In this work, Lionel Weatherly inspects and investigates stories of mirages, prophetic dreams and the experiences of historical figures like Joan of Arc. Illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne, who exposed the fraud of a number of spiritualists including the Davenport Brothers, and who created several famous illusions which are still being performed today, examines the truth behind a number of famous Eastern magical illusions. Maskelyne also scrutinizes mediumistic fraud, questioning the credibility of figures like D. D. Home and Madame Blavatsky, in an entertaining and carefully argued investigation of phenomena which have mystified for centuries.
I have tried my best to make my statements as clear as possible, to invest my explanations with language that anyone could understand. Above all I have, I hope, steered clear of that dangerous shoal, upon which so many authorities on these subjects have wrecked their literary craft; viz., "Religious Arguments."
To Mr. J. N. Maskelyne I here tender my most grateful thanks. Without his help I could not have asked any publisher to launch this work upon the market.
Who is there, in this England of ours - who is there, I may say, at all known to men, who has the right, from practical experience, to speak with such authority on Magic, on Spiritualism, or on the so-called Miracles of Theosophy, as Mr. Maskelyne? Who was it exposed the Davenport Brothers? Who was it who threw many a bombshell into the Spiritualistic camp? Who is it who fearlessly cautions those at the bottom of these latter-day miracles, and bids them Beware? The man whose friendship I value, whose assistance to me has been absolutely indispensable, and who will, I know, as long as he lives, devote himself to the exposure of fraud, deception, and trickery, whenever carried out under the guise of supernatural religion.