Book: "The Survival of Man"
Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS
Availability: Out of Print
- Section Three -
Spontaneous Telepathy and Clairvoyance
Examples of Apparent Clairvoyance
TO show that some apparent clairvoyance, whether it be due to hyperaesthesia or telepathy or something else, is really possible, I take an instructive little experiment recorded by Mrs. Verrall in Proceedings, vol. xi., page 192-which she tried in November 189o with her daughter, who was then a child aged 71 years. Other instances will be mentioned later on-see, for instance, p. 178.
Recognition of Objects by Telepathy or Hyperaesthesia
Percipient, H., Aged 7/12 Years
I will now quote a case which is rather a striking example of the fact that the intelligence operative through unconscious or subliminal processes is superior to that of the normal intelligence of the persons concerned; so that just as people occasionally seem able to become cognisant of facts or events by means ordinarily Closed to them, - a phenomenon which appears akin to the water-dowsing faculty, and to the "homing" instincts of animals, - so sometimes they can write poetry or solve problems beyond their normal capacity.
Here, for instance, is the case of the solution of a mathematical problem by automatic writing - with the pencil not held in the hand but attached to the heart-shaped piece of board called a "planchette." It is quoted from the record which I communicated at the time to the journal of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. xi.
A Case of Automatic Intelligence
One feature of interest is that both the witnesses are exceptionally competent. The account was written by an old pupil of my own at Bedford College in the seventies-one of the ablest students there, - Miss C. M. Pole, daughter of the late Dr. Pole, F.R.S., the well - known Engineer, Musician, and writer on card-games. Miss Pole is now Mrs. Garrett Smith, living at Magdeburg, and writes as follows:-
I (0. L.) made inquiries about Miss Q, and found that she was well known to friends of mine, and was a serious and responsible and trustworthy person, so I wrote some further questions to her, and received the following reply :-
To this I (0. L.) add that the equation which would naturally occur to any one is the cardioid r = a (1 + cos 0) : and if this equation had been written by planchette there would have been nothing specially remarkable; for although not then in Mrs. Garrett Smith's mind, she had undoubtedly known it as a student.
The equation written by Planchette is not a familiar one and certainly would not be likely to occur to her, nor would it have occurred to me. The sketch given does not profess to be an exact representation of the curve corresponding to the equation written by the planchette, but only represents her recollection of its general character.
Mr. J. W. Sharpe, of Bournemouth, has been good enough to draw out an accurate graph of the curve, and here is his drawing on a reduced scale.
It is to be remembered that the equation r = a(sin0/0), was given by Planchette, as representing mathematically the shape of its own outline or boundary; the intelligence controlling its movements being represented as that of a Senior Wrangler.
With regard to his drawing, Mr. Sharpe observes that the curve does not consist of two sets of spirals, as at first depicted roughly, but of two sets of loops, all passing through the cusp and touching one another there, and all contained within the outer heart-shaped boundary. The loops meet only at the cusp, and there is an infinite number of them. They decrease in area without limit, ultimately sinking into the point of the cusp.
The equation very well represents the ordinary form of a planchette. But if it had accidentally been reversed into r=a(o/sin0) the curve would have been entirely different and entirely unlike any planchette outline.
Mr. Sharpe thinks it very unlikely that either of the automatises had ever seen an accurate graph of the equation given in their writing. It is of course much more difficult to invent an equation to fit a given curve (which was the feat performed by the writing in this case) than, when the equation is given, to draw the curve represented by it.
Power of Unseen Reading
In illustration of supernormal power of a still more excessive kind I quote from the automatic writings of Mr. Stainton Moses - well known as a master for many years in University College School, London-who for a great part of this period used to write automatically in the early morning in solitude. A great number of these writings have been published and are well known to all students of the subject; but the following incident is of a surprising character and is an example, though an exceptionally strong one, of the power of reading letters, etc., possessed in some degree by one or two of the "controls" of Mrs. Piper and of many another medium in history.
