This page in the chapter of ‘demoniac affections’ is thus still in the state of ebauche. Mr. Moses believed his experiences to be ‘demoniac affections,’ in the Neoplatonic sense. Could his phenomena have been investigated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Parker, Messrs. Maskelyne and Cook, and Professor Huxley, the public mind might have arrived at some conclusion on the subject. But Mr. Moses’s chief spirit, known in society as ‘Imperator,’ declined to let strangers look on. He testified his indignation in a manner so bruyant, he so banged on tables, that Mr. Moses and his friends thought it wiser to avoid an altercation.
This exclusiveness of ‘Imperator’ certainly donne furieusement a penser. If spirits are spirits they may just as well take it for understood that performances ‘done in a corner’ are of no scientific value. But we are still at a loss for a ‘round’ and satisfactory hypothesis which will colligate all the alleged facts, and explain their historical continuity. We merely state that continuity as a historical fact. Marvels of savages, Neoplatonists, saints of Church or Covenant, ‘spontaneous’ phenomena, Mediumistic phenomena, all hang together in some ways. Of this the Church has her own explanation.
A Party at Ragley Castle. The Miraculous Conformist.
Restoration and Scepticism. Experimental Proof of Spiritual
Existence. Glanvill. Boyle. More. The Gentleman’s Butler.
‘Levitation.’ Witchcraft. Movements of Objects. The Drummer of
Tedworth. Haunted Houses. Rerrick. Glenluce. Ghosts. ’Spectral
Evidence.’ Continuity and Uniformity of Stories. St. Joseph of
Cupertino, his Flights. Modern Instances. Theory of Induced
Hallucination. Ibn Batuta. Animated Furniture. From China to
Peru. Rapping Spirit at Lyons. The Imposture at Orleans. The
Stockwell Mystery. The Demon of Spraiton. Modern Instances. The
Wesleys. Theory of Imposture. Conclusion.
In the month of February, 1665, there was assembled at Ragley Castle as curious a party as ever met in an English country-house. The hostess was the Lady Conway, a woman of remarkable talent and character, but wholly devoted to mystical speculations. In the end, unrestrained by the arguments of her clerical allies, she joined the Society of Friends, by the world called Quakers. Lady Conway at the time when her guests gathered at Ragley, as through all her later life, was suffering from violent chronic headache. The party at Ragley was invited to meet her latest medical attendant, an unlicensed practitioner, Mr. Valentine Greatrakes, or Greatorex; his name is spelled in a variety of ways. Mr. Greatrakes was called ‘The Irish Stroker’ and ‘The Miraculous Conformist’ by his admirers, for, while it was admitted that Dissenters might frequently possess, or might claim, powers of miracle, the gift,