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WE were recently invited into the
company of the Ghost of the Cock Lane Ghost,
by an advertisement in the Times
Newspaper, in which a demonstrator or showman,
Mr. Stone, begged "leave to inform the
nobility and gentry that he has just returned
from the United States, accompanied by
Mrs. M. B. Hayden for the purpose of
Demonstrating the wonderful Phenomena known
in that country as Spiritual Manifestations,
and which have created the most intense
excitement in all classes of society
Residence, Twenty-six, Upper Seymour Street,
Portman Square. Hours at home, from
Eleven to Two and from Four to Six."   So
the announcement ran. We had read
something of the Rochester Rappers and of the
mystery, if it be a mystery, called "spirit
knocking" in the  sentimental language of
America. We resolved to visit Mrs. Hayden,
and knock up an acquaintance with
the ghosts who meet in her apartments,
No. Twenty-six, Upper Seymour Streeet,
Portman Square.  We ourselves happened to be
out of spirits, therefore perhaps we made a
wise resolve.

Yet had we gone for mirth into such
company, we should have fared as ill as he who
for a midnight jest entered his father's
sepulchre to sup alone among the dead. If
it be true, as the believers in the "spirit
knockings" tell us, that the spirits of beloved
friends whom we have lost speak to us by a
noise of rapping, then our most solemn feelings
and our tenderest emotions are awakened
by the act of positive communion with the

If it be otherwiseif that which is the
holiest ground within the human heart be
through such exhibitions dug into for gold by
coarse impostorsif the simple questioner who
with trembling nerves believes that she is
brought into the presence of an angel mother
with whom it is a foretaste of Heaven to
converseif she be played upon by cheats
who laugh under their sleeves at her credulity
and turn her money in their pockets, – then
such cheating is no matter for amusement.
That is an impiety and wickedness far exceeding
the measure of an ordinary fraud, which
trades upon our solemn love towards the

     "In slight of that forbearance and reserve
      Which common human-heartedness inspires,
      And mortal ignorance and frailty claim,
      Upon this sacred ground, if nowhere else."

There have often been people impelled, out
of the ignorance and coarseness of their
natures, to the forging of clumsy tales, in
which they themselves, together with the
Supreme Being, are the chief actors.  Not
many weeks ago two cowherd's children in
Francein consequence of information
received direct from the Virgin Marybecame
accredited by Infallibility itself as new
apostles. Not many months ago a girl in
Suffolk dealt divine information through the
neighbourhood, attesting her inspiration by
total abstinence from food. We may read in
pamphlets printed centuries ago, how in some
parts of Switzerland and France a divine
epidemic seized upon the children, how they
preached powerfully in their sleep, and were
attended at their bedsides by large
congregations;  or we may read of "the
German Lazarus" who delivered a long
list of messages from Heaven, and attested
his mission by professing that he never
slept. This Lazarus was constantly caught
napping;  but he explained the fact to
his own honour, by stating that his parents
were so much distressed by his incessant
wakefulness, that he found it necessary to
feign sleep occasionally, for the comfort of
their minds.

Knocking or Rapping ghosts are no new
imposition. In a relation of facts concerning
"spirit-knockings" written in an American
pamphlet that is now before us, "by J.
Robinson," we are told much, not only of the
knockings of the unseen beings, but also of
the imitations of evil spirits, which, "resembled
scratching produced with the finger nails."
Now, will any keeper of a knocking
ghost, or any lady or gentleman who has
taken up the trade of communicating between
knocking spirits and the gullible portion of
the public (which lady or gentleman is called
in the trade a Medium), turn to the Annual
Register for the year 1762, and read what is
there entitled "A summary account of the
proceedings in regard to some strange noises

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