The first exponent of this new art, if so it may be called, so far as the writer knows, was Miss Lulu Hearst, of Georgia. Some seven or eight years ago, rumors began to spread of the wonderful feats of strength performed by a slight country girl in that Southern State. She was described as pale and thin, about fourteen years of age, weight about 100 pounds, and of an extremely nervous temperament. Her weight and temperament were always emphasized, the first, doubtless, to show the impossibility of her accomplishing her feats by pure physical force, and the last, as hinting at occult powers which alone seemed adequate to the occasion.
So wonderful were her performances described to be, that people made long pilgrimages to see her and to marvel. Not alone were the uneducated mystified, but even those who pass for people of more than ordinary intelligence came away from her séances convinced with the idea that she was possessed of some inexplicable power, unknown to mortals of ordinary mold. Scientific men, while not sharing this belief in her occult or superhuman powers, were no less mystified. They proposed tests to which neither Miss Hurst nor her manager would consent; so they were left the only argument, that her powers were capable of explanation upon rational principles if it was but permitted them to find out what those principles were.