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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alfred Russel Wallace - ARTICLES about Psychical research


Alfred Russel Wallace - ARTICLES about Psychical research
Are the Phenomena of Spiritualism in Harmony with Science?
 - Alfred Russel Wallace -
The article below and the introductory comments were taken from Charles H. Smith's website at http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/
Originally published in The Sunday Herald (Boston) of 26 April 1885. The very lightly revised version reproduced here appeared in The Medium and Daybreak of 18 December 1885.
"Life is the elaboration of soul through the varied transformations of matter." - Spiritual Evolution
          IT IS a common, but I believe a mistaken, notion, that the conclusions of Science are antagonistic to the alleged phenomena of modern Spiritualism. The majority of our teachers and students of science are, no doubt, antagonistic, but their opinions and prejudices are not science. Every discoverer who has promulgated new and startling truths, even in the domain of physics, has been denounced or ignored by those who represented the science of the day, as witness the long line of great teachers from Galileo in the dark ages to Boucher de Perthes in our own times. But the opponents of Spiritualism have the additional advantage of being able to brand the new belief as a degrading superstition, and to accuse those who accept its facts and its teachings of being the victims of delusion or imposture - of being, in fact, either half-insane enthusiasts or credulous fools. Such denunciations, however, affect us little. The fact that Spiritualism has firmly established itself in our sceptical and materialistic age, that it has continuously grown and developed for nearly forty years, that by mere weight of evidence, and in spite of the most powerful prepossessions, it has compelled recognition by an ever-increasing body of men in all classes of society, and has gained adherents in the highest ranks of science and philosophy, and, finally, that despite abuse and misrepresentation, the folly of enthusiasts and the knavery of impostors, it has rarely failed to convince those who have made a thorough and painstaking investigation, and has never lost a convert thus made - all this affords a conclusive answer to the objections so commonly urged against it. Let us, then, simply ignore the scorn and incredulity of those who really know nothing of the matter, and consider, briefly, what are the actual relations of Science and Spiritualism, and to what extent the latter supplements and illumines the former.
Science may be defined as knowledge of the universe in which we live - full and systematised knowledge leading to the discovery of laws and the comprehension of causes. The true student of science neglects nothing and despises nothing that may widen and deepen his knowledge of nature, and if he is wise as well as learned he will hesitate before he applies the term "impossible" to any facts which are widely believed and have been repeatedly observed by men as intelligent and honest as himself. Now, modern Spiritualism rests solely on the observation and comparison of facts in a domain of nature which has been hitherto little explored, and it is a contradiction in terms to say that such an investigation is opposed to science. Equally absurd is the allegation that some of the phenomena of Spiritualism "contradict the laws of nature," since there is no law of nature yet known to us but may be apparently contravened by the action of more recondite laws or forces. Spiritualists observe facts and record experiments, and then construct hypotheses which will best explain and co-ordinate the facts, and in so doing they are pursuing a truly scientific course. They have now collected an enormous body of observations tested and verified in every possible way, and they have determined many of the conditions necessary for the production of the phenomena. They have also arrived at certain general conclusions as to the causes of these phenomena, and they simply refuse to recognise the competence of those who have no acquaintance whatever with the facts, to determine the value or correctness of those conclusions. 
We who have satisfied ourselves of the reality of the phenomena of modern Spiritualism in all their wide-reaching extent and endless variety, are enabled to look upon the records of the past with new interest and fuller appreciation. It is surely something to be relieved from the necessity of classing Socrates and St. Augustine, Luther and Swedenborg, as the credulous victims of delusion or imposture. The so-called miracles and supernatural events which pervade the sacred books and historical records of all nations find their place among natural phenomena, and need no longer be laboriously explained away. The witchcraft mania of Europe and America affords the materials for an important study, since we are now able to detect the basis of fact on which it rested, and to separate from it the Satanic interpretation which invested it with horror, and appeared to justify the cruel punishments by which it was attempted to be suppressed. Local folk-lore and superstitions acquire a living interest, since they are often based on phenomena which we can reproduce under proper conditions, and the same may be said of much of the sorcery and magic of the Middle Ages. In these and many other ways history and anthropology are illuminated by Spiritualism. 
To the teacher of religion it is of vital importance, since it enables him to meet the sceptic on his own ground, to adduce facts and evidence for the faith that he professes, and to avoid that attitude of apology and doubt which renders him altogether helpless against the vigorous assaults of Agnosticism and materialistic science. Theology, when vivified and strengthened by Spiritualism, may regain some of the influence and power of its earlier years. 
Science will equally benefit, since it will have opened to it a new domain of surpassing interest. Just as there is behind the visible world of nature an "unseen universe" of forces, the study of which continually opens up fresh worlds of knowledge often intimately connected with the true comprehension of the most familiar phenomena of nature, so the world of mind will be illuminated by the new facts and principles which the study of Spiritualism makes known to us. Modern science utterly fails to realize the nature of mind or to account for its presence in the universe, except by the mere verbal and unthinkable dogma that it is "the product of organization." Spiritualism, on the other hand, recognises in Mind the cause of organization, and, perhaps, even of matter itself; and it has added greatly to our knowledge of man's nature, by demonstrating the existence of individual minds indistinguishable from those of human beings, yet separate from any human body. It has made us acquainted with forms of matter of which materialistic science has no cognizance, and with an ethereal chemistry whose transformations are far more marvellous than any of those with which science deals. It thus gives us proof that there are possibilities of organized existence beyond those of our material world, and in doing so removes the greatest stumbling-block in the way of belief in a future state of existence - the impossibility so often felt by the student of material science of separating the conscious mind from its partnership with the brain and nervous system. 
On the spiritual theory man consists essentially of a spiritual nature or mind intimately associated with a spiritual body or soul, both of which are developed in and by means of a material organism. Thus the whole raison d'être of the material universe - with all its marvellous changes and adaptations, the infinite complexity of matter and of the ethereal forces which pervade and vivify it, the vast wealth of nature in the vegetable and animal kingdoms - is to serve the grand purpose of developing human spirits in human bodies.
This world-life not only lends itself to the production, by gradual evolution, of the physical body needed for the growth and nourishment of the human soul, but by its very imperfections tends to the continuous development of the higher spiritual nature of man. In a perfect and harmonious world perfect beings might possibly have been created but could hardly have been evolved, and it may well be that evolution is the great fundamental law of the universe of mind as well as of that of matter. The need for labour in order to live, the constant struggle against the forces of nature, the antagonism of the good and the bad, the oppression of the weak by the strong, the painstaking and devoted search required to wrest from nature her secret powers and hidden treasures - all directly assist in developing the varied powers of mind and body and the nobler impulses of our nature. Thus, all the material imperfections of our globe, the wintry blasts and summer heats, the volcano, the whirlwind and the flood, the barren desert and the gloomy forest, have each served as stimuli to develop and strengthen man's intellectual nature; while the oppression and wrong, the ignorance and crime, the misery and pain, that always and everywhere pervade the world, have been the means of exercising and strengthening the higher sentiments of justice, mercy, charity, and love, which we all feel to be our best and noblest characteristics, and which it is hardly possible to conceive could have been developed by any other means.*
* This argument applies of course to other worlds and systems, all of which, on the spiritual hypothesis, either have been or will be the scenes of the development of human souls.
Such a view as this affords us the best attainable solution of the great world-old problem of the origin of evil; for it is the very means of creating and developing the higher moral attributes of man, those attributes which alone render him fit for a permanent spiritual existence and for continuous progression, then the mere temporary sin and misery of the world must be held to be fully justified by the supreme nature and permanent character of what they lead to. From this point of view the vision of the poet becomes to us the best expression of the truth. We, too, believe that 
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All Chance, Direction which thus canst not see;
All Discord, Harmony not understood;
All partial Evil, universal Good.
Finally, these teachings of modern Spiritualism furnish us with the much-needed basis of a true ethical system. We learn by them that our earth-life is not only a preparation for a higher state of progressive spiritual existence, but that what we have usually considered as its very worst features, its all-pervading sin and suffering, are in all probability the only means of developing in us those highest moral qualities summarized as "love" by St. Paul and "altruism" by our modern teachers, which all admit must be cultivated and extended to the utmost if we are really to make progress toward a higher social state. Modern philosophers can, however, give no sufficient reason why we should practise these virtues. If, as they teach us, not only our own lives end here, but the life of the whole human race is sure to end some day, it is difficult to see any adequate outcome of the painful self-sacrifice they inculcate; while there is certainly no motive adduced which will be sufficiently powerful to withdraw from selfish pleasures that numerous class which derives from them its chief enjoyment. But when men are taught from childhood that the whole material universe exists for the very purpose of developing beings possessing these attributes, that evil and pain, sin and suffering, all tend to the same end, and that the characters developed in this world will make further progress towards a nobler and happier existence in the spiritual world, just in proportion as their higher moral feelings are cultivated here - and when all this can be taught, not as a set of dogmas to be blindly accepted on the authority of unknown ancient writers, but as being founded on direct knowledge of the spirit-world, and the continued actual reception of teachings from it, then indeed we shall have in our midst "a power that makes for righteousness."
Thus, modern Spiritualism, though usually despised and rejected by the learned, is yet able to give valuable aid to science and to religion, to philosophy and to morals. Not only does it offer us a solid basis for a solution of some of the profoundest mysteries of our being, but it affords us a secure hope, founded not on reason and faith only, but on actual knowledge, that our conscious life does not perish with our physical body. To all who will earnestly inquire it gives:
The deep assurance that the wrongs of life
Will find their perfect guerdon! That the scheme
So broken here will elsewhere be fulfilled!
Hope not a dreamer's dream!
Love's long last yearnings satisfied, not stilled!

