Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sadism and Murder by George A. Thacher 1913



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One of the most shocking perversities of animal life is demonstrated when a mother kills her own young soon after birth. This is complete defeat of nature's plan of reproduction, and it is caused by emotional disturbance of the mother.

In the human family the most terrible perversion is shown when the male under the emotional stress of the sex impulse kills the female. The perversion in its milder forms is very common, and the emotional disturbance caused by the sex impulse includes an intense wish to suffer pain as well as to inflict pain. In the mentally unbalanced, the feeble-minded, the epileptic and in senile dementia this perversion shows the greatest violence and is often the cause of murder. This fact is not generally known, probably because the Anglo Saxon race has been taught for centuries to hide under the veil of silence everything touching reproduction.

The scientific name of this emotional disturbance, amounting sometimes to an aberration, is algolagnia. This describes a complex emotional state which for practical purposes has been divided and called by two different names. The desire to endure suffering is called masochism from the name of Sacher-Masoch, an Austrian novelist, who was a victim of the desire for punishment at the hands of his wife. He persuaded her, against her wish, to whip him with a whip having nails attached to it, and took great pleasure in his pain.

Rousseau was also a victim of this amazing perverted emotion (see his "Confessions") and there have been many cases known to physicians and alienists.

The other perversion is known as Sadism. Here the patient desires to inflict punishment such as whipping or strangling or causing the flowing of blood. This is the perversion which leads to murder in extreme cases. The murder of the Hill family in Portland in 1911 was a case of Sadism.

The name comes from the Marquis de Sade who lived in France over a hundred years ago and whom Napoleon had confined in an asylum for the insane. But the perverse and wicked conduct which made Marquis de Sade infamous was told about three hundred years before de Sade was born in the horridly fascinating tale of Bluebeard, who cut off the heads of numerous wives because of their curiosity and disobedience.

Bluebeard's life of wicked and bloody love must have had a thrilling appeal for men and women, witness its being worked into a clever drama and also made a part of a popular opera. The historic original was Chevalier Raoul, who was made a Marshal of France in 1429. He was a brave soldier, but cruel and wicked, and he delighted in corrupting young persons of both sexes and afterwards murdering them and using their blood in diabolical incantations.

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There is a sure foundation in human nature for these tales, and that is the perverse desire to inflict pain upon a loved object, possibly from a wish to absolutely dominate the object of desire. Where the individual is mentally and nervously abnormal and unbalanced this desire to inflict pain becomes an aberration or a species of insanity. Such a person under the influence of sexual passion may commit murder by strangling or by stabbing or cutting with any sharp instrument. The effusion of the victim's blood seems to gratify this insane perversity which, since the time of the Marquis de Sade, has been called Sadism. This pathological occurrence either precedes or follows copulation, but occasionally it becomes a substitute for sexual indulgence. Lombroso discusses the case of Verzeni, who said in his last confession, "I had an unspeakable delight in strangling women," and referring to one of his victims by name, said, "I took great delight in drinking Matta's blood."

A number of years ago the civilized world was intensely aroused by the "Jack the ripper" or Whitechapel murders in London, which were the work of a Sadic. The perverted acts of this insane devil defy description.

In the last seven years there have been quite a number of sadistic murders in the United States. In the spring of 1911 the people of Portland were horrified by the strangling of little Barbara Holzman in Albina. In June of the same year the Hill family in Ardenwald were chopped to death with an axe by a Sadie. Four persons were killed.

In August of the same year, 1911, the Goble family of Rainier, Washington, were chopped to death with an axe. Two persons were killed.

Last August Lynn George J. Kelly confessed to killing a family of six persons at Valisca, Iowa, with an axe several years ago. The testimony at the trial showed the nature of the Sadic in unmistakable fashion. Attorney General Havner of Des Moines sent me a copy of Kelly's confession, which, however, he repudiated at the trial. There is a great deal of interest in this confession to a student of sadistic murders, but the man was a minister and the crime was so overwhelmingly terrible that the jury of laymen could not believe that a minister would commit such a wholesale slaughter without an apparent motive.

In 1913 Dr. Knabe, a woman physician in Indianapolis had her throat cut in her own apartments by a Sadic.

In 1914 in Sacramento, California, a young girl was strangled by a Sadic.

In February, 1915, there was a sadistic murder at the county farm in Multnomah County where the victim's throat was cut.

It was about the same time that there was an attempted sadistic murder of a woman at La Grande, Oregon. The weapon used in this case was an axe, but the victim finally recovered.

This limited number of cases is enough to indicate the pathological character of sadistic murder. It is literally an insane perversion of the sex impulse and in these cases where it proceeds to the point of assassination it is accomplished by strangling, or cutting or chopping or stabbing. Kraft-Ebing, who is perhaps the oldest and best recognized authority on sadism, believes that the Sadic's motor centers are involved to a great degree in his aberration and that the unnecessary violence of the assassinations are thus accounted for. All of the authorities on the subject, Kraft-Ebing, Lombroso, Dr. Thoinot, August Forel, Havelock Ellis, Iwan Block, Dr. Healey and Dr. Jacoby, agree that the acts of a Sadic in his frenzy are those of an abnormal and perverted being who, like other insane persons, seems to be only partly conscious of what he is doing. Such are the characteristic qualities of Sadism, which in feeble-minded and unbalanced men has often led to murder.

There was no evidence given in the trial of Mr. Pender for the murder of Mrs. Wehrman and her child tending to indicate that he was a Sadie, but this trial was unusual both because of the lack of evidence and because of a highly inflamed public sentiment against the accused. Stories were widely circulated in Columbia County, especially, that Arthur Pender was a Sadic and that he boasted of mistreating Filipino girls and then killing them. Like the old tales of pirates and the stories of soldiers returned from foreign conquest these yarns were greedily listened to and swallowed, for Pender had been a soldier and had fought in the United States army against the savages and barbarians in the Philippine Islands, and now a woman and child had been brutally murdered and Pender lived only a mile away.

According to the popular notions of circumstantial evidence that was very damaging. Nobody knows who started these stories of Mr. Pender's wild doings in the Philippine Islands but they were put in circulation by somebody who wanted to explain the murder of Mrs. Wehrman. Even the prosecuting attorney, Mr. Tongue, did not hesitate to build on this foundation. He has several times told that Pender's wife in seeking a divorce accused Pender of threatening her with a knife. However, the divorce was obtained by default, and so no evidence was given about the "cruel and inhuman" treatment which is so commonly charged in divorce proceedings. Without proof of sadistic tendencies in the murder of Mrs. Wehrman and her child this theory falls to the ground. Pressing the finger on a revolver trigger and causing an explosion of gunpowder caused Mrs. Wehrman's death, while sadistic murder since the days of Bluebeard has involved strangling or cutting or stabbing or chopping the victim to death as illustrated in the cases referred to in this chapter.

