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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

W. H. Salter - Zoar -B [BOOK]


From Zoar, or The Evidence for Psychical Research Concerning Survival
(1961, Sidgwick and Jackson, London).
Chapter 11: Communications Through MediumsII: As affected by Paranormal Faculties of the Living
- W. H. Salter -
          THE QUESTION now to be discussed is whether all communications that cannot be assigned to normal factors can be adequately accounted for by the paranormal faculties of living people, or Whether, in some cases at least, it is necessary to look further afield. For reasons given in Chapter II the supernatural' cannot be brought within the scope of this discussion, which must therefore be limited as regards the choice of possible causes to the faculties of persons living in the body on the one hand, and discarnate activity on the other. (In a discussion whether after a man's bodily death, anything persists more or less comparable to his personality when in the flesh, "discarnate" is well established as an appropriate term for such a condition.)

Communications through mediums purport, so far as they are evidential, to show knowledge not possessed by the medium and to be characteristic of, and emanate from, some person or persons no longer in this body of flesh and blood. It is necessary to add these last words, because of the view that the dead inhabit a tenuous, quasi-material body, which is capable of manifesting itself in séance-room materialisations, "spirit" photographs, etc. The evidence from phenomena supposed to support this view was rejected in earlier chapters.

Sometimes too little is known about the alleged Communicator to show whether the messages attributed to him are in fact characteristic: they must be accepted as such on trust, if at all. The best a little known Communicator can do is to produce something not too obviously untypical of the country, period and position in life which he claims as his own, and to supplement this by other matter which the sitter will accept as being beyond the normal powers of the medium. Spoken or written communications are sometimes made in languages which are said to be unknown to the medium. But it is not too easy to be certain how much knowledge a person possesses of a language of which he quite honestly believes himself innocent. Most of us have at some time acquired, in travel or by casual reading, the small change of conversation in quite a number of languages besides those of which we admit knowledge, and this may pour out in trance, just as the most respectable persons may release a flood of blasphemy and obscenity under an anaesthetic. There is the further difficulty that trance-speech is often indistinct: an eager sitter may imagine he hears more than he does, and may report having had a long conversation with the Control in some foreign tongue which he himself speaks fluently, when he has done nine-tenths of the talk and the Control has merely produced some almost inaudible mutters, interspersed with a few phrases, "How do you do?", "Goodnight", etc., in the language used by the sitter.

The difficulty of assessing as. evidence for survival communications claiming to come from an obscure individual of an earlier age is well illustrated by the case of Patience Worth, which has aroused enormous interest in America and a good deal in the United Kingdom. There is fortunately a full report published by the Boston SPR (1927), by a very careful investigator, the Walter Prince mentioned in an earlier chapter. The communications came through the automatic writing of a Mrs. Curran, who was thirty years old when they began in 1913. Prince's report begins with an autobiographical sketch by Mrs. Curran herself. She was also asked by Prince a number of questions as to her education and interests, and the report prints her replies. Several of her acquaintances confirmed her statements and testified to her integrity. The student is thus fortunate in being well placed to judge whether her voluminous automatic output can reasonably be attributed to Mrs. Curran's own mind, conscious or subconscious. It is sufficient here to say that her education was moderate and she never had any strong bookish or historical interests.

Patience Worth was the name claimed by the Communicator. Voluble in other respects, she is vague or reticent as to the facts of her earthly existence. It may however be gathered that she was born somewhere in England, possibly in Dorset, was a farm worker who emigrated to one of the American Colonies, and was killed in a raid by Red Indians. There is no precise statement as to the dates of her birth, emigration or death, or as to the place where she died. Apparently it all happened during the Seventeenth Century. With so many points left doubtful it is not surprising that she has not yet been identified with any demonstrably real person. Prince says (p. 34) that "she could not be brought to place any valuation on giving data about her alleged life on earth".

Exact identification being impracticable, can it be said that her communications are characteristic of her supposed role as a seventeenth century English farm girl transplanted to North America, perhaps from Dorset? The communications are partly in verse, partly in prose. In Telka, whose prose and verse are mixed, both are in English so far removed from present-day usage as to deter all but the most resolute reader. The language has been studied by scholars who report an extremely high proportion of words of Anglo-Saxon origin and an almost entire absence of wards of recent introduction, but at the same time do not find it characteristic of any specific period or district. If these findings are true, they seem to me not to leave much of a case for supposing that the book was dictated or inspired by any individual who at any time had an earthly existence, if Mrs. Curran herself may be left out of account.

There remains however a problem raising a different but difficult issue. Could anyone by conscious effort write in a language as archaistic as that of Telka with a fluency equal to Mrs. Curran's, unless he had made a much more intensive study of Early and Middle English than there is any reason to attribute to her? How many could do it even after considerable study, do it consciously and deliberately, that is? It should however be noted that the linguistic knowledge required is negative, that is to say ability to keep off words of Latin derivation or recent introduction, or to use them sparingly.

In addition to the linguistic problem Patience Worth raises the question as to the source of the literary power and skill which good critics have found in the books, several of which, it may be noted, are written in language free from archaisms. It was argued in an earlier chapter that imaginative writing of the highest order, like Paradise Lost, often gave grounds for supposing it to be the product of the author's subconscious, impersonating some external source of inspiration, such as Milton's Urania. Patience Worth, both in linguistic skill and literary power, goes beyond what might be expected from the Mrs. Curran of everyday life, but it does not seem necessary to look beyond her subconscious, provided one concedes to it powers parallel, though on a much lower level of achievement, to those shown in the poems of Milton, Blake and Shelley. Whether or not powers of this kind are to be regarded as paranormal, is a mere verbal question.

The faculties generally described by the phrase Extra-sensory Perception (ESP) on the other hand, are undoubtedly paranormal, if they really exist. Of the reality of one of them, telepathy, I have no doubt, and I shall therefore consider its bearing on messages received through mediums, before doing the like with regard to precognition and clairvoyance. The generally accepted definition of telepathy, "the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another, independently of the recognised channels of sense" (see glossary to Human Personality and above), would cover cases of thought-transference occurring, not only between a living agent and a living percipient, but also cases where one or both were dead. Strict correctness would therefore call for the use in the first case of the words "telepathy between the living", but to avoid prolixity I shall use the single word "telepathy" in such cases, unless the longer phrase is needed to prevent confusion.

It was natural and right that, when in the early years of Mrs Piper's mediumship psychical researchers for the first time had to consider seriously communications ostensibly coming from the, spirits of the dead, alternative explanations should be examined, including possible telepathy between the sitter and the medium. And examination showed that telepathy was not merely a possibility of her mediumship but that there was evidence of its actual occurrence.

For instance Richard Hodgson, who strenuously maintained the survivalist view of the communications that came through Mrs. Piper, had one day been reading with great interest and attention Walter Scott's Life and Letters. The next day "Scott" made his first appearance at a Piper sitting, the very laughable "Scott" who said there were monkeys in the sun. The most reasonable explanation of this incident would be that Mrs. Piper's subconscious tapped by telepathy Hodgson's strong contemporary interest in Scott, and was in this way stimulated to produce a feeble dramatisation of Scott, embellished, as regards the monkeys, with a morsel of the dream phantasy with which most people's subconscious is well stored.

The Walter Scott case is not an isolated one. Several other instances might be quoted of a sitter's thoughts being given him as "communications" in circumstances which point strongly to the sitter's mind rather than to that of the purporting Communicator as the source. The sitter may for instance receive through the medium messages making statements that at the time he believes to be true, but which on enquiry he finds to be incorrect.

Walter Leaf, reporting on the early stage of the Piper mediumship, mentions (Proc. VI. 568-571) the sittings which his friend J. T. Clarke had with Mrs. Piper first in America in September 1889 and then in December of that year in England. Clarke, whose visit to America was caused by a financial failure the loss from which he was trying to minimise, was told by the Control. that he was in financial trouble, but would "wade through it all light" within four and a half months. The Control continued, "There are parties that haven't dealt honourably with you". The prediction proved untrue, as did the accusation about the "parties". But, adds Clarke in his note on the sittings, though the action of the men in question had in fact been entirely honourable, "my mind at the time undeniably entertained some apprehension lest the facts should prove to have been otherwise".

Later in the same sitting Clarke was warned emphatically against a man, H. He says that at the time he entertained "an unwarrantable distrust" of H. which "was soon removed altogether by a closer acquaintance with facts". And later again the Control, after a supposed visit to Clarke's house in England, said that a "big man with a dark moustache" had been in the kitchen a good while during the day, that he had been put there to watch the place and was trustworthy. Clarke, before leaving England, had arranged that in certain circumstances a policeman should be hired to guard the house: at the time of the sitting he did not know whether this arrangement had been carried out, but was "ready to suppose that a man was watching the "house". In fact no policeman, whether large or small, with or without moustache, had been called in.

Not long after this Mrs. Piper came to England at the invitation of the SPR, travelling on the same ship as Mr. Clarke, and gave sittings to several prominent members of the Society. She also gave a sitting at Mr. Clarke's house, when several messages were given about the relations of Mrs. Clarke who was German by birth. Although most of what the Control, Phinuit, said as to her mother and some of her near relations in Germany was wrong, he scored a number of remarkable successes, especially in connection with an Uncle C. and his children.

Phinuit made the following statements: (1) that Mrs. Clarke had belonging to her someone called M., the German name being correctly pronounced: that M., later referred to as a sister had trouble with her ankles (Mrs. Clarke had a sister of that name who was bedridden for ten years); (2) that she had a sister E.; (3) and another sister who painted; (4) that there was an uncle C., now in the spirit, who had been off his mind; (5) that Uncle C. had a son, E., also dead; "There was something the matter with his heart, and with his head. He says it was an accident." Later Phinuit said "he was hurt there (makes motion of stabbing heart)". Mrs. Clarke notes that this cousin "committed suicide in a fit of melancholia by stabbing his heart". (6) That Uncle C.'s widow had abdominal trouble. Mrs. Clarke says in her note, "a striking account of my uncle's family in Germany. The names and facts are all correct." This is not quite exact, as the cousin E.'s death was not due to an accident though he may possibly have wished that this family should regard it in that way.

Leaf's comment, after referring to Mrs. Piper's meeting with Clarke in America and on board ship, is (p. 559):
"It will be suggested no doubt that she had succeeded in pumping him as to his wife's family in the course of conversation. That any man could have imparted unconsciously such curious and unusual family histories as those told to Mrs. Clarke would be amazing enough. 'the supposition is simply impossible to those who have had the opportunity of watching Mrs. Piper, and estimating the singularly limited range of her conversation, and its inadequacy for the subtle designs attributed to it. M" over some of the facts stated were unknown to Mr. Clarke himself till he heard them asserted by the medium and confirmed by his wife."
Leaf, a very cautious and critical man, commenting on the whole series of Mrs. Piper's sittings on this visit to England, took the view that, while there was some fluking and fishing, these would not by themselves account for all her successful hits, but that if they were supplemented by "thought-transference", as telepathy was often called in those days, no further explanation was needed. Some of the other SPR investigators of that time, such as Hodgson, Lodge and Myers, were prepared to go further: the point to be noted here is that they and Leaf were unanimous that telepathy from the living was the minimum hypothesis worth considering.

More direct evidence for the intervention of telepathy in communications professing to come from the dead may be found in. cases where a sitter has foisted on the medium a fictitious "Communicator" of his own invention. This procedure has produced interesting results. On the debit side must be set the loss of confidence between medium and sitter, which may adversely affect later sitters. With mediums like Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard, who have shown themselves anxious to co-operate in experiments, it is much better to follow up lines of experiment that have been previously explained to and approved by them, or even lines that they have themselves suggested.

The Clarke sittings may be taken as typical of good sittings uncomplicated by experiment. Many of the messages were completely wrong: others were doubtful or showed right and wrong mixed in various proportions: several others again were right, and were neither commonplace nor scattered at random among the mistakes, but clustered round particular topics. Where successes are clustered in this way, either in mediumistic communications or in the results of experiments, it is not reasonable to strike an average for the whole sitting or experiment, and, if that average proves near the borderline of chance, to deny the significance of the successes. The question is whether, as Leaf argued, telepathy is a sufficient explanation for the successful hits in the Clarke sittings and in other sittings of the same general type, and the answer will depend on what view is taken of telepathy, and by what evidence that view is determined.

A modern student will naturally have in the forefront of his mind the quantitative experiments of the last thirty years or so. A little evidence of this kind existed when Leaf wrote, but a great revival of this line of research was pioneered by Tyrrell, and has been vigorously promoted by Carington and Soal in this country, and by Rhine and others in America. Their experiments have beyond doubt added greatly to the cogency of the argument for telepathy as a real faculty. They are clear cut in a way that experiments with "free" material cannot be, and are more directly affirmative than "crisis apparitions", for which alternative explanations have been put forward. I have in an earlier chapter expressed my personal acceptance of the telepathic view of veridical spontaneous experiences, but that view, however correct, depends on inference. Unfortunately the more precise, scientific, statistically assessable experiments are, the less informative they are in some respects. They can, it would seem, show what type of person is likely to prove a good percipient; how far belief or disbelief in the faculty is likely to influence the results positively or negatively; what stimulative effect is produced by alcohol, mescaline, erotic pictures, and so on. All that of course has its value.

The precision with which the results of quantitative experiment can be assessed is due to the use of a limited number of targets for the percipient to aim at, five simple diagrams, it may be, or five assorted animals. But except in an experiment of this kind, the human mind does not Emit itself to making choices between five symbols, none of any interest to it. The experiments usually consist of a series of runs each of twenty-five guesses. Suppose that in one run the percipient guesses all twenty-five right: suppose even that in forty consecutive runs totalling one thousand guesses he scores one thousand hits, it is impossible to say which of those one thousand hits were paranormal, since by unaided chance he would have scored two hundred of them or thereabouts, and there is no method of discriminating between the two hundred flukes and the eight hundred instances of telepathy. Two hundred times he guessed, say, zebra when zebra was the target, but it is impossible to say on how many of those two hundred times, or on which of them he and the agent were en rapport, if indeed, which cannot be proved, they were ever en rapport so far as the zebras were involved. Again target, guess, target, guess follow each other with machine-like regularity at intervals of a few seconds, both agent and percipient being fully conscious at the time.

At almost every point the experimental situation differs widely from the mediumistic. It is true that where the communications consist of nothing more than commonplace names, Tom and Dick and Harry, the zebra situation is reproduced. If the sitter happens in fact to have lost a near friend called Tom, the mention of that name at a sitting may be a fluke; again, it may not. Who can say?

Consider however the information given through Mrs. Piper about Mrs. Clarke's German uncle and his son E., who stabbed himself in the heart. There is a definite correct statement for which an explanation, normal or paranormal, has to be found. The normal explanations are (1) chance; not very plausible in view of the unusual circumstances described; (2) cryptomnesia; again, not very plausible in view of the recency of the acquaintance between Mrs. Piper and the Clarkes; (3) fishing, or some other dubious practice, which may be ruled out by Mrs. Piper's known integrity and the considerations urged by Leaf in his comments. In default of a reasonable explanation of a normal sort, one must have recourse to some paranormal hypothesis, whether it be telepathy between medium and sitter at the period of the sitting when these statements are made, or, if that seems inadequate, the paranormal transmission of information in some other way.

