July 10, 1908
There was a lack of harmony between the advocates of spiritualism and Rev. Andrew T. Osborn, versed in the ways of mediums and the occult psychic phenomenon, at an expose in the Grand Avenue Methodist church last night. At times relations were so strained between the two, chiefly on the part of the spiritualists, that loud and somewhat sarcastic talk was frequently indulged.
It all came through the well known Bangs sisters, lately of Kansas City. These sisters, who trafficked in the life and sayings of the "other world," made quite an impression upon the spiritualistic sect in Kansas City. Their chief means of revenue was in painting pictures "by angel hands" of people in the spirit world. These sisters amassed a fortune by causing to be painted, through "supernatural means," the likeness of the dead upon a canvas which was stretched across a window.
Rev. Mr. Osborn, after some study and praying hit upon a scheme of "angel painting." To a select circle of friends he demonstrated his ability along such lines, and then declared the Bangs sisters to be frauds and fakirs. These pictures, according to Rev. Mr. Osborn, are drawn by mental suggestion. Just how the mental suggestion is worked in he has not yet explained, but at the same time he charged the Bangs sisters with having deceived the people of Kansas City. that he himself is able to cause these "angel pictures" to appear at will is declared to be a fact by many people who have seen him do it.
Soon after the minister made his charges they were carried to the Bangs sisters by their many friends and followers in Kansas City. The result was that the minister received a telegram yesterday from the Chicago Inter Ocean, the Bangs sisters, being now in Chicago, setting forth the following:
"The Bangs sisters will give you $1,000 if you can prove your charges. Wire if you accept."
Rev. Mr. Osborn did accept, and so wired the Inter Ocean. It was in calling these Bangs sisters fakirs that the spirit antagonism was aroused among the spiritualists present last night. Before Rev. Mr. Osborn began his expose he read the telegram which has been quoted, asking that at least a dozen of his audience remain after the performance in order to give him moral support for his undertaking in Chicago. A dozen of the audience did stay, more than a dozen, fifty of them in fact, spiritualists in a big majority.
"It's easy and perfectly simple," said the minister in his talk to them, concerning the "angel painting. It is done by the influence of mind and by that niche. There is absolutely nothing supernatural about the work. The picture which is handed to you is not the picture of the person who is dead. That is not an exact likeness. The painter is usually criticized for his work in details and so he finds it easy to correct the picture.
"For example: The Bang sisters painted a picture of a young lady who has been dead for some time. The eyes and other details were left very indistinct. The person who had applied for the picture objected, saying that her sister had darker and more distinct eyes than that. Of course the picture was immediately caused to disappear and other one which better suited to the gullible sister was painted in its place."
"That is not so," said Mrs. F. Cushman, who had secured a picture of her dead sister from the Bangs sisters. "They do not make the changes. They didn't in mine, and I never heard of them doing it before. The Bangs sisters never knew my sister. They did not even know her first name. They had never seen a picture of her, for I have the only one in existence."
"Ah, there it is," broke in the minister. "You were told that it would be necessary for you to bring a picture to the seance, weren't you?"
"Yes, but it was sealed in an envelope when I went into the room. The Bangs Sisters did not see it before the picture was drawn."
The minister smiled condescendingly, but he did not ask Mrs. Cushman any more questions.
It developed that there were very few who would come out openly and side with the minister, while there were many who had absolute faith in the work and ability of the Bangs sisters.
"If he can do all that he says he can; if he can make pictures appear and stay like the Bangs sisters could, he wouldn't be in the ministry," remarked Mrs. Cushman to a gathering of her sympathisers. "There's too much money in the other business for that."
The Rev. Mr. Osborn held his peace. He says he will do the "angel painting" at his expose and lecture on the occult psychic phenomena at the Grand Avenue Methodist church.
Rev. Mr. Osborn's work last night was done to explain the method of hypnotism and mental suggestion. He explained the so-called visions people frequently have and are unable to explain. This explanation was that they are seen, but that the person is in such a condition, mentally, through much suggestion, impression or, mental shock that he transforms material objects until they look like the thing which he expects to see. Examples of making tigers out of tree stumps while walking up in the mountain wood; of a widow having seen he husband, who turned out to be a gate post, were given to illustrate his point.
Mental telepathy was explained by comparing it to wireless telegraphy, Rev. Osborn believing that certain brain cells in one individual are so constructed or convulsions so imprinted concerning like subjects, that by intense thinking the thought form one person may be transferred to the mind of another.
His tests last night were only with hypnotism. A group of young men went upon the rostrum of the church at his request and allowed themselves to be put under his hypnotic influence.
Rev. Mr. Osborn is the pastor of the Bennington Heights Methodist Church in this city. He has long made a study of the occult phenomena and is able to do many very mysterious things Tonight he will give the exposition of the "angel painting" work and illustrate and explain the methods of mind reading. The proceeds which are made from the lectures will go towards the building fund of the new Bennington Heights church.