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Friday, May 25, 2012

G. N. M. Tyrrell - Chapters on Psychical Phenomena


Chapters on Psychical Phenomena
Alternatives to Discarnate Theory
What the Rejection of the Discarnate Theory Implies
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
          THE EVIDENCE we have considered which most strongly suggests discarnate agency is contained in the case of Patience Worth, the Cross-correspondences, the Automatic Writing of Mrs. Willett, certain examples of Control-Mediumship, and the Dark Note-book, Fountain Pens and London cases. It is not easy, perhaps it is impossible, to find or even to suggest evidence which would settle the question of discarnate agency out of hand. The limits of telepathy, and of extra-sensory faculty in general, are unknown; consequently it is always possible to suggest an alternative hypothesis to the agency of the dead, although such hypotheses are largely based on drafts on our ignorance.
We found in Chapter 6 evidence of a broad principle, I which seems to underlie most paranormal phenomena, that events taking place in the subliminal region of the self are not made known to consciousness directly but aremediated to it by means of some constructed symbol or vehicle. In the case of apparent communications from the dead, this principle still seems to hold. The general contempt for mediumistic and automatic communications arises, at least in part, from a failure to grasp their nature. People seize upon some poor type of mediumistic communication and, taking it quite naively, say: "If this is how the dead speak, they must have become imbeciles." But the "message" is, in fact, not so much a message as a dramatic construct, probably of multiple origin. To regard it as on a par with a telephone message sent by one human being, to another is to misunderstand the whole situation.
But what about the communicator as he appears to the sitter? Mrs. Sidgwick pointed out, in her analysis of the Piper case, that "the characterisation of even genuine communicators, with the whole dramatic machinery employed, is probably merely dream-like." But the better the conditions the clearer and more lifelike does the communicator become.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that none of these messages proceed from the dead: how can we then explain them? We have to admit, not merely telepathy in the sense of thought-transference, but something much more comprehensive. As far as I am aware, no one who is at all conversant with the evidence denies this. It is highly desirable that anyone who does deny it should say definitely how he explains this evidence without postulating a faculty so puissant and comprehensive as to deserve the name of super-telepathy.
To explain the phenomena discussed in Chapters 16 to 19, without postulating discarnate agency, we must assume two things: 1) a power possessed by the subliminal self of gathering any information it requires from any living mind which possesses it; 2) a power to construct dramatic personalities out of the information so acquired.
The case of Patience Worth might be explained in this way. We could say that the subliminal self of Mrs. Curran collected all the information it wanted about foreign lands, historical facts, linguistic peculiarities, dialects, etc., from the minds of various historians and scholars, or possibly even from the pages of printed, books in libraries, and wove it into stories; also that it had a power of creating dramatic characters far exceeding anything that the conscious Mrs. Curran possessed. This is sufficiently startling; but when we come to the cross-correspondences, we have to admit more than this. The subliminal selves of all the automatists there concerned must have got together and, in subliminal committee-meetings, have worked out the plans for the various cross-correspondences. The classical knowledge must have been supplied by the subliminal self of Mrs. Verrall, and the distribution of the parts agreed upon by all. The vivid communicator, Gurney(w), Myers(w) and so on, must have been constructed out of information gathered about their characters, either from Mrs. Verrall, or from others who had known them in life. When Mrs. Verrall died in 1912, this did not prevent the communicators from continuing to appear, so that some re-shuffle of the subliminal committee must be presumed to have taken place.
Let us assume that, so far as the acquisition of knowledge was concerned, the resources of a super-telepathy were equal to it. This is a vast admission. We are not concerned with the conveyance of simple ideas from the mind of A to the mind of B - the kind of thing which used to be called "thought-transference": we are assuming that all kinds of facts, even of the most recondite and speculative nature, once known to a person who is now dead, can be picked up from the minds of those who knew that person in the past through devious telepathic channels. Even small personal characteristics, such as a typical sense of humour, habitual caution, a sudden access of impatience, a characteristic turn of phrase, can be picked up in this way and exactly reproduced. Suppose we admit all this: we are then faced with a much greater difficulty. This information is not given out as information. It is supplied in dramatic form as the characteristics of extremely life-like communicators. Myers(w), Gurney(w), Sidgwick(w), etc., are, on this view, personalities constructed in the automatist's subliminal self. They are, for the time being, centres of consciousness endowed with the knowledge, the memories and other characteristics appropriate to the deceased persons they represent. These centres of consciousness may be inherent in the automatist's personality and not existing independently of her; but, for all that, they do have a genuine, if temporary, existence. We are faced by this extraordinary situation. If, say, Gurney(w) has all the knowledge, the memories and mental and moral characteristics of the original Gurney, and, moreover, believes himself to be the original Gurney, even though he is no more than a phase of the automatist's personality, shall we not have to admit that he is, nevertheless, temporarily the real Gurney? On what grounds can we draw a distinction between an imitation Gurney, who possesses all Gurney's original qualities, and a temporary recall to being of the real Gurney? The two would amount to the same thing. Our "telepathic" view of the communicators would resolve itself into the statement that the subliminal self of an automatist can actually create real and living human beings, who are, in fact, former human beings come to life again for a short time. This appears to be the alternative to the view that the real Gurney and Myers, etc, are communicating. It seems possible to hold this view, since we do not know the limits of the power of the subliminal self; but surely it is the more staggering hypothesis of the two. It credits the subliminal self with such immeasurable powers that the question of survival reappears in another form. Why should a being endowed with such powers be mortal? Does such an admission square with the reasons usually put forward for the view that the human being is mortal? And how are these powers correlated with physiological processes in the brain? One of the chief grounds of objection to survival is the view that all conscious and mental processes are exactly correlated with nervous processes. An epiphenomenalist who sets out to explain the cross-correspondences has surely a good deal of explaining to do.
It comes to this. The phenomena of psychical research (properly so-called) point strongly towards communications from the dead. It is possible to escape from this conclusion, but only at the expense of introducing a still more extravagant hypothesis. The facts are quite clear. They cannot be got rid of by maintaining a masterly silence, by looking in the opposite direction or by making false statements about them. Sooner or later they will have to be faced. Those who wish to know the truth about the nature of the human individual might as well face them now.
Two other hypotheses concerning these phenomena may be briefly referred to. Professor C. D. Broad has suggested the view that mind, as we know it, may be a compound of two factors, neither of which separately has the properties of mind. One is a "bodily factor," the other a "psychic factor." This "psychic factor," he suggests, may persist after death and become a temporary mind again when it unites with the "bodily factor of a medium."(1)
(1) "The Mind and its Place in Nature", p. 538.
Another view, which is commonly advanced by the Catholic Church, is that mediumistic communicators are impersonations contrived by the Devil or by satanic agency, or possibly by other types of non-human beings, such as "Demons." The following passage occurs, I believe, in Cardinal Newman's Apologia: "Also besides the hosts of evil spirits I considered there is a middle race, neither in heaven nor in hell, partially fallen, capricious, wayward, noble or crafty, benevolent or malicious as the case might be."
It seems to me that both these hypotheses need to be worked out in greater detail with respect to the evidence. Could the "psychic factor" in Professor Broad's hypothesis form such a perfect Gurney-communicator by uniting itself with Mrs. Willett's "bodily factor," while Mrs. Willett herself is still united with the same "bodily factor" and remains conscious of her identity?
The demonic view is, in any case, inconsistent with the philosophy of materialism. Space is lacking in which to discuss these views further. The point is that the evidence raises an acute problem for the scientific interpretation of psychological facts, and for philosophy. It cannot be lightly dismissed except at the cost of abandoning the principle of unbiased appeal to fact.
Source: "The Personality of Man. New Facts and their Significance" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1946).

Discarnate Agency
More Evidence on the Discarnate Problem
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
          WE HAVE now examined briefly some of the material produced by different kinds of sensitives. All provide overwhelming evidence for telepathy, which no one has so far explained on any other hypothesis. But we found more than this. We found repeated claims that some of the material produced by sensitives proceeds from the dead. The claim in some cases turns out to be untenable; in other cases it is unacceptable in a direct and literal sense. But this by no means disposes of the possibility that the dead may be behind a good deal of the material produced by mediums and sensitives; for the process, by which the material is produced is evidently both complex and subtle. There is every indication that the messages are multiply caused, and the mind of a deceased person may quite well be one causal factor in a product which is far from being a straightforward communication. The best material contains strong evidence in support of this claim, although it is true that all the evidence can be otherwise explained.
Having considered some of the general evidence for discarnate agency contained in automatic and mediumistic material, it will probably be best to round off this evidence by citing a few specially cogent cases of apparent discarnate knowledge.
The following examples were obtained in three different ways, the first through a medium, the second through a dream, and the third through automatic writing.
The Dark Note-book Case
On the 17th and 19th December, 1917, a lady, Mrs. Hugh Talbot, arranged for two sittings with the medium, Mrs. Osborne Leonard. She says: "Mrs. Leonard at this time knew neither my name nor address, nor had I ever been to her or any other medium before in my life."
Through the control, Feda, a very accurate description was given of the personal appearance of Mrs. Talbot's deceased husband. "All that he said, or rather Feda for him, was clear and lucid. Incidents of the past, known only to him and to me, were spoken of: belongings, trivial in themselves, but possessing for him a particular personal interest of which I was aware, were minutely and correctly described and I was asked if I still had them. All this," says Mrs. Talbot, "was very interesting and seemed very natural. Suddenly Feda began a tiresome description of a book, she said it was leather and dark, and tried to show me its size (about 8 to 10 inches long and 4 or 5 inches wide). Feda said: 'It is not exactly a book, it is not printed, Feda wouldn't call it a book, it had writing in.' It was long before I could connect this description with anything at all, but at last I remembered a red leather note-book of my husband's, which I think he called a log-book: and I asked: 'It is a log-book?' Feda seemed puzzled at this and not to know what a log-book was and repeated the word once or twice, then said: 'Yes, yes, he says it might be a log-book.' I then said: 'Is it a red book?' On this point there was hesitation. They thought possibly it was, though he thought it was, darker. The answer was undecided, and Feda began a wearisome description all over again, adding that I was to look on page twelve, for something written (I am not sure of this word) there, that it would be so interesting after this conversation. Then she said: 'He is not sure, it is page twelve, it might be thirteen, it is so long, but he does want you to look and to try to find it. It would interest him to know if, this extract is there.'"
Mrs. Talbot was not very enthusiastic about the book, which she remembered having looked through at one time, wondering whether it was worth keeping. There were things in it about ships and her husband's work, but she also remembered a few notes and verses. She was not sure whether she had thrown it away or whether it was stacked among some luggage, and she replied rather indefinitely that she would see if she could find it. This would not do for Feda, who started in about it again, saying: "There are two books, you will know the one he means by a diagram of languages in the front - Indo-European, Aryan, Semitic languages and others." 
Mrs. Talbot rather reluctantly searched for the book, and right at the back of a top bookshelf found two old note-books of her husband's, one in shabby black leather of the size that had been indicated. Inside she was astonished to read: "Table of Semitic or Syro-Arabian languages." And on the other side: "General table of the Aryan and Indo-European languages." On page 13, was written the following:
"I discovered by certain whispers which it was supposed I was unable to hear and from certain glances of curiosity or commiseration which it was supposed I was unable to see that I was near death... Presently my mind began to dwell not only on happiness which was to come, but upon happiness that I was actually enjoying. I saw long-forgotten forms, playmates, school fellows, companions of my youth and of my old age, who one and all smiled upon me. They did not smile with any compassion, that I no longer felt that I needed, but with that sort of kindness which is exchanged by people who are equally happy. I saw my mother, father and sisters, all of whom I had survived. They did not speak, yet they communicated to me their unaltered and unalterable affection. At about the time when they appeared, I made an effort to realise my bodily situation ... that is, I endeavoured to connect my soul with the body which lay on the bed in my house... The endeavour failed. I was dead..."(1)
(1) Extract from "Post Mortem", author anon. Blackwood and Sons, 1881.
Corroboration from members of Mrs. Talbot's family about the incident is appended to the account.(2) This then, was the "something written" which would be "so interesting after this conversation." And Mrs. Talbot would have been very unlikely to have found it but for the description of the note-book given by Feda.
(2) Proceedings S.P.R., Vol. xxxi, p. 253.
The Fountain Pens Case
The percipient in this case, Miss I. Sollas, was personally known to Mrs. Salter, an officer of the Society for Psychical Research, and participant in the Cross-Correspondences (q.v.). The dream occurred and was noted down in May, 1937, and was described to the Society in a letter dated 14th January, 1938, as follows:
"In this dream my father came holding out to me a handful of fountain pens. I could not understand what he wanted me to do with them. He went away to his room and came again bringing another handful and anxiously asking me to send them to the same address. I awoke puzzled and began to remember that shortly before the end [Miss Sollas's father had died on 20th October, 1936] he had given me a parcel of silver paper saying it was the collection of a lifetime and would I take it for him to the hospital. Did I know the address? He said he would have taken it himself if he had known what address to take it to; was I sure I knew the address? It seemed to me very odd at the time because the hospital is a place everyone knows, including himself. Well, after some time, I was in his study and found a box with a label 'old fountain pens' containing a handful of them and thought this looked like something interesting. Later in another part of the room, I found another box similarly labelled and also containing a handful corresponding to the two handfuls of my dream. I asked a friend if she knew whether old fountain pens were ever collected for charities, and she said Yes, she had once seen an advertisement asking for them.
"My father was interested in the experiment made by - was it Myers - someone who left, a document locked up for survivors to see if they could tell its contents after his death. I remember my father saying he should have thought some simpler device should have been thought of, and this seemed to me like his simpler version of that experiment."
In the dream, Miss Sollas's father went from his study to his bedroom to fetch the second handful of pens. Actually one box of pens was found in his study and the other "in the remotest corner of a drawer in his chest of drawers" at the other end, the bedroom end, of the room which her father had used for both study and bedroom. Miss Sollas admits that she might possibly have seen the box at the study-end of the room before she had her dream without noticing it; but she is sure she can never have seen the other box till she found it after the dream. Again, memory belonging to a deceased, person is strongly suggested, though not conclusively proved.(3)
(3) Journal of the S.P.R., Vol. xxx, p. 182.
The "London" Case
The third case was obtained by myself through an introduction given me by a prominent member of the Society for Psychical Research to the principal witness. I am not allowed to disclose names, so have used pseudonyms. The daughter of the lady whom I will here call Mrs. Simpson, used to practise automatic writing, and the messages received often purported to come from a friend, D, who had been killed in the war of 1914-18. One evening in December 1916 D said be wanted to introduce a man he had met since his death, who was miserable because, after doing some fine things in his life, he did a mean thing at the end. Then the character of the writing changed, and this man purported to communicate direct. The script proceeded as follows:
Fear led me to do a very evil thing. I cannot forgive myself. It is not what the world thought. I have missed my chance.
(What is your name?)
Whiteman. I was here many-years ago. (At B    College?)
No, at X    College. [The actual name, of the college was given.]
(When did you die?)
I died about - so long ago I think about fifty years.
The communicator then stated that he had no grave.
(Did you die in battle?)
No, had I died fighting I should be happier now.
(Have you been unhappy for fifty years?)
No, but since I have seen so many splendid deaths I remember.
(What is your name?)
Whiteman. John Whiteman.
(What did you do?)
It did not succeed, but I would have saved myself at the expense of another. Intentions are everything - we neither of us escaped.
(Escaped what?)
Death.
(How did you meet D?)
In the field of battle I saw him die and since I have seen him help men to die.
(We tried to comfort him.)
Yes, that is what he tells me - to come and help, not to be stopped by things that were passed fifty years ago, but I stand by full of regret. I taught others. Myself I could not teach.
(Again we tried to cheer him.)
That is what he says.
(What was your work here?)
I taught the Word.
(A clergyman?)
Yes.
(Where was your work?)
The name has gone - it was very far away.
(Were you married?)
Alas!
(Can we do anything for you?)
I have only just begun to realise what I did. Help me by prayer - it is everything.
(Tell me where you died.)
[Written very faintly] L o n d o n.
This was very puzzling. If this man had died in London, how was it that he had no grave? Inquiries at X-College brought to light from the college registry the facts that John Wightman [the difference in spelling between the two original names is rather less than the difference between "Whiteman" and "Wightman"] born in 1829, had matriculated there in 1847, aged 17; had taken Orders and had set out for Australia, but was lost in the S.S. London, which foundered in the Bay of Biscay on 11th January, 1866. This, it will be seen, was just fifty years before the date at which the script was written, namely December 1916.
A work of reference shows that the Rev. John Wightman, identifiable from details given with the above, died unmarried in 1866.
Reference to the back numbers of The Times brought to light accounts of the wreck of the London in the issues of the 17th, 18th and 19th January 1866. It was a tragic disaster. The passengers were told by the captain some time before the ship sank that there was no hope for them and there were distressing scenes. The ship carried 270 passengers and there were only 19 survivors. The name John Whiteman (spelt as in the script) occurs in the second-class passenger list. The automatist had never heard of the wreck of the London, though Mrs. Simpson had a faint recollection that she had heard of it in her girlhood.
There can, of course, from the nature of the case be no proof that John Whiteman tried to save himself at the expense of another; but it is certain that he met his death under circumstances which might lead to a temptation to do such a thing.(4)
(4) Journal of the S.P.R., Vol. xxxi, p. 90.
There are other cases which point, like these three, to the memory of a deceased communicator as the source of the information, though none of them rigidly prove it.
Certain cases of a different type are interesting and suggestive from another point of view, and may be appropriately noticed here. They show that consciousness can continue when the body and brain are very far from being in a normal condition and suggest (though again they do not rigidly prove) that consciousness is not a resultant of the normally functioning brain but is only conditioned and canalised by it. In particular, some of these cases indicate a very important fact, namely, that under certain psychophysical conditions there is not only a separation of the self from the body but also a division occurring in the personality itself. The latter point was well illustrated in the case of Mrs. Willett's experience described on pp. 159-60.
An interesting variant of this was described by a lady well known to me in whose accuracy I have complete confidence. The account is in her own words, and the experience took place in August, 1921.
"I was lying in bed cogitating about doing something extremely agreeable but entirely selfish. I was suddenly aware of being in two places at once. One 'me' was still lying in bed looking as I normally do. The other 'me' was standing at the foot of the bed, very still, very straight, dressed in white with a Madonna-like veil over the head. I was aware of the extreme whiteness of the clothes. We then had a spirited discussion. The white 'me' said: 'You know that you will not do this. The 'me' in bed flung itself about in exasperation at the impassive authority of the white 'me' and said: 'I shall do what I like, you pious, white prig.' I was definitely both 'me's' and conscious in both places simultaneously. There was to sense of a third 'me' linking the two. Each 'me' could see the other, with its expected exterior surroundings all the time. The white 'me' felt sympathy, but contempt for the other 'me.' I may say that the white 'me' won. I have no memory of the process of coalescing; merely at a given moment both 'mes' were observing the exterior world from the same place."
One point of interest here is that the personality divided on a Jekyll-and-Hyde principle. But what is of still greater interest is that the two divided portions were both simultaneously the percipient. The two figures were merely dream-imagery seen from without, and each was seen as though the centre of perception was in the other. In some cases, one only of the two divided portions appears to the percipient to be the real self.
The following is another case. It was copied by Mr. Norman F. Ellison from a diary which he kept during the war of 1914-18. 
"We left Monchiet in the early afternoon, and after a gruelling march along a pave road, slippery with mud and melted snow, reached Beaumetz at night. The briefest halt, and then on to Wailly, immediately behind the line some eight miles south of Arras. From there we waded through a winding communication trench a mile long but seemingly interminable. Liquid mud to the knees and a bitterly cold sleet numbing us through. At last we reached the front line and took over from the French - a territorial reserve battalion. The worst trenches we had ever been in. No repairs had been done to them for months and months. At worst they collapsed inwards and did not give head shelter; at best they were a trough of liquid muck. H. and I in the game traverse and straight away on sentry duty. We were both too utterly fed up to even curse. Bodily exhausted, sodden and chilled to the bone with sleet; hungry and without rations or the means of lighting a fire to boil a dixey of water; not a dry square inch to sit upon, let alone a square foot of shelter beneath which to have the solace of a pipe, we agreed that this was the worst night of concentrated physical discomfort we had come across hitherto - and neither of us were strangers to discomfort.
"Several hours of this misery passed and then an amazing change came over me. I became conscious, acutely conscious that I was outside myself; that the real 'me' - the ego, spirit or what you like - was entirely separate and outside my fleshly body. I was looking in a wholly detached and impersonal way upon the discomforts of a khaki-clad body, which, whilst I realised that it was my own, might easily have belonged to someone else for all the direct connection I seemed to have with it. I knew that my body must be feeling acutely cold and miserable but I, my spirit part, felt nothing." 
His companion told him that his grim silence had suddenly given place to wit and humour and he had chatted as unconcernedly as if before a comfortable fire. 
"Nothing will shake my inward belief," he concludes, "and knowledge that on this particular night my soul and body were entirely separated from each other."(5)
(5) Journal S.P.R., Vol. xxv, p. 126.
Although the narrator speaks of a separation of soul from body and talks about being outside his body, it is clear that this, like Mrs. Willett's case, was an example of "splitting" of the personality. For it cannot have been his body alone which chatted humorously and unconcernedly while he was unaware of it. His personality must have divided.
Again, we may compare this with an interesting case cited by Sir Auckland Geddes in an address delivered to the Royal Medical Society on 26th February, 1927, and entitled by him A Voice from the Grandstand. The title is chosen merely because, in addressing the medical profession, Sir Auckland Geddes said that he felt like a critic of an International Rugby Match sitting in the grandstand on the strength of having, in years gone by, been a member of the school third fifteen.
The case, he says, is "the experience of a man who passed into the very portals of death and was brought back to life by medical treatment." "The record was taken down in shorthand by a skilled secretary as life was re-establishing itself." The account is here abridged.
"On Saturday, 9th November, a few minutes after mid-night, I began to feel very ill and by two o'clock was definitely suffering from acute gastro-enteritis, which kept me vomiting and purging until about eight o'clock... By ten o'clock I had developed all the symptoms of very acute poisoning; intense gastro-intestinal pain, diarrhoea; pulse and respirations became quite impossible to count, I wanted to ring for assistance, but found I could not, and so quite placidly gave up the attempt. I realised I was very ill and very quickly reviewed my whole financial position. Thereafter at no time did my consciousness appear to me to be in any way dimmed, but I suddenly realised that my consciousness was separating from another consciousness which was also me. These, for purposes of description, we could call the A- and B-consciousnesses, and throughout what follows the ego attached itself to the A-consciousness. The B-personality I recognised as belonging to the body, and as my physical condition grew worse and the heart was fibrillating rather than beating, I realised that the B-consciousness belonging to the body was beginning to show signs of being composite, that is built up of 'consciousness' from the head, the heart and, the viscera. These components became more individual and the B-consciousness began to disintegrate, while the A-consciousness, which was now me, seemed to be altogether outside my body, which it could see. Gradually I realised that I could see not only my body and the bed in which it was, but everything in the whole house and garden, and then I realised that I was seeing, not only things at home but in London and in Scotland, in fact wherever my attention was directed, it seemed to me; and the explanation which I received from what source I do not know, but which I found myself calling to myself my mentor, was that I was free in a time-dimension of space, wherein 'now' was in some way equivalent to 'here' in the ordinary three-dimensional space of everyday life."
The narrator then says that his further experiences can only be described metaphorically, for, although he seemed to have two-eyed vision, he "appreciated" rather than "saw" things. He began to recognise people he knew and they seemed to be characterised by coloured condensations around them. "Just as I began to grasp all these," he continues, "I saw 'A' enter my bedroom; I realised she got a terrible shock and I saw her hurry to the telephone. I saw my doctor leave his patients and come very quickly, and heard him say, or saw him think, 'He is nearly gone. I heard him quite clearly speaking to me on the bed, but I was not in touch with my body and could not answer him. I was really cross when he took a syringe and rapidly injected my body with something which I afterwards learned was camphor. As the heart began to beat more strongly, I was drawn back, and I was intensely annoyed, because I was so interested and just beginning to understand where I was and what I was 'seeing.' I came back into the body really angry at being pulled back, and once I was back, all the clarity of vision of anything and everything disappeared and I was just possessed of a glimmer of consciousness, which was suffused with pain."
The narrator adds that this experience showed no tendency to fade like a dream and no tendency to grow or to rationalise itself. Neither did it ever return after he was restored to life. Sir Auckland Geddes says: "What are we to make of it? Of one thing only can we be quite sure. It is not a fake. Without certainty of this, I should not have brought it to your notice."
One cannot help being struck by the similarity between Mrs. Willett's Mind No.2 and Mind No.1 and this narrator's A-personality and B-personality. But what I think we ought chiefly to learn is that selfhood has not the kind of unity which we associate with numerical separateness. What selfhood is - on what characteristics it depends - is probably beyond the capacity of our minds to grasp. But at least we can learn from such cases to avoid dogmatic statements, inadequate theories and hasty conclusions.
These out-of-the-body cases are of exceptional interest. It is worth pointing out that in two such cases recorded by the Society for Psychical Research, quite disconnected from one another and occurring in different countries (they are too long to quote here) the percipients describe the process of getting out of their bodies in almost identical terms. One said: "As I emerged from the head I floated up and down and laterally like a soap-bubble attached to the bowl of a pipe." The other said that he thought to himself: "... here I am, ball of air in the air, a captive balloon still attached to the earth by a kind of elastic string..."
Finally, a case was recorded by Sir Alexander Ogston, K.C.V.O., as having occurred to himself during the South African War. He had been admitted to the Bloemfontein Hospital suffering from typhoid fever. 
"In my delirium," he says, "night and day made little difference to me. In the four-bedded ward where they first placed me, I lay, as it seemed, in a constant stupor, which excluded the existence of any hopes or fears. Mind and body seemed to be dual, and to some extent separate. I was conscious of the body as an inert, tumbled mass near the door; it belonged to me but it was not I. I was conscious that my mental self used regularly to leave the body always carrying something soft and black, I did not know what, in my left hand - that was invariable - and wandered away from it under grey, sunless, moonless, starless skies, ever onwards to a distant gleam on the horizon, solitary but not unhappy, and seeing other dark shades gliding silently by until something produced a consciousness that the chilly mass which I then recalled was my body, was being stirred as it lay by the door. I was then drawn rapidly back to it, joined it with disgust, and it became I and was fed, spoken to and cared for. When it was again left I seemed to wander off as before by the side of a dark, slowly-flowing, great flood through silent fields of asphodel, knowing neither light nor darkness, and though I knew that death was hovering about, having no thought of religion nor dread of the end, and roamed on beneath the murky skies apathetic and contented, until something again disturbed the body where it lay, when I was drawn back to it afresh and entered it with ever-growing repulsion. As the days went on, or rather I should say as time passed, all I knew of my sickness was that the wanderings through the dim, asphodel fields became more continual and more distinct, until about the end of the term of high fever I was summoned back to the huddled mass with intense loathing, and as I drew near and heard someone say: 'He will live,' I remember finding the mass less cold and clammy, and ever after that the wanderings appeared to be fewer and shorter, the thing lying at the door and I grew more together, and ceased to be two separate entities.
"In my wanderings there was a strange consciousness that I could see through the walls of the building, though I was aware that they were there and that everything was transparent to my senses. I saw plainly, for instance, a poor R.A.M.C. surgeon, of whose existence I had not known, and who was in quite another part of the hospital, grow very ill and scream and die. I saw them cover over his corpse and carry him softly out on shoeless feet, quietly and surreptitiously, lest we should know that he had died, and the next night, I thought, take him away to the cemetery. Afterwards when I told these happenings to the sisters, they informed me that all this had happened."(6)
(6) "Reminiscences of Three Campaigns", Part II, South African War. Chapter xvi, pp. 222-3.
Perhaps we have not a sufficient number of well-authenticated cases of this kind from which to generalise; but to any thoughtful person, who does not reject evidence for the paranormal on principle, they must be very suggestive. When the bodily vitality is lowered beyond a certain point (starvation is said to produce a similar effect), extrasensory perception of the surroundings seems to occur. Also consciousness becomes very lucid and clear. Why, on the epiphenomenalist view, does this happen? Why, when the body is nearly dead, and the brain has almost ceased to function, is consciousness bright and clear; and why, as soon as the brain begins to function again, is it reduced to a sluggish glimmer?
More cases of this kind need to be properly recorded; but the evidence we have is sufficient to show how far we are from understanding our personalities.
Source: "The Personality of Man. New Facts and their Significance" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1946).
Trance-Personalities
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
         SECONDARY PERSONALITIES - The natural tendency of the scientific student of psychical phenomena, and particularly of the psychological student, will be to explain trance-personalities as instances of the dual and multiple personalities met with in abnormal psychology. But (as always in psychical research) there is need for caution. It is possible that such a view may be true up to a point, and yet not cover the whole field. Dr. William Brown(1) speaks of '" Feda," who is apparently of a childish nature, and may psychologically be regarded as a regression in relation to Mrs. Leonard's adult consciousness.' But he goes on to say, 'If I speak there as though I agreed with this theory, I hasten to add that it is only a very superficial way of describing and envisaging the facts, and what we have to consider is the possibility that this relationship is not anything like so close as those who have not made much direct study of mediums are ready to believe.'