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Religion, Science and the Murder of Hypatia 1898


The Murder of Hypatia, article in Popular Astronomy 1898

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Undoubtedly of all the female astronomers of antiquity the greatest was HYPATIA. Even with a due allowance for the fables which have gathered around her memory she was truly a very remarkable woman. Born in Alexandria, daughter of Theon, the librarian, himself a mathematician and astronomical commentator of no mean merit, judged by the times, she far surpassed him in her keenness of philosophical insight and power of disquisition; so that her fame spread abroad through the then known world. As Hypatia may be known to most readers entirely from the novel of this name by Charles Kingsley, it may be well to emphasize the fact that she is an historical personage. She was born about 370 A. D., and though in Alexandria by that date the mental strength of the Greeks, which gave birth to originality of thought and observation, had indeed passed away, yet Hypatia’s learning and ability as a teacher present no unfavorable contrast with that of her masculine contemporaries. She wrote commentaries on the works of the ablest mathematicians who had preceded her; calculated astronomical tables, and publically lectured to throngs of eager students, at Alexandria, upon philosophy and science. But philosophy and science had fallen upon evil days. The population of that once famous seat of learning was now kept in continual turmoil by the bitter disputes and deadly animosities of three classes—the Christians, the Jews and the Pagans. The unscrupulous and fanatical Cyril gained the ascendancy for the Christians; and, probably at his instigation, a mob of vicious monks assailed the beautiful and cultured Hypatia as she was one day returning from her lecture-hall. With circumstances of the most fiendish barbarity they dragged her into a church where she was clubbed to death. Afterwards her corpse was dismembered and one historian says that the mob actually scraped the flesh from the bones with oyster-shells and cast the remnants into a fire.

This murder of Hypatia in 415 A. D. is usually taken as marking the almost complete extinction of Greek science until the beginning of the eighth century when it was revived by the Arabs who, after their capture of Alexandria in 640 A.D., extended their dominion over all northern Africa and into Spain, whence emanated Greek scientific influence on Mediaval Europe.

It was not until the beginning of the twelfth century that another woman arose to vie with Hypatia for honors in science. ST. HILDEGARDE (1099—1180), who founded the monastery of Mount St. Rupert near Bingen-on-the-Rhine, wrote a book in which Battandier has pointed out some marvelous statements: (1) that the Sun is in the midst of the firmament, retaining by his force the stars which move around him; (2) that when it is-cold in the northern hemisphere it is warm in the southern, that the celestial temperature may thus be in equilibrium; (3) that the stars not only shine with unequal brilliancy but are themselves really unequal in magnitude; (4) that as blood moves in the veins (Harvey was not born until 1578!) and makes them pulsate, so do the stars move and send forth pulsations of light.


From History of the Conflict between Religion and Science By John William Draper 1898

St. Cyril, who had commended himself to the approval of the Alexandrian congregations as a successful and fashionable preacher..was he who had so much to do with the introduction of the worship of the Virgin Mary. His hold upon the audiences of the giddy city was, however, much weakened by Hypatia, the daughter of Theon, the mathematician, who not only distinguished herself by her exposition of the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, but also by her comments on the writings of Apollonius and other geometers. Each day before her academy stood a long train of chariots; her lecture-room was crowded with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. They came to listen to her discourses on those questions which man in all ages has asked, but which never yet have been answered: "What am I? Where am I? What can I know?"

Hypatia and Cyril! Philosophy and bigotry. They cannot exist together. So Cyril felt, and on that feeling he acted. As Hypatia retired to her academy, she was assaulted by Cyril's mob—a mob of many monks. Stripped naked in the street, she was dragged into a church, and there killed by the club of Peter the Reader. The corpse was cut to pieces, the flesh was scraped from the bones with shells, and the remnants cast into a fire. For this frightful crime Cyril was never called to account. It seemed to be admitted that the end sanctified the means.

So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandria, so came to an untimely close the learning that the Ptolemies had done so much to promote. The "Daughter Library," that of the Serapion, had been dispersed. The fate of Hypatia was a warning to all who would cultivate profane knowledge. Henceforth there was to be no freedom for human thought. Every one must think as the ecclesiastical authority ordered him, A. D. 414. In Athens itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinian at length prohibited its teaching, and caused all its schools in that city to be closed.

Werewolf Stories from Poland by Walter K Kelly 1863



Werewolf Stories from Poland by Walter K Kelly 1863

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In Eastern Europe the werewolf appears in his most appalling aspect, as a being whose nature is blended with that of the vampyre. The same word is used to designate both in the languages of most branches of the Slave stock; but this appears to be a comparatively modern trait, for there is no sign of it in the ancient tradition of the Neurians, of which we have already spoken. In Poland there are traces of the old belief that werewolves were bound to assume that form at certain periods in every year; in the Middle Ages it was twice a year, at Christmas and St. John's Day; but in later legends the wilcolak, or werewolf, is generally the victim of a spiteful sorceress's vengeance. Once upon a time, when some young people were dancing on the banks of the Vistula, a wolf broke in among them and carried off the prettiest girl of the village. The young men pursued, but they were unarmed, and the wolf escaped with his booty to the woods. Fifty years afterwards, whilst the villagers were again making merry on the same spot, there appeared among them a woebegone, ice-grey man, in whom an aged villager recognized his long-lost brother. The latter narrated how he had long ago been turned into a wolf by a wicked witch; how he had carried off the beautiful girl during the harvest feast, and how the poor thing had died of grief a year after in the forest. "From that time forth," he said, "I flung myself with ravenous hunger upon every human being that came in my way;" and he showed his hands, which were still all smeared with blood. "For the last four years," he continued, "I have been going about again in human shape, and I am come to look once more upon my native place, for I must soon become a wolf again." Hardly had he uttered the words ere he sprang to his feet in the form of a wolf, and ran off howling, never to be seen again.

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It is related of another Pole that he was turned into a wolf by a witch whose love he had despised. In spite of his bestial form he loathed raw flesh, and lived on milk, bread, and other food, which he snatched from the labourers in the field. Living in this way he wandered about for many a long year without sleeping, until a great weariness at last overcame him, and he fell asleep. On awaking, he found himself again a man, and ran naked as he was to his village; but there he found everything changed.

A peasant had been seven years a werewolf, when the witchery suddenly ceased, and he hastened home; but finding that his wife was married to his man, he cried out in his wrath, "Oh, why am I no longer a werewolf, that I might punish this base woman!" No sooner had he uttered the impious words than, again become a wolf, he sprang at his wife, devoured the child she had borne to his man, and wounded herself mortally. The neighbours hastened to the spot and killed him; but when light came, they saw, instead of a dead wolf, the body of the man they had well known.

A witch came to a wedding, rolled her girdle together, laid it on the threshold, and poured on the floor a drink brewed from linden wood. After this, when the new-married couple and their friends stepped over the threshold, they were turned into wolves on the spot, and in that form they prowled for three years about the witch's house with hideous howlings. On the day when the enchantment expired, the witch came out with a fur cloak, wrapped it, with the hairy side out, round one werewolf after another, and thereby restored them to their natural shape; but the bridegroom's tail, which she had left uncovered by the cloak, stuck to him for the rest of his days. This happened in the year 1821 or 1822.

