This article approaches spiritism from a scientific point of view including neurology and psychology. Beard's intention was to point out the failures of spiritualists and their lack of scientific understanding. He did this by criticizing how supporting evidence was gathered, mainly through testimony of human beings. However, Beard understood that the senses cannot always be trusted and that expert knowledge is crucial in deducing, explaining, and understanding the situation.
As the oracle gave place to the astrologer, the astrologer to the alchemist, the alchemist to the witch, the witch to the magnetizer, the magnetizer to the clairvoyant, the clairvoyant to the medium, the medium to the mind-reader, upon whom now shall the spirit of the mind-reader fall?
First published in The North American Review, Vol. 129, No. 272 (Jul., 1879); PDF 11 pages.
word count: 6555 which is equivalent to 26 standard pages of text