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Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania to Investigate Modern Spiritualism In Accordance with the Request of the Late Henry Seybert   By:

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PRELIMINARY REPORT

OF THE COMMISSION APPOINTED BY

THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

TO INVESTIGATE

MODERN SPIRITUALISM

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUEST OF THE LATE HENRY SEYBERT

WITH A FOREWORD BY H.H. FURNESS, JR.

1887, 1920

FOREWORD

Now, at the present time, when the attention of the public is turning towards questions of Psychology and Psychiatry, it is most appropriate that a volume such as the present Report be again placed in the hands of the public. While it cannot be said that the conclusions reached by the Seybert Commission were final, yet material for future investigation was furnished and facts so clearly stated that the reader might form his own conclusions. The purpose and intended scope of the Commission are plainly set forth in the Preliminary sections, and therefore need not be entered upon here.

Of the members composing that Commission but one is now surviving, Dr. Calvin B. Knerr, who contributed an interesting report on the slate writing medium, Mrs. Patterson. The sections by the Acting Chairman, Dr. Horace Howard Furness, on Mediumistic Development, Sealed Letters, and Materialization were the occasion of acrimonious and violent attack on the whole work of the Commission by those periodicals devoted to spiritualism and its propaganda. Age cannot wither the charm of the good humoured satire with which the Acting Chairman treated these subjects; and it was largely the spirit in which they were thus approached that inspired the intense hostility on the part of the spiritual mediums and their many followers.

It has been epigrammatically said that, Superstition is, in many cases, the cloak that keeps a man's religion from dying of cold; possibly the same may be said of Spiritualism and Psychology.

H.H. FURNESS, JR.

February, 1920.

PRELIMINARY REPORT

OF

The Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism.

To the Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania:

'The Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism' respectfully present the following Preliminary Report, and request that the Commission be continued, on the following grounds:

The Commission is composed of men whose days are already filled with duties which cannot be laid aside, and who are able, therefore, to devote but a small portion of their time to these investigations. They are conscious that your honorable body look to them for a due performance of their task, and the only assurance which they can offer of their earnestness and zeal is in thus presenting to you, from time to time, such fragmentary Reports as the following, whereby they trust that successive steps in their progress may be marked. It is no small matter to be able to record any progress in a subject of so wide and deep an interest as the present. It is not too much to say that the farther our investigations extend the more imperative appears the demand for these investigations. The belief in so called Spiritualism is certainly not decreasing. It has from the first assumed a religious tone, and now claims to be ranked among the denominational Faiths of the day.

From the outset your Commission have been deeply impressed with the seriousness of their undertaking, and have fully recognized that men eminent in intelligence and attainments yield to Spiritualism an entire credence, and who can fail to stand aside in tender reverence when crushed and bleeding hearts are seen to seek it for consolation and for hope? They beg that nothing which they may say may be interpreted as indicating indifference or levity. Wherever fraud in Spiritualism be found, that it is, and not whatever of truth there may be therein, which is denounced, and all Spiritualists who love the truth will join with us in condemnation of it.

The admission of evidence concerning the so called Spiritual manifestations has been duly weighed. There is apparent force in the argument that our national histories are founded, accepted and trusted on evidence by no means as direct as that by which, it is claimed, the proofs of Spiritual miracles are accompanied... Continue reading book >>




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