Of another wedding party of Poles it is related that they became werewolves through a spell laid on them by a soldier upon whom the bridegroom had set his dogs. Some years afterwards three werewolves were killed in a great hunt, and under the skin of one of them was found a fiddle, under those of the other two were the wedding dresses of the bride and bridegroom.

The Importance of the Book of Enoch 1890



The Importance of the Book of Enoch 1890

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From A.D. 30 onwards we have plenty of literature illustrating the state of Palestine, its history and its thought. Indeed, the dictum of the Evangelist seems almost now taken too literally; and, but for the necessity of lighting several million fires every morning, the whole world soon could not really contain the books written in this epoch. But from A.D. 30 backwards books are very scant. We have Philo and Josephus and the "Kabbala" and the "Book of Adam," but our spiritual pastors and masters raise their eyebrows a little and whisper "Post Christian" when most of these are mentioned.

This is unfortunate, for a clever Frenchman has said that "history and comparative mythology are teaching every day that creeds grow slowly up. None come into the world as if by magic. The origin of events is lost in the infinite. A great Indian poet has said, 'The beginning of things evades us. Their end evades us. We see only the middle.'" A little book, strangely neglected, throws much light on this epoch, the "Book of Enoch."

Jude cites Enoch as a prophet. Tertullian places the "Book of Enoch" in the list of inspired books. The book disappeared in the early centuries of Christianity, and was supposed to be irretrievably lost. Bruce the traveller, however, discovered three copies of the Ethiopic version. He brought them home, and one was deposited in the Bodleian Library. In 1821, Dr. Laurence, Archbishop of Cashel, formerly Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, published a translation, which seems to have excited little attention. Abroad this work made much more stir, thanks to the labours of Hoffman and Dillman. Kalisch predicted that the "Book of Enoch" " will one day be employed as a most important witness in the history of religious dogmas."

Enoch is the ancient Enoch who was caught up to Heaven without tasting death, and the fiction is kept up that he is addressing his son Mathusala—"And now, my son Mathusala, I have shown thee everything; and the account of every ordinance of the stars is finished"--and so on, and so on.

But Dr. Laurence, from internal evidence, thinks it was written by a Jew in the country near the Northern districts of the Caspian and Euxine seas about B.C. 54. But there is this difficulty about this extreme modernising, that the "Kabbala" quotes it again and again. How, too, could the Jews of the time of Christ have attached so much importance to it if it had no better pedigree?

For it is plainly shown by the author of the "Evolution of Christianity," who has brought out a new edition of Archbishop Laurence's translation, that the idea of a triumphant Messiah coming from the clouds with legions of angels cannot be found in the canonical Old Testament, but comes from the "Book of Enoch."

Jude writes thus:—

"Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds, which they nave ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

Plainly Jude had this passage of the "Book of Enoch" before him when he was writing:—

"Behold He comes with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done and committed against Him." (Chap, ii.)

"He shall sow the congregation of the saints and of the elect, and all the elect shall stand before him in that clay. All the kings, the princes, the exalted, and those who rule over the earth shall fall down on their faces before Him and shall worship Him. They shall fix their hopes on this Son of Man, shall pray to Him and petition Him for mercy." (Chap. lxi.)

Of secondary importance are the views of this prophet on Heaven, hell, election, devils, angels, etc. I will write down a few of them:—

Heaven.

"After this I beheld thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, and an infinite number of people standing before the Lord of Spirits.

"In that day shall the Elect One sit upon a throne of glory, and shall choose their conditions and countless habitations."

"The former heaven shall depart and pass away. A new heaven shall appear."

"And I will place each one of them upon a throne of glory, of glory peculiarly his own."

Hell.

The souls of the wicked are "separated by a chasm."

"I beheld that valley in which arose strong smell of sulphur which became mixed with the waters, and the valley of the angels who had been guilty of seduction burned underneath its soil. Through that valley also rivers of fire were flowing."

Of importance are Enoch's views on "election":—

"When righteousness shall be manifested in the presence of the righteous themselves who will be elected for their good works duly weighed by the Lord of Spirits. And when the light of the righteous and the elect who dwell on earth shall be manifested where will the habitation of sinners be? . . . It would be better for them had they never been born."

Commenting on this the author of the "Evolution of Christianity" says :—

"Election here is traced to its original source, and means nothing more than the selection of the fittest—a theory more consistent with the justice of God than St. Paul's doctrine of predestination."

Angels And Devils.

Origen against Celsus announces the functions of the various great angels—"To Raphael is assigned the work of curing and healing; to Gabriel, the direction of wars; to Michael, the duty of hearing the prayers and supplications of men." Where did Origen obtain this superhuman knowledge? asks the author of the "Evolution of Christianity." The answer is—in the fortieth chapter of the "Book of Enoch."

He tells also the names of the devils. They figure freely.

ESSENISM.

"Woe unto you sinners who say, 'We are rich, possess wealth, and have acquired everything which we can desire. Now, then, will we do whatsoever wo are disposed to do.' They shall surely die suddenly." "Woe unto you who are rich."

"Woe to those who build up their houses with crime." "Woe to those who build up iniquity and oppression and lay the foundation of fraud."

The Tree Of Life.

"He has prepared this tree for the saints. The sweet odour shall enter their bones. They shall live a long life on the earth."

The Water Of Life.

"In that place I beheld a foundation of righteousness which never failed, encircled by many springs of wisdom. Of these all the thirsty drank and were filled with wisdom."

The "Treasures Of Sophia And Gnosis."

"This is the Son of Man who will reveal all the treasures of that which is concealed."

I think Enoch here is better than St. Paul. It is the advent of a spiritual Kingdom that will allow the treasures of Gnosis (interior knowledge) to develop in the heart of each individual. A writer in the latest edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," in defining the true and the false Gnosis says that the " true Gnosis" is to be obtained by consulting carefully the books of the Old and New Testament. A funny kind of interior knowledge.

Colenso

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Rene Descartes and the Pineal Gland By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky


Rene Descartes and the Pineal Gland By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

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It is well known that Descartes saw in the pineal gland the Seat of the Soul. Although it is joined to every part of the body, he said, there is one special portion of it in which the Soul exercises its functions more specially than in any other. And, as neither the heart, nor yet the brain could be that “ special" locality, he concluded that it was that little gland tied to the brain, yet having an action independent of it, as it could easily be put into a kind of swinging motion “by the animal Spirits which cross the cavities of the skull in every sense."

Unscientific as this may appear in our day of exact learning, Descartes was yet far nearer the occult truth than is any Haeckel. For the pineal gland, as shown, is far more connected with Soul and Spirit than with the physiological senses of man.

[In 1650, Descartes discusses the question of the seat of the soul, and concludes that, although the soul is united with the whole body, yet it exercises its functions more particularly in a little gland placed in the middle of the substance of the brain and suspended above the passage by which the "spirits" of its anterior cavities communicate with those of its posterior cavities, in such a manner that any movement in the gland will alter the course of these spirits, while at the same time any alteration in the course of the spirits will affect the movements of the gland.

