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There is a material tendency in the human mind to superstition. There is a positive luxury in gratifying that kind of taste, which even the unbelieving Northern brain has not been able to overcome. If it could not believe in Moses and the Prophets, it had no hesitation in swallowing the Fishes and the Foxes. Its faith in spiritualism, as it is called, was something wonderful. We have never been able till lately to see any ground for the marvellous influence of those tappings and trappings which, in the New England States, have so often caused the unseen world to disclose its secrets. But of late our incredulity has received a staggering blow.--We once laughed when we were told of handkerchiefs spontaneously tying themselves into knots, and hair brushes rushing, of their own accord, to people's heads. It seemed a direct insult to the understanding, and even the illuminate admitted as much, but had recourse to spirits to explain the marvel. We might have remained skeptical till our dying day, but certain phenomena have been exhibited of late in Virginia which convince us that there are things in heaven and earth not dreamt of in our philosophy. We may as well premise a precise statement of the facts which have wrought this change of sentiment by reference to the impossibility which has, till lately, existed of providing an adequate supply of provisions for the army and the people. There has been great privation here — we need not deny it,--and even the noble army of General Lee--that army which has so long stood as a wall of fire between our homes and the enemy — was in danger of suffering. In these straits, earnest appeals were made, from time to time, for gifts of provisions to support the army and to keep the poor from starvation. A good many farmers in the interior responded nobly to these calls, and a good many more were equally ready to respond, but had barely sufficient to support their own families. No one could doubt the correctness of the assertion, for, in some cases, when they were asked to sell, they declared that they had nothing; and even Confederate money could not create provisions. The poor would have to starve and the soldiers to suffer.--Their hearts ached to think of it; but they had nothing, and must look in helpless anguish upon the dismal scene. Well, thus much premised, we come to the supernatural part of the subject. A party of Yankee spiritualists, under the direction of that famous wizard, Sheridan, left the mountains of Virginia a few weeks ago, and, in the course of their travels, exhibited a series of wonders never surpassed in the days of witchcraft. They made a few raps with their electrical knuckles at the farm-houses they visited, where previously there was nothing that could, by possibility, be given away or sold, and potatoes, bags of meal, barrels of flour, and endless hams of bacon, came to the light of day. This was no mere illusion of the senses, but a solid and savory reality, which would have gladdened the souls of many a hungry citizen of Richmond and many a worn out soldier in the trenches. Sheridan boasts, in his account of these miraculous transactions, that he caused provisions enough to appear in this way to "feed Lee's army for the three months." It is ridiculous to suppose that these provisions existed before his arrival, and had been ingeniously concealed from public observation. There was no motive for any such deception, and it is repugnant to the patriotism of those who were subject to these manipulations; who were, no doubt, as much astonished as anybody at the apparition of objects whose existence they were in profound ignorance of till the tappings and rappings of Sheridan's spiritualists compelled their manifestation. We can only regret that our own commissaries and other agents for obtaining provisions do not possess this supernatural power. It is to be hoped that General Lee will establish a school of spiritualism in the army, and have its disciples thoroughly trained in the mysteries of that productive art. We feel perfectly satisfied that there are a good many districts yet in the country, where there is now, positively, nothing that could be made to yield abundance of food for man and beast, if we only knew how to do it.
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