Transition Studies 63 Darwin and Galton alone. It is probable that this reluctance led Galton to a less agnostic attitude towards spiritualism. If there were any other ex
periences which led to his final rejection of spiritualist claims, I have not found traces of them in his correspondence. It is possible that he became acquainted with Robert Browning's poem, Mr Sludge, " The Medium," and he would be certain to read Huxley's i'bport to Darwin on the trickery of
another medium. The letters and paragraphs in letters to Charles Darwin on this subject are as follows
5 Bertie Terrace, Leamington. March 28, '72.
MY DEAR DARWIN I enclose the revised statement about the curious trick' in Dr X's family. I questioned his widow only a fortnight before her death, all his 7 children, his son's wife and her 2 nurses. There is no contradictory evidence whatever.
Now about Mr Crookes, I have been twice at his house in seance with Miss F. who puts her powers as a friend entirely at his disposal, and once at a noisy but curious seance at Sergeant Cox's. I can only say, as yet, that I am utterly confounded with the results, and am very disinclined to discredit them. Crookes is working deliberately and well. There is not the slightest excitement during the sittings, but they are conducted in a chatty easy way; and though a large part of what bccurs might be done, if the medium were free, yet I don't see how it can be done when they are held hand and foot as is the case. I shall go on with the matter as far as I can, but I see it is no use to try to enquire thoroughly unless you have (as Crookes says) complete possession of a first class medium. The whole rubbish of spiritualism seems to me to stand and fall together. All orders are given by raps,-levitation, luminous appearances, hands, writings and the like are all part of one complete system.
The following is confidential at present. What will interest you very much, is that Crookes has needles (of some material not yet divulged) which he hangs in vacuo in little bulbs of glass. When the finger is approached the needle moves, sometimes (7) by attraction, sometimes by repulsion. It is not affected at all when the operator is jaded but it moves most rapidly when lie is bright, and warm and comfortable, after dinner. Now different people have different power over the needle and Miss F. has extraordinary power. I moved it myself and saw Crookes move it, but I did not see Miss F. (even the warmth of the hand cannot radiate through glass). Crookes believes he has hold of quite a grand discovery and told me and showed me what I have described quite confidentially, but I asked him if I might say something about it to you and be gave permission'.
I can't write at length to describe more particularly the extraordinary things of my last seance on Monday I had hold in one of my hands of both hands of Miss F.'s companion who also rested both her feet on my instep and Crookes had equally firm possession of Miss F. The other people present were his wife and her mother and all hands were joined. Yet paper went skimming in the dark about the room and after the word 'Listen' was rapped out the pencil was heard (in the complete darkness) to be writing at a furious rate under the table, between Crookes and his wife and when that was over and we were told (rapped) to light up, the paper was written over-all the side of a bit of marked note paper (marked for the occasion and therefore known to be blank when we began) with very respectable platitudes-rather above the level of Martin Tupper's compositions and signed "Benjamin Franklin"! The absurdity on
' An hereditary habit of rather violently stroking the nose, while asleep, so that the thumbnail occasionally lacerated that organ. I have just ascertained that it has been transmitted to a generation born since 1872.
' It is not clear from this passage how far either Crookes or Galton originally associated Crookes' radiometer with mediumistic powers.
S As to Franklin : yourself
Explained the case so well last Sunday, sir,
When we had summoned Franklin to clear up
A point about those shares i' the telegraph:"
Mr Sludge, "The Medium," R. Browning's Works, Vol. vii, p. 183, 1889. Sludge was Home, and Browning although, unlike Galton, he was able to convict him of fraud