A Return of Departed Spirits

A Return of Departed Spirits of the Highest Characters of Distinction, as Well as the Indiscriminate of All Nations, into the Bodies of the “Shakers” or “United Society of Believers in the Second Advent of the Messiah,” by an Associate of Said Society.  Philadelphia: J. R. Cohen, 1843.

“Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth,
Both when we wake and when we sleep.”

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, A PECULIAR PEOPLE; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”—PETER 1, Chap. ii.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit; for the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God.

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”—COR. 1, Chap. ii.











The publication of the present work, at this peculiar time, will naturally awaken the curiosity of the public mind to a marvellous extent; and as there is existing, among the human family, so great a diversity of opinion, in regard to the second appearing of the Messiah, numerous will be the inquiries in relation to the truth of what is herein set forth.

The author would therefore briefly state that, in the compilation of this work, he has studiously avoided the introduction of any matter except that which came under his immediate notice; or which he has derived from authenticated sources.  No opinion which he may entertain in regard to the reality of the mysterious work, will be expressed; his object being to display it before his readers in the same light in which he himself beheld it, reserving to those who may favour these pages with a perusal, the privilege of passing upon it such a verdict as they may entertain.  With this brief introduction, the work is respectfully submitted.





The existence of a body of people associated together under the appellation of “Shakers,” is generally known to the public.  That a great deal of prejudice, caused by a misunderstanding of the true character of that strange people exists, the author is fully aware, having been connected with the “United Society of Believers in the Millenial Church,” for some length of time, during which period he has had a fair opportunity of arriving at a correct knowledge concerning the doctrines and principles of the people composing it.

Being desirous, therefore, of giving publicity to the subject matter containing in this work, by presenting a plain, unvarnished statement of those strange and marvellous scenes to which he has been an eyewitness, he trusts that what shall be here related, will be regarded as the simple truth, divested of all artificial colouring.

Deeming it needless to enter into a minute history of the rise and progress of the Shakers, we shall merely advert to the most important transactions that have taken place among that people, in order to bring the mind of the reader to an understanding of the subject.

Sixty years have elapsed since the establishment of the “Millenial Church” in the United States.  During that time its increase has been gradual, and several thousands of souls have been gathered to Zion, as it is called.  At the present time, branches of the society are located in the states of New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio and Kentucky; the settlements at New Lebanon and Watervliet, in the State of New York, contain the greatest number of members.

The portion of the society located at Watervliet, near the City of Albany, where the author of this work has resided, numbers about three hundred souls.

The gifts of God have been manifested in this people in a very marvellous manner.  For a period of many years they have been especially favoured with spiritual gifts and operations; among which may be mentioned, as most prominent, the gifts of prophecy, speaking with unknown tongues, discerning of spirits, and holding communication with the spiritual world.  Very frequently they are seized with a rapid whirling and violent twitching of the body, which they are unable to repress.  We have seen numbers in this manner caught up by some invisible power and whirled around the meeting room at an almost incredible rate, some proclaiming the word of the Lord to his people, while others would be discoursing in unknown language, and holding converse with angels and other heavenly spirits.

It is believed that these operations have been displayed for a number of years; but, more recently, there has been another manifestation of God’s divine power toward his “peculiar people,” which, in magnificence of conception, far exceeds all others, and which, when universally known, will add much in confirmation of the general opinion that the Millenial day is nigh at hand.

It was at New Lebanon that this new dispensation was received, in a communication from the spiritual world, announcing that the latter day was near at hand, and would soon be ushered in by the developing of the strange work promised by the Lord: “Behold ye, and wonder marvellously; for I will work a work in your day, which ye will not believe though it be told you.”  “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for lo, I come; and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.  And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of thee; and thou shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me unto thee.”  “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.”  “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

Accordingly, the work began to develop itself in a manner that nearly astounded many who witnessed its approach; but as they, the people of God, had ever preserved their faith firm and unshaken, in regard to every previous display of His wondrous power, they were unwilling to entertain the shadow of a doubt in relation to this last manifestation.  They consequently laboured in spirit for an increase of faith and spiritual strength, to enable them to go forth to every gift of God, however mysterious and darkening to the natural understanding, keeping in view the divine truth, that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit.”

Disembodied spirits began to take possession of the bodies of the brethren and sisters; and thus, by using them as instruments, made themselves known by speaking through the individuals whom they had got into; after which they were welcomed to Zion to hear the true Gospel of Christ.