There can be no doubt that the gland here referred to, though not mentioned by any special name, is the pineal gland or conarium of human anatomists, although the author's limited acquaintance with the structure of the human brain caused him to represent it as lying inside instead of outside the brain-cavity.

Descartes goes on to explain that the reason which induced him to regard this gland as the place where the soul immediately exercises its functions is that the other parts of the brain, as well as the external organs of sense, are all double, while our thoughts are single, i.e. we only have one single and simple thought of one and the same thing at the same time. Hence the double impressions which come from the paired organs of sense —such as the two images from the two eyes—must be able to unite into one before they reach the soul, or else we should see two objects instead of one; and this union is supposed to take place in the pineal gland by the mediation of the spirits which fill the cavities of the brain. ~The Pineal Gland by Arthur Dendy 1907]


Had the leading Scientists a glimmer of the real processes employed by the Evolutionary Impulse, and the winding cyclic course of this great law, they would know instead of conjecturing; and feel as certain of the future physical transformations of the human kind by the knowledge of its past forms. Then, would they see the fallacy and all the absurdity of their modern "blindforce" and mechanical processes of nature; realizing, in consequence of such knowledge, that the said pineal gland, for instance, could not but be disabled for physical use at this stage of our cycle. If the odd "eye" in man is now atrophied, it is a proof that, as in the lower animal, it has once been active; for nature never creates the smallest, the most insignificant form without some definite purpose and use. It was an active organ, we say, at that stage of evolution when the spiritual element in man reigned supreme over the hardly nascent intellectual and psychic elements. And, as the cycle ran down toward that point when the physiological senses were developed by, and went pari passu with, the growth and consolidation of the physical man, the interminable and complex vicissitudes and tribulations of zoological development, that median "eye" ended by atrophying along with the early spiritual and purely psychic characteristics in man. The eye is the mirror and also the window of the soul, says popular wisdom, and Vox populi Vox Dei.

In the beginning, every class and family of living species was hermaphrodite and objectively one-eyed. In the animal, whose form was as ethereal (astrally) as that of man, before the bodies of both began to evolve their coats of skin, viz., to evolve from within without the thick coating of physical substance or matter with its internal physiological mechanisn—the third eye was primarily, as in man, the only seeing organ. The two physical front eyes developed later on in both brute and man, whose organ of physical sight was, at the commencement of the Third Race, in the same position as that of some of the blind vertebrata, in our day, i.e., beneath an opaque skin. Only the stages of the odd, or primeval eye, in man and brute, are now inverted, as the former has already passed that animal non-rational stage in the Third Round, and is ahead of mere brute creation by a whole plane of consciousness. Therefore, while the "Cyclopean" eye was, and still is, in man the organ of spiritual sight, in the animal it was that of objective vision. And this eye, having performed its function, was replaced, in the course of physical evolution from the simple to the complex, by two eyes, and thus was stored and laid aside by nature for further use in AEons to come.

This explains why the pineal gland reached its highest development proportionately with the lowest physical development. It is the vertebrata in which it is the most prominent and objective, and in man it is most carefully hidden and inaccessible, except to the anatomist. No less light is thrown thereby on the future physical, spiritual, and intellectual state of mankind, in periods corresponding on parallel lines with other past periods, and always on the lines of ascending and descending cyclic evolution and development.

It is a curious fact; that it is especially in human beings that the cerebral hemispheres and the lateral ventricles have been developed, and that the optic thalami, corpora quadrigemina, and corpora striata are the principal parts which are developed in the mammalian brain. Moreover it is asserted that the intellect of any man may to some extent be gauged by the development of the central convolutions and the fore part of the cerebral hemispheres. It would seem a natural corollary that if the development and increased size of the pineal gland may be considered to be an index of the astral capacities and spiritual proclivities of any man, there will be a corresponding development of that part of the cranium, or an increase in the size of the pineal gland at the expense of the hinder part of the cerebral hemispheres. It is a curious speculation which would receive a confirmation in this case. We should see, below and behind, the cerebellum which has been held to be the seat of all the animal proclivities of a human being, and which is allowed by science to be the great centre for all the physiologically co-ordinated movements of the body, such as walking, eating, etc., etc.; in front, the fore-part of the brain -—the cerebral hemispheres—the part especially connected with the development of the intellectual powers in man; and in the middle, dominating them both, and especially the animal functions, the developed pineal gland, in connection with the more highly evolved, or spiritual man.

The Detective Story in Germany by Grace Isabel Colbron 1910



The Detective Story in Germany by Grace Isabel Colbron 1910

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THE best writer of detective stories in Germany to-day is undoubtedly Augusta Groner, of Vienna. Her name is never mentioned in the magazines that set a standard of criticism, and the essayists who discourse on modern literature know not her fame. This is natural, for detective stories are not literature, according to German ideas. But Augusta Groner's novels are sold in cheap editions in enormous quantity, and there is a steady demand for her work.

With Anna Katherine Green she shares a lonely niche as an example of what women can, but usually do not, do as writers of detective stories. Mrs. Groner's work is uneven, but in the best of it her skill in inventing and unravelling a mystery places her in the front rank. She makes no pretence at literary style; her manner of writing is quaint and old-fashioned, but most of her characters are alive, and there is no disputing her gift as a spinner of yarns. The plot is full of interest always, and grips from the beginning. There are a few isolated examples of good detective stories by other German writers, and there is an immense deal of poor work of the same kind to be found. But there is no qther writer of detective stories whose collective work would stand comparison with the books of the best French and English writers in the same field.

Within the limits of her chosen line of work Augusta Groner is very versatile. She does not tie herself down to any particular method, no two of her novels are alike in construction. She gives us the crime-mystery where the main interest hinges on the revealing of the truth by the work of skilled professionals; and she gives us also the crime-mystery sufficient unto itself, the story where the theme centres in the fate of those near to the victim. But there is always a mystery, and a good one, which does not let the reader's attention flag.

One of Mrs. Groner's latest stories, and one of the best, was The Crippled Hand, and had a plot of more than usual strength and interest. The suspense was cleverly handled, and the mystery not solved until the last chapter. It had some unique points of difference from the conventional in that sort of story, and was well constructed. While Augusta Groner strikes out in new fields very frequently, some of her best stories are connected by the personality of a professional detective, for she, too, following noted precedent, has created one favourite figure who is concerned in the unravelling of many of her most exciting mysteries. Mrs. Groner's detective is Joseph Muller, a member of the Austrian Secret Police. Muller is a small, meek-looking individual, who has gone wrong in youth and has devoted his life afterward to the hounding down of crime. Muller is one of the natural-born detectives, the lust of the chase affects him as it does a bloodhound. He is a genius, and would be invaluable to the Austrian police were it not for a very peculiar trait in his character, a trait which makes him differ from all other noted detectives of fiction. Muller suffers from a soft heart, and when, as often happens in following tip a crime, he discovers that the criminal, whom he never fails to unearth, is a far better man than his victim, this soft heart proves his undoing. More than once Muller warns his prey and the law is balked. Because of this Muller is at last obliged to leave his official position, but a little fortune left him by a high official whom he saved in this manner from disgrace allows him to live the quiet life of retirement that suits him. But his creator hints that the police are inclined to consult Muller in private over any knotty problem, and she has also many adventures of his earlier life to fall back on. Among the best of the stories with Muller as a central figure are the three novels entitled Murdered? The Golden Bullet, and Why She Put Out the Lamp. In the first, the chance finding of a note-book on a lonely road leads to the saving of a young heiress from imprisonment or even possible death at the hands of a rascally stepbrother who desires her fortune. The Golden Bullet is the story which puts an end to Muller's official career and gives him an independent income. A handsome young college professor is found dead in his study, with all the doors and windows locked on the inside, and a golden bullet in his heart. From the nature of the wound suicide is impossible, and the professor's own revolver lies fully loaded at his side, a weapon of a different calibre from the one which fired the fatal bullet. Aided by a chance incident which reveals a clue to his quick mind, Muller follows up the mystery and discovers that the murderer is a high official in good standing at the Court of the little Duchy where the murder takes place.

