Then there is the large class made up of the average religious person, the scientific Philistine, and a goodly portion of the so-called intelligent public, which thinks that spirits in their high estate would never interest themselves in such trivial matters as purport to come from them in our alleged "communications." But it never occurs to this class to observe the conversation that goes on at a Columbia College tea, for instance. I had a colleague who stands high in the ranks of science and who thinks it absurd that a spirit would talk about a jack knife, but in a social reception of dignitaries his share in the bad-inage and small talk would hardly distinguish him from a bootblack or street gamin except that his dialect is not the same as Chimmie Fadden's. Puns, jokes, trivialities are all very nice if they are not the speech of spirits. Even scepticism cannot doubt the solemnity of a transcendental life. The fact is,however, that we are wont to adjudge that seriousand important which is either of a religious character or connected with the employments which give us our bread or fame. We are very sober and solemn when we read our papers on a scientific subject when all the incidents are as trivial as anything ever attributed to an idiotic ghost, and when we are put at the end of a telegraph or telephone line to prove our identity we spontaneously select the trivial to identify ourselves and then wonder and laugh at the degeneracy of spirits!

 

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Psychical Research and The Resurrection - J H Hyslop

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