(1) 'Psychology and Psychical Research,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xli. p. 78.

The subjects of 'split' personalities are advanced hysterics but Dr. Brown says, after a study of Mrs. Osborne Leonard, that he is inclined to think that a case of successful mediumship shows very little evidence of hysteria.

There seems to be some evidence, however, for the view that controls such as Feda are secondary personalities of a kind. Mr. Whately Carington, as we saw in Chapter XV, produced evidence by his word-association method tending to show that Feda is 'counter-similar' in her responses to Mrs. Leonard herself.

Control- and Communicator- Vehicles - Mr. Kenneth Richmond, in his notes on Mrs. Leonard, above quoted, introduces the idea that there may be psychological mechanisms in the medium's subconscious which act as vehicles through which there operates a purposive will to communicate. He adopts provisionally the view that 'we are dealing with two chief psychological mechanisms: one an organized and habitual secondary personality, which is usually (I do not say always) the vehicle for the Feda control; and the other, a dramatizing function of the trance-mind, which adapts itself to become the vehicle for the different communicators. In saying "vehicle" I free myself from any suspicion of thinking that "secondary personality" or "dramatic pose" (to adopt Mr. Carington's useful phrase) can explain or characterize the impulses that operate through these mechanisms.'

This conception is, I think, a valuable step towards the understanding of trance-phenomena, because it recognizes that the problem contains depth. 'Flat' explanations, such as that the deceased communicator, substantially as he was before his decease, is speaking through a kind of psychic telephone, or that mediumistic phenomena are merely the result of auto-hypnosis, simply will not do. The problem contains vistas; there is a receding and uncomprehended background. The fruitful idea is that there are psychological organizations acting as 'vehicles,' which are being used by some will or intention behind them. And there seems to be mutual adaptation, each in the process conditioning, and being conditioned by the other. Further, in these control- and communicator-vehicles, Mr. Richmond sees alternative paths of free association, which are utilized by the communicating impulses. Sometimes, he observes, these alternate, 'Sometimes Feda seems to be speaking, sometimes the communicator, sometimes you cannot be grammatically sure which.

The importance of maintaining fluent lines of association is clearly brought out again and again in the trance-sittings. In fact, the possibilities of communication seem to be hedged about by available association-trains. Mr. Drayton Thomas records that a controlling communicator, Etta, once says: 'Feda often takes some important thought from a communicator without his desire and she will use it to fill up and keep things moving; for a long spell of silence would make Feda lose hold of the medium. This accounts for trivial matters being brought in disconnectedly at times.'(2)

(2) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxxviii. p. 58.

Again, in some book-tests with Miss Radcliffe Hall, occurs the sentence (referring to the books),' You may have to dislodge some of them in order to see the title...' after which the flow of speech was diverted into a new channel and the words, 'Lodge, Lodge, Raymond,' etc., followed. The word, 'dislodge,' slightly unusual in this context, had been inserted by the communicator as a switch-word to lead to the topic of Raymond Lodge. Feda follows this up with:

'You know, Ladye says it's so extraordinary, but she has to act upon Feda sometimes in a way Feda don't understand when she's in the medium, and she was afraid Feda wouldn't take up the reference to Raymond, so she had to worry to get a word that would suggest Raymond to Feda; she says she's done that often and she's wondered if you had guessed she was doing that, and how carefully she has to lead Feda to a new idea. Feda knows that, 'cos when Feda's in the medium she's only got like half of Feda's own sense, she's not half so clever as when she's out of the medium.'

One might have thought that the systems of association belonging to these 'vehicles' would take charge of the communicated material and mould it according to their own natural trends, but this proves actually to be not the case, at any rate where good or fairly good sittings are concerned with a first-class medium. 'Cliches' are surprisingly few.

'Organized routes,' says Mr. Richmond, 'for leading up to a favourite type of subject are certainly present, such as one can observe in the conversational habits of one's friends (these are easier to observe than one's own habits); but I find on careful examination that these stock openings have a remarkable way of leading each to a different track of association which is appropriate to the given communicator. I have tried to interpret this as a process in which the motivation arises in the trance-mind alone, and the deflection towards evidential fact is due to telepathic impacts from the living; but the difficulty of accounting for selection among such impacts is very great...'

Again he says:

'Given a wish on the part of the medium to produce evidence of survival, and long experience in trance, with a multitude of sitters, of the lines of suggestion which are most likely to produce vivid personal associations, it is very possible for systems of safe guesses to be automatically organized, which become endowed with a great appearance of authenticity and individual quality when they are enriched by striking annotations. The intentions manifested at a sitting might be types of intention in the trance-mind alone which have been found to be readily supplemented by the associations of sitters and annotators. I think this machinery certainly exists, though much less pervasively than I imagined when I started the investigation; but I think the most interesting thing about it is the regularity with which it defeats its apparent object. In the best sittings, it is the allusions which the communicator-impulse appears to have forced away from the expected rut that arrive at something specific in the mind of the annotator.'

And:

'The vague forms of organized intention that seem attributable to the trance-mind alone, with its past experience, appear as being quite distinctly manipulated, deflected, and sometimes negatived by another form of intention.'

So that we find that, when trance-material of good quality is carefully analyzed, the psychological organizations in the medium turn out to be by no means dominating the situation; their inherent tendencies and trains of association are being utilized by intelligent effort, which is acting on them from without.

Fictitious Communicators - The fact that entirely fictitious communicators occasionally appear in the trance shows clearly that secondary organizations of some kind exist in the medium. I think that such false communicators are a sign of bad conditions and seldom occur with the best mediums; but Mrs. Sidgwick, in her thorough examination of Mrs. Piper's trance(3), refers to such cases.

(3) 'The Psychology of Mrs. Piper's Trance Phenomena,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxviii. p. 176.

A Mrs. E., who had had three sittings with Mrs. Piper in 1902, received the impression that 'some intelligence was impersonating, deliberately and with considerable ingenuity, and yet on the whole doing it so ill that the deception is proved beyond a peradventure.' 'On the third sitting,' she says, 'I asked leading questions which were calculated to mislead; and in every case the communicator fell into the trap, with a result that would have been ludicrous had it not been so disgusting.'

The point is best dealt with by making a rather long quotation from Mrs. Sidgwick's report. She says that the dissatisfaction expressed by Mrs. E. was borne out by the full record of her sittings, and expresses well the impression produced on herself by a good many sittings. She gives the record of one such sitting at which she was present, at which Hodgson-p was the communicator and apparently failed to recognize the sitter, an intimate friend of his in life, or to understand the clues she gave him, thus making it very difficult to suppose that his claim to be Hodgson was justified. Yet, in the midst of the confusion supernormal matter occurred in the shape of part of a cross-correspondence. But, she continues, 'We are not ... limited to inference from the failure of communicators for evidence that they are sometimes not what they profess to be, for Dr. Stanley Hall in 1909 took a short cut to positive evidence by deceiving the control Hodgson-p,(4) and asking for a niece, Bessie Beals, who had never existed, but who was nevertheless produced at several sittings.' The sitting went as follows:

(4) Dr. Stanley Hall, Studies in Spiritism, p. 254.

Dr. Hall. Well, what do you say to this, Hodgson. I asked you to call Bessie Beals, and there is no such person. How do you explain that?

Hodgson-p. Bessie Beals is here, and not the -

(Note by Miss Tanner.)

[At this point we laughed and I made some remark to the effect that that was just what we had said Hodgson would do, and the hand continued thus,]

Hodgson-p. I know a Bessie Beals. Her mother asked about her before. Mother asked about her before.

'Dr. Hall. I don't know about that, Hodgson. Bessie Beals is a pure fiction.

Hodgson-p. I refer to a lady who asked me the same thing and the same name.

'Dr. Hall. Guess you are wrong about that, Hodgson.

Hodgson-p. Yes, I am mistaken in her. I am mistaken. Her name was not Bessie but Jessie Beals.

We can only say about this explanation that it is not plausible. Dr. Hall might accidentally have hit on the name of a previous communicator, but it is very unlikely that this communicator would have had memories appropriate to Dr. Hall's fictions and have admitted him as her uncle.

'It must then be admitted that some communicators are not genuine, while other communicators offer evidence of identity which, if it does not necessarily come from the spirits they claim to be, at least shows knowledge of those spirits which cannot have reached Mrs. Piper's mind by normal means. This being so, is it possible to find a formula which will express the relation to the control of all communicators-both successful and unsuccessful? Are they or are they not essentially different? Is the unsuccessful communicator a figment of the control's imagination, while the successful communicator is an independent entity? If so, can we draw a definite line between them? Are we to judge a communicator representing himself as the same, to be on some days a figment and on others an independent centre of consciousness, according as he is unsuccessful or successful in producing a plausible semblance of the figure he professes to be? And if the communicator is a figment, is the control conscious of it, or is he himself deceived? In other words, what is the degree of independence of control from communicator? Are two more or less independent centres of consciousness involved; whether consciousnesses of separate individuals or different centres of consciousness of Mrs. Piper? Or is the -communicator a dream or hallucination of the control? Or is the dramatic presentation of him pure play-acting by the control?'(5)

(5) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxviii. pp. 78-9.

Mrs. Sidgwick's conclusion, so far as the Piper phenomena are concerned, has been referred to in Chapter XI. Although she recognizes in the trance personalities a greater capacity in some directions than the normal Mrs. Piper possessed, particularly in the 'G. P.' case, some of whose friends found it easier to suppose that he was not an impersonation but G. P. himself, yet she thinks that these are 'quite as compatible with the hypothesis that the trance-personalities are phases or elements of Mrs. Piper as with any other.' One must not, however, suppose that this was Mrs. Sidgwick's opinion about all trance-phenomena. She allowed it, in fact to be known at a later date, that she accepted the identity of the Willett communicators.

Three cases of a very extraordinary kind are reported by Mr. S. G. Soal(6), in one of which, the case of James Miles, the information supplied by the communicator at the sittings seems to have been derived in some way or other almost wholly from newspaper reports. In another, the case of Gordon Davis, the communicator, purporting to be deceased, was afterwards found to be alive; while in a third, the communicator, John Ferguson, was entirely fictitious. This remarkable trio of spurious cases lacks, however, customary corroboration.

(6) 'A Report on some Communications received through Mrs. Blanche Cooper,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxxv. p. 471.

On April 5, 1918, Dr. L. P. jacks had a sitting with Mrs. Leonard in which a young man was described by Feda, his appearance being given in considerable detail(7). The sitter notes: 'I cannot identify him. I thought at first it was my son, Captain S. Jacks, at the front, as the description tallies at several points. I was afraid he might have been killed. I now know he was alive at the time of the sitting.' Mrs. Salter notes, writing in 1921, 'He was, and is, still alive.' Part of the general note on the sitting made by the sitter runs as follows:

(7) 'A Further Report on Sittings with Mrs. Leonard,' by Mrs. W. H. Salter (Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxxii. p. 133).

'The total impression left on my mind is similar to that left by many common dreams. There is the same muddle and incoherency at first, in which definite personalities seem to appear for a moment and then change into somebody else, the facts getting hopelessly mixed up, the action of one person shading off into that of another. And then towards the end the dream becomes more coherent and interesting, keeping up a definite character for a time, with a sudden return to nonsense (the Archdeacon, etc.) and a momentary reappearance of the people first on the scene.'

This seems to have been an instance of a Leonard sitting of poor quality. In the A. V. B. series, quoted above, it will be remembered that Feda was, on the whole, remarkably clear and definite.

Mr. John F. Thomas, in his recently published book, Beyond Normal Cognition, also gives an instance of a living person being represented as being deceased. He says:

'In my own records there is a case that shows similarity to the one just described. A trance-personality purported to communicate in an experiment with Mrs. Soule(8), when I was present. The points from this trance-personality were sufficiently applicable to establish the impression that he was presented as the father of E. L. T. So far as I knew, the father of E. L. T. was living at the time, but his physical condition was such that his death would not have been unexpected. I thought that possibly he was deceased without my knowledge, and I telegraphed a daughter as to the time of his death. He proved, however, to be still living, and he survived until about a year and a half after the date of the "communication."' (pp. 206-7.)

(8) Mrs. Soule is a celebrated American medium.

In 1923, Dr. F. C. S. Schiller reported a curious case(9) of a lady who had taken up ouija board writing, obtaining messages which she believed to come from her stepfather, to whom she had been devoted. She had a nervous breakdown and was warned to give up the writing. In the sequel she became insane and had to be put in a sanatorium. The diagnosis of the doctors was, however, that she was suffering from senile dementia, due to arterio-sclerosis, and that this was wholly the result of her age. The interesting point was that messages came through Mrs. Piper in which the insane woman appeared to communicate as a deceased person. Moreover, the controls stated that she believed that she had already died, and gave a correct diagnosis of the illness from which she was actually suffering, agreeing with that given by the doctors.
(9) Journal S.P.R., vol. xxi. p. 87.

Such examples show that there can be ostensible communicators, which cannot be regarded as genuine and which accept any suggestion of the sitter's, use 'fishing' methods to gain information, make unplausible evasions when brought to book, and seem, in fact, to be hypnoidal dramatizations within the medium's self. Their performances are not sufficiently intelligent to support the belief, held in some quarters, that they are of diabolical origin. If they are, the demons would not appear to be very formidable. But it is interesting to note that certain cases tend to show that sick or insane persons can, through telepathic action, appear falsely as communicators. This fact reminds one of the 'One Horsed Dawn' experiment,(10) tried by Dr. Verrall, and referred to in Chapter XVII, which showed telepathic action from the living appearing in dramatic form in the percipient.

(10) See Proc. S.P.R., vol. xx. pp. 156-67.(9) Journal S.P.R., vol. xxi. p. 87.

But these cases form the lower end of the scale of trance-phenomena. At the other end appear such forceful, clear, and natural communicators as those of the Willett scripts; while between the two are communicators of varying degrees of plausibility and veridicality. Communicators, also, can vary in quality with the medium and with the occasion, all of which tends to support the view that the communicators are variable entities of a compound nature.

We will now go on to consider certain points in the psychology of the Willett phenomena.

The Willett Trance and Allied States. - To give anything like a full account of the states or phases of the self involved in the Willett phenomena from the scripts and comments in Lord Balfour's report would be an exceedingly difficult task. The Willett trance has been called 'autonomous,' and it is true that, during the scripts and D. I.s, it is Mrs. Willett herself, and no other entity, who controls the motor mechanisms of her body: but that changes of some sort occur in the personality is obvious. Besides the fact that there is as a rule no recollection in the normal state of what was said in the D. I.'s, there are two distinct types of script, the disjointed or allusive type and the connected type, and the change from reporting in the third to reporting in the first person, which marks the transition from one to the other, would seem to indicate some change in the sensitive's personality. In the allusive type of script we seem to see Mrs. Willett herself struggling with the matter she is being given to externalize. Almost every sentence begins, 'Oh, he says,' and the distaste of the automatist for many of the words and the topics is very marked. For example:

'... But, he says, the subliminal - he says the supraliminal has access to - he says to me, You've got the analogies all wrong, try again. Begin the other end, he says. The transcendental self - he says something about a point of release - oh, Edmund, you do bore me so - the passing of itself into stratas [sic] of subliminality, etc.'

On the other hand, the D. I. can be extremely smooth and connected. On January 21, 1912,(11) G. W. B. asks Gurney-w a question about telaesthesia, and about the mythical 'room' into which the sensitive was said to be taken, and the reply came in this way:

(11) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xiiii. p. 243.

'"I'll throw something at you, and you must make what you can of it. I'll take that portion of her which can emerge in uprush, and I, as it were, link it on with that deeper subliminal which can be in touch with what I want to get known ..." and so on.'

