The Southern Spiritualist Association

The Atlanta Constitution


Atlanta Constitution, July 7, 1885:

    George W. Kates, the well known spiritualist, asked for a divorce from his wife, Ella Kates.  The bill states that they were married in Covington, Kentucky, on September 6th, 1868, and that he always conducted himself as a good and true husband.  Notwithstanding this fact on the first day of October, 1880, his wife, Ella May, deserted his bed and board, without just cause or provocation.  Since that time they have lived apart, and upon the ground of desertion he asked a total divorce.

    When Mrs. Kates, a very handsome woman, took the stand, during the trial of the case, she testified to some very interesting facts, and which showed up her husband, George, in a very bad light.  She said that her husband forced her to go upon the stage and act with him.  This she did not want to do, but he compelled her to do so.  She said her husband was a low comedian.  She was forced to take any part which came to hand.  She was not much of an actress but had to do the best she could, or stand a scolding from her husband.  She hated the life, and was glad when the troupe she was with went to pieces in Atlanta.

    For years and years past George has failed to support her and children, notwithstanding the fact that he has been making money.  She stated that Mr. Kates had only sent her seven dollars from 1875 to 1880, and that it had been a hard struggle for her to take care of herself and children.  She said that Mr. Kates had deserted her, and that he had spent his money for whisky and other improper purposes.  His character was extremely bad, and she had found it unsafe to allow the children to go with him and therefore had forbidden them doing so.

    When the jury went out they returned with a verdict granting Mrs. Kates, the defendant, a total divorce.

    This leaves Mr. Kates without a wife.  The court ought to furnish the gentleman with one.  He looked like he didn’t relish the action of the court, but walked off apparently unconcerned.

Atlanta Constitution, July 7, 1885:

    Yesterday Judge Hammond decided to allow Mrs. George W. Kates $20 per month alimony for the benefit of herself and children, pending her suit for divorce.  Her husband makes $50 per month.

Atlanta Constitution, November 22, 1885:


    The Spiritualists meet in Good Templars’ hall, corner Whitehall and Hunter streets at 7:30 p.m.  G. W. Kates will speak on “Church and State,” after which Miss Zaida Brown will speak under spirit control.  All are invited.

Atlanta Constitution, November 29, 1885:


    The Spiritualists meet in Good Templar’s hall, corner Whitehall and Hunter streets, at 7:30 p.m.  Address by G. W. Kates on “Blue Laws,” followed by Miss Zaida Brown under spirit control.  All are invited.

Atlanta Constitution, May 23, 1886:


    The Spiritualists will meet today at 8 p. m. in Good Templar’s hall, corner Whitehall and Hunter streets.  Miss Zaida Brown will give an improvised song and lecture on subjects proposed by the audience, followed by psychometric tests.  All are invited.

Atlanta Constitution, July 27, 1886:

    The Southern Spiritualist association will hold its annual encampment on Point Lookout mountain, commencing Sunday, and will continue four weeks.  Several hundred prominent Spiritualists will be present.

Atlanta Constitution, August 25, 1886:

Spirits on Lookout.

    Lookout Mountain, via Chattanooga, Tenn., August 24—The scene is within a stone’s throw of the Natural Bridge.  The accessories are the unrivaled natural environments of Lookout, an octagonal pavilion, a small building yclept “The Cottage,” the Natural Bridge hotel, and several dormitories.  The drama is the meeting of the Southern Association of Spiritualists.  The actors and actresses will reveal themselves as the drama progresses.

    I arrived at the Natural Bridge hotel early Sunday morning.  Approaching the foot of the mountain in a street car, I was for the first time made aware that I had hovering about me the inhabitants of the spirit world.  Mr. A. C. Ladd of Atlanta, suddenly turned to me, pointed the index finger of his right hand over my shoulder, and said:

    “I see a friend of yours behind you.”

    I turned hastily to speak to the friend so unexpectedly present, but Mr. Ladd interrupted me.

    “Your friend,” he said, “is not in the flesh, but in the spirit.”

    He then proceeded to describe, with astonishing accuracy, a friend whom it was impossible that he ever could have known.

    “Your description is correct,” I said, “but my friend is not yet dead.”

    “Did I say that your friend was dead?” he asked.  “It is the spirit of the living that I see.”

    A young man with dark hair and pale face interrupted.

    “[. . .],” he said, gazing fixedly toward the rear of the car.  “Ah, yes!  Thank you!  Yes, I got the [. . .].  Shall I see you soon again?”

    “What’s the matter?” I asked, beginning to feel a clammy sensation creeping down my spinal cord.

    “It’s only a little friend of mine,” the young man said, “now in the spirit world.”

On the Way

up the mountain, no other subject save that of spiritualism was discussed.  When I got out of the carriage at the hotel, I felt myself [. . .] the world of flesh and blood people, and was prepared to find a spirit lurking behind every boulder.

    The stains of travel removed, I joined a group of gentlemen who sat in the shade in [. . .].  One of them was abusing a [. . .] who had been present at a séance.

