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The Phantom Lover

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Sotne time about the year 1860, Mi-h. Einma Hardinge, the well-known lady lecturer, received a number of most tCtxj accountáble epistles, dated from Boston, ■ and signed "John G ," the narne be ing given in full. ïhe writer addressed Mrs. Hardinge in terms of enthusiastic adtniration, and referred to mimerous interviews which he purported to have had with her. So full of detail were these statements that Mrs. Hardinge at flrst believed some designing woman must have assumed her name, while the letters had by mistake, been forwarded to herself. But allusions to her lectnres, l dresses, and eveu Bcenes of private life, known only to her immediate home circle, at length connectnrl these mysterious documents exciusively with herself, j Greatly perplexed, Mrs. Hardinge began ! to scrutinize the Communications more closely, and soon found, to her ment, tliat they betrayed an intímate : knowïedge of her very thoughts, no lesa : than incidents nnd words of the most private nature. These letters not oüly followed her ! from place to place in her itüierant career, but seemed to emanate i'rom one as well acqnaiuted with her moveinents as herself. The darkest part of the mystery -was that though the language'of these epistles was refined, and occasionally eloquent, the constant allusions to interviews and conversations which were assumed to have transpired between the parties, by seemiug to place them on I terms of the most endearing intimacy, suggested the horrible suspicion that the whole was a plot concocted by unprincipled enemies to destroy the character of a young girl whose reputation and usefulness would alike have been blighted were these infamous letters to fall into other hands thau her own. . In the deepest distress of mind, occasioned by this iuscnitable rnystery, Mrs. H. consulted several of her friends, among them the late venerable and respected magistrate, Mr. Fletcher, of Delanco, New Jersey, who, though unable to assist her in his judicial oapacity, advised her to collect and keep the letters as she received them, promising her, whenever au opportunity oecurred, to render her all tlie legal assistanee in his power to discover aud punish her persecutor. The s.iino answer and advice were also tendered by Mr1. Newall A. Foster, late Mayor of Portland, in whose house, as a guest, Mrs. Hardinge was residing when she received several of these ] offensive missives. Beside consulting with these and several other fiiends in this manner, Mrs. Hardinge pursued a course of observation on her own part which led to very extraordinary conclusionB. Habitually accustomed to see and converso with spirits, Mrs. H. did uot regard their itations with either surprise or f ear. Ono I exception to this coiaplacent feeling, however, occurred in the approach of a dark, undeflned shape, who began frequently to manifest his presence of a j night, aud always inspire the most '■ mitigated feeling ot loathing and terror. Neither the form nor features of this mysterious visitant could be distinctly j observed; in f act, the whole tion appealed rather to perception than sight, and was a presence rather than an apparition. Who or what it might be was a profound mystory. Mrs. Hardinge ! earnestly questioned her spirit friends I and "uides on the nature of this dreadful haunting, but could obtain froni them no other explanatiou tlian (hat it was " an i e vil or undeveloped spirit," over whom j they had no power. At length the terrors accompanying j this obsession became insupportable, and j injurious alike to health and mental balance. Their unfortunate subject conld I always recoguize the approach of the phantoni, from hor intense feeliug of j hoiTor imd thf; cold shiverings which i pervaded her whole frame. Sometimes a sensation of faininess accompajiied this presence, which nothing but the insupportable drea 1 of becoming unconsciotis could overeóme. As last another feature of this mystery j loomed up amid the darkness. The midniyht visitations were the unmistakabk; precureors of the uot less abhorred letters above alluded to. They carne so cloeely aud invaiïubly iu succession, and the foelings eKj)Oiionoed in the presence I of tin; on' and the receipt cl the otlier j were so exa;tly similar, that Mrs. H. ! gan at last to realize that they wen; as intimately conneeted as the shadow and ; substance of oue dire sysfcem of j tion. Whether impelled by desperation, or inspired by hor watchful spirit : dians, the affrighted medium coxild not determine; but this is the method which j she took to solve at least one portion of the mystery, namely, the comiection ' of the phantom and hei hated corre?pondent. Une night, ai'tr iurniiig from a' lectmc, wlicn Mra. Hardinge feit the ' near approrieh of the invisible tormentar, and uotwithntauding tin; fact that her terror almost d;prived her of the power ! of motion, she hastily snatched up the j blue silk dress which she had just taken ofl', irraufiing Ihe Hkirt aroimd her head in iiiaimcv of a vail. Mrs. Hardinge it that time was lecturina ii Cincinnatí. Ohio. ïhree tlajs luter she received oae of ' [ the usual oJious missives, dated from Bostou, containing these remarkable I words: ■ How beautiful riy angel looked, arrayed in that bine Tail wliich she so kindly throiv ovcr her hoad last Friday nisrlit, as if in tokeu of welcome vrtien I entored her