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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, KStJ, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Spiritualism Exposed

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Spiritualism "Exposed" is an article first published in the Cape Times (Cape Town, South Africa) on 3 december 1928. The article includes a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle dated 16 november 1928.


Spiritualism "Exposed"

Cape Times (3 december 1928, p. 11)

Sir A. Conan Doyle's "Imagination."

"Spiritualism is nothing, and therefore it can do nothing."

"In order to write 'Sherlock Holmes,' Sir Arthur Conan Doyle must have had an enormous power of imagination, and it is that imagination which is running him astray."

"The mind of a man with delirium tremens is in the subjective state. The man sees devils, and a medium goes into precisely the same condition, but by other means."

"A man in an unconscious state knows nothing. Bring him back to consciousness and his mind is a blank regarding the unconscious state. But Sir Arthur Conan Doyle says that if you blot him right out he knows more than he did before."

"Our claim is in the realm of things we do know, but his claim is in the realm of things he does not know."

"A Complete Exposure."

These were among the utterances of Mr. H. W. Machan, who, before a crowded audience at the Railway Institute last night, gave what he claimed to be a "complete exposure" of Spiritualism.

The chair was taken by Mr. H. G. Stevens, who read certain corespondence which had passed between Mr. J. McCrudden (secretary of the Church of Christ, Cape Town) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

In a letter the former had said : "We feel that it is in the interests of the public of Cape Town that you should be requested to stat. the grounds of your philosophy openly and publicly in the presence of a competent and courteous opponent. We, therefore, request that you will state whether you are willing to meet such a one in open debate on equal terms."

In a letter dated November 16, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle replied: "I have held two very full debates, one vocally at the Queen's Hall, London, with Joseph MacCabe, militant leader of the Rationalists; the other with Sir Arthur Keith. As both these are Agnostics, it is clear that I was, in a broad sense, championing the cause of religion. This being so, it seems waste of time and energy to debate with teachers of religion as well."

A further letter from the secretary (which was unanswered) informed Sir Arthur that it was the intention of the writers — "believers in the Bible and the teaching that the dead do not know anything" — publicly to expose his philosophy at an early date.

This the speakers endeavoured to do last night, their chief point being that Spiritualism was totally opposed to the teaching of the Bible.

Spiritualism, said Mr. Machan, was "one of the great deceptions of the world."

A number of questions were answered at the conclusion of the meeting.






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