The Voice Box
A Mrs Fairchild Seance
Taken from The Book: "There Is No Death" by Florence Marryat
From the book "Materialized Apparitions'
E. A. Brackett
SÉANCES WITH MRS. FAIRCHILD
THE mediumship of Mrs. Fairchild differs from that of others inasmuch as she stands outside of the cabinet, under the influence of one of her controls, managing the séance with great skill and judgment, thus eliminating from her séances all chance of transfiguration or personation by the medium, forcing the skeptic or investigator to the conclusion that the forms are either genuine materializations or confederates.
The position of her cabinet, placed as it is between two rooms, is certainly open to criticism. A thorough examination of it, however, revealed no possible chance for the concealment of draperies or the entrance of a confederate.
In order to meet the objections which have been made to this arrangement she has drawn a light curtain across the corner of the room. Backed as it is by solid walls, the forms that come from this temporary cabinet cannot be confederates, and the skeptic may answer as best he can the question, What are they?
This cabinet, however, is only used occasionally, and the average visitor sees only what comes from the main cabinet. If this temporary arrangement is so successful, and I know it is, there is some force in the objection made against using the other. Every medium is in justice bound to give to visitors the best conditions possible. Mr. Whitlock thus describes séances held with Mrs. Fairchild, Sept. 12 and 19,1885.
“The medium was controlled in a few moments by 'Cadaleene,' a very interesting spirit, who managed the séance with perfect nonchalance, selecting, with ease and correctness the persons whom the spirits desired to come to the cabinet, thereby fulfilling the double office, with Mrs. Fairchild, of medium and manager.
"During this séance the medium was outside, and in view of the audience, except on one or two occasions—when she went into the cabinet for a moment; and at the last, when her control, Cadaleene, who had promised to materialize, came out so perfect in action and voice that I shall never forget her grateful attentions as she knelt at my side. Time after time more than one form was out of the cabinet at the same moment, and in one case five persons, including a child.
One of the most convincing proofs of materialization was the following: A lady, whom we understood to be a relative of Col. Bailey, called him up to the cabinet and kissed him; and while he was standing with both arms around her, talking, she dematerialized. This occurred fully three feet from the cabinet, in sight of the audience, a dozen of whom must have been within six feet of the form, and some of them as near the cabinet.
The following Saturday, Sept. 19, we again attended her afternoon séance. At this séance we found Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker, of Hartford, Conn.; Mr. Thomas Hazard, of Providence, R. I.; Mr. John Wetherbee, of Boston, and many other well known persons, were present.
"What we have already written in reference to Cadaleene and her control of the medium, is equally applicable to this séance; also the expressions of confidence in reference to the cabinet. I had expressed to a friend, whom I met in the office of the Banner of Light, that while, to the best of my knowledge, after an examination, I believed Mrs. Fairchild's cabinet to be all right, still I would like to see the same results in a cabinet made by hanging a curtain across the corner of the room. Judge of my surprise when, after the séance had commenced, Cadaleene said, 'Mr. Facts-man, I heard what you told the brave, and you see we have the curtain across the corner, to show you what we can do.'
"The séance continued in the regular cabinet, as usual, for about an hour and a half. The light was good, and many spirits manifested their presence, among which the following interesting experience occurred: A gentleman, who does not choose to have his name mentioned, had a communication the day before from a spirit-friend, in writing, through his own hand, promising to materialize at this séance. He told me that this spirit had not only fulfilled this promise, but had told him things that no other person knew but himself, and that he recognized her fully.
"Then came the crowning glory of the séance. The control, Cadaleene, still holding the medium, directed that the gas be lit and the hall door opened. She then closed the sliding door in front of the cabinet, and fastened back the curtains which hung over it to form the front of the regular cabinet when in use, so that all might know if it was opened.
"The audience was then seated facing the corner where the curtains had been hung for a temporary cabinet, some near and in front of the door just mentioned, which could be seen by all present. The medium, still under control, passed behind the curtain, but came out in a moment, followed almost immediately by a form dressed entirely in white. After this form returned to the cabinet, two others came out—one a lady, the other a gentleman,—and it was said a third was seen in the cabinet.
"All this time the medium was controlled by Cadaleene, who was finding the friends of the spirits with remarkable dexterity. Several others followed, and we might give names and personal experiences, but feel that our readers will appreciate most these special points of interest."
Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker, Mr. Thomas Hazard, and Mr. John Wetherbee have given graphic descriptions of these séances.
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, in company with William D. Brewer, I attended a private séance with Mrs. Fairchild. I examined the cabinet without being able to discover anything that would lead me to suppose that there was any chance for a confederate to be used. The séance lasted about two hours, during which time scarcely a minute passed that there were not forms out in the room, either to Mr. Brewer or myself; sometimes three or four at once. More than half the time the extemporized cabinet in the corner of the room was used. There appeared to be no difference between the workings of the two—the manifestations came as freely from one as from the other.
As I examined the walls and everything connected with the temporary cabinet, I have no hesitation in saying that the forms that came from or appeared in it were materialized beings. I was in this cabinet several times during the séance often with two forms at the same time. Once I sat between them, an arm around each, satisfying myself of their objective reality as well as if I had been walking with them outside in the room. While thus holding them, the one encircled by my left and whose right arm was around my neck, instantly disappeared, without the slightest indication of any movement;—she was there, and she was not there. Still holding the one encircled by my right arm, I rose and with my left hand drew the curtain aside, so that I could see everything behind it. There was not the faintest trace of the beautiful being that a moment before, I had so firmly held, and with whom I had been talking.
Similar things have occurred to me in various ways, so often that they produce no surprise, only an earnest desire to discover how or where the forms go, or possibly gain some knowledge of the laws governing these strange phenomena.
The force at Mrs. Fairchild's séances is mainly expended in materialization, and for that reason they are valuable to skeptics; but to the experienced investigator they offer nothing new. Many of the forms come heavily veiled, and there is an absence of that social and mental character which is ever the surest evidence of recognition.