A Ring Brought From the Grave: c. 1880s

Today Mrs Daffodil brings you a tale from the séance room narrated, rather oddly, in the third-person by medium Maud Lord Drake.

A RING BROUGHT FROM THE GRAVE.

On one occasion a man came for the express purpose of mischief. He said it was all a fraud. Maud met him and looked steadily into his face for a moment. The others all knew something was coming. Finally, with a quick, gasping noise, she jumped forward, reached for his hands, and gave him a sign known only to Masons, and in a strong, clear, masculine voice told him everything he had said on the road; what he had told the boys, and repeated verbatim his jeers and contempt for the subject. She ended by saying, “Now, John Bronson, if you wish to conform to the rules of this meeting you can come in, and welcome, but, if not, you cannot attend.” The Captain admitted that his doubts had been utterly vanquished and that he would be only too glad to attend and learn more facts.

Thus was arranged one of the most surprising materializing seances that the medium had held, up to that date. During the seance this same penitent and contrite skeptic was called to the cabinet by the spirit of a young lady. When he approached she eagerly reached forth her hand and took his, saying—”My brother.” He recognized her face, and in his excitement almost screamed to her to give her name. She spoke distinctly, “Ella.”

“My God! my God! It’s my sister,” said the thoroughly convinced skeptic. He almost fainted, and was led back to his seat by his smiling and thoroughly triumphant companions, to whom he had only a few hours before ridiculed spirit return.

The influences were not yet through with him. His sister who had been buried only a short time, came again with messages for those in her far away home in the East. A thought of further identification struck him, and he said, “Ella, what did I give you when I came home on a furlough?”

“A ring set with ruby and pearls,” she replied.

“Yes, yes,” he replied, “where was it left when you were buried?”

“On my finger” said she, putting the hand out and plainly showing the ring to all present. He recognized it at once. He then asked for the wedding ring that had also been buried with her.

She had married a comrade of his company, and when she died, was buried at Keokuk, Iowa. This ring, he said, was left with her wedding ring upon her hand.

She seemed a little puzzled, disappeared for a few seconds, came back, recalled him, and reaching out her hand,’ put the ring he had given her upon his hand and said, “Keep it, but show it to Charley.” Charley was the name of her husband, and Charley’s name had not been called by any of the party.

There are many people to-day in Keokuk, Iowa, who will remember this young Captain Bronson. He attended to show others of his company who had been present several times their folly. On the way to the séance he had scoffed and sneered at his companions for believing anything so utterly ridiculous.

After this strange experience, the Captain, still in possession of his sister’s ring, declared he would not rest until his sister’s coffin was opened that he might know this was no delusion. He, with several of those present, went to the grave, where, with the sexton, they opened the coffin and examined the hand that had worn the ring. When the coffin was opened, he said, “Boys, look first and tell me.” The hands wore no gloves, and strange, but true, the ring was gone! The dead, white hand, they said, bore the impress of the missing ring. The indentation was there. The ring was taken from the soldier brother and slipped upon the finger for the second time.

Psychic Light, the Continuity of Law and Life, Mrs. Maud Eugenia Barrock Lord Drake,1904

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The much-married medium, Maud Lord-Drake [1852-1924] was a star of the séance circuit for over 65 years. She was said to have twice given readings for Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace.  A young Maud was christened “Daughter of the Orient” by the spirits who compared her favourably to the medium at the Temple of Delphi 4,000 years ago. We know this because Mrs Drake tells us in her 600-page autobiography called Psychic Light. The book is packed with thrilling psychic incidents, including her much-publicised disappearance:  drugged and hauled onto a ship bound for Glasgow by enemies who told the stewardess that she was mildly insane and had been prescribed a sea voyage for her health. The book also offers tales of astonishing predictions, full-body materialisations, music played by levitating guitars, and Mrs Drake’s discreetly elided anecdotes about her consistently execrable taste in men.

The ring incident reminds Mrs Daffodil of a story from the confessions of a former professional medium. He told of an elderly lady who had been attending Spiritualist circles. One day she lost a valuable diamond ring. When she went to the medium, she was told that she would find it frozen in an ice cube in her freezer, where it had been placed by the spirits. To her amazement, she found the ring exactly where the medium had said it would be. After that she was as wax in the hands of the unscrupulous Spiritualist. What she did not realize was that a friend of the medium had come to her house on some pretext and had surreptitiously purloined the ring and placed it in the freezer to be “discovered.”

Mrs Daffodil does not like to cast aspersions, but the sceptical Captain’s sister had only been buried for “a short time.”  Time enough, perhaps, for someone to exhume her body and remove rings of sentimental value that might be of some use at a future séance.

For a previous post on a “cursed” royal ring, see here.  And a post on a deadly diamond, here.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.

 

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