REPLY TO MR. HOSKING
The Psychic Society of Sydney have decided to defend that which they know to be the truth, and we ask you to grant us the right of answering some of Mr. Ernest Hosking's remarks in a recent issue.
He refers to your Melbourne correspondent as either having been tricked by Mr. Bailey or his confederates. Now, let us first consider that Mr. Stanford is a gentleman in comfortable circumstances, and it is only reasonable to suppose that his circle is composed of persons in a similar position in life, while Mr. Bailey is only a poor man, and his friends are in the same boat. So it is not reasonable to that they would be allowed into Mr. Stanford's inner circle. Therefore, if Mr. Bailey has confederates they are among Mr. Stanford's friends.
The fact is, Mr. Hosking has for years been looking for fraud, and thinking of fraud, until to him everything appertaining to spiritualism is tainted with it. Spiritualists are just as well able to protect themselves as Mr. Hosking or the gentleman referred to in the letter.
We very much regret that a subject of this nature cannot be discussed without the frequent use of the word "fraud." The law of psychic phenomena is a scientific subject, and should be treated as such.
Regarding the work quoted of Professor S. S. Baldwin, we are told that he has devoted the best part of his life to investigations of this sort. Let Mr. Hosking tell the whole truth, and admit Professor Baldwin is a showman, and makes a profession of exposing spiritualism, or pretends to. With him it is a trade and a calling, and if there are no frauds he has to manufacture them. His "pointers" for "dead easies" are about the most palpable prevarications ever published, and those who believe these statements to be true may safely be classed as "dead easies."
We spiritualists are generally regarded as credulous by our opponents, but they are oft-time the most gullible creatures that ever breathed. They will accept anything that tells against spiritualism, and repeat it as being the absolute truth without even giving themselves the pleasure of investigating for themselves.
We do not feel called upon to defend the spiritualists of America, but if this is meant to say "spiritualists have an organised system of fraud," we repudiate it most emphatically. This quotation also says "If spiritualists would only turn fraud hunters, all would be well." Long experience teaches this is not necessary, the fraud always exposes itself, and the more people talk about it, the closer they are to it.
We quite agree with Mr. Hosking that it is well to always use our own reason, but the student into the psychic laws finds many experiences that make him think "things are not always what they appear to be." But his appeal to common sense is only an appeal to popular opinion, which is always wrong, because the generality of people do not think and investigate for themselves, but are too ready to think the thoughts of others. The true spiritualist does not rest on this medium or that medium, but proves the truth for himself.
Mr. Hosking asserts, "not one in a thousand of so-called proofs of immortality supplied by these seances and circles are of the least value as proofs, of that proposition to a sensible thinking person." Granted they are proofs only to those that know the truth, our experience is only absolute knowledge to ourselves. But how does Mr. Hosking know there is not one case in a thousand? This is only a random assertion. Is it true? Who are in the best position to know: they who have the experience of Mr. Hosking who is speaking not of what he knows, but of what he hopes? There are some people who would rather the whole universe should be wrong that the opinions they express should be erroneous.
In face of all opposition, spiritualism is growing: it is in the air. People are seeking and investigating for themselves. It is not announced by the blare of trumpet. The great forces of Nature are silent in their action, and all doubt and scepticism will not prevent its march. We are neither the simple credulous people, nor the unprincipled charlatans our opponents endeavor to make out. We seek for the truth at first hand, and we are not afraid to find it.
The majority of spiritualists commence their enquiries as sceptics, but those not more in love with their opinion than they are with the truth, usually find evidence that settles all doubt. These money offers for stipulated tests neither prove nor disprove anything. If people do not want knowledge they are not likely to get it.The constant parrot-like cry of "prove it" or "give us proof" is out of date. Everything in Nature requires its conditions. Even the blade of grass will not grow without it.
Let the sceptic get rid of his prejudice and investigate for himself. The earnest, honest, seeker is usually rewarded for his efforts: in fact, there is no effort without some effect. The man who does not find what he does not wish to find is inclined to think it is all fallacy, and he is right, because the crowd is of the same opinion. When Harvey discovered the circulation of the blood, he was not supported by public opinion.
In conclusion, we are neither rogues nor fools, and certainly not cowards, as we have the courage of our convictions. We shall no doubt compare favourably, both intellectually and morally, with any class in the community. We sincerely regret the hatred and mistrust of our neighbor because our experiences do not agree with his theory. This, unfortunately, is one of the salient witnesses of human nature.
- WILLIAM ADAMS, President Psychic Society, Limited, Sydney.
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