Nor where hits occur in sittings, are they, as in quantitative experiments, separate self-contained affairs, each taking up a second or two. The hits, as in the Clarke case, often form a group, connected with each other by some central topic or idea, and requiring a longish time to develop. Another difference, which may or may not be material, is that in sittings one of the parties is in trance or some condition other than full normal consciousness.

During the last twenty-five years or so the only kind of telepathy which has engaged the attention either of students of psychical research or of such members of the public as have shown any interest in that subject, is the kind demonstrated by quantitative experiment. Between the results of that kind of experiment and communications received through the more successful mediums the differences are so many and so great as to make it seem ludicrous to explain or, as some would say, explain away veridical communications as due to nothing but telepathy. The absurdity is however due to the needlessly narrow view of telepathy now generally prevalent, and is greatly reduced if one takes into account telepathy as it manifests itself in experiments with "free" material, or in veridical crisis apparitions. In both of these the content by its complexity and variety, while quite unlike the bare choice between five targets offered in quantitative experiments, resembles that of communications through a medium, and also, it is to be noted, that of the ordinary processes of thought. For this last reason qualitative enquiry, experimental, spontaneous, mediumistic, is essential to the central and ultimate purpose of psychical research.

The objection sometimes brought against it that it fails to distinguish between flukes and significant hits is of little substance. In all forms of enquiry into paranormal cognition instances are bound to occur in which the operation of chance cannot be either proved or disproved. As a basis for theory these marginal cases must be discarded. In quantitative experiment, in which they are frequently found, a statistical rule of thumb is available to this end. In the other forms of enquiry commonsense. One does not need a tape-measure to ascertain that an elephant is larger than a mouse. Each form of enquiry has its own shortcomings, which I have attempted to describe; chance is the least serious of them.

Acceptance however of a view of telepathy wide enough to include qualitative experiments and crisis apparitions does not imply that telepathy thereby becomes an all-sufficient explanation of whatever veridical communications cannot reasonably be assigned to any normal cause. Before that can be assumed several situations must be considered where difficulties arise through the very limited knowledge we at present possess of the scope of telepathy and the conditions under which it functions. Here are some questions. To what extent is some normal contact between agent and percipient necessary, or conducive, to telepathy between them? What is the effect of emotional relationship between them? Is conscious effort on the part of one or the other a necessary, or favourable factor? Is the rapport between them capable of enduring for a considerable period, to be measured, say, in days, or months, or years? Is telepathy a one-way process, or a joint activity of both parties? Is there such a thing as group telepathy, in which the activities of several persons are combined?

The more elaborate realistic apparitions suggest that the role of the percipient is not entirely passive but that on the subconscious level agent and percipient collaborate. "Collective percipience" also implies more than simple one-way transference of thought between two persons. Thus the spontaneous cases in themselves, and apart from mediumistic and other phenomena, require for their explanation a sort of interpersonal mental activity of a paranormal kind, which can, if one so wishes, be called "telepathy", so long as one is not in too great a hurry to formulate a rigid definition of it.

If telepathy, so far as transmission is concerned, is a nonphysical process - and the very notion of such a thing is anathema to many scientists - it gives some support to the conception of a non-physical mode of existence after the dissolution of the body. That at least is a view which has often been maintained. But while telepathy between the living may increase the probability of survival, it also diminishes its provability, so long as its scope cannot be more clearly defined. The divergent views held by psychical researchers as to this have been responsible for the inconclusiveness of many of the elaborate discussions on survival which take up so much space in SPRProceedings. In the course of them veridical communications have been closely examined to see whether instances could be found which could not be accounted for by telepathy, at any rate as basically conceived, and experiments have been devised, sometimes at the instance of the mediums, of a kind that, if they failed to exclude telepathy altogether, would at least push it further and further away into the region of the improbable.

The reason for these experiments, which will be described in the next chapter, is that while in most cases of telepathy, whether experimental or spontaneous, there appears to be some fairly close psychological connection between the parties concerned, whether arising from kinship, or friendship, or the fact that they are engaged in the joint adventure of an experiment, spontaneous cases do occasionally occur in which no such connection between apparent agent and apparent percipient can be traced. Thorough investigation therefore of a communication coming through a Medium must take account of the possibility, a very remote possibility perhaps, that the medium's subconscious has picked up information not only from the minds of the sitter, note-taker, and any other person with whom he has been in normal contact, but also from some other unidentifiable minds as well.

"Clairvoyance" is a word which has often been vaguely used to denote any visual experience which could not be assigned to normal sense perception. As so used it would include transcendental visions of angels and other supernatural persons or objects. "Travelling clairvoyance" is still sometimes used to describe waking visions or dreams of scenes that are either imaginary or, if real, remote from the actual locality of the percipient. But for a long time now psychical researchers have given "clairvoyance" the more precise meaning of the direct paranormal apprehension of physical facts by a percipient without the intervention of any other mind. These last words distinguish it from telepathy. Suppose a new pack of playing cards is thoroughly shuffled by A and placed face-downwards on a table, and that B coming in from another room says that the cards from twenty to thirty in the pack counting downwards are such and such. Suppose further that on the pack being examined B's claims are found to be correct. Suppose also, of course, that there has been no collusion between A and B. In such a case the successes could not reasonably be assigned either to chance, or to telepathy from A, who had no normal knowledge of the order of the cards. What the operative factor would be is hard to explain by reference to any normal and generally accepted sense of faculty. Clairvoyance is a convenient label, even if the derivation of the word suggests an unreal analogy with the ordinary power of sight.

"Precognition" is the word generally applied to occurrences in which there appears to be some anticipation of future events not due to chance nor based on inference from normal knowledge. Here again the derivation of the word is to some extent misleading. The anticipation may show itself by conduct such as a person would not take unless he knew what was going to happen, although there is no evidence to show that he in fact knew it. It might be a reasonable inference from his action that subconsciously he did know it. So again in experiments in card-guessing, if a percipient makes a significant proportion of hits not on the target coinciding in time with his guess, but on the next target to that, precognition hardly seems the appropriate word for that kind of displacement

The lack of exact knowledge of the scope and limits of telepathy makes it difficult enough to judge whether it is a reasonable explanation of a message through a medium conveying veridical information not within the medium's normal knowledge. But we are not wholly without guidance on these matters, as there is a mass of evidence about telepathy reaching us from hundreds of spontaneous experiences and from experiments both qualitative and quantitative. But with precognition and clairvoyance we are not so well placed. Our knowledge of clairvoyance is derived from a very few experiments, and of precognition from instances of "displacement" in card experiments, if that phenomenon is to be considered precognitive, supported by a few spontaneous cases where the facts are well established, but where other explanations, such as chance or normal inference, are possible. Mediumistic communication being essentially a bilateral or multilateral affair, it is less likely to be affected by faculties of living minds such as clairvoyance and precognition, which do not involve more than a single mind, than by telepathy where at least two, and possibly more, minds are concerned. In the chapters that follow some communications will be discussed in which faculties seem to have been operative, not entirely unlike clairvoyance and precognition as shown in experiments with living subjects, but yet not apparently quite the same. The term GESP (General Extra-sensory Perception) is sometimes applied to a situation where the facts seem to show that some paranormal faculty has been at work but are not sufficient to define whether that faculty is telepathy, clairvoyance or precognition. But the evidence from mediumship may require giving GESP a more extended meaning, to include another faculty, or other faculties, with powers that do not coincide with any of the three.


Chapter 12: Communications Through MediumsIII: Limited Scope of these Causes and Faculties
- W. H. Salter -
          TO APPRECIATE the present position of the survival problem as affected by ESP it is useful to glance backward several years before the experiments to exclude telepathy mentioned in the preceding chapter had been devised. The emergence of the G.P. Control in the Piper mediumship, and Richard Hodgson's study of it, produced for the first time a mass of material that raised an apparently clear-cut issue between telepathy and communication from the dead. The sudden death in New York in 1892 of Pellew (called George Pelham or G.P. in the records) has been mentioned in Chapter IX. He had been a friend, though not a particularly close friend, of Hodgson and within a few weeks of his death communications claiming to come from him were being received through Mrs. Piper by friends of his about whom Hodgson believed Mrs. Piper to know nothing.

Hodgson was at this time in general charge of the Piper sittings. Intending sitters were introduced by him, he kept records of what passed at the sittings, and he verified the messages given as far as he could obtain the sitters' co-operation, which was not always very freely extended. His natural habit of mind was sceptical, as he showed in his investigation of "physical phenomena" in England, and of the Blavatsky phenomena in India. He must therefore be credited, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, with having taken the obvious precautions to preserve the sitted anonymity, to prevent leakage, and to check up on the possibility that Mrs. Piper had, however innocently, obtained information about them and their friends. That is not of course to claim that his inferences based on the annotated records of the sittings were of necessity infallible.

His report on this stage of the Piper mediumship occupies about three hundred pages (284-582) of Vol. XIII of SPR Proceedings, and includes two sections totalling fifty pages (357-406) on the respective merits of the telepathic and spiritistic hypotheses, in which he argues strongly in favour of the latter. Some parts of his argument no one would probably challenge, as, for instance, his claim that the telepathic hypothesis requires "an extension of telepathy between one living person and another far beyond what we have been able to produce experimentally". That was then, and still is, true even if experiments with "free" material are taken into account along with those of the quantitative kind. The presence in all experiments of a known conscious agent in itself divides them sharply from communications through mediums in many of which some living agent may be assumed, if we so wish, but none can be identified.

After pointing out (l). 328) the extraordinary ability shown by Mrs. Piper during the period of the G.P. Control to distinguish between sitters who had been known to G.P. during his life, and sitters who had, not, from among about one hundred and fifty persons who had had anonymous sittings with her, Hodgson speaks (p. 330) of the exhibition at sittings with old friends of memories
"such as would naturally be associated as part of the G.P. personality, which certainly do not suggest in themselves that they originate otherwise, and which are accompanied by the emotional relations which were connected with such friends in the mind of G.P. living."
Later in the same section he argues that from the successes and failures shown with various types of information conveyed in the communications it is possible to form an opinion as to the source of the information, whether the alleged Communicators or "Mrs. Piper's percipient personality". He sums up this part of his argument thus (pp. 392, 393):
"In general then we may say that there are on the one hand various limitations in the information shown through Mrs. Piper's trance, which are prima facie explicable on the assumption that it comes from the alleged Communicators, and for which we can find no corresponding limitations in the minds of living persons; on the other hand, that there are various selections of information given in connection with particular Communicators, which are intelligible if regarded as made by the alleged Communicators themselves, but for which discrimination there is no satisfactory explanation to be found by referring them to Mrs. Piper's personality."
The last few words, if they stood by themselves, might suggest that Hodgson had overlooked the point that the dividing line was not between the Communicators and the essential Mrs. Piper so to speak, but between them and, as he more correctly puts it a few lines lower, "the minds of living persons acting upon Mrs. Piper's percipient personality".

Hodgson admits in the same paragraph that there is not sufficient evidence to justify a claim to certainty for his conclusion, and in fact the presence as a factor in the problem of such a variable quantity as "the minds of living persons" detracts heavily from the force of his argument. The "living persons" must be taken as including at the lowest estimate all Mrs. Piper's sitters during the period of the G.P. Control, and these numbered about one hundred and fifty. Experience has shown that some people make much better sitters than others, and that the difference bears little relation, if any, to the closeness of their friendship with the Communicator from whom they seek messages, or the effectiveness of the same Communicator with other sitters.

The strong propensity of the subconscious, illustrated in a previous chapter, to dramatise material coming, or appearing to it to come, from an outside source, makes it natural that mediums should prefer to clothe the messages they are giving in trappings appropriate to the real or supposed Communicator rather than to present them to the sitter as unadorned statements. This holds true whether in fact the substance of the message is a memory latent in the medium's subconscious, or is a telepathic impression from some other living person, or comes, if that possibility be admitted, from the surviving intelligence of a person now dead.
The success of the dramatisation varies immensely from instance to instance. Mrs. Piper's G.P. Control impressed his friends and her Myers Control was also on occasions impressive. Mrs. Willett's Gurney Control seems to have been most lifelike, although she had never met Gurney when alive. G. W. Balfour, who had known him well, was greatly struck by it, in particular by the reproduction of his somewhat boisterous humour and fondness for puns. Again, all who knew A. W. Verrall well, as I was fortunate enough to do, and have read Balfour's report on the Ear of Dionysius case (Proc. XXIX 197-243), have been struck by the amazing fidelity of the communications to Verrall's manner of speech and writing. Mrs. Willett's personal knowledge of him was of the slightest, though doubtless she had heard him described by his wife and some of his friends. Of Gurney too, who had been dead twenty years when her automatism began, she must have learnt something from Balfour and others. But in any case this is not the sort of evidence that can be expected to carry much weight except with the Communicator's friends.

That is true also of what is perhaps an even more remarkable fact. Some mediums are able to give long series of sittings, extending it may be over several years, in which messages are received by sitters from a Communicator well known to them but quite unknown to the medium, much that is typical both in matter and manner being received, and nothing out of character being said at any sitting from beginning to end. One very distinctive thing about most people is their sense of humour, the degree in which they have it, the part it plays in their talk, its manner, and the sort of subjects which provoke it. Several of Mrs. Leonard's regular sitters have commented on the ability of her Communicators to make the right kind of jokes about the right things, while never putting a foot wrong with uncharacteristic jest or inappropriate solemnity. A sceptic might argue that allowance must be made not only for telepathy from the sitter, but for hints as to the Communicator's personality unintentionally dropped at sittings; he might also doubt whether the resemblance was really as close as the sitter thought, citing as a parallel the absurd "recognitions" of fraudulent "extras" in "spirit photography". This argument would carry more weight with me if I had not known how careful and critical many of Mrs. Leonard's sitters were.

A few weeks after Myers's death in January 1901, his friend and neighbour, Mrs. Verrall, began writing automatically. She was at this time no believer in survival, but was greatly impressed by the fervour of his belief and wished to give him an opportunity of communicating, if he were able to do so. By the 5th March she had got past the initial stage of mere scrawls. Her scripts were an odd jumble of words, phrases and quotations in several languages, English, Greek and Latin predominating. Superficially they appeared meaningless, but methodical study of them as they progressed showed that, if one script was compared with another, a meaningful pattern could be found that covered large parts of the scripts, a pattern clear enough in places, but confused in others.

Her husband, A. W. Verrall, was not greatly interested in psychical research, but knew that there had been much discussion as to how far ostensible communications from the dead could be accounted for by telepathy from the living. He accordingly resolved to test Mrs. Verrall's scripts for possible telepathy from him. His plan, which he formed in April 1901 - he could not later remember the exact date in that month-was to think of three words from a Greek play having a special association for him but unknown, as he believed, to anyone else. He did not tell Mrs. Verrall of his plan then or before October 1902, but scanned her scripts to note whether they showed any sign of being influenced by these words.

