aphorism, "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he," not only embraces the whole of a man's being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not... more...