    “[. . .],” he said, “the fellow wrote the biggest [. . .] that ever appeared in print.  He’s been a spiritualist thirty years.  [. . .] communion with ten thousand spirits [. . .] yet I never knew any that were better [. . .] than those that appeared at [. . .].  That reporter wrote that they [. . .] be d----.

    [. . .] a sad-eyed gentleman, cutting [. . .] speaker’s flow of words.  “I’ve been a spiritualist since the day I [. . .] home from the war.  I have an aunt.  She’s a medium.  She’s been a medium ever since she was born.  All during the war she kept my mother informed about me and a friend of mine.  She’d tell my mother the result of every battle we were in, long before the newspapers told it.  She’d say to my mother: “Don’t worry; you son will return home unharmed, but his friend will be killed.”  It happened just as she said.  I returned to my home unharmed; my friend was killed and now sleeps in the valley of Virginia.  When I heard how my aunt had been with me in spirit all during the war, and how she had told my mother all about me, I became a spiritualist.”

    [. . .] learned subsequently that the gentleman was a Mr. Ro[. . .], of Mississippi.

    [. . .] to conversation such as I have described [. . .]ed me considerably under the [. . .] and prepared me for any number of [. . .].”

[. . .] On the Pavilion

was [. . .] at half past ten o’clock.  Thirty [. . .] later I formed one of the audience that had assembled to witness the morning services.  At one side of the pavilion there was a [. . .]y arranged platform.  It was provided with chairs, a table and an organ.  Above the [. . .] was suspended a beautiful triangle, upon which appeared the words, “Wisdom, Justice, Mercy.”  The platform and the posts that supported the roof of the pavilion were prettily decorated with evergreens.

    Mr. [. . .] Albert, of Chattanooga, the present of the association, was not very well, and so Mr. [. . .], who is the vice president, presided.

    A hymn was sung [. . .]  Miss Lizzie Bailey, a medium, of Louisville, Ky., delivered an invocation in which a good deal was said of nature and her works.  Mr. Ladd announced that a lecture would be delivered by Miss Zaida Brown, of Atlanta.  This young lady is considered one of the most promising trance mediums among southern spiritualists.  Mr. Ladd requested some one in the audience, not a spiritualist, to suggest a subject to Miss Brown.  Nobody responding, he requested me to suggest one.  I said [. . .] we let her lecture on “Immortality.”

    A handsome young lady, decidedly stout, robed in white, arose from her seat at the rear of the platform, and, with eyes tightly shut, [. . .] to the table.  She paused halfway there, then turned slightly to the right, and with a sweep of the right arm in[. . .] flung her fan back against the w[. . .] wall.  Then, with astonishing [. . .], began to address the audience, who she called “friends of earth.”  She spoke for [. . .] minutes, not once opening her eyes.  As far as [. . .] English of it was concerned what she said was absolutely without flaw.  I mention this because it is claimed that

[. . .]tion.

    [. . .] sense in what she said, and [. . .].  Briefly, her lecture, [. . .] viewed, was remarkable [. . .], she stood silent a moment, [. . .] eyes, and walked back to her [. . .]

    [. . .], a lecture by Miss Bailey— [. . .] and that the services were conducted by Mr. Ladd [. . .] presenting to the association [. . .] already mentioned.  This he [. . .] well-chosen words.

    [. . .] in the audience dis[. . .] w[. . .]gered, I among the number.  I addressed Miss Brown and complimented her [. . .] her lecture.  She was polite, but [. . .] no special pleasure on account of [. . .].

    [. . .] knowledge of any[. . .] she remained.  “I was in a deep trance [. . .] I said was prompted by my [. . .].”

    [. . .]

    “Not at all.”

    “How long have you been a spiritualist?”

    “[. . .] years.  I was formerly a member of the Methodist church.”

    “How was it that you became a spiritualist?”

    “[. . .] know it was in my family we are all spiritualists.”

    It had been said that Miss Brown was a psychometric reader.  I said to her:

    “I understand that you can describe people’s characteristics, tell what influences are at work upon them, and reveal, in a word, [. . .] innermost secrets of their souls.”

    [. . .] she replied, “I am a psychometric reader.”

    “Try your art on me,” I suggested.

    She readily consented, but as a condition, required me to place in her hand some article which I was in the habit of carrying about with me.  I gave her my pocket knife.  She at once began the reading.  I may as well confess that, with a single exception she hit it off poorly.  She did not deal entirely in generalities, but now and then,

She Gave Details

which, to say the least, were puzzling.  She described to me the friend Mr. Ladd had described on the street car.  She described a dog of which I am the happy possessor.  She mentioned aspirations I harbor.  She described physical infirmities to which I am subject.  With it all, she declared that she had never heard of me until I arrived at the hotel.  I don’t believe that she ever had, but—well, I am not one of the faithful.

    While others were seeking the dining room at the hotel, I was seeking interviews with certain distinguished inhabitants of the spirit world.  I approached a gentleman and said to him:

    “I am anxious to hold communion with the spirits.  Can you assist me?”

    “I think I can,” he replied, “but, you know, it is generally believed that none but women can be mediums.  If you will agree not to mention my name, so that I shall not be subjected to ridicule, I will try to assist you.”

    I agreed to his condition, and we went to my room, where the séance was held.