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But the facts back of the murder win Muller's heart for this official, who is a far nobler and better nature than his faithless wife (whom he drove to her death at her own hands) or her coward lover, whom the betrayed husband killed with a bullet made from his wife's wedding ring. Muller warns Councillor Kniepp, who, by suicide, escapes from the disgrace of a trial, and in gratitude the rich councillor leaves a little fortune to the detective. But the police, glad themselves to have shut off a Court scandal, are obliged to discharge Muller, as they cannot officially countenance the balking the law of its prey.

But in an earlier story, Why She Put Out the Lamp, we are told another of Muller's exploits, and it is a tale of high excellence along the lines of the conventionally constructed detective story. The tale starts with the discovery of the murder, and Muller, despite the blundering efforts of the official authorities, who run into all sorts of blind alleys in following up wrong clues, tracks down the murderer in the person of a very sympathetic young painter. But Muller and the reader have both grown to like the artist, and the victim was an utterly worthless blackmailer, killed in a moment of righteous wrath. Muller wavers between his duty and his strong desire to aid in the escape of the man his own efforts alone have brought to bay. He need do nothing, he need merely not tell what he knows and Hubert Thorn can escape. But the latter, hearing that an innocent man has been imprisoned for his crime, makes the decision for Muller, and gives himself up. He is tried and convicted, with all sorts of extenuating circumstances, and the story has what might almost be called a "happy ending." It is a good story, that does not give a moment's chance for a flagging of the interest.

By a Thread and The Ninty-seventh are other good stories from the pen of Augusta Groner, the last being a weird and gruesome tale of a murder done by a lunatic who in his violent moments fancies himself a reincarnation of the French murderer Cardillac. By a Thread is a rather unusual story of a small provincial town in which a fat and peaceful citizen, a retired merchant, is forced by circumstances to become a detective in secret and to unearth the mystery of the life of a leading light of the town. Taken all in all, Mrs. Groner's work is excellent and entitles her to be named with the best of other lands. She improves as she goes on, her later works are free from a certain old-fashioned style of narrative which dulls the others at times, the action is quicker, the method of construction more up to date.

Dietrich Theden, Carl Rosner, Frederick Thieme, and J. Kaulbach are other German writers who have essayed detective stories. Rosner's novel, The Versegy Case, and Theden's, The Counsel for the Defence, are clever stories of the conventional sort. Kaulbach's White Carnation is better than either, as the mystery is less easily solved, and it fulfils the rule of the best detective story construction, i.e., that the murderer shall be before our eyes, unsuspected, from the very beginning. The story is also humanly interesting through its love plot, for it is the efforts of a young girl to clear her betrothed's name that lead to the unravelling of the mystery.

Not Guilty, by August Schrader, is another rather good tale, the interest centring in the personality of a mysterious young woman and an Unknown, who sends her a regular income through a Hamburg bank. The story begins excellently, keeps an even pace throughout two-thirds of the book, but weakens badly toward the end.

If we would include in the detective story class stories of mystery only, then we find many of the best names of German literature among the writers of such tales. Zschokke's The Dead Guest is a classic both in literary value and in the excellence of the narrative. The delightful manner in which an old superstition works up in the incidents that happen in a little provincial capital, aided and abetted by the pranks of two or three young men, one of whom impersonates the legendary Dead Guest, makes a story which is thrilling throughout and yet has the happy ending so beloved of Anglo-Saxon readers. Wilhelm Hauff in his story The Singer gives evidence of a talent for working up a mystery which might have led him to write detective stories had he lived in the present day. A young Italian singer in a German opera house has been mysteriously stabbed in her own apartment at midnight after a ball. She does not know who her assailant was, and through a chance word on her part and the officious blundering of a pompous chief of police, a worthy citizen of the town and well-known society man falls under suspicion. This old Councillor Bohlnau is a very amusing figure, and his own terror at the suspicion which rests upon him brings him almost to believe that he did commit the crime. The humorous side of the story, in the person of the Councillor and in the figure of an attractive but very eccentric young musician, runs along well with the tragedy in the past life of the young singer. She recovers from her wound, however, her assailant is discovered and all ends happily. This story has a position in classic German literature which it has justly earned.

Baroness de la Motte Fouque wrote an interesting little story called The Revolutionists, in which the mystery is well sustained. The lack in this little tale, however, is that we do not know, when we come to the end of it, who the most mysterious of the characters really was.

That unique genius E. T. A. Hoffman, whose work undoubtedly influenced Edgar Allan Poe, has given us two or three mystery stories as strong and as characteristic as are all of his writings. Mlle, de Scudery is a thrilling tale of the days of the Great Louis and of the deeds of the great murderer Cardillac. The Deserted House is another wonderful Hoffman story in which a weird house, apparently deserted of normal life but evidently inhabited by something, an uncanny old servitor, a magic mirror, a crazy countess, a gypsy woman, and a beautiful girl, are mingled together in the kaleidoscopic manner which is one of Hoffman's most entrancing qualities. There are snatches and bits of mystery scattered through the many stories signed by Hoffman, but the two above mentioned are most nearly like in form and content to the sort of story we are here discussing.

To come back to more modern times, there is a story by the well-known novelist and playwright Paul Lindau, entitled Helene Jung, which is considered one of his best. It is a very good novel, and it would be a good mystery story also, had the author not been more of a playwright than a novelist. In a novel it would be quite permissible to let the beautiful heroine remain a mystery until the very last chapter. She is young, beautiful and wealthy, we know that she has suffered unjustly, she has our sympathies entirely and we are quite willing to read on until the end of the book, before we find out just how she is connected with a catastrophe that ruined a certain noble family several years back. The interest of the story is well sustained, it is a sort of thing one wants to read through in a sitting. But Lindau is a successful playwright, and one of the first articles in the playwright's creed is that while the persons in the play may be kept in ignorance of the antecedents and the identity of the principal character, the audience must be told the truth at an early stage of the game or it will lose interest. Therefore the author inserts a letter into one of the earlier chapters, a letter written by the heroine to a cousin in Paris, which tears away the mystery from the story altogether, and leaves one only the personal charm of the girl and our interest in her Dossible fate to sustain our sympathies. This letter in Lindau's book is the best example of the great difference between the construction of a novel and the construction of a play.

