Nor, what is more noticeable, do they ever contain an idea that was not on the earth before. Wonderful,
therefore, as such phenomena may be (granting them to be truthful), I see much that philosophy may question,
nothing that it is incumbent on philosophy to deny, viz., nothing supernatural. They are but ideas conveyed
somehow or other (we have not yet discovered the means) from one mortal brain to another. Whether, in so
doing, tables walk of their own accord, or fiend-like shapes appear in a magic circle, or bodyless hands rise
and remove material objects, or a Thing of Darkness, such as presented itself to me, freeze our blood--still am
I persuaded that these are but agencies conveyed, as if by electric wires, to my own brain from the brain of
another. In some constitutions there is a natural chemistry, and these constitutions may produce chemic
wonders--in others a natural fluid, call it electricity, and these may produce electric wonders.
'But the wonders differ from Normal Science in this--they are alike objectless, purposeless, puerile, frivolous.
They lead on to no grand results; and therefore the world does not heed, and true sages have not cultivated
them. But sure I am, that of all I saw or heard, a man, human as myself, was the remote originator; and I
believe unconsciously to himself as to the exact effects produced, for this reason: no two persons, you say,
have ever told you that they experienced exactly the same thing. Well, observe, no two persons ever
experience exactly the same dream. If this were an ordinary imposture, the machinery would be arranged for
results that would but little vary; if it were a supernatural agency permitted by the Almighty, it would surely
be for some definite end. These phenomena belong to neither class; my persuasion is, that they originate in
some brain now far distant; that that brain had no distinct volition in anything that occurred; that what does
occur reflects but its devious, motley, ever-shifting, half-formed thoughts; in short, that it has been but the
dreams of such a brain put into action and invested with a semi-substance. That this brain is of immense
power, that it can set matter into movement, that it is malignant and destructive, I believe; some material force
must have killed my dog; the same force might, for aught I know, have sufficed to kill myself, had I been as
subjugated by terror as the dog--had my intellect or my spirit given me no countervailing resistance in my
'It killed your dog! that is fearful! indeed it is strange that no animal can be induced to stay in that house; not
even a cat. Rats and mice are never found in it.'
'The instincts of the brute creation detect influences deadly to their existence. Man's reason has a sense less
subtle, because it has a resisting power more supreme. But enough; do you comprehend my theory?'
'Yes, though imperfectly--and I accept any crotchet (pardon the word), however odd, rather than embrace at
once the notion of ghosts and hob-goblins we imbibed in our nurseries. Still, to my unfortunate house the evil
is the same. What on earth can I do with the house?'
'I will tell you what I would do. I am convinced from my own internal feelings that the small unfurnished
room at right angles to the door of the bedroom which I occupied, forms a starting-point or receptacle for the
influences which haunt the house; and I strongly advise you to have the walls opened, the floor removed--nay,
the whole room pulled down. I observe that it is detached from the body of the house, built over the small
back-yard, and could be removed without injury to the rest of the building.'
'And you think, if I did that----'
'You would cut off the telegraph wires. Try it. I am so persuaded that I am right, that I will pay half the
expense if you will allow me to direct the operations.'
'Nay, I am well able to afford the cost; for the rest, allow me to write to you.'
About ten days afterwards I received a letter from Mr. J----, telling me that he had visited the house since I
had seen him; that he had found the two letters I had described replaced in the drawer from which I had taken
them; that he had read them with misgivings like my own; that he had instituted a cautious inquiry about the
woman to whom I rightly conjectured they had been written. It seemed that thirty-six years ago (a year before
the date of the letters) she had married, against the wish of her relations, an American of very suspicious
character, in fact, he was generally believed to have been a pirate. She herself was the daughter of very
respectable tradespeople, and had served in the capacity of nursery governess before her marriage. She had a
brother, a widower, who was considered wealthy, and who had one child of about six years old. A month after
the marriage, the body of this brother was found in the Thames, near London Bridge; there seemed some
marks of violence about his throat, but they were not deemed sufficient to warrant the inquest in any other
verdict than that of 'found drowned.'