--------------------------------------------
On the Attitude of Men of Science Towards the Investigators of Spiritualism
 - Alfred Russel Wallace -
Printed in The Year-book of Spiritualism for 1871.    
          IT IS now generally admitted that all original investigation of Nature is useful and honourable; that the man who devotes himself to the observation of natural phenomena, of however obscure and apparently uninteresting a nature, who conducts experiments calculated to throw light upon their causes, and who fully and accurately records such observations and experiments, gains for himself a place in the roll of scientific investigators. But, strange to say, in order to merit this honourable position, he must strictly limit his inquiries within certain bounds. For should he have chanced to meet with any of those singular cases in which an individual exhibits exalted and exceptional mental capacities, appearing like the development of new senses, or those still more extraordinary phenomena which seem to prove the existence of intelligent beings, invisible and intangible to most men, yet capable, under certain conditions, of making their presence known to us; and if he devote his best energies to the study of these strange and exceptional cases, and, after long-continued inquiry and careful experiment, arrive at the conclusion that they are veritable realities, and, as such, of the highest importance to his fellow-men, - instead of being welcomed as a discoverer, or rewarded as a scientific investigator, he finds himself set down as credulous and superstitious, if not openly accused of falsehood and imposture, and his careful and oft-repeated experiments ignored, as not worth a moment's consideration.
That the public at large should thus deal with new and unpopular inquiries is not to be wondered at; but that philosophers and men of science should act in the same unscientific and unphilosophical spirit is truly extraordinary. While proclaiming loudly that the only way to acquire knowledge is by observation of facts, by experiment, and by the formation of provisional hypotheses to serve as the basis for further experiment and more extended observation, they have yet, for many years, refused to accept any facts or experiments which go to prove the existence of recondite powers in the human mind, or the action of minds not in a visible body. They have ridiculed the idea of any effects being produced by the latter cause, and have repudiated as imposture or delusion all those which appear due to the former. To show that this is really the case, I have only to quote the names of such men as Dr. Esdaile, Dr. Elliotson, Dr. Lee, Dr. Ashburner, Dr. Gregory, Dr. Reichenbach, Dr. Herbert Mayo, Dr. Haddock, Mr. H. G. Atkinson, Miss Martineau, Prof. De Morgan, William Howitt, Prof. Hare, Prof. Bush, Judge Edmonds, Robert Dale Owen, and a host of others, who, for more than twenty years, have published detailed observations and experiments, which corroborate each other in a variety of details, and agree with many facts recorded throughout history; but which observations and experiments are all ignored or denied. There has never yet been a work written in this country, which has fairly grappled with the facts addressed. It has never yet been shown, why, à priori, they may not be true; it has never yet been explained, how, if not true, we are to account for the vast mass of direct testimony to them. The declaration so often made or implied, that facts witnessed thousands of times by honest and intelligent men, and thousands of times carefully examined to detect fraud or delusion which has never been discovered, can not exist, because they imply a subversion of the laws of Nature, is a most weak and illogical objection, since all we know of the laws of Nature is derived from the observation of facts. No fact can possibly subvert the laws of Nature; and to declare that it does so is to declare that we have exhausted Nature, and know all her laws.
In the history of human progress, we look back in vain for a case parallel to the present one, in which the professed teachers of science have been right. The time-honoured names of Galileo, Harvey, and Jenner, are associated with the record of a blind opposition to new and important truths. Franklin and Young were laughed and sneered at for discoveries which seemed wild and absurd to their scientific contemporaries. Nearer to our own day, painless operations during mesmeric trance were again and again denounced as imposture; and the various phenomena of mesmerism, as due to collusion and fraud: yet both are now universally acknowledge to be genuine phenomena. Even such a question of pure science as the evidence of the antiquity of man has met with similar treatment till quite recently. Papers by good observers, recording facts since verified, were rejected by our scientific societies, as too absurd for publication; and careful researches now proved to be accurate were ignored, merely because they were opposed to the general belief of geologists.
It appears, then, that men of science are at least consistent in treating the phenomena of Spiritualism with contempt and derision. They have always done so with new and important discoveries; and, in every case in which the evidence has been even a tenth part of that now accumulated in favour of the phenomena of Spiritualism, they have always been in the wrong. It is, nevertheless, a curious psychological fact, that they do not learn by experience to detect a truth when it comes before them, or take any heed of the warnings of their greatest men against preconceived opinions as to what may, or may not, be true. Thus Humboldt declares, that "a presumptuous scepticism, which rejects facts without examination of their truth, is, in some respects, more injurious than an unquestioning incredulity." Sir Humphry Davy warns them, that "one good experiment is of more value than the ingenuity of a brain like Newton's. Facts are more useful when they contradict, than when they support, received theories." And Sir John Herschel says, that "the perfect observer in any department of Nature will have his eyes open for any occurrence,which, according to received theories, ought not to happen; for these are the facts which serve as clews to new discoveries." Yet in the present day, when so many things deemed absurd and impossible a few years ago have become every-day occurrences, and in direct opposition to the spirit of the advice of their most eminent teachers, a body of new and most remarkable phenomena is ignored or derided without examination, merely because,according to received theories, such phenomena ought not to happen.
The day will assuredly come when this will be quoted as the most striking instance on record of blind prejudice and unreasoning credulity.
-------------------------------------------------
Notes of Personal Evidence
 - Alfred Russel Wallace -
Wallace added this account of personal spiritualistic experiences to the end of The Scientific Aspect of the Supernatural (1866) when the latter essay was incorporated into the collection On Miracles and Modern Spiritualism in 1875. The present version of 'Notes' comes from the 1896 Third Edition of Miracles.
          IN THE first edition of this Essay I did not introduce any of my own observations, because I had not then witnessed any such facts in a private house, and without the intervention of paid mediums, as would be likely to satisfy my readers. Having now had the opportunity of investigating the subject under more favourable conditions, I will give some account of my early personal experience, which many of my friends are so polite and illogical as to say will have more weight with them than all the other witnesses whose evidence I have adduced. I will begin with what first led me to inquiries outside the pale of what is generally recognised as science.
My earliest experiences on any of the matters treated of in this little work was in 1844, at which time I was teaching in a school in one of the Midland Counties. Mr. Spencer Hall was then lecturing on Mesmerism, and visited our town, and I and many of my pupils attended his lectures. We were all greatly interested. Some of the elder boys tried to mesmerise the younger ones, and succeeded; and I myself found several who, under my influence, exhibited many of the most curious phenomena we had witnessed at the lectures. I was intensely interested in the subject, and pursued it with ardour, carrying out a number of experiments to guard against deception and to test the nature of the influence. Many of the details of these experiments are now stamped as vividly on my memory as if they were events of yesterday; and I will briefly give the substance of a few of the more remarkable. 
Phenomena during the Mesmeric Trance
I produced the trance state in two or three boys, of twelve to sixteen years of age, with great ease, and could always be sure that it was genuine, first, by the turning of the eyeball in the orbit, so that the pupil was not visible when the eyelid was raised; secondly, by the characteristic change of countenance; and, thirdly, by the readiness with which I could produce catalepsy and loss of sensation in any part of the body. The most remarkable observations during this state were on phreno-mesmerism and sympathetic sensation. By placing my finger on the part of the head corresponding to any given phrenological organ, the corresponding faculty was manifested with wonderful and amusing perfection. For a long time I thought that the effects produced on the patient were caused by my wishing the particular manifestation; but I found by accident that when, by ignorance of the position of the organs, I placed my finger on a wrong part, the manifestation which followed was not that which I expected, but that which was due to the position touched. I was particularly interested in phenomena of this kind, and by experiments made alone and silently, completely satisfied myself that the effects were not due to suggestion or to the influence of my own mind. I had to buy a little phrenological bust for my own use, and none of the boys had the least knowledge of or taste for phrenology; yet, from the very first, almost all the organs touched, in however varied order and in perfect silence, were followed by manifestations too striking to be mistaken, and presenting more wonderful representations of varied phases of human feeling than the greatest actors are able to exhibit.
The sympathy of sensation between my patient and myself was to me the most mysterious phenomenon I had ever witnessed. I found that when I laid hold of his hand he felt, tasted, or smelt exactly the same as I did. I had already produced all the phenomena of suggestion, and could make him tipsy with a glass of water by calling it brandy, and cause him strip off all his clothes by telling him he was on fire; but this was quite another thing. I formed a chain of several persons, at one end of which was the patient, at the other myself. And when, in perfect silence, I was pinched or pricked, he would immediately put his hand to the corresponding part of his own body, and complain of being pinched or pricked too. If I put a lump of sugar or salt in my mouth, he immediately went through the action of sucking, and soon showed by gestures and words of the most expressive nature what it was I was tasting. I have never to this day been satisfied with any of the explanations given of this fact by our physiologists - for they resolve themselves into this, that the boy neither felt nor tasted anything, but acquired a knowledge of what I was feeling and tasting by a preternatural acuteness of hearing. That he had any such preternatural acuteness was, however, contrary to all my experience, and the experiment was tried so as expressly to prevent his gaining any knowledge of what I felt or touched by means of the ordinary senses.
Phenomena during the Waking State
After I had induced the state of coma several times, some of the boys became very susceptible during their ordinary waking condition. I could induce catalepsy of any of the limbs with great ease; and some curious little facts showed that it was real, not imaginary, rigidity that was produced. Once a boy was in my room in a state of complete rigidity when the dinner-bell rang. I hastily made passes to relax the body and limbs, and we went down together. When his plate was before him, however, he found that he could not bend one of his arms, and, not liking to say anything, sat some time trying to catch my eye. I then had to go to him, and by two or three passes rendered him able to eat his dinner. This is a curious and important fact, because the boy went down thinking he was all right. The rigidity was therefore in no way caused by his "expectation," since it existed in opposition to it. In this boy and another one I could readily produce the temporary loss of any of the senses, as hearing or smelling; and could even so completely take away the memory that the patient could not tell his own name, greatly to his disgust and confusion, and this by nothing more than a simple pass across the face, and saying in an ordinary tone of voice, "Now, you can't tell me your name." And after he had remained utterly puzzled for some minutes, if I made a reverse pass, and said, "Now, you know your name again," his whole countenance would change - a look of relief coming over it as the familiar words recurred suddenly to his memory.
