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Record number: WCP5012

Sent by:
Vaughan Jenkins
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
21 June 1888

Sent by Vaughan Jenkins, Energlyn, St Margaret's-road, Oxford to Alfred Russel Wallace Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming on 21 June 1888.

Record created:
06 February 2013 by Catchpole, Caroline


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Anon. (1888). Correspondence. Nellie Morris. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 3(55): 312-318. [p. 313]

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[[1]]1,2 [p. 313]

The correspondence begins with a letter addressed by Mr. Vaughan Jenkins to Mr. Wallace.

Energlyn, St. Margaret's-road, Oxford.

June 21st, 1888.

Dear Sir,--

Until I read General Lippitt's statements my conception of the Spiritualistic theory of materialisation was--that taking it for granted that we shall live after death, in a spiritual body why cannot these spirits in the form of apparitions or spectres return as they are alleged so to have done by many--to visit their friends whom they have left behind them? Such appearances, subject to the premise, would be conceivably possible, and the objection to the physical obstruction of stone walls, &c., would not arise. But the young ladies who "came" to the General came in their own prior natural bodies fully organised, and in violation of all known cosmic laws and conditions. There is nothing in their actions or conduct that differs from any ordinary human beings, they conversed freely on all mundane subjects, they answered all ordinary questions, they sang when requested, and Nellie even stood to compare measurements. She conversed for a long time, two or three members of the circle taking part therein. She actually shivered at the recollection of her having died on a cold day "in January." She was sensitive to flattery. She modestly shook hands, and to crown all--to prove her identity and her identification with her own former earthly self . . . Nellie, with her own "hand, before retiring," (?) "Cut off for me a lock of her hair, which I have carefully preserved." . . . Materialised Nellie does not altogether vanish, or retire! She leaves a permanent sample portion of her corporeal entity behind her. . . . Still the anomalous fact remains that Nelly's mortal body, her hair included, was at the time of her alleged materialisation, and for four years previously, slowly being resolved into its original elements to unite with and form new physical combinations.

I know and feel that I ought to obey the law of evidence, and to accept the General's confirmed unimpeachable testimony, but my inability to reconcile the apparently irreconcilable is my present stumbling block. . . . Personally, I dismiss from my mind any idea of personation, psychic illusion, or hallucination, or collusion of any kind whatever in connection with General Lippitt's manifestations--hence my greater difficulty. If, therefore, at any time that may be convenient to you, you would kindly favour me with any helpful information in my struggle for a belief, I shall be very grateful to you.

E. Vaughan Jenkins.


1. Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: First of seven letters exchanged among Wallace, E. Vaughan Jenkins, and Eleanor M. Sidgwick (Mrs. Henry Sidgwick) on the "spirit entity" Nellie Morris. Printed in the October 1888 issue of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

2. Editor’s note on page 312 preceding the printed letters: "(The following correspondence has been placed in my hands by Mr. Vaughan Jenkins (Associate of the S.P.R.), with a view to its being printed here. It relates to the case of Nellie Morris, communicated to the June number of this Journal by Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace. I am unable to find room for the whole correspondence, but I have thought it best to print Mr. Wallace's letters in full,--partly on account of his scientific eminence, partly because I disagree with his arguments and conclusions, and should therefore be afraid of not doing justice to the former, if I attempted to abridge them. Of the other letters only portions are printed.--Ed.)"


This transcript originates from Charles H. Smith’s The Alfred Russel Wallace Page website (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm): See http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S411.htm

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.