The words, taken from Electra's lament, in Euripides's Orestes (1. 1004), were ***. The second and third words mean "towards the dawn", but the meaning of the first word is debatable. The first half certainly means "one" or "alone", the second might mean "horse", if only that made sense. The context describes the portents that accompanied the feud in the House of Pelops, how the sun and the stars changed their courses. Verrall's personal association with the phrase -was that the passage of which it forms part was set in a Cambridge examination, and that immediately after the examination he and two friends, both dead long before 1901, had discussed its meaning. One of them had jokingly suggested "A one-horse dawn" as a possible translation, and this absurd phrase has stuck to the experiment, which is reported in Proc. XX.
*** Unfortunately, we currently unable to reproduce Greek letters.

The three target words never appeared in Mrs. Verrall's script, but approaches to them, of possible significance, were noted along three lines: (1) the appearance of several other words beginning in ***** on which emphasis seemed to be laid, (2) reference to dawn, (3) references to reversals in the course of Nature similar in a general way to those described by Electra. The convergence of these three lines made an arguable, if not entirely conclusive, case for her script having been telepathically influenced by her husband's plan. Three ideas had c-merged which were all implicit in the target phrase and must therefore have been in Verrall's thoughts while the experiment was in progress. The partial success of the experiment has in fact been used to support the argument that a telepathic impression may be disguised as a communication from the dead, for the scripts purported to be inspired by Myers and his friends.

So the matter stood until after Verrall's death in 19 12 and Mrs. Verrall's in 19 16. But in 19 17 Piddington, who was working over the large mass of scripts of "the S.P.R. group" with an acumen equalled only by his industry, was led to look up a note of Jebbs in his edition of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus, in which Jebb discusses the use and meaning in Greek tragedy of compound adjectives the first element of which is a word implying number. After several examples taken from Sophocles and Euripides, Jebb ends the note, "So I understand Eur. Or. 1004 *** 'Eos who drives her steeds alone' (when the moon and stars have disappeared from the sky)." Jebb takes the first three examples of compound words of this type from Oedipus Coloneus. Piddington analyses twenty scripts written by Mrs. Verrall between the 10th April 1901, by which time, if not earlier, he believes the experiment to have begun, and the 31st May 1902, and argues, correctly in my view, that there are repeated references to Oedipus, the blind wanderer of that play, and in particular references to each of the three passages from it quoted in Jebb's note. He adds,
"I maintain that one of the main objects of the intelligence responsible for the One-Horse Dawn scripts was to refer to Jebb's note and to indicate thereby the words *** (Proc. XXX 175-229 and 296-305)
As Verrall had read, and reviewed, Jebb's edition of the Oedipus Tyrannus when it was published in 1887, it is conceivable that he retained a subconscious memory that Jebb had illustrated the meaning of the first word of the target-phrase from the Orestes by three supposed parallels from the Oedipus Coloneus. If then these twenty scripts are to be brought within the framework of Verrall's experiment, it must be supposed that his subconscious was capable of influencing his wife's scripts in the direction desired by his conscious mind, which however during the eighteen months when it was carefully scanning her scripts as they appeared never gave any sign of recognising what was happening. The process involved, if it is to be called telepathic, means that the simple notion of thought-transference from which the early psychical researchers started, or any that could now be supported by the evidence from quantitative experiment, has been left far behind.

But there was a more curious complication to follow. On the 31st March 1901, that is before Verrall had devised his experiment, Mrs. Verrall wrote a script containing the following words, "praecox olea baccis Sabinis ponetur dis adjuvantibus", which may be translated "the early(1) olive with Sabine berries will be planted with the help of the Gods". The mention of "Sabine berries" shows it to be an allusion to a passage of Juvenal. This is quoted by Jebb in a note on a chorus in Oedipus Coloneus, in praise of the olive, Athena's gift to her city, and this chorus in its turn is quite unmistakably alluded to by scripts of Mrs. Verrall written while the experiment was in progress. Her script therefore of 31st March 1901 looks like the first step in the solution of a test that had not yet been planned.
(1) More exactly "ripe before its time".

It is possible that Verrall's memory was at fault and that he had "devised", or at any rate ruminated on "devising", his experiment earlier than he at a later time supposed, and that in the process he had subconsciously appreciated the appropriateness of the notes of Jebb which have been mentioned. Piddington however mentions another hypothesis which, he says,
"I am not disposed to press, but which should not be entirely ignored. It is that Dr. Verrall was not the real originator of the experiment, but that he carried out an experiment which, though he did not know it, another intelligence had devised and imposed upon him."
He adds that this hypothesis, like the others he discusses, is incapable of proof. It seems to me to have at least one point in its favour, that it gives relevance to the script words "praecox" and "disadjuvantibus", if too exact a translation of them is not pressed. For the present "I am not disposed" to go further than to emphasise that, when ostensible communications from the dead are explained as examples of the paranormal faculties of the living, those faculties have a way of assuming unusual and surprising shapes. (See Proc. XSXIV 159-165.)

As early as the Piper sittings in the nineties it became clear that among possible explanations of true messages received through her mediumship must be reckoned, besides of course chance and inference from facts normally known to her where these seemed relevant, telepathy from the sitter and also from some other person with whom the medium had no direct contact, since facts were correctly stated at sittings which the sitter could not verify from his own knowledge. This was a possibility that required exploring, and led to the development of a technique of proxy sittings by Miss Nea Walker, Lodge's secretary, and the Rev. C. Drayton Thomas. The essence of the technique was that the sitter in charge of the sitting should know very little indeed about the desired Communicator or the friends wishing to get. in touch with him, should record the extent of his knowledge, and should only pass on to the medium or the Control the minimum of information (also of course recorded) sufficient to enable the Control to select the right Communicator from any others with whom the Control might he in touch.

This technique, if it did nothing else, would at least be effective in restricting to the few facts known to the sitter the medium's or Control's power of drawing correct inferences from the sitter's speech, appearance or gestures. Telepathy from the sitter would be restricted in the same way. The choice, it was argued, was therefore narrowed down to chance (an unsatisfactory explanation where the facts were unusual), telepathy from the Communicator's friends, or messages from the Communicator himself. As between these two last, the slenderness of the rapport between the Communicator's friends and the medium or Control, depending as it did solely on the minimal information passed on by the sitter, while theoretically not conclusive against the hypothesis of remote telepathy, seemed to tell strongly against it.

And in my view enough success has been achieved through this technique(1) to render inadequate as an explanation any conception of telepathy based on the results of quantitative experiment, or regarded as a simple one-way transmission of thoughts from a single agent to a single percipient. If the issue really lay between communication from the dead as so far discussed in this book, and telepathy as so conceived, I should give the preference to the former alternative. Enough has already been said for the present in criticism of that view of telepathy. A different view of survival will be presented later, but before that two other modes of extrasensory perception, precognition and clairvoyance, must be examined. Can either of them, as a faculty of living persons, account for what purport to be communications from the dead?
(1) See Miss Walker's book, Through a Stranger's Hands, and the cases reported by Drayton Thomas in SPR Proceedings (e.g., XLIII, 439 and XLV, 257).

The evidence for precognition as a faculty of living minds is slight, if one leaves out of account the very curious phenomenon of forward displacement in card-guessing experiments, that is, the correct guessing not of the contemporary target, but of the next, or next but one, succeeding target. A considerable amount of evidence can now be quoted in support of this odd sort of occurrence but it has little apparent affinity with what we all mean by prediction.

The question of the scope to be allowed to normally acquired knowledge and inference is even more troublesome in this connection than in cases of apparent spontaneous telepathy. Predictions moreover, from the days of Delphi on, have been notorious for seldom saying a plain thing in a plain way, or specifying the time within which fulfilment is to be expected. This is true whether or not the predictions claim to be inspired by discarnate intelligences.

A sceptic who criticised on these lines the forecasts of public events found in the scripts of the SPR group of automatists by some of the interpreters (see Piddington's paper in Proc. XXXIII) could make out a fairly strong case. It is true that at least one of the most notable incidents of the First World War, the sinking of the Lusitania, is referred to by one of the automatists in a script written before the war began, but several of the passages Piddington quotes, though war-like in phrasing, were taken in a metaphorical sense by the writers, whose view of them may after all have been the true one. For other forecasts of a more agreeable kind no date of fulfilment was suggested, and they still remain no more than a pious hope. As examples therefore of precognition, they cannot bear much weight. These scripts are however of great interest in another way, as instances of the persistence over a long period of a train of thought in the subconscious minds of a group of persons who, in their conscious minds, differed considerably amongst themselves in opinion and temperament. Piddington's introduction to his paper is a very valuable exposition of the technique for interpreting a mass of highly complex, highly allusive material.

There are indeed a few interesting spontaneous cases of apparent foreknowledge-the pig, whom the bishop's wife dreamt she would find standing by the sideboard in the breakfast room, and there he was, has deservedly attained popular fame-but in general, the evidence for prediction, whether as a faculty of the living, or as purporting to originate with discarnate intelligences, is so slight that a discussion as to whether the second can be distinguished from the first is less profitable in the existing state of our knowledge, than a dispute would at present (October 1960) he as to whether Yetis are or are not members of the human species, since there are sufficient authentic human beings to serve as standards of comparison.

For clairvoyance, as defined in Chapter XI, there is enough experimental evidence to make it worth while to consider the possible bearing of this faculty as possessed by living people on the problem of survival. The Polish medium, Ossowiecki, was able to read the contents of sealed envelopes under conditions which critical experimenters considered fraud-proof. Thus in 1923 he correctly described a design drawn by Dr. Dingwall and enclosed by him in the innermost of three opaque envelopes. The packet was presented to Ossowiecki at a sitting at which Dingwall was not present, and when Dingwall received it back afterwards he was satisfied that it had not been tampered with. A critic who was sceptical as to clairvoyance but prepared to give a very wide scope to telepathy, could no doubt explain such an incident as an instance of the latter faculty.

Such a critic would however be hard put to it to explain the Martin-Stribic experiments in America, in which in over 90,000 trials during three years a subject consistently obtained high scores in correctly guessing the order of cards in packs shuffled and cut by one of the investigators and placed downwards on a table out of the subject's sight. The packs were the ordinary packs of 25 Zener cards with five simple geometrical diagrams, so that chance would be expected to give five hits a pack. The subject's average was nearly seven, the odds against chance in an experiment of this magnitude justifying the description of "astronomical". Though there has been some criticism of the experiments, they are, I think, generally accepted.

Results so mathematically amazing are not to be expected in communications from discarnate minds, but astonishing results have come from experiments of another kind, from the book-tests, for instance, obtained through Mrs. Leonard's mediumship. Mrs. Sidgwick in the most important published discussion of them Proc. XXXI, 241-400) describes them as
"attempts by Mrs. Leonard's Control Feda to indicate the contents of a particular page of a particular book which Mrs. Leonard has not seen with her bodily eyes, and which is not, at the time of the sitting, known to the sitter."
The analysis of these attempts was complicated by the difficulty in many cases of being certain as to which page of which book Feda was trying to indicate, and by doubts as to whether Feda's description of the supposed contents really fitted. The length of Mrs. Sidgwick's report is largely due to her detailed discussion of these uncertainties. In the three instances 1 am about to summarise I have for the sake of brevity omitted all this part of her discussion, leaving it to the reader who may have any doubts an these points to satisfy them by consulting her report.

There can be no reasonable doubt that in none of these three cases Mrs. Leonard had or ever had had any normal knowledge of the contents of the particular page of the book indicated by Feda. In the first case the existence of the book was unknown to her; in the other two, if the existence was known the position was not. If therefore Feda's description of the contents of a particular page was correct, the success was due either to chance, or to knowledge paranormally acquired from some other mind, or to her own clairvoyant powers. In none of these three cases does the result seem to me capable of being attributed with any plausibility to chance.

They conform in this respect to the general run of Leonard book-tests, since in a control experiment with fictitious book-tests (Proc. XXXIII) the proportion of complete and partial successes was less than a sixth of those in Mrs. Sidgwick's report. In all comparisons of qualitative results, however carefully analysed, subjective judgments rule out mathematical precision, but the case against chance as an adequate explanation of the successful Leonard book-tests is overwhelming.

In the first case (Proc. XXXI, 253) an anonymous sitter (Mrs. Talbot) received through Feda a message from her husband asking her to look on page twelve or thirteen of a book she described for something written that would be so interesting after their conversation at the sitting. Feda described the book as not being printed, but having writing in it, as being dark in colour, and as having a table of languages, Indo-European, Aryan, Semitic, Arabian being specified, with a diagram of lines going out from a centre. She also indicated the size as being about 8 to 10 inches by 4 or 5. Mrs. Talbot could not think of any book of the kind, and on her return home spoke of the medium talking a lot of rubbish about a book. She was however persuaded to make a search and at the back of a top shelf found a shabby black leather note-book of her husband's, of about the size specified by Feda. There was a long folded piece of paper pasted in it which had on one side the words "Table of Semitic or Syro-Arabian Languages", and on the other a diagram as described and the words "General Table of the Aryan and Indo-European Languages". On page 13 was an extract from a book, Post Mortem, in which a man describes his sensations immediately before and after death.

Although Mrs. Talbot was positive that she had never seen the book before, and although her sight of the contents, the diagram in particular, did not revive any memories of having seen it, the possibility of latent memory on her part, and telepathy from her subconscious cannot be disregarded. Nor can direct clairvoyance by the medium, in view of the results of the Ossowiecki and Martin-Stribic experiments. In those cases, however, the things to be read were shown to the subject, though not in a way that would enable him to read them, while in the Talbot case the book was tucked away in a house not known to the medium.

Direct clairvoyance, even of the Ossowiecki type, is so odd as to provoke much incredulity, and the Talbot case, if an example of it, imposes a still greater strain on our powers of belief, but even so it is quite inadequate by itself to account for other of the Leonard book-tests. For example, several Greek books were lent by my wife (H.V.) to Lady Troubridge and Miss Radclyffe-Hall, and placed by them on a shelf in an order known only to them. Greek is a language unknown to either of them, or to Mrs. Leonard, or to the Communicator, A.V.B., who is, however, stated to be helped sometimes by other Communicators, including A. W. Verrall.

At the sitting of the 30th October 1918, described in Proc. XXXI pp. 301-309, one of the Greek books was indicated, the first volume of the Oxford text of Thucydides. Pages 2 and 4 were mentioned and it was said that on page 2 there was an allusion to Asia, and that the book took the Communicator back far more than 2,000 years: Feda spoke three times of imitation, and said she got head-dresses of some peculiar kind, and also some rather extraordinary manner of dressing the hair, or not dressing it. The first few pages of Thucydides' text in this edition (in which the pages are not numbered) deal with the early history of Greece, the second page mentioning the Trojan War. On the fourth page it is said that the leading men in the wealthy class at Athens had until shortly before his day tied up their hair in top-knots fastened with golden cicadas, and that the leading Ionians had adopted the same style. There are thus four points of correspondence between the communication and the pages specified; Asia, a period far more than 2,000 years ago, an extraordinary manner of dressing the hair, and imitation.