Such facts as these were at that period generally imputed to acting and trick on the part of the patients. Now, most of our physiologists admit them to be genuine mental phenomena, and attempt to explain them by "abstraction" and "suggestion" - denying any specific action of the operator on the patient. This appears to me to be really no explanation at all; and I am confirmed in this view when I find that those who put it forward deny the reality of all facts that do not square with it. All such phenomena as phreno-mesmerism, and sympathetic sensation, and true clairvoyance, which have been elaborately examined and tested by a score of good observers, are nevertheless denied a place in the repertory of established scientific facts by those who profess to study all the phenomena of the organism or of the mind of man. These personal experiences having enabled me to detect the more subtle indications of the mesmeric coma, I have since taken every opportunity of witnessing the phenomena in public and private, and am quite satisfied that, in the more remarkable manifestations, there is, or can be, very rarely any deception practised.
As Dr. Carpenter(1) and other men of science still maintain the view that all the higher phenomena of Spiritualism which are not imposture are due to subjective impressions, analogous to those produced in his patients by the mesmeriser, I will here point out certain characteristic differences between the two classes of facts, which I first adduced in reply to Mr. E. B. Tylor(2) in a letter in Nature (1872, p. 364).
(1) William B. Carpenter (1813-1885)
(2) Sir Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917)
1. The mesmerised patient never has doubts of the reality of what he sees or hears. He is like a dreamer, to whom the most incongruous circumstances suggest no idea of incongruity, and he never inquires if what he thinks he perceives harmonises with his actual surroundings. He has, moreover, lost his memory of what and where he was a few moments before; and can give no account, for instance, of how he managed to get from a lecture-room in London, to which he came as a spectator half-an-hour ago, on to an Atlantic steamer in a hurricane, or into the presence of a tiger in a tropical jungle. The assistants at the séances of Mr. Home or Mrs. Guppy are not in this state, as even our opponents will admit, and as the almost invariable suspicion of fraud with which the phenomena are at first regarded clearly demonstrates. They do not lose all memory of immediately preceding events; they criticise; they examine; they take notes; they suggest tests - none of which things the mesmerised patient ever does.
2. The mesmeriser has the power of acting on certain sensitive individuals (not on assemblies of people, as Mr. Tylor assumes), and all experience shows that those who are thus sensitive to any one operator are but a small proportion of any body of people, and even these almost always require previous manipulation, with an almost passive submission to the operator. The number who can be acted on without such previous manipulation is very small, probably less than one per cent. But there is no such limitation to the number of persons who simultaneously witness most of the mediumistic phenomena. The visitors to Mr. Home or Mrs. Guppy all see whatever occurs of a physical nature, as the records of hundreds of sittings, and even the evidence of sceptics, demonstrate.
The two classes of phenomena, therefore, differ fundamentally; yet there is a connection between them, but in an opposite direction to that suggested. It is the mediums, not the assistants, who are "sensitives." They are almost always persons who are subject to the mesmeric influence, and they often exhibit all the characteristic phenomena of coma, trance, rigidity, and abnormal sense-power. Conversely, the most sensitive mesmeric patients are almost always mediums.
The differences now pointed out are so radical and so important that it does not say much for the logical clearness of those who persist in classing the two phenomena as identical. But the manner in which men of great eminence fail to see the bearing of facts when that bearing is against their pet theories will be further illustrated by a few examples in the appendix to this volume(3).
(3) i.e., On Miracles and Modern Spiritualism.
Experiences and Tests of Modern Spiritual Phenomena
During twelve years of tropical wanderings between the year 1848 and 1862, occupied in the study of natural history, I heard occasionally of the strange phenomena said to be occurring in America and Europe under the general names of "table-turning" and "spirit-rapping;" and being aware, from own knowledge of Mesmerism, that there were mysteries connected with the human mind which modern science ignored because it could not explain, I determined to seize the first opportunity on my return home to examine into these matters. It is true, perhaps, that I ought to state that for twenty-five years I had been an utter sceptic as to the existence of any preter-human or super-human intelligences, and that I never for a moment contemplated the possibility that the marvels related by Spiritualists could be literally true. If I have now changed my opinion, it is simply by the force of evidence. It is from no dread of annihilation that I have gone into this subject; it is from no inordinate longing for eternal existence that I have come to believe in facts which render this highly probable, if they do not actually prove it. At least three times during my travels I have had to face death as imminent or probable within a few hours, and what I felt on those occasions was at most a gentle melancholy at the thought of quitting this wonderful and beautiful earth to enter on a sleep which might know no waking. In a state of ordinary health I did not feel even this. I knew that the great problem of conscious existence was one beyond man's grasp, and this fact alone gave some hope that existence might be independent of the organised body. I came to the inquiry, therefore, utterly unbiased by hopes or fears, because I knew that my belief could not affect the reality, and with an ingrained prejudice against even such a word as "spirit," which I have hardly yet overcome.
It was in the summer of 1865 that I first witnessed any of the phenomena of what is called Spiritualism, in the house of a friend - a sceptic, a man of science, and a lawyer, with none but members of his own family present. Sitting at a good-sized round table, with our hands placed upon it, after a short time slight movements would commence - not often "turnings" or "tiltings," but a gentle intermittent movement, like steps, which after a time would bring the table quite across the room. Slight but distinct tapping sounds were also heard. The following notes made at the time were intended to describe exactly what took place:
"July 22nd, 1865. - Sat with my friend, his wife, and two daughters, at a large loo table, by daylight. In about half-an-hour some faint motions were perceived, and some faint taps heard. They gradually increased; the taps became very distinct, and the table moved considerably, obliging us all to shift our chairs. Then a curious vibratory motion of the table commenced, almost like the shivering of a living animal. I could feel it up to my elbows. These phenomena were variously repeated for two hours. On trying afterwards, we found the table could not be voluntarily moved in the same manner without a great exertion of force, and we could discover no possible way of producing the taps when our hands were upon the table."
On other occasions we tried the experiment of each person in succession leaving the table, and found that the phenomena continued the same as before, both taps and the table movement. Once I requested one after another to leave the table; the phenomena continued, but as the number of sitters diminished with decreasing vigour, and just after the last person had drawn back leaving me alone at the table, there were two dull taps or blows, as with a fist on the pillar or foot of the table, the vibration of which I could feel as well as hear. No one present but myself could have made these, and I certainly did not make them. These experiments clearly indicated that all were concerned in producing the sounds and movements, and that if there was any wilful deception the whole party were engaged in deceiving me. Another time we sat half-an-hour at the large table, but had no manifestations whatever. We then removed to the small table, where taps immediately commenced and the table moved. After some time we returned to the large table, and after a few minutes the taps and movements took place as at the small one.
The movement of the table was almost always in curves, as if turning on one of the claws, so as to give a progressive motion. This was frequently reversed, and sometimes regularly alternate, so that the table would travel across the room in a zigzag manner. This gives an idea of what took place with more or less regularity during more than a dozen sittings. Now there can be no doubt that the whole of the movements of the table could have been produced by any of the persons present if not counteracted by the others, but our experiments showed that this could not always be the case, and we have therefore no right to conclude that it was ever the case. The taps, on the other hand, we could not make at all. They were of about the quality that would be produced by a long finger-nail tapping underneath the leaf of the table. As all hands were on the table, and my eyes at least always open, I know they were not produced by the hands of any one present. They might possibly have been produced by the feet if properly armed with some small hard point to strike with; but if so, the experiments already related show that all must have practised the deception. And the fact that we often sat half an hour in one position without a single sound, and that the phenomena never progressed further than I have related, weighs I think very strongly against the supposition that a family of four highly intelligent and well-educated persons should occupy themselves for so many weary hours in carrying out what would be so poor and unmeaning a deception. The following remark occurs at the end of my notes made at the time: "These experiments have satisfied me that there is an unknown power developed from the bodies of a number of persons placed in connection by sitting round a table with all their hands upon it."
Some time before these observations I had met a gentleman who had told me of most wonderful phenomena occurring in his own family - among them the palpable motion of solid bodies when no person was touching them or near them; and he had recommended me to go to a public medium in London (Mrs. Marshall), where I might see things equally wonderful. Accordingly, in September 1865, I began a series of visits to Mrs. Marshall, generally accompanied by a friend - a good chemist and mechanic, and of a thoroughly sceptical mind. What we witnessed may be divided into two classes of phenomena - physical and mental. Both were very numerous and varied; but I shall only select from each a few which are of a clear and definite nature. 
1st. A small table, on which the hands of four persons were placed (including my own and Mrs. Marshall's), rose up vertically about a foot from the floor, and remained suspended for about twenty seconds, while my friend, who was sitting looking on, could see the lower part of the table with the feet freely suspended above the floor.
2nd. While sitting at a large table, with Miss T. on my left and Mr. R. on my right, a guitar which had been placed in Miss T.'s hand slid down on to the floor, passed over my feet, and came to Mr. R., against whose legs it raised itself up till it appeared above the table. I and Mr. R. were watching it carefully the whole time, and it behaved as if alive itself, or rather as if a small invisible child were by great exertions moving it and raising it up. These two phenomena were witnessed in bright gaslight.
3rd. A chair, on which a relation of Mr. R.'s sat, was lifted up with her on it. Afterwards, when she returned to the table from the piano, where she had been playing, her chair moved away just as she was going to sit down; on drawing it up, it moved away again. After this had happened three times, it became apparently fixed to the floor, so that she could not raise it. Mr. R. then took hold of it, and found that it was only by a great exertion he could lift it off the floor. This sitting took place in broad daylight, on a bright day, and in a room on the first floor with two windows.
However strange and unreal these few phenomena may seem to readers who have seen nothing of the kind, I positively affirm that they are facts which really happened just as I have narrated them, and that there was no room for any possible trick or deception. In each case, before we begin, we turned up the tables and chairs, and saw that they were ordinary pieces of furniture, and that there was no connection between them and the floor, and we placed them where we pleased before we sat down. Several of the phenomena occurred entirely under our own hands, and quite disconnected from the "medium." They were as much realities as the motion of nails towards a magnet, and, it may be added, not in themselves more improbable or more incomprehensible.