    In what took place the gentleman acted as the mouthpiece of the spirits.  What they communicated to him in reply to my questions he told to me in words.  As a preliminary step, he placed his hands upon a small table, and required me to sing a hymn.  I sang a few verses of “Hark, from the Tomb.”  The result was astonishing.  It seemed to me that the table would fall to pieces under the continuous rapping of the spirits.

    “They are here in great numbers,” said the gentleman.  “I have never before felt the influence so strongly.”

    “Is Samuel J. Tilden among them?” I asked.

    “Yes, he is here.”

    “Ask him what his condition is

In the Spirit World.”

     “He says he is comfortable.”

    “Ask him if the weather is hot.”

    A storm of raps greeted the question.

    “Try him on something else,” said the gentleman.

    “Ask him,” I said, “what he thinks of President Cleveland’s policy.”

    Another storm of raps, but no other reply, was the result.

    “Ask him, then,” I said, “what he thinks of the proposed contest over his will.”

    The statesman spirit was evidently disgusted with the questions, because he could not be induced to communicate again anything but raps.

    I requested the gentleman to ask if Jim Moore, the man lynched in Macon, was present.  There was no reply, not even a rap.

    “Socrates is here,” said the gentleman, “and wishes to communicate with you.”

    “All right,” I said, “what has he to say?”

    “He says that you will never be happy until you become a spiritualist.”

    “Ask him,” I suggested, “if it is pleasant to die by the poison of hemlock.”

    “He says that there is no such thing as death.”

    Here there was a tremendous rapping.  When it subsided, I said to the gentleman:

     “Ask if James a Garfield is here.”

    The question was asked and the answer was an affirmative one; but the gentleman appeared unable to understand Garfield’s replies to the questions I suggested.

    “The influence is becoming weak,” he explained, “and we must end the séance.”

    As to the genuineness of these communications, all that I can say is that the gentleman insisted that they were the simon pure article.  I will not offend him by declaring that I did not agree with him.
They did not, however, impress me as certain other happenings did.

Afternoon Services Were Held

at the pavilion, beginning at three o’clock.  Following the usual invocation, Mr. Ladd delivered a lecture on the subject, “There is no Death.”  He spoke forcibly and interestingly, holding the close attention of the audience from beginning to end.  Ex-Lieutenant Governor Sims, of Mississippi, who is not a spiritualist, was charmed with the lecture.  One thing said by Mr. Ladd was received with emphatic expressions of approval by a portion of the audience.  Speaking of progress, he declared that it was always due to the labors of cranks.  “God bless the cranks!” he exclaimed.  Loud applause greeted Mr. Ladd when he took his seat.

    Mrs. Talbert, of Galveston, Texas, was the next lecturer.  She is a handsome old lady of unusual mental powers.  There was little in what she said to which even the most orthodox could object.

    Mr. George W. Kates, of Atlanta, introduced Miss Bailey, who he said would test for the presence of spirits.

    As Miss Bailey arose she turned to Mr. Ladd and said:

    “I am afraid I cannot do much.  A big Indian is trying to control me.”

    “Let him control you,” Mr. Ladd insisted; “let him control you.”

    “No,” replied Miss Bailey, “he will prevent my making the tests.”

    During the next thirty minutes, Miss Bailey said she saw many spirits hovering about different persons.  There was a decided preponderance of patriarchal spirits.  Grandfathers and grandmothers seemed to have taken possession of the pavilion.  In one instance, Miss Bailey described the grandfather of an old gentleman, who listened to her with rapt attention.  Among other things, she said that the grandfather was a pioneer in the wilds of the west, and, that while building a log house, he had injured his right foot with an axe.  The old gentleman declared that Miss Bailey had told the truth.  At intervals, Miss Bailey complained that the big Indian was interfering with her.  Finally, she exclaimed:

    “Why, it is Tecumseh!”

    Having discovered the identity of the meddlesome big Indian, she declined to proceed further.

    Miss Bailey informed me that Tecumseh interfered with the “conditions,” and thus prevented the free play of her powers.

After the Services,

the entire crest of the mountain appeared to be crowded with spirits.  Tecumseh pursued Miss Bailey wherever she went.  Grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, children, noted spiritualists, Moses and Elijah, General Grant, Prince Napoleon, old John Brown, Julius Caesar, a person known as “Polly Blue,” the Apostle Paul—in fact, spirits world without end were there.  My own experience was curious.  Nearly every spiritualist that spoke to me saw from one to a dozen spirits just over my shoulder.  I was told that I possessed mediumistic powers.  I don’t know—perhaps so—but I could make none of the spirits about me materialize.

    There is a livery stable near the hotel.  About dusk, a man whose name is Jones, went in to feed his horse.  Just as he finished his work, the spirit of an Indian seized upon him.  Jones began to talk.  He danced about, and sang out.

    “Waukee-waukee, memus-memus, wock-a-wock-a-whoop.”

    I suppose the language was that of the noble red man, but my linguistic attainments do not extend far beyond English, and I am therefore unable to translate the noble red man’s words.