It must be borne in mind that, while the brethren and sisters are under this influence, they seem unconscious of the fact that they are other than the spirit for whom they are acting; and even when the spirits of others have left them, and the return of their own spirit, to its natural abiding place, brings them to a state of recollection, they retain no knowledge of what has transpired, and utter exclamations of surprise when apprised of the fact by those who were eye and ear-witnesses of the scene.

We shall now proceed to a description of some of the distinguished individuals who have, at different periods, severally appeared at New Lebanon and Watervliet, in the State of New York.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, to whom we shall have occasion to make allusion hereafter, was among the first that made themselves known in this manner.

His spirit had been often discerned, by those who were gifted with spiritual sight, before he made his name and purposes known through one of the brethren, whose body was thus so signally honoured by the spirit of that illustrious man.

George gave some particulars concerning the discharge of his earthly duties while sojourning upon this terrestrial globe, and concluding with congratulating himself upon the opportunity availed of entering into communion with those who were walking in the “pure Gospel light.”

He informed them (the elders) that he was commissioned of heaven with the important and responsible duty of ministering to the wants of thousands and tens of thousands of departed spirits, who were wandering about in search of happiness.  That he was to conduct the nations of the earth to Zion, where all, whether in or out of the body, must eventually come to find salvation.  In accordance with this divine commission, the elders ratified the appointment of George Washington, who has proved himself a faithful minister indeed, having already sent many thousands to the True Church, where they have rapidly progressed in the way of God.

In the course of the work we shall notice the different nations in the order in which they arrived; but, for the present, individuals of distinguished popularity, many of whom have been dead for thousands of years, will occupy our attention.

It may be proper here to state that we shall avoid any unnecessary detail of the conversation of spiritual individuals; and shall only describe such conversation as shall be deemed of an interesting character.  This course is adopted in order to guard against wearying the patience of the reader.

Many of the statesmen of the American Revolution, among whom John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were most prominent, have, through the influence of Washington, appeared; and by their acts have proved themselves good believers in the Millenial Church, and faithful followers of Christ.

GENERAL HARRISON, whose withdrawal from earth while in possession of the presidency of a mighty republic, and whose departure was accompanied by universal lamentation, has come to Zion, and, after stating his name and circumstances, has been joyfully welcomed to an association with the people of God; which privilege he gladly accepted, and is now among the heavenly spirits who are singing eternal praises to the Almighty Father.

WILLIAM PENN makes an occasional visit to the Shakers on earth, and he himself is a valuable instrument in the hands of God; being very efficient in conducting the tribes of Indians to the peaceful vale in Zion.

William has at different times spoken of his bodily sufferings, caused by the persecution he received in his native country, England, while maintaining his religious principles.  He described his progress through life, from early boyhood to the period of his death.  He spoke of the struggles he had, and of the difficulties he had to encounter, in endeavouring to establish those principles of Quakerism for which he so long and strenuously contended; of the opposition he met with from his father, which was of such a nature that he was several times forbade entering his house; and, likewise, of the hostility entertained toward him by the leaders of the established church, which was also of such an unchristian and uncharitable spirit, that he was imprisoned for daring to avow his dearly cherished principles.  He dwelt at some length upon the grand of land tendered him by King Charles; and of the establishment of the colony which received the name of Pennsylvania.

He expressed the strongest sympathy for the poor Indians; and when told of the wrongs inflicted upon them from time to time, he manifested the deepest concern.

William has, by his magnanimous conduct in favour of the different tribes of Indians that have appeared among “Believers,” so completely won their respect and admiration, that he is called “Father Penn;” and when some new tribe of the red men may arrive, and be inclined to be noisy, they are always obedient to every request or command of “Father Penn.”

William Penn, who, while on earth, supported so strenuously the principles of the Quakers, has become a faithful adherent to the doctrines and principles of the Shakers; being persuaded that the latter sect of people, by abstaining from fleshly works of every nature, live more in the spirit of Christ than any other sect of religionists upon earth.  He says that he lived up to the best light received in that day; but that had the testimony of the true Gospel of the Church of Christ been opened, at that time, he should certainly have espoused it.

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, whose extraordinary career of warlike achievements have rendered his name at least immortal, has long since been called to the home of the faithful.

As the history of this wonderful man is so universally known to the whole world, it were needless to repeat the account of his many warlike deeds as given by himself, when he arrived.  Suffice it to say, he has humbled himself sufficiently to become one of Christ’s followers, and those who could hear him discourse, would wonder at the mighty change which has been wrought in that once all-powerful man.  Yes, the spirit of that Napoleon, before whose invincible power nations trembled, is now upon an equality with the meanest soldiers of his vast armies.  But kings and princes all must come down from their thrones and mingle with the dust of the earth.