Ernst von Wildenbruch's novel The Wandering Light has a well-sustained mystery with a thrill of uncanny horror in it. And, with most of the other writings of this versatile playwright-novelist, it is a work of true literary value as well.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Benefits of Capitalism By James Edward Le Rossignol 1921



The Benefits of Capitalism By James Edward Le Rossignol 1921

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CAPITALISM has been the chief cause of the vast improvement in social conditions that has made the nineteenth century notable in the history of mankind. It has explored and settled the wilderness, has improved land, and developed mines. It has built roads, bridges and canals. It has unified the world by steamships, railroads and telegraph lines. It has built great cities where millions of people are fed, clothed and sheltered in a degree of comfort unknown to the aristocrats of former times. It has created schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals, parks, playgrounds, and a thousand agencies for the betterment of social conditions.

Capitalism has increased wages, decreased hours and improved conditions of labor in many ways. It has greatly reduced the death-rate, thus increasing the average duration of human life. It has improved morality, abolished famine and pestilence, and mitigated the horrors of war. It has elevated the working class to the level of the middle class of two hundred years ago, and the middle class it has raised to the level of the nobles and princes of those days.

The countries where capitalism has most prevailed are the countries where the laboring man receives the highest wages and maintains the highest standard of living. The countries where capitalism has done least, such as China, India and Russia, are the countries whose wages are lowest, where the laboring man is ever on the verge of starvation, and where he is most exploited by the merchant, the money lender and the government official.

Capitalism, with all its faults, has done great things for the western world, and will do still more, unless the social revolutionists, running amuck, succeed in breaking up the great machine. If they do, there will be no land owners, no capitalists, no business men, neither rent, interest, profits, nor surplus value of any other kind. The old economic order, the product of centuries of industrial evolution, will be gone, and the proletariat will set itself to the laborious, slow, and painful task of creating a new social order out of the ruins of the old. While this work of reconstruction is going on, doubtless millions of people will die of starvation, but, as the revolutionists would say, what will that matter in a thousand years?

If, on the other hand, the working class listens to counsels of moderation and prudence, they will refuse to destroy what they may not be able to build again. They will watch and wait for the outcome of the great Russian experiment, and for the results of governmental and co-operative effort in their own countries. If governments and co-operative societies show themselves able to compete with private enterprise in producing better results at a lower cost, then these associations, controlled, no doubt, by the working class, will possess the field, by virtue of superior efficiency, and the socialist ideal will be realized by a process of slow and continuous evolution.

But if not, capitalism will continue to exist, and the working class will find it to their advantage to preserve and foster it, while at the same time doing their utmost to remove abuses and to secure as large a share in the joint product as they can without injury to the industrial system of which they are a part. The working-class, no longer the exploited, will become the exploiters, and will protect and cherish capitalism as they would a cow for its milk, or the fabled goose for its golden eggs.


"The nineteenth century was the ultimate product and expression of the intellectual trend of the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, which means: of a predominantly Aristotelian philosophy. And, for the first time in history, it created a new economic system, the necessary corollary of political freedom, a system of free trade on a free market: capitalism.

No, it was not a full, perfect, unregulated, totally laissez-faire capitalism-as it should have been. Various degrees of government interference and control still remained, even in America-and this is what led to the eventual destruction of capitalism. But the extent to which certain countries were free was the exact extent of their economic progress. America, the freest, achieved the most.

Never mind the low wages and the harsh living conditions of the early years of capitalism. They were all that the national economies of the time could afford. Capitalism did not create poverty-it inherited it. Compared to the centuries of precapitalist starvation, the living conditions of the poor in the early years of capitalism were the first chance the poor had ever had to survive. As proof-the enormous growth of the European population during the nineteenth century, a growth of over 300 per cent, as compared to the previous growth of something like 3 per cent per century." ~Ayn Rand

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Jesus Christ a god, article in Manford's Magazine 1887


JESUS CHRIST A GOD, article in Manford's Magazine 1887

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{Previously] I stated that, in a few instances, Jesus is called a god, in the New Testament. But the assumption from this fact, that he was the supreme Deity, is entirely unauthorized. With Christians there is but one God; and hence, if Jesus is called God, it is concluded at once, and with apparent reason, that he must be Jehovah himself, as there is no other. But in the time of Christ, there were "gods many and lords many." It was believed that men who were great in this world, became gods in the world to come; and this exaltation was sometimes anticipated by their being deified while on earth. Nor was it necessary that they be good men. The Roman senate deified some of the emperors; who were a disgrace to human nature. Nor were they worse than other pagan gods.

It is true that neither Jews, nor Christians believed in more than one God; but it is also true, that the pagan doctrine had an influence on those who were not pagans. With the Christians, god became a title of honor. And indeed, it was the same with the Hebrews. Moses was called a god to Pharaoh; and some of the great men among that people were called gods; but the translation covers up this fact by the rendering of judges. So Jesus says, that some were called gods, to whom the word of God came. In this way he justified himself, for assuming the title "Son of God."

In view of these circumstances, it will not be thought strange, that Jesus should be called God in a few instances. The first verse of John's Gospel should read as follows: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god." In the New Testament, the supreme God is distinguished from all lesser gods, by the Greek article, answering to our the; though seldom if ever translated. The Greek has no indefinite article, answering to our a or an; but the latter are employed in the absence of the other.

In the verse from John, the article is used before God, in all cases except the last; "The Word was a god." It was not right to say, "The Word was God;" nor "God was the Word;" for that would be, to ignore the distinction made by John himself. The Word or Logos was a god, is the only true rendering. The Logos or Word does not here mean Jesus; though it became Jesus afterwards. It was the Word spoken in the beginning; God said, Let there be light. God said, Let there be a firmament. It is this Word personified. It was a god; for it did the work of a god. It was not the supreme God, but was with him, and was dependent on him.

What suggested such a personification, we can not say; perhaps the doctrine of Plato, that the world was not made by the supreme God, but by a subordinate being, called a "second god." Or, if the fisherman of Galilee did not know anything of Plato, he may have known something of Philo, a Jew, who taught doctrines similar to those of Plato; who also held to a second god, having the name Logos; but a real being, and not Logos personified.

The purpose of John seems to have been to show that the Logos, by which the world was made, had not yet done its entire work. It was destined to make a new creation, as important as the old, in the person of Jesus, made flesh and dwelling among us. But all that is attributed to the Word, before Jesus became flesh, belongs to the Word alone, and must not be ascribed to Jesus.

The apostle Thomas, addressing Jesus, says, "My Lord, and my God." John 20:28. I give it as it is in our version; but it would have been strictly more becoming to have given these titles without the capital letter; My lord and my god; as they must be taken in subordinate sense, if they apply to Jesus. But some interpreters suppose that these words are an exclamation of wonder and surprise, and refer to the supreme God; in which case, the capital letters are required. If they apply to Jesus, as is more probable, they are simply titles of honor, as in the case of Moses and others in the Old Testament.

