On 15 March 1913, John Muir’s ‘The Story of My Boyhood and Youth’ was published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York. It has constantly been available in the 100 years since. It tells of his early years in Dunbar and then, from ages 11 to 22, of growing up in the wonderful Wisconsin countryside. His love of nature, awakened in East Lothian, was nurtured in Marquette County and inspired him to change the world’s view of wild places.
Very few of our old-country neighbors gave much heed to what are called spirit-rappings. On the contrary, they were regarded as a sort of sleight-of-hand humbug. Some of these spirits seem to be stout able-bodied fellows, judging by the weights they lift and the heavy furniture they bang about. But they do no good work that I know of; never saw wood, grind corn, cook, feed the hungry, or go to the help of poor sinuous mothers at the bedsides of their sick children. I noticed when I was a boy that it was not the strongest characters who followed so-called mediums. When a rapping-storm was at its height in Wisconsin, one of our neighbors, an old Scotchman, remarked, “Thay puir silly medium-bodies may gang to the deil wi’ their rappin’ speerits, for they dae nae gude, and I think the deil’s their fayther.”