Typical Spiritualist session of the 1890s
Gold Digging in Agnew.
During the end of last week the excitement in Agnew was intense amongst the followers of Joseph King, the spiritualist medium. The trance medium, Nellie Suits, who claims to be controlled by the spirits of a band of twelve wild Indians revealed to the willing followers that there was a great amount of gold treasure hid on the premises of her father, Dan Suits. A large band of the leading disciples went to work digging, but the first day found nothing. The second day the medium, who was only twelve years of age, located a spot a little to the northwest of her father’s house, where she claimed a large chest of treasures was buried belonging to one Wm. Overton, a half-breed Indian-negro. A circle was formed round the spot, the medium went into a trance, the ghost dance was performed by the leaders of the Agnew spiritualism and digging commenced in earnest. Amongst the spiritualists who were there was noticed Daniel Suits and family, Mrs. Stone, John Cottrell, Charles Darby and family, Emily Suits, a medium, Elmer Suits, a medium controlled by a big Indian, Hiram Suits and many others of the common kind. The digging kept up until they struck a box, but before they could take the treasure out of the deep hole it instantly vanished. Their spirits keep up as they are sure that their mediums will locate the gold yet. Agnew had a number of meetings held by a person calling herself Mrs. Stranger and by Joseph King and his man Friday. The woman Stranger disgusted all sensible people by her blasphemous talk and nonsensical incantations. At one of King’s meetings he claimed to raise the dead with the clothes they were buried in. Gotlieb Schultz who died about eighteen years ago on the lakeshore near Rosy Mound, was brought up. Also Mrs. Waite, known in Grand Haven, was brought up and identified by her daughter, Mrs. J. D. Edward. Some others were kissed by deceased relatives. Amongst the audience at one of the séances were Mrs. Hassit and Miss Hannah Roost, teacher, both unbelievers who claim it was the old humbug King who did the kissing and woe be to his black beard if the filthy wretch had attempted to kiss them. Miss Roost got hold of King’s shoulder when he was impersonating a spook but she was unable to hold on to him. The public here are thoroughly disgusted with the business. They want this subject kept out of their schools. Nothing ever happened to Agnew that hurt it as this fanaticism has done. Young estimable ladies have been tried to be seduced into their devilish incantations by mesmerism or hypnotism and it is high time for right thinking people who are raising families to speak out. Work has been at a standstill and many families have suffered from the necessities of life. Those who are at the bottom of this iniquity are despised by all people who want to do right.
Joseph King, the St. Joseph medium, is said to have been “exposed” again. Frank Bradt, of Waterfliet, invited King to hold a séance at his house. A Mrs. Pratt thought she saw the spirit of her dead father. Two men jumped forward. One grabbed King’s assistant; the other grabbed the ghost, who it is alleged, was King himself with a false face on. King and his assistant were turned out doors in the rain.
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