by Bill Nye
Public Domain Books
I have an uncle who is a physician, and a very busy one at that. He is a very active man, and allows himself very little relaxation indeed. How many times he has said to me, “Well, I can’t stand here and fool away my time with you. I’ve got a typhoid fever patient down in the lower end of town who will get well if I don’t get over there this forenoon.”
He never allows himself any relaxation to speak of, except to demonstrate the truth of spiritualism. He does love to monkey with the supernatural, and he delights in getting hold of some skeptical friend and convincing him of the presence of spirits beyond a doubt. I’ve known him to ignore two cases of croup and one case of twins to attend a seance and help convince a doubting Thomas on the spirit question.
I believe that he and I, together with a little time in which to prepare, could convince the most skeptical. He says that with a friend to assist him, who is en rapport, and who has a little practice, he can reach the stoniest heart. He is a very susceptible medium indeed, and created a great furore in his own town. He said it was a great comfort to him to converse with his former patients, and he felt kind of attached to them, so that he hated to be separated from them, even in death.
Spiritualism had quite a run in his neighborhood at one time, as I have said. Even his own family yielded to the convincing proof and the astounding phenomena. If his wife hadn’t found some of his spiritual tracks down cellar, she would have remained firm, no doubt, but the doctor forgot and left his step-ladder down there, and that showed where the hole in the floor opened into his mysterious cabinet.
He said if he had been a little more careful, no doubt he could have convinced anybody of the presence of spirits or anything else. He said he didn’t intend to give up as long as there was anything left in the cellar.
He had such unwavering confidence in the phenomena that all he asked of anybody was faith and a buckskin string about two feet long.
He and his brother, a reformed member of Congress, read the inmost thoughts of a skeptical friend all one evening by the aid of supernatural powers and a tin tube. The reformed member of Congress acted as medium, and the doctor, who was unfortunately and ostensibly called away into the country early in the evening, remained at the window outside, where he could read the queries written by the victim on a slip of paper. Then he would run around the house and murmur the same through a tin tube at another window by the medium’s ear.
It was astounding. The skeptical man would write some deep question on a slip of paper, and after the medium had felt of his brow, and groaned a few hollow groans, and rolled his eyes up, he would answer it without having been within twenty feet of the question or the questioner. The victim said he would never doubt again.
What a comfort it was to know that immortality was an established fact. If he could have heard a man talking in a low tone of voice through an old tin dipper handle, at the south window on the ground floor, and occasionally swearing at a mosquito on the back of his neck, he would have hesitated.
An old-timer over there said that Woodworth would be a mighty good physician if he would let spiritualism alone. He claimed that no man could be a great physician and surgeon and still be a fanatic on spiritualism.