“Professor Pepper, director of the Polytechnic Institute of London, invented a clever apparatus to produce spiritual appearances on the stage, and sold his patent in 1863, in Paris, for the sum of 20,000 francs. The phantoms looked real and were evanescent, being but an effect produced by the reflection of a highly-illuminated object upon the surface of plate-glass. They seemed to appear and disappear, to walk about the stage and play their parts to perfection.
Sometimes one of the phantoms placed himself on a bench; after which, one of the living actors would begin quarreling with him, and, seizing a heavy hatchet, would part the head and body of the ghost in two. But, joining his two parts again, the spectre would reappear, a few steps off, to the amazement of the public.
The contrivance worked marvelously well, and nightly attracted large crowds. But to produce these ghosts required a stage-apparatus, and more than one confederate. There were nevertheless some reporters who made this exhibition the pretext for ridiculing the spiritists – as though the two classes of phenomena had the slightest connection!
What the Pepper ghosts pretended to do, genuine disembodied human spirits, when their reflection is materialized by the elementals, can actually perform. They will permit themselves to be perforated with bullets or the sword, or to be dismembered, and then instantly form themselves anew.
But the case is different with both cosmic and human elementary spirits, for a sword or dagger, or even a pointed stick, will cause them to vanish in terror. This will seem unaccountable to those who do not understand of what a material substance the elementary are composed; but the kabalists understand perfectly.
The records of antiquity and of the middle ages, to say nothing of the modern wonders at Cideville, which have been judicially attested for us, corroborate these facts.”
H. P. Blavatsky