To this Mr. Myers pertinently appends the note:- is plain that a power such as this, of acquiring and reproducing fresh knowledge, interposes much difficulty in the way of identifying any alleged spirit by means of his knowledge of the facts of his earth life.
To illustrate the fact that extra or supernormal lucidity is possible in dreams, a multitude of instances might be quoted from the publications of the Society for Psychical Research. Almost at random I quote two, -the first a short one of which the contemporary record is reported on by a critical and sceptical member of the Society, Mr. Thos. Barkworth, in the journal of the Society for December 1895.
The second case I quote is a much longer and more elaborate one, and we owe its receipt to Dr. Hodgson while in America.
There are many partially similar records of people becoming aware of an accident in which some near relative was injured or killed: and it is noteworthy that the emotion caused by injury seems as likely to convey such an impression as anything pertaining to death itself; but the point of the following narrative is that a complete stranger became impressed with facts which were happening at a distance, without the slightest personal interest in any one concerned - so that it seems to make in favour of a general clairvoyant faculty rather than for any spiritistic explanation. The prefix P. 224 is merely a classificatory reference number.
Instances like this are by no means solitary, and whatever view we take of them we have to include them in the roll of facts demanding explanation - an explanation which may not be readily forthcoming. It may be presumed that as far as they go they make against the spiritistic hypothesis in any simple or direct form; and that is why in a book like this it is necessary to emphasise them.
Meanwhile, all we are sure of is that information is obtained by some mediums which is entirely beyond their conscious knowledge, and occasionally beyond the conscious knowledge of everyone present. But as to how this lucidity is attained we are as yet in the dark; though we must ultimately proceed to consider the possibility that it is by some sort of actual communication from other intelligences, akin to the conveyance of information in the accustomed and ordinary human way, by rumour, by conversation, and by the press.
Incidents that seem to point to some form of supernormal communication are exemplified in the experiments of Dr. van Eeden of Bussum, in Holland, with Mrs. Thompson at Hampstead, lady who is referred to more particularly in Section IV of this book. (See his paper on sittings with Mrs. Thompson in Proceedings, S.P.R., vol. xvii., especially pp. 86-7 and 11:2-115'. Dr. van Eeden, having cultivated the power of controlling his own dreams, so as to be able to dream of performing actions which he had planned while awake, arranged with Mrs. Thompson that he would occasionally call "Nelly" (her "control") in his dreams after returning to Holland, and that if she heard him calling she should tell Mr. Piddington, who was in charge of the sittings, at his next sitting. On three occasions, in January and February 1900, some success was obtained in these experiments; that is, "Nelly" stated that she had heard Dr. van Eeden calling, and had "been to see him"; the dates she gave were approximately, though not exactly, the same as those recorded in his diary of dreams; but on each occasion she gave details, which were afterwards verified, as to his circumstances at the time. On a fourth occasion (April 19th, 1900), when "Nelly" stated that she had been to see Dr. van Eeden, he had no dream of her at the time, but she gave a description of his condition which corresponded with what it had been during the early part of the same month.
A case of a somewhat similar kind is the one recorded in Dr. Hodgson's report on Mrs. Piper (Proceedings, Vol. viii., P. 120), where Mr. M. N. in America relates that Mrs. Piper's control, "Dr. Phinuit," had said that he would visit Mr. N.'s dying father in England about certain matters connected with his will, and where later on it was reported by those attending the dying father that he had complained of the presence of an obtrusive old man. (This case is quoted below, see page 116.)
Clairvoyance of the Dying
The extra lucidity of the dying is a thing so often asserted that it has become almost a commonplace; and sometimes, as in the case of children, it would seem to eclipse mere imagination - as for instance, when a dying child welcomes, and appears to be welcomed by, its deceased mother. But these visions and auditions, which are unmistakably common, are usually of things beyond our ordinary cognisance, so that for the most part they have to be relegated to the category of the unverifiable. Occasionally, however, we have records of a kind of clairvoyant faculty whereby terrestrial occurrences also are perceived by persons who in health had no such power; and these are worthy of attention, especially those which are reciprocal, producing an impression at both ends of a terrestrial line, as if the telepathic and less material mode of communication had in their case already begun.
