I AM truly sorry that a Spiritualist paper like The Religio-Philosophical Journal, which claims to instruct and enlighten its readers, should suffer such trash as Mr. Jesse Sheppard is contributing to its columns to appear without review. I will not dwell upon the previous letter of this very gifted personage, although everything he has said concerning Russia and life at St. Petersburg might be picked to pieces by anyone having merely a superficial acquaintance with the place and the people; nor will I stop to sniff at his nosegays of high-sounding names, his Princess Boulkoffs and Princes This and That, which are as preposterously fictitious as though, in speaking of Americans, some Russian singing-medium were to mention his friends Prince Jones or Duke Smith, or Earl Brown, for if he chooses to manufacture noble patrons from the oversloppings of his poetic imagination, and it amuses him or his readers, no great harm is done. But when it comes to his saying the things he does in the letter of July 3rd in that paper, it puts quite a different face upon the matter. Here he pretends to give historical facts which never existed. He tells of things he saw clairvoyantly, and his story is such a tissue of ridiculous, gross anachronisms that they not only show his utter ignorance of Russian history, but are calculated to injure the cause of Spiritualism by throwing doubt upon all clairvoyant descriptions. Secondarily in importance they destroy his own reputation for veracity, stamp him as a trickster and a false writer, and bring the gravest suspicion upon his claim to possess any mediumship whatever.
What faith can anyone, acquainted with the rudiments of history, have in a medium who sees a mother (Catherine II) giving orders to strangle her son (Paul I), when we all know that the Emperor Paul ascended the throne upon the decease of the very mother whom the inventive genius of this musical prodigy makes guilty of infanticide?
Permit me, O young seer and Spiritualist, as a Russian somewhat read in the history of her country, to refresh your memory. Spiritualism has been laughed at quite enough recently in consequence of such pious frauds as yours, and as Russian savants are about to investigate the subject, we may as well go to them with clean hands. The journal which gives you its hospitality goes to my country, and its interests will certainly suffer if you are allowed to go on with your embroidery and spangle-work without rebuke. Remember, young poetico-historian, that the Emperor Paul was the paternal grandfather of the present Czar, and everyone who has been at St. Petersburg knows that the "old palace," which to your spiritual eye wears such "an appearance of dilapidation and decay, worthy of a castle of the Middle Ages," and the one where your Paul was strangled, is an every-day, modern-looking, respectable building, the successor of one which was pulled down early in the reign of the late Emperor Nicholas, and known from the beginning until now as the Pawlowsky Military College for the "Cadets." And the two assassins, begotten in your clairvoyant loins, "Petreski and Kofski"! Really now, Mr. Sheppard, gentlemanly assassins ought to be very much obliged to you for these pretty aliases!
It is fortunate for you, dear sir, that it did not occur to you to discuss these questions in St. Petersburg, and that you evolved your history from the depths of your own consciousness, for in our autocratical country one is not permitted to discuss the little unpleasantnesses of the imperial family history, and the rule would not be relaxed for a Spanish grandee, or even that more considerable personage, an American singing-medium. An attempt on your part to do so would assuredly have interfered with your grand concert, under imperial patronage, and might have led to your journeying to the borders of Russia under armed escort befitting your exalted rank.
Spiritual Scientist, July 8, 1875