In Heb. 1: 8, 9, Jesus is called God:

"Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. * * * *

Therefore, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

It is plain here, that, he who is addressed as "O God," in the first part of this passage, is a finite and dependent being. He had a God, who had exalted him above his fellows. The supreme God has no God, who can exalt him. He has no fellows, above whom he can be exalted. The passage that succeeds this, refers to the superior of the two Gods, that had just been noticed.

The inferior of the two was to reign forever and ever; but so far from proving that he was the supreme God, it is conclusive proof that forever and ever denotes a limited duration, namely to the time when Jesus shall deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, and God be all in all.

W. E. M

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Accusations of Witchcraft in History, article in The Irish Monthly Magazine 1874



Accusations of Witchcraft in History, article in The Irish Monthly Magazine 1874

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WE are quite conscious of the ridicule to which a profession of belief in witchcraft must expose us in an age of such enlightenment as the present. The scalpel and the microscope have failed as yet to show traces of a spirit-world, and the warmest advocates of the theory of development shrink from proposing a "disembodied state," as the goal to which our race is tending—so that the belief in a spiritual existence, and consequently in witchcraft, to which our fathers clung so fondly, finds neither foundation nor support in the whole range of modern science.

But like many another outcast it stood high in favour once. It was cherished and defended by the representatives of learning and of power; and exercised a great and often fatal influence upon the fortunes and even lives of our ancestors. The history of its progress and gradual decay has been ably treated of by Mr. Lecky; and those who feel a sufficient interest in it will find very pleasant reading in that chapter of his "Rationalism in Europe," to which he has given the title "Magic and Witchcraft." Now and then, indeed, Mr. Lecky allows himself to be carried away by prejudice; but on the whole, his work shows a spirit of fairness and impartiality rarely to be met with in rationalistic writings; and the occasional phrases, that grate so harshly on a Catholic ear, may be set down to the cause which he himself has pointed to in his "Introduction:" "No one can be truly said to understand any great system of belief if he has not in some degree realized the point of view from which its arguments assume an appearance of plausibility and cogency, the habit of thought which makes its various doctrines appear probable, harmonious, and consistent" (p. xix.) Without wishing to deny the great value of Mr. Lecky's labours, it may, we think, be fairly said that he too has failed to realize the Catholic "point of view," as must all those who have no practical acquaintance with the Church. The "habit of thought" which makes our "various doctrines appear harmonious and consistent," is not of rationalistic growth; and the best intentioned critic is likely to misinterpret facts and judge harshly of persons in our history, when himself uninfluenced by the spirit which dictated the one, and guided the other.

If the number of convictions for an offence be admitted as evidence for the existence of the offence itself, or, at least, for a belief in its existence, then the belief in Witchcraft must have been widespread and enduring. When we reflect that from the reign of Henry VI. to that of George II., ,when the statute against Witchcraft was repealed, about thirty thousand persons were put to death, for this crime, in England alone, we can form a fair idea of the hold it had upon the people. Nor was it in England only that a suspicion of sorcery sent men and women to perish in the flames or on the scaffold. The Duke of Wurtemberg gave orders for a grand Witch-burning on the Tuesday of every week, at which from twenty to twenty-five, but never less than fifteen victims were to be consumed. And the order seems to have been only too faithfully carried out—for a catalogue still exists in the library of Hauber, containing the names of 157 persons burned in the Bishopric of Wurzbourg between 1627 and 1629. During the nineteen years' rule of John VI., Elector of Treves, numberless executions took place—suspicion fell upon all classes alike; citizens, senators, priests, even the rector of the University, himself one of the judges, were accused and condemned. Such was the state of popular excitement, that of two whole villages two women alone were left: and within seven years, the victims from twenty villages, in the immediate neighbourhood of Treves, amounted to 368.

About this period, a fear of Witchcraft seems to have gained complete possession of England, France, and Germany. In 1556, 400 persons are said to have been burned at Toulouse. And "towards the end of the civil wars, the crime of magic was become so common, that the prisons of the parliament were too small for the multitudes of the accused, and the judges could not find time to try them." From 1581 to 1585, Remi passed judgment on 900 persons in Lorraine—and a few years later de Lancre was sent to make inquiries in Labourd, in Gascony, where over 1000 persons were convicted of magic. The contagion spread even to the infant States of America, as is proved by the record of the judicial murders perpetrated in Salem Village in the year 1692. In that one village of Massachusetts from the 10th of June, when the first execution took place, until the 22nd of September, when as Noyes, the Minister of Salem, said, there were hung "eight firebrands of hell," "twenty persons had been put to death for Witchcraft; fifty-five had been tortured or terrified into penitent confessions." Of the means by which these penitent confessions were obtained we shall have occasion to speak later. Crespet in his book "De odio Satanae," tells us that in France, under Francis I., the number of persons accused of magic amounted to 100,000.

Italy too, at least in some parts, was more than tainted with the evil. The account given by Retegno, whom Julius II. sent as inquisitor to Brescia, Bergamo, and Como, in 1505, shows that close upon 1000 persons were tried every year by the inquisitor and his vicars; and that several hundreds had been burned in the course of a few years. And we read that St. Charles Borromeo received upon one occasion the abjuration of 150 persons, inhabitants of the Canton of the Grisons, who had been addicted to Witchcraft.* The evil spread farnorthwards too, for wefind theGovernment of Sweden sending a commission to inquire into alleged magical phenomena in the village of Mohra, in 1559. This commission declared the suspicion well founded, and reported that there were in Mohra seventy witches who had seduced 300 children. Of the witches twenty-three, of the children fifteen were condemned to death. The documents relating to this strange trial are still to be seen in the Royal Archives of Stockholm.

The cases which we have cited, without entering upon the question of the justice of the sentences or the motives of many of the principal actors, will suffice, we think, to show that the belief in Witchcraft was not limited by country, race, or creed; and that during a certain period, notably the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it had a terrible hold upon all classes of society. Of our own country we have made no mention; for, strange as it may seem to those who assert us to be a superstitious, priest-ridden people, scarcely a trace of the Witch-hunting mania, so prevalent in other lands, appears in our history. In 1327 Bishop Ledred, an Englishman, accused the Lady Alice Kettel and her son William of practising black magic in Kilkenny. Her stepson, Sir Roger Outlaw, Prior of Kilmainham, took upon him her defence, but he too was included in the accusation, and put upon his trial. The result, however, we are glad to find, was the acquittal of the accused, and the forced retirement of Bishop Ledred to his native England. This, and the case of the Presbyterian Witches of Carrickfergus, towards the beginning of the eighteenth century, stand alone in our annals; and it is worthy of remark that in neither case were the accusers or accused of Irish origin.