    Mrs. E. A. Wells, of New York, is here.  She is regarded as one of the most successful trance mediums in the United States.  She not only brings the inhabitants of the spirit world in invisible contact with their “friends of earth,” but she materializes them.  Sunday night, beginning at eight o’clock, she gave two séances in “The Cottage.”  The first was a “dark séance,” and the other was the reverse; that is, a “light séance.”

    There were fourteen of us, only one being of the gentler sex.  A few were spiritualists; most of us, however, were skeptics.  At the request of Mrs. Wells, I made a thorough examination of “The Cottage.”  It contained one door and two windows.  Through the latter it was impossible for a human being to enter.  The door was closed and locked.  There were no trap doors, no knot holes, no possible means of communication from outside with inside.  The “cabinet” was nothing but a corner of the interior shut in by

Heavy Red Curtains.

    Its only furniture was a tiny shelf and a common split-bottom chair.

    In the “dark séance” we fourteen “inquirers” were seated in a circle with our hands joined.  Mrs. Wells was seated in the center.  She kept up a continual clapping of her hands, in order to convince us that she was not practicing a fraud by using them to assist the “manifestations.”

    “Sing something,” said Mrs. Wells, when all were ready.

    Mr. Milton Ochs, of the Chattanooga Times, whose voice is a deep bass, began to sing, “I Have a Father in the Spirit Land,” in tones that might have waked from the dead the oldest mummies in the pyramids of Egypt.  We all joined in, producing a soul-racking discord that I feared would frighten the spirits out of their wits.  Instead, however, they began to manifest themselves.  They would touch us upon the hands, upon the cheeks, upon the shoulders, and in one instance, an “inquirer” had his foot rudely jerked from the round of his chair to the floor.  Whispered words could be heard all over the room.  The spiritualists went wild with delight.  They recognized many of their friends of the spirit world, including grandfathers and grandmothers too numerous to count.  Conversations were held, and much information concerning the spirit world was obtained.  Whenever one of the spiritualists was touched there would be an audible response of “Thank you!”

    A clammy, but vigorous slap upon my right cheek caused me to ask, “Who is there?”  I heard a whispered response, but I could not understand it.  “It says,” Mrs. Wells explained, “that it is your brother.  Have you a brother in the spirit world?”  “Yes,” I replied, wondering in what shape my brother, who died in infancy, would present himself.  But evidently his fraternal affection was not strong, because I heard no more of him.

    The “dark séance” ended,

A Light Was Made,

and we prepared for the materializations.

    While the arrangements were in progress, Mr. Ladd turned to a youthful citizen of Chattanooga, and said:

    “Young man, when you came in you brought three spirits with you: one a lady and two gentlemen.  They accompanied you to the mountain.”

    “You are wrong as to the number,” replied the youthful citizen.  “I brought four spirits with me.  One of them is under the seat of my buggy.”

    “Yes,” remarked an irreclaimable skeptic, “the fourth spirit’s name is ‘Old Rye.’”

    There was no further conversation, but “Old Rye” manifested itself by a very pungent odor.

    The light was reduced to a dimness which barely permitted objects in the room to be distinguished; we, the “inquirers,” were allowed to sit much as we pleased, except that we were required to keep our feet upon the floor.  Mrs. Wells entered the cabinet; and then, Mr. White, Mrs. Wells’s “manager”—confederate?—announced that the “conditions” for the materializations were complete.

    I shall make no attempt to account for what I saw.  I believe the remarkable success of the séance was the result of a trick, but I am unable to prove it.

    The first materialization was that of a little girl, whom Mr. White called “Eunice.”  She appeared upon the floor, outside of the cabinet, so that all of us could see her.  Following “Eunice” came, perhaps, seventy-five materializations.  They were of all sizes and of both sexes.  They held whispered conversations with nearly every one of the fourteen present.  Some of the spiritualists declared that they recognized grandparents, wives, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and friends, long since departed to the spirit world.  I recognized nobody—I mean, no spirit.  But I went up to the cabinet and had a short talk with one of the materializations.  Concluding it, I said:

    “This is all quite wonderful, and I am not prepared to explain it.  I would like, however, to look into the cabinet and see if Mrs. Wells is there.”

    I was communicating with

An Accommodating Spirit,

for it stepped aside, drew the red curtains back and permitted me to look in.  I saw Mrs. Wells sitting in the split-bottom chair, apparently in a trance.  As to the truth of this I am ready to make oath.  Somebody said, “Do you see Mrs. Wells?”  “Yes,” I replied, “Mrs. Wells is sitting in the chair.”  I had scarcely uttered the words when the materialization, or whatever it was, collapsed in front of me and seemingly disappeared into the floor.

    In the language of another skeptic, “it was the most perfect thing I ever beheld.”

    All things come to an end, except in the spirit world, and the “influence” finally weakened and the “unfoldments” ceased.  On the way back to the hotel I said to Mr. H. C. Cameron, of Hamilton, Ga., who is not a spiritualist: “What do you think of it?”  He replied: “I don’t know.  I believe it was a trick, but I can’t explain it.”  Out in front of the hotel I said to Mr. Ladd: “What do you think of it?”  “Why,” he replied, “the manifestations were genuine.  What do you think of it?”

