Caroline Cowles Richards (1842-1913): Village Life in America 1852-1872, Including the period of the American Civil War as told in the diary of a school-girl.
March.—There is a great deal said about spirits nowadays and a lot of us girls went into one of the recitation rooms after school to-night and had a spiritual seance. We sat around Mr. Chubbuck’s table and put our hands on it and it moved around and stood on two legs and sometimes on one. I thought the girls helped it but they said they didn’t. We heard some loud raps, too, but they sounded very earthly to me. Eliza Burns, one of the boarders, told us if we would hold our breath we could pick up one of the girls from the floor and raise her up over our heads with one finger of each hand, if the girl held her breath, too. We tried it with Anna and did it, but we had such hard work to keep from laughing I expected we would drop her. There is nothing very spirituelle about any of us. I told Grandmother and she said we reminded her of Jemima Wilkinson, who told all her followers that 97the world was to come to an end on a certain day and they should all be dressed in white and get up on the roofs of the houses and be prepared to ascend and meet the Lord in the air. I asked Grandmother what she said when nothing happened and she said she told them it was because they did not have faith enough. If they had, everything would have happened just as she said. Grandmother says that one day at a time has always been enough for her and that to-morrow will take care of the things of itself.