At the same sitting the sitters were told to turn to a specified page near the end of the book, and that at the very bottom of that page there was just a word, "I think it's only one word," that the Communicator particularly wished them "Just now, just lately". On the last line of the page in question (Book IV, Section 123) is the Greek word for armistice. At the date of the sitting, the end of the fighting in the First World War was already expected, the armistice being signed eleven days later.

Direct clairvoyance from Mrs. Leonard is of no help here. She neither knew where the book was nor could have read it if it had lain open before her. The sitters knew where the book was, but could not read Greek. My wife, who knew Greek, did not know where the book was, nor could she reasonably he supposed to have known on what page, and what line of that page, mention of an armistice occurs. Some form of paranormal activity must be postulated other than direct clairvoyance by itself, or direct telepathy whether between medium and sitter or between medium and my wife who lent the book.

In 1919 my wife had a sitting with Mrs. Leonard described in Proc. XXXI 286-289. In preparation for the next book-test that might be given I had some weeks previously placed on a shelf in an unused room in our house a row of books, some taken from other shelves in the house, and some newly bought by me in London and not seen by my wife before the sitting. She did not enter the room after I had put the books there and did not know what books were there or in what order they stood. With a precision that she did not always attain Feda indicated unmistakably not only the particular book, Henry James's Daisy Miller (Nelson edition) but the page (15) and the exact place on the page (1/4 inch above halfway down). There, it was said, would be found "a word or words which will form a cross-correspondence" - "a long pole - he (i.e. the Communicator, A. W. Verrall) is pretending to show me a long, long pole in his hand".

In the middle of page 15 and beginning just above the middle occur these words:
"I should like to know where you got that pole," she said.
"I bought it!" responded Randolph.
The "pole" in question was an alpenstock, described on another page as "a long alpenstock". The words did not form part of any cross-correspondence, but the passage had an association with cross-correspondences appropriate to my wife. She had a few years previously begun experiments in telepathy with Mrs. Stuart Wilson, and these had produced cross-correspondences. Mrs. Wilson had jokingly given the name Randolph to the intelligence responsible for her share in them (or her nominal share, for she felt her conscious mind was not responsible), after the tiresome small boy in Daisy Miller, whose family could not live up to him. This fact was known to my wife and me, but not to Mrs. Leonard. I was the only person with normal knowledge of what books stood on the shelf. If Feda's success was due to her having telepathically tapped my mind, it must be assumed that I not only remembered, subconsciously, that Daisy Miller occupied a particular place on the shelf, which does not seem to me absolutely incredible, but that I retained a subconscious memory of the page on which, and the part of the page where Randolph and his "pole" were mentioned. This I find hard to believe, as I had not read the book for a long time. Here is another case where, whatever explanation will suffice, plain, straightforward clairvoyance from the medium will not. Nor, for that matter, would plain, straightforward clairvoyance from a Communicator who had survived bodily death. But one has no right to assume that a paranormal faculty capable of being exercised by persons in the body, whether telepathy, or clairvoyance or any other, would, if exercisable by discarnate intelligences, only operate in just the same way and without any modification.

Many people have left behind them scaled envelopes with messages inside, and with directions that the envelope should only he opened if, in the opinion of the person with whom the envelope has been deposited, a trustworthy medium has revealed the contents. If the depositor is at all well known, there are likely to be a number of claims to have received communications from him as to what the contents are. Once the envelope is opened, the test becomes of no value, except possibly as a test of telepathy from the opener, whose embarrassment as to when he ought to open it is therefore great.

I do not know of any instance in which a claim to know the contents has been made with complete success, but if such an instance should occur, it would not be a decisive proof of survival. There might be a normal explanation, chance, for example, or a correct inference based on knowledge of the Communicator's habit of mind and his interests. Or his intention to leave that message might have been telepathically grasped during his life by one of his friends and have remained latent in the friend's subconscious memory. And since in the present generation experimental evidence has increased for clairvoyance, as a power which some living persons can exercise, allowance must be made for that faculty also.

"Posthumous" messages of the simpler kind have therefore fallen out of favour, and more complicated schemes have been devised to eliminate these doubts. At various times between 1930 and 1933 Oliver Lodge deposited with the SPR and the London Spiritualist Alliance (as it was then called) several envelopes, each containing one or more other envelopes with instructions, not too easy to follow, of the order and the circumstances in which each envelope was to be opened. The intention was that each letter when opened should give a clue that would be a stimulus to assist a medium to get the next clue right and so by progressing from clue to clue to arrive at the final message. Lodge died in 1940 and war conditions made it impossible to begin applying the test for several years. This delay may have contributed, along with the great complexity of the test itself, to the very small, not to say doubtful, success attained as reported in SPR Journal 38, 121-134.

Perhaps a happy mean between the simplicity of the old-fashioned posthumous test and the excessive complexity of Lodge's scheme is to be found in Dr. Thouless's proposal to leave a short message enciphered and then re-enciphered on the Playfair system. Two key-words would be required and without knowledge of them both the message should, in his view, defy deciphering. If both key-words were given in a communication through a medium, decipherment would be easy, and there would be no doubt as to the message deciphered being that left by the Communicator. There are however obvious weaknesses. The Communicator might survive his bodily death, but have forgotten both the key-words, or one of them, while some friend of his, who had obtained subconscious knowledge of them telepathically, might remember them both.

But something of value would be gained by this scheme, if the communication made the posthumous message intelligible. It might remain doubtful how the key was obtained, but there would be no doubt that it fitted the lock. It is this doubt which has made it impossible to claim more than a partial success for the posthumous test arranged by Myers, and has even led to its being for some time regarded as a complete failure. Several years before his death Myers left with Lodge a sealed envelope containing a message in which he named the "Valley", Hallsteads, Cumberland, as the place that he would wish to revisit after death, if he could. He died in 1901 and, as already mentioned, within a few weeks Mrs. Verrall began writing automatically, so as to provide a channel through which he might communicate, if able to do so.

It was some time before her script made a definite claim to knowledge of the contents of the sealed packet, but in a script written on the 13th July 1904, which was quite unambiguous, she declared that the envelope would contain certain words of Diotima, whose discourse in the Symposium of Plato is quoted at some length in Myers's Human Personality (Vol. I pp. 114- 115). That book had been published in 1903, and Mrs. Verrall, who had read it, was aware that the whole of that part of the dialogue had had a deep meaning for Myers during his life.

In December 1904 the packet was opened, and the contents read out. The name of the place, Hallsteads, meant nothing to Mrs. Verrall. The words of Diotima were not quoted, and there was no mention of the Symposium or of Plato. The experiment seemed therefore to her and to nearly all the other persons present, a complete failure. Enquiry however showed that in documents unpublished at the time of Mrs. Verrall's script and until then unseen by her Myers had not only described the Valley, Hallsteads, but also his associations with it in Platonic language of the same general tenour as the Diotima passage, and also that in Mrs. Verrall's early scripts were Latin phrases appropriate to Myers's description of the place. These two discoveries when put together suggested that though the experiment was in form a failure, it was more like a "near miss". For a fuller account of this complicated experiment, see my paper in Proceedings, Vol. 52.

In my view a paranormal hypothesis of some kind is required, and this is yet another instance which cannot be explained by plain, direct clairvoyance, as might conceivably have been claimed if the "posthumous" message had shown a verbal correspondence with the script.


Chapter 13: Cross-Correspondences
- W. H. Salter -
          A WEAKNESS of the evidence for survival so far presented is that even at its best, and when the doubts and difficulties raised by normal factors, such as chance and latent memory, and also by paranormal powers of the living, telepathy in particular, have been overcome, all that could be considered as established would be that a person's memories, or some of them, continued to exist with some degree of organised coherence after the death of the body. Reviewing Myers's Human Personality Walter Leaf wrote:
"The evidence is very striking and very strong. It proves, I think, that memories of the dead survive, and are under special conditions accessible to us. But I do not see that it proves the survival of what we call the living spirit, the personality - a unit of consciousness, limited and self-contained, a centre of will and vital force, carrying on into another world the aspirations and the affections of this." (Proc. XVIII, 59.)
Myers himself indeed looked forward to evidence accruing at some not too remote date of "the will and vital force" of discarnate personalities, for in Vol. II of Human Personality (p. 274) he writes:
"We cannot simply admit the existence of discarnate spirits as inert or subsidiary phenomena; we must expect to have to deal with them as agents on their own account, agents in unexpected ways, and with novel capacities."
It may be significant that a new type of evidence first makes its appearance soon after Myers's death and ostensibly through the agency of a discarnate group of which he is a leader. The One-Horse-Dawn experiment, begun within three months of his death, is an early example. It cannot, for reasons already explained, be considered a case of straightforward telepathy. The answer is concealed within a pattern of extreme complexity, and a pattern implies a designer, who may conveniently be called "the script intelligence", a non-committal phrase which leaves open for later consideration who, or what, the script intelligence is, or are.

One naturally looks first to the subconscious of either the agent, who knew the target, or of the percipient, who may have gained subconscious knowledge of it by telepathy from him. But in either case, why, instead of a simple and direct answer, all this roundabout elaboration and mystification, which resulted in the full degree of success only being recognised after both agent and percipient were dead, and then only through Piddington's exceptional gifts of industry and ingenuity? The subconscious is not generally so modest or diffident as to deny itself the early triumph of a recognised success, or to risk the chance that its success may never even he recognised. That the subconscious of both agent and percipient had some share in the result may be taken for granted. Either of them could perhaps have provided all the materials used to form the pattern, i.e., the passages from Greek literature, and the notes to Jebb's editions, but did either work out the pattern in which the materials were used?

A similar problem arises in connection with Myers's "posthumous" packet, where recognition of the considerable, though incomplete, degree of success attained depended on the comparison of several documents, some published, some unpublished, and on the curious circumstance that among the twenty-two persons who witnessed the opening of the packet, one (Mrs. Sidgwick) had some recollection of Myers's connection with Hallsteads. There were, moreover, only a few copies of the unpublished document which was an indispensable link between the script and the contents of the packet, and she had access to one of these. The automatist's subconscious, if nothing more were involved, seems to have been at immense pains to disguise a considerable success as a complete failure, and to have run the risk of it never being recognised as anything else.

The problem of design becomes still more difficult in relation to the cross-correspondences, which occupy a large proportion of the space in SPR Proceedings from 1906 on. This chapter and the next will be occupied with a discussion of this most difficult and involved matter. The trouble arises partly from the sheer bulk of the material, automatic scripts running to more than two thousand, and from the number of persons concerned as automatists and Communicators, and even more from the quantity of topics which form the subject matter-topics which, however unrelated they may seem to be when looked at singly, are found to be linked together in the oddest ways. Finally there is the allusive phrasing, consisting largely of quotations in several languages, and the use of symbols to denote both persons and topics.

I should not attempt the task of condensing this material into two chapters were it not that these scripts are regarded by many of the acutest students of survival evidence as being of the greatest importance, and that up to the present few attempts have been made to put together the gist of the numerous articles already published in Proceedings in such a way that it can readily he understood by a reader without previous knowledge of the subject(1). There are moreover some correlations between the various scripts, and between them and various persons and events, which have not previously been made public.
(1) Saltmarsh's Evidence of Personal Survival from Cross-Correspondences (Bell, 1938) deserves the highest praise.

The present chapter will go over ground which would have been familiar enough to psychical researchers, say, forty years ago, but is less so to the present generation. The succeeding chapter by discussing new material may perhaps give the material already published a new aspect, and make its purpose clearer. In the hope of not putting too heavy a strain on the reader's patience the case has been simplified by cutting out several subsidiary topics which would require long explanation, but there is a point beyond which simplification involves distortion I have tried not to exceed that.

The essence of cross-correspondences is that between the scripts of two or more automatists writing independently there is a significant connection through both or all of them writing the same phrase or alluding to the same topic. The qualifying words "significant" and "independently" are of the essence. There is no significance in two or three people quoting the same phrase or referring to the same topic, if the phrase or topic is thoroughly commonplace. Nor, even with rather less commonplace phrase or topics, if the scripts are spread at random over a long period, or if they are the natural product of a common train of thought set going by some stimulus affecting them all, some interesting event, perhaps, reported in the newspapers. With a little help from chance such correspondences would be bound to occur, particularly in a group the members of which had much the same intellectual background. The possibility of subconscious telepathic leakage has also to be borne in mind.

When the cross-correspondences began to be noticed, careful arrangements were made to ensure that no automatist received random information as to the writings of any other member of the group. Where such information was given, it was done deliberately by the investigators, and the fact, with relevant particulars as to time, etc., was carefully noted. There being no question as to the good faith of the automatists, it was thus possible for the investigators to say with certainty whether at any given time any member of the group had seen a particular script, or part of a script, written by another member. For the sake of simplicity, I shall use the word "scripts" to cover all the documentary matter comprising the cross-correspondences, even though that includes, besides the automatic writings of several members of the group, the recorded trance-utterances of Mrs. Piper and later of my wife and Mrs: Willett, and the records which another member, Mrs. Stuart Wilson, made of impressions received by her in a state of slight dissociation. For the same reason the word "automatist" will be used to cover all members of the group, although Mrs. Piper was a famous professional medium, whose mediumship was for the most part unconnected with this group.

The group may be said to have begun to function as a group when Mrs. "Holland" was directed by her script to write to Mrs. Verrall of whom she knew no more than could be gathered from a few references to her in Human Personality, in which no mention was made of her automatic writing. Mrs. "Holland" was the sister of Rudyard Kipling and the wife of an army officer, named Fleming, serving in India. In 1903, after reading Human Personality shortly after its publication, she felt impelled to resume the practice of automatic writing, her earlier attempts at which she had discontinued. The scripts she wrote in the latter part of that year and in 1904 show several traces of apparently paranormal knowledge of such things as Mrs. Verrall's address at Cambridge, and the Greek text over the gateway of Selwyn College. Both Myers and Mrs. Verrall lived near the College, and he had often expressed to her his scholarly annoyance at an error in the carving, so that a reference to the text in a script purporting to be inspired by Myers, and one of a series intended to be read by Mrs. Verrall, was singularly apt: see Proc. XXI, 234, 235.

Of the many cross-correspondences in which Mrs. Holland took part, I will first choose for comment that known, from a phrase in her script, as Ave Roma Immortalis. It was reported by Alice Johnson with brief comment in Proc. XXI, 297-303, and more fully in Proc. XXVII, 11-24. It is contained within four scripts, the first written on the 2nd and the last on the 7th March 1906. In the first script, of 2nd March 1906, Mrs. Verrall quoted a line of Latin verse which she recognised as coming from the 2nd book of the Aeneid and as part of the narrative of the fall of Troy. The rest of the script seemed meaningless to her, but her husband told her that he saw a connection between this verse and another Latin passage occurring later in the script. Except for telling her that one phrase (primus inter pares) meant the Pope, he did not explain what meaning he found in the passage. He thought, though he did not tell her so, that it referred to Raphael's picture in the Vatican of Pope Leo I, under the celestial protection of St. Peter and St. Paul, turning back Attila from his intended attack on Rome.