    I replied that while I could not explain it, I did not believe that I had seen materialized spirits.  Mr. Ladd, entirely too good natured and liberal to object to my honesty, said: “Well, I am sorry.”  Then he said good night and sought his cough.

    I went to my room about one o’clock, with Mr. Ochs as a companion.  Fifteen minutes later I was sound asleep.  About four o’clock I was awakened by a tremendous rapping, seemingly just above my head.  I sprang out of bed, wondering what “influence” had induced the spirits to disturb my rest.  Mr. Ochs was sitting on the edge of the bed, drawing on his socks.

    “What’s the matter?” I inquired.

    “Of yer don’ coom oud in der bigges’ hurry righd away, der hack weill be gone already, aind it?” somebody replied in the hall.

    It was John, the Dutch hostler, who had been directed to call Mr. Ochs very early.

A Slate-Writing Séance

was given me by Mrs. Cissna, of Cincinnati, early yesterday morning.  It took place in the cottage.  She had a double slate, which turned upon small hinges.  On the inside, I placed a small piece of slate pencil, closed the slate, grasped it firmly with my hand so that it could not be opened, and then held it under a small table.  Mrs. Cissna grasped the end opposite me.  She talked with me perhaps ten minutes, on all sorts of subjects.  Suddenly I heard the scratching of the pencil upon the slate.  I felt no movement, but the sound of the pencil was very plain.  When the sound ceased, Mrs. Cissna said:

    “If you have finished, please rap on the table.”

    Three very distinct raps were given.  I removed the slate from under the table, opened it, and found these words written in a bold hand:

    “We can tell no news.”

    Other experiments brought other communications, none of them legible.

    How it was done I can’t explain; but it was certainly done.

    It is not within the province of a reporter to express opinions.  In this instance, however, I can’t resist the temptation to declare:

    First—There are those here who are sincere believers in spiritualism—those who are honest in their belief as honesty itself.

    Second—There are those here who are arrant frauds, bent upon making what they can out of the childlike faith of those whom I have just mentioned.

    Third—Genuine spiritualists are the happiest beings on earth.

    Next Sunday the meetings will close with an interesting programme.  In the meantime “The Undiscovered Country” has been transferred to Lookout mountain.


Atlanta Constitution, September 10, 1886:

The Spiritualists.
Some of the Plans They Have In View.
The Campmeeting on Lookout Mountain—An English Lady’s Remarkable Experience—An Imposing Temple to be Erected in Atlanta—Colonel Hardin’s Story—Another Story.

     Since the close of the campmeeting on Lookout mountain, the spiritualists of Atlanta have manifested great activity.  They are maturing plans to make the next campmeeting an event of much importance to persons of their faith.  Yesterday a Constitution reporter had an interesting interview with a leading spiritualist, in the course of which some marvellous stories were related.

    “The Association of Southern Spiritualists,” said the spiritualist, “owns sixteen acres near the Point on Lookout mountain.  The association also owns the Natural Bridge house and the adjoining cottages, and a pavilion for public meetings.  Next year, the entire property will be managed by the association.

Additional Cottages Will Be Erected,

so that there will be ample accommodations for the large number of spiritualists who will attend the campmeeting.  Mr. George W. Kates, the secretary of the association, is already at work, preparing for next summer’s exercises.  The most noted trance lecturers, slate-writing mediums and materializing mediums in the country will be engaged, and they will give séances every day.”

    “Are there many spiritualists in Georgia?”

    “Yes, the number is large.  Many do not care to avow their faith, but they are none the less spiritualists.  You’d be surprised, upon inquiry to know just how many spiritualists there are in Georgia.”

    “Do all spiritualists have faith in mediums?”

    “Oh, yes.  It is through mediums that

The Spirits Manifest Themselves.

    On the last day of the campmeeting held on Lookout mountain in August, I witnessed some wonderful manifestations.  Hundreds of spirits were materialized, and were recognized by their friends of earth.  The psychometric readings of Miss Zaida Brown were simply astonishing.”

    “Can’t you describe a few of them?”

    “I’ll tell you of one that caused a great deal of comment.  An English lady, whose home is in London, was psychometrized by Miss Brown.  You know the psychometric reader always holds in her hand some article belonging to the person psychometrized.  The lady gave Miss Brown a gold ring.  As soon as she did it, Miss Brown said: ‘It seems to me that this ring has just come to you

From a Long Distance.

    It seems to me that it was lost and has just been found.’  The lady appeared very much surprised.  ‘You are right,’ she said; ‘I left that ring in my room at a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina.  This morning, in my room at the Read house in Chattanooga, I found the ring on the floor.  I have no idea how it was transported from Charleston to Chattanooga.’”

    “Did Miss Brown make a spiritualist of the lady?”

    “I don’t know about that, but I do know that the lady left Lookout astonished at what she had seen and heard.”

    “Do you believe that spiritualism will ever take strong hold upon the people?”

    “Of course, I do. That is what it has already done.  Spiritualism is

The Religion of the Future.

    Twenty-five years from today, all other religions will be obsolete.”

    “Is it the plan of the spiritualists to attempt to convert others to their faith?”