STEPHEN GIRARD, well known as a distinguished millionaire of Philadelphia, and the founder of the magnificent edifice, bearing the name of the Girard College, which is being erected at Philadelphia, came in spirit, and received a hearty welcome.

He gave a very interesting account of himself.  He stated that after he departed this life, he found himself on the banks of the Delaware river, at some distance below Philadelphia, where he had been wandering to and fro for some time, until he heard the sound of a trumpet, which attracted him to this place, (Zion.)  He related some incidents illustrative of his rapid increase in wordly wealth, and gave an account of his wife, wherein he spoke of the circumstance related in his biography, concerning the affair between her and the American officer.

Girard made anxious inquires about the disposition of the property which he had bequeathed to the city of Philadelphia, and particularly in relation to the progress of the College; and, when apprised of the fact that it was not yet completed, he manifested his surprise in terms of disapprobation.  The Elders advised him not to trouble himself about worldly matters now, as he had been called hither for quite a different purpose, and he must, consequently, be prepared to receive such advice and instruction as would render him worthy of an association with the inhabitants of Christ’s kingdom.

Accepting, with a willing mind, the offer of salvation, Stephen Girard has become a believer in the Millenial Church,

MAHOMET, the celebrated imposter, made himself known at New Lebanon, and created quite a sensation.  It was an arduous task to bring his mind to a conformity with the principles of “Believers,” notwithstanding he acknowledged having endured all the torments of hell, as the punishment inflicted upon him for his wicked deeds committed while upon earth.  After witnessing the order the plan of worship of the Shakers—which privilege was allowed him by the elders, on several occasions—his high sensed notions fell, and he could not refrain from an expression of his admiration of the beautiful and systematic arrangement of the order of worship adopted by the people of God.  He admitted that the order of marching was much superior to that of his best disciplined soldiers; and he eagerly accepted the proffered privilege to “go forth in the dances of them that make merry.”

Mahomet confessed and repented of the sin of having deceived his countrymen, and those who followed him, and who believed his false doctrines and representations.

A large number of Arabs accompanied their leader, Mahomet, and, like him, were highly pleased with every thing which met their view at New Lebanon.

Not having had the opportunity of being present where Mahomet made his spiritual advent, we have presented the preceding brief account of him, as narrated by one of the elders presiding over the Society at New Lebanon.

POPE PIUS came one day, and received a hearty welcome from the elders of the Church, who were much pleased at the opportunity thus afforded of having a conversation with the head of the Church of Rome.

The Pope was, apparently, in a depressed state of mind.  He depicted the horrors of hell, in which, he said, he had been ever since he left the earth.  He stated that he had not been burning in a fire, as understood in a literal sense; but he described it as a more terrible scourge—a continual fire of anguish within, which was gradually consuming him, and which it was impossible to extinguish or assuage.  He was sensible that this torture had been inflicted as a punishment for various criminal acts committed upon earth, while in the exercise of his Papal authority.

His holiness, the Pope, maintained considerable high sense on the occasion of his first appearance, and, notwithstanding the affliction he was subjected to, manifested all the dignity attendant upon the power and authority of his earthly potentateship.  Soon after his arrival, he was joined by two members of his Ecclesiastical Council, who showed the same reverence for him which they did while existing in the body, and seemed surprised when informed that all the vast power which the Pope had been possessed of, formerly, had departed from him, and that he was now not only in a destitute situation, but in a deplorable state of suffering, from which nought but an honest confession of, and atonement for all sin, could relieve him.

It was not until a great deal of argument and persuasion, on the part of the elders, had been employed, that the Pope manifested a willingness to humble himself to this humiliating condition; and he pleaded his high rank in extenuation of various scenes of debauchery and sensuality, in which he hesitated not to confess having been a conspicuous actor.

He urged it as a strange thing that he who had possessed the Keys of St. Peter, should have to make confession to those who were his advisers at this time.  He was, however, wrought upon to such an extent that he finally became convinced of the absolute necessity of acting upon the advice of his counsellors, and expressed his willingness to unite with the True Church of Christ.

The Pope, together with his friends, were then despatched to a mansion at a short distance, where, they were told, all matters connected with their future welfare would be arranged.

Several other departed Popes came likewise.  Among them were Leo X, and Clement VII.  All of them acknowledged the committal of much crime in their public and private relations; but having repented of it, they have been gathered among the faithful.

