Charles Partridge's article in the Spiritual Telegraph
Friday, April 9, 2010
Above is a 1/2 of a stereoview of a painting of 2 spirits in a rural cabin-
Hello and Welcome back to my blog. As a continuation of my St Louis' Salesman's journal, my journalist took a side trip to visit a Spiritualist named Koon's. I know it was a hoax, but people in the 19c took ghosts and spirits seriously and could be fooled. Koon's Spiritual room closed before the civil war.
Oddly enough, this journalist read many newspapers and one was the Spiritual Telegraph that was published in NY and London England. During July 1855, the Spiritual Telegraph printed an article by Charles Partridge in 3 installments about Koon's Spiritual rooms. At the bottom of this post, you will see Partridge's article in full. Partridge's article helped to fill in some details when my salesman is overwhelmed and vague.
Enjoy this chapter and do let me know what you think.
Koon's Spiritual Rooms
On Tuesday October 1st, with clear intent to take advantage of my first trip east I made my way to visit the residence of the celebrated Mr. Jonathan Koons and his spiritual room in Athens, Ohio.
He discovered his talent after attending a séance and was told he had great powers to communicate with spirits. In initial attempts, he awakened chaos when the frustrated spirits could not communicate and moved the furniture around the room. It was only by the sheer talent of his son Nahum who discovered how to calm the spirit’s distress and provide the bridge to communicate with these angels. Soon after, about 1852, Koons opened his spirit room for all who wish to communicate with past loved ones, or like me who desire some spiritual entertainment.
I left Cincinnati about 4pm and boarded the Cincinnati, Willington & Zanesville railroad for Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio, a distance 125 miles and arrived at 10pm in the pleasant little city of Lancaster, Ohio. Today I am waiting for a stage to take me to Athens. With hope, I expect to start at half past 3 o’clock p.m. and reach Mr. Koon's house tomorrow evening and attend one of his public circles. I cannot wait.
As mentioned in my entry above, I left by stage Lancaster as predicted at 3:00 p.m. on October 2th and arrived at Logan about 9:00 p.m. and staid [stayed] till morning. I rose promptly on October 3rd to take another stage at 7:00 a.m. for the little village of Chauncy. At 11:00 a.m. I disembarked the coach before the town of Athens, as I discovered Mr. Koons resides north of Athens in Millfield which is a village in Dover, Ohio. It took extra days, but this is well worth the pilgrimage to Mecca.
To my delight I found Mr. John Tippie waiting inside the stage office for those seeking spiritual entertainment. He was the one mentioned in the newspaper. Mr. Tippie lives 2 1/2 miles beyond Mr. Koons and at whose house I was told remarkable manifestations are made. I started traveling with Mr. Tippie whose act of kindness gave me his horse and I rode a part of the way as he walked beside.
We stopped at Mr. Koon’s residence and I dismounted returning Mr. Tippie’s chestnut mare and he bid me farewell and continued to ride his mare home. I called at Mr. Koons for a few minutes with the notion of boarding with his family, but found he had no vacancies in his home and I would have to wait my turn as Mr. Koons promised.
During the half an hour I was there, I was allowed to inspect the spiritual room for any trickery and none was seen. The spirit room is not a room in his home, but actually a primitive log cabin (18 by 15 feet) with mud filled in between the logs with one door and one window. Once inside, there are three tiers of benches running the length of the cabin, each row a little higher than the one in front of it so all twenty-five spectators can see. Also there is one cookstove to the left of the door for heat and what’s called an electric table or machine on the other side (built as directed by the spirits). In the center, directly in front of the audience is a small round table with a lovely red and gold paisley cloth for Koons to perform his intercourse with the spirits. Upon the table was a tall tin horn (about two feet in length and very thin), a few sheets of paper, pencil, and some musical instruments (tambourine, harp, drum, triangle, harmonica, violin); identical to those described in Charles Partridge’s newspaper article in the Spiritualist Telegraph. The room had a pungent garlic smell that made me wonder if it was a remnant of the underworld winds from the night before, which I would later learn was a vat, provided by Mr. Koons, filled with water a dram of phosphorus added. The spirits need this solution to dunk their hands in, thereby illuminating their hands a greenish glow allowing all to see in the dark room. [NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME- IT'S EXPLOSIVE, POISONOUS AND CAUSES LIVER DAMAGE].
