By "materialisation," in this chapter, is not meant the production of

more or less complete portions of the human body--generally hands--a

phenomenon alleged to be frequent in spiritualistic circles. A

"materialisation" of the whole figure is meant, the production of a

figure which to the spectator appears as a new human being, so to speak,

occasionally exhibiting signs of independent organic life. Such a

phenomenon wo
ld be the most astounding that can well be imagined. I am

not in a position to offer any scientific evidence in its support. By

far the majority of the accounts which have been published of full form

"materialisations" are destitute of any evidential value, and in many

cases the circumstantial evidence for fraud is strong. Were it not for a

small number of cases which present prima facie evidence of a

different character, the question of the reality of this phase of

"mediumship" would be scarcely worth raising. But the existence of even

a small amount of evidence of such a kind raises the question into a

different position, to one which reasonably demands the searching

investigation of scientific men. I propose to give one illustration only

of this better class of evidence, but it is one in which common-sense

precautions against deception seem to have been carefully taken.

The following extracts are from a report made by Mr. J. Slater, and

published in The Two Worlds of 15th February 1895:--


"After the recent suspicions and exposures of materialising

mediums, I determined to take the first opportunity of applying

further and more stringent tests, which should absolutely

preclude the possibility of deception. For this purpose I wrote

to the Middlesbro' materialising medium, asking for a test

sitting, and stating the conditions--which he readily


"The conditions were that he should strip to the skin 'naked as

he was born,' and in the presence of witnesses dress in clothes

to be supplied by me....

"I made him understand that after he had dressed in the clothes

supplied by me, he must consider himself in my charge, and must

not attempt to do or touch anything, or go anywhere except to

the chair provided for him. He readily agreed to this, and

imposed upon himself a still further test, viz. that as soon as

the phenomena had ceased, he would instantly place himself in

our charge, to be held fast until the light was turned up, and

the company had retired to the next room, the same process of

undressing being gone through."

This was all carried out preliminary to a seance, and a final

examination of the room was made.

"The light was then lowered so that we could just see each other--the

company sang a hymn, a prayer was offered, and then came the crisis--to

be or not to be? In less than a minute a form of exceeding whiteness

appeared at the opening of the curtain; I should judge the height to be

three feet six inches or a little more. We could not distinguish the

face. The form appeared twice. Then a child form appeared, its raiment

white, luminous and very distinct. Then came the well-known and lively

black child, opening the curtain with her small arms and bowing

repeatedly to us. This child would be about two and a half feet in

height. The folds of shining drapery hung from her head in gipsy

fashion, which she opened for us to see her round black face. I was

quite close to her, but did not pat her face and woolly head as I have

done before. She climbed upon the medium's knee, and then came close to

us again, and then disappeared....

"The meeting then concluded with prayer and doxology. We then seized

hold of the medium's hands, and held him until the company retired, and

then went through the undressing and dressing process as before, every

article of clothing being rigidly examined as removed. We then searched

the corner as before, and found all intact, and not a sign anywhere of

the abundance of drapery we had seen."

Sixteen ladies and gentlemen present at the meeting allowed their names

to be published as a testimony to what they saw. The evidential value of

the seance depends entirely on the honesty and truthfulness of Mr.

Slater and of the two friends who assisted him in the carrying out of

the precautions taken.

Mr. Slater had been in the York Post Office for over thirty years, and

for nearly seven years before his death in 1902 had occupied the

position of superintendent. Mr. Slater was a frequent contributor to the

newspaper press of his own district, and also occasionally to other

periodicals. He appears to have been a man of considerable intelligence

and force of character, and to have been widely respected. I am informed

by Mr. J. P. Slater, a son of Mr. J. Slater, and who is in the Post

Office at York, that the name of the "Middlesbro' medium" was Kenwin,

and that he was an "ordinary working man" in some steel works. He died

six or seven years ago.