BISHOP JAMES DOYLE, of the County of Carlow, Ireland, was introduced in the room, during a meeting of worship, by some nuns from a convent in Ireland.  The nuns made a criminal charge, of a serious nature, against the Bishop.  The Bishop repelled the charge, at first, but, being overwhelmed with the powerful testimony of the nuns, he was forced to acknowledge that he had been guilty of the most licentious conduct towards some of the female occupants of a nunnery in Ireland, where he had occasion to visit in his clerical capacity.

He was charged with excessive debauchery, of every description; drunkenness being a common habit with him.  Yet, as the nuns said, there were few persons without the walls of the convent that were acquainted with his irregular habits.  The Bishop, however, seemed sorry for his offences, and, after confessing his sins, gave promise of great improvement.  Since that time he has been a frequent visitor at the meetings—sometimes bringing spiritual presents from the heavenly hosts.  Rapid has been Bishop Doyle’s progress in the way of God since he came to the “Believers;” and so highly is he estimated in the spiritual world, that he has had conferred upon him the high situation of Messenger from Heaven to “Wisdom’s Valley,” (Watervliet).

Numerous other Catholic priests have been summoned to Zion, and, when they came, they were not unfrequently accompanied by nuns, superiors, and abbesses, with whom they were associated.  Children of the priests have likewise accompanied their parents.

SAINT PATRICK, the patron saint of Ireland, came to Watervliet, in the month of March last, but as we were not present on the occasion, we are unable to give his account of himself.  We believe, however, that he was in quite a comfortable state when he came out of the deep sleep into which he had been cast after departing this life, and that he seemed much interested while listening to the remarks of the elders in relation to subject of eternal salvation.  Saint Patrick is now a good Shaker.

SAMPSON, celebrated in the Book of Judges, as a man possessed of extraordinary strength, came, with a number of the Philistines, whom he had slain aforetime.  Some of the Lords of the Philistines discoursed about their god Dagon, which they worshipped with great veneration.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT, his father, Philip, with their generals and officers of state, came to Watervliet.  Alexander boasted of his many brilliant achievements in the world, and, for a time, maintained a proud and haughty disposition.  He made some allusion to the events of his life, and stated that he was convinced that it was through excessive drinking that his death had been accelerated.  He stated that he had seen George Washington, and that individual had directed them to “Wisdom’s Valley.”  On being made acquainted with the noble character of Washington, and of the services which he had rendered to his country while on earth, Alexander seemed much interested, and expressed his desire and determination to cultivate an acquaintance with that illustrious man.

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, made her presence known in a bold and haughty manner.  She maintained this proud demeanor for some time, ridiculing, in the most scornful style possible, the plainness and simplicity of every thing which met her view; affirming that she was deserving of more honour and favour than was bestowed upon her.  It was with difficulty that she could be brought to entertain a knowledge of her true situation.

Being questioned as to what kind of a state she had been in, since leaving the world, she seemed unconscious of the fact that she had died, although she said she had endured much tribulation and affliction of spirit.

QUEEN ANNE accompanied Mary; and they seemed to enjoy each other’s company marvellously well.

Anne was acquainted with Mary’s history, while Mary was entirely ignorant of hers; and it was amusing to hear these two queens conversing about matters and affairs of state, as though they were still in the body.  They were, however, soon weaned from their attachment to subjects of worldly excitement, and directed their attention to a consideration of the necessity of adopting measures to secure the salvation of their souls.

QUEEN ELIZABETH has been a “believer” for some time.  We have little knowledge of the circumstances attending the arrival of this queen among the Shakers, save the knowledge of her having arrived and received faith in the doctrines of Millennial Church.

KING CHARLES II, and George I, came about the same time with other English sovereigns, among whom were Edwy and Elgiva.

KING EDWY and QUEEN ELGIVA reigned in England at an early period.  They related an interesting and melancholy story of their devoted attachment to each other; and spoke of the persecution which they received from the monks, which they had incurred from having married contrary to their advice and desire.  These two lovers manifested great devotion to each other upon this occasion, and conversed about the mutual happiness they were in the enjoyment of, before being separated by the cruel persecution of their enemies.

By their story, which was a melancholy one, indeed, it seems that Elgiva was put to death in the most cruel manner imaginable; and that the grief, occasioned by the loss of his beloved consort, caused the death of Edwy soon after.

GENERAL BROCK, the British officer who fell in the battle at Queenston Heights, during the last war between the United States and Great Britain, made himself known at the meetings, and in his deportment presented quite a dignified appearance.

