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Varley, the Atlantic telegraph electrician, in 1868. Since then I have spent eleven years in the constant practical examination of the proofs of the immortality of man abounding in our midst. Great contention exists in the world about psychic phenomena, but from the first I have thought it more reasonable to expend time and energy in observing and ascertaining the very facts, rather than in controversy as to their reality.
The questions at issue in the universal contention between Spiritualism and Materialism cannot be settled by any war of words, but by observation and experiment. This work shows that experiments under human control, in the domain of the phenomena of psychology, throw light upon the nature and the philosophy of the spontaneous apparitions of all ages.
This first volume contains a compact mass of facts in relation to the apparitions of the living and of the dying; the second, which will be published next autumn, will deal chiefly with the apparitions of the so-called “dead,” showing that there is no break of continuity in the phenomena of apparitions in consequence of the death of the body. So impossible is it to find any indication in the phenomena, of a natural dividing line coinciding with the death moment, that in this volume several cases of after-death apparitions are included, differing in no way from the apparitions of living persons whose mortal bodies are in a sleeping or quiescent state.
So far as the authenticity of the facts contained in this volume is concerned, the attention of experienced lawyers is invited to the culture and education of the witnesses, to the absence of collusion among them, to the completeness of their separation by time, space, social position, motives for utterance, and want of knowledge of each other's existence; and, notwithstanding all this, the complete agreement in the general characteristics of the incidents they have recorded.
I hope that readers of this work will favour me with records from all parts of the globe, containing minute details in relation to recent phenomena of the kind considered in these pages; also that full names and addresses will be sent for publication, and that the records themselves will be written or signed by one or more of the actual witnesses of the occurrences. The chief facts are fully established ; future certificates should go more into details.
WILLIAM H. HARRISON.
38 Great ROSSELL ST., LONDON,
May IST, 1879.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.