    “No, it is not.  They believe that spiritualism will prevail without such an attempt.”

    The spiritualist informed the reporter that it was the intention of the spiritualists of Atlanta to erect an imposing temple.  They have not yet decided when they will begin its erection, but it will probably be soon.  When it is ready for dedication, a grand gathering of spiritualists from all parts of the country will take place in Atlanta.  The ceremonies will be of great interest, and will last through several days.

    Colonel Mark A. Hardin, clerk of the house of representatives of the general assembly,

Is Not a Spiritualist,

but he knows a good deal about spiritualistic manifestations.  He was lolling in a comfortable chair in the office of the secretary of state, yesterday afternoon, when the reporter entered.

    “What’s the matter with you?” he asked, observing the reporter’s solemn mien.

    “Been talking with a spiritualist.”

    “Ah, you have!  Don’t believe in spiritualism myself, but I’ve seen some mighty curious things said to have been done by the spirits—get down, you rascal!”

    The last remark was addressed to a small terrier dog.  By the way, that dog is the colonel’s inseparable companion.  Sometime ago the dog rubbed all the hair off of the end of his tail, and the colonel sent him to Salt Springs to recuperate.  The water—or something else—caused a new growth of hair, much to the colonel’s delight.

But, About the Spiritualists,

    “I knew a lady,” the colonel said, “who was a strong believer in spiritualism.  She’d make a table fairly dance with rappings.  Desiring to aid the manifestations, I built a very strong table for her use.  One day she induced the spirits to pounce upon it, and bless me, if they didn’t waltz it out of the house into the garden, and finally, waltz every leg it had into splinters.  I stopped fooling with the spirits after that.”

    Colonel J. F. Jones, who heard the colonel’s story, said not a word.

    The reporter felt more solemn than ever.

    There is a lady in Atlanta, a spiritualist, who relates the following peculiar experience:

    “My uncle, who lived, before the war, near Augusta, was found dead one morning, lying upon his back in his bed.  A few days after he was buried,

I Passed the Church,

on one side of which was the cemetery, and saw him sitting upon the steps.  He was pointing to his right ear with the forefinger of his right hand.  The apparition frightened me, but it also caused me to have the body exhumed.  After taking it from the grave, a medical examination revealed a nail, which had been driven into my uncle’s head just behind the right ear.  He had been murdered, but the murderer was never discovered.”

    This lady insists that there are persons in Augusta who will substantiate her story.

    The spiritualists of Atlanta have very regular Sunday services, which are always very interesting.  Miss Brown, the psychometrist, frequently delivers trance lectures.  This young lady is an interesting study, and is a puzzle sufficient to worry the most skeptical.

Atlanta Constitution, September 1, 1886:

     Chattanooga, Tenn., August 31—The southern spiritualist association, which has been in session at their camp ground on Lookout mountain during the past month, has adjourned.  The attendance was large during the extra session and the meetings drew large outside crowds.

Atlanta Constitution, December 18, 1886:

     George W. Kates was given an absolute divorce from his wife, Ella M. Kates.  In his declaration the plaintiff recited the fact of his marriage in Covington, Ky., in 1868, and that he was compelled to separate from her in ’80 because she deserted him without just cause.

Atlanta Constitution, June 21, 1887:

Southern Spiritualists.
Something About the Approaching Season of Their Lookout Mountain Camp Meeting.

     The fourth annual meeting of the Lookout Mountain campmeeting of spiritualists will begin on July 1st and continue to August 1st.

    At the natural bridge springs on the mountain the association own grounds, in connection with which are cottages and a hotel, now under the management of the association.  Those who do not care to lodge in either are invited to bring tents and they can procure meals at the hotel at twenty-five cents each.

    Quite a distinguished array of mediums and lecturers is announced by the association as under engagement to appear during the term, and some of them will remain throughout the season.  Among the names are those of W. J. Colville, trance; Mrs. Amelia Colby Luther, normal; George P. Colby, trance and tests; Mrs. S. A. H. Talbot, inspirational; Miss Zaida Brown, trance and tests; Dr. Samuel Watson, normal; James Copeland, platform tests, Mrs. Ida Wilson Porter, fire test and descriptive.

    Of the mediums who will give private sitting and test trances are Mrs. E. A. Wells, of New York; Mrs. M. B. Thayer-Goodsell, of Minnesota; Mrs. Anna Cooper Cissun, of Cincinnati; Mrs. S. P. Burnett-Mayer, of Chattanooga and Mrs. Abbie E. Cutter, of Massachusetts.

    These mediums all have specialties, and claim to perform spiritualistic wonders from slate writing to materialization.

    The name of Mr. A. C. Ladd, of Atlanta, appears in the board of directors, as vice-president of the association.

    The meeting will doubtless be largely attended.  The array of talent shows that the exercises will be of more than ordinary interest.

Atlanta Constitution, July 4, 1887:

Kates to Marry Again.

     Chattanooga, Tenn., July 2—Geo. W. Kates, the leading light of the spiritualist association, today took out license to wed Miss Sadie Brown, the trance medium of Atlanta.  The marriage will occur on Lookout Mountain Tuesday and will be celebrated with great eclate [sic].