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That an enormous amount of cruelty and wrong must have been perpetrated during the period in which the belief flourished, the most zealous Witch-hater will find it impossible to deny. The very method of investigation commonly adopted would seem to have had for object, not the impartial trial of the accused, but the punishment of a person already condemned. No doubt there were among the judges men of a humane and upright disposition, sufficiently impressed with the responsibility of their position to resist the senseless clamour for blood which was certain to be raised when a case of pretended Witchcraft occurred. But on the whole they seem to have been more willing to imitate the example of James I., who himself applied the torture in the case of some Scotch Witches, than to follow the wise instructions of the Roman Chancery. Very many seem to have thought that an accusation of Witchcraft was in itself sufficient evidence of guilt; and the rack, the thumb-screws, and worse, were always at hand for those who dared to assert their innocence. That they were usually successful in obtaining a penitent confession from their victims, before sending them to the gibbet or the stake, is undoubtedly true. But when we remember the means by which such confessions were extorted, we can only wonder that any were courageous enough to withhold them. Imagine a feeble woman or a frail young girl, for these were the usual victims, delivered over to the power of men without a sentiment of mercy, humanity, or shame. Deprived of food, sleep, and rest, and subjected to numberless indignities at the hands of men like Matthew Hopkins, what wonder that they sought a release from their sufferings in the confession of their crime? In case they persevered in the assertion of their innocence, they were almost sure to lose life and reputation in the hands of the public torturer—if they confessed, they could lose no more; at worst the agonies of the torture-chamber were exchanged for a speedy death on the scaffold or at the stake. Besides, the accused were usually told that repentance for their crime, not a denial of their guilt, was the way to freedom, and the promise of pardon led them to confess anything their persecutors desired. Speaking of the trial at Salem, Bancroft tells us that "no one of the condemned, confessing Witchcraft, had been hanged, and that no one who asserted his innocence, even if one of the witnesses confessed perjury, or the foreman of the jury acknowedged the error of the verdict, escaped the gallows."

As yet we have not entered upon the question of how far the charges brought against the accused were capable of proof, and upon what kind of evidence they were pronounced guilty. In glancing at any record of the trials, the reader, no matter what his faith in Witchcraft may be, must be painfully impressed by the injustice which almost everywhere prevailed. The most notorious criminal of our own day would not be adjudged a week's detention on such evidence as sent hundreds of our forefathers to a shameful death. In many instances the charge was brought forward because political or other grounds rendered the murder or banishment of the accused desirable, while public opinion demanded a show of justice. This was the case with Joan of Arc; the Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Duke Humphrey; Jane Shore, and many others. Personal ill-feeling, a desire of notoriety, or greed of gain prompted the prosecution in many others; as in the Salem cases, the trials which took place under the guidance of James I., and the infamous mockeries of justice presided over by Matthew Hopkins. It is impossible to read the narratives which Mr. Lecky, Scott, and Gorres have collected without a growing feeling of indignation at the shameful cruelties perpetrated in the name of religion and morality.

After a declaration such as this it may appear strange that we should profess our entire belief in the possibility of Witchcraft; and still worse that we should admit as convincing the evidence brought forward in certain individual cases. Yet so it is. Evil-minded men may pursue their own designs under cover of honest principles, which may be discredited and disowned by the multitude, owing to the wrongful deeds of those whose boast it is to follow them. But the principles will still be true; and there will be always some who can read them in another light than that shed on them by those who disgrace them. The belief in Witchcraft has been fruitful of many and great evils; but the possibility of Witchcraft, the fact of its existence, are independent of them. It must be confessed that a vast amount of imposture and superstition grew up, and in the popular mind became identical with magic; and that with the critical aids which modern research has placed at our disposal we can throw light on many things which our ancestors found dark indeed. But it should be remembered that to discredit isolated examples of magic leaves the general question still untouched, and least of all warrants the rejection of a theory which only aims at proving these supposed facts possible; just as the kindred subject of spiritism is wholly unaffected by the light in which we may regard the performances of the Davenport Brothers and Dr. Redmondi. It may be that the handcuffs are taken off, and escape from a locked and corded box made possible, by the intervention of some kind spirit, as say the former; or it may be the result of mere physical strength and dexterity, as is asserted by the latter. But even though we grant that Dr. Redmondi has convincingly proved his case, we are not therefore warranted in denying the general possibility of spiritism, nor yet its reality in certain cases. In many modern theories, too, we meet with hotly disputed questions, which, if they could be satisfactorily disposed of, would tell enormously in favour of the more received opinions, but which even if disproved, only deprive them of a proof the more. Newton's theory of gravitation is not rejected because some of his proofs are, nor is Galileo's solar theory because he erred in some of his demonstrations.

We may fairly take for granted that the majority of those to whom this question has any beyond a mere historical interest, will concede to themselves the possibility of the existence of demons; and this once admitted, the received tradition as to their fall and present state cannot be rejected as impossible. There may then exist a class of spiritual beings, gifted with wondrous power, and animated with an intense and ever-enduring hatred of all that is good and holy. Unutterably miserable themselves, they may view all happiness as an increase of their own misery, and be anxious to drag down all others to their own level. For beings such as these man is a fitting prey. His passionate desires, and his own imperfect powers of satisfying them, must often make him willing to receive aid from some one stronger than himself; he will be disposed to sell, for what he looks on as a present good, all his hopes of the future. If, then, spirits, such as we have pictured, can enter into communication with man, and place at his disposal, even to a limited degree, some of the powers we have supposed them to possess, may we not fairly expect many of the results which the history of magic records? In virtue of a compact, effects due to the power of the demon are produced at the will of man, and the soul of man is the wages of the demon. All objections to the possibility of such intercourse must arise either from our knowledge of the nature and powers of the parties to the contract, or from our judgment of what God's Providence demands. Now, our knowledge of our own and the demon's nature is most limited; and nothing in either can justify an adverse conclusion. At first, indeed, it would seem that a wise and powerful Ruler dare not allow man to injure himself so fearfully as we suppose, still less that he could permit man's wicked passions to bring evil on his fellow man, through Satan's intervention. But these are only varied forms of the one great problem, which each succeeding age has thought itself best qualified to solve—the permission of evil; and whosoever can reconcile all the sin and misery, and crime that lie festering around us with a supreme and watchful providence, will find little difficulty in explaining the seeming power for evil which the demons are said to have exercised on man.

Still, while merely proposing here the theory which makes Witchcraft possible, because evil spirits may exist, I may not myself lay claim to the philosophic spirit which would rest in such neutral ground. I cannot look upon life as a rationalist would have me do. I love to recall the memories of my childhood, which pictured to itself nature animate with spiritual life, which saw the interposition of good or evil angels in most if not all the many joys and ills of existence, and could almost, as Dr. Newman so beautifully says, detect the glories of bright angels' robes in the green grass, and fruits, and flowers with which our earth is clad in spring and summer. I admit that all this is eminently unscientific,—out of place in "the advance of rationalistic civilization." But I am content to be laughed at by my more scientific fellows, so that I may not be ever weighed down by what I taste and grasp and see, so that I may be allowed to picture to myself something beyond the cares and miseries of life, and breathe ever and anon an atmosphere untainted by the gin-shops and prisons, the crowded lanes and factories of our nineteenth century.

P. F.
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