This is a most remarkable prophecy, as it is a matter of history that the goldfields of California were discovered within a very short time of the psychic outburst. A Swedenborg with his doctrine of correspondences might perhaps contend that the one was complementary to the other.

This episode of the Shaker manifestations is a very distinct link between the Swedenborg pioneer work and the period of Davis and the Fox sisters. We shall now consider the career of the former, which is intimately associated with the rise and progress of the modern psychic movement.



ANDREW JACKSON DAVIS was one of the most remarkable men of whom we have any exact record. Born in 1826 on the banks of the Hudson, his mother was an uneducated woman, with a visionary turn which was allied to vulgar superstition, while his father was a drunken worker in leather. He has written the details of his own childhood in a curious book, "The Magic Staff," which brings home to us the primitive and yet forceful life of the American provinces in the first half of last century. The people were rude and uneducated, but their spiritual side was very much alive, and they seem to have been reaching out continually for some new thing. It was in these country districts of New York in the space of a few years that both Mormonism and modern Spiritualism were evolved.

There never could have been a lad with fewer natural advantages than Davis. He was feeble in body and starved in mind. Outside an occasional school primer he could only recall one book that he had ever read up to his sixteenth year. Yet in that poor entity there lurked such spiritual forces that before he was twenty he had written one of the most profound and original books of philosophy ever produced. Could there be a clearer proof that nothing came from himself, and that he was but a conduit pipe through which flowed the knowledge of that vast reservoir which finds such inexplicable outlets? The valour of a Joan of Arc, the sanctity of a Theresa, the wisdom of a Jackson Davis, the supernormal powers of a Daniel Home, all come from the same source.

In his later boyhood, Davis's latent psychic powers began to develop. Like Joan, he heard voices in the fields-gentle voices which gave him good advice and comfort. Clairvoyance followed this clairaudience. At the time of his mother's death, he had a striking vision of a lovely home in a land of brightness which he conjectured to be the place to which his mother had gone. His full capacity was tapped, however, by the chance that a travelling showman who exhibited the wonders of mesmerism came to the village and experimented upon Davis, as well as on many other young rustics who desired to experience the sensation. It was soon found that Davis had very remarkable clairvoyant powers.

These were developed not by the peripatetic mesmerist, but by a local tailor named Levingston, who seems to have been a pioneer thinker. He was so intrigued by the wonderful gifts of his subject, that he abandoned his prosperous business and devoted his whole time to working with Davis and to using his clairvoyant powers for the diagnosis of disease. Davis had developed the power, common among psychics, of seeing without the eyes, including things which could not be seen in any case by human vision. At first, the gift was used as a sort of amusement in reading the letters or the watches of the assembled rustics when his eyes were bandaged. In such cases all parts of the body can assume the function of sight, and the reason probably is that the etheric or spiritual body, which possesses the same organs as the physical, is wholly or partially disengaged, and that it registers the impression. Since it might assume any posture, or might turn completely round, one would naturally get vision from any angle, and an explanation is furnished of such cases as the author met in the north of England, where Tom Tyrrell, the famous medium, used to walk round a room, admiring the pictures, with the back of his head turned towards the walls on which they were hung.

The History of Spiritualism Vol I Page 16

Arthur Conan Doyle

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