My stomach began complaining with hunger and I made the quick decision to board at Mr. Tippie’s for the night and walked briskly the 2 ½ miles, arriving at his home about one o’clock p.m - still in time to join a group of travelers like myself, for nooning (squirrel stew and three day old crusts of bread and tanker of adam’s ale). His boarding house was a very rough, poor place for one, like myself, who has been accustomed to things decent. However, everything was soon forgotten that evening after supper when we all adjourned to the “Spirit room” and there I witnessed the manifestations I had read accounts of – truly, very remarkable. His “Spirit room” is like Koons- a rustic log cabin and his presiding Spirit is King’s son who lived 14,500 years ago.
The next morning on October 4th two gentlemen, who came to Mr. Tippie’s soon after I arrived, and I banded together to relocate and board with Mr. George Kearns who lives 5 miles north-east from Mr. Tippie’s. With much better accommodations, I stayed the day and overnight at Mr. Kearn's home, where I witnessed very satisfactory manifestations by the spirits in his spiritual room. Mr. Kearns, by direction of the spirits, has built a house for them (spirits), just as have Messr. Koons and Tippie.
With some regret of my poor manners, I came back to Mr. Tippie’s on October 5th and stayed overnight at his boarding house again and saw, heard and felt things wonderful but I am very anxiously awaiting to attend a public circle with Mr. Koons himself.
Saturday, October 6th I finally had my turn and went over to Mr. Koons and stayed overnight with him. There I learned not only is he gifted with communicating with the spirits, but also his wife and several of his children. Like Tippie and Kearn’s homes, I witnessed similar things in his spirit rooms to those above referred to.
I’ve been told, no two are so satisfactory and varied, as given by Mr. Koon’s 18 year old son. Nahum Koons goes into a trance-like state and Nahum’s presence is necessary for the highest manifestations and he was absent from the home the one evening I attended. I was dissapointed.
I asked why were there so many spirit rooms in this rural section? In response, I was told there are 165 spirits and that explains why so many spirtual rooms are needed here.
Koons, Kearns and Tippe all used an electrical machine with a slight difference in the outside box. All three boxes have the same inner working made of zinc and copper that draws magnetic energy which powers the spirit’s aura.
My last evening on Sunday the 7th I returned to Mr. Tippie’s and at evening was again gratified with seeing, feeling and hearing the, “Presiding spirit” King for one last time.
Charles Partridge's article in the Spiritual Telegraph
Fearing I've neglected to tell you all, I have transcribed below Charles Partridge's own account of these séances as he described them in the Spiritual Telegraph. He writes,
“I attended three public circles in the spirit-house of Mr. Koons, and three in the spirit-house of Mr. Tippie; they are situated about three miles apart; the rooms and manifestation are very similar....These rooms will seat about twenty-five or thirty persons each, and are usually full. Many times, while I was there, more persons desired to go in than the house would hold, and some of them had to remain outside. They could hear the music and the spirit’s conversation just as well. They only had to forego being touched by spirits and seeing them. The music is heard, under favorable circumstances, at the distance of one mile, or as far as many band of martial music can be heard.
After the circle is formed, the door and window are shut, the light is usually extinguished, and almost instantaneously a tremendous blow with the large drumstick is struck on the table, when immediately the bass and tenor drums are beaten rapidly, like calling the roll on the muster-field, making a thousand echoes. The rapid and tremulous blows on these drum are really frightful to many persons. This beating of the drums is continued five minutes or more, and when ended, King usually takes up the trumpet and salutes us with “Good evening friends,” or something like it, and often asks what particular manifestations are desired.
If none are specially asked for, King often asks Mr. Koons to play on the violin, the spirit-band playing at the same time on the drums, triangle, tambourine, harp, accordion, harmonica, etc. etc.; upon these the spirits perform scientifically, in very quick and perfect time. They commence upon each instrument at one instant, and in full blast, and stop suddenly after sounding the full note, showing that they have some more perfect methods than we have of notifying each performer of the instant to start and stop.
