Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/81

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71
WHY DO SPRINGS AND WELLS OVERFLOW?

phetic nature. It seems clear that the only element of prophecy is due to a coincidence or similarity between the dream and the event. The minute particulars missing from the dream will be filled in by the imagination almost unconsciously, because the events of the dream and the real events become confused in the recollection.

All this does not divest the unknown of its mysterious possibilities. But there is a striking contrast between the so-called unaccountable results of clairvoyance and mesmerism, in their relation to transcendental knowledge, and the theories of science founded upon verified experiments. The obscurity or apparent mystery of the scientific theory steadily decreases with each addition of evidence, until the astonishing possibility "hardens into a fact." The clairvoyant theory not only evades all attempts to analyze it, but utterly fails in regard to any valuable results which could serve as starting-points for future discovery. The coming fact at once seems "reasonable and real," and does not rest upon the mere belief of one person. It can be verified from more than one point of view, and carries with it the convincing force of an axiom. Emerson, in his lecture in the Old South Church, Boston, on February 24, 1873, finely said, "The gracious lesson taught by science to this country is, that the history of nature from first to last is incessant advance from less to more, from rude to finer organization, the globe of matter thus conspiring with the principle of undying hope in man."

We must look to the onward march of progressive development for new power, and not to the mysterious and so far valueless results of clairvoyance, with its examples of trickery or nervous organisms thrown out of balance. There is more of the spiritual element in a beautiful sunset than in the table-rapping and other dramatic effects of animal magnetism or jugglery.

 
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WHY DO SPRINGS AND WELLS OVERFLOW?
By NELSON W. GREEN.

SINCE water tends to find a level, we infer that flowing water is acting in harmony with this natural law, unless it be put in motion by some equivalent force. The overflowing of wells and springs has hitherto been accounted for by scientists only upon the supposed existence of hydrostatic pressure. But a more careful investigation seems to justify the conclusion that, while in exceptional cases this may occur, yet as a proposition it is fallacious, and it will be the aim of the following discussion to expose the fallacy.

In 1844 Rev. William Buckland, Professor of Geology at Oxford,