chamber." Still aiiother experiment was attempted, urged by a new horror at the shooking possibilities discloscd in this seatence. Mrs. Hardinge was retuming from a i leoture at a distance from town, and was i traveling in a farge covered carriago with three friends, late at night, when the i party halted at a lonely inn by the wayside to water and refresh the hovEos. Being exceedingiy fatigad, Mrs. Hardinge nat still in the carnage while the rest of the party alighted. Suddenly sbe liecanie aware that a man was seated j at her sido, and actually in contact with her. She was on the back seat, and com! manded a fiill view of aÜ that was going j ou iu frou Siae was oonfident that no I oüe liad entered the carriage, nor would ! it have been possible lor any one to have done so without observation. Yet in an i j instant she knew that some one was there, i and the consciousness of this mj-sterious I companion's proximity was so startlfng ! and alaiming that Mrs. H. was on the i point of shrieking alond, when the ■ deathly chilllnesis wliich accompanied ! her phantom tormentor informed her of his pi'esence, Aimost paralyzed as she was, she ; membered enough of her desperate i lution to avail herself of another opportunity for experiment, and snatching the hood from her fhend she tore a flower from the bouquet she held in her hand ! i una issea íc nastily mto üer hair. Tlie flower was a capejamine, and was seized as the first tliat presented itself. Bef oro she oould recall scattered senses the j figure was gone, and lier fvieuda resumed ; their places iti tlie veliicle. 8o rapidly had the whole scene passed that ere she arrived horne Mrs. H. had ; persuaded herself it must have been a dream, a mere fanoy, a visión conjured np by ill-health and disordered imaginaI tion. On reaching her place of destination several letters were put into her hunda, j one of which instantly prodneed the sense of foar aitd loathiog which nnnounced her detested correspondent. On opening the pletter a faded sprig of cape-jasrnine feil from the ecvelope, and these words caught her eye : ' ' To satisfy me tkat my visita are appreciatod, I eutreat yon to place iu j'our bair at eleven o'olock ou Monday night next a sprig of capejasmine, or any white flower you eau prooure." The lecturer looked at her watch - it was twenty minutes past eleven, I day night. ïhe carriage must have ! ped at eleven precisely. ■ It would be needless to pursue the í tails of this painful case more closely; ! we hasten thei'efore to relate its j mation. The time of this occurrence I was the month of January, 1801, and j Mrs. Hardinge was delivering a course i of leetures in Georgia. The day af ter the receipt of the i sive noticed above, Mrs. Hiu-dinge closed it with three others from the sanie Boiirce in a letter from hrself to the j Chief of Pólice in Boston, in which, j omitting the spiritual visitations I nected with these letters (which she j deemed would not be understood or ] I ceptible oí prooi), she detailed the circumstances of their reception, and called upon the Cliief, in his official capaoity, to use his utmost efforts to discover the ] writer, with a view to imniediate prosej cution. When her package vas ready for mailing, and before she could summon a messenger to dispatch it, a spirit friend addressed Mrs. Hardinge, speaking to her in the usual analytical method adopted by her invisible guides, as follows: " What are you going to do with your letters?" Mrs. H. - ïou know very well what they are, and why I send them henee. Spirit - Your lire is low; the air is chili ! Will you oblige your spirit friends by mending the flre with those papers ? Mrs. H. - I will not - positively not. Yon wrald not aid me to solve the mystery of my tormentor's presence, and now you want me to burn liis letters. I refuse you, as you refused me the help I sought. Spirit - Spirit friends are not God, and cannot control events nor yet other spirits than those associated with them in the Divine plan. Will you not save yourself frora Üio commission of a great wrong, and give your package to the flames ? See, now; they are fading for i lack of fuel. Mrs. H. - Prove to me that I should commit any wrong by sending them where they are directed, and then, but j not till then, I will withhold them. Spirit - We cannot give you the preof you seek, but in six weeks heneo you Í will obtain it yourself - in sorrow and morse if you send your package forth; ! in perfect satisfaction if you will stay your hand for that period only. Mrs. H. - I agree to do so, then, for that period only. If at the end of six weeks I am not satisfied, I will deliver that package as I design it, and renounce the protection you now assume to exercise over me. Spirit - We clasp hands on your compact. Six weeks from that time did not i elapse ero Mis. Hardingo was in ton, Mass., to fulflll a leeturing ' ment. The day aft r her arrivaj she was ! waited on by a lady who earnestly licited a private interview. The request granted, a highly interesting and retined widow lady stated, in words broken by ! deep emotion ond fast falling tears, that ' herself and her motlier (also a widow) ! had been dependent upon her only I brother, who had held a most I bl(; situation, and up to some sixteen months previous hal fullilled all his public and private cluties inthe most ' exeinplury manucr. The lady (Mrs. 0.) ' added that this dear relative had been to both motlier and da'ighter " the stay of thcir