[A Parable of the Séance Room]
Theosophist, May, 1884
Article Selections | Notes by H.P.B.
. . . At the time when European civilization first invaded Japan, mirrors were unknown among the common people. Many of them had never seen a looking glass. . . . One day a poor coolie . . . found a small pocket-mirror . . . He picked it up, and as he looked at it, the tears came in his eyes and the glow of a holy emotion spread over his face. “Is it possible?” he said, “here I behold the face of my dear departed father, living and moving just as I knew him when he lived. . . .”
[etc. etc. The story proceeds to describe the situation wherein he and his wife fight over their differing perceptions in the mirror, he believing he sees his father, she believing she sees another woman who her husband must be in love with. The story closes with a priest, contending that they have both been fooled, because the face in the mirror is clearly that of an old priest.]
Moral. [H.P.B.]—It is a parable of the “séance room.” Every Spiritualist sees in the same “materialized form” the reflection of his own image, distorted in the mould of his expectation and fancy—the wish being the father to the thought.