Atlanta Constitution, July 7, 1887:

Kates Is Happy.
He Has Found a Spiritualistic Affinity in Miss Zadia [sic] Brown.

     George W. Kates, sometimes called “professor,” but generally known as a spiritualist, has achieved happiness for a second time.  His divorce suit in Fulton superior court will be remembered.  The following telegram from Chattanooga will explain itself:

    Chattanooga, Tenn., July 6—A singular wedding occurred on Point Lookout this afternoon, being the marriage of George W. Kates, the great spiritualist, and Miss Zadia Brown, the trance medium.  The ceremony was performed by Rev. W. C. Watson, one of the leading spiritualists, and was a most peculiar one.  The couple were asked if they would love, honor, etc., until called into the spirit land.  They assented, and were pronounced husband and wife by the authority invested in the Rev. Mr. Watson by the spirits.  Two hundred spiritualists witnessed the marriage, and several addresses were made to the couple.

Atlanta Constitution, July 25, 1889:

     The Spiritualists at Lookout—The crowd at the Spiritualist campmeeting on Lookout mountain is increasing, and the lectures are exciting great interest.  It is thought that a large number of people from Atlanta will visit the campmeeting Saturday and Sunday.

Atlanta Constitution, January 27, 1890:

Were Chemicals Used?
The Spiritualists’ Meeting Last Night, During Which a Bet Was Offered.

     The Spiritualists held an exceedingly interesting meeting yesterday evening at 7 ½ Alabama street.  The meeting was opened by the singing of a hymn, after which Mr. Gillet delivered an interesting address on the reasonableness and advantage of spiritualism.  Miss Maud Jones then commenced a manifestation of slate writing.  She had just got well under way, when a voice from the back of the hall broke the silence by offering to wager $500 that the slate was covered with a chemical preparation.  Miss Jones’s mother rose from her place near the platform and immediately accepted the bet.  She even offered to make the terms more favorable, and bet $500 to $100 that no chemical preparation could be found on her daughter’s slate.  The sound of many voices arose, and before the young many who had offered the original bet could reach the stage to put up his money, the meeting was declared adjourned.

    The Spiritualists were not the least disturbed by the occurrence, but they thought the spirits would be unwilling to manifest themselves after such a question had been raised, and they, therefore, decided to adjourn.

Atlanta Constitution, February 12, 1890:

Change Their Names.
A Mother and Three Children Are Tired of Their Surnames.
The Filing of a Petition in the Superior Court Brings Up
What Was at the Time Quite a Sensational Divorce.

     “Mrs. M. E. Kates.”

    After wearing that name for almost a quarter of a century, the owner now asks the court of Fulton county to relieve her from it, and restore to her that of her maidenhood, Miss M. E. LaVette.

    On this there hangs a story.

    Three children—two girls and a boy, the eldest twenty years, and the youngest sixteen—these also ask relief from the name of their father, and permission to wear that of their mother.

    The name of George W. Kates was, several years ago quite well known in Atlanta, and throughout the south among a certain class of people.

    He was a luminous light in the spiritualistic army, editor of the “Light for Thinkers,” an official organ of southern spiritualists, during the period of its existence published in Atlanta.

    At this time, Geo. W. Kates and the petitioner in the paper filed yesterday, Mrs. M. E. Kates, were husband and wife.  Until some five years ago they apparently lived happily together, both taking a hand in the management of the newspaper.

    A local sensation was created one day by the filing of divorce proceedings by Mr. Kates.  This developed as the case proceeded, showing up a rather sensational state of affairs in the Kates household.

    The divorce trial was an interesting one.  A separation was finally granted, Kates agreeing to contribute so much per month for a year toward the support of his youngest child, all three of the children having been awarded to the custody of the mother by the court.

    The granting of the divorce made still other sensational developments.  On the very day of the decree, Kates took unto himself another wife.  This is set forth in the petition entered by Mrs. Kates yesterday.  It afterwards transpired that Kates had been smitten with the charms of wife No. 2 for a long time before he wedded her, and that all the trouble was on this account.  He had worked up the divorce action so as to marry again.

    Kates, just after his divorce and sudden marrying again, left Atlanta and its memories behind him, locating in Nashville.

    Mrs. Kates and her children remained living in Atlanta.  In her petition Mrs. Kates says her divorced husband never contributed a cent to the support of the youngest child, as he had agreed to do.  She recites the fact of his hasty second marriage, and other circumstances connected with the case.  She says Kates left her and her children in needy circumstances, but that together they have struggled on and are now striving to lay up a competency.
 She refers to the trial of the divorce case in Fulton superior court, and asks in conclusion that the name she bore before her marriage be restored to her and also to the three children.  That name was Miss M. E. LaVette.

    The petition is returnable to the spring term of court.