household, the light of thei'r eyes, the joy of Iheir hearts, boloved and respected by all wlio knew him." The whole famüy were Spiritualists, and some sixteen months ago for the flrst time had attended a course of lectures , delivered by Mrs. Hardinge in Boston. Abont this time oue of those perni cious theorists who attempt lo cover the promptings of licentiousnoss by the gloss of philosophy, teaching the pracWee oï sonsiiality under the pretense of ' seeking "truc Iiffinities," (?) informeel Mr. G. (as a spiritual CJimnunieation of i high authority) tlatMw. Hardinge, the leoturer, was his spirituil afflnity, and that heuceforth he must dedícate his lila i toher. Without presuming to seek an interview with tin; subjejt oí this baweresB revelation, not eren daring to infomt In '■ of it in thr: erdinary wny ui spondence, the ilcluded man oherished his fantasy for some time in private, til he worked himself into the belief of I its correctneas. Then, fearing that he should bc spurned with indiijiiftiou ii he opeul,Y ngA his fahfcied claim, he prooeeded to consult certain magnetizers, and through their promptiugs used the really strong powers at cJtúrvoyimce wliich he poSsesaed fbr the fiurpose of j establisliihg a spiritual communion with hia supposed anWty. To promote the most favorable conditions for these exercises, the infatuated man devoted all his time to magnetic experimenta, neglected his business, put himself upon the most abstemious regi ! men, and distracted his aorrowinf; relai tives b.y practicas coïrespöndihg tóthöse [of ancient "magioians" or modern ! "fakirs." Whether he succeeded in establishing I his spiritual freodcmi by the irse Cf dí'ugs, magical or nlilguetic practioes, the narl'ator could not say, but she alleged that hfi now begiin constantly to declare to his family that he coiild vdsit the belovod object of his iusane purpose, however distant, whenever oovherever he pleased. He i'requently desoribed to his aflHcted relatives the dnses -whicll the lady won' oü the occasion of his terrible visits; also, the persons by tvhom she was surrounded, ajid the details of her situation. Mrs. O. (the sister) had preserved notes of these statements, and when she submitted them to Mrs. Hardinge, the latter could no longer doubt the identity of the brother witli the Mr. G. who had so long tormented her. Not only was the name similar, but the statements themselveB proved, in all their details, to be so invariably colTect, that no doubt remained of the truth of the man's allegations. ( Mnny convincing evidencos Vv-ere afj forded to tho family óf liis reniarkabie clairvoyant faculty, his unquestionable j ability to selid his spirit forth frorn liis i body, and, under favorable conditions, to exert that power at. wül. Tlie effect I of sueh praciices, howover. upon hts physioal and mental systcm Were disasi trous to the last exteht. Hr had grown so weak and debilitated that he could no longer pursue his usual avocations, added to which his mind was fast becoming more and inore unbalanced, so that con firrued lunacy niight be expected to sui pervene as the flnal result. In this calamitous strait the unhappy mother and sister detertnincd to apply to the innocent and unconscious cause of ! their misfortune, to solicit aid and counsel in their difficulty; and then it was that Mrs. Hardinge perceived the disgi'ace she would havo entailed on the J respeetable family of her infatuated torj mentor, had she exposed him by putting ! his letters in the hands of the pólice; also, how much cause she had to rejoice that she had been -withheld from heapipg the additional naisery of a public prosecution on the heads of the unfortunate women, who were already sufficiently overwhelmed by the existingfacts. Every effort was made thatcould be brought to bear, under the circumstances, to alleviate the distress of the family, and restore the unhappy man to reason; the results do not belong to history, but the details narrated above are commended to the attention of the reader for the following reason : First, they f orm an instructive example of the abuse of occult powers, and I prove that the same elementa that could j be exerted for good, use, and enlighten ment, may, when exercised in excess, or i employed for unholy piu-poses, be per. verted to the disadyantage of otliers and j the injury of their possessor. It can : scaroely be supposed that any reasonabie niind would deciy the power or use of magnetism siinply because it was liablo : to abuse in nnprincipled hands, any ! more üiaai they would íorbid the use of steel implements in domestie life, because the nmrderer might employ them '■ to destroy that life. The second feature of interest to be Jerived froni this case is the ability '■ whioh it displays for an individual, by an act of volition, to cause the manifcstation of the "Doublé," or, iu other words, so to protect the spirit from the bcdy that it can travel at mil, and make soii8ible demonstrations of its presence in distant places without üamaging the integrity of its connection with the Dody. In most instan ces the manifestations of tho so-called "Doublé" appear to be involuntary, and derived from occult causes unknown either to the seers or the individuals seen. But in the case of Mr. G. the power was evoked and controlled by will, proving that where the force exists in the organism, it can be used, under suitable conditions, at tli


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