The mental phenomena which most frequently occur are the spelling out of the names of relations of persons present, their ages, or any other particulars about them. They are especially uncertain in their manifestation, though when they do succeed they are very conclusive to the persons who witness them. The general opinion of sceptics as to these phenomena is, that they depend simply on the acuteness and talent of the medium in hitting on the letters which form the name, by the manner in which persons dwell upon or hurry over them - the ordinary mode of receiving these communications being for the person interested to go over a printed alphabet, letter by letter - loud taps indicating the letters which form the required names. I shall select a few of our experiences, which will show how far this explanation is likely to be a true one.
When I first received a communication myself, I was particularly careful to avoid giving any indication, by going with steady regularity over the letters; yet there was spelt out correctly, first, the place where my brother died, Para; then his Christian name, Herbert; and lastly, at my request, the name of the mutual friend who last saw him, Henry Walter Bates. On this occasion our party of six visited Mrs. Marshall for the first time, and my name, as well as those of the rest of the party, except one, were unknown to her. That one was my married sister, whose name was no clue to mine.
On the same occasion a young lady, a connection of Mr. R.'s, was told that a communication was to be made to her. She took the alphabet, and instead of pointing to the letters one by one, she moved the pencil smoothly over the lines with the greatest steadiness. I watched her, and wrote down the letters which the taps indicated. The name produced was an extraordinary one, the letters making Thomas Doe Thacker. I thought there must be an error in the latter part; but the names were really Thomas Doe Thacker, the lady's father, every letter being correct. A number of other names, places, and dates were spelt out on this occasion with equal accuracy; but I give only these two, because in these I am sure that no clue was given by which the names could have been guessed by the most preternaturally acute intellect.
On another occasion, I accompanied my sister and a lady (who had never been there before) to Mrs. Marshall's, and we had a very curious illustration of the absurdity of imputing the spelling of the names to the receiver's hesitation and the medium's acuteness. She wished the name of a particular deceased relation to be spelled out to her, and pointed to the letters of the alphabet in the usual way, while I wrote down those indicated. The first three letters werey r n. "Oh!" said she, "that's nonsense; we had better begin again." Just then an e came, and thinking I saw what it was, I said - "Please go on, I understand it." The whole was then spelt out thus - yrnehkcocffej. The lady even then did not see it, till I separated it thus - yrneh kcocffej, or Henry Jeffcock, the name of the relation she wanted accurately spelt backwards.
Another phenomena, necessitating the exertion both of the intellect, is the following: The table having been previously examined, a sheet of note-paper was marked privately by me, and placed with a lead pencil under the centre foot of the table, all present having their hands upon the table. After a few minutes taps were heard, and on taking up the paper I found written on it in a free hand - William. On another occasion, a friend from the country - a total stranger to the medium, and whose name was never mentioned - accompanied me; and, after receiving what purported to be a communication from his son, a paper was put under the table, and in a few minutes there was found written on it Charley T. Dodd, the correct name. In these cases it is certain there was no machinery under the table; and it simply remains to ask, if it were possible for Mrs. Marshall to slip off her boots, seize the pencil and paper with her toes, and write on it a name she had to guess at, and again put on her boots without removing her hands from the table, or giving any indication whatever of her exertions?
I now for some months left off going to Mrs. Marshall's, and endeavoured to produce the phenomena at home. My friend Mr. R. soon found he had the power to produce slight movements of the table, but they were never of such a nature as to satisfy an observer that they were not produced consciously or unconsciously by our own muscles. The style and character of the communications obtained through these movements were, however such as to satisfy me that our own minds had no part in producing them.
We tried among all our friends to find one who had power to produce distinct taps, a class of phenomena that appeared to us much more satisfactory, because we could not produce them ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously, under the same conditions. It was in November 1866 that my sister discovered that a lady living with her had the power of inducing loud and distinct taps and other curious phenomena, and I now began a series of observations in my own house, the most important of which I shall briefly narrate.
When we sat at a large loo table without a cloth, with all our hands upon it, the taps would generally commence in a few minutes. They sounded as if made on the under side of the leaf of the table, in various parts of it. They changed in tone and loudness, from a sound like that produced by tapping with a needle or a long finger-nail, to others like blows with a fist or slaps with the fingers of a hand. Sounds were produced also like scraping with a finger-nail, or like the rubbing of a damp finger pressed very hard on the table. The rapidity with which these sounds are produced and are changed is very remarkable. They will imitate, more or less exactly, sounds which we make with our fingers above the table; they will keep good time to a tune whistled by one of the party; they will sometimes, at request, play a very fair tune themselves, or will follow accurately a hand tapping a tune upon the table. When these sounds are heard repeatedly in one's own well-lighted room, upon one's own table, and with every hand in the room visible, the ordinary explanations given of them seem utterly untenable. Of course the first impression on hearing a few taps only is, that some one is making them with the feet. To set this doubt at rest, we have on several occasions all knelt down round the table, and yet the taps have continued, and have not only been heard as if on the leaf of the table, but have been felt vibrating through it. Another view is, that the sounds are produced by the slipping of tendons or the cracking of joints in some parts of the medium's body; and this explanation is, I believe, the one most commonly accepted by scientific men. But surely, if this be so, some one case can be brought forward in which a person's bones or tendons can make sounds like tapping, rapping, thumping, slapping, scratching, and rubbing, and can repeat some of these so rapidly as to follow every tap of an observer's fingers, or to keep time to music; and further, that all these sounds shall appear to every one present not to come from the individual's body, but from the table at which he is sitting, and which shall often vibrate when the sounds are heard. Until such a case is produced I must be excused for marvelling at the credulity of those who accept so absurd and inadequate an explanation.
A still more remarkable phenomenon, and one which I have observed with the greatest care and the most profound interest, is the exhibition of considerable force under conditions which preclude the muscular action of any of the party. We stood round a small work-table, whose leaf was about twenty inches across, placing our hands all close together near the centre. After a short time the table would rock about from side to side, and then, appearing to steady itself, would rise vertically from six inches to a foot, and remain suspended often fifteen or twenty seconds. During this time any one or two of the party could strike it or press on it, as it resisted a very considerable force. Of course, the first impression is that some one's foot is lifting up the table. To answer this objection, I prepared the table before our second trial without telling any one, by stretching some thin tissue paper between the feet an inch or two from the bottom of the pillar, in such a manner that any attempt to insert the foot must crush and tear the paper. The table rose up as before, resisted pressure downwards, as if it were resting on the back of some animal, sunk to the floor, and in a short time rose again, and then dropped suddenly down. I now with some anxiety turned up the table, and, to the surprise of all present, showed them the delicate tissue stretched across altogether uninjured! Finding that this kind of test was troublesome, as the paper or threads had to be renewed every time, and were liable to be broken accidentally before the experiment began, I constructed a cylinder of hoops and laths, covered with canvas. The table was placed within this as in a well, and, as it was about eighteen inches high, it effectually kept feet and ladies' dresses from the table. This apparatus in no way checked the table's upward motion, and as the hands of the medium were always close under the eyes of all present, and simply resting on the top of the table, it would appear that there was some new and unknown power here at work. These experiments have been many times repeated by me, and I am satisfied of the correctness of my statement of the facts.
On two or three occasions only, when the conditions appear to have been unusually favourable, I have witnessed a still more marvellous phenomenon. While sitting at the large table in our usual manner, I placed the small table about four feet from it, on the side next the medium and my sister. After some time, while we were talking, we heard a slight sound from the table, and looking towards it, found that it moved slightly at short intervals, and after a little time it moved suddenly up to the table by the side of the medium, as if it had gradually got within the sphere of a strong attractive force. Afterwards, at our request, it was thrown down on the floor without any person touching it, and it then moved about in a strange life-like manner, as if seeking some means of getting up again, turning its claws first on one side and then on the other. On another occasion a very large leather arm-chair which stood at least four or five feet from the medium, suddenly wheeled up to her after a few slight preliminary movements. It is, of course, easy to say that what I relate is impossible. I maintain that it is accurately true; and that no man, whatever be his attainments, has such an exhaustive knowledge of the powers of nature as to justify him in using the word impossible with regard to facts which I and many others have repeatedly witnessed.
On Wednesday evening, February 27, 1867, some very remarkable phenomena occurred. The parties present were my sister and Miss Nichol (now Mrs. Volckman), her father, Mr. H. T. Humphreys, and two young friends of mine, Mr. and Miss M. My wife and her sister also sat in the room at some distance from the table looking on. There was no fire, and we lowered the gas so as to give a subdued light, which enabled everything to be seen. The moment we were all in our places, taps were heard indicating that the conditions were favourable. We now sent for a single wine-glass, which was placed on the floor between Miss Nichol and her father, and we requested it might be struck. After a short time it was gently tapped, producing a clear ringing sound. This soon changed to a sound as if two glasses were gently struck together; and now we were all astonished by hearing in succession almost every possible sound that could be produced by two glasses one inside the other, even to the clang of one dropped into another. They were in every respect identical with such sounds as we could produce with two glasses, and with two only, manipulated in a variety of ways, and yet I was quite sure that only one wine-glass was in the room, and every person's hands were distinctly visible on the table.
We now took up the glass again and put it on the table, where it was held by both Miss N. and Mr. Humphreys, so as to prevent any vibration it might produce. After a short interval of silence an exquisitely delicate sound as of tapping a glass was heard, which increased to clear silvery notes like the tinkling of a glass bell. These continued in varying degrees for some minutes, and then became fainter and gradually died away. We afterwards placed a rude bamboo harp from the Malay Archipelago under the table, and, after several alterations of position, the strings were twanged as clearly and loudly as any of us could do it with our fingers. Having had such success with the glass, we asked if the harp could also be imitated, and having received permission to try, placed it also on the table. After a little time faint vibrating taps were heard, and these soon changed into very faint twangs which formed a distinct imitation of the harp strings, although by no means so successfully as in the case of the wine-glass.
We were informed by taps in the ordinary way that it was through the peculiar influence of Mr. Nichol that this extraordinary production of imitative musical sounds without any material object was effected. I may add that the imitation of the sound produced by two glasses was so perfect that some of the party turned up the table immediately after we left it, under the impression that the unseen power had brought in a second glass, but none could be found.

