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A Biography of the Brothers Davenport

A Biography of the Brothers Davenport
by Thomas Low Nichols, M.D.

With some account of the physical and psychical phenomena, which have occurred in their presence, in America and Europe.


The Motive and Method of this Book – The Possible and the Actual – Facts and Theories.

It is my purpose, in the following pages, to give as clear, full, and truthful a narrative of the lives of the two young Americans, known to the world as the BROTHERS DAVENPORT, and of the remarkable physical and psychical phenomena which have for eleven years been witnessed, in their presence, by multitudes of people, as I am able to write. The account is substantially taken from the lips of the two brothers, especially from those of Mr. Ira E. Davenport, the eldest brother, whose story of the experience of his whole life has, in my judgment, every mark of simple truthfulness. His account is confirmed by the reports of American newspapers in sixteen States which they have visited, by several pamphlets and biographical sketches, and by the testimony of various persons, both Englishmen and Americans, who have been witnesses of the extraordinary manifestations with which they have been accompanied and some of whose testimonies will be found in the following pages.

In writing this narrative, I do little more than to set down in order what has been told me by those in whose veracity I place entire confidence, and reduce to a moderate compass the testimony of a cloud of witnesses. I wish to present the facts connected with these young men, separated, as far as possible, from any theory held by themselves or others in regard to them. The reader will be left, as he must and ought to be, to draw his own conclusions. I have no interest to deceive any one, or to distort or exaggerate a single fact in the narrative. It will be admitted that these facts are sufficiently wonderful without the least exaggeration. From first to last they seem, to those who have only observed the ordinary occurrences of life, incredible. The word is not strong enough. They are what most people will consider impossible. To a similar objection to an extraordinary fact, some one has replied, 'I did not say it was possible; I only said it was true.'

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