Acting by Spirit Influence, by Junius Brutus
All great actors are media for spirit influx. It would be a marvellous
sight if the curtain which hangs between the spirit world and the stage
were uplifted, and the invisible drama which is being enacted exposed to
view. Then would you behold "the airy spirits" to whom Shakspeare so
truthfully alludes, moving like comets in gorgeous light around the
Inspiration is motion, acceleration, intensity; it has no part or
parcel with lethargy.
I recall my past experience, portions of which I review with regret. In
endeavoring to obtain this energy, this motion, this acceleration, I was
obliged in my ignorance to resort to artificial means. A knowledge of the
laws of spirit life would have enabled me to have avoided this mistake;
but that knowledge I did not possess.
The actor of the present day is blessed with the knowledge that he has
merely to throw himself into the magnetic state, and become en rapport
with spiritual conditions, to find himself inspired inflated with the
divine magnetic current which flows from the spirit world to the
inhabitants of earth. If a player desires to represent a certain
character, let it be the subtle, fiend-like Richard III. or the crafty
Richelieu, the customary mode of studying such characters is to endeavor
to imagine one's self to be the person. That is the first step towards
mediumship; for it is one degree from the natural, towards the superior
state. Usually, through ignorance, the student proceeds no further than
this point; and the spirit assistants can only partially aid him. But an
actor possessing the knowledge of placing himself en rapport with these
characters, whether traditional or real, is immediately cut loose from
his surroundings and becomes the Richard or Richelieu whom he would
From the brain of every spirit medium ascends a blazing sun, which burns
the brighter when the magnetic relations between it and the spirit world
are most perfect. This blazing light, this radiant effulgence, is
perceived instinctively, though not knowingly, by every individual who
listens to a discourse from a "trance medium." So from the brain of the
actor this glorious light throws out its rays into the assembly, and when
he becomes fully inspired, its magnetic influence is felt with
overpowering vividness; and the result is, the audience themselves are
set in motion, and from pit to gallery you hear vociferous applause.
There are actors who are good, and who acquire fame, who have never felt
this divine afilatus. The intellect of the audience appreciates them for
their declamation, for the art and artifice which they manifest; but the
humblest and most illiterate of that assembly know well that this studied
eloquence does not fire the brain.
But it will not do to trust blindly to spirit control; a knowledge and
constant study of human nature is necessary.
It is a well-known fact that a person steadily looking at one point will
influence twenty others to look at that point also, and to imagine they
see some object before them. Understanding this principle, you may work
upon each attribute in the minds of your audience. If fear is to be
aroused, do as your neighbor does as he hastily enters your house after
meeting with a fearful calamity. You become excited before even hearing
the evil which has befallen him. Every faculty can be acted upon in the
same manner grief and joy alike.
Of the ventriloquial powers of the human voice, many speakers are
ignorant. The tyro on the stage wishing to make the remotest individual
in his audience hear, bawls at the top of his lungs. He is unaware that
the organs of the human voice are a kind of electrical machine, governed
by the will-power, and that the actor has merely to throw his will and
direct his mind to a given point, for his voice to reach that point and
produce a far more startling effect than the loudest blast that any pair
of lungs could bring forth. Thus the lowest whisper can be made to tell
at the farthest corner of the theatre.
But perhaps I have said enough of the methods best adapted to produce
representations of character on the stage. The question may arise in the
mind of the reader, whether there is any opportunity of exercising the
talent of acting in the spirit world, supposing that talent to have been
cultivated in this.
In the remotest ages, and among the most uncultivated nations, as well as
among the most highly civilized, the power of representing human passions
and events has been exercised instinctively, showing this power to be as
much a portion of the soul's attributes as the gift of thought or of
fancy. If one belongs to the immortal condition, the other does also.
One of the chief enjoyments which the all-wise Creator has made
attainable to the inhabitants of the starry heavens is that of dramatic
representations of life, character, and events, transpiring in the
countless worlds that wheel through space.
The field of the actor for depicting the truths of human nature in the
world of spirits is vast and unconfined!
Eloquence is appreciated on earth, but that appreciation is weak and
tasteless compared with the estimation of that "gift of the gods" by the
inhabitants of the summer land.
Some blind, short-sighted investigators tell you there is no speech among
us; they would lead you to imagine that we inhabit a world blank and void
of sound; that stillness more unbroken than the grave pervades our
Conjure up the picture in your fancy, reader the soul shrinks back from
such a state! The spirit world is all voice. Never have I heard notes
clearer, louder, deeper, than resound through the electric air that
surrounds my home.
The gift of speaking, and of representing individualities separate from
your own identity, is a spiritual gift decidedly; and with us theatres
and amphitheatres are as numerous as churches are with you. I will leave
the description of these structures for the ready pen and speech of our