This book is a faithful record, so far as I can make it, of the most marvellous phenomena which have come under my observation during the last sixteen or seventeen years. I have used my notes (made immediately after the sittings) and also my reports to the American Psychical Society (of which I was at one time a director) as the basis of my story. For literary purposes I have substituted fictitious names for real names, and imaginary characters for the actual individuals concerned; but I have not allowed these necessary expedients to interfere with the precise truth of the account.
the minds of the sitters, and it will also furnish a convenient place to rest our hands. Anyhow, all the great investigators began this way," I replied, pacifically. "We may also require a pencil and a pad."
Miller was on his dignity. "I decline to sit at a table in that foolish way. I shall look on in lonely grandeur."
The others were eager to "sit in," as young Howard called it, and soon nine of us were seated about an oblong mahogany table. Brierly was very serious, Miss Brush ecstatic, and Mrs. Harris rather nervous.
I was careful to prepare them all for failure. "This is only a trial sitting, you know, merely to get our hands in," I warned.
"Must we keep still?"
"Oh no! You may talk, if you do so quietly. Please touch fingers, so as to make a complete circuit. I don't think it really necessary, but it sometimes helps to produce the proper mental state; singing softly also tends to harmonize the 'conditions,' as the professionals say. Don't argue and don't be too eager.