Here the script is in the first person, as if Gurney-w himself were speaking, and Mrs. Willett is referred to as 'her.' There are no breaks or protests from Mrs. Willett: the whole runs smoothly. G. W. B. comments:

'The writing stage that preceded the D. I. had been comparatively short, but the sitting as a whole was an unusually long one, lasting nearly two hours. The passage we are now considering came at the very end of it, and was preceded by discussions of a decidedly abstruse character which seem to have bewildered the sensitive and put a severe strain upon her attention. The record of these discussions abounds in the familiar interjected phrases, "He says," "Oh, he says," whereas the long answer to my question about the "room" is uniquely free from them. Just before I asked it, Gurney had addressed a word of encouragement to the sensitive: "He says, you've got it now, and he says, No bones broken - and he says to me, You know, dear, I feel sometimes I must appear to' you like the Devil when he said, Cast thyself down, but he says if only you'll go blindly there'll be no pieces to pick up." I suggest that the advice to "go blindly" was acted upon by the sensitive, and that the almost complete absence of the usual interjections was due to her simply repeating each word and not attempting to grasp the meaning sentence by sentence.'

But clearly there is a change in personality, or in what Mr. Richmond would call the 'communicator vehicle,' of such a kind that the sensitive has become in some way more identified with it.

In everything they say, the Willett communciators; describe the transmission of matter from their end as a difficult and complex process traversing layers or strata of the sensitive's personality which lie beneath the level of the normal, conscious self. On one occasion Gurney-w says:

'... I want to make a shot at a partial definition of what constitutes mediumship. That organization in which the capacity for-what an odd word - oh, Edmund, say it slowly - excursus is allied to the capacity for definite selection. Then finally the possession of as it were a vent, through which the knowledge can emerge ...'

A good deal more explanation follows, which is rather obscure and interrupted, but the 'excursus,' which Gurney-w is trying to explain, is evidently something which takes place in a very deep level of the self, and has an affinity with mystical experience. It is, in fact, reminiscent of the idea of contemplation, as it occurs in the philosophy of Plotinus. It is an act of entering into relationship with the spiritual environment.

'The passing into it, which is the effect of the excursus, is variously described in the scripts as "the crossing of a border," "the freeing of that which is capable of intuitional visions of fardistant worlds," "the falling of barriers," "the delocalization of the soul testifying to the existence of a whole," "the escape from the limits of self," "the escape of the smaller into the larger."'

And again:

'The Myers of the scripts tells us . . . that, "Ecstasy springs from meditation"; and he draws an emphatic distinction between meditation and lethargy or torpor. The very term "excursus" suggests an active process; and the language employed by the sensitive herself, in such phrases as "I want to get out of myself, I'm so tired of myself, I want to be enlarged," carries a similar implication.'(12)

(12) Proc. S.P.R. vol. xliii. p. 221.

It is by this faculty of excursus, according to the Willett communicators, that the ideas for transmission are acquired; then there comes a shepherding of them up through levels of the sensitive's personality, a final selection and then a crystallization in terms of supraliminally objectified ideas - a translation, as it were, into the kind of thinking we call 'normal.' So that phases or levels or strata of the self are involved in the passage of these ideas, but in what manner these are separated from one another, and in what manner united, remains a mystery.

Again, in speaking of the visions which Mrs. Willett has in the lighter stages of her trance, which she can to some extent afterwards remember, Lord Balfour says: 'They are pseudo-hallucinations, not hallucinations. And the difference is of kind, not merely of degree. Like presences, these visions have an objectivity of their own, but not exactly the objectivity associated with sense-perception.'(13) This latter sentence suggests that the perceptual consciousness in which these trance-visions are experienced is not identical with the consciousness of normal perception: consequently, the quality of objectivity belonging to the imagery which occurs in them is not the same

(13) Ibid. p. 86. Here again the idea of non-normal sense-imagery is suggested.

as the quality of objectivity which belongs to the imagery of normal perception. It is as if the kind of 'real-seemingness' (if one may coin such a term) is a function of the kind of consciousness accompanying the particular kind of perception. Yet, all the time, in some real sense, both are the consciousness of the same Mrs. Willett. There is, in these phases of selfhood, a unity in difference which refuses to accommodate itself to our habitual modes of thought. The lesson we should learn from it is, I think, that we must expand our categories of thought to take in the facts; not try to force the facts into our existing categories.

Remarks of the Willett Communicators. - The degree of independence between the Willett communicators and Mrs. Willett's trance-self is throughout very striking; and certain statements and remarks made by them, which illustrate this, may be interesting. For instance, the limitation which makes them unable to know telepathically what is going on in the mind of the sitter. In a D. I. of June 4, 1911,(14) Gurney-w is giving a difficult passage, which he fears may be misunderstood:

(14) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xliii. p. 234.

'Oh, he says, Gerald - oh, he says like that. He's calling some one. Nobody answers - he keeps on calling some one. He says Gerald. Oh, he keeps on calling. Oh! He says where is Gerald?

(G. W. B. I'm here.)

'Oh, he says, does he hear? How can I know that he hears?

(G. W. B. All right, I'm hearing perfectly.)

'Oh, he says, the waste of material when we keep on hammering at one point - approaching it from every - can't read that wordof the compass - only to find that the point had been grasped and that we might have passed on to new matter.

'Oh, he says, I can't see your mind, Gerald, but I can feel you in some dim way through her. He says, it's a sort of lucky-bag, her mind to me - when I'm not shut out from it.'

It seems to be a general rule in all trance-phenomena (with occasional possible exceptions) that what is in the conscious minds of the sitters is inaccessible to the trance-personalities.

State of the Communicator when Communicating. - There seems to be a concensus of opinion among communicators that they are not in their natural state while communicating. Mr. Drayton Thomas, for example, quotes statements from his communicators at Leonard sittings, in the paper above referred to, in which they testify to their deficiencies when in the communicating state: 'I am not at my best even when conditions are at their best ... I do not see, remember, and feel with the same lucidity as I do when not communicating.' ' I feel that I am not complete during a sitting. I have not my whole mental power of memory and consciousness.' 'Etta has, on occasion, gone away to get remembrance of what we required, but on returning forgot again before she could tell me.' That this is not peculiar to the control type of trance would seem to be indicated by the words with which Gurney-w ends the D. I. of June A, 1911:

'He says, I must let her go away, G. Oh, he says, When I'm not trying to transmit, I'd write script the very Gods might envy, and I go over and over the things that would be of priceless value to transmit...'(15)

(15) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xliii. p. 234.

Myers H, communicating through Mrs. Holland's automatic script, once said:

'The nearest simile I can find to express the difficulties of sending a message - is that I appear to be standing behind a sheet of frosted glass-which blurs sight and deadens sound-and dictating feebly-to a reluctant and somewhat obtuse secretary.'(16)

(16) Ibid. vol. xxi. p. 230.

It seems as though these difficulties might probably be due, in part at least, to the compound nature of the communicator himself as communicator at the time of the communication. If we consider the communicator with whom we are in actual contact during these trance-sittings to be in some sense a compound resulting from Mr. Richmond's suggested 'communicator-vehicle' acting jointly with the entity which provides the will to communicate, we have an explanation of the sense of imperfection to which all communicators testify. We can also see how there may be various grades of communicators. We can think of the compound communicating entity as being composed of two constituents in varying proportions (although a quantitative way of viewing the communicator is almost certainly misleading) - partly 'vehicle' and partly 'communicator-impulse.' The vehicle may be of good or poor quality. The amount of influence which the will to communicate has over the vehicle will depend on the extent of its own contribution to the compound. There could, therefore, be a range of communicators varying from those as vigorous, lifelike, and highly intelligent as Gurney-w to the poor and unconvincing communicators, which appear at seances with bad mediums. There could even be spurious communicators, which one imagines would consist of a vehicle, mainly a secondary personality out of touch with any genuine will to communicate.

The communicators sometimes speak interestingly of their own limitations of knowledge, for example:

'... Much is unknown to us even, and you are all far behind us in knowledge ...'

'... I cannot explain half the mysteries of Life yet, but I see more than you do ...'

'... Much and more than you suspect is absolutely hidden from me, Myers, the small amount in one way of accretion of knowledge which succeeds Myers bodily dissolution is a surprise to every spirit that crosses the Rubicon ...'

(This frequent interjection of the communicator's name was characteristic of Mrs. Willett's early scripts. It is not clear what the object of it was. It afterwards ceased.)

A Comparison of the Myers Communicators. - That the same communicating personality should show differences in its appearance in the scripts of different automatists is not surprising on any theory of the nature of the communicator , but some observations made by Miss Alice Johnson on this point are worth quoting here, since she had ample opportunity for noting and comparing characteristics of the script-personalities. There is,' she says,(17) 'an emotional tone and a note of personal appeal in the utterances of Myers-h which shows in contrast with the calmer and more impersonal, matter-of-fact tone of Myers V.' And, she continues:

(17) 'The Automatic Writing of Mrs. Holland,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxi. PP. 239 ff.

'If Mr. Myers really knew what was going on and if he was really concerned in the production of the scripts, it would be natural and appropriate that he should attempt to impress the two automatists in these different ways. Mrs. Verrall, a personal friend and trained investigator, was already familiar with scientific methods and in close touch with other investigators. She did not require urging to go on with her writing, from which some important evidence had already resulted. Mrs. Holland, on the other hand, was in an isolated position; she was conscious of the superficially trivial and incoherent nature of her script, and could not tell whether there was anything in it beyond a dream-like rechauffe of her own thoughts. She would naturally shrink from exposing this to strangers and thereby appearing to attach an unreasonable degree of importance to it. We may suppose then that the control realizes her situation and tries to impress on her a vivid realization of his own-his intense desire to provide evidence for survival.'

This was in the early days of Mrs. Holland's scripts.

'In a letter dated Feb. 25, 1905, she says: "I cannot tell you how glad I should be to know if the longing for recognition (it is such a passionate craving sometimes that I find myself crying out: 'If I could help you. Oh! if I could only help you!' while I write) is a real influence from beyond or only my own imaginings. But why should my imagination take that form? I have been singularly free from bereavements thus far in my life, and therefore my thoughts have been very seldom in the Valley of the Shadow...

'"In Nov. 1905, when I had asked her to read through the early script and send me any comments that occurred to her, she notes among other things: 'This sloping writing [that of the Myers control] often brings a very sad impression of great depression with it - a feeling that some one, somewhere, urgently and passionately desires to be understood, or reported even without understanding, and that no mental strain on my part can adequately respond to this demand. This feeling has been strong enough to make me cry and to make me speak aloud. I frequently control it, for it seems to me perilously akin to hysteria but it is a very real part of the automatic script.'"'

It is noteworthy, I think, that Miss Alice Johnson, as long ago as 1905, was also led by the evidence to the conclusion that the actual communicator we are dealing with is Compound. She gives an analogy:

'It is hardly possible to discuss the subject without the use of material analogies, which are constantly liable to be mistaken for' real similarities. The best method perhaps is to vary the analogies as much as possible, so as to avoid confining ourselves to fixed grooves of thought. In particular, any analogy referring to a process - such as the comparison of telepathy to wireless telegraphy - is to be deprecated, as it inevitably suggests the inference that the processes referred to are essentially similar. It is better to confine ourselves to analogies which relate simply to the facts before us and suggest nothing as to the causes that produce them.

'I will then compare the scripts to chemical compounds of two or more elements, which are found in different proportions in the various compounds. Thus, if we call the automatists P and V and the hypothetical external intelligence X, we may get in the one script such compounds as PX or P2X, or PX2, and in the other VX, etc.; or we may get in either of them such compounds as PVX, P2V3X, etc. We may also get such compounds as PV or PV2; or we may get the elements P and V by themselves. The one element that we never get alone is X.

'If this be so, the Piper-Myers is not, and never could be, identical with the Verrall-Myers. The utmost that can happen will be that the same element is found in both scripts. The burden of proof must lie with those who maintain that it is there to be found; but our methods of analysis are not yet so far perfected that we can assert positively either its presence or absence.'

This analogy with chemical compounds is helpful to the mind in its attempts to picture what is going on; but it is very necessary to bear in mind the warning that Miss Johnson gives us, namely, that we are dealing with mind, and that our materialistically inclined thought suggests conceptions of it

couched in terms of matter, so that, as she says, material analogies are constantly liable to be mistaken for real similarities. This warning is particularly needful when attempts are made to apply statistical methods to psychical research, as in Mr. Whately Carington's work referred to in Chapter XV.

We will now consider some theories as to the nature of communicators and the explanation of trance-material, and will afterwards go on to consider some arguments for and against survival, based on general grounds.
Source: "Science and Psychical Phenomena" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (New York: University Books, 1961).
Sense-Imagery
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
Perception with and without the Imagery of Sense
         IN CHAPTER II we noted that spontaneous cases of telepathy frequently reach the consciousness of the percipient in the form of hallucinatory sense-pictures, which represent the gist of a telepathic message in more or less symbolical form. The 'pillow' case(1) was an example, where the telepathic intimation of the death of a friend reached the percipient in the form of a message apparently written on half a sheet of notepaper, and lying on the pillow. The notepaper and its message were created, visual sense-imagery, for which some stratum of the percipient's personality must have been responsible. At the same time, it was pointed out that all the five senses could be subject to similar hallucinatory treatment, creation of such imagery being evidently possible on demand. Further illustrative cases were quoted.

(1) p. 24.

In his book, Phantasms of the Living, Gurney had long ago given a discussion to this question, saying that, 'all that is veridical in it [the telepathic apparition] is packed into the telepathic impulse in the form of "a nucleus of a deferred impression"; the embodiment is the percipient's own creation.' These are Lord Balfour's words, and he adds, 'In the main I do not dissent from this view.'

In Chapter X we saw that the creation of sense-imagery was by no means confined to states of the self which might be described as 'supernormal,' but that in normal and everyday perception, what appear to be the qualities of physical objects are really the qualities of our own private 'sense-data,' causally linked with an independent world in some obscure and roundabout fashion which we do not understand, and not simply and directly as we invariably believe. Moreover, many self-suggested illusions produce sense-imagery indistinguishable from that which we call 'normal,' and believe to be simply veridical, and these blend with the latter with perfect ease. There was also the curious example, mentioned in Chapter X, of Mrs. Verrall's attempt to recognize playing-cards by the sense of touch. When the attempt began to be successful, the fact of contact gave direct rise to visual imagery. Again, in the phenomenon of eidetic imagery, the normal act of perception was, as it were, prolonged after the perceived object had been removed. All these facts go to show that experiences which we believe to be descriptive of an outer world originate within ourselves to a far greater extent than we are wont to believe.

When we turn to the states of consciousness associated with trance, we find that an extraordinary wealth of sense-imagery accompanies it. It will be remembered that, in the account of the A. V. B. case given in Chapter XIII, Feda gave a description of Daisy's father, the purporting communicator, as follows(2):

(2) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxx. pp. 526-7.

M. R. H. - Would he like to give any message to Daisy

R. - He wants to give a description first; he's got a square forehead, and it looks to Feda as though the hair receded on the temples, or else that he brushes it back very much. He wears a soft sort of hat; Feda doesn't think it's a cap with a peak, it looks like a hat with a brim, and the brim seems to be turned up more on one side than the other. He's showing a suit that he thinks Daisy would recognize; it's a sort of browny coloured suit, and has what looks like a check pattern, but it's a mixed-up pattern, not a decided check, and there seem to be other shades in it as well as brown.

Actually, Daisy did recognize the 'soft sort of hat,' which had been known as 'the old hat,' and the browny-coloured suit as well. But the point is that, after the communicator is stated to be going to give a description of himself, Feda describes a figure which is evidently the communicator as present to her visual sense. And this figure is altered to exhibit any feature desired, first the square forehead and receding hair; then the old hat, evidently being worn. Then the brown suit. The communicator must therefore have the power of transmitting ideas to Feda which take on the form for her of something very like visual perception. At other times the senseimagery is auditory, as in the reception of names, for example, in Feda's attempts to get hold of the word 'Sporkish.' Also in Mrs. Willett's struggle with the word 'Deucalion' above, when the communicator says to her, 'The sound is DEW.' Or the imagery may be tactual, as in Feda's description of the Baranca del Anavingo, where she said that the lava road felt like' walking on cinders.' Feda also said on at least one occasion that the communicators could make her feel a thing as hot or cold g exactly as if she felt it with her fingers,' and added, 'you know how hypnotized people can be made to feel like that.'

This comparison with hypnosis is, I think, highly significant. It brings home to us the fact that in all trance and supernormal experiences we are dealing with sense-situations which have been created within, wherever the influence to create may have come from. The Willett trance further confirms this.

In a D. I. on March 5, 1912, Gurney W says:

"... Inspiration may be from within, but it may be from Without. Oh, he says, Every moment I gave to the study of hypnotic states and post-hypnotic states I feel was among the best spent of all my time.

(G. W. B. Yes, Gurney, those were splendid papers of yours.)

Oh, he says, It's not only what I learnt then, but what I've been able to apply here. For instance: Say, using the words in their rough way, that a mutual selection is made-mutually from her mind and mine. It's possible for me to suggest I to her subliminal that at a given time such and such an idea shall, as it were, be recovered out of the sediment - and come to the top...' Gurney had, actually, during his lifetime done a good deal of work on hypnotism and written much about it.

During some sittings with Mrs. Leonard in 1917, Mrs. Salter obtained from Feda a very good description of her father, Dr. A. W. Verrall, who died in 1912. In the first sitting he was described as having a beard. In the second sitting Feda says: 'The mouth is a bit large, the lips are pink, not red. The chin is more rounded' - statements which are inconsistent with a description of a bearded face. Mrs. Salter says:

'Now this description, in which the communicator's face is apparently viewed sometimes from the front, sometimes in profile ... is on the whole distinctly good, but it contains details which seem to imply that the man described is beardless, the size and colour of the mouth, the shape of the chin. It is impossible to suppose that any one who was describing in detail a man visibly present could be mistaken as to whether or no he had a beard. Against the interpretation that Feda is seeing my father as a quite young man, clean shaven, is first her own statement that he is "towards middle life, hardly that," and secondly the fact that at the sitting of January 29, 1917, the man afterwards identified with my father is stated to be bearded. My own interpretation of what occurred is that Feda was not really "seeing" anything, but that on this, as on other occasions, she was receiving a series of mental impressions which she translated into visual terms. Her statements that my father had a rather large mouth and a face not rounded but too broad to be oval, are in fact correct, as early photographs show.'

In fact, the sense-imagery is private to Feda, created in or by her, in correspondence with ideas which she receives in non-sensuous terms.

At a sitting on January 29, 1917, Mrs. Salter received from Feda a description of her mother, Mrs. Verrall, who had died in the preceding year, in which several of the features described were correct as witnessed by a photograph. But Feda added several details which were not true, such as that Mrs. Verrall wore 'a made bodice,' 'bands at the wrists,' and an 'oval brooch with a gold rim.' Mrs. Salter comments:

'The general inference which I should draw from the above extract is that a certain amount of veridical information about my mother was woven by Feda into an imaginary picture of an elderly widow, based on preconceived ideas of the appearance such a picture might be expected to present. The "bands at the wrist" are presumably widow's bands, which my mother never wore. She was, in fact, a widow at the time the photograph was taken'(3).

(3) 'Some Incidents occurring at Sittings with Mrs. Leonard which may throw Light on their Modus Operandi,' by Mrs. W. H. Salter, Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxxix. pp. 306 ff.

There is no doubt that Feda 'gags' to a certain extent when doubtful, sometimes adding points which are really inferences drawn by herself. But in view of the curious way in which her information takes sensuous shape, she may not always be aware that she is doing so. It is interesting to reflect that, in such a case as this, recorded by Mrs. Salter, some of the correct constituent features in the picture which Feda drew of Mrs. Verrall evidently came from a source external to Feda, while others came from Feda's own imagination. Yet the items from the two sources, when translated into sense-imagery, blend into a single picture in such a way as to be indistinguishable from one another. This would seem to go far to show that all the sense-imagery, including that which is veridical and expresses true information coming from an external source, is of Feda's own creation. The imagined idea and the telepathically received idea would seem to set in operation the same sensory mechanism, so that sense-items from the two sources arise in the same manner and blend into an indistinguishable whole.

Statements by Feda about Life in Another World. - In the control type of trance, though not in the Willett trance, the communicators are usually reported as representing the scenes and events of the so-called 'spirit' world in terms which are almost the exact equivalents of scenes and events in this world. It is certainly startling when such a communicator as A. V. B., having correctly described through Feda the things she used to do in this world, goes on to state that she does them still.

In the sitting of October 2, 1916, Feda describes A. V. B. as with a brown, sleek horse looking over her shoulder(4). At a later sitting, she says that A. V. B. has her arm round his neck, that A. V. B. is keeping the horse for M. R. H., that she has been learning to ride in her present state of existence, that there are plenty of horses that love to be exercised, and that the ground is so springy. Miss Radcliffe Hall quotes these passages as evidence of A. V. B.'s memory of the incidents of her earthly life, for they were true in that respect - A. V. B. was a poor horse-woman; M. R. H. possessed a hunter, and so on. But obviously they constitute a puzzle, in that they are interspersed with very good veridical material, which the communicator shows intelligence in selecting, and are proffered without any suggestion that either the control or the communicator expect the sitters to find them surprising.

(4) On a Series of Sittings with Mrs. Osborne Leonard,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxx. pp. 361-2.

Another passage of a similar kind occurs when Feda is describing A. V. B.'s fondness for playing and singing to her guitar. (A. V. B. in life had actually been an extremely expert performer on the guitar.)

'Feda says: "And now she's showing Feda something that you can pull strings to, she's going tum, tum, tum." (Here Feda gives an exact imitation of the sound of notes picked on a guitar, imitating with her hand the plucking of the strings.) "Mrs. Twonnie" (Feda's name for M. R. H.) "she's plucking them." M. R. H. answers: "That's splendid, you are making the exact noise." Feda says: "She's making the noise, and Feda can always imitate what she can do, she says it does make your fingers sore too... She says, do you know, she sees them in the spirit world plucking those string things and singing softly to them."'

At six separate sittings, Feda represents A. V. B. as enjoying bathing, of which she used to be very fond. Feda states that she now has a bathing-pool in her garden, and that she had had a bathe just before one of the sittings. She also states through Feda that the dog Billy, before referred to, is with her now.