The general made some statements in regard to his conduct at the battle, which we are told corresponds with what is related of him in the historical account of the affair.

He acted under the impression that he was still habited in the regimental dressed which covered him when he fell upon the field of glory, pierced with musket balls.

On the occasion of his first visit he seemed desirous of attracting the particular notice of those who were in the body, and seemed much chagrined when he observed that other spirits present, at the time, received the same degree of attention as that which was bestowed upon him.

GENERAL LAFAYETTE has united himself with the church, and occasionally makes a visit to his associates in the body.  Washington and Lafayette are inseparable friend sin the world of spirits.

MARSHAL NEY, GENERAL BERTRAND, and other of Napoleon’s officers, presented themselves and conversed gaily and enthusiastically about the engagements in which they were conspicuous actors.

NERO, the Roman emperor, whose cruelties have stamped him as a tyrant of the worse description, entered into the body of one of the brethren, and discoursed at length in relation to his past conduct.  It was evident that he had become duly convinced of the atrocity and enormity of his crimes, and was repentant.  From his appearance, we judged that he was afflicted with intense mental suffering, indicating that the fires of hell were raging in his bosom.

OSCEOLA, the celebrated chief of the Seminole tribe of Indians, manifested a very friendly disposition toward the “shiny white folks,” as he termed those who were in the body, and who conversed with him.  This warrior was accompanied by several other Indians of his tribe, all of whom paid much attention to the remarks of their advisers.

ALEXANDER POPE, the poet, we have understood, has come and associated with the society.

QUEEN CHARLOTTE, of Africa, made her appearance in quite a dignified and haughty style.  She affirmed that she reigned in Africa, many centuries ago, and that the state of the country, while under her imperial sway, was highly prosperous.

We have understood that SAINT JOHN of Patmos, KING DAVID, and some of the Apostles, have likewise returned from the world of spirits, and have made themselves known through the instrumentality of the brethren of the Millenial Church.


Early in March, 1843, the passengers of the lost steamship President, whose fate has been, hitherto, unknown, arrived at Watervliet, announced their names, and related the circumstances connected with the loss of the vessel and crew.

CAPTAIN ROBERTS, MR. TYRONE POWER, the REV. GEORGE COOKMAN, and the MESSRS. LANSDOWNE, with others of that ill-fated ship succeeded in “getting in,” and communicated the dreadful tidings in relation to the destruction of the vessel, and the loss of all who were on board.

We can readily imagine the surprise that the announcement of any information calculated to throw light upon the subject of the loss of the President, will awaken, and shall therefore proceed to give the description of the affair, as related by Mr. Power, one of the passengers:

“My name is Tyrone Power.  My profession, while on earth, was that of a comedian.  I am a native of Ireland, and was, at the time of this disaster, on my return to my native country from the United States, having been eminently successful with my business.  I had with me a large sum of money, the fruits of my labour, and was fondly anticipating the joy I should experience in rejoining my family.  But my fond expectations were not to be realised, and I was doomed to a watery grave.  After being out a few days, a tremendous hurricane arose, and the agitation of the sea threatened annihilation and destruction hourly.  It was, I believe, just after we had passed out of sight of the George’s Bank, that we were driven, with tremendous force, against an iceberg, and the vessel immediately went to pieces.

“It was in the night, and awful was the scene that ensued.  Brief it was, yet, nevertheless, terrible beyond any thing I had ever conceived of; so that I feel a sensation of horror while dwelling upon the scene of that awful night.  I believe I was one of the last that went down; having seized part of the vessel, to which I clung as long as possible, not with the expectation of being preserved from death—no! the last ray of hope had departed the very instant the vessel struck, and we were scalded by the hot steam—but I desired to prolong my life a few moments, to afford me time sufficient to enable me to commend my soul to that God toward whom I then became sensible I had been too much a stranger.  After performing this duty, I felt an inward pleasure which assured me that His mercy had not been invoked in vain; and I mentally expressed my regret at not having employed my time and talents more profitable to myself and acceptable to him.  While the air was rent with the cries and lamentations of my fellow-passengers, I distinguished the voice of my dear friend Cookman, (a clergyman, who is here to speak for himself,) engaged in an earnest and eloquent appeal to God; invoking his mercy upon all.  In a few moments I sank beneath the waters, which closed over me; and that is about all the information I can impart in relation to the dreadful occurrence.”

MR. POWER made inquiries concerning his wife and family, and was told by the elders that they could give him no intelligence respecting them, for they had never heard of him before.

