Sunday, February 11, 2018

A seance

Arnold Bennett's Journal - Thursday, February 8th , 1917 - London, Yacht Club – Dined at Mme. Van der Velde’s and sat at a spiritualistic séance with a clairvoyant named Peters, who brought his son, a youth in R.A.M.C., home for a few hours on leave. This son said there were 500 professional spiritualist soldiers at Aldershot. Theosophist. Peters (pére), man of 45 or so. Short. Good forehead. Bald on top, dark hair at sides. Quick and nervous. Son of a barge owner. Present: Yeats [W. B. Yeats the poet], Mr and Mrs Jowett (barrister – she very beautiful), Roger Fry, hostess, and me. Peters handled objects brought by each of us. His greatest success, quite startling, was with the glass stopper of a bottle brought by Jowett. He described a man throwing himself out of something, down, with machinery behind him, and a big hotel or big building behind him. Something to do with water, across water. He kept repeating these phrases, with variations. The stopper had belonged to the baronet (I forget his name) who threw himself off a launch, in response to a challenge from X., at 3 a.m., into the Thames, after a debauched party up river. All the passengers were more or less drunk. He was drowned.

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