Feda's descriptions of happenings, which, she states, are now taking place in the other world, are indistinguishable from her descriptions of what are evidently (like the brown suit) the ideas or memories of the communicators, thrown into perceptual form. There is nothing to suggest that what is happening is in any way different in the two cases. When Feda states that she sees them in the 'spirit-world' plucking guitars and singing softly to them, is not this A. V. B.'s memory decked out in Feda's sense-imagery with some embellishments?

On the other hand, if Feda is entirely responsible for the transference of earthly scenes and occupations to the other world, why does not such a clear communicator as A. V. B. correct Feda's statements when she assumes control herself, as Dr. Verrall. afterwards corrected Feda's mis-description of him as being without a beard?(5) On the contrary, Feda purports to be quoting A.V.B.'s own words when she says: 'Then I bathe; you know, don't you, that I always loved that part of it.' These things strongly suggest that A. V. B., at least while communicating, is subject to sense-experiences of the same kind as Feda's, and accepts them us veridical.

(5) p. 268.

Perhaps we do not realize how copious and compelling this sense-imagery must be for minds in states other than that which we regard as 'normal.' The following extract from a sitting held on February 24, 1922, with Mrs. Brittain by Mrs. and Miss Dawson-Smith is worth quoting(6). The communicator was ostensibly Mrs. Dawson-Smith's son, Frank, who had been killed in the War. As the medium was beginning to come out of trance, she suddenly interjected: 'Have you a St. Bernard dog? There's a big one standing by you. It died of distemper. It is with Frank, he found it waiting for him.' The sitter's note on this is as follows:

(6) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxxvi. pp. 307-8.

'That is a brief paragraph and not written entire because we thought the sitting was over and Belle had gone. We had put our pencils and notebooks away and sat quietly waiting for the medium to wake. What followed was this: Mrs. Brittain opened her eyes and suddenly stared over my shoulder, looking startled and alarmed. I was sitting in a low chair facing her. She said with a gasp, "Oh I don't growl like that - oh, how dreadful!" Then she grew calmer and said, "Have you a St. Bernard dog? It is a big one. He died of distemper." My daughter at once said, "No, we haven't a St. Bernard. Our dog is an Airedale." Mrs. Brittain instantly said, "You never saw him; it was long before you were born. The dog is standing by your mother-he loves her and is very jealous of everybody who goes near her."

'This was all perfectly correct. We had a St. Bernard, and he died of distemper when my boy was four months old. The dog was devoted to me and to my baby (Frank) but would not allow anybody to come near us.
'KATIE DAWSON-SMITH.'

Here information must have been telepathically acquired, either from the sitters or from the communicator, about the existence of the St. Bernard, about his having died of distemper before Miss Dawson-Smith was born, and about his fondness for her mother and his jealousy. But some element in Mrs. Brittain's personality embodies these facts, or most of them, in the form of a sense-image of the dog - one might almost call it a cinematograph 'talkie' of the dog-growling in so vivid and life-like a way, that the awakening Mrs. Brittain is for a moment almost terrified by it. The idea suggested by incidents such as these is that somewhere below the conscious level of the personality, there is a mechanism which is capable of producing all kinds of sense-imagery with such pervasiveness and completeness as to persuade the experient of the literal reality of the persons or objects which it represents. A striking instance is recorded in Mrs. Willett's case, which is worth quoting in full:

Perception and Sense-Imagery in the Willett Phenomena. - On December 17, 1913, Mrs. Willett, in a state more or less akin to her customary trance, but which Lord Balfour considers to have presented some differences from the ordinary D. I., dictated a contemporary experience:(7)

(7) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xliii. p. 60.

'It's a picture - a picture that I love and often see. Marble pillars everywhere - a most heavenly scene. A company of mensmall company, discussing everything in heaven and earth, and really reaching the heights of reason - almost unconscious of their visible surroundings. It is a sort of parable of life.

'There was such intercourse of the human mind going on in that room, and I know it so well I almost fancy I must have been there, though it happened a long time ago.

'Fred uses the expression somewhere - a small company of like-minded men. That's how those men were; and, you know, they never die. (Here I asked for the dictation to be a little slower.) Oh, I wish I could say it quickly, because it's all floating past me.

'There's a poem of Matthew Arnold's about Christ, that whenever the feet of mercy move up and down where poverty is, Christ is actually present in them now.

'Oh, how I wish I could tell what I know. You know, to ordinary people those men who sat talking there long ago are just historical figures, interesting from a hundred points of view, but dead men. Do you know, there's nothing dead in greatness, because there can't be, because all greatness is an emanation from the changeless Absolute. That's why I know these people as if they were alive to-day. I know them much better than many of the people I live with-especially the older man, the Master. He had disciples, you know, and whenever- What I said about that Matthew Arnold poem was because I wanted to say that what was true of Christ is true of the man I'm speaking about.

'Oh, do you know that Knowledge isn't the greatest faculty of the human mind. There's a deeper faculty, deriving its - something or other, I missed that-through a more central zone. It's Intuition. It's in Intuition that the Soul acts most freely, and it's by Intuition that it best demonstrates its freedom. There's something about that in Paracelsus. Paracelsus is a great allegory.

'What a long way I've got from my picture that I like to look at, or rather from my room where I choose to walk. The meal is for the most part over, and there's a sort of hush of the spirit; because in that quick interchange of thought new ideas have arisen, and the man that they all look up to, he's borne very far aloft on the wings of the Spirit. And suddenly on the quiet of it all there bursts the sound of revelling coming nearer and nearer - flute-players! (ecstatically). Oh, is it Bacchus and his crew? Anyhow there's something rather Bacchanalian about it. They're getting nearer and nearer, and they're hammering on the door, and then in they come. My people are all disturbed, and there's great toasting. They take it all in very good part, and they revel away. There are wreaths of flowers, and cups passing, loud jokes. And then, do you know, by degrees some of the crowd melt away, and some of the people go to sleep. And then the whole thing ends up with such a majestic thing, I think; just that one figure, when the interruption is over, he stays there, like some great beacon shining out above the clouds, walking on the heights of thought; and the absolute silence reigns, and there he sits.

'Do you know that man's as real to me as if I could touch him! He's an ugly man, only I feel he's sublimely great. You know I've not got to be tied up always to myself. I can get up and walk about in other worlds; and I very often like to walk through the room where that scene took place.

'Have you ever seen the shadow of the Parthenon? Oh! (Pause.) It's all very beautiful there. Do you know Edmund would have been very happy in that world. It was the sort of world he wanted, and he strayed into such a hideous age.

(A disturbing noise occurred, which upset Mrs. Willet.)

Oh !-oh !-oh! (Pause.)

I've quite lost the thread, I've quite lost the thread.

(A further noise occurred, and Mrs. Willett resumed in writing.)

I've lost the thread. It's all gone. I was so happy I was seeing visions and I did not ever want to leave. Fred was with me, F. W. H. M. I also saw Henry Sidgwick, he had a white beard.

'Do you know who the young man was I only just caught sight of him for a moment.

'HOW NOTHING time is

'All human experience is One. We are no shadows nor do we pursue shadows. Pilgrims in Eternity

'We few we few we happy band of BROTHERS.'

On this Lord Balfour notes:

'During the greater part of this sitting Mrs. Willett, although not in a condition of trance, was certainly further removed than usual from a normal state of consciousness. On my showing her, about an hour later, the part which I had taken down from dictation, she said, "I haven't the faintest recollection of all this, nor do I know what it means." I then told her that it described a famous scene in Plato's Symposium, to which allusion had already been made in another script of hers, nearly three years ago ... The word Symposium, however, seemed to convey no meaning to her, though I reminded her that she must have seen it in Mrs. Verrall's account ... of the attempt to reproduce Myers's posthumous message.'

It is a remarkable fact that states of consciousness, which, to outward appearance, are not so very far removed from the normal, may yet be completely amnesic. Whether we choose to say that Mrs. Willett was here in trance, or even whether she is in trance during her D. L's seems to be a matter of choice in terminology. What we call 'normal' consciousness is really a fluctuation about a mean condition with every one, and with a few individuals the extremes of fluctuation are greater. It is these extreme fluctuations which open the door to the study of so-called 'psychical' phenomena.

In the above passage there are several literary allusions, as for example, 'Bacchus and his crew,' which appears to refer to a verse in Keats's Endymion; 'What shadows we are and what shadows we pursue,' occurred in a famous speech of Burke's; and the final quotation, of course, is from Henry V.

It cannot be said in this case, that we are taking the unverified word of a trance-personality. Mrs. Willett herself experiences the Symposium scene. She has not even undergone a very profound mental readjustment, yet her new world is extremely real to her. 'Do you know that man's as real to me as if I could touch him!' And again, 'I know them much better than many of the people I live with.' The idea, therefore, suggests itself that in the A. V. B. case quoted above, the communicator may be living in a world of self-created sense-imagery, something like this of the Symposium scene, but which contains horses, bathing-pools, and guitars. If we feel inclined to say: How can any sane, well-balanced, and critically-minded individual live in such a state of illusion without being aware of it? let us reflect for a moment on our own condition in this present world. We, also, are living in a world of sense-imagery. Of course we feel inclined to say that we live in a world of real objects; not in a world of illusions. But let us reflect on the very important considerations touched on in Chapter X, where several reasons were given for supposing that the world of normal sense-perception is in reality a world of appearance, though correlated in some way which we do not understand with a reality which is not ourselves. Not a world of subjective illusion, but still, in a very real sense, more a human construct than a presentation of the intrinsic character of reality. Suppose that the sense-imagery of trance-communicators (self-created like our own), were correlated with independent reality in some looser and more flexible fashion than is the case with us; would not this give us some inkling into the possibility of life in other finite worlds? The world of experience would be a function of the percipient's personality. But is not this true of our own present world? We might further suppose that in temporary or unstable states of personality (as in the somewhat arbitrary complex which constitutes a communicator), the sense-imagery would tend to be unstable and wild: and that in proportion as the personal complex became more stable the sense-imagery would become more self-consistent, and its appearance of independence more convincing.

Mrs. Willett's sense-experiences are by no means confined to the visual and, auditory senses. In deep trance, D. L, on February 28, 1914, the following passage occurred:

' ... Somebody said something about Father Cam walking arm in arm with the Canongate. What does that mean? Oh! (Sniffs.) What a delicious scent! No rosebud yet by dew empearled...'

'"Father Cam," and "The Canongate," walking arm in arm symbolizes the co-operation of the two friends Verrall and Butcher (Cambridge and Edinburgh). The automatist is wondering what the meaning can possibly be, when suddenly she stops and sniffs. She is smelling something, declares it to be delicious, and finally recognizes it as the scent of roses.' The rose, for a personal reason, was symbolical of S. H. Butcher, and this was readily understood by his friends, but Mrs. Willett was quite ignorant of it. But the point is here the hallucination of the sense of smell.

Physical feelings and pain, telepathically transmitted to Mrs. Willett, also invoke in her the appropriate imagery. In the stage of awakening from trance on May 11, 1912, Mrs. Willett had been speaking of a communicator, known as The Dark Young man; then she said:

'Oh! I fell down, I fell down. Oh I my head, my head, my head. Oh, oh, oh. (Groans.) Oh, oh, oh, I bumped my head. oh, it's all here (putting her hands to her head below and behind the ears).

'(Pause: heavy breathing.) Oh, 1 wish my head would get empty.'

Lord Balfour notes All this was so dramatically uttered that for the moment I thought Mrs. Willett had really hurt her head. Apparently, however, it was only the idea of the Dark Young Man's fall and consequent injury passing into a sympathetic feeling so strong that the automatist imagines it to have happened to herself.

Is There Such a Thing as Supernormal Sense-Imagery? - The most obvious criticism of the idea here suggested, that in abnormal or supernormal states of consciousness, self-created sense-imagery could form a realistic world linked in some more or less distant way with an external reality, is that in all these states the imagery described is of our own normal type. It might be said that we are here dealing with hallucinations, which clothe different types of fantasy, but that all are drawn from a remembered stock of sense-imagery, ultimately derived from the normal senses of this present world. This is very likely true, especially in intermediate and unstable states of consciousness, and certainly true in dreams. But is it always true? Are the descriptions of scenes given by trance-personalities sometimes translations made for our benefit into our sense-imagery from imagery of a very different kind? I will quote some further examples from Mrs. Willett, relevant to this point:

In the D. I. of February 18, 1909, occurs the following:

About 11.30 to-day ... I began to feel that very restless feeling ... At 11.45 I sat down, close to a cheerful window, with a feeling of "heavy" impression that F. was waiting. I felt as if it were somebody else's impatience.

'The first words that came to my mind were Myers yes now take a sheet of paper-only for notes no script but make notes of what I say" I enclose the notes I made ...

'The whole conversation ended by F. saying he did not want to tire me, and so "farewell." I just got a flash of an impression of E. G. wanting to make a joke and F. not letting him - but it is all very dim that, I am clear up to "farewell."'

On February 1, 1910, occurs:

'Gurney it is quite a short script I want to write Myers says a note made re D. I. of Friday may give rise to ... inaccurate deductions ... Myers wishes the record AMMENDED (sic) by a note

Myers yes let me go on...

Mrs. Willett notes: "During all this script I felt very muddled and confused. The writing came in bits. Just before the [name Myers] I got a sense of F. being there and then of his brushing E. G. away and starting off the script himself with great impatience and in a very peremptory mood."'

Note the dual aspect of these passages: (i) Mrs. Willett herself feels restless, impatient, etc., but (ii) she also refers these emotions to their sources. In other words, her experiences are in some way cognitive. The suggestion is, I think, that something akin to sense-imagery enters into these cases, but imagery of a different kind from anything which we experience in normal life-imagery which cannot be directly turned into terms of normal thought-imagery which immediately conveys knowledge of somebody in the state of wanting to make a joke, of being in a peremptory mood, etc.

Mrs. Willett wrote in a letter to Mrs. Verrall on September 27, 1909:

'I got no impression of appearance, only character, and in some way voice or pronunciation (though this doesn't mean that my ears hear, you know!). That is always so in D. I. [i.e. in silent D. I.] I don't feel a sense of "seeing," but an intense sense of personality, like a blind person perhaps might have-and of inflections, such as amusement or emotion on the part of the speaker. If you asked me how I know when E. G. is speaking and not F. W. H. M., 1 can't exactly define, except that to me it would be impossible to be in doubt one instant - and with E. G. I often know he is there a second or two before he speaks ... I then sometimes speak first ... To me, by now, there isn't anything strange in D. L's except when I try to explain anything about them; then I realize suddenly they are unusual! But otherwise it gives me no more sense of oddness to be talking to these invisible people than it does to be talking to my son, for instance. But I don't think I mentally visualize any sort of "appearance" with regard to them - it is as "minds" and
"characters" that they are to me, and yet not at all intangible or
non-solid realities...'

This subjective light thrown on the nature of the trance processes by the experient herself is of the very highest value. Another most interesting example occurred when the communicator, Gurney W, [E. G.], attempted to throw his memory of himself as he was when living on to the sensitive's mind, so that she might pass on the description of it to Sir Oliver Lodge. It seems to be intended to illustrate the process for his benefit. The date was September 24, 1910:

'[Mrs. W.] E. G. is talking.

E. G. Don't feel oppressed. You're going to do well. (To O.J. L.) I want you to see the passage of thought, not ocular or aural. Mediums. (To Mrs. W.) Now come, how does it seem to you now? Answer out loud. What he says, do you often say? Well, say it to Lodge.

Mrs. W. I see what he wants. I'm to tell you what I feel, my thoughts. He's very very near. I feel him just there (in front near face). I can only think of those words, they come running in my head: 'Nearer he is than breathing, closer than hands and feet.' I'm all as if I was in the light. I'm not seeing with my eyes (eyes closed all the time), but it feels as if he was holding both my hands and looking down at me. I'm not seeing his face by - I'm feeling it there. It's always got that look of having known pain. And he says to me, go over it just as it strikes you. I think it's the eyes, the lids are so -

E.G. Stop a moment, and tell Lodge the thought ... I'm throwing in the recollection of what I took my bodily semblance to be, incarnate; see how she catches it. How dangerous analogies are, and yet you could get something by thinking of a magic-lantern slide. Dependence on the vividness of my recollection; it's a calling up on my part, a conscious effort, not involuntary. Lodge, are you seeing?

O.J.L. Yes.
E. G. Go on.
Mrs. W. I see the lids drooping over the eyes, and how very restful they are to see, like something strong, something that makes me not afraid. Very sad, and yet at the back of that sadness something else; strength and something else. Next thing I think about, it seems, the delicate backward sweep of the nostrils and the mouth, not quite straight, but oh, how humorous it can look. Not with the eyes, this sight.
E. G. Go on, go down.
Mrs. W. And it's a, yes, how thin his face is; then the ears rather low on the head, and how the chin balances all the face, and such -
E. G. Yes, it was my chiefest attitude to life, that compassion. Mrs. W. And then -
E. G. Yes, say it out loud, that's what I want Lodge to know. Mrs. W. It's what I feel, I feel it's good to be here.'

Lord Balfour says:

'Evidently what we have here is an attempt to illustrate the telepathic transmission of a memory-image from the communicator to the percipient. The impression is without doubt meant to be understood as a deliberately communicated impression involving not only intention on the part of the agent but effort.'

Again, when Dr. Butcher introduced himself to Mrs. Willett as 'Henry Butcher's ghost'(8), she felt his personality, including his 'piercing glance,' with no suggestion that there was sense-imagery of the normal kind. Take this in conjunction with, 'Not with the eyes, this sight,' just mentioned, and it looks very much as though Mrs. Willett, in her nonnormal states of consciousness, experiences an entirely unfamiliar kind of sense-imagery which conveys, not only features of character, such as 'sweetness and strength,' but also those features we call 'physical.' I suggest that in this direct way she was acquiring knowledge of Gurney's appearance and that she was translating this knowledge into visual senseimagery in her description. It does not follow that sensitives in non-normal states experience only normal sense-imagery; but it does follow that they must translate their experiences into such normal imagery if we are to understand them.

(8) p. 257

Telepathic Possession. - In connexion with the theory of telepathy, it has been pointed out that there is no need to suppose that the actual experience of the agent is ever shared by the percipient(9). In cases of thought-transference it may always be supposed that the mechanism of telepathic action is such as to cause the percipient to undergo an experience of his own which is similar to the agent's but not identical with it. In this way the privacy of experiences would be maintained. It might be said that to share an experience with another mind is an impossibility, because it would dissolve the distinction between one mind and another.

(9) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xliii. pp. 397-438.

I will conclude the present chapter by quoting three cases which have a significant bearing on this question and which Lord Balfour classes as instances of 'Telepathic Possession,' or of telepathy leading up to it.

In the waking stage of a D. I. on February 7, 1915, Mrs. Willett said:

'I've seen this room before, but I can't remember where it is. (Points to a water-colour picture representing the Firth of Forth and the coast of East Lothian, seen from some point in Fife.) I'm not accustomed to the view from that side, I generally see it from the other side. Why has that man painted it from behind to fore, so to speak? Do you see what I mean? He's stood in the wrong place stupid idiot! You see, why I like my view best is because I'm accustomed to it, and I've seen it all my life from the other side. It makes me quite giddy seeing it the wrong way about. You can't reverse pictures so that they stay right, can you? I'm looking at it where I generally stand; and that's what's bothering me, you see. (Gets up and goes to the fireplace.) That's where I used to stand-just about there. (Points with finger to the spot.)'

The Dark Young Man had been the communicator who, ostensibly, had just departed as the waking stage came on, and a footnote is here added, saying: 'The point indicated was on the southern side of the Firth of Forth, and might quite well represent the position of the Dark Young Man's Scottish home. The automatist herself had no personal knowledge of the neighbourhood.' In his remarks about this incident, Lord Balfour remarks:

'The personality of the automatist appears to merge so completely into that of the communicator as to lead one to suspect the latter of a desire to give a practical illustration of that reciprocal interweaving of two minds which he had described earlier in the D. I., and which, without being "possession" in full sense of the term, may yet reproduce some of the characteristics of "possession." I regard it, in fact, as an illustration of what I call telepathic possession.'

One sees, too, how difficult it is to discuss telepathy on the assumption that it is a mode of communication between two atomically distinct selves. The nature of the self is the central problem in psychical research, bound up with which is the nature of telepathy, and it is evident that we have to learn to form ideas which will fit the facts, and not to force the facts into our preconceived ideas. For instance, in a further portion of the script dealing with the transferred pain of the Dark Young Man's fall, occurs the following:

'Oh, I feel so giddy, I'm tumbling down. (Rests her head on the table.) I can't remember who I am. I know I'm somebody; and I'm coming together, you know, and the bits don't fit.'

And on October 31, 1908, the day after Myers had claimed to have succeeded in getting into Mrs. Willett's mentality, the latter notes to her script:

'I had had other confused dreams the previous night, as well as an intensely vivid impression of Fred's presence. I can only describe it by saying I felt myself so blending with him as almost to seem to become him.'

Note also the script above referred to in which Mrs. Willett says: 'It was as if barriers were swept away and 1 and they became one.'

In the waking stage of the trance-script of April 19, 1918, Mrs. Willett said:

'Oh! (pause) Fred, Fred. So strange to be somebody else. To feel somebody's heart beating inside, and some one else's mind inside your mind. And there isn't any time or place, and either you're loosed or they're entered, and you all of a sudden know everything that ever was. You understand everything. It's like every single thing and time and thought and everything brought down to one point...'

Compare above also' How nothing time is.'

It is clear that if this is telepathy, it is a very different kind of thing from the simple thought-transference of the early experiments. The evidence leads us on to cases like these which suggest a sharing of experience, and even a sharing of selfhood, which we cannot understand. It is reminiscent of religious mystical experience. The same thing inspired Tennyson's poem, 'In Memoriam,' and particularly the verse beginning with the words, 'The living soul was flashed on mine.' Theories of telepathy must take these facts into account, as well as the simpler ones.

In the next chapter we will go on to consider briefly the light which these trance-phenomena throw on the nature of personality.
Source: "Science and Psychical Phenomena" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (New York: University Books, 1961).
Modus Operandi of the Mediumistic Trance
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
         AUTONOMOUS TRANCE - At the beginning of Chapter XII, we pointed out that trance-communications were obtained under three different conditions: (1) Through the habitual Control, which the majority of mediums possess. This we called ‘control trance.' (2) From a Communicator, who has temporarily assumed the position of the habitual control. This we called 'directly controlled trance.' (3) Through a type of trance in which there are no controls, but in which the sensitive herself remains always in control of her own organism. This we called 'autonomous trance.' The bulk of the directly assessable evidence for the instrumentality of discarnate minds comes through the first two types; but the third type contains much important indirect evidence, and is also full of interest from the point of view of the modus operandi. It is here exemplified by the case of Mrs. Willett, and we will now consider a report on her case published by Lord Balfour(1).