It has been objected that we too often use the expression that the phenomena we witness "could not possibly have been produced by any of the persons present." I maintain that in this instance they could not, and I shall continue in that conviction until they are produced under similar conditions and the modus operandi explained.
I have since witnessed a great variety of phenomena, both in this country and in America, some of which are alluded to in other parts of this volume; but I attach most importance to those which I have carefully and repeatedly tested, and which give me a solid basis of fact by which to judge of what others relate or what I have myself seen under less favourable conditions.

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Spiritualism and Science
 - Alfred Russel Wallace -
This oft-reprinted letter to the Editor appeared in The Times (London) of 4 January 1873.
          HAVING BEEN named by several of your correspondents as one of the scientific men who believe in spiritualism, you will perhaps allow me to state briefly what amount of evidence has forced the belief upon me. I began the investigation about eight years ago, and I esteem it a fortunate thing that at that time the more marvellous phenomena were far less common and less accessible than they are now, because I was led to experiment largely at my own house, and among friends whom I could trust, and was able to establish to my own satisfaction, by means of a great variety of tests, the occurrence of sounds and movements not traceable to any known or conceivable physical cause. Having thus become thoroughly familiar with these undoubtedly genuine phenomena, I was able to compare them with the more powerful manifestations of several public mediums, and to recognize an identity of cause in both by means of a number of minute but highly characteristic resemblances. I was also able, by patient observation, to obtain tests of the reality of some of the more curious phenomena which appeared at the time, and still appear to me, to be conclusive. To go into details as to those experiences would require a volume, but I may, perhaps, be permitted briefly to describe one, from notes kept at the time, because it serves as an example of the complete security against deception which often occurs to the patient observer without seeking for it.
A lady who had seen nothing of the phenomena asked me and my sister to accompany her to a well-known public medium. We went, and had a sitting alone in the bright light of a summer's day. After a number of the usual raps and movements our lady friend asked if the name of the deceased person she was desirous of communicating with could be spelt out. On receiving an answer in the affirmative, the lady pointed successively to the letters of a printed alphabet while I wrote down those at which three affirmative raps occurred. Neither I nor my sister knew the name the lady wished for, nor even the names of any of her deceased relatives; her own name had not been mentioned, and she had never been near the medium before. The following is exactly what happened, except that I alter the surname, which was a very unusual one, having no authority to publish it. The letters I wrote down were of the following kind:- y n r e h n o s p m o h t. After the first three - y n r - had been taken down, my friend said, "This is nonsense, we had better begin again." Just then her pencil was at e, and raps came, when a thought struck me (having read of, but never witnessed a similar occurrence) and I said "Please go on, I think I see what is meant." When the spelling was finished I handed the paper to her, but she could see no meaning in it till I divided it at the first h, and asked her to read each portion backwards, when to her intense astonishment the name "Henry Thompson" came out, that of a deceased son of whom she had wished to hear, correct in every letter. Just about that time I had been hearing ad nauseam of the superhuman acuteness of mediums who detect the letters of the name the deluded visitors expect, notwithstanding all their care to pass the pencil over the letters with perfect regularity. This experience, however (for the substantial accuracy of which as above narrated I vouch), was and is, to my mind, a complete disproof of every explanation yet given of the means by which the names of deceased persons are rapped out. Of course, I do not expect any sceptic, whether scientific or unscientific, to accept such facts, of which I could give many, on my testimony, but neither must they expect me, nor the thousands of intelligent men to whom equally conclusive tests have occurred, to accept their short and easy methods of explaining them.
If I am not occupying too much of your valuable space I should like to make a few remarks on the misconceptions of many scientific men as to the nature of this inquiry, taking the letters of your correspondent Mr. Dircks as an example. In the first place, he seems to think that it is an argument against the facts being genuine that they cannot all be produced and exhibited at will; and another argument against them, that they cannot be explained by any known laws. But neither can catalepsy, the fall of meteoric stones, nor hydrophobia be produced at will; yet these are all facts, and none the less so that the first is sometimes imitated, the second was once denied, and the symptoms of the third are often greatly exaggerated, while none of them are yet brought under the domain of strict science; yet no one would make this an argument for refusing to investigate these subjects. Again, I should not have expected a scientific man to state, as a reason for not examining it, that spiritualism "is opposed to every known natural law, especially the law of gravity," and that it "sets chemistry, human physiology, and mechanics at open defiance;" when the facts simply are that the phenomena, if true, depend upon a cause or causes which can overcome or counteract the action of these several forces, just as some of these forces often counteract or overcome others; and this should surely be a strong inducement to a man of science to investigate the subject.
While not laying any claim myself to the title of "a really scientific man," there are some who deserve that epithet who have not yet been mentioned by your correspondents as at the same time spiritualists. Such I consider the late Dr. Robert Chambers, as well as Dr. Elliotson, Professor William Gregory, of Edinburgh; and Professor Hare, of Philadelphia - all unfortunately deceased; while Dr. Gully, of Malvern, as a scientific physician, and Judge Edmonds, one of the best American lawyers, have had the most ample means of investigation; yet all these not only were convinced of the reality of the most marvellous facts, but also accepted the theory of modern spiritualism as the only one which would embrace and account for the facts. I am also acquainted with a living physiologist of high rank as an original investigator, who is an equally firm believer.
In conclusion I may say that, although I have heard a great many accusations of imposture, I have never detected it myself; and, although a large proportion of the more extraordinary phenomena are such, that, if impostures, they could only be performed by means of ingenious apparatus or machinery, none has ever been discovered. I consider it no exaggeration to say, that the main facts are now as well established and as easily verifiable as any of the more exceptional phenomena of nature which are not yet reduced to law. They have a most important bearing on the interpretation of history, which is full of narratives of similar facts, and on the nature of life and intellect, on which physical science throws a very feeble and uncertain light; and it is my firm and deliberate belief that every branch of philosophy must suffer till they are honestly and seriously investigated, and dealt with as constituting an essential portion of the phenomena of human nature.
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The Opposition to Hypnotism and Psychical Research
 - Alfred Russel Wallace -
Speak gently of the new-born gift, restrain the scoff and sneer,
And think how much we may not learn is yet around us here;
What paths there are where faith must lead, and knowledge cannot share,
Though still we tread the devious way, and feel that truth is there.
- Anon (1844)