[George and Ella were married in Covington in 1868, but Atlanta Constitution, August 4, 1876, reported that the Atlanta Dramatic Association was performing The Merchant of Venice, with the parts of Old Gibbs and Tubal being performed by Mr. G. W. Kates and the part of Jessica being performed by Mrs. Ella M. Kates, but, a month later, Ella was back to using her maiden name, Atlanta Constitution, September 3, 1876: “The Atlanta Dramatic association will produce the celebrated comedy of ‘Caste’ at DeGive’s opera house, Thursday evening, September 14, for the benefit of G. W. Kates, their efficient stage manager.  Upon this occasion Miss Ella Leavitt, a professional actress, and Mr. Kates will appear.  Mr. Kates and Miss Leavitt have performed this comedy, with great success, in the principal theatres of the country.  Added to this, Miss Leavitt is now making engagements with theatres to produce a new play written by a prominent Philadelphia playwright entitled ‘Restitution.’  We feel confident in predicting that ‘Caste’ will be a great treat to the Atlanta play-goers, with the above professionals and the picked performers of our splendid dramatic association in the caste of characters.  Mr. Kates and Miss Leavitt have spent the summer with us.  Now, let us send them away with a rousing benefit, to recall their pleasant recollections of our city and its amateurs.”

    George Kates and his second wife Zaida later moved again, to Washington, D. C., and continued for years as national leaders of the spiritualist movement, in connection with the National Spiritualist Association, Kates serving for years as the General Secretary of the organization.]

Atlanta Constitution, March 8, 1890:

Spiritualism in Court.
Mrs. Judge Ivey and Miss Maud Jones Sent for by Chief Connolly.

     Spiritualism in court!

    That is what it is, and those who are sufficiently curious will have an opportunity of witnessing the trial of Miss Maud Jones, charged with cheating and swindling.

    Miss Jones is an “independent slate writer,” and has been written of in these columns on several occasions.  She formerly occupied rooms in the Chamberlin & Johnson building, but has recently removed to the home of her mother, Mrs. Judge Ivey, No. 303 Whitehall street.

    Her methods are simply that she gives sittings to those who are interested in spiritualistic matters, at one dollar an hour, provided they receive any answers to the questions they choose to write.  If there is no answer, no charge is made.

    The questions are written on slips of paper, which are placed between two slates, and the answers are written on these slates, as she claims, by spiritualistic agency.

    Detective Cason swore out the warrant, at the instance of Chief Connolly.  He and Detective Bedford went to the residence and requested Miss Jones to go to the chief’s office, which she did, accompanied by her mother.

    Judge Owens, before whom the warrant was sworn out, left the fixing of the bond to Chief Connolly, who accepted a $100 bond for Miss Jones’s appearance at court Monday afternoon.

    Warden Hunter made a case against Miss Jones for doing business without a license, and this will be heard before Recorder Kontz Tuesday.

    Judge Ivey says that he inquired of the city officials, when Miss Jones first began giving sittings, to know if she was subject to the license ordinance, and was informed that there was no ordinance governing the case.

    Mrs. Ivey, who is a materializing medium, says that it is the first time they have ever been molested by the officers of the law; that the spiritualists are a religious body, incorporated under the laws as such.

Atlanta Constitution, July 17, 1890:

The Spiritualists’ Camp Meeting.
The Lookout Mountain Association Meets in Chattanooga.

     The Lookout Mountain Spiritualistic association has been holding its annual camp meeting, beginning several days ago.

    Colonel A. C. Ladd, a leading Spiritualist of this city, returned from Chattanooga last night, where he has been attending the meetings.

    The spiritualists have magnificent grounds for their meetings, and the session this summer has been unusually large.

    Colonel Ladd spoke with enthusiasm of the many beautiful manifestations that were received by the various spiritualists in attendance.

    Tuesday evening Mrs. Mott, of St. Louis, one of the most prominent slate-writing mediums in the country, gave some interesting exhibitions of this wonderful branch of spiritualism at the Natural Bridge hotel, in the presence of a very large audience assembled to witness the phenomena.

    Besides Mrs. Mott, there were in attendance at the camp meeting many of the most eminent spiritualists in the country, and the meetings were very much enjoyed by all who attended them.

Lima (Ohio) Daily Times, August 5, 1891:

A Spiritualistic Creed.
Principles of the Newly Organized Spiritualist Church South.

     Chattanooga, Aug. 5—The campmeeting of the Association of Spiritualists, held on Lookout mountain, has adjourned till next year, after adopting the following declaration of principles of the newly organized Spiritualistic church south:

    I believe in an infinite, eternal, self-existent source of all life and unchangeable law, in which there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning, but whose divine economy has provided avenues for the solace of every bowed spirit, and hopes for every aspiring soul, through the ministration of angels.

    I accept the scriptural declaration of the communion of spirits with mortals, the gifts of prophecy, inspiration, speaking in unknown tongues, healing and the materialization of Jesus after his crucifixion, and I believe in the continuance and possession of these gifts and power by many from that day to the present time.

    I believe that for the transgression of every physical, moral and spiritual law I shall personally pay the penalty.

Atlanta Constitution, July 27, 1896:

     The Southern Spiritualist Association is now holding its annual camp meeting at Natural Bridge springs on the mountain and daily parties are made up among the guests of the inn to attend séances, get slate written messages, hear spirit rappings and other remarkable spiritualistic manifestations.

[The Association sold its property on Lookout Mountain in 1890, but continued to have its camp meetings there for a while.]


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