They endeavoured to console him, by saying that his family were doubtless provided for, and exhorted him to turn his attention to the object for which he was brought hither.  He, together with Mr. Cookman, who, by his own account, was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church, paid particular attention to the remarks of the elders, and were apparently pleased with the prospect of soon finding the place of eternal rest and happiness.

Mr. Cookman rejoiced that he had found the True Church of Christ.  He had laboured under the impression that the church to which he had been attached was the right one, but now that it was made manifest to him that he had, while upon earth, mistaken the road, he would endeavour to rectify the error, by doing all the good in his power to other wandering souls whom he should meet while traversing the world of spirits.  He was informed that John Wesley had long since become a “Believer,” which intelligence he received with exceeding great joy; expressing a desire to see and converse with that great and good man.  He was rejoiced to hear that there was every prospect of his soon being in the enjoyment of that privilege.

These spirits were then directed to spiritual elders, by whom they would be assisted in their onward progress for the attainment of the kingdom of God.


Shortly after the arrival of the passengers of the President, some of those of the William Brown, packet ship, of Philadelphia, made their appearance.  They were principally natives of Ireland.  They described their sufferings in detail, but as the circumstances must be well known to our readers, we shall refrain from a repetition of the sufferings of the passengers.






We believe that the North American Indians, of various tribes, was the first nation that came in a body to New Lebanon and Watervliet.  The Indians were first conducted by George Washington; but since the arrival of William Penn, and his connection with the church, Washington has conferred upon him the duty of ministering to their wants and necessities.

Among the various tribes, were the Mohicans, the Mohawks, Delaware, Pawnees, Shawnese, Seminoles, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cohocsinks, and many others, whose names we cannot call to mind at the present time.  The Indians and squaws were said to be about the premises in great numbers.  They seldom came into meeting, except when they were called.  The manner of calling them into the meetings, during worship, was by singing in imitation of the sounding of a trumpet; when the spirits of the “natives” would spring into, and take possession of, the bodies of the brethren and sisters.  They all seemed to recognize each other.  The Chief, Chiefess, the Prophet, and the Warrior, most generally came together.  The joy at meeting together seemed to be very animating; and so great was the noise which they made by dancing around, singing, and sounding their war-whoop, that it was almost deafening.  They were very fond of dancing, and occupied nearly the whole time, while in the meeting-room, in the indulgence of that recreative amusement.  They would frequently gratify the company by singing some of their native songs and ditties.

There was an old squaw there, known by the name of So-le-an-ti, who was quite a favourite with her native friends.  She would make frequent visits, and act as an instructor to the tribes, initiating them in the art of dancing according to the manner of “Believers.”

The Indians showed, by their conversation, a great fondness for George Washington, or “Shiny George,” as they called him, and “Father William Penn.”

An old Indian (we say old, because he said he was an aged man when he died) alleged that he came from beyond the Rocky Mountains, and stated that where he lived there existed a race of very large animals; and, from the description which he gave, we were led to the conclusion that he had reference to that species called the Mastodon, or Mammoth, the bones of which animal have been found in different parts of the United States.  This Indian could not give us information in regard to the amount of time which had elapsed since his departure from this terrestrial world into the world of spirits.  He seemed to think, however, that a considerable length of time must have elapsed, from the fact of his having but little recollection of the events of his life.


The Esquimaux Indians presented a singular and ludicrous appearance by moving about the floor, while in a kind of sitting posture, and performing the actions requisite for the driving of dogs in sledges, which is a common occupation with the Esquimaux.  They would move about the floor, give a whistle, and accompany it with a motion of the hand, as though they were flourishing a whip.

Their manner of conversing was by a kind of gurgling sound made in the throat, and as unlike any known language as it possibly could be.


A tribe of the Mexican Indians, who lived before the invasion of the Spaniards, came also.


Indians, from Peru, and a tribe called the Aricanians, natives of Chili, have likewise attended the meetings.  They came on several occasions, and spoke of the battles which they had fought with the white men who came over the water.


The Patagonians came about the same time with the other tribes of the Indians of South America.


The Laplanders and Greenlanders exercised themselves with, apparently, skating about the floor.  The scene was extremely ludicrous and amusing.  There were about thirty, of both sexes—the greater number being females—moving about the room with the same degree of rapidity, and in the same manner, as though they were actually skating on the ice of their own dreary countries.


The Siberians came in large numbers.  They appeared to have a melancholy sort of air about them; walking about with their arms folded across their breasts, and conversing together in a doleful manner.


