Edison Worked on a Spirit Phone to Record Voices of the Dead

A long-lost chapter of the memoir of Thomas Edison has been found and published in France and it contains details of the great inventor’s plans to build a device to record the voices of the newly departed. Edison’s original memoir is called “Diary And Sundry Observations” and was published in 1948, 16 years after his death. The first edition of the book contained a last chapter called “Spiritualism,” a collection of essays in which Edison talks about his beliefs in an afterlife and a way to communicate with the dead. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that life is undestructable … I am inclined to believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this reasoning be correct, then, if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected, or moved, or manipulated – whichever term you want to use – by our personality as […] Read More

“Is It Idle To Argue Further?”

Says Light, in its “Notes by the Way,” edited by “M.A. Oxon.”:     The current number of The Theosophist contains an important manifesto, which establishes and defines the ground finally taken up by that body. Shortly put, it is one of complete antagonism to Spiritualism. The Spiritualist believes that it is possible for spirits of the departed to communicate with this earth. Whatever divergence of opinion there may be among us in respect of other matters, we are agreed on this, the cardinal article of our faith. Our daily experience affirms its truth. The con sentient testimony of the most experienced among us agrees that, whether there be, or whether there be not, other agencies at work, the spirits we know of are human spirits who have once lived on this earth. To this the Theosophist returns the simple answer that we are mistaken. No spirits communicate with earth for […] Read More

1877: A Society Without a Dogma

Times have greatly changed since the winter of 1875-6, when the establishment of the Theosophical Society caused the grand army of American Spiritualists to wave banners, clang steel, and set up a great shouting. How well we all remember the putting forth of “Danger Signals,” the oracular warnings and denunciations of numberless mediums! How fresh in memory the threats of “angel-friends” to Dr. Gardiner, of Boston, that they would kill Colonel Olcott if he dared call them “Elementaries” in the lectures he was about delivering! The worst of the storm has passed. The hail of imprecations no longer batters around our devoted heads; it is raining now, and we can almost see the rainbow of promised peace spanning the sky. Beyond doubt, much of this subsidence of the disturbed elements is due to our armed neutrality. But still I judge that the gradual spread of a desire to learn […] Read More

An Astral Prophet

Every educated Englishman has heard the name of General Yermoloff, one of the great military heroes of this age; and if at all familiar with the history of the Caucasian wars, he must be acquainted with the exploits of one of the chief conquerors of the land of those impregnable fastnesses where Shamil and his predecessors have defied for years the skill and strategy of the Russian armies. Be it as it may, the strange event herein narrated by the Caucasian hero himself, may interest students of psychology. That which follows is a verbatim translation from V. Potto’s Russian work “The War in Caucasus.” In volume II, chapter The period of Yermoloff (pp. 829-30-3I and 832) one reads these lines: Silently and imperceptibly glided away at Moscow the last days allotted to the hero. On April the 19th, 186I, he died in his 85th year, seated in his favorite […] Read More

A Case Of Obsession

The particulars of the case of “obsession,” alluded to in the April number of this magazine, are given in the following letter from a respectable English medical man who is in attendance upon the victim:–     I take the liberty of addressing you in the cause of humanity, with the intention of exciting your sympathies and obtaining all the aid in your power to afford, in a case of “control.” You will understand that the gentleman is being made a medium against his wish, through having attended a few séances for the purpose of witnessing “materialization.”     Ever since, he has been more or less subject to a series of persecutions by the “controlling” spirit and, in spite of every effort of his to throw off the influence, he has been made to suffer most shamefully and painfully in very many ways and under most trying and aggravating circumstances, especially by […] Read More

Elementaries

[From The Religio-Philosophical Journal, Nov. 17th, 1877.] I perceive that of late the ostracized subject of the Kabalistic “Elementaries” is beginning to appear in the orthodox spiritualistic papers pretty often. No wonder; Spiritualism and its Philosophy are progressing, and they will progress despite the opposition of some very learned ignoramuses, who imagine the Cosmos rotates within the academic brain. But if a new term is once admitted for discussion, the least we can do is to first clearly ascertain what that term means. We students of the Oriental Philosophy count it a clear gain that spiritualistic journals on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to discuss the subject of sub-human and earth-bound beings, even though they ridicule the idea. But do those who ridicule know what they are talking about, having never studied the Kabalistic writers? It is evident to me that they are confounding the “Elementaries” – […] Read More

Echoes From India

What Is Hindu Spiritualism? Phenomena in India – beside the undoubted interest they offer in themselves, and apart from their great variety and in most instances utter dissimilarity from those we are accustomed to hear of in Europe and America—possess another feature which makes them worthy of the most serious attention of the investigator of Psychology. Whether Eastern phenomena are to be accounted for by the immediate interference and help of the spirits of the departed, or attributed to some other and hitherto unknown cause, is a question which, for the present, we will leave aside. It can be discussed, with some degree of confidence, only after many instances have been carefully noted and submitted, in all their truthful and unexaggerated details, to an impartial and unprejudiced public. One thing I beg to reaffirm, and this is, that instead of exacting the usual “conditions” of darkness, harmonious circles, and […] Read More

Kabalistic Views Of “Spirits”

I beg you to again allow me a little space for the further elucidation of a very important question – that of the “Elementals” “and the “Elementaries.” It is a misfortune that our European languages do not contain a nomenclature expressive of the various grades and conditions of spiritual beings. But surely I cannot be blamed for either the above linguistic deficiency, or because some people do not choose, or are unable, to understand my meaning! I cannot too often repeat that in this matter I claim no originality. My teachings are but the substance of what many Kabalists have said before me, which to-day I mean to prove, with your kind permission. I am accused (1) of “turning somersaults” and jumping from one idea to another. The defendant pleads – not guilty. (2) Of coining not only words but Philosophies out of the depths of my consciousness. Defendant […] Read More

My Books

My Books Some time ago, a Theosophist, Mr. R_____, was travelling by rail with an American gentleman, who told him how surprised he had been by his visit to our London Headquarters. He said that he had asked Mdme. Blavatsky what were the best Theosophical works for him to read, and had declared his intention of procuring Isis Unveiled, when to his astonishment she replied, “Don’t read it, it is all trash.” Now I did not say “trash” so far as I remember; but what I did say in substance was: “Leave it alone; Isis will not satisfy you. Of all the books I have put my name to, this particular one is, in literary arrangement, the worst and most confused.” And I might have added with as much truth that, carefully analysed from a strictly literary and critical standpoint, Isis was full of misprints and misquotations; that it […] Read More