The extant descriptions of dying utterances are very much like the utterances in the waking stages of Mrs. Piper's trance, to be subsequently mentioned - and these do not appear to be random or meaningless sayings, but do really correspond to some kind of reality, since in them the appearance of strangers is frequently described correctly and messages are transmitted which have a definite meaning. Moreover, the look of ecstasy on Mrs. Piper's face at a certain stage of the waking process is manifestly similar to that seen on the faces of some dying people; and both describe the subjective visions as of something more beautiful and attractive than those of earth.
Whether the dying really have greater telepathic power as agents, which is what is assumed in the ordinary telepathic explanation of Phantasms of the Living, is doubtful, but that they sometimes have greater sensibility as percipients seems likely; and sometimes the event which they are describing is likewise apprehended by another person at a distance, - thus appearing to demonstrate reciprocal telepathic influence. There is a small group of cases illustrative of the reciprocal clairvoyance of the dying, - I can only quote an illustrative case or two from the few which are well evidenced, i.e., which come up to the standard of the Society for Psychical Research in this matter - but I omit the authentication in quoting them, and I also abbreviate, as I only here wish to indicate the kind of thing.
The writer of the following account is Colonel B., a well-known Irish gentleman. He explains that his wife engaged to sing with her daughters a Miss X., who was training as a public singer but who ultimately did not come out in that capacity, having married a Mr. Z.
Six or seven years afterwards Mrs. B., who was dying, in the presence of her husband spoke of voices she heard, singing, saying that she had heard them several times that day, and that there was one voice among them which she knew, but could not remember whose voice it was.
The case next quoted is a curious incident connected with a deceased child, obtained in one of the bereaved mother's sittings with Mrs. Piper in America, at a time when Phinuit was in control.
It is the concluding portion of a long and striking series of communications, extremely characteristic of identity, which are quoted both in Human Personality, Vol. ii. 245-7, and in Proc. S.P.R., vol. xiii. pp. 386-9. The mother's testimony is thus reported:-
There is also evidence of reciprocity of an unusual kind in connection with the Piper case; for "Phinuit" has been described as perceived by a dying person at a distance, in correspondence with the assertion of Phinuit that he would go and talk to this same person about unfair clauses in his will.
The account of this curious episode is from an American gentleman who had had a good deal of experience in Piper sittings, and who does not want his name disclosed. Of three examples of what he calls predictions, thus obtained, I select this one, as it illustrates the kind of reciprocal experience of which I am now speaking. The account is corroborated by Mrs. "M. N."
A similar illustration of reciprocity occurred in the case of the lady called "Elisa Mannors," whose near relatives and friends concerned in the communications were known also to Mr. Myers.
On the morning after the death of her uncle, called F. in the report, she described an incident in connection with the appearance of herself to her uncle on his death-bed. Dr. Hodgson's account of this is in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii. P. 378, as follows: -
Writing of Foreign Languages
Instances in which foreign languages unknown to the medium are written or spoken are comparatively rare.
Further attempts were made to speak and write Italian, but not much was said, and the writing was not very legible. Concerning this Dr. Hodgson remarks:-
This does not appear to be a strong case, but the next one seems to me better:
Dr. Hodgson reports the following case in a sitting which a Mr. Vernon Briggs had with Mrs. Piper in October LS93 (Proc. S.P.R., xiii. 337; or Hum. Pers. ii. 244).
Cases in which the lucidity or clairvoyant faculty is not limited to the present, but apparently anticipates the future, are sufficiently important to deserve a separate chapter; for it is manifestly extremely difficult to contemplate such a faculty.
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