Sleep, sleep on! forget thy pain;
My hand is on thy brow,
My spirit on thy brain;
My pity on thy heart, poor friend;
And from my fingers flow
The powers of life, and like a sign,
Seal thee from thine hour of woe.
- Shelley
          ALTHOUGH the subjects to be now discussed have made some progress in the last quarter of the century, this was preceded by a long period of ignorance, accompanied by the most violent opposition, extremely discreditable to an age of such general research and freedom of inquiry in all other branches of human knowledge. A brief outline of the nature of this opposition will be interesting; and may serve as a warning to those who still put faith in the denunciations of the public press, or of those writers who pose as authorities without having devoted any serious study to the subject.

The phenomena of Animal Magnetism, often termed Mesmerism, and now Hypnotism, were discovered by a physician of Vienna named Mesmer about the year 1770. He applied it to the treatment of disease, and obtained great popularity in Paris, where he came to practise. His knowledge of the subject was, however, necessarily limited, and his interpretation of the facts often erroneous. A Government Commission was appointed in 1785, consisting of physicians and scientists (including Lavoisier, Franklin, and other eminent men) who, finding that many of the phenomena, alleged by Mesmer to be due to a special form of magnetism, could be produced in the patients by suggestion, reported against his alleged powers, and the subject soon fell into disrepute.

Early in the present century, however, the phenomena again occurred in the practice of some physicians in Paris and elsewhere, a few of whom devoted much time to the study, and obtained evidence of the most perfect thought-reading, true clairvoyance, and many other apparently superhuman powers. Many medical men became satisfied of the genuineness of these strange occurrences, and the amount of interest they excited in the scientific and medical worlds is shown by the fact, that the article "Magnetisme" in the Dictionnaire de Medecine, published in 1825, treated the subject in a serious spirit, and recognised the whole of its phenomena as being undoubtedly genuine. The writer, Dr. Rostan, declares that he had himself examined a clairvoyante who, when he placed his watch at the back of her head, told the time indicated by it, and even when he turned the hands round without looking at them, was equally successful.

Of course those who had no opportunity of investigating the subject under favourable conditions, could not accept such marvels, and imputed them to clever trickery; and in order to determine authoritatively how much truth there was in the statements of the Animal Magnetisers, the Academie Royale de Medecine, in 1826, appointed a committee of eleven members, all, of course, medical men, and presumably capable and impartial, to inquire into the whole subject experimentally. Nine of the members attended the meetings and experiments during five years; and in 1831 they delivered a full and elaborate Report, which was signed by the whole nine, and was therefore unanimous. This Report (published in the Archives Generale de Medecine, vol. xx.) gives the details of a large number of experiments, and concludes with a summary of what was considered to be proved, together with some weighty observations. As this Report is very little known, and has been completely ignored by almost all writers adverse to the claims of the magnetisers, I will give some of the more important portions of it, as translated by Dr. Lee in his work on Animal Magnetism.
Report of the Commission of the Academie Royale de Medecine on Animal Magnetism

"Conclusions and General Remarks."

"The commission has reported with impartiality that which it had seen with distrust; it has exposed methodically that which it has observed under different circumstances, and which it has followed up with an attention as close as it is continued. It has the consciousness that the statements which it presents to you are the faithful expression of that which it has observed. The obstacles which it has met with are known to you; they are partly the cause of the delay which has occurred in presenting the report, although we have long been in possession of the materials. We are, however, far from excusing ourselves, or from complaining of this delay, since it gives to our observations a character of maturity and reserve which should lead you to confide in the facts which we have related, without the charge of prepossession and enthusiasm with which you might have reproached us if we had only recently collected them. We add that we are far from thinking that we have seen all that is to be seen, and we do not pretend to lead you to admit as an axiom, that there is nothing positive in magnetism beyond what we mention in our report. Far from placing limits to this part of physiological science, we entertain, on the contrary, the hope that a new field is opened to it; and guaranteeing our own observations, presenting them with confidence to those who, after us, will occupy themselves with magnetism, we restrict ourselves to drawing the following conclusions, which are the necessary consequence of the facts the totality of which constitutes our report."
A considerable proportion of these "conclusions" relate to points which are either unimportant or now undisputed, such as the mode of magnetising, the proportion of persons who can be magnetised, the influence of expectation, the variety of the phenomena produced, the possibility of simulation, the nature of the magnetic sleep, the therapeutic effects produced and their importance, and other similar points. The following paragraphs give the more important of the "conclusions" referring to those points which are still doubted or denied by a considerable number of men of science.
"It has been demonstrated to us that the magnetic sleep may be produced under circumstances in which the magnetised have not been able to perceive, and have been ignorant of, the means employed to occasion it."

"When a person has been already magnetised, it is not always necessary to have recourse to contact, or to the 'passes,' in order to magnetise afresh. The look of the magnetiser, his will alone, has often the same influence. In this case one can not only act upon the magnetised, but throw him completely into the sleep, and awaken him from this state without his being aware of it, out of his sight, at a certain distance, and through closed doors."
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
"We have seen two somnambulists distinguish with closed eyes the objects placed before them; they have designated, without touching them, the colour and name of cards; they have read words written, or lines from a book. This phenomenon has occurred even when the eyelids were kept closed by the fingers."

"We have met with two somnambulists who possessed the faculty of foreseeing acts of the organism, more or less distinct, more or less complicated."