After the introductory piece on the instruments, the spirits often sing. I heard them sing. They spoke to us, requesting us to remain perfectly silent. Presently we heard human voices singing, apparently in the distance, so as to be scarcely distinguishable; the sounds gradually increased each part relatively, until it appeared as if a full choir of human voices was in our small room, singing most exquisitely. I think I never heard such perfect harmony; each part was performed with strict attention to its relative degree of sound or force….. I don’t know that the spirits attempted to utter words with their song; if they did, they succeeded in this particular no better than modern singers. But it was hardly necessary for the spirits to articulate, for every strain and modulation seemed pregnant with hold sentiments, and language could scarcely signify more. After this vocal performance, several pieces of quick music were performed by spirits on the several instruments. They play faster than mortals generally do, and in most perfect time throughout. If any instruments get out of chord, they tune it; they tuned the violin in my presence, and did it rapidly and skillfully…
Spirits’ hands and arms were reorganized in our presence, on several of these occasions; and that we might see them more distinctly they sometimes wet their hands with a weak solution of phosphorus- which Mr. Koons prepared some time previously by their request- which emits a light so that their hands can almost as distinctly seen in a dark room as they could be if the room were lighted. At one of these circles I attended, there were three hands which had been covered with this solution of phosphorus, and we all saw them passing swiftly around the room, over our heads, carrying the instruments, and playing upon the violin, accordion, triangle, harmonica and tambourine, and all keeping perfect time.
Their instruments were moved so swiftly and near the faces of the audience- our own among them- that we felt the cool atmospheric current as distinctly as we do that produced by a fan. Several of the company in different parts of the room remarked that they not only felt this disturbance of the air, but heard it, and distinctly and saw the hand and instrument pass close to their faces.
Several of us requested the spirits to place these instruments in our hands, or touch us on our heads or other parts of our bodies; and in most cases it was instantly done.
I held up my hands and requested the spirits to beat time with the tambourine on my hands. They did so, and gave me more than I asked for, by striking my knees, hands and head in a similar manner. I have seen the tambourine players in the minstrel bands in New York; I have seen the best performers in the country; but they cannot perform equal to these spirits. The perfect time, and the rapidity with which they beat, is truly surprising.
Spirit-hands with phosphorous upon them passed around the room, opening and shutting, and exhibiting them in various ways and positions, which no mortal hand could assume or occupy- demonstrating them to be veritable spirit-hands, physically organized.
The phosphorescent illumination from these hands was so distinct, that it occurred to me I could see to read by it; and I took a pamphlet from my pocket, and asked the spirit to place the hand over it, that I might see if I could read by the light. The spirit did so, when I at once perceived that I held the pamphlet wrong end up. I turned it, and could read. The members of the circle remarked that they could see very plainly my hands, face, and the pamphlet I held, and as distinctly could see the spirit’s hand and a portion of the arm.
I then put out my hands, and asked the spirits to shake hands with me; they did so almost instantly. I then asked them to let me examine their hands; and they placed them in mine, and I looked at them and felt them until I was entirely satisfied. Others asked the same favor, and it was readily granted them. These spirit-hands appeared to be reorganized from the same elements that our hands are, and, except that they had a kind of tremulous motion, and some of them being cold and death-like, we could not by our senses distinguish them from hands of persons living in the form.
The spirit-hand took a pen, and we all distinctly saw it write on paper which was lying on the table; the writing was executed much more rapidly than I ever saw mortal hand perform; the paper was then handed to me by the spirit, and I still retain it in my possession.
At the close of the session the spirit of King, as is his custom, took up the trumpet and gave a short lecture through it- speaking audibly and distinctly, presenting the benefits to be derived both in time and eternity from intercourse with Spirits, and exhorting us to be discreet and bold in speech, diligent in our investigations, faithful to the responsibilities which these privileges impose, charitable towards those who are in ignorance and error, tempering out zeal with wisdom; and finally closing with a benediction.
I am aware that these facts so much transcend the ordinary experience of mortals, that few persons can accept them as true on any amount of testimony.
I obtained the address of the following named persons, and hope they will excuse me for the liberty I take in referring to them in this connection, for the confirmation of my statements. They were present at some or all the circles which I attended, when these manifestations occurred: R. I. Butterfield, Cleveland, Ohio; William D. Young, Covington Ind.; George and David Brier, Rainsville; Ind., David Edgar and daughter, Mercer country, Pa.; S. Van Sickles, Delaware, O.; S. T. Dean, Andrew Ogg, George Walker, and son Amesville, O.; Azel Johnson, Milfield, O.; W. S. Walkins, New York; Thomas Morris and wife, Dover, O.; Dr. George Carpenter, Athens, O.; Thomas White, Mount Pleasant, O. Many other persons were present, whose names I did not learn- Charles Partridge”-
Spiritual Telegraph, July 7, 14, 21, 1855.