The Arabs visited us very frequently, and the scenes enacted by them were particularly amusing.  Sometimes they would indulge their felonious disposition to a great extent, seizing every article which came within their reach, and endeavour to secrete it.

Some of the Arabs would imagine that they had their caravans with them; and it was a difficult task to convince them that they had left the body, and were in a spiritual state.

They spoke in terms of adoration of the great Mahomet, and some of them gave a description of his tomb at Medina.

There were various tribes of the Arabs in the habit of visiting; some of them being more civilised than others.  Some had seen and worshipped the living Mahomet, while there were others who had never heard of him; the latter as a matter of course, having lived prior to the birth of the celebrated impostor.


The Abyssinians introduced themselves in a boisterous manner, jumping about and exercising their lungs to such an extent that they seemed almost frantic.  Dancing they enjoyed very much.  They exhibited a great depravity of manner, and, for a time, would not listen to counsel nor advice of any kind.


The Hottentots exhibited all the ignorance and disgusting habits characteristics of them; and were slow to receive instruction.


Only three individuals came from Wales.  They were members of one family.  They seemed pleased when they recognized one another, for they had been separated a long time.  The family consisted of the father, mother, and one daughter.


A family from Scotland came; but from what part of the country we did not ascertain.  They said there were a great many of their nation preparing to come, among them several of the kings, chiefs, and nobles of Scotland.  It was said that King Macbeth was there, endeavouring to “get in,” but he did not succeed.


But the nation which has eclipsed all others, as far as regards numbers, and the frequency of visits, is the Irish nation.  They have repeatedly appeared at the meetings, and not unfrequently remained in the bodies they inhabited pro tempore, for a period of two or three days.

We have already given some account of the visitation of Irish priests and bishops.

There were several Irish families that made themselves known, and recounted their histories.  Several who had been drowned and killed in different ways, told interesting stories about themselves.  Some of them spoke their native Gaelic, and other discoursed in the real Irish brogue.


Besides Lafayette, Napoleon, and others which we have mentioned, there arrived numerous ladies and gentlemen of France.  A French gentleman, of the name of Monsieur Guishong, came in, strutted about with an air of importance, and flourished his snuff box, of the contents of which his lady, who was present, partook; and they seemed a happy couple, indeed.

One of the queens of England, being present on the occasion, was bewailing her wretched condition.  She excited the sympathetic feelings of the French lady so powerfully, that, “sans ceremonie,” she walked up to her husband, inserted her hand into his pocket, drew forth his purse, and tendered a portion of the contents to the poor, disconsolate queen.  The proffered present was, however, refused by that illustrious personage, who averred that money could avail nothing toward relieving her mind of the burden which weighted upon it.


It is our conviction that there has been but a very few of this nation called among the Shakers as yet.  We recollect, however, one female spirit, who came, stating that she had received information from her spiritual associates that some of the popes were in hell.


A party of Grecians, among them being the Emperor, arrived, and, by their manners, gave assurance that in civilisation and refinement they could not be excelled.  They lived during the most flourishing period of that nation’s existence, when the arts and sciences were at the highest state of improvement.

It seemed to them that they had been in a lethargic and unconscious state since the period of their leaving the world; until awakened by the sound of a “mighty trumpet,” which attracted them to Watervliet.  They seemed desirous of eliciting all the information they could obtain in relation to their future conduct.


The Persians were similar to the Grecians in refinement of manners, and, like them, eagerly embraced the Gospel, as they said it seemed as though something was lacking necessary to the completion of their happiness.


Some of these people seemed very ferocious and disagreeable in their actions.  The females, when they appeared, invariably covered their faces with veils.


There came six Moorish spirits, who had been drowned from a boat in which they were sailing.  But for the recollection of having drowned, they believed they were still alive, until positively assured of the contrary.


The Emperor and Empress of China, with several princes, mandarins, and officers of state, were conducted to Zion, and there displayed their characteristics.  They conversed but little.


Numerous classes and grades of the Africans race have, at various times, visited at Watervliet.  They exhibited all the qualities appertaining to the natural character of the negro; dancing and singing with wild delight, and imitating every movement which they observed among the whites.

There were several who had been slaves in the Southern States of North America.  They described their sufferings in such a manner that tears were actually drawn from their hearers.  From the tenor of their stories it would seem that the most cruel manner of torture which could be devised, had been inflicted upon some of these slaves, as a punishment for the most trivial offences.


The Loo-Choo Islanders made a favourable impression by their quiet and solemn demeanour.