"We have only met with one somnambulist who could indicate the symptoms of the diseases of three persons with whom she was placed in relation. We had, however, made researches on a considerable number."
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
"The commission could not verify, because it had no opportunity, the other faculties which magnetisers had stated to exist in somnambulists. But it has collected, and it communicates to the Academy, facts sufficiently important to induce it to think that the Academy ought to encourage researches on magnetism as a very curious branch of psychology and natural history.

"Certainly we dare not flatter ourselves that we shall make you share entirely our conviction of the reality of the phenomena which we have observed, and which you have neither seen, nor followed, nor studied with or in opposition to us. We do not therefore exact from you a blind belief in all that we have reported. We conceive that a great part of the facts are so extraordinary that you cannot grant it to us: perhaps we ourselves should have refused you our belief, if, changing places, you had come to announce them before this tribunal to us, who, like you at present, had seen nothing, observed nothing, studied nothing, followed nothing of them.

"We only require you to judge us as we should have judged you, that is to say, that you remain perfectly convinced that neither the love of the wonderful, nor the desire of celebrity, nor any interest whatever, has influenced our labours. We were animated by motives more elevated, more worthy of you - by the love of science and by the wish to justify the hopes which the Academy had conceived of our zeal and devotedness."
(Signed) BOURDOIS DE LA MOTTE (President),
FOUQUIER,
GUENEAU DE MUSSY,
GUERSENT,
ITARD,
LEROUX,
MARC,
THILLAGE,
HUSSON (Reporter)."
It is hardly possible to have a weightier or more trustworthy report than this one, showing in every line the care and deliberation of the members of the commission, while their competence and honesty are above suspicion. The same general conclusions as to the reality and importance of animal magnetism were arrived at by some of the most eminent physicians in Russia, Denmark, Saxony and other countries; while the entire report of the French Commission was translated into English in 1836, and published in Mr. Colquhoun's Isis Rerelata.

In 1837, however, in consequence of many accounts of clairvoyance then occurring in various parts of France, the Academie de Medecine offered a prize of three thousand francs to any one who should prove his ability to read without use of the eyes. The daughter of a physician at Montpelier - Dr. Pigeaire - possessed this power, as testified by many persons of repute; and, in consequence of this offer, he brought her to Paris. Many persons saw her in private, and several physicians - MM. Orfila, Ribes, Reveille-Parise and others - certified the fact of her clairvoyant powers. But the members appointed by the Academy - less experienced than those of the Commission of 1831 - began by making stipulations as to the complete enclosure of the clairvoyant's head, to which her father would not consent, and thus the opportunity of officially testing this lady was lost(1). Others presented themselves, but none succeeded. The result was therefore purely negative, but as there were in some cases suspicions of imposture or attempts at imposture, the report was, of course, against the existence of clairvoyance. This was only what might have been anticipated by all who had really investigated the subject. Professor William Gregory, of the University of Edinburgh, after twenty years' study of animal magnetism and an extensive personal experience, wrote as follows:

(1) The method usually adopted was to bind a linen cloth over the eyes, to cover this with cotton-wool, and over all a black velvet mask, which was held to be a complete test by Arago and other observers. This, however, the commissioners would not even try.
"In regard to clairvoyance, I have never seen it satisfactorily exhibited except quite in private; and in this point my experience has simply confirmed the statements made by the best observers. I feel confident that every one who chooses to devote some time and labour to the investigation, may meet with it, either in his own cases or those of his friends."
In his Letters on Animal Magnetism Professor Gregory gives several indisputable cases tested by himself. Dr. Haddock, Major Buckley, Sir Walter Trevelyan, Miss Martineau, Dr. Esdaile, Dr. Lee, and Dr. Elliotson, have all obtained evidence of the most convincing kind, much of which has been published; while many eminent physicians and men of science on the Continent obtained equally convincing results - all confirming the positive evidence of the French Commission of 1831, and proving that the negative results of the Commission of 1837 were due to the inexperience and prejudices of the members. Yet, notwithstanding this cumulative proof, modern writers against the higher phenomena produced by hypnotism, appear to be either totally ignorant of the existence of the five years' inquiry and elaborate report of the first commission of the Academie de Medecine, or confound it with the second commission, which gave a purely negative report on one limited phase of the phenomena!

Thus, the late Dr. W. B. Carpenter, in his volume on Mesmerism, Spiritualism, etc., Historically and Scientifically Considered (Longmans, 1877), writes as follows:
"It was in France that the pretensions of mesmeric clairvoyance were first advanced; and it was by the French Academy of Medicine, in which the mesmeric state had been previously discussed with reference to the performance of surgical operations, that this new and more extraordinary claim was first carefully sifted, in consequence of the offer made in 1837 by M. Burdin (himself a member of that Academy) of a prize of 3,000 francs to any one who should be found capable of reading through opaque substances."
Neither here, nor in any part of his volume, does Dr. Carpenter show any knowledge of the existence of the Commission of 1825-31, which really "first carefully sifted" the varied phenomena of Animal Magnetism, including numerous cases of clairvoyance, and decided that they were genuine.

In the last edition of Chambers' Encyclopædia, a publication remarkable for the great ability of its contributors and the impartial treatment of disputed questions, we find in the article "Animal Magnetism" the following passage: " Despite the unfavourable report of the French Commission of 1785, as well as of a later one in 1831, and other subsequent exposures" ... indicating that the writer was unacquainted with the favourable report of 1831, and confused it with the negative report of 1837-40. And this ignorance is confirmed by the statement, a little further on, that "no scientific observer has yet confirmed the statements of mesmerists as to clairvoyance, reading of sealed letters, influence on unconscious persons at a distance, or the like," - a statement the exact opposite of the fact, since the nine members of the commission of the Academy of Medicine, Professor Gregory and the other gentlemen mentioned above, as well as a large number of physicians and others on the Continent, must surely be held to be, individually and as a whole, "scientific observers," or the term can have no meaning. Buchner, Spitta, and other antagonistic continental writers, also appealed to the commission of 1784 as having exposed "the swindle of magnetic cures," apparently in complete ignorance of the report of 1831 and Buchner also refers to the commission of 1837 as reporting against clairvoyance, without any reference to the more weighty report of 1831 in its favour.

One more example as to the mode of treatment of evidence for the reality of clairvoyance. Dr. Carpenter describes some of his own visits to Alexis and Adolphe Didier, accompanied by Dr. Forbes; and because they saw nothing which was to them absolutely conclusive, he leads the reader to think that nothing really conclusive had ever been obtained. But Dr. Lee, a physician of repute, and therefore presumably as good a witness as Dr. Carpenter or Dr. Forbes, in his well-known work on Animal Magnetism, devotes twenty-two pages to an account of his own personal experiments with Alexis at Brighton in 1849, including such a number and variety of striking tests as to entirely outweigh any number of negative results like those of Dr. Carpenter. And in addition to these, other special tests of the most stringent character have been published, two of which may be here given. Sergeant Cox, in his What Am I? (vol. ii. p. 167) describes a test by a party of experts of whom he was one. A word was written by a friend in a distant town, and enclosed in an envelope, without any one of the party knowing what the word was. This envelope was enclosed successively in six others of thick brown paper, each sealed. This packet was handed to Alexis, who placed it on his forehead, and in three minutes and a half wrote the contents correctly, imitating the very handwriting. Let any one compare Dr. Carpenter's explanation of how he supposed such readings were done, and he will see how completely inadequate it is as applying to tests such as that of Sergeant Cox and scores of other inquirers.

The next test is furnished by the experience of the greatest of modern professional conjurers, Houdini, who, at the request of the Marquis do Mirville, had two sittings with Alexis. His account, as quoted by Dr. Lee, is as follows. After describing what took place at the first sitting, he says: "I cannot help declaring that the facts here reported are perfectly exact, and that the more I reflect upon them, the more impossible do I find it to class them with those which constitute the object of my art." (May 10th, 1849.)
"At the second séance I witnessed still more surprising events than at the first, and they no longer leave any doubt in my mind respecting the clairvoyance of Alexis. I tear off the envelope of a pack of cards I brought with me. I shuffle and deal with every precaution, which, however, is useless, for Alexis stopped me by naming a card which I had just placed before him on the table. 'I have the king,' said he. 'But you know nothing about it, as the trump card is not turned up.' 'You will see,' he replied; 'go on.' In fact, I turned up the ace of spades, and his card was the king of spades. The game was continued; he told me the cards which I should play, though my cards were held closely in my hands beneath the table. To each of the cards I played he followed suit, without turning up his cards, which were always perfectly in accordance with those I led. I therefore returned from this séance as astonished as one can be, and I am convinced that it is quite impossible that chance, or any superior skill, could produce such wonderful results." (May 16th, 1849.)
Now the point which I wish to submit to my readers is, whether the method of argument and discussion adopted by the most eminent opponents of Animal Magnetism, is either honest, or scientific, or even rational. We do not ask them to accept blindly any of the facts reported, or to refrain from any criticism, however severe, which is founded upon a fair consideration of all the available evidence. But in this matter, as I have here shown by a few striking examples, the public mind is influenced by the omission to state the case fairly; by putting forth the weakest instead of the strongest facts and arguments; and by the denial that any good and trustworthy evidence exists. What should we think of the man who discussed any of the disputed questions of recognised science in this way, who either ignorantly or wilfully omitted all reference to the most careful researches of the most eminent writers on the subject and while professing to instruct and enlighten the public, led them to believe that such researches did not exist? Such a man would at once lose all claim to be considered an authority on any subject, and his future writings would be treated with deserved neglect. It is because, during the greater part of the century, this most important and most interesting inquiry has been treated in so unworthy a manner by men of reputation in other departments of research, that we are compelled to class the opposition to the phenomena of mesmerism, and especially to the reality of clairvoyance, as constituting one of the exceptions to the steady march of most branches of science throughout the century.

