Guided by Spirits of Some Kind

John Curtis Bundy, “Editor Colby and His Indian,” Religio-Philosophical Journal, December 31, 1887:6

By the time this appeared, Bundy’s Religio-Philosophical Journal in Chicago was at odds in many ways with Colby’s Banner of Light in Boston.  Bundy made no secret of what he regarded as the Banner’s gullibility in the face of fraud and trickery in the production of spiritualistic phenomena.—JB

To the Editor of the Religio-Philosophical Journal:

The venerable editor of the Banner of Light recently spent a week in New York, stopping at the Coleman House.  Everybody who knows Mr. [Luther] Colby knows that he has a control named “Ocean Brave,” a very large and powerful Indian, and the two treat each other with the utmost familiarity.  A week ago last Sunday morning Judge Cross called on Mr. Colby, and found him in a most doleful state of mind.  “Ocean Brave” had stolen and carried away Mr. Colby’s vest.  The veteran editor sat on the side of his bed lamenting his sad lot.  “It’s no use, Judge,” said he, “I can’t go out to-day.  This is the second time that this trick has been played on me.”  Then an expression of wrath gathered on the face of the amiable editor, and, shaking his fist, he cried out, “D--n you, ‘Ocean Brave,’ if you don’t tell me where that vest is I will never speak to you again.”

Then Mr. Colby began a hunt for the vest.  He searched the bed clothes; he turned over the mattress; he looked under the bed; then he rummaged the bureau drawers, and banged back each empty drawer with alarming emphasis.  He hunted through a closet, under the wash basin, in every part of the room, and then sat down disconsolate.  “No use, Judge; can’t go out to-day.  The fellow has put up this job on me just to keep me in the house.  It’s the meanest trick he has ever served me.”

About this time Cross was shaking his sides with laughter, holding up before him a newspaper, pretending to read.  Colby saw it and cried out: “D--n you, what are you laughing about?  This is no laughing matter.  How would you like it if a spirit should come and carry off your vest, and so prevent you going out on Sunday morning?”

At last Mr. Colby became furious.  He spoke to “Ocean Brave” in the most emphatic manner possible.  He used the very strongest kind of strong language.  The chief was given to understand that if he did not at once inform Mr. Colby where he could find his vest there would be trouble.  He stood up and shook his fist right in the Indian’s face, and assured him that he would be knocked out in true Boston John L. Sullivan style if he failed to confess at once, and tell where the lost vest could be found.

A moment later Mr. Colby smiled.  He fairly laughed.  Then he proceeded to slip off his suspenders, and then he began pulling his second nethermost garment over his head.  There was the vest, buttoned up to the editorial chin.  It was all there, not a thread lacking.  And then, with a beaming countenance the venerable editor of the Banner of Light turned to his guest and said: “I knew I could make him tell!”


This incident vouched for by the writer as literally true, is valuable corroboration of our esteemed contemporary’s competency as a witness of spirit phenomena.  It comes in good time to put beyond question the value of his testimony as to various materializations which he witnessed while on that memorable visit, and which may be found on the editorial page of his excellent paper for December 10th.  It goes without saying that a man who buttons on his vest next to his flannel is a cautious man, and well qualified for investigating spirit wardrobes.  Then too, the brilliant bellicose attitude assumed toward Ocean Brave, whereby the editor makes the noble red man whisper in his ear that the vest is under his linen, shows wonderful rapport with spirits of some kind.

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