Two further scripts of Mrs. Verrall's written on the 4th and 5th March conveyed no meaning to her, apart from the words "the Stoic persecutor", which she saw could only mean the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Actually, as Alice Johnson interprets these three scripts, and I have no doubt rightly, they present "a thumbnail sketch" of the history of Rome, or at least of imperial and Christian Rome. After allusions to the fall of Troy which led to the foundation of Rome, there follow references to the emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, and the columns set up to commemorate their exploits; the persecution of the Christians; Pope Leo I and the protection of the city against Attila by Saints Peter and Paul; Gregory the Great, who increased the Papal power; the placing of the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul on the columns where the statues of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius had formerly stood; the triumph of the Church under Popes Julius II and Leo X, for whom Raphael worked.

The last script, that of the 7th March, 1906, was written by Mrs. Holland who had no normal knowledge of Mrs. Verrall's scripts of 2nd, 4th and 5th March. It included the words "Ave Roma immortalis. How could I make it any clearer without giving her the clue?"

In several of his writings Myers takes the story of Rome as told in the Aeneid as symbolic of the spiritual evolution of mankind. The last paragraph of the last chapter of Human Personality compares the "nascent race of Rome, which bore from the Trojan altar the hallowing fire" with "the whole nascent race of man". Mrs. Verrall and Mrs. Holland must both have been familiar with this sentiment of Myers. A reference to or elaboration of it in the scripts of either or both would therefore not be significant by itself, and apart from special circumstances. It is to be noted however (1) that the whole affair was begun and ended in six days, which would have been most improbable if the only operative cause had been a common train of thought, aided by chance: that there are in the scripts of each automatist words suggesting a cross-correspondence, Mrs. Verrall's script saying that she would receive a message from another woman and that "after some days" she would easily understand what she was writing, and Mrs. Holland writing "How could I make it any clearer without giving her the clue," which correctly implies that the other automatists's part was complete: (3) that the Rome that Myers used as a symbol was that of the Aeneid, written in the earliest days of the Empire, while Mrs. Verrall's scripts, after the reference to the fall of Troy, are all about the later Empire, from Trajan on, and the triumph of Christian Rome, to which the words Roma immortalis are much more appropriate.

Once again we have a pattern for which a designer must be sought, and once again Verrall's role as possible agent must be considered. There is no trace of his conscious intention, as there was in the One-Horse Dawn experiment, but it is conceivable that, after he had formed the opinion that the script of 2nd March 1906 referred cryptically to Raphael's picture, his subconscious, ruminating on the two saints as protectors of Rome, might have formed the associations with Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and their columns mentioned above, and telepathically have impressed them on Mrs. Verrall's subconscious, and that at the same time and in like manner he impressed Mrs. Holland's subconscious with the general idea of Roma immortalis. This suggestion cannot be either proved or disproved, but, if taken to be correct, it offers no explanation of why and how the subject ever found its way into the first script, that of 2nd March 1906.

Inability of the automatists to grasp the meaning of what they are writing recurs so frequently in the whole body of scripts as strongly to suggest that their cryptic language, sometimes their superficially nonsensical language, was deliberately used by the script-intelligence to frustrate the automatist's understanding until the purpose of the script-intelligence had been effected.

The Sevens case (Proc. XXIV, 222-253) was much more diffuse and complex. In all its stages it was spread over four and a half years, from July 1904 to January 1909, but with a stage of marked activity between the 20th April and 24th July 1908. Seven persons were involved, three of them being the principal members at that time of the SPR group of automatists (Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, and my wife, H.V.). The other four were the medium, Mrs. Piper, two minor automatists, Mrs. Frith and Mrs. Home, and Piddington. A full account of the affair as reported by Alice Johnson sets out some connections between the scripts of these seven which for simplicity's sake I omit, confining myself to three topics, references to the number Seven, to Dante and to Piddington's part in the affair.

On the 13th July 1904, at some time in the middle of the day that cannot be exactly fixed, Piddington wrote a "posthumous letter" at the Society's room in London, scaled it, and gave it to Alice Johnson to keep. The letter began as follows:
"If ever I am a spirit, and if I can communicate, I shall endeavour to remember to transmit in some form or other the number SEVEN.

"As it seems to me not improbable that it may be difficult to transmit an exact word or idea, it may be that, unable to transmit the simple word seven in writing or as a written number, 7, I should try to communicate such things as: 'The seven lamps of architecture', 'The seven sleepers of Ephesus', 'unto seventy times seven', 'We are seven', and so forth. The reason why I select the word seven is because seven has been a kind of tic with me ever since my early boyhood..."
He continues by referring to his habit of taking it as a good omen for his golf if he saw from the links a railway engine drawing seven carriages, and added that he had purposely cultivated "this tie', as the memory of it might "survive the shock of death".

On the same day at 11.15 a.m. Mrs. Verrall, who was then in Surrey, wrote a script which, after some nonsensical Latin and Greek words, continued:
"But that is not right-it is something contemporary that you are to record - note the hour - in London half the message has come."
The rest of the script purports to give the contents of Myers's "posthumous" envelope (see p. 168), and ends "Surely Piddington will see that this is enough and should be acted on. F.W.H.M" This is, I think, the only instance of any direction in all Mrs. Verrall's scripts to "note the hour" because "something contemporary" was to be recorded. The only "contemporary" event relevant to communications from Myers was Piddington's "posthumous" letter. Although this was probably not written till shortly after Mrs. Verrall's script, and although the phrase "half the message" is not altogether appropriate to this opening move in a cross-correspondence involving six other persons, nevertheless the script may, without too great a strain, be regarded as referring to Piddington's "posthumous" letter, of the existence of which Mrs. Verrall had no normal knowledge. These two documents of 13th July 1904 complete the first stage.

Nothing more happened for over three years. On the 6th August 1907 H.V. wrote:
"A rainbow in the sky
     fit emblem of our thought
The sevenfold radiance from a single light
     many in one and one in many."
The script continued with a Latin sentence, which might be construed as meaning that someone had sent messages to various persons, and that these messages were to be "coordinated". That is how Mrs. Verrall seems to have understood the script when she read it on the 28th August 1907, for she herself wrote a script including these words:
"Try this new experiment - Say the same sentence to each of them and see what completion each gives to it. Let Piddington choose a sentence that they do not know and send part to each. Then see whether they can complete."
The third stage was introduced by Piddington's discovery on the 15th February 1908 that a script written by Mrs. Holland on the 8th April 1907, which mentioned Leah and Rachel, was a reference to two passages of Dante. One passage was from the Convito and has no bearing on the cross-correspondence. The other is the account in Canto 27 of the Purgatorio of the dream which Dante had while in the Seventh Circle.

These allusions seemed to throw light on other references to Dante in the scripts of Mrs. Verrall, H.V., and Mrs. Piper, and in March Piddington showed Mrs. Verrall and H.V. the draft of a paper in which he analysed all the references to Dante - they were not at that time numerous - to be found in all the scripts. This led Mrs. Verrall to read the Purgatorio, the 27th and 28th Cantos of which in particular were discussed in his draft. H.V. did not herself follow up the Dante references, nor did she know that her mother was doing so.

As from this point allusions to the Divina Commedia are closely connected in the scripts with allusions to seven, it may make the case easier to follow if a brief summary is here given of the contents of Cantos 27-31 of thePurgatorio to which most of the allusions relate. Mention has already been made of Dante's dream of Rachel in Canto 27. In Canto 28 he, Vergil and Statius reach a flowery meadow through which runs a small stream. Following this towards the sunrise (Canto 29) they see approaching seven candlesticks the flames of which leave in the heavens a trail of the colours of the rainbow. This is the last place at which Vergil is mentioned as present. As a pagan he is not permitted to see the mystic vision of Christ and the Church, typified by a Grifon drawing a Car. It is not however until Canto 30 that Dante notices that he is no longer there. In Canto 31 Dante is instructed to gaze on "the emeralds", that is on the gleaming eyes of Beatrice who is standing in the car: only as reflected in them, as a Sun in a mirror, can he see the Grifon in its two-fold nature.

There are in the scripts, besides several allusions to these Cantos which seem to me certain, several others which, as being doubtful, I do not mention. Mrs. Verrall finished her reading of these Cantos on the 8th May 1908 and on the same day wrote sixteen lines of English verse on Vergil, as one who had led others to Christianity but by his continuance as a pagan could not enter the Earthly Paradise: "Not for his eyes that Vision in its glory" etc. On the same day Mrs. Piper in America, during the waking-stage that followed her trance, said 'Ye are Seven. I said Clock! Tick, tick, tick." "We are seven" is one of the phrases Piddington mentioned in his "posthumous" letter, and "tick, tick, tick," though it appears primarily to refer to Hodgson, may also allude to the "tic" that Piddington twice speaks of.

On the 11th May 1908 H.V. wrote a script including references to (1) Jacob's ladder, (c) a spinning top with many colours that blend into one, (3) the seven-branched candlestick and the seven colours of the rainbow, (4) "many mystic sevens... we are seven." The script is signed F. W. H. Myers. Of the items in this script (1) is mentioned in Cantos 21 and 22 of the Paradiso as seen in the Seventh Heaven; (2) may be the wheel of Cantos 10, 12 and 28 of the Paradiso; (3) alludes to the seven candlesticks of Canto 29 of the Purgatorio.

On the 12th May 1908 Mrs. Piper gave a sitting at which Dorr, the American investigator, asked her to explain some of the words she had spoken on the 8th May, including "We are seven". She wrote "We were seven in the distance as a matter of fact" and, after questions on other subjects, "Seven of us, 7, seven".

On the 11th June Mrs. Frith wrote a poem including the following lines:
"Pisgah is scaled the fair and dewy lawn
Invites my footsteps till the mystic seven
Lights up the golden candlestick of dawn."
The Biblical Pisgah has no connection with any mystic seven, or golden candlestick of dawn, and it seems clear that the intention is to refer to the Earthly Paradise and to Cantos 28 and 29 of the Purgatorio.

On the 23rd July 1908 Mrs. Holland, then at sea, wrote:
"There should be at least three in accord and if possible seven."
She proceeds to describe symbolically the seven who should be in accord, specifying six of the actual seven correctly, but leaving out Piddington and apparently including a minor automatist, Mrs. Forbes, who was not in fact concerned. The latter part of the same script had these words: "Take this for token 'Green beyond belief' ... Not only on the ocean may the Green Ray appear." Alice Johnson understood the emphatic reference to Green to allude to the "emeralds" of Canto 31 which reflected the Grifon as a mirror reflects the sun. In view of Mrs. Holland's earlier references to Dante this seems to me probably right.

On the 24th July 1908 a Myers Control, purporting to speak through Mrs. Home, said "Seven times seven and seventy-seven send the burden of my words to others".

That concludes the third act of the drama. The fourth is brief. On the 19th November 1908 Alice Johnson told Piddington of a sevens cross-correspondence with Dante allusions to be found in the scripts of Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Piper, H.V., Mrs. Frith and Mrs. Home. (While there is no doubt that both Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Home refer with emphasis to the Sevens topic, the possible allusions to Dante, which Alice Johnson noted in their scripts, seem to me very doubtful, and I have accordingly not dwelt an them.) On the 27th November 1908, after he and she had examined the case more thoroughly, he told her that the subject of his "posthumous" letter was variations on the theme of Seven. She then got out his sealed envelope from the locked drawer where she had kept it. They examined it, found the seals intact and opened it. Until that day she had had no inkling what the contents might be.

On the 27th January 1909 Mrs. Verrall, who did not even know that such an envelope existed, wrote a script ending with the following passage:
"And ask what has been the success of Piddington's last experiment? Has he found the bits of his famous sentence scattered among you all? And does he think that is accident, or started by one of you? But even if the source is human, who carries the thoughts to the receivers? Ask him that. F.W.H.M."
This script obviously refers back to her script of 28th August 1907, and implies that the experiment then suggested had been carried out and successfully concluded. An "experiment", or something looking very like an experiment, involving Piddington had been carried out and concluded, in my view, with considerable success. It was not quite of the kind indicated in the scripts. Piddington never sent parts of a sentence to various automatists. He put on record various associations with Seven, but made no conscious effort to transmit them. Various references to Seven did some time later appear in the scripts and speech of several automatists; and that these did not find their way into the scripts "by accident" is, I think, clear from the very condensed account of the case I have given. Alice Johnson's fuller analysis should however leave no trace of doubt. But were they "started by one of you", whether by "you" the Communicator is supposed to mean just the automatists, or a group including Piddington with them?

The identity of the script-intelligence behind these references to Seven and to Dante must depend in part on whether the references to both topics are taken as constituting a single cross-correspondence, or as two that happened to overlap in time. Two of the automatists, Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Home, make no allusions to Dante that could, in my opinion, be regarded as other than very doubtful, and this is to some extent an argument against the unitary view. But in the scripts of Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Frith and H.V. the two subjects are very closely combined, so that on the whole the unitary view is to be preferred. Either view presupposes some subconscious collaboration between Piddington, as writer of the "posthumous" letter, and Mrs. Verrall, whose reading of the Purgatorio was followed by a new development in the scripts of three other members of the group besides herself. The unitary view presupposes that the collaboration was very close.

Collaboration between agent and percipient at a subconscious level was suggested in Chapter III as part of the process resulting in veridical apparitions of the more complex kind, but in those cases the collaboration is apparently brief. In the Sevens-cum-Dante case on the other hand it extended over at least three months and, on the unitary view, over more than four years. There is no reason to suppose that every detail of the contribution to the whole made by each automatist was present to the subconscious mind of either Piddington or Mrs. Verrall. Illustrations of the two main subjects are drawn from a great variety of sources, each having some special connection with the automatist who draws on it. Thus. Mrs. Holland's reference to the Green Ray which may appear "not only on the ocean", where a green ray is sometimes seen immediately after the sun sinks below the horizon, suggests the individual contribution of an automatist who was at the time at sea, as she was Alice Johnson (Proc. XXIV at p. 256) writes:
"What was it that from each and all of these miscellaneous sources extracted the strands needed for the interweaving of Seven and Dante? The task would not, of course, be very difficult for anyone who had such a plan in mind, - assuming that he was able to influence the automatists to carry it out. I maintain only that there is strong evidence of the existence of such a plan, and I think it looks like the plan of one mind, and not of two or more."
She argues (p. 261) that the case affords "strong, evidence of the design or agency of some intelligence which was cognisant of the whole scheme, as finally revealed", and that this could not be attributed to the subconscious of either Piddington or Mrs. Verrall. This is in effect an argument that the script-intelligence was the discarnate mind of F. W. H. Myers whose name or initials are appended to some of the scripts. The argument for an external designer is frankly subjective, being based on what the design "looked like" to Alice Johnson, but subjective judgments are not to be despised when made by a person of her acuteness of mind, scientific training and immense knowledge of the scripts of the SPR group.

