“The fact alone, that a now notorious London juggler refused to accept a challenge for £1,000 offered him by Mr. Algernon Joy, to produce such manifestations as are usually obtained through mediums, unless he was left unbound and free from the hands of a committee, negatives his expose of the occult phenomena.
Clever as he may be, we defy and challenge him to reproduce, under the same conditions, the “tricks” exhibited even by a common Indian juggler. For instance, the spot to be chosen by the investigators at the moment of the performance, and the juggler to know nothing of the choice; the experiment to be made in broad daylight, without the least preparations for it; without any confederate but a boy absolutely naked, and the juggler to be in a condition of semi-nudity.
After that, we should select out of a variety three tricks, the most common among such public jugglers, and that were recently exhibited to some gentlemen belonging to the suite of the Prince of Wales:
1. To transform a rupee – firmly clasped in the hand of a skeptic – into a living cobra, the bite of which would prove fatal, as an examination of its fangs would show.
2. To cause a seed chosen at random by the spectators, and planted in the first semblance of a flower-pot, furnished by the same skeptics, to grow, mature, and bear fruit in less than a quarter of an hour.
3. To stretch himself on three swords, stuck perpendicularly in the ground at their hilts, the sharp points upward; after that, to have removed first one of the swords, then the other, and, after an interval of a few seconds, the last one, the juggler remaining, finally, lying on nothing – on the air, miraculously suspended at about one yard from the ground.
When any prestidigitateur, to begin with Houdin and end with the last trickster who has secured gratuitous advertisement by attacking spiritualism, does the same, then – but only then – we will train ourselves to believe that mankind has been evolved out of the hind-toe of Mr. Huxley’s Eocene Orohippus.”
H. P. Blavatsky