George E. White, the Mendocino Cattle King, has been converted to the doctrines of spiritualism, and is now a strong advocate of the cult.
Do you know, he said cautiously, bending forward so as not to be overheard by certain hangers-on, that they are all around us in the air now? One just tapped me on the back of the head--that is the way they usually manifest themselves.
How was I converted to a belief in spiritualism? Well, now, that is a rather long story, but I will try to abridge it all I can. Before I finish you may think me crazy, but just let me whisper a word in your ear--it was only a few years ago that I was as skeptical as you and pooh-poohed the idea myself.
As I said, it was only a few years ago that I lay flat on my back in Oakland and the doctors had given me word that I wanted to procure my ticket across the river Jordan. I was mightily scared, but finally resolved that I would make a test of spiritualism and see if there was anything in it.
So I called a medium and she went into a trance. In a short while the spirits of my mother and my first wife appeared to me. My mother sorrowfully laid her hand upon my fevered brow and said: Oh, my son, I am distracted to find you in such a condition.
Tell me, dear mother, I said, Whether I am going to die?
That is beyond my ken, was her answer, but we will do all we can for you. Then they made out a prescription, which was left with me.
Well, sir, said the cattle king excitedly, you might not believe it, but I took that medicine and was well in a very short time. From that day to this my faith has been growing stronger every day.
Oh!, you want to know if I have received any communications for the spiritland in regard to the recent trial of Crow, Van Horn, and others in Weaverville lately, do you? Well, just wait until I tell you what I want to and then you can question me.
Well, some time ago I went to Boston. While there the spirit of my former wife would ofttimes come and sit in my lap and we would talk over the condition of affairs terrestrial.
He was asked if the same manifestations ever occurred here in California, and replied not as to sitting in his lap. White thought spirits were as particular where they appeared as human beings, and that the spirit of his former wife evidently was better pleased with the Bostonian than the Californian climate.
Now, he continued, let me tell you of the seances Mrs. Whitney, a certain young lady whose name I do not know and myself have been in the habit of holding here. When Mrs. Whitney goes into a trance, she is rigid and pale as death. In fact, she is really dead, and her spirit is at work busily calling the spirits of departed persons up.
Every day they come. There are about twenty of them in all, and they are under the guidance of a Persian magician eight feet four inches tall.
Talk about beauty and grandeur. You just ought to see that Persian magician. It is something a man could not believe without seeing. His garment is after the Eastern or Oriental type and of the finest material. On his head is a golden crown that emits rays bright as an arc light, and oh--the star on his breast!
Here the Mendocino cattleman leaned back dreamily, and the look on his countenance was perfectly ecstatic. Just give me that cane of yours. he suddenly exclaimed, and I will make a diagram of it.
He took the cane and drew a diagram on the floor of the star the spiritual Goliath wore on his breast. When he had finished describing it in detail he continued his story: As you know, I have not been in the best of health lately, and I asked this magician what I had best do for it. Well, for some time I could not make him understand me, because he spoke in the Persian tongue, but in about four months he had mastered the English language and was able to advise me for my good. This is something really wonderful, you know, as it would take a human being about as many years to master the finesse of a foreign language.
Since that time I go into this small room across the hall every day when it is time to take my medicine. Immediately the magician appears with his followers. Holding an empty goblet in my own hand I grasp hold of his hand with the other. No matter how tenaciously I cling to the goblet it always dematerializes. When it is again placed in my hand it contains the potion for me to drink. I immediately feel invigorated.
The cattle king then related a marvelous instance of how he had made a wager of fifty cents with a certain lady living two miles away, that on the evening the wager was made he would obtain possession of a certain valentine she had in her possession, and would return it to her later. She at once locked it in a trunk. he said, and sat on the trunk and read a newspaper till past the hour named as the limit. A little spirit who had done me many favors-- Mayflower was her name--at once set out to get the valentine.
In a short time she returned and said that in getting it out of the trunk she would have to tear a small piece off the corner. I told her to go ahead, and soon she returned and handed it to me, with a small part of the corner torn off. This little nymph always appears to me by sitting on my shoulder and will not converse with me unless I let her do so.
When I went up to the womans house, there she was sitting on the trunk, I asked her if she had the valentine, and when she looked in the trunk she almost fainted to find it gone. I then produced it, and at the sight of it she grabbed it and ran down the stairway without saying a word.
White told of a similar instance that occurred in the case of his brother, Perry White of Virginia. Here, however, his brother remained with him, and the magician had to come in and lend Mayflower his assistance. When the article, a leather wallet, was dropped into his brothers lap, White said the effect was worse than the recent turn in politics on Boss Buckley.
And now, he went on, You want to know if the spirits have told me anything about the Round Valley affair, do you? Do you remember when Dan Woodman held me up in a creek and made me sign checks to the amount of $25,000?
Well, Mrs. Emma Robinson and another woman came along in a buggy just in time to prevent his killing me. The spirits afterward told me that they had instigated Mrs. Robinson to do this, as they could think of no other way of saving me. Mrs. Robinson herself told me that she never could analyze the motive that caused her to go out riding that day.
As for this latest phase of the troubles up home, I had better not speak under the circumstances. Mrs. Whitney, however, has received a communication from the spirit, that Littlefield met his death at the hands of a mob. (Note: Legend states that G. E. White was responsible for the death of Littlefield)
Covelo, June 20. - It is well known that for many years George E. White, the cattle king of this county, who died on the 9th of this month, was a firm believer in spiritualism. At the time of his deathThe Call referred to his practice of consulting mediums before undertaking any business venture.
Within two weeks of his death White, although very ill, went to San Francisco to get the opinion of a woman medium as to the outcome of the malady from which he was suffering. Returning home, he announced that he had been assured that he would live some years longer, and under the stimulus of that opinion, doubtless, he appeared to be in much better health and spirits than for some time previously.
It now transpires that he renounced his faith in the doctrine of spiritualism on his deathbed. A well-known citizen of this place is authority for the statement that White, in his last remaining moments of consciousness called continuously for the spirit of his mother to come to him.
His plaintive cry for his mother is described as having been most pathetic, the old man telling the persons attending the sickbed that he must speak once more to his mother before going into the great beyond. His pleadings were evidently made in all sincerity, and he told what he desire his mother to communicate to him.
After crying for the appearance of the spirit for nearly three hours he turned to his friends and said: Well, this settles it, I have been wrong. There is nothing to it. Then with a trembling voice and tearful eye, he moaned, O God, my God, until he lapsed into oblivion.
More on George E. White, his life, affairs and his four wives, can be read about in Col. Edward Jackson, written by Linda Brake Meyers and Nancy Ann Jackson. This book is due to be released from the publishers this year (1996) and can still be purchased for the pre-publication special price of $45.00. Send your check/orders to: Linda B. Meyers, 9682 Woodgate Lane, Byron, IL 61010-9556.