They appeared desirous of advancing in the true faith; and apparently enjoyed much pleasure by worshipping God in the dance.  One of them sang a very pretty song which was justly admired by all who heard it.


The ancient Jews, who crucified our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, came in great numbers; many of them succeeding in getting into the bodies of the brethren.

They stated that since leaving the body, about eighteen centuries ago, they had been wandering about the earth, during which time they had received the conviction that he whom they had reviled and crucified, was, in verity, the Son of God.

They asserted that the cause of their unbelief was the fact of Jesus being of obscure birth; while, in the person of the Messiah, they expected a descendant from the line of kings.

They gave a very interesting account of the manner of the Crucifixion, and of the disappearance of the body on the “third day.”  This corresponded with the Scriptural account of the Crucifixion and the Ascension.

The Jews conducted themselves with great propriety upon this occasion, and all of them, together with the High Priest, evinced considerable interest in relation to the progress of Christianity in this day.

Joseph of Arimathea, who received from the governor the body of Jesus, and laid it in the sepulchre, was said to be present on this occasion.  He did not succeed, however, in “getting in,” and making himself known, as some of the others did.

These sons and daughters of the tribe of Judah expressed much concern respecting their descendents in the world; upon which they were informed that the poor Jews were scattered far and wide throughout the earth; and that a large majority of them remained in the same state of unbelief in regard to the fulfilled prophecy respecting the first advent of the Messiah, notwithstanding many had been converted to Christianity.  They manifested a strong desire that those who were now living in the world should be convinced of their error, and receive the true faith into their souls, whereupon they were encouraged by the expressed hope and opinion of the elders, that the Almighty Father would infuse his holy spirit into their souls, so that, in due time, they would be called into the path which leads to everlasting glory.



On one occasion, during divine service at Watervliet, the word of the Lord came unto one of the females, urging upon the inhabitants of Zion to refrain from questioning the correctness of, or exercising judgment in relation to the work which had been given to the world in the name of MILLER, such being the work of God, introduced for the purpose of carrying out his all-wise and mysterious plans.

This, our readers will readily observe, has reference to the remarkable revival and religious excitement which has followed Mr. Miller’s interpretation and understanding of the Scriptures in relation to the termination of the world, and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom upon earth.


Having thus endeavoured to give a brief account of this marvellous work of the latter day, we shall proceed to sum up the whole matter.

We have adverted to the return of a large number of spirits, that have existed at different periods since the creation of the world’ yet it is evident, to every reader, that there are still numbers to return, ere the work can be said to approximate toward its completion.  As it is our impression that the work is still in course of progression among the Shakers, or “Society of Believers,” the probability is, that a vast multitude of spirits have arrived since the author left the Society.  Respecting this, however, he is in no possession of no intelligence to communicate to his readers.

As this is the first intimation of this subject which has been made to the world, various opinions, in regard to the matter, will doubtless be entertained.  Those who are acquainted with the character of the Shakers, knowing them to be, in every respect, an exemplary and truly religious people, will, we think, be inclined to entertain a doubting spirit in regard to the truth of our statement.  For we feel sensible, that they can scarcely persuade themselves to believe that such a people, who profess to act in accordance with the divine precepts of the “meek and lowly Saviour,” and hold him up as a bright example for all to follow, could be guilty of an assumption of power such as the ALMIGHTY, alone, can confer upon mortal man.

If confirmation of the facts herein recited may be required, it is only necessary for us to refer the inquirer to the members of the “United Society,” either at Watervliet or New Lebanon; none of whom will feel a disposition to deny the truth of our statement, disinclined as they may be to the inhabitants of a lost world receiving a knowledge of that which they are incapable of understanding.  The object which has caused the matter to be held in privacy, and confined to the society alone, is, that it was deemed inexpedient to apprise “the world” of these things, for the alleged reason that the people, not understanding spiritual matters, would hesitate to believe, and it would be, therefore, “throwing pearls to swine;” for “the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit, for they are darkness to him.”

We have avoided entering into a minute detail of the actions and conversations of the indiscriminate spirits of the several nations, as such a course would, doubtless, prove uninteresting to the reader.  We believe that we proceeded far enough with our description to show, that, if the work is not a reality, it is a most faithful representation of character, and such as would do honour to eminent stage performers.

We desire and state, in conclusion, that, should an interest be manifested in relation to this publication sufficient to warrant the issue of a second edition, any additional facts which may come within the scope of our knowledge, shall be added to the work, and such errors as may be detected in this, will be corrected in the next edition; our object being to give as full and accurate a description of the subject as possible.



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