Her argument, which applies equally to all the more complex cross-correspondences, depends on "the element of complementariness" shown, as she claimed, by the fact that in them each automatist contributed a part of the pattern and none the whole. The critics of this view argued that an appearance of "complementariness" might arise accidentally if some automatist attempted to impress an idea expressed in her own script on the scripts of some other automatist. As the economist Pigou put it in Proc. XXIII
"The two scripts would indeed be orientated about the same idea; but they would be very far from identical ... mildly complementary correspondences are likely to result from attempts at simple correspondences."
He quotes as illustration Verrall's attempt in the One-Horse Dawn experiment to influence Mrs. Verrall's script telepathically, the reproduction in her script being fragmentary and incomplete.
This was not a satisfactory basis for his argument, as in that experiment a conscious telepathic agent could be pointed to, and the like could not be done with any of the cross-correspondences. In the Sevens case Piddington comes nearest to it as the only person concerned who took conscious, deliberate action, but so far from having any wish to transmit telepathically the contents of his. "posthumous" letter, that was precisely what he did not wish, as it would have frustrated his purpose to put on record what might after his death prove a good test of survival. As against sub. conscious telepathic transmission from him there is the combination of Seven with Dante allusions, of which he knew nothing until it had figured in the scripts for over a month. Neither the One-Horse Dawn experiment nor the Sevens case was as simple as Pigou's argument demands.

It soon became evident to the investigators that the scripts of all the automatists taken together did not constitute a hotch-potch of unrelated material in which cross-correspondences, self-contained and of short duration, were embedded at random, but that they had such complex connection with each other as to make it difficult to analyse them separately. As early as 1908 Piddington discussing (Proc. XXII) the "concordant automatisms", as he calls them, that had by that time been traced, was forced to use a diagram of 23 circles showing the parent topics printed in red, and the subsidiary ones in black, with dotted lines joining seven of the circles to others in order to explain their inter-connections. This he supplemented with three tabular statements showing which topics were implicit and which explicit; their distribution among the various automatists; and the chronological order of their emergence. When in the course of years the scripts, and his study of them, had further developed, no two-dimensional diagram would any longer have met his needs, even had the supplementary tables been doubled or trebled. The whole thing, as he said to me, was one huge cross-correspondence.

Piddington meant, I think, that running through the whole of the scripts of the SPR group and extending over thirty years there was a design comparable to that of particular cross-correspondences examples of which have been given, in that it could not be grasped by any automatist from knowledge of her own scripts but only by someone who had the scripts of the whole group to study. Substantially, I think, this is true and is very remarkable in view of the composition of the group and the changes that in the course of time took place in its membership. But some qualifications must be made. The automatists were prevented from understanding the significance of their scripts by the cryptic language of them and by the use of symbols to denote persons or topics. As the years went by the symbolism became more and more complex and, as was natural, occasional failures occurred in the consistency with which the symbols were used. In the main however the design as pieced together by the investigators is coherent and it is certainly far from commonplace. It includes a sort of time-table related to events of which the automatists did not foresee the occurrence, particularly the First World War.

This involved changes from time to time in the type of phenomena to be found in the scripts. The cross-correspondences, for instance, having served their purpose become fewer and less elaborate. The parts played by the automatists were not interchangeable, so that one of them might he furthering the design by occupying the centre of the stage, while others were left with nothing to do except wait for their cue. They seem to have adopted the practice of filling in their spare time with repeating points already made, explanations as to the process of communication, or what appears to be mere padding. If during these periods the flow of script had been completely checked, they might have lost interest and not been prepared to resume their parts when occasion required. This is of course speculative. What is well established is that there is a design running through the scripts of every member of the group.

As to four of the principal members of the group, Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, H.V., Mrs. Piper, there is no need to say more here than to give the dates of their activity. Mrs. Verrall's automatic writing began in 1901 and continued until very shortly before her death in 1916. Mrs. Holland's connection with the group began in the autumn of 1903 and continued until a breakdown in her health in 1910. H.V. also began writing in 1903, but wrote few scripts until 1907. She went on producing scripts until 1932, but with much less frequency in the latter part of that period. Mrs. Piper's long mediumship began in 1886 and continued until after 1920: it was only however for a part of that time, for a few years following Hodgson's death in 1905, that her scripts had any close connection with those of other members of the group.

Three other automatists played very important parts in the group. Mrs. "Willett" (Mrs. Coombe-Tennant), whose husband was Myers's brother-in-law, developed her faculty to write in 1908 and continued until after 1930 with some interruption during the First World War. Dame Edith Lyttelton joined the group in 1913, but much of her automatic writing did not claim any connection with the scripts of the group: I do not know how long her connection may be considered as lasting. Mrs. Stuart Wilson, the American wife of an officer in the British Army, responded during the First World War to an appeal by the SPR for persons willing to take part in experiments in telepathy. Her "scripts" were the records she made of impressions received by her in a state of slight dissociation shortly before going to sleep. They were found on examination to be connected with the scripts of other members of the group, and they continued till about 1930, when Piddington, who had become the principal investigator and was overwhelmed with the mass of material requiring his attention, invited her and H.V. to stop writing unless they felt a strong impulse.

Without some explanation as to the nature of this so-called "group" that word might be misleading, as suggesting a very much closer personal familiarity between its members than in fact existed. Mrs. Verrall and H.V. naturally saw a good deal of each other, even after H.V. had moved to London. Her mother saw most of her scripts when or soon after they were written and showed her some of her own: all this was recorded in detail and passed on to the investigators, who took it into account in their interpretation of their writings. That however was a special case, and speaking broadly the only connection between the automatists began when concordances between their scripts were noticed. This did not in some cases result in any personal contacts. Mrs. Willett's identity was never known to Mrs. Holland or Mrs. Wilson. Mrs. Wilson never knew personally any member of the group except H.V., with whom she made contact through the experiments in telepathy. The scantiness of her personal connection with the group and the difference of national background added greatly to the value of her contribution to the total effect, but this sort of detachment was in a less degree characteristic of the group as a whole. Of the less important members of the group a few have been named, but in a short account such as this no further mention of them need be made.

An argument that for thirty years F. W. H. Myers, Henry Sidgwick and their friends spent their post mortem energies, the time of a group of women several of whom had fairly important duties of other kinds, and the ingenuity of interpreters such as Alice Johnson, Piddington and G. W. Balfour, in proving their survival and identity by intricate verbal puzzles like the cross-correspondences, would defeat itself. They would have been almost as worthily occupied in banging tambourines in the darkness of a séance-room. Proof of their survival and identity was indeed one of their purposes as claimed in the scripts, but not the only, nor indeed the most important purpose.

As declared in the scripts, the ultimate purpose of the Communicators, or of the script intelligence if that phrase is preferred, was the bringing about of a world-order based on international peace and social justice. That is not a trivial project, nor one unworthy of the persons represented as engaging in it. Nor was it one which either the automatists or the interpreters could feel that they were, in their respective roles, wasting time and effort in furthering. It might indeed be suggested that to all the automatists the ideal was so acceptable as to make it unnecessary to look for a paranormal explanation of the emphasis laid on it in the scripts of the group, whether written before, during or after the First World War. Common trains of thought in a group the members of which, notwithstanding differences of nationality, and some acute differences of political opinion, had all been reared in the same climate of humanist idealism, might account for the support which the project receives in their scripts, without invoking inspiration from an external source.

But this would not suffice to account for the way the subject is developed in their scripts, for the use of a symbolic scheme common to the group, and itself depending for its meaning on facts not normally known to any member of the group until long after the appropriate symbols had been established, and the facts had been referred to, cryptically indeed, but as regarded in retrospect with no uncertainty. The next chapter will seek to explain this.


Chapter 14: Cross-correspondences: New Evidence
- W. H. Salter -
          IT IS no part of my argument to suggest that the scripts of the SPR group must be paranormal because forty or fifty years ago they proclaimed a project which we can all see ripening to fulfillment. As to whether the project is nearer fulfilment now than it was when first proclaimed there would be sharp differences of opinion. The very existence of the project must be accepted, if at all, on the word of the Communicators. All that I am concerned to do is to explain and illustrate the manner in which the project is announced in the scripts and to draw some inferences from it.

It will be remembered that at her sitting of 12th May 1908 Mrs. Piper, asked to explain the words "We are seven", spoken at an earlier sitting, declared, 'Ye were seven in the distance as a matter of fact". This statement is supported by the scripts of Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, H.V., Mrs. Willett and Mrs. Wilson all of whom refer to the activities of a group of seven. Some of the seven are mentioned by name, others referred to by symbols which, if not understood at the time by the automatist concerned, were found by later enquiry to have a special appropriateness to one of the communicating group. The group itself is symbolised collectively by the seven traditional colours of the rainbow, the seven notes of the scale, the seven petals of a flower of some variety that cannot be identified, and so on.

The group consisted of four men and three women. Three of the men were the three principal founders of the SPR, Henry Sidgwick, Frederic Myers, and Edmund Gurney. Mrs. Verrall knew them all personally. Myers was also known personally to Mrs. Willett, who was related to him by marriage, to H.V., and to Mrs. Piper. All the automatists knew something, and most of them a great deal, about the Founders' work in psychical research. There would therefore have been no point in referring to any of them by symbols such as those used to denote the other Communicators, and they are identified in the scripts by their names or initials.

The other four members of the communicating group were Francis Maitland Balfour, Mary Catherine Lyttelton, Octavia Laura Tennant, and Annie Eliza Marshall of Hallsteads (see p. 167 above) whom Myers called Phyllis in his autobiographical fragment.

Of these four F. M. Balfour is the only one mentioned by name in any of the scripts, his full name being given in two early scripts of Mrs. Verrall's. She knew him both as the brother of Mrs. Sidgwick and as her husband's contemporary at Trinity, Cambridge. He was a distinguished biologist, who made a special study of embryology and the evolution of fishes. To aid in his studies he kept a fishing-boat at Dunbar. He was killed in an Alpine accident in 1882. Unlike other members of his family, he never during his life showed any interest in psychical research. Besides the overt mentions of his name, there are numerous symbolic references to him connected with his first name, Francis, his studies of fish life and his death in the Alps, and it is through these symbols, and not through his real name (though this is given) that the scripts indicate his work as a member of the group.

Mary Catherine Lyttelton was probably known by name to Mrs. Verrall who was a neighbour of her brother Arthur Lyttelton, when he was Master of Selwyn. She died as a young unmarried woman on Palm Sunday, 1875. There were unusual circumstances connected with her last illness, her burial and the action taken to perpetuate her memory which were known to very few persons but are alluded to in the scripts of several of the automatists at first cryptically, but with more definiteness in Mrs. Willett's scripts of 1912. A full account of her and the scripts relating to her may be found in Lady Balfour's paper on "The Palm Sunday Case" in Proc. 52. The symbols by which the scripts indicate her include references to these circumstances, to both her Christian names, to the crest and coat-of-arms of her family, and to a portrait of her holding a candle.

Octavia Laura Tennant was the first wife of Alfred Lyttelton and died in 1886 soon after the birth of her only child, The first cryptic references to her are to be found in the early scripts of Mrs. Verrall in which, in obscure Latin, allusion is made to the memorial tablet - a peacock on a laurel tree - designed for her by Burne-Jones. Mrs. Verrall had most probably heard of her, and had possibly heard of this memorial, but did not recognise the reference to her or it in her automatic writing. Mrs. Holland, a relative of Burne-Jones, certainly knew the whole story.

For Annie Eliza Marshall, who died in 1876, Myers had formed a deep attachment, which influenced his whole outlook on life. When Mrs. Verrall began writing automatically she knew that Myers had been deeply in love with a woman long since dead, whose first Christian name she also knew. She did not know what had been her surname either before or after marriage, nor the circumstances in which Myers met her, nor the name "Phyllis" by which he called her in his unpublished writings. This name Myers took from Vergil's Seventh Ecologue, lines 59 and 63, the latter of which begins Phyllis amat corylos, Phyllis loves the hazels. The hazel is accordingly an appropriate symbol for her. After the opening in December 1904 of Myers's "posthumous" envelope, Mrs. Verrall learnt her full name and other facts relating to her. She had already given cryptically in her scripts her maiden surname and, as mentioned on p. 168, a description of her home, Hallsteads.

At this point a sceptic might reasonably say that he would reserve his criticism of the alleged scheme and of the symbolism in which it is set out until he had been given further particulars of the scheme and examples of the symbols as used in the scripts, but that with regard to any claim for paranormal knowledge in Mrs. Verrall's scripts either as to circumstances connected with Mary Catherine Lyttelton or with Phyllis he would like to know what reason there is for invoking anything other than subconscious memory. As regards Mary Catherine Lyttelton, whose cryptic appearance in her scripts Mrs. Verrall never of herself recognised, some of the circumstances referred to in her scripts were known to so few as to make it most improbable that she had ever heard of them. It was not until further reference of a more explicit kind had been made to them in Mrs. Willett's scripts written between 1912 and 1916 that the investigators, after close enquiry, both learnt all the facts and could understand allusions in Mrs. Verrall's scripts made ten years or more earlier: see Lady Balfour's paper. The facts themselves were so curious that if she had ever had normal knowledge of them, she would almost certainly have recognised her fairly frequent references to them.

In the case of Phyllis, Myers's reticence on this part of his lift makes it unlikely that he ever gave Mrs. Verrall any particulars of it, close as their friendship was, and the argument from nonrecognition is even more cogent here, as Mrs. Verrall began writing automatically with the possibility of communications from him in view, and was intensely interested in everything that related to his inner life. The Phyllis references began to appear within a few weeks of her first script. Nor is it plausible in my view to attribute to latent memory the occurrence in the first of all her scripts, that of 5th March 1901, of a polyglot, cryptic quotation, meaningless to her conscious mind, of words in a sonnet by Myers which to the best of her recollection she had never seen before its publication in October 1904 in the posthumous book Fragments of Prose and Poetry; see Proc. XXIV, 162.

The group of seven Communicators had several internal links; Sidgwick, Myers and Gurney as founders of the SPR; Sidgwick F. M. Balfour, Mary Catherine Lyttelton and Octavia Laura Tennant, as all belonging by birth or marriage to the Balfour or Lyttelton families, between which a close friendship existed; Myers and Phyllis by their mutual love. Knowledge however of their personal histories would not give any rational grounds for inferring that they would all be associated in the plan set out in the scripts, or indeed in any common venture.

And in fact the scripts expressly disclaim any suggestion that a small group like this, drawn from one social stratum in one country, was undertaking a project of the scale and importance indicated. The plan, they say, was made before any of the Communicators died, and there were many more in it than the automatists knew. Inadequate as this group of seven obviously was to bear the whole responsibility of the plan, they had some special qualifications for being its prophets. Sidgwick, Myers and Gurney were well aware of the stage the problem of survival had reached at the end of the nineteenth century, and of the points at which the evidence fell short of cogency. All seven were by reason of family links and friendships established during their lives, in a position to get a hearing through two such other groups as the SPR automatists and their interpreters.

From the beginning of her scripts in March 1901 until the opening of the Myers "posthumous" envelope in December 1904, Mrs. Verrall was the most important, and for most of the time the only automatist. Her purpose was to give Myers an opportunity of communicating, and whether or not this may be regarded as accomplished, she, or the script-intelligence working through her, had in these years specified a communicating group of seven, some mentioned by name and some by symbolic allusions not recognised by her at the time but clear enough in retrospect when the clues were forthcoming.

