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PREFACE In the following pages I have dealt chiefly with the mental or psychological phenomena of psychical research, and have not touched upon the "physical" manifestations to any extent. The book is mostly theoretical and constructive in tone; and, because of its speculative character, it may, perhaps, prove of value to future psychical investigators. It represents the author's conclusions after several years' experimentation; and, in a field... more...

CHAPTER I. The Origin, Prevalence, and Variety of Superstition—The Belief in Witchcraft the most horrid Form of Superstition—Most flourishing in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries—The Sentiments of Addison, Blackstone, and the Lawyers of the Eighteenth Century upon the Subject—Chaldean and Persian Magic—Jewish Witchcraft—Its important Influence on Christian and Modern Belief—Greek Pharmacy and... more...

INTRODUCTION The subject of Witches and Witchcraft has always suffered from the biassed opinions of the commentators, both contemporary and of later date. On the one hand are the writers who, having heard the evidence at first hand, believe implicitly in the facts and place upon them the unwarranted construction that those facts were due to supernatural power; on the other hand are the writers who, taking the evidence on hearsay and disbelieving... more...

INTRODUCTION. The two very rare works reprinted in the present volume, written by two of the most celebrated of the early American divines, relate to one of the most extraordinary cases of popular delusion that modern times have witnessed. It was a delusion, moreover, to which men of learning and piety lent themselves, and thus became the means of increasing it. The scene of this affair was the puritanical colony of New England, since better... more...

INTRODUCTION. Were not every chapter of the history of the human mind too precious an inheritance to be willingly relinquished,—for appalling as its contents may be, the value of the materials it may furnish may be inestimable,—we might otherwise be tempted to wish that the miserable record in which the excesses occasioned by the witch mania are narrated, could be struck out of its pages, and for ever cancelled. Most assuredly, he,... more...


In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God." "And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory full of grace and truth." Ever since the birth of the human race there have been health and disease. Everywhere we find those who live at levels of comprehension that cannot express in flesh the perfect power of the word and these must by natural law take on the form of whatever they have power... more...

PREFACE.   The interesting events narrated in this book which occurred at Hydesville, in the house of the Fox Family, are those by which Modern Spiritualism made its advent into this world as a new revelation in spiritual matters. History is not without its reliable records of similar phenomena, but, just as many scientific men have experimented and stopped short of the gateway of the actual discovery of Nature's secrets, so, many who... 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...

LIGHT ON THE PATH I These rules are written for all disciples:Attend you to them. Before the eyes can see, they must be incapable of tears. Before the ear can hear, it must have lost its sensitiveness. Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Masters it must have lost the power to wound. Before the soul can stand in the presence of the Masters its feet must be washed in the blood of the heart. 1. Kill out ambition. 2. Kill out... 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...