We now come to the consideration of a practical application of animal magnetism, the opposition to which was even more virulent and more unjustifiable than that just described. The subject of Mesmerism, as it began to be termed, was first introduced into this country by Mr. Richard Chenevix, a Fellow of the Royal Society, who published a series of papers in the London Medical and Physical Journal in 1829. He also exhibited the phenomena to numerous medical men, among others to Dr. Elliotson, who afterwards became one of the chief teachers of the science. The Professor of Physiology at King's College, Dr. Mayo, also upheld and wrote upon it in the medical journals Baron Dupotet came to London and again demonstrated the main facts, as did numbers of public lecturers, affording ample opportunities for experiment and observation.

In 1829, M. Cloquet, one of the most eminent surgeons of Paris, amputated a cancerous breast during the mesmeric sleep, the patient being entirely insensible to pain, although able to converse. Teeth were extracted, and many other operations, some very serious, such as the extirpation of a portion of the lower jaw in the hospital of Cherbourg, were performed in France. About twelve years later, operations in the mesmeric trance began to be performed in England; but, notwithstanding the numerous cases already reported from France, supporting the fact of insensibility to pain, as fully described by the Academy of Medicine, they were received with general incredulity by the medical profession, while the most outrageous accusations were made against all who took part in them.

On the 22nd of November, 1842, at the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, an account was read of the amputation of the thigh during the mesmeric trance. The patient was a labourer who had suffered for five years with neglected disease of the left knee, the slightest motion of the joint being attended with extreme pain. Before the operation he had had no sleep for three nights. He was mesmerised by Mr. W. Topham, a barrister, and operated upon by Mr. W. Squire Ward, surgeon, in the District Hospital of Wellow, Nottinghamshire. During the whole operation, lasting twenty minutes, the patient remained in perfect repose, the placid countenance never changing, while no muscle of the body or limbs was seen to twitch. He awoke gradually and calmly, and on being questioned, declared that he knew nothing that was being done, and had felt no pain at all. He recovered perfectly, and had not a single bad symptom.

Then followed a violent discussion. Mr. Coulson said the non-expression of pain was a common thing, and he had no doubt the man had been trained to it. Several declared that the man shammed. One declared he would not have believed the facts had he witnessed them! Then the great men of the profession spoke. Dr. Marshall Hall, the investigator of reflex-action, declared that it was a case of imposition, because the sound leg should have contracted when the diseased leg was cut. The case, therefore, contradicted itself. Sir Benjamin Brodie believed that the man must have been naturally insusceptible of pain. He also agreed with Dr. Marshall Hall that the other leg ought to have moved, and he was quite satisfied with the two French reports against mesmerism. Mr. Liston and Mr. Bransby Cooper made fun of the subject; but Dr. Mayo declared it was a paper of great importance, and should not be ridiculed. Mr. Wood, who had assisted at the amputation, vouched for the complete accuracy of the whole account, and pointed out that before the operation the patient had suffered intense pain, and that during the operation he not only showed no sign of pain, but no sign of resistance to the expression of pain. Dr. Elliotson also pointed out the illogical nature of the objections; but the opponents, who were all completely ignorant of the subject at the next meeting refused confirmation of the minutes, which were therefore expunged!

Here we have extreme ignorance in high places, denying facts which had been observed again and again by men as honest and trustworthy as themselves. It was these men, and others equally ignorant, who accused the operators of bribing their patients not to exhibit pain; who accused Dr. Elliotson of "polluting the temple of science"; and who ejected this eminent physician from his professorship in the University of London, because he persisted in studying the phenomena of mesmerism and in publishing the results of his experiments. He was, however, soon justified in the eyes of all the more honest members of the profession by the publication of so many cases of painless operations as to compel their acceptance as facts(2); while he was supported by Dr. Esdaile, who gave an account of more than 300 operations performed by himself and other surgeons in the hospitals of Calcutta, which were confirmed by a commission appointed to inquire into them by the Bengal Government, and by the Governor-General himself. The reports of these cases showed that the patients were equally subject to the charge of imposition because they did not exhibit reflex-action in the opposite limb; and Dr. Elliotson made this point the subject of some justifiable ridicule. He says: 
"It is really lamentable to know that this Asiatic practised imposition as boldly as the female in Europe. The Indian was convicted through the self-same piece of ignorance. He too was unaware that he ought to have moved his right elbow-joint, if he felt nothing while his left was being cut off; and so he did not stir it. The dark races are just as wicked and just as ignorant of physiology as the white."
(2) Numerous Cases for Surgical Operations without Pain in the Mesmeric State, by John Elliotson, M.D., F.R.S., London 1843.

The facts, however, accumulated so rapidly and were so well attested, that a few years later Dr. Noble, Sir John Forbes, and Dr. W. B. Carpenter accepted them; thus admitting that the great men who denied them were wholly in the wrong, and that they had displayed ignorance and prejudice in their accusations of imposture and bad faith. But just when the great importance of mesmerism in rendering the most serious operations painless, and at the same time greatly assisting the patient's recovery, was fully acknowledged, the discovery of anaesthetics occurred; and this physiological agent, being more easy to apply and more certain to act upon all patients, soon led to the neglect of mesmerism. With this neglect the old prejudices and incredulity revived; and, although its soothing and remedial influence in disease was quite as well established as its use in surgery, it soon fell into disuse, and the great majority of medical men came to look upon it as either disreputable or altogether a delusion. For nearly half a century it remained in abeyance, till its study was revived in the French hospitals, where all the phenomena described by the early mesmerisers have been re-observed, together with some others even more extraordinary.

During the latter portion of the century, the study of these and other obscure psychical phenomena has become more extended, and in every civilized country societies have been formed for investigation, and many remarkable works have been published. One after another, facts, long denied as delusions or exaggerations, have been admitted to be realities. The stigmata, which at different times have occurred in Catholic countries, are no longer sneered at as priestly impostures. Thought-transference, automatic-writing, trance-speaking, and clairvoyance, have been all demonstrated in the presence of living observers of undoubted ability and knowledge, as they were demonstrated to the observers of the early part of the century and carefully recorded by them. The still more extraordinary phenomena - veridical hallucinations, warnings, detailed predictions of future events, phantoms, voices or knockings, visible or audible to numerous individuals, bell-ringing, the playing on musical instruments, stone-throwing, and various movements of solid bodies, all without human contact or any discoverable physical cause - still occur among us as they have occurred in all ages. These are now being investigated, and slowly but surely are proved to be realities, although the majority of Scientific men and of writers for the press still ignore the cumulative evidence, and ridicule the inquirers. These phenomena, being comparatively rare, are as yet known to but a limited number of persons; but the evidence for their reality is already very extensive, and it is absolutely certain that, during the coming century, they too will be accepted as realities by all impartial students and by the majority of educated men and women.

The great lesson to be learnt from our review of this subject is, distrust of all a priori judgments as to facts; for the whole history of the progress of human knowledge, and especially of that department of knowledge now known as psychical research, renders it certain, that, whenever the scientific men or popular teachers of any age have denied, on a priori grounds of impossibility or opposition to the "laws of nature," the facts observed and recorded by numerous investigators of average honesty and intelligence, these deniers have always been wrong(3).
(3) For a discussion of this point with illustrative cases see my Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, pp. 17-29.

Future ages will, I believe, be astonished at the vast amount of energy and ignorance displayed by so many of the great men of this century in opposing unpalatable truths, and in supposing that a priori arguments, accusations of imposture or insanity, or personal abuse, were the proper means of determining matters of fact and of observation in any department of human knowledge.


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