Mrs. Holland and H.V. began writing in 1903, and the second stage of the time-table starts then, lasting until the Willett scripts of 1912. The main feature of this period is the production of cross-correspondences in which, at various times, Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, H.V., Mrs. Piper, Mrs. Willett and some minor automatists took part. These, for the reasons given in Chapter XIII, provided a new form of evidence for survival, At the same time, and mainly through them, the purpose of the Communicators, only outlined during the previous stage, is clearly set out and is linked with the Communicators both individually and as a group.

The third stage may be regarded as lasting from the spring of 1912 until the winter of 1922, when Piddington read a paper entitled "Forecasts in Scripts concerning the War", published the next year in Proc. XXXIII. The main features of this period were, (1) Mrs. Willett's scripts from 19 12 on, which put in the hands of the investigators clues to cryptic personal references in the scripts of the earlier automatists; (2) the increasing definiteness in the scripts, particularly those of Mrs. Lyttelton, of predictions of the coming War of 1914 as one of the sacrifices necessary to the achievement of a better world order, (3) the entry into the group of automatists of Mrs. Stuart Wilson, whose scripts have a special interest due to her almost complete personal detachment from the other members of the group. With the elucidation through Mrs. Willett of obscure allusions in the earlier scripts, there was little point in continuing the cross-correspondences. They accordingly fade out, the last one of significance being "The Master Builder", the nucleus of which consists of two scripts of H.V. and one of Mrs. Lyttelton's written between 5th December 1918 and 2nd January 1919: see Proc. XXXVI, 477-505. The problem of design which was raised by the cross-correspondences recurs in Mrs. Willett's "literary puzzles", such as the "Statius" and "Ear of Dionysius" cases, but in a rather different form as only one automatist was concerned: see Proc. XXVII and XXIX.

During the final period, from the end of 1922 on, the principal automatists were Mrs. Willett, H.V. and Mrs. Wilson. Neither of the two latter had any knowledge, while they were themselves writing scripts, of the crucial Willett scripts of 1912. H.V. was informed of them in 1933, when they caused her intense surprise, but Mrs. Wilson died, in 1956, without ever being told of them. During this period nothing much remained for the scripts to do beyond confirming and emphasising points they had already made.

To return to the first stage of script activity, references to Rome, and to the (retrospective) prophecies of the Pax Romana in the Aeneid are to he found in very early Verrall scripts, where they continued for a long time. Mrs. Verrall knew well both the Aeneid and Myers's enthusiasm for it, and may very likely have read his poem, The Implicit Promise of Immortality, published in 1882. In it Myers adapts to his own ends Vergil's famous line, Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem (Aen. 1.33), writing "So hard a matter was the birth of Man". And, again, in his Presidential Address (1900) he speaks of "the mighty struggle humanam condere gentem". The Aeneid is to him an allegory of human evolution, a labour continuing through all the ages.

When however Mrs. Verrall in her scripts quotes the Aeneid, as she often does, it is to illustrate a different ideal, not a process of gradual evolution over an indefinite period of time, but a practical policy to be worked for in her own age, an international order embodying all that was best in the Pax Augusta, in particular a peaceful order. For this purpose she combines the line Tantae molis, etc. with another line from the same book of the Aeneid: Romanos, rerum dominos gentemque togatam (I. 282), the toga being the distinctive garb of peace.

This conjunction did not however occur till early in the following year (1902). In the meantime it is to be noted that her 3rd and 4th scripts make two quotations from the second book of the Aeneid in which is told the fall of Troy, a disaster without which there would have been no Rome. In the 4th script, of the 9th March 1901, embedded in an apparently meaningless context, are the words quantum mutatus ab illo applied by Vergil (Aen. 11, 274) to the ghost of Hector when he hands to Aeneas the sacred fire from the Trojan shrine. This passage in Vergil is the central part of the peroration of Human Personality, published nearly two years later, and the last line of that book is a quotation in the original Latin of another line (I. 297) from the same passage. The 6th and 7th of her scripts (13th and 14th March 1901) refer to Aeneas's visit to the future site of Rome as told in the eighth book of the Aeneid.

More important perhaps than these is the phrase "Diodma gave the clue" in her script of 31st May 1901. As she says in her report on her early scripts in Proc. XX, p. 31:
"When in May 1901 there was an allusion in my script to Diotima, I knew that she was the one woman in the Platonic dialogues, and that she was introduced in the Symposium" (a dialogue she had not then read). "I knew that the subject of the speeches in that dialogue was Love... I looked the passage up to see what Diotima said, and how far it could be described as a 'clue'."
She took the point of reference to be Diotima's assertion that Love was neither a god nor a man but a great spirit, and that all intercourse between God and men was through spirits, one of these being Love. The rest of Diotima's speech does not seem to have impressed her at the time, and she did not study the dialogue more closely until November 1902.

In Human Personality, published early in 1903, much the longest quotation made by Myers from any author (reports of cases of course excepted) is his adaptation and abridgement (pp. 113-115 of Volume I) of part of Jowett's translation of the Symposium. The passage that had impressed Mrs. Verrall is not quoted there; though it is alluded to in a later portion of Myers's book. Myers does however quote the passage in which Diotima speaks of the union of the "godlike man" and the "noble and well-nurtured soul" whom he has sought, and of their being "bound by a far closer bond than that of earthly children, since the children which are born to them are fairer and more immortal far": she instances "Homer's offspring", and "the children of Solon, whom we call Father of our Laws". Mrs. Verrall presumably read this part of Diotima's discourse in 1901, but, it would seem, without taking particular note of it, so far at least as concerned her conscious mind.

But the topic of "children of the spirit", as one may call it, was not long in making its appearance in her scripts, and that in a curious way. Between the 18th September and the 20th December 1901, she wrote twenty-four scripts in fourteen of which there is either emphasis on words formed from the root gen-, or on references to the four members of the communicating group other than the three founders of the S.P.R.. F. M. Balfour is mentioned by name: Octavia Laura Tennant's memorial is alluded to: Mary Catherine Lyttelton is referred to by the palm, a frequent symbol relating to her death on Palm Sunday, and by other symbols too: Phyllis by five names (Haslemere, Hazelrigg, etc.) suggesting the hazel which is a frequent symbol of her (Phyllis amat corylos). From the root gen- come, in Greek, Latin and other languages which borrow from them, words such as gens (race or people) and also words meaning "to beget'.

In Mrs. Verrall's script of 21st December 1901 the gen-group of words and some personal symbols are combined(1).

(1) When quoting scripts I Put in square brackets the literary sources of important phrases and notes on their significance, with translations of some of them.
"Marigold and cockle-shells [the first name of Mary Catherine Lyttelton and the three shells, more strictly scallop shells, of the family shield]. Find the key for the lock and keep it close. Spatula [palm-leaf, another reference to her]. Do not forget the word it is gens togata [Aeneid I, 282] and another short word..."
Gens togata is repeated later in the script.

In the next script but one, that of 4th January 1902, occurs this passage:
"Heseltine is the reference - Look it up. Francis Hezeltine [F. M. Balfour's first name combined with two of the Hazel - names, which have no meaning except as cryptic allusions to Phyllis]. Devornik was in the last. Devoniac is better [probably an allusion to the evolution of fishes in the Devonian era, and so to F. M. Balfour]. [Drawings of two fishes, one a flat fish] a fish or a counter.... Tell Hodgson the words in gen that is nearly right *** [Begetting] is important not Genesis."
The phrase "a fish or a counter" perhaps combines an F. M. Balfour symbol with a reference to Aristophanes' discourse in the Symposium, which plays an important part in the scripts, but one too complicated to explain here.

In three scripts written between 13th January and 3rd February 1902 the topic of gens togata is emphasised and elaborated, thus:
13th January. "Three Latin words can she not write them? would give the clue Quid fremuerunt gentes? [Psalm II, I] Gentes seems right. Gens togata rapit..."

29th January. '... gentile no gentes gens togata vocat Romam Romanam condere gentem [Combination of Aen. 1, 33 and 272] Gens togata manet ['The people that wears the toga remains' or 'endures'] ..."

3rd February. "Gennata no Gens nata togae [the race born to the toga] those are the three words there is more-But the other words are the test Gens nata togae. In inverted commas single thus 'Gens nata togae'."
While gens togata comes from the Aeneidgens nata togae has I think, no warrant in Vergil but is an invention of the script-intelligence. I have no doubt that the whole series of scripts from the 18th September 1901 to the 3rd February 1902 is an elaborate weaving together of the lines quoted from the First Book of the Aeneid and the claim of Diotima as to "children of the spirit" in the Symposium. But just as the script-intelligence brings back to earth the foundation of Rome from the nebulous allegory to which Myers had relegated it, so in the scripts "the children of the spirit" are not laws or constitutions but children of flesh and blood to be born and nurtured in the ideal of a world-order of peace which they will help to establish.

They are "children of the spirit" because, so the scripts claim, their birth, character and destiny are influenced by those responsible for the plan, particularly by the Seven Communicators making use of the embryological knowledge of F. M. Balfour and the psychological studies of Edmund Gurney, "psychological eugenics", as Mrs. Willett calls it. At the risk of tedium I repeat that I am concerned only with the development of the plan as the various automatists set it out in their scripts, and not to claim that the plan actually exists, and certainly not to claim that it is bound to succeed. The mere notion of "psychological eugenics" will doubtless seem absurd to many, but as a notion, without regard to any supposed actual instance, it does not seem so to me.
The plan, as already said, is to establish a world-order of peace, and though the Pax Romana is a convenient type, because of the abundance of literary allusions to it, as an ideal it is inadequate. It was not world-wide, and it rested on armed force, the imposition of the habit of peace by battling down the proud (see Aen. VI, 853). In a script of 29th April 1907 Mrs. Verrall writes:
"Victor in poesy Victor in Romance and Lord of Human Tears [Tennyson To Victor Hugo; 'poesy' should be 'drama'] ... pro patria is written on a circle not I think a ring. But I mean a wider thing, a universal country, the mother of us all [Galatians IV, 26 'But Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all']

"Not 'O fair city of Cecrops'

"But Oh fair city of God [Marcus Aurelius Meditations, Bk. IV]

"That gives one clue - I have long wanted to say that - I tried before I spoke of Athens [=the city of Cecrops'] but you did not complete Golden City of God. The city of Cecrops is violet and hoary [Swinburne,Erechtheus] look back at that. The Universal City is all colours and no colour but best described as a golden GLEAM."
Towards the end of his short poem Tennyson says
"England France all man to be
Will make one people ere man's race be run."
It was Marcus Aurelius who said "As I am Marcus, my country is Rome; as I am a man, the whole world". "Jerusalem that is above" is not, I think, just an equivalent for the New Jerusalem of Revelations but an existing state of freedom contrasted with the bondage of the Law. This script combines references to Rome, Athens and Jerusalem, the three sources of our civilisation, and to England, France and "all man to be". "All colours and no colour" is another way of expressing the idea of the colours of the rainbow united in a single light. It may be significant that the colours here are not limited to seven, implying that others besides the group of seven communicators are furthering the plan.

To return to the subject of "children of the spirit", which is developed very fully in the scripts of several of the automatists, paticularly Mrs. Willett and Mrs. Stuart Wilson, I will merely quote as illustrations a few scripts of the earlier automatists, two being scripts of Mrs. Verrall, and two others, written independently and within three days of each other, by Mrs. Holland and H.V.

Mrs. Verrall's script of 6th September 1902 has in an apparently irrelevant context the single word "Gaetan" and her script of 26th May 1904 has
"The Ring and the Book. Pompilia's grave is described - read that - and find the words there - five words together. The child mother."
In Book VII of Browning's poem Pompilia says she gave her child the name Gaetano, after a newly canonised saint, because the five saints after whom she had been named had done so little for her. The second script would not by itself have suggested any allusion to the birth of children, but the two scripts, the only scripts of Mrs. Verrall referring to Pompilia or her child, obviously do. It is characteristic of the script intelligence to introduce a topic in this unobtrusive way. Gaetano reckons as a child of the spirit, being as his mother says, "born of love not hate". His father, Count Guido, who hated Pompilia and murdered her, had, she says, no part in him. Her true love, in the spiritual sense, was the priest who did his best to rescue her from 'Count Guido's clutches. It is perhaps significant that the script of 26th May 1904 was written on an anniversary of the birth of Mary Catherine Lyttelton, as she is in all the scripts particularly associated with the birth topic.

Mrs. Holland's script of 3rd November 1909 has a passage which provides an interesting example of the cryptic methods of the script-intelligence. It runs as follows, after references to "the nuthatch", the crest of the Feildings, and to their family motto; "Eugene - the Paladin. The people who sat in darkness" [Matthew IV, 6].

On the surface this script looks, and was probably intended by the script-intelligence to look, as a jocular reference to séances held in the dark, particularly to Everard Feilding's investigation of the famous medium Eusapia Palladino, in which he had recently reported to the SPR (Proc. XXIII) for in Feilding's research Mrs. Holland took a keen but sceptical interest. But is Eugene just a bad shot at Eusapia, the surname Palladino suggesting Paladin in the sense of a warrior prince, such as the famous Prince Eugene? The only other place in Holland script in which the word Eugene occurs is in her script of 13th June 1906, which should be read in conjunction with the scripts of 6th and 20th June which precede and follow it. The first part of the script of the 6th is about "a friend who was killed on the mountain", "a scholar - a student", and it ends with mention of "a thin crust of snow on the glacier", an ice-axe, ropes and the name "Franz". The script of the 13th begins
"I see your icey ramparts drawn
Between the sleepers and the dawn
"The last sunset was the beautiful one.
          What of Eugene?"
And it later refers to spiked boots. That of the 20th has a single word that is relevant "Gringelwald" (sic), probably an allusion to Myers's poem "On a Grave at Grindelwald", describing a death in the high Alps. Although F. M. Balfour's fatal accident did not occur near Grindelwald nor near the other Alpine centres Mrs. Holland mentions, the name "Franz" and some other details strongly suggest that it is to this that her scripts point. She had no conscious recollection of having heard of F. M. Balfour, but may have read a printed account of his death. If the Alpine allusions in these scripts relate to him, the obvious intention is to combine references to him as mountaineer and as geneticist. In that case Eugene in the script of 3rd November 1909 presumably relates to Eugenics also and implies F. M. Balfour's research in that subject. It is to be noted that, while the quotation from Matthew IV, 6, has not in itself or by its context there any reference to the birth of children, the opening verses of the ninth chapter of Isaiah, from which it is taken with a slight change ("sat" for "walked"), is very definitely a birth reference: see v.6.

Two days later, 5th November 1909, H.V. writes
"The ship and the stars twin stars-safe comes the ship to harbour [Macaulay, Battle of Lake Regillus, slightly misquoted] ... out of the deep my child [Tennyson, De Profundis, written on the birth of his son Hallam] you wrote of that before the spinning top [Dante, Paradiso, especially Canto XII]. The harmony of the spheres, harmony of colour and sound - seven sounds and seven colours."
Part of this script has already been quoted and discussed in Chapter XII in connection with the Sevens cross-correspondence. It will be noted that the part beginning "the spinning top" follows immediately on the reference to De Profundis. The Great Twin Brethren here, as always in the scripts, mean supernormal guidance and protection.