(1) 'A Study of the Psychological Aspects of Mrs. Willett's Mediumship, and of the Statements of the Communicators concerning Process,' by Gerald William, Earl of Balfour, P.C., LL.D. (Proc. S.P.R., vol. xliii. p. 41).

Mrs. Willett has been mentioned in the last chapter as one of the' S.P.R. group 'of cross-correspondence automatists. It seems scarcely necessary to speak of the bona fides of any member of this group, but it may be worth while to quote the following paragraph in which Sir Oliver Lodge speaks of Mrs. Willett.

'For my own part,' he says, 'I am assured not only of Mrs. Willett's good faith, and complete absence of anything that can be called even elementary classical knowledge, but also of the scrupulous care and fidelity with which she records her impressions, and reports every trace of normal knowledge which seems to her to have any possible bearing on the script. We are able, in fact, to regard her as a colleague in the research, in the same sort of way that we are able to regard Mrs. Holland'(2).

(2) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxv. p. 115

This was written in 1911, soon after Mrs. Willett had joined the investigators. After this, she worked for years in close collaboration with Lord Balfour and other members of the group.

It is often said that automatic writing is done in the normal state of consciousness, and it is true that automatists are, as a rule, aware of their surroundings, and even of the words as they come, but I do not think that it is true to say that the state in which automatism occurs is quite normal. There is a certain degree of mental dissociation or departure from conscious attention which enables that portion of the mind which initiates the script to obtain control of the motor mechanisms of the body, and so to effect the externalization of the message. This slight degree of dissociation may increase, and, if it does so with the ordinary type of trance medium, the normal consciousness disappears and the control takes its place. But with a rarer type of sensitive, the normal consciousness still retains control of the body, as in automatic writing, although it has receded in some sense more into the background and there begins to undergo experiences of a non-physical kind. In Mrs. Willett's case, the communicators who appeared in her automatic script deliberately fostered this kind of trance, being very insistent that it should not be allowed to lapse into the control-trance variety. Put into crude words, they aimed at drawing the real Mrs. Willett just so far out of her normal position that they could hold intercourse with her and give her messages, yet not so far that she would be incapable of passing these messages on to the experimenters through her own processes of speech and writing. They seem to have considered that this type of trance would have advantages over the control kind, and, to judge from results, they were entirely justified.

To read the record of the communications which came through Mrs. Willett is to enter at once into a different atmosphere. The communicators are strong, intelligent, natural, and give one the impression of being human beings engaged in a difficult task, hampered by certain natural impediments, and explaining their difficulties and what they are doing as they go along. Listen to Myers W explaining the difference between the Piper and the Willett trance:

Script of April 16, 1911

Myers Let me again emphasize the difference that exists between Piper and Willett phenomena the former is possession the complete all but complete withdrawal of the spirit the other is the blending of incarnate and excarnate spirits there is nothing telergic it is a form of telepathy the point we have to study is to find the line where the incarnate spirit is sufficiently over the border to be in a state to receive and yet sufficiently controlling by its own power its own supraliminal and therefore able to transmit...'

In his book, Human Personality, Myers had used the word 'telergy' to mean the direct operation of the motor centres of the brain by a mind other than the one habitually controlling them. Myers W is using the word in the same sense here. In the control type of trance, he means, the control telergically operates the medium's brain. In the autonomous trance, the sensitive receives her messages from the communicators telepathically and herself transmits them by operating her own bodily motor-mechanisms in the ordinary way. The process may actually be much more complicated than that, but this embodies the main idea.

Mrs. Willett remarks on the process as seen from her end in a little aside passage in the Ear of Dionysius. In the script of March 2, 194, she says: 'Do you know, it's an odd thing, I can see Edmund as if he were working something; and the thing he is working is me. It isn't really me, you know; it's only a sort of asleep me that I can look at.' By 'Edmund' is meant Gurney W.

Mrs. Willett's automatic trance-work extended approximately over the period from 1909 to 1928. She began in girl hood to discover that she possessed the power of automatic writing, but only took it up seriously when in contact with Mrs. Verrall in 1908; so that she, in common with the other members of this group of automatists, developed her faculty within the ideological framework of the Society for Psychical Research. There is importance in this fact, because it means that the underlying assumptions of Spiritualism, which are early rooted in the subconscious of many trance-mediums, were here absent. The atmosphere was one of balance and criticism.

The Myers and Gurney communicators early took her in hand. Apart from her automatic writing, she began to feel them. In January 1909, for example, she says: 'I was at dinner, when I felt a strong impression of F. W. H. M. [Myers-w] scolding me... I had the impression that he was conveying to me that if I doubted the impression I was receiving I was to try for script after dinner. I was quite normal.

Soon after Gurney W said through the script try and set down thoughts can't you hear me speak it saves trouble I want to say something Gurney yes'; and Mrs. Willett notes, 'Here I left off writing and held a sort of imaginary conversation with E. G.... I was perfectly normal.'

A fortnight later, Myers W writes through the script:

' ... I am trying experiments with you to make you hear without writing therefore it is I Myers who do this deliberately do not fear or wince when words enter your consciousness or subsequently when such words are in the script ... do not analyse whence these impressions which I shall in future refer to as Daylight Impressions-come from, they are parts of a psychic education framed by me for you...'

After this, the Daylight Impressions became habitual. Lord Balfour abbreviates them to 'D. I.s' for convenience, and divides them into Silent D. I.s (those which were written down after being mentally received) and Spoken D. I.s (those which were spoken in the presence of the sitter after being mentally received).

The attempts of the communicator to establish direct mental communication with Mrs. Willett were evidently successful, for in a letter describing her experiences, she said:

'Last night ... I was sitting idly wondering at it all ... when I became aware so suddenly and strangely of F. W. H. M.'s presence that I said "Oh!" as if I had run into some one unexpectedly: During what followed I was absolutely normal. I heard nothing with my ears, but the words came from outside into my mind as they do when one is reading a book to oneself. I do not remember the exact words, but the first sentence was, Can you hear what I am saying?" - I replied in my mind, "Yes."'

One may compare with this Mrs. Willett's introduction to S. H. Butcher-w, one of the collaborators referred to in the Ear of Dionysius, which took place in January 1911.

'Last night after I had blown out my candle and was just going to sleep I became aware of the presence of a man, a stranger, and almost at the same moment-knew it was Henry Butcher. I felt his personality, very living, clear, strong, sweetness and strength combined. A piercing glance. He made no introduction but said nothing. So I said to him, "Are you Henry Butcher?" He said, "No, I am Henry Butcher's ghost." I was rather shocked at his saying this, and said, "Oh, very well, I am not at all afraid of ghosts or of the dead." He said, "Ask Verrall ... if he remembers our last conversation (or meeting) and say the word to him - Ek e tie." He said it several times. I said "Very well." He seemed only to want to give that message and then he went in a hurry...'

Here, again, there is something very natural and sane about the 'ghostly' visitor, and his humorous way of introducing himself. Mrs. Willett had no notion what Ek e tie meant. It was 'Hecate,' and Lord Balfour believes it referred to a paper by Dr. Verrall in the Classical Review, which Dr. Butcher had almost certainly read.

Direct Evidence through Mrs. Willett's Trance. - The reader will probably wonder why, since the communications through the Willett trance are of such a clear and coherent kind, no evidence is quoted from it which tends, as in the Leonard trance, to prove directly the identity of the communicators. The answer is that such evidence exists but cannot be divulged. Lord Balfour says in this report, 'It would be impossible to do justice to the argument in favour of spirit communication on the basis of the Willett phenomena without violating confidences which I am bound to respect'(3). Again, on the first page of the report we read, 'The bulk of Mrs. Willett's automatic output is too private for publication.' That the material withheld from publication is of a very strong and convincing kind is apparent from the following declaration of opinion, which Lord Balfour makes on a later page of his report:

(3) Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxv. p. 45.

'If I had before me only those Willett scripts to which I have been referring, I frankly admit that I should have been at a loss whether to attribute them to subliminal activity or to a source entirely outside the personality of the medium. Probably, like Dr. Walter Prince, I should be content to suspend judgement. But having before me the whole of the Willett scripts, and being in a position to compare them with the scripts of other automatists of our group and with facts known to me, but not known to Mrs. Willett herself, I am personally of opinion that they contain evidence of supernormally acquired knowledge which no mere subliminal mentation will suffice to account for. My readers are not in this position, and for reasons stated in the introduction to this paper I cannot put them in possession of the considerations that have chiefly weighed with me'(4).

(4) Ibid. pp. 155-6.

It is indeed very greatly to be deplored that such supremely important evidence must be withheld from publication in the interests of privacy.

Owing to the exigencies of space, it will only be possible to touch on a few points of the Willett trance, taken from the many with which this report deals - a report which is second to none in importance for the student of psychical phenomena.

Mode of Emergence of Trance and Automatic Material: Difficulty in Transmitting Names - The circumlocutory methods of the control type of trance are well known. The control will often occupy a whole page in describing something rather than give its name, and the critic who is unused to these phenomena is at once sceptical. 'That cannot be so-and-so communicating,' he says. 'Why, he has forgotten his wife's name,' or whatever it may be. Even in the trance of the best mediums it is evidently a matter of the greatest difficulty to get a specific name through, or to answer a point-blank question. There seems to be a kind of law of deflected effort, which is reminiscent of the mechanical law of the revolution of spins. The thing directly aimed at is the thing which eludes you. Something similar occurs in ordinary memory. The most familiar names may be forgotten for a moment, and when they are, direct efforts to revive them are useless. We have to describe the thing or person we mean.

In the A. V. B. sittings dealt with in Chapter XIII, Feda described a guitar, imitated its notes, showed how it was tuned, but could not say its name. On another occasion it takes her more than a page of description to arrive at the word 'Sporkish.' She begins by hissing; goes on to 'Spor'; says a 'long letter comes next - a long letter' above the line'; tentatively tries 'Sporti' and 'Sporbi'; then tries drawing the letters on Lady Troubridge's hand, and arrives at H as the final letter of the word. Then, just as she is apparently about to give it up, she ejaculates very loudly the right word, 'Sporkish.'

In the Willett scripts, although we do not get the same round-about descriptions, the same difficulty in the transmission of words occurs. In a script of August 25, 1912, the name Deucalion emerges in this way:

'Now another thought - Doocalon
No no try again - Dewacorn

(this word ended in a scribble)
- Dewacorn
NO DEUCALION
the sound is DEW
- K
- LION not Lion

Write it slowly
- Deucalion

I want that said It has a meaning
The stones of the earth shall praise thee
that is what I want said it is I who say it and the word is
- Deucalion

that was well caught Good Child

That sort of thing makes one feel out of breath doesn't it on both sides-'

Lord Balfour adds in a note that Mrs. Willett is hardly ever able to reproduce Greek or Latin words correctly. The way in which she tends to get off the rails and slip away from the communicators' intention is, indeed, very obvious. In a D. I. of October 8, 1911, the following occurs:

'Oh he says, back of that again lies something I dimly reach after and you would call, he says, the Absolom - not Absalom - I'll spell it to you he says: A B S 0 L and then he says o m and rubs o m out and puts instead U T E. Oh he says - Edmund, when you laugh I can't help laughing too - and he says the ascending scale bound by gold chains round the feet of God.'

The interjection, 'Edmund, when you laugh, etc.,' is of course addressed by Mrs. Willett to the communicator.

Many instances could be quoted showing the difficulties which trance-material evidently encounters in its emergence. They teach us to be careful in making judgements about what 'ought' to happen. Mr. Kenneth Richmond, in the course of his valuable notes on the study of the Leonard material(5), says:

(5) 'Preliminary Studies of the Recorded Leonard Material,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xliv. p. 25.

'When the psychic phenomenon to be tested is reduced to the simplest type ... the organization involved is found to be none too simple or easy to understand; when we come to the very complicated structure of the Leonard organizations it is most difficult to experiment with any knowledge of what we are about. What is useless is to form judgements of this type: "If he (a given communicator) can do this, he should be able to do that." He" is likely to involve an assumption that the communicator "is" the deceased person, not a complex representation; and "should" assumes that we know how the representation can and cannot operate, when in fact we know very little about it.'

This means that, if we are to approach the problems of the trance in a fruitful and scientific spirit, we must not assume that there are only two alternatives, either (i) that a communicator, substantially the same as the deceased person in question was when alive, is standing at the other end of a psychic telephone, or (ii) that some hypnotic stratum in the medium is playing a part, eked out by telepathy from the living. It is pretty clear that both these theories are too crude and too simple. We must patiently try to form new ideas about the depths of human selfhood, by studying the phenomena intelligently and as far as possible without prejudice, in a fruitful and scientific spirit.

Telaesthesia. - It will be remembered that in Chapter I, telaesthesia was defined as a kind of telepathic perception of the contents of one mind by another, in distinction to telepathy, which was thought of as the definite transmission of the thought of one mind to another. Myers, in his book, Human Personality, did not use the word 'telaesthesia' in this sense. He made it the equivalent of what we have here called Clairvoyance. But Gurney-w uses the word 'telaesthesia' in practically the same sense in the Willett scripts as that which we have here adopted. It is important to know for our explanation of trance-phenomena, whether telaesthesia exists or not.

The positive evidence for telaesthesia, as distinct from telepathy, resides in those cases of trance-communications in which knowledge is shown of things or events which are unknown to the sitters-such cases as The Dog Billy, Burnham, and Daisy's Second Father, mentioned in Chapter XIII; and also those proxy sittings in which the information given was unknown to the sitter, and must have come from distant minds, of which, as has been said, there are many examples. If the information is not derived from the mind of the discarnate communicator in these cases, it must be obtained from whatever mind happens to contain it. And that would seem to entail telaesthesia, or the reaching out by the trance-personality to gather the fact it needs from wherever the knowledge of it is to be obtained.

The faculty of telaesthesia, if it exists in this unrestricted form, would seem to represent a range of extra-sensory power of quite extraordinary universality and extent, and evidently if mediums possess it, the theory that communications are due to telaesthesia among the living rather than telepathy from the dead would be greatly strengthened. It is interesting, therefore, to notice that Gurney-w enthusiastically endorses it. In a long D. I. on October 8, 1911, the following occurs:

'He says, I want to suggest something which, while not contradicting your question, will open another window. Oh if I could only not drop like that. Oh hold me tight. And he says, she can select -he says a word to me - telaesthesia - oh he says, you none of you make enough allowance for what that implies, and the results of that can be shepherded and guided up to the threshold of normal consciousness.

'Oh he says, telaesthesia is a bed-rock truth, a power of acquiring knowledge direct without the intervention of the discarnate mind.

'Oh he says, telepathy's one thing-that's thought communication; telaesthesia is knowledge, not thought, acquired by the subliminal when operating normally in the metetherial'(6).

(6) Willett Report, p. 293.

'Oh he says, Here comes in our work again. Oh he says, What I'm saying may be used to cut at the spiritualistic hypothesis, but it doesn't. Again, who selects what of the total telaesthetically acquired knowledge shall externalize itself - shall blend itself with those elements received by direct telepathic impact? Oh he says, Supposing I take her into a room, and I screen off any action of my own mind on hers: her subliminal with its useful copious pinch of Eve's curiosity takes stock of the contents of the room. Normal consciousness is later regained, and lying in the subliminal is knowledge of certain objects perceived, not as a result of the action of my mind, but as the result of telaesthetic faculty. Oh he says, Here come I on script intent. Here be arrows for my quiver. Who selected which of the- Have patience with me, oh, Edmund, I am trying, oh, I'm such a great way away. Oh, Edmund, - Oh he says, Who applies the stimulus under which certain ideas - use that word, not what I wanted - emerge, blended, which upon study will be found to be relevant to the total aim of that particular piece of automatism? Oh he says, of all the contents of that mythical room say she carries back a rough and partial knowledge - ... in the process of externalization, there is where the loss occurs. Oh he says, of those ten say two emerge-to me how interesting. I see the work of my hand, the double process.

'Say I wrote of horses. I get telepathically the idea of sound, clatter of the horses' gallop. I get the idea in a Verrall channel, for instance, of Pegasus; I get the idea perhaps of chariot races - equus, or something like that, he says - and I select and push up into its place where it will be grasped and externalized two trump cards telaesthetically acquired - call it horseshoe, or, he says, the steeds of Dawn. The point is, I didn't place them there; I found and selected them; and the eight other elements - or objects - seen in the room remain dormant and never externalize themselves perhaps. The spiritistic agency decides what element appropriate to its own activity shall emerge alongside and intertwined with matter placed in position by direct telepathic impact.'

There is much food for thought in this interesting script. It is part of a description given by Gurney-w of the process involved in getting cross-correspondences through, as he is describing it from his end. Another script, too long to quote here, describes the process of externalizing selected topics through different levels of the automatist's self. Telaesthesia takes place in a deep stratum of the automatist's mind and in that of the communicator's, where some kind of mutual agreement takes place as to what is to be selected. It seems that Gurney-w is referring, in this telaesthesia, to a faculty of cognition, natural to a very deep level of the self, which Gurney-w calls the 'H-self,' but far removed from anything of which, in our supraliminal state of consciousness, we have experience. This telaesthetically acquired material is put into the 'uprushable' self, 'just the grade below the uprushable.' 'But in putting it into the uprushable focus, as it were, it will know that a sort of crystallization, often through symbolism, must be arrived at: and we will imagine, if you like, that that having been foreseen both by me and the H-self, we determined upon what sort of crystals to aim at, so that the uprushable self has, as it were, presented to it what I called a "room," the knowledge which the H-self is informing to the point where it becomes uprushable.' After that, Gurney explains, there comes a moment of 'binding' and finally the material emerges as written or spoken word or dream or precognition, etc.

According to this, as I read it, the emergence of so-called 'automatic' material is a very complex process, the ideas rising, under guidance, through level above level of the self and finally crystallizing into the clear-cut and discrete ideas with which we do our normal thinking, and in which form alone they can attain verbal expression. But they originate as thought of some more universal and less atomic character in the depths of the personality. Telaesthesia may be called a deep-level faculty of cognition, and the question which of course arises is: If this faculty can work between the sensitive and the communicator, why not between the sensitive and a living person? Gurney-w evidently realizes that the argument can be used to tell against the spiritualistic theory, for he points out that the telaesthetic faculty does not explain the communicator away, since the communicator is needed to select and to control, guide and shepherd the material into the right channels for externalization.

There are many points of the greatest interest which are dealt with in this report of Lord Balfour's on Mrs. Willett, which cannot possibly be condensed into an outline summary. and it is hoped that readers of the present volume will turn to the report and study it for themselves. The question of the nature of the Subliminal Self and its relation to the Supraliminal occupies much question and answer between Lord Balfour and Gurney-w; and the latter gives his description of the nature of the persistible self, saying that it consists to a large extent of the. subliminal element together with 'an admixture - and a very vital admixture - of the supraliminal.'

We will now consider, in connexion with the Willett material, a subject we have touched on more than once before, namely, the subject of sense-imagery.
Source: "Science and Psychical Phenomena" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (New York: University Books, 1961).
The Boundary of the World of Sense
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
1. The Past and the Future of the Personality
          THE OUTLOOK which has been developed in the previous chapters has brought us to recognize on the subjective side that the human being is a personality which is more real and abiding than its accessories, and we have learnt to dissociate it from these and from its environment. On the objective side it has led us to question the common-sense view which regards the external world as an unconditional reality of a final kind, and to regard it instead as the aspect of a deeper essence. On both of these points we differed from the materialist, who takes the world of sense to be fundamental and is thereafter somewhat embarrassed with the human personality which refuses to fit into his scheme. His fundamental error appears to us to lie in his acceptance of the world at its face value. He seems to be making the same kind of mistake that a small child might make when taken to a cinema for the first time. The child might suppose that the human figures which he saw moving before him on the screen were actually there in living reality. But the less naïve, and truer view of his parents (although they might not express it in quite these words) would be that the figures on the screen were only aspects of the real human actors, whose activities, though seen with certain limitations here and now, had really taken place elsewhere in space and time.

The materialists include for us, not only the deliberate professors of philosophical materialism, but also all those who in practice take the commonsense view of the world for philosophic truth, and hold it in the naïve manner of the child at the cinema. We take the view of the parents. We do not believe that the actors in the film drama of this world of sense go in and out of existence with the light of the optical lantern. We believe them to possess an independent existence of their own outside the cinema-hall. This belief opens up a very long vista of possibilities, for not only were the actors in existence before the film started, and will continue to be after it is over, but there may be others in existence who never appear in the film at all.

To drop the metaphor, the recognition of human existence as more fundamental than that of the sensual world seems to carry with it the belief, not only that human beings will survive this present life, but also that they pre-existed it. The real argument for the latter point of view lies, however, not in any analogy, but in the central crux of all human thought - the problem of the nature of time.

We cannot become involved in a discussion of this problem, nor pause here to introduce the larger conception of the self which is bound up with it - the view of the self-transcendent personality which stands above the temporal flux in a higher region of being. The consideration of this subject belongs to the province of religion. But the reader may be reminded that in Chapter III it was pointed out that there exist two modes of ingression of time into the human consciousness. Time, recognized as something measurable, which belongs to the external world, was perceived as part and parcel of the world of sense. But time also entered into human consciousness directly, and was perceived as the subjective sense of enduring. These two times are quite different. The one is at home in the category of intellectual concepts. It is the clock-time that we "understand," but do not "know," using the latter word in the sense of intimate, or mystical awareness. The other is a time that we "know," but do not "understand." Now it is clear that the first kind of time is of a piece with the world of aspects. It is in fact the aspect-form of something existing in the real world of entia, and as such the form it takes for us depends, like everything else in the physical world, upon our personalities and upon their relationships towards the real world.

The space and time, or, in modern phrase, the space-time of the world of sense, performs much the same function and has much the same sort of reality as the lines of latitude and the meridians which we draw upon our globes. It serves to co-ordinate events in the sensual world, but it cannot limit the existence of our personalities. Our globe is not really divided up into a neat pattern of rectangular figures, and in the same way the existence of a human personality is not really measured out into a number of hours which are rounded off at either end by two instants marked on the clock. The fear that a human personality might go out of existence at twelve o'clock really contains the same kind of absurdity as the fear of being shipwrecked on the meridian of Greenwich. Our view of personality as a primary thing, standing above the physical world of aspects, carries with it the corollary of its pre-existence as well as of its survival of this present slice of experience that we call life.

That is how the problem of human existence begins to shape itself when it is looked at in the light of the presuppositions which we have adopted in these pages. They show us human personality as something which stands firm - as a primary and basic form of existence surrounded by a world that is merely a refracted vision of reality.

But we must not be content with the light thrown by our own presuppositions. There is a region in the external world which yields facts of a kind accessible to all, and these facts also have their bearing on the quality and status of the individual human being. This region lies on the confines of the sensual world.

2. The Border of the World of Sense
The actual facts that nowadays we call psychic, although they have always been in existence, have in past times been too vague to do more than suggest the existence of another world. They have been like a salt breeze blowing over the meadows, which suggests the proximity of the unseen ocean. But even if vague confusion has been their chief characteristic in the past, we cannot accept this as being the real condition of any part of the universe, whether comprised within the world of sense or lying beyond it. For we have a faith, which has supported us in all our explorations of the present world, and we cannot abandon it when we endeavour to cross the border. We believe that, in proportion as we are able to grasp the basic ideas needed to realize the wider reaches of the universe, we shall find it orderly and rational and not chaotic. Consistently with this faith we must, however, be prepared to admit that the most undreamed of things may be true in it. Our presuppositions prepare us for this, and we must face squarely at the outset the fact that the likelihoods and probabilities which apply in the world of sense are no guide to what lies outside it. To admit this is not superstitious but sensible.

3. Universal Sense of Awareness of Another World
We must now take a brief, general survey of the evidence which indicates that the universe extends beyond the limits of our physical senses. We will not attempt to examine this evidence in detail, but only to try the experiment of throwing it against the background of our own presuppositions.

Now, the world of sense has seemed in the past, and to many people still seems, an exceedingly well rounded-off and self-contained affair. If it is true that it is in reality no more than a single aspect of the real, and is surrounded on all sides by the larger whole from which it has been abstracted, it would seem strange that the outline that it presents at its boundary should be so clear-cut and definite. We should expect a more shadowy edge, suggesting continuity with a larger world extending beyond the bounds of sense.

Now, in point of fact the boundary of our world is not quite so clear-cut as at first sight it appears to be. There are, and always have been, phenomena which have seemed to originate beyond its confines, but, for the most part, when examined these have proved to be so bizarre and unsatisfactory in character that they have given the impression of a chimera of the imagination rather than of evidence of a continued world. Ever since the dawn of civilization, and for ages before, there has existed a steady belief in beings and influences imperceptible to the physical senses. In fact, the belief that the sensual world represents the entire universe is not at all native to early man. It arrived as a more artificial conception only after his mind had received a good deal of sophistication.

With primitive and uncivilized man a belief in supersensual beings and influences was the general and the natural thing as it also was among the early civilizations. We usually meet with this belief after it has been worked into legendary form and its origin has become hidden under an accumulation of imaginary details. In spite of the world-wide diffusion and the many local variations of these legends of the supernormal they exhibit on the whole a remarkable adherence to type. The legendary belief is that these beings share our world with us in a particular sense only. They are intangible and invisible except on certain occasions and to specially gifted persons, yet they inhabit this world in the sense of being attached to particular localities. The actual hills, trees, etc., which exist for mankind exist also for them, but in a different way and without all the usual physical limitations, as, for instance, when some of the "little people" of the Irish are said to occupy a particular hill but to live in it instead of upon it. This may easily be put down to childish imagination on the part of primitive people, but, on the other hand, in view of a possible further development of our theory of the nature and origin of the physical world, it gives rise to a curious reflection. To deal with this point now would, however, be premature.

In Europe the beliefs and legends about other-world beings belong most prominently to the Celtic peoples; but their lore and legends reach out to join hands with the beliefs of Asia, Africa, America and Polynesia, while, looking backwards in time, we can see the "little people" of the Celts reappearing as the nymphs and fauns of classical antiquity. In some of the more dominating Celtic heroes it is perhaps scarcely fanciful to catch sight again of the old Greek gods. Whole hierarchies of beings in fact have been and are supposed to exist just beyond the range of physical perception, and to be glimpsed by those gifted with more than physical sense. Anthropology explains these beliefs either by folk-memory of pre-existing races of men or by the legendary personification of the mountains, waterfalls and other natural features of the surrounding country, or simply by the innate tendency of primitive man to believe in spirits. They have, as an anthropolgist says, "their origin in the animism of primitive man and his profound belief in the power of spirits."[1] No doubt it is true that the causes assigned by anthropology have been effective in moulding the forms which all such legends have taken. Any story about legendary figures will in time become worked into literary form so that its original features tend to become influenced by national or racial traditions and by historical events. But the point is, whence came the original impulse? Why had primitive man a profound belief in the power of spirits when his senses showed him nothing but physical facts?
[1] Dr. Macleod Yearsley

It is usual to strain every physical or so-called normal explanation to the utmost before having recourse to the supernormal. This is on account of the background of presuppositions of the present age; but our own presuppositions do not oblige us to hold what are called supernormal explanations at arm's length when we are dealing with things which appear to lie over the boundary, for the supernormal means to us no more than the extension of the real world beyond the point to which we are able to see. The boundary of the world of sense is to us a subjective barrier, whereas to the materialist it is an objective barrier. There is the difference.

The scientist lays down the principle that no new factor must be introduced into an explanation until every possible use has been made of the old ones. This is a legitimate principle so long as it is not distorted in its application by dogged adherence to inadequate presuppositions, but the recognition of the world of sense as a world of aspects reveals the limits of its rational application in cases such as that with which we are now dealing. But the anthropologist, in his determined adherence to the materialistic outlook, strains out of all true proportion the explanation which he calls "normal," or, with a touch of unconscious humour, "rationalistic." His habit of trying to explain present-day beliefs and practices in terms of their earliest beginnings is like the feat of balancing a cone on its apex.

Instead of the explanation which seeks to refer back all belief in an extension of reality beyond the world of sense to a universal, but groundless belief in the supersensual on the part of primitive man, is it not more likely, according to our present presuppositions, that the root of all these legendary beliefs lay in scattered instances of real perception occurring to a certain percentage of individuals, not through the physical senses but by a non-bodily route? For we must remember that, whatever excellent qualities primitive man may have possessed, originality was not one of them.

It has not been for the primitive and uncivilized races alone that supersensual beings and their dealings with mankind have loomed important. Magic, astrology, necromancy, oracles, dreams, possessions have been with civilized and semi-civilized mankind since the dawn of history. To the majority of men until the modern period the boundary of our world has always shown itself as a fringe of twilight uncertainties, where thought was confused and where for the most part terror reigned. Out of this borderland in very early times arose the beginnings of most of the religions of antiquity, but in addition to these religions themselves, the misty fringe of the world of sense continued to be recognized as a background lying behind the world of physical things.


4. The Boundary of the World of Sense in Civilized Times
Glance back at the cosmopolitan cities of the Roman Empire in which the various forms of religious worship, gathered together from different parts of the world, jostled one another in the narrow streets. Modern research has shown them as standing in relief against a dark background of vague beliefs and fears drawn from this twilight boundary of the world. These formed an ill-defined, floating body of popular belief which constituted part of the mental climate of the age. One of its elements was the Babylonian science of astrology which held mankind in a kind of fascinated terror of the power of the stars.
"It became an obsession. This earth, the sphere of their tyranny, took on a sinister and dreadful aspect, even after death the disembodied ghost would be hemmed in by the demons of the air; the unknown spaces above; the unknown on the other side of death, were full of terrors."[2]
And again:
"We have never been thoroughly frightened: the ancient world was frightened: there is the great difference."[2]
[2] Edwyn Bevan, Hellenism and Christianity, p. 81.

There always was this misty distance full of terror - this shading away of the boundary of the world, but it did not encourage lofty conceptions of the world beyond. It was confusing and terrifying and its effect upon the stronger minds was to turn them back towards the world of sense.

Throughout the dark centuries which followed the collapse of the Roman Empire and on through the Middle Ages this shadowy background of beliefs and fears still continued to haunt mankind. Witchcraft and magic intermingled with the belief of religion in devils and demons kept the world in constant dread of the beyond.
5. The Boundary of the World of Sense in the Light of the Modern Presuppositions
Since the advent of the modern background of thought, the phenomena of the border line have tended to become grouped together so as to form a single subject. The label of "psychic phenomena" may be convenient in one way, but it is also misleading, for it gives the impression that this ancient mass of loosely connected beliefs and facts now forms a single subject which has originated in recent times and it is apt to be classed as another of those modern movements of thought with which we are only too familiar.

It is the new light of a changed climate of thought - of new presuppositions applied to the old region of the boundary which gives the impression that spiritualism and psychical research are dealing with something new to mankind.

It was when the light of scientific enquiry began to be turned on to the subject, towards the end of the eighteenth century, that we see the French mesmerists looking at certain border-line phenomena in a new light. The age of mechanics had dawned, and physical explanations for everything were the order of the day. So the old border-line phenomenon which had haunted mankind for millennia past now came to light again with a physical explanation. They were rediscovered as the effect on the human organism of a subtle "magnetic fluid," transmitted to the subject through the fingers of the operator. Interest spread to the mediumistic trance, and border-line phenomena, which gradually came to be called psychic, began to be thought worthy of investigation by the scientific method. Not that there was much scientific method about the early spiritualism, but the interest aroused in it had its origin in the new faculty of scientific curiosity.

The subject when viewed by moderns fully maintained its ancient reputation for confusion and fraud. It had always offered an attractive field for fraudulent exploitation of the credulous, and this formed a marked feature of the modern movement also. The chief difference was that the modern movement inspired less of fear, and more of ridicule and contempt than had been the case in ancient times. This again was probably due to the changed outlook of the moderns, for with the coming of the scientific presuppositions, the dreaded beings by which mankind had believed himself to be surrounded vanished. Modern man expected to encounter things and influences in the course of his researches, but he did not seriously expect to encounter beings other than his fellow-men.

There was no real reason for this change of attitude. It was solely a presupposition which had arisen from an intense belief in the self-sufficiency of the material universe as the senses showed it. Accordingly the phenomena of the border-land which re-presented themselves in modern dress at spiritualistic seances and the like were marked rather by their puerility than by any terrifying feature.

6. The Religious Passage of the Boundary
At one point only was there a passage across the boundary of the world of sense which led to a revelation of a totally different character from beyond. This other crossing is the way of religious mysticism which is mentioned here in order to emphasize the difference which marks it off from the category of psychic phenomena. Those human beings who have existed in all races and epochs, and whose perception has penetrated in the direction of mystical knowing beyond the world of sense, have found open to them an avenue of revelation of quite a different order from the channel of psychic things. They have not found the regions they have reached confused or disappointing. On the contrary, they have found in them everything which is most satisfying and most real. But as this forms part of the subject of religion it cannot be dealt with here. We must confine ourselves to the passage of the border line in the direction that is called psychic.

7. The Boundary in the Light of Our Own Presuppositions
How does the disappointing spectacle of the border line appear when looked at in the light of our present presuppositions? Why do most of the communications which reach us from a mediumistic source show such a misty confusion; so many uncertainties, inconsistencies and perplexities; why is a true touch followed by a string of banalities, and why do the claims made for the sources of messages sometimes appear wholly inconsistent with their character? If these communications really come to us from able people who have left this present world and are situated in a larger one, why are they not stamped with an impression of depth and reality?

The reason for all this confusion comes out clearly from our point of view. It is on account of the key position we have accorded to the personality, which stands as the inevitable medium through which all views of reality must be filtered. Everything which succeeds in reaching us from beyond the confines of the world of sense is obliged to traverse the bodily route of a human personality which is in what we have called a "stretched" condition. This condition is essential if the conscious level of the medium's personality is to reach out to a position where it can get into touch with other-world conditions, or if the communicating entity which spiritualists call the "control" is to insert itself into the medium's monadic system. But the very same condition which enables such a communication to be established also vitiates it on the way. For the stretching which enables the conscious level of the personality to move away, or the controlling personality to insert itself, also impairs the close co-operation of the different levels through which the communication has to pass, so that the message which reaches the physical end of the bodily route may be a very different thing from the message which started on the journey.

A little illustration will reinforce this important point. In the quiet lake from whence arise the head waters of a rivulet, a water-lily has become detached from its roots and begins to float gently down the stream. For a time it continues on its way intact and perfect, but one by one turbulent tributaries enter the main stream, jostling it about and surrounding it with floating debris. When the river's mouth is finally reached, the water-lily emerges in dishevelled remnants, mixed up with a medley of floating branches, weeds, grass and other rubbish. To sort out and reconstruct the water-lily is a task requiring the greatest skill and patience. The monadic levels of the personality when in a state of partial dislocation from one another act like the tributaries of the stream, flinging themselves at the message and adding to, subtracting from or limiting it until it is seriously distorted. But these considerations, although they stress the fact that mediumistic phenomena are a difficult problem for analysis, are also reassuring in another direction. For they show that we need not judge the further reaches of the world to be truly portrayed by the messages which appear to come to us from thence. We have an explanation of why the boundary of the world of sense has always appeared so misty and so unattractive. It has taken on the character of the media through which it has passed - the human personalities through which all impressions of it have been obliged to travel in order to reach us at all. Here also lies the reason for the violent oppositions of opinions which exist on psychic matters. As a rule little or no account is taken of the pitfalls and adventures through which the messages have to pass in traversing the bodily route of the stretched personality. The received message is assumed to be substantially identical with the transmitted one, and the medium is regarded by one school in the light of a telephone instrument for direct communication with the beyond, or, by the opposite school, as a producer of fraudulent or valueless material from the subconscious region of the personality. So, when such messages produce the impression of a crude or materialistic other-world inhabited by people of deficient intelligence, one group of critics is filled with disgust. Placing its own views about a future life in immediate contrast with these mediumistic pictures of the unseen, these people experience an intense repulsion and decide to dismiss the whole subject of psychical enquiry as superstitious, deceptive and harmful. The other group treats the communications themselves with equal naivety, but, having no objection to a future life of a materialistic description, embraces them all with fervour, regarding them as a great revelation. The one all-important factor in the mental attitude - balance and discrimination - is equally lacking in the outlook of both parties. Thus it is that spiritualists and anti-spiritualists have up to the present faced one another in two diametrically opposite and antagonistic camps.

8. The Scientific Attack Upon the Boundary
Throughout the nineteenth century the attitude of science towards the border-line phenomena then represented by spiritualism was on the whole one of complete contempt. But in course of time the repeated wonders which were reported from the spiritualist ranks, hotly denied by some and as hotly defended by others, caused thoughtful people to wish for an impartial enquiry into the whole subject.

In 1882 the Society for Psychical Research was formed in England and proceeded to inaugurate a systematic enquiry into the subject, conducted on scientific lines. This society, in spite of the general incredulity of the times, succeeded in obtaining for the subject the serious attention of able men. It set up a high standard of evidence and used it to sift all the psychic phenomena within its reach, both of the experimental and spontaneous kind. The record of what the society has accomplished is available in its Journal and Proceedings and is fairly widely known so that it is not necessary to recapitulate it here. The greater part of the really cogent evidence which is contained in English books on psychical research has been drawn from its records.

Speaking generally, it is difficult to see how anyone whose presuppositions are not strongly anti-empirical can fail to be convinced by its evidence that telepathy is a fact. At any rate no sceptic has yet attempted to apply any alternative explanation to the evidence in detail, and considering the length of time during which this evidence has been before the public, one may fairly conclude that the task has not been attempted because it is impossible.

This achievement alone is of the highest importance, as is evident when one considers what telepathy means and implies. It at once establishes mind as working in independence of the physical world.

9. The Physical Theory of Telepathy
There remains to be considered the physical explanation of telepathy. It seems to occur to one superficial thinker after another that telepathy must be a more subtle kind of radio-telephony. Thought, they say, is conveyed from one brain to another by some kind of physical radiation which travels through space. Details of the process are ignored, but telepathy is claimed as a new marvel of physical science.

Because people can turn a button and listen to an orchestra in London, Paris or Rome, many are under the impression that radio-telephony represents a radically new discovery in science. This is not the case. The sole discovery in science upon which the feat of wireless telephony depends was made by Heinrich Hertz of Bonn University and others during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. It consisted in the discovery that radiant electromagnetic energy, already familiar in the forms of light and radiant heat, extended downwards much lower in the scale of frequencies. The rest of the wireless achievement lay, not in scientific discovery, but in the technical development of appliances for putting this discovery to the desired use. So far as the principle of transmission is concerned, man in the twentieth century A.D. becomes aware of the stirring events of his time - from Lord's and Wimbledon - in precisely the same way that man of the two hundredth century B.C. became aware of his stirring events - the approach of the mammoth and the cave-bear. Both kinds of news were transmitted by radiant electro-magnetic energy. The only difference lay in the frequencies. True, the receiving instruments were very different - in one case the wireless receiver, in the other the human eye, but of the two the eye is by far the more wonderful instrument.

Of the two kinds of etheric radiation known to science, the vibrationary electro-magnetic and the corpuscular, the former only is available for communication, and there are only two ways in which this can be modified, viz. by adjusting the amplitude or the frequency of the vibrations. So that physical communication by means of radiant energy is really a very limited affair. The spectacular achievements of the radio are due to the ingenuity with which the engineer makes use of this limited means of control. But the important point is that whatever modifications are impressed by the engineer upon the radiation at the transmitting end are reproduced with mechanical precision at the receiver. All that a wireless receiver can receive is a stream of energy which varies quantitatively in time. When we turn to telepathy we find quite a different state of affairs. Telepathy, is not bound in this way. It betrays the transference, not only of words and images, but also of meanings. The kind of thing which happens in experimental telepathy is that, for example, when someone tries to transmit a picture of a cat sitting on a wall, the percipient gets a picture of a cat lying before the fire. What has been transmitted is not the picture but the idea of a cat. Physical transmission of thought does not, and cannot, work in this way. All that can be received by the transmission of light to the eye is an exact image of the object looked at. If, for instance, when we looked at a pig we saw sometimes a pig and sometimes a string of sausages, the physical theory of vision would have to go.

Another consideration which negatives the physical theory of telepathy is the question of distance. All known physical radiation varies in intensity inversely as the square of its distance from the source. This means that if a case occurred (of which there have been many) in which two people transmitted a thought from one to the other across the world they would, if brought together into the same room, be so overpowered by telepathy that they would not be able to hear themselves think! There is no evidence that distance makes any difference to telepathy.

This failure to find the explanation of telepathy in the physical world comes as no surprise to those provided with our presuppositions. It is to that more fundamental thing, the personality, that we should naturally turn for it. Communication by physical means between one personality and another is, from our point of view, a state of arbitrary restriction. Telepathy is the fragmentary intrusion into the world of sense of the the natural contact of personality with personality in the higher reaches of being.

10. Trance Communications
The definition of telepathy, as it is formulated on page 139 (Chap. VI) above, only stipulates that the information shall not be conveyed via the bodily senses. Any other method comes under its definition, so that if the information were conveyed by discarnate beings from one human being to another, this would be included under the heading of telepathy. This latter possibility forms, however, a very important sub-heading. The theory of discarnate beings scarcely arises where the results to be explained consist only of results in voluntary and experimental telepathy, but it is one which naturally arises when dealing with the telepathic matter contained in the productions of the mediumistic trance. In these cases it is nearly always claimed that the messages received originate with particular deceased persons; also the matter of such messages is sometimes peculiarly applicable to the soi-disantcommunicator, while there are in addition resemblances in style and manner of expression. As against the discarnate being theory, however, there occur vaguenesses and confusions; false statements and muddled statements; failures to remember and to recognize; opinions, statements and modes of expression which are quite foreign to those who claim to be communicating. In fact, the more the mediumistic trance is studied, the more the investigator realizes that he is sailing on an uncharted sea. The blending of that which rings true and that which rings false in the matter of characterization, and of that which proves true and that which proves false in the matter of evidence is disconcertingly subtle. The instability and elusiveness which has always been characteristic of the border line in time past is here again in evidence. Are we in touch with the discarnate human beings who claim to be speaking to us? Or with other, and possibly non-human beings, who are impersonating them? Or is the whole thing due to the interplay of telepathy between the living, worked into a plausible form by some dramatizing agency in the subconscious region of the sensitive? All three explanations have their supporters. The first is that held by the spiritualists as well as by some who would not so class themselves. The second is that favoured in general by the outlook of religious orthodoxy, while the third is the one put forward by the more liberal minded amongst the scientists. Interesting discussions on the evidence which may be taken to support one or other of these theories is to be found in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, but no decisive proof in favour of either theory has yet been forthcoming and opinions remain divided. The perfect psychical researcher should become accustomed to balancing on the fence which divides the first theory from the last.

Again, these three theories are eloquent of the presuppositions held by their supporters. The first is the most straight-forward and commends itself naturally to those whose presuppositions offer no reason why human beings should not manifest themselves to one another after death as much as before. The second is bound up with the presuppositions of a religious theory of demonology, which supposes that evil beings are always on the look out to injure mankind, and that mediumistic conditions present them with a special opportunity, It stresses the dangers of such communications, and it is perhaps as well to remember that the warning it issues is not based on pure theory, but on a good deal of practical experience in past times. This theory is referred to again in Chapter VIII.

The third hypothesis is the one which commends itself to the presuppositions of common sense modified by the erosions of empirical evidence.

It throws the brunt on telepathy (understood in the narrower sense of a process taking place exclusively between the minds of the living) of explaining the whole range of psychic phenomena. The faculty of mind-ranging which then has to be attributed to sensitives becomes truly astonishing.


11. Limitations of the Logical Method in Psychical Research
The proof of telepathy as defined above lies within the range of the ordinary methods of scientific research. You have only to exclude all normal means of communication between the agent and the percipient, and, if the information gets through nevertheless, then telepathy is a fact; that is if chance-coincidence can be certainly excluded. The process sounds simple, but in practice it has not been found as easy as it sounds. One of the difficulties is that a perfect case is seldom obtained. At any rate the evidence for telepathy has been accumulating steadily for the last four or five decades, and many people are not sure about it yet. But that, as we have seen in the last chapter, is more the fault of their presuppositions than of the evidence.

But the proof of human survival of death is another matter altogether, and it may even be doubted whether a complete proof of it is possible on the intellectual grade of significance alone. It may be possible, but up to the present no one has suggested a test which, if successful, could prove beyond doubt the continued existence of a human being. The difficulty resides largely in the vague definition of telepathy, and in the scattered evidence which exists of still further extension of human faculty in the direction of clairvoyance and prevision. Some writers sum up all this faculty under the term "cryptaesthesia." Admitting cryptaesthesia, and giving it the full range of its possible scope, we have to admit that it places the contents of any human mind, past or present and possibly future, at the disposal of a sensitive, as well as providing her with direct access to books and other material objects. There is therefore no test which a discarnate human being could devise to prove his identity which could not be explained by cryptaesthesia. For, in order to be verifiable, the information given must exist in some person's mind or in some book or document or as a hidden object of some kind. It may be objected that the theory of such universal cryptaesthesia is extravagant and runs beyond the evidence, but it must be remembered that telepathy is not by any means confined to set experiments in which the conscious mind takes part. That is indeed the rarest and most difficult kind of telepathy to produce. It far more often takes place in the absence of any consciousness or volition, and we have no means of ascertaining how often it takes place in daily life without our knowing it. Also, when once a hidden object has been perceived at a distance or an unseen book read or a future event foretold (and there is evidence that all these things have been done), it is impossible to draw the line in the case of a particular communication and to say: "Cryptaesthesia cannot have gone as far as to explain this." We simply do not know how far it can go.

What could a hypothetical deceased communicator B do if he were trying to prove his identity to his living friend A?

1. Let us suppose that A goes to a medium and B transmits to him a true account of an incident which happened to A and B together in the past. The explanation is that A, knowing of the event, transferred it telepathically to the medium's mind, who thereupon reproduced it as coming from B.

2. The same thing happens, but this time the event, which really happened in the past, is unknown to A, but is subsequently verified by him. The explanation is that B (or someone else concerned in the event) telepathically transferred the knowledge of it to A's mind in the past where it remained latent in his subconsciousness and was from there transmitted to the medium.

3. The same thing happens, but the event is this time in the future and in course of time duly happens as foretold. The explanation is that the medium's mind ranged forward and saw it there and adapted it as a prophecy coming from B.

This endowment of the medium with an unlimited range of cryptaesthetic faculty is admittedly an easy game to play, but it cannot be denied that, in our present state of ignorance, it does rob any proposed test of human survival of all logical conclusiveness. The very interesting series of cross-correspondences recorded by the Society for Psychical Research do increase the feeling of the simplicity and naturalness attaching to the theory of a discarnate human communicator, but it cannot be claimed that they lie beyond the range of a telepathic explanation. Sheer ignorance forbids us to come to any definite conclusion. Telepathy, clairvoyance and prevision have been discovered by the methods of intellectual research, but we do not know anything about their scope, and probably do not understand their real significance. It may be necessary to rise above the intellectual grade of significance if we are to grasp them in anything like their entirety. Not until we are in possession of their probable limits shall we be able to say: Here ends the power of cryptaesthesia to explain.

With the views at present extant on the nature of reality and the exalted notions which are current as to the power of research on the intellectual grade alone, it is scarcely likely that we should fully realize the limitations of psychical research as it is at present conducted. Pure reasoning on the basis of familiar concepts has been so successful in the physical sciences that we are naturally slow to recognize its inadequacy in this subject. Yet pure reason some times fails us when we attain a practical solution by other means. A case in point occurs in daily life, only we seldom stop to think about it. There is no clear logical escape from the philosophy of solipsism, but our full and frequent communications with our fellow-men leave us in no doubt as to their actual existence. In the same way sufficiently clear and frequent mediumistic messages would in time convince us of the identity of the communicators. We should in the end simply cease to bother about farfetched telepathic theories, although they might be as far as ever from having met their logical refutation.

12. The Two Theories in the Light of Our Own Presuppositions
How do these rival explanations appear in the light of our own presuppositions? At the outset we have no a priori objections to offer to the spiritistic or discarnate-being theory, because we do not regard death as an event which makes any essential difference to the personality. We do not share in the common feeling that the probabilities at the start must be taken as being with the telepathic theory. At the same time we look to the empirical evidence to settle the question as far as it can. But, taught by our general outlook, we look to the evidence with the expectation that it will reveal very definite limitations. We trust it with our eyes open, not taking its power for more than it is. For we know that we are faced with a subject that cannot be solved on one grade of significance alone.

Being convinced from our general point of view that the personality is not of an evanescent nature and must therefore survive the crisis of death, we should not be surprised if those who have passed through this crisis endeavoured to communicate with those whom they had left behind, but our presuppositions tell us nothing about the conditions under which such communications may be possible. Our outlook on the subject does, however, provide us with an explanation of the confused and generally unsatisfactory and unconvincing nature of the communications which actually occur, whether we suppose these to proceed from deceased human beings or from some other source. The cause is the stretched condition of the personality through which such communications are obliged to travel in order to reach us. Our point of view prevents us from putting the blame for this confusion on the originator of the messages, whether that originator be a discarnate being or an element of the medium's personality. We can see why the message is almost certain to suffer a change on the way. There is the dislocation between the levels of the personality with the consequent tendency of those levels to work in independence. There is the necessity for the ideas of the incoming message to clothe themselves in the ready-made mental currency of the medium's mind. There is also the corresponding danger of "impulse action." By impulse action I mean the tendency, which trance utterances often reveal, for an idea when impinging upon the medium's mind at the communicator's end to set going an associated train of thought which becomes blended with the original one. For example, perhaps the message which is being transmitted contains a reference to someone called Walter in connection with an incident A. It so happens that the medium has known a man called Walter and habitually thinks of him in connection with an incident B. The name Walter acts as an impulse on the medium's mind and quickens this particular association. A confused message thereupon emerges in which the two Walters and the incidents A and B are subtly blended together. Possibly also fragments of further incidents C and D are added to the message because they are associated in the medium's mind with B, so that the whole forms a difficult puzzle to unravel.

Another point to remember is the restriction which the limited calibre of the medium's personality is bound to impose upon the communications. The medium will act as a kind of selective and absorptive filter; lack of spiritual development on his or her part will inhibit the transmission of a lofty idea lack of aesthetic development of a beautiful one lack of intellectual development of an intelligent one. Probably to try to transmit a difficult idea through an uneducated medium would be like the task of trying to explain the theory of relativity in words taken from a child's first reader.

There is also the pitfall which lies in the fact that the quality of this mediumistic material is far from being homogeneous. Sometimes, at a lucky moment, a brief idea may run the gauntlet of the bodily route and emerge almost unscathed.
"When a re-presentation of a known personality is given the flavour of some special characteristic is suggested, or unique peculiarity recalled. Such a thing may suddenly illumine the long and tedious inanities, or merely dull irrelevancies of trance-mediumship, and then it is like when a thin pencil of light pierces a thick canopy of obscuring cloud. It stands out from the surrounding pattern as definitely as a fragment of spar from the earth surrounding it."[3]
[3] Lady Grey, Survival, pp. 48-9.

But there is not always such a clear demarcation between the good and the mediocre passages. There is not always a penetrating pencil. Sometimes good and bad stand side by side with little to mark the difference, so that the experimenter is in danger of being led to accept the whole communication en bloc as of a quality up to the standard of its topmost peaks.

Our presuppositions put us on our guard to be careful in the interpretation of all mediumistic phenomena, but they incline us at the same time to adopt the so-called spiritistic explanation as the most probable in a considerable portion of it. Our general outlook is such that it makes us feel that there is no need to apologize for this as if we were introducing a gratuitous or extravagant theory. Clearly the only reason for our habitual reluctance to suggest that people may manifest a continued activity after their decease is that unreasonable voice within - the voice of common sense - which wishes to persuade us that her domain of the sensual world includes the whole of reality.

13. The Meaning of Contact with a Personality
But over and above the adventurous route which impairs the quality of messages themselves, there remains the question of the meaning of communication between an incarnate and a discarnate human being. What do we expect the process of getting into contact with a deceased personality to be like? And this raises the further question: What sort of contact do we actually achieve in daily life with the personalities of those around us in this world? When we reflect, we realize that what we are in contact with in our neighbours is to a large extent a superficial camouflage employed to cover the real self. In our intercourse with people in daily life we are most frequently witnessing their reaction to the ordinary events of life along thoroughly stereotyped lines, and we may fairly ask ourselves whether, if we were brought into intimate contact with the real personalities of our friends, we should always recognize them.

With some of the higher types of sensitive the experience which they continually undergo is that of being directly impressed by a personality, and of feeling its essential quality. Whether you grant that the personality exists in independence of the sensitive or not, at least it cannot be denied that this experience is a real one with them. Any vagueness which may mark the sensitive's own account of it is not due to a vagueness of the experience itself but to the difficulty of finding words in which to express it. The experience is direct and convincing, bringing that same kind of immediate knowledge of a personality that we acquire of a physical object by handling it. The experience of the higher sensitive of the noncontrolled type approximates to that touched upon by Tennyson in the well-known verses of "In Memoriam" in which the poet describes the intimate contact of the two who meet, "spirit to spirit, ghost to ghost."
"So word by word and line by line
The dead man touched me from the past,
And all at once it seemed at last
The living soul was flashed on mine."
This immediate feeling of interfusion with a personality is just the kind of thing that language is so ill-fitted to express, quite apart from the limitations imposed upon the description of it by its passage through the bodily route.

It may be objected that although an experience which cannot easily be put into words may be convincing to the sensitive herself it is not of much use to anyone else. To a certain extent this is true. The sensitive cannot find the words in which to convey to others more than a fraction of what she has herself experienced, but that fraction may be extremely useful. If the real "feel" of a personality cannot be put into words, at least some of its leading characteristics can be.

Here are two examples from the experience of a sensitive whose highly educated and keenly critical mind renders her evidence of the greatest value. This sensitive, it may be pointed out, is neither "entranced" nor "controlled."
"In the spring of 1919 a request for communication came to me from Mrs. Kingsley Ward (pseudonym) living in London who had lost her son she was an entire stranger to me.

I answered her letter saying that I would gladly do as she requested and asked that some object belonging to him might be sent, as I had no link at all with him except her letter.

Before I received the rapport-article, however, Mr. Ward made himself known to me as a very distinct personality. From the time that his mother first wrote to me he was apparently trying to make me aware of his presence. For two days he seemed to be constantly in my room, and created a very distinct atmosphere of devotion and prayer; this struck me as remarkable as I felt him to be quite a young man. After two days of his influence it seemed to me that my sitting-room had become a sanctuary and I found myself imbued with the same spirit... It was again apparent to me that he was a strong personality and of a serious nature essentially religious; I judged his age to be just over twenty... I learnt from his mother later that my impression of his character was entirely correct; I described him to her as being pre-eminently a man of prayer, and she told me that this was the dominant note of his personality... His exact age was 23."[4]
[4] Miss L. M. Bazett, Impressions from the Unseen, pp. 97, 98.

Here we see that the personality of a man of whom the sensitive knew nothing impressed itself so strongly upon her during two days that she felt that her sitting-room had become a sanctuary."

And again:
"Only a name and a date sent through a third person was before me: but almost instantaneously the mental impression emerged of a youth full of joie de vivre, vigour and alertness in every movement of mind and body.

In rare combination with these characteristics was a mature wisdom and mellowness of mind which permeated the communication throughout, and which we more often associate with later life.

The circumstances of his death were partially apparent to me, and my own instinctive feeling was one of regret that a life so full of promise should have been cut short in so tragic a manner.

This feeling, however, was quickly checked by the man himself; not for a moment would his healthy mind entertain such an idea. With a fine sense of proportion he set aside those disastrous events of the past, which had been outside his own control, refusing to allow his present or future outlook to be warped by them.

His simple metaphor was of a train whose progress towards its destination was absorbing his whole attention, to the exclusion of that part of the journey which lay behind.

This trait in his character proved to have been even from his boyhood one of the most noticeable, as I learnt afterwards from his parents who, however, in the nature of the case shared my attitude of mind concerning his death rather than that of their son."[5]
[5] Miss L. M. Bazett, Telepathy and Spirit Communication, pp. 95, 96.

In this case something that was essential in the character of the man was so strong that it ran entirely counter to the view held by both the sensitive and the man's parents on the subject of his death, as indeed it runs counter to the general attitude of mind towards death.

We must remember that in ordinary life this direct and intimate awareness of the personality forms a comparatively small part of what we mean by "knowing" a person. By far the larger part of our acquaintance with people is confined to observation of their physical organisms and conventional reactions to familiar situations. Hence it arises that mediumistic communications as they occur in concrete fact press upon us a kind of evidential material with which our intellectual grade of thought cannot effectively deal.

You cannot, in fact, come into contact with these higher phenomena without realizing that they tend to pass away from and above the level of logical evidence. It may even be that the communicator, faced with the difficulty of getting into touch with us in this immediate and to him perhaps most natural manner, is forced to try to reproduce as best he can that external shell of himself which was what we dealt with most frequently when he was with us in this world, in order to make his manifestation convincing.

We see, therefore, that, while psychical research has a large field open to its methods as we at present understand them, yet there are limitations which begin to reveal themselves in the higher branches. It looks as if we should have to combine with the purely logical method of research, the resources of our moral and spiritual natures, if we wish to achieve a contact with the communicators which shall be of a satisfactory kind. The higher phenomena of psychical research form an example of a subject in which it is necessary to step a little above the purely intellectual level, and which we called in Chapter II rising to a higher grade of significance. Just as in the illustration of the printed book, research on the level of letter sorting was able to take the supposed investigators a certain way towards unravelling the mysteries of the book, so the evidential method of psychical research is able to carry us a certain distance towards a comprehension of the baffling difficulties of contact with a discarnate personality through a sensitive. But also, just as the conception of a meaning lying behind each sentence was beyond the grasp of the letter arrangers, so the recognition of a personality by an experience of direct contact with its essential quality lies beyond the range of logical research. And yet this latter is probably, on a higher grade of existence, the natural and normal mode of recognition and far more convincing than any logical proof. But we have a perfect right to demand and to make the fullest possible use of logical evidence, so long as we do not expect of it more than it can give. It can carry us a certain distance, but it is extremely doubtful whether it can lift us above the sea of uncertainties in which it is doomed to work. These uncertainties are present when we attempt to decide between the spiritistic and the telepathic theories. They deepen ominously when we add the possibilities of clairvoyance and prevision. The latter brings us a reminder that real illumination on this, as on all really far-reaching human problems, awaits some understanding of the central problem of all - the problem of the nature of time.

The limitation of psychical research thus runs parallel with the limitation of physics. Both are subject to the limitations of thought which is confined to one particular level, and the same limitation is common to science as a whole and to everything which lies on the intellectual grade of significance. Physics has abstracted from the universe its chosen world of measurements. Psychical research has abstracted for itself a field of judicial evidence from a larger world whose key-note is personality - but personality in a transcendent sense which cannot find adequate expression in terms of our familiar root-conceptions.

14. Inevitability of the Ingression of Spiritual Factors in Psychical Research
If we could ignore the higher significances and deal with psychical matters on the intellectual grade alone, the subject would be much simplified. But the other factors introduce themselves inevitably. With sensitives of the highest type the whole personality is involved with all its attributes, mental, moral and spiritual. Without high qualities on the part of the sensitive the best results cannot be achieved, whether in respect of evidential quality, truth in characterization or quality in tone. Unless spiritual sympathy is present in the sensitive's character, the direct interfusion of personality with personality cannot take place. Unless the mind is highly cultured and educated. This perception, if received, will not find adequate expression in words. On the quality of the sensitive depends also the efficiency of the communicating route - the transparency of the personal levels, and defect in any of these qualities has the effect of darkening this transparency and introducing confusion. Nor is the necessity for high motives and character confined to the sensitive alone. The investigators must share them or no satisfactory collaboration with the sensitive will be possible. The direct feeling that a sensitive has for a personality when in trance extends to ordinary people in daily life, and even a slight note of antagonism will have a powerful inhibitory influence at a sitting. If psychic work of the most valuable kind is to be done it must be carried out on the highest grade, which implies a disinterested motive and a willingness to face difficulties and to attack the work in no easy-going manner but with self-sacrifice and endurance. And this is necessary on the part of all concerned.

If this is realized, it clears up a point which is a source of confusion in many people's minds - why a spiritual or religious element should be introduced into psychic matters at all. This element is often attributed, half unconsciously, to quite a different source to that from which it springs. There is a deeply rooted popular feeling that anything which exists outside the world of sense must necessarily have a religious flavour about it, and as psychical research is penetrating into that region, it must, in proportion as it succeeds, find itself in a religious country. This idea is the result of a long prevalent system of religious teaching which has always placed the religious elements of a future life in the externals of another world, so that it has become impressed upon people's minds that they are living in a secular world at present with a religious world wrapped all round it. Hence the otherwise inexplicable attitude of mind which causes people who are sitting round a room in the dark, waiting for the table to be lifted by an invisible force, to occupy their time in singing hymns. The same people would not think of singing hymns while they waited for their loud speaker to talk to them, although the latter is urged into activity by an equally invisible agency.

This idea that the world apparent to the physical senses is something complete in itself and clearly separated off from the remainder of reality is of course part of a childish outlook which we have inherited from the long past. There is no more reason why a good many of the things classed as psychic should be considered religious than there is why fields of magnetic force, or the centre of the earth, or the back of the moon, or anything at all which happens to be inaccessible to our very limited senses should be classed as religious.

We do not, in fact, travel out of one world and into another when we deal with psychic things. It is merely that we are feeling out beyond the limits of our present sense-perceptions, but the universe is one and continuous for all that, and we are still in it.

Religion in its strict essentials does not inhere in anything finite and physically external to ourselves, whether that something happens to exist in that part of the universe which we can see, or in the part which lies beyond our senses. In its essence, religion consists in the highest significant experiences that we can make our own. It is therefore true that a religious element may be imported into psychic work by the maintenance of a high standard of effort on the part of the worker, involving the best which the whole personality can put forth; but it is not true that the sphere of religion has been entered because the boundaries of physical sense have been left behind.

Using this meaning of religion, it is certainly true that it ought to penetrate all psychic work which exceeds the purely scientific experimental level occupied by experiments in thought transference, the physiological examination of ectoplasmic structures, and the like. No one who takes part in psychic work which involves the higher human problems ought to do so on a level below that into which religious motives enter. Sensitives should employ their gifts exclusively for the purpose of helping others, or of giving light for the guidance of others.

It might, for example, be thought that in the case of the medium who is controlled when in trance, and whose function appears to be merely that of lending her bodily route for the passage of the communications, her own religious or spiritual attitude would be a matter of indifference. But that is not at all the case. A medium of this kind is not in the position of a postman charged to deliver a letter, but is more like a person who is told to read a message and render a précis of it. Every element of her personality enters in, acting either as a formative or restrictive factor in determining the character of the emergent message. From every point of view the best evidence and the highest quality of material will come from sensitives of the highest and most genuinely religious type.

It looks as though the psychic enquiry of the future would have to concentrate its efforts on the work of such sensitives, making culture, character, education and spirituality equally as important as the psychic gift itself.

Sensitives are the guardians of the doorway through which, so far as one can see, further enlightenment on human problems must come. We must not look at the present attempts to communicate with the departed as the sole function which sensitives have to perform. There are indications that a traffic in one direction may be established by means of which communications of the utmost value may reach us, bearing their credentials in their own innate quality which we may test upon the touchstone of our religious knowledge and of our own deepest experiences. There is also the pragmatic test of their application to practice. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Such messages are at present rare; they do not rest upon the establishment of the communicator's identity; they are franked with their own stamp. There is no possibility of mistaking the quality of high spirituality; it cannot be counterfeited, else the whole body of religious revelation, past and present, would stand suspect.

But besides these communications, there are the invaluable perceptive powers possessed by some sensitives which have been summed up under the heading "cryptaesthesia." These are pregnant with possibilities. Let anyone who has seriously pondered the position in which we human beings find ourselves in this present world think of the revolutionary upheaval in human thought which would follow an experimental revelation on the nature of time. If we are candid we must admit that our present world-outlook is an example of something scarcely less than chaos. In the minds, not only of ordinary people, but also of scientists and philosophers, a belief in determinism exists side by side with a belief in free will which utterly contradicts it, and no one knows enough about time to attempt a reconciliation between the two. The belief in interphenomenal cause and effect, again, has been one of the most fruitful which common sense has bestowed upon us. It has acted like a nurse to the infant Science throughout its youthful stages of growth, yet as soon as it is examined, this idea that one event causes the next which follows it in time, vanishes like smoke. We do not really know how things happen, or what we mean by the word "becoming."

A good example of this forces itself at the present time on the attention of the ordinary person who is able to look at things apart from the party-enthusiasms of medical or psychological specialists. A correspondence of some kind has been established between the way in which the conscious personality behaves and the functioning of the endocrine glands. But which way does it work? Does the mind affect the body, or the body the mind? There is evidence in support of both theories, but when applied in detail, it lands the whole argument in a vicious circle. Cause and effect! What is it but a piece of scaffolding?

All this results from our entirely inadequate ideas concerning the meaning of time. It is clear that when the fuller meaning of time is grasped, it will provide a conception so deep and all-embracing that it will undermine the whole of our present basic conceptions at the root, and will reveal a universe of hitherto undreamed of proportions. Its practical effect on the problems of human life will be incalculable.

Are we likely to obtain this new conception from work on the intellectual grade of significance alone? Is it not more than doubtful whether the science of physics, based as it is on the abstract field of quantity, can yield a conception of time of a really adequate scope?

On the other hand, this scarcely recognized human faculty of prevision, which science so lightly scorns, may yet turn out to be the stone which the builders rejected. If properly fostered and developed it may yet open up a field of direct experience of the real world which can scarcely do otherwise than revolutionize human thought through and through.

The cultivation, protection and encouragement of sensitives of a high type is, from this point of view, a work of the very highest importance.
Source: "Grades of Significance" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (London: Rider & Co., 1931).
The Movement of Modern Spiritualism
 - G. N. M. Tyrrell -
1. The Attitude of Spiritualists
          LOOKING AT the mass movement of spiritualism which has increased so greatly during the last twenty years*, one cannot fail to be struck by the attitude, not only of the spiritualists, but also of their opponents. The attitude of spiritualists in general appears to ignore the diversity of difficult points with which the subject bristles and to treat it as a homogeneous whole. Thus they get rid of the need for putting forth the mental effort required for constant discrimination. Once they have sailed into the spiritualistic sea their attitude is one of easy acceptance. This is not true of every spiritualist, but it is the attitude which characterizes a large part of the movement. Psychical phenomena form a difficult subject at best in which balance and poise are needed more than anywhere else. The spiritualists have proceeded to make it more difficult by turning it into a religion.
* ISS note: This chapter was written in 1931.

Examination reveals spiritualism as a whole to be a mixed mass of truth and falsehood; of real facts distorted in the presentation; of unrecognized meanings; of the deception which difficult circumstances have brought upon people of limited vision in their attempt to deal with what really transcends their scope; the distortion of true facts which results from an attempt to compress them into limited language, and the failure to recognize things for what they are. The mind which is alive to the baffling problems which psychical phenomena present realizes the need for constant discrimination and drastic criticism. It finds itself in diametrical opposition to the average spiritualistic outlook which cannot see that psychic facts must be assimilated into the general scheme of things, but is content to leave them in the air, ignoring the scientific claim for continuity. Spiritualists rather tend to treat their subject as if it were a newly discovered country lying in independence of everything else, within special boundaries of its own, and to assume without argument that it must be accepted or rejected en masse, instead of being sifted through. How much evidence do you require to accept spiritualism and join in the movement? This is the way in which the typical spiritualist looks at it. It is a way which gives the genuine enquirer the feeling that the spiritualist and he are talking in different languages. Spiritualism is not the name for a compact and definite thing, but rather for a popular reaction towards a difficult branch of enquiry. Psychical phenomena cannot be properly studied under the poster-coloured enthusiasms of a popular movement, especially of a popular religious movement.

The typical opponent of spiritualism betrays, on the opposite side, an even stranger reaction. He is not primarily interested to know the truth about psychic phenomena at all, but appears to be obsessed by a name and by the associations which it carries for him. Spiritualism for him means the essence of everything uncanny and dangerous, and he is convinced that it has a peculiar power of sending its followers mad. Judging by the unbalanced way in which many people embrace spiritualism, this latter fatality might well be commoner than it is; but in point of fact unbalanced people become mad if they become too exclusively engrossed in anything, and an equal case could probably be made out against religion.

The fact that institutional Christianity in all its branches has always set its face against the practice of spiritualism is one which deserves notice. When it is remembered that modern spiritualism is the direct descendant of the necromancy and magic of ancient times which formed part of that dark background that hung like a pall over the boundary of the sensual world, the root of its hostility is not hard to understand. The religious opposition to the modern movement, though partly no doubt due to mental inertia, is also in part due to a lively sense of the dangers which it believes to exist in the practice of the mediumistic trance. Nor are these dangers by any means imaginary, and it is perfectly true that caution, poise and judgment are absolutely essential if they are to be avoided. But the chief objection of the Churches is not based on the subtle and deceptive difficulties of trance mediumship which have been pointed out in the last chapter, but on its own theory of diabolism. It presupposes that all communications through mediums are the work of evilly disposed beings of a non-human type who deliberately impersonate those who are purporting to communicate. That such beings may exist we cannot deny. We know nothing to the contrary. On the other hand, if we believe in universal human survival of death, there is scarcely need to go beyond the human race in order to find beings who would fit the description. Stand, for instance, on the pavement at Hammersmith Broadway on Saturday night, and imagine the crowd there, having passed out of this life, as crowding round a sensitive, finding there a channel of communication open to its familiar world. A good deal that is false and unedifying in the communications could be accounted for without going further.

Indeed, on the supposition that the clearer of the communications do emanate from discarnate human beings, we should be obliged to assume that some guarding of the sensitive must take place in order to keep out indiscriminate interference, otherwise there would be a discordant medley and nothing coherent would get through at all. For the channels of communication are few, and the numbers on the further side immense.

In support of the theory of deliberate deception on the part of false communicators, it is certainly true that, in addition to containing confused and childish statements, mediumistic material is sometimes definitely false. There have been cases in which the communicators have proved to be non-existent, or, have claimed to be dead whilst still actually living. But on the whole, the quality of mediumistic material when examined does not support the theory that it is wholly, or even mainly, the work of malevolent beings. There are so many instances in which genuine help has been obtained through this channel, and permanent good achieved by it, that the supporters of the sweeping theory of diabolism must admit that the supposed evil spirits are continually engaged in defeating their own ends.

While it is true that the bodily route of a sensitive evidently means an open door, and that there is always the danger that this door may not be efficiently guarded, yet it is also true that the best types of sensitive are extremely alive to this danger. All one can say is that they find that in practice their efforts to keep their work up to the highest possible standard do seem to result in the guarding being sufficient. The exclusion of all but the highest types of communication seems to depend in some way upon a continuance of unselfish effort on their part and a devotion of themselves and their work entirely in the service of others. This is one of the way's in which moral and spiritual factors introduce themselves into mediumistic phenomena.

2. The Lower Levels of Spiritualism
It is difficult to criticize the spiritualistic movement as a whole because it exists stratified into different layers. The lowest layer indeed presents a repellent spectacle, in which groups of people meet together and sit in the dark, alternately bawling hymns and popular-songs while the table lifts or luminous hands flit about; or perhaps messages of an extremely homely and material order are thrown out hopefully for the benefit of those to whom they may apply. If spiritualism meets with ridicule and contempt in some quarters and grave condemnation in others, this is largely the fault of spiritualists themselves - not of the subject-matter which some of them are mishandling. What can they expect if they present an attitude which is devoid of reverence, of a due sense of proportion and of all sane criticism? If they slip easily along, accepting everything psychic at its face value, when the watchword of their subject should be: Discriminate - again and again and again!

3. The Upper Levels of Spiritualism
But the movement has an upper stratum as well as a lower. There are earnest workers, bent on using their powers for the good of others with whom discipline, hardship and self-sacrifice are freely undergone to raise the quality of their productions. It is significant that the communicating influences of this upper layer are wholly and unequivocally Christian. Some of the results produced in this way are on a very high level, but they tend to leave the evidential sphere of psychical research for that of spiritual instruction. Such matter must be judged by the internal quality of its evidence, so that, strictly speaking, the means by which it is produced is irrelevant. It scarcely touches the field of psychical research because it might as well have been discovered in an Egyptian papyrus as have come through a mediumistic source. But, because it offers no hold for an intellectual test, the significance of such teaching cannot therefore be ignored. Weight should be given to the consideration that if the personal life of the medium stands high in every respect and the material itself is only produced at the cost of continual effort and self-sacrifice, then its source is guaranteed as of high standing, wherever exactly it may come from. You cannot have truth and falsehood both springing from the same well, particularly when the truth is of a high kind. Even if you insist that, in the absence of proof to the contrary, the material must be taken to have had its origin in the subconsciousness of the medium, it yet remains true that this subconscious centre is capable of producing something which involves a deeper grasp of ultimate things and is provided with a higher sense of spirituality than belongs to the medium's conscious personality. There is, be it noted, a curious inconsistency in thus restricting the source of such information to the medium's own mind if you have already put down an astonishing range of phenomena to telepathy, thus throwing the medium's mind open to every outside source in order to escape from the spiritistic theory in general.

You may object that the quality of the material, however perfect at the start, has been vitiated by the accidents of the bodily route. It is true that the difficulties of the bodily route cannot be eliminated by a high quality of sensitivity. This point should be carefully remembered; but there seems to be a consistency of quality about some of the higher productions which tends to show that, to some extent, the intermediate levels of the personality are being kept under unusually good control. Nevertheless limitation remains. It looks as though in its main lines the communication gets through, but that the exposition of it is seriously cramped. It is of this cramping and limiting that the hasty reader must beware, or he will carry away the impression that there is far less depth in the substance of the material than is really the case. We must always keep it before our minds that the communication as we receive it is conditioned in its form of expression by the medium's vocabulary and by the stock of ideas that has common currency in her mind. That alone is enough to account for much being left unsaid, or poorly expressed. Even if the whole vocabulary of the language were available, it is exceedingly poor in the terms needed to express the higher kinds of thought. We must not be alienated if, instead of the latter, we find terms from the spiritualistic vocabulary. These are probably the only terms available in the medium's mind. I have the greatest sympathy for those who find these terms powerfully repellent. The word "vibrations," for example, which has a perfectly definite physical meaning, is distorted by spiritualists to indicate something akin to mental and moral atmosphere. It gives rise to a confused idea in the mind that some sort of physical radiation is being spoken about. Again, the word "spirit" is used of everything outside the world of sense, as in "spirit-world," "spirit-body," etc., and spirit is a word which has acquired the most unfortunate associations, both on account of the unedifying history of spiritualism, and also on account of the unnatural ideas about an after-life with which religious orthodoxy has coupled it. "Spirit" conveys to most people's minds the idea of something wispy and unreal. Communicators through spiritualistic mediums are also apt to adopt unnecessarily fanciful pseudonyms, which in themselves may be harmless enough, but which have the effect of conveying an inevitable suggestion of charlatanism.

We must remember, however, that in most cases messages must either come through clothed in these terms or not at all. It is for us to look out for thoughts which may lie on a level above that of the words. Such thoughts must be detached from their verbal forms and rolled over in our minds before being dismissed as trivial. Sometimes what is at first repellent from its style is afterwards seen to be attractive from its meaning.

One or two examples may here be given by way of illustration:
"The subconscious mind is, as it were, the cupboard where the secrets of the past are stored, and sometimes because a certain vibration quickens that which is in the so-called subconscious, something beyond the physical is released.

Therefore that which man regards as 'subconscious' indicates something which has greater consciousness than the mind of the body can hold or grasp.

What am I trying to portray? How clear it is when you understand God's laws! Children, before you entered the physical garment, you, as spirits, passed through great and varied experiences. You have had many bodies but only one 'body of flesh,' and when the earth body has done its part you will pass into another 'world' and find that you still have a body. It may be coarser, it may be finer; it may represent greater strength, or, again, it may represent a bondage difficult to break from."[1]
[1] "Zodiac," in The Greater World, July 6, 1929.

There are two ideas here baldly put, the import of which scarcely strikes one at the first reading. The first is that there is a super-consciousness as well as a subconsciousness; that is to say the conscious section of the personality divides the subconscious region below it from a super-conscious region above it. Some things are of a kind which cannot rise up into consciousness, but others are of a kind which cannot descend into it. A thing can be super-intelligible, which is what the recognition of higher grades of significance would suggest.

The second idea is that our present existence is not a single and unique experience, but only one among a number of lives. Although these may present great individual differences and be characterized by greater or less degrees of spirituality, yet they do not pivot on our present life as on one which is uniquely different from all the rest. Hence some of them are naturally antecedent to this one in time, while others follow after it. The passage from life to life does, in a sense, mean a reincarnation, for we should have bodies in all lives, although no two are lived in the same world. This teaching, however startling it may at first sight appear, fits in completely with the theory of aspects given above. It is also in thorough accord with the teaching of Christ, whose single comprehensive description of God's universe was summed up in the two words: "Many Mansions," however this teaching may have been distorted by subsequent ecclesiastical influence.

Take again the simple sentences: "How much are you willing to suffer for the release of the God within?" and "Go to those in pain, saying: 'That which you suffer now in time to come shall represent a power which no one can take from you'."[2] Trenchant thoughts, these, which cut at the very root of our hedonistic civilization.

[2] "Zodiac," in The Greater World, August 10, 1929.

4. Spiritualism as a Religious Cult
Why have spiritualists turned into a religious cult a subject that might be more naturally regarded as a branch of scientific research? The reason is not far to seek. When people of no great culture or spiritual insight lose a close relative or a friend, and look in their first distress for comfort and sympathy to those around them, they are often met with insufficient imagination and understanding. Faced with what is, perhaps, their first close contact with tragedy, they turn to that branch of religious institutionalism in which they have been brought up, and which has supplied them with the usual half or quarter-belief in human survival of death. But the time is one of unusual sensitiveness. The words of the clergyman or priest, which at ordinary times have passed muster, lack the ring of conviction now that they are listening to them with genuine earnestness. They want answers to definite questions. Where is my loved one? Is he (or she) happy? Can I get into any sort of touch with him? And, perhaps, most urgently of all, Can I do anything for him? Do my present thoughts and actions affect him? No satisfactory answers are forthcoming. The Churches have conventionalized the facts of religion until they have succeeded in divorcing them from reality. People in bereavement are not going to be fobbed off with texts or platitudes. They turn from these to seek out the society of others in the same plight as themselves and talk their difficulties over with them. They soon discover that spiritualism has something tangible to offer. Their loved one, it affirms, is still alive in circumstances at least recognizably like those of this present world. He is not engaged in singing unending Hallelujahs (which must come as a relief to the minds of the mourners), but is living a life at least approximating to what ordinary people would call normal. He has a body, and is living amongst tangible surroundings of a kind at least comparable with those which he has left behind. How can these things be? Quite well when you realize what this body is, and this physical world. Further, and this is the great point, proof is offered of these things, for at séances they are told that it is possible to get into communication with him. What more natural than to attend séance; to meet regularly; to bring hymn-books and to carry on the old tradition of a service on Sundays, all based on what are now to them their central religious facts? The clergy may denounce, and the learned may smile, but messages bearing at least some appearance of being veridical will with very many outweigh the indefinite teachings of orthodoxy.

Spiritualism since the war has shown a great increase, and this, besides being due to the war, may owe something to a general improvement in the quality of mediumistic material. The number of those who now give a mental assent to it is not confined to avowed spiritualists alone. It includes also many unavowed converts, some of whom are to be found in the most unexpected places. Owing to the basis upon which it rests, the movement has become a religion which centres upon, if it is not identified with, the facts of death and its immediate survival. It is not much good to tell such people, what is the truth, that real religion cannot be based upon external and finite facts. The confusion between psychic facts and spiritual values is with them complete.

Spiritualism is not properly a religion because its subject-matter is concerned with a field of phenomena which ought to be included within the boundaries of scientific research. It deals with finite and temporal facts, and the whole subject of human survival of death under finite conditions has nothing necessarily to do with religion. Many of my readers will disagree with this statement. I ask them to bear it in mind nevertheless and to compare it with their own religious experience. We must never forget this fundamental fact, that survival of death is a corollary of immortality, but immortality is not a corollary of survival of death. Psychical phenomena in the abstract are devoid of religious values, but spiritualists have turned them into a religion because when plain men and women come into contact with them, it is usually in connection with some personal bereavement, and actual human lives and human deaths are intimately bound up with religion. Thus it is that the two become confused in practice. The spiritualist's mode of thought is also in part the product of a long tradition of religious teaching which has always tended to place the religious element of a future life in the externals of another world. That dualistic habit of thought which speaks of this world of sense as "natural," and of whatever may lie outside it as "supernatural," has so soaked into people's minds that it is taken for granted that something religious must be met with directly we step across the boundary of the world of sense.

It is on account of this close association between scientific facts and powerful human emotions, and the religious values of actual life, that the whole field of psychic enquiry is so difficult to approach in the right spirit. The keenest discrimination and the most exact poise and judgment are essential in it. We have to deal with finite facts of evidence which are subtly blended and need the most careful disentangling. The ground broken is new to science and the strictest evidential conditions are not only legitimate, but absolutely essential. At the same time, psychical research has something to learn from the spiritualists. It is they who have recognized the very special treatment that must be accorded to the sensitive. The method of procedure used in psychical enquiry is bound to differ markedly from that used in other branches of science because the instrument used is a human being; and not only a human being, but a human being in a very peculiar condition. That sensitiveness to mental atmosphere which ordinary people of a highly strung type experience, is with sensitives very greatly intensified, especially in connection with the trance state. The sensitive is in a state comparable to spiritual nakedness, as sensitive to the spiritual atmosphere as a person with no clothes on is to the wind. The experimenter who wishes to make progress in his subject must possess sufficient imagination to recognize this as a tangible fact and to allow for it. It may even be necessary to exclude a person from the sittings whose mental attitude or emotional characteristics include a factor of hostility, prejudiced scepticism, contempt, or a general lack of sympathy or spirituality. This may be a difficult and invidious thing to do, but it is useless to ignore it. To do so is to shut one's eyes deliberately to the necessary conditions. If we do that we are like physicists trying to make experiments with the pendulum on board ship. High qualities and motives both in sitters and sensitive are conditions as essential as intelligence in psychical research. Given these qualities, a spirit of mutual co-operation will ensue, and there is not likely to be much difficulty in applying the necessary evidential conditions. They will be mutually agreed upon. To attempt to apply the conditions without first establishing the right atmosphere results, as the history of the subject shows, in a long drawn-out inconclusiveness.

Thus we are led to the conclusion that, although the field of psychical enquiry is one which properly belongs to science, yet values and qualities of the human character are so inextricably bound up with it as to raise it above the exclusively intellectual level on to a higher grade of significance. There is need for a more comprehensive effort. It is more than doubtful whether the purely logical method of science can alone pierce the boundary of the world of sense. If we want more light on our world and its problems we must rise to a view of it on a higher significant grade than that of customary scientific research. It will be necessary to bend the whole of our analytical capacity on to the problem of unravelling the communications obtained through the best sensitives, but we must frankly recognize at the same time that intellectual efforts must be combined with the highest efforts of the whole personality.

5. Survival and Immortality
Although it is not the purpose of this book to deal with religion, the subject cannot be altogether avoided. At this point we are inevitably brought into contact with it in connection with the relation between survival of death and immortality. The distinction between the two needs no elucidation for the mystic. For him immortality is a living fact although he may never have thought out the problem of survival of death. But the distinction is one which has never been clearly presented by institutional religion. Put briefly, the knowledge of immortality is borne in upon the human subject of experience as part and parcel of his realization of the eternal values of truth, beauty and goodness, and of his own essential oneness with them in the higher reaches of his being; also of his sense of communion with the Divine, all of which experiences are of a non-temporal character, and are therefore unaffected by the beginning and end of life in this world. Existence, as he knows it in the highest region of his being, has nothing to do with the temporal flux of finite things, and cannot be subject to it. He is aware of immortality, not as a life that will be more than as a life that is, for "is" and "will be" in this region do not admit of the clear-cut distinction imparted to them by the world of sense.

Immortality belongs to the sphere of religion. Survival of death, on the other hand, belongs to a different category of things altogether. It refers to that aspect of the human personality which is drawn down into the finite and lives amid the passing flux of events in the space-time of what we call the physical world. Will that finite personality - that limited abstraction from the larger self - continue to live a life recognizably akin to its present one? That is the problem with which psychical research and spiritualism are concerned.

Unless we are careful to maintain the distinction between the life of facts and the life of values very clearly in our minds, we are likely to become involved in dire confusion, and we have seen that this vital distinction is one which the spiritualists, as a rule, do not take the trouble to draw. It is not surprising therefore that we should find the spiritualistic outlook energetically challenged by an author who writes with a deep sense of the essentially mystical nature of true religion. In his enthusiasm for religious mysticism, this author includes psychical research along with spiritualism in his condemnation, regarding the two as attempting to set up a superstitious substitute in the place of eternal life.
"Psychical research is trying to prove that the eternal values are temporal facts which they can never be."[3]
[3] W. R. Inge, Outspoken Essays, Vol. I, p. 268.

To the mystic the suggestion that psychical enquiry is dragging down the high values of religion is one which immediately calls forth sympathetic attention. If this accusation is true it is by far the most serious which either psychical research or spiritualism has to face. Dr. Inge continues:
"And so, instead of the blessed hope of everlasting life, the bereaved have been driven to this pathetic and miserable substitute, the barbaric belief in ghosts and demons, which was old before Christianity was young. And what a starveling hope it is that necromancy offers us! An existence as poor and unsubstantial as that of Homer's Hades, which the shade of Achilles would have been glad to exchange for serfdom to the poorest farmer, and with no guarantee of permanence, even if the power of comforting or terrifying surviving relatives is supposed to persist, for a few years."[4]
[4] Op. cit., p. 268.

It is indeed true that if one regards the performance of a mediocre spiritualistic sitting as giving a picture of what a future life is like, one can scarcely do other than sympathize with the view which says: If I am really destined to come back after I am dead and utter banalities of this sort, or give a kind of variety entertainment in the dark, then spiritualism has merely added another terror to death.

The unsatisfactory character of what either spiritualism or psychical research has to offer when looked at from the real religious standpoint receives further emphasis from an unexpected quarter. Thus the editor of the spiritualist paper Light writes:
"All that is logically proved whether by psychic science or psychic philosophy is human survival of physical death, the perpetuation of personality, the continuation of consciousness beyond physical dissolution... The utmost that the intellectual process can achieve in the matter is the recognition that something of man survives death in a kind of mechanical or galvanic fashion. The sanctities, the splendours, the poetry and the vision of life are beyond its ambit."[5]
[5] David Gow, Survival, p. 141.

There, then, is the contrast. Real religion, that is to say the innate religious experience of mysticism, is an utterly different thing from the whole outlook to which psychical enquiry tends:
"He who has tasted eternal life is not wont to be troubled in heart about the questioning of his personal survival; for such survival would mean nothing to him, if he were separated from the object in which he has found his true life. His immortality lies for him in his union with the eternal object on which his affections are set, and he seeks no other assurance."[6]
[6] W. R. Inge, Philosophy of Plotinus, p. 147.

On the grade of significance on which religion lies, the things which are perceived contain their own proof. The proof is part of the awareness of the perception.

But we do not feel that we are faced with the dilemma of choosing between religion and psychical research, because we recognize clearly the distinction between immortality and survival of death. In our present world it is perfectly possible for the religious mystic to live his life in the world of values concurrently with his daily life in the world of external facts. His religion in this world consists, not in what is outward, but in what is inward. So we believe it will be in another world. There will be an outward life of finite facts - the life of survival - and there will be an inward life of religious values, involving an inexpressible union; a drawing ever closer and closer to God - the life of immortality. The outer life may be less rigid and exacting, giving the inner far more scope than at present, but the two will go on side by side. In the end the finite life may sink into insignificance in comparison with the other, but we can scarcely expect to attain such heights in a single step.

But the consciousness of the timeless and eternal things remains, and we know that it is in them that the essence of our being lies, so that the discussions of science and the conflict of thought and the dogmatisms of formal religions, whatever their value, flow past these things, leaving them untouched. In such lies the only true ground and assurance of human immortality. Because we can rise to a knowledge of truth, beauty and love, and can live in them and they in us; because we can, here and now, identify ourselves with the eternal values, and with Christ, the incarnate revelation of these values and of God, and know from experience the community of our natures with His, we know that, "because He lives we shall live also." This is the key-position of mysticism, and it is at the opposite pole from the point of view which attempts to base either religion or immortality on psychical phenomena or indeed on external facts of any kind.
Source: "Grades of Significance" by G. N. M. Tyrrell (London: Rider & Co., 1931).

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