Mrs. Verrall published a report on her early scripts in 1906 (Proc. XX) and from then on numerous other reports on the scripts of the SPR group were published. From the quotations of scripts made in those papers readers ofProceedings, including of course the automatists, gained a growing knowledge of scripts, and of the topics discussed. To the best of my knowledge nothing whatever was said in the Proceedings or in any other publication about "children of the spirit" before 1951(1), when the Journal of the American SPR published a resume of a talk on scripts which H.V. had given that Society, with special reference to the treatment of this subject in the scripts of Mrs. Verrall and Mrs. Wilson.
(1) In her report on her automatic writings in Proceedings vol. XX (1906) Mrs. Verrall refers to her scripts of 6th September 1902 and 26th May 1904 without any mention of Gaetano.

"Children of the spirit" are frequently alluded to both in Mrs. Willett's and Mrs. Wilson's scripts. The interpreters had however shown Mrs. Willett in 1909 and 1910 many of Mrs. Verrall's, H.V.'s and Mrs. Holland's scripts. This was a marked departure from their usual practice but was made deliberately on what they considered imperative instructions in some of the scripts.

Mrs. Wilson's scripts, it will be remembered, began in 1915 when she responded to an appeal made by the SPR for persons willing to take part in experiments in telepathy. She thus got into touch with H.V. and became very friendly with her. While for several years after 1915 H.V. received her scripts, she did not see those of H.V. or any of the other automatists, except as and when they were published in SPR. Proceedings. Apart from H.V. she never knew personally any of the other automatists.

She must be credited with knowledge of all the cross-correspondences previously discussed in Proceedings including the Ave Roma Immortalis and Sevens cases described in Chapter XIII. The subjects of these do indeed reappear in her scripts, as will be seen from the first one that I shall quote, but for the most part the connection between her and the other automatists is made through matters which had not been made public, such as the symbols appropriate to various members of the communicating group, and the topic of "children of the spirit".

References by Mrs. Wilson to the three Founders of the SPR individually are few, and rather doubtful: had they been more frequent they would have had little point in view of her normal knowledge. She also thought she knew the story of Phyllis, though in fact the account she had heard was most inaccurate, but her supposed knowledge may account for the absence of references to Phyllis in her scripts. To the other Communicators, Mary Catherine Lyttelton, Octavia Laura Tennant and, particularly, F. M. Balfour, symbolic allusions in her script are numerous.

Here is the Wilson script of 22nd July 1917:
"One of the triumphal arches in Rome. The Roman Forum - Something buried there. That something I think was the instruments and utensils used in the sacrificial rites... I might almost as well say 'The Lays of Ancient Rome' and leave it at that for the rest of the experiment. To particularise ... [references to Virginia, Curtius, Scaevola and Horatius] The Tiber with St. Angelo on the far side, and an impression that the seven branch candlesticks a golden lamp and other treasure lie at the bottom of the river at this point... [references to Lucretia and to the Nativity] I had a dream later on that three men who sometimes seem to he talking to me about the experiments were regretting that I knew no Greek. I can't describe them except that the principal one has a kindly, rather whimsically gay manner."
Mrs. Wilson's "scripts" are contemporary records of scenes visualised by her while preparing for sleep. The experience often includes the hearing of words and phrases, but actual quotations are uncommon. The scene described in this script appears to be based on a novel by Hawthorne known as Transformation (and also as The Marble Faun) but it plainly combines the two topics of the Rome and Sevens cross-correspondences. In view of her knowledge ofProceedings that conjunction is not in itself significant. But there are several points which strike me as interesting; first the emphasis laid on the sacrifices necessary to achieve the greatness of Rome. The scripts of all the automatists stress the sacrifices without which the new world-order, of which Rome is a type, cannot be won, but nothing could be found in the reports in Proceedings published before the date of this script, or indeed before Piddington's paper in Proceedings XXXIII (1923), to suggest that the scripts were concerned with this idea.

"The seven branch candlesticks" as one of the numerous references to candies in scripts all relating to Mary Catherine Lyttelton (see p. 188 above) here as elsewhere point to her as a member of the communicating group of seven. The three men who regretted that Mrs. Wilson knew no Greek are perhaps Sidgwick, Myers and Gurney, who were all classical scholars; if so, the "principal one" must be meant for Gurney, in whom whimsicality was a notable characteristic. This is one of the very few references in Wilson scripts to the three Founders.

The frequency of allusions in Mrs. Wilson's scripts to "children of the spirit" may be partly attributed to her regret that she had no children of her own. The allusions take many forms. She begins one of her first scripts (20th May 1915) with a reference to Pompilia.
"I found myself thinking of the part [i.e. of The Ring and the Book] where the Pope sums up the case, and especially of lines that run something like this." [The Pope is apostrophising Pompilia]
          "'Give one good moment to the tired old man
          Weary with finding all his world amiss'
"I know that is not a correct quotation, but I can get no nearer.'
Gaetano is not mentioned here, and there would be no case for taking this as a birth-reference, were it not for the two scripts of Mrs. Verrall's relating to Pompilia and her child.

Her script of 19th August 1915 runs:
" ... A woman holding a baby in her lap and to her left a semicircle of bowed figures in great blue cloaks, their faces quite hidden by their hoods. I got the idea that they were old women and perhaps stood for the Fates or rather the Sibyls." [In the original the words "the Fates or rather" are struck through.]
Later passages in the script refer to "a turks head", alluding probably to the Moor's head which is the Cobham (Lyttelton) crest, and to Catherine Cornaro, one of the symbols of Mary Catherine Lyttelton. It is unnecessary to elaborate the appropriateness of both Fates and Sibyls to children of destiny: see for example Catullus LXIV, 320-383, and Vergil's Fourth Eclogue.

A long script of 1st March 1916 begins with the mention of a dream of which on waking Mrs. Wilson remembered one word "Sibyl". After reference to several other topics it continues:
"St. Francis of Assisi in his monk's robe. Laurels covered with snow, and the words 'There is always snow on their laurels'. The next picture, of a family group, grandparents, father, mother, young aunts and uncles, standing a little way off, looking with awe rather than affection, at a baby in a cradle, struck me as a realisation that the little creature, who will someday rank among the saints, is not altogether their own, but in some sort a changeling. [After further development of the changeling-saint theme.] For them the laurels, but laurels covered with snow."
St. Francis, and the seraph from whom his Order was styled "The Seraphic Order", appear frequently in Wilson script, especially in connection with the birth of children, which would be a surprising conjunction if the Saint did not typify his namesake F. M. Balfour. Laurels have a dual reference in scripts generally. Their primary relation is to Octavia Laura Tennant, and I take it that when the phrase "snow on their laurels" first occurs in this script, the allusion is to her and her death soon after giving birth to her only child. But when the phrase recurs after the scene with a baby in a cradle, I think it has a secondary reference to the death of another small child, Daphne, of whom Mrs. Wilson had never heard, but concerning whom much is said in the scripts of other automatists.

Another long script, of 25th November 1918, begins with the word "Eleusis", passes on to the Shunammite's son, and a little later runs as follows:
"Mermaids and tritons in a sea cave [two tritons are the supporters of the Cobham (Lyttelton) shield]. A poem of Lowell's, of which I am very fond, called An Ember Picture I found myself quoting from it
"'As we drove away in the darkness
The candle she held at the door ... etc.
[Later the script reverts to Eleusis and] "attempts at the myth of Demeter. She lays the infant Triptolemus in the fire ..."
The mention of mermaids and tritons would be appropriate both to Mary Catherine Lyttelton and to Octavia Laura Tennant, who became a Lyttelton by marriage. The quotation from Lowell brings in the candle, one of the most frequent symbols of Mary Catherine Lyttelton. Both the son and Triptolemus may be regarded as children of the spirit. The birth of the former was predicted to his incredulous mother, whose husband was old, by Elisha, who years later restored him to life (II Kings, iv, 14-37). The story of Demeter and the babe she placed in the fire is told in the Homeric Hymn in her honour. The goddess suckled him and placed him by night in the fire, that he might be deathless and ageless. But his mother watched her and interfered, so he missed immortality but won lasting glory as Demeter's nursling. Triptolemus is the name of the child in some versions of the story, though not in the Homeric Hymn.

To return to the Franciscan allusions, here are two scripts:
19th March 1916
"All sorts of glass retorts, tubes, wheels (I especially noticed a sort of double wheel like this) [drawing]. In fact the belongings of a laboratory... Some of the receptacles were full of a clear liquid full of shining bubbles... It ended, as far as I am concerned, in a most beautiful radiant seraph's head in a large test tube."

3rd June 1917
" ... A bright iridescent object, like a soap bubble, or a crystal, and forming in it something like the face of a golden-haired child, with wings.

"St. Francis's Seraph with the wings crossed over its face."
The idea common to both these scripts is the production of infant seraphs in a laboratory, and after what has been said of Francis Balfour's work as geneticist, and the birth of "children of the spirit", should need no further explanation.

A leading idea of the scripts is the supersession of a world resting on force and cruelty by a humaner order of things. Two examples have already been given, in the Wilson scripts of 19th August 1915 and 1st March 1916, of a babe gazed on by a circle of elders. Yet a third example of such a scene is to be found in a long script of 24th March 19 16, of which this is an extract:
"The Aurora Borealis. The light took the form of gigantic warriors leaning on their great two-handed swords and watching something intently. The expression, awe-inspiring, describes the feeling they gave me. I think they were the old Norse Gods. In front of them the Christ Child lying in a little manger and radiating a more golden light."
The symbolic meaning of this is obvious. The rest of the script, continuing the general idea, introduces, with some items not easy to interpret, references to Vikings, and two processions, one of the great conquerors, Alexander, Napoleon, etc., passing through swathes of dead men, and then one of children.

That the scripts of the SPR group of automatists are the largest and most complex of all connected pieces of material that have been studied by psychical researchers is plain from the space they occupy in many volumes ofProceedings from 1906 to 1938, nearly 3,000 pages. Even so, many of the scripts produced by this group have never been printed by the SPR, and many important aspects of them never discussed in the Society's publications. This and the foregoing chapter are meant to be a brief abstract of the scripts, published and unpublished, and to draw attention to various points which seem to be of importance but to have been either deliberately omitted from previous discussions, for reasons that seemed imperative at the time, or not so emphasised as to put the whole situation clearly before the reader. This attempt to put shortly the essential points of the scripts may strike some readers as too involved for easy understanding, but in fact they have been treated with great leniency. A little has been said about fishes, and candles, and hazels, but nothing about bridges, or lighthouses, or Excalibur, or Mulciber, or the Mayflower or Hair in a Temple or a score of other heterogeneous symbols. They have not been asked to pursue the ramifications of references to the Symposium, on which one of the interpreting group wrote a commentary running to 270 pages of typescript.

These two chapters, in which I have made extensive use of the immense industry and acumen of Alice Johnson, G. W. Balfour and Piddington, should make it clear that the cross-correspondences are neither self-contained literary puzzles, nor yet a tangle of literary puzzles connected with each other, but unconnected with the affairs of life; that on the contrary they are an integral part of a most elaborate design, the high lights, so to speak, of a picture, helping to emphasise the unity of it, and to show that the design could not be attributed to any single automatist. The design sets out a scheme for the creation of a peaceful world-order, of which the Pax Romana is an imperfect archetype, to be promoted by a great body of discarnate intelligences, of which seven specified Communicators are members and prophets, and to be achieved by the creation of a race of "children of the spirit", and through great disasters like World Wars, which are to be regarded as sacrifices to that end. (The scripts speak of wars in the plural, and of personal sacrifices as well.)

The cross-correspondences described in Chapter XIII all fit into this scheme. This is obvious as regards the Ave Roma Immortalis and Sevens cases. It is true also of the Earthly Paradise allusions, so curiously grafted on to the Sevens case. The pageant which Dante there sees is a symbolic representation of the long history of Rome in its dual aspect of Empire and Church. But it is a habit of the script-intelligence, to make one literary allusion serve as a link between several topics, and here the meeting of Dante and Beatrice brings in, together with the topic of Rome, the topics of the reunion of lovers, and of discarnate guidance, all three being important in the scheme of the scripts. It would be possible, at the cost of a long digression, to show how other notable cases already mentioned, such as the One-Horse Dawn and the Master Builder, have their places in the scheme.

The argument put forward rests on the interpretation of a mass of symbols, giving that word a wide meaning. This is notoriously a hazardous business. There are, it must be frankly admitted, considerable portions of the scripts for which no interpretation has been found, or only one so far-fetched as to lack plausibility. Some of these may eventually prove susceptible of a reasonable interpretation. Others probably consist of associations in the automatist's subconscious, irrelevant in themselves but leading on to a significant point to be reached later. Some may be mere padding. Their presence does not invalidate the interpretation of the parts for which meanings have been found, provided there is no inconsistency in the meanings placed on them.

The symbolism of the scripts covers both persons and topics. The personal symbols are not difficult to interpret when once the name, event or whatever it is that gives the clue, has been grasped. Till then, they may elude the understanding both of the automatist in whose script they appear and of any would-be interpreter, as was shown by the allusions to Mary Catherine Lyttelton in Mrs. Verrall's scripts as far back as 1901, and in Mrs. Holland's and H.V.'s scripts, all of which seemed meaningless until Mrs. Willett's Scripts of 1912. That this course of concealment and subsequent revelation was deliberately pursued by the script-intelligence I have no doubt.

The symbolism relating to topics is sometimes very obscure. But it is often plain enough. Nobody who took the trouble to look up the sources of the quotations in Mrs. Verrall's script of 29th April 1907, as she did at the time, could fail to grasp its intention. Nor is there any ambiguity in the idea underlying the three scenes in Mrs. Wilson's scripts of Sibyls, awe-struck relatives, and Norse gods, all gazing on a child. Taken as a whole, the scripts use the same symbols to refer to the same persons and the same topics, and in the main draw the same connections between persons and topics. But each automatist paints the picture in her own way, and some of the group draw a much closer connection between some of the persons and some of the topics than the others do. This difference does not however affect the scripts I have quoted or the interpretation put upon them. Anyone interested in the technique of interpreting a mass of symbolic and allusive writings produced by several automatists should read Piddington's introduction to his paper in Proceedings XXXIII.

The mere mention of symbols nowadays rouses mutterings of "Oh, yes, Freud of course". That the general scheme of the scripts, a world-order based on peace, responded to the conscious and subconscious wishes of a group of women all brought up in the idealist climate of the last century, cannot be doubted, nor that subsidiary but important parts of the scheme made a special appeal to particular members of the group, as the idea of "children of the spirit" seems to have appealed to Mrs. Wilson. But as a very persistent dreamer, always on the look out for, and often detecting, Freudian symbolism in my own dreams, I see no reason to suppose that symbols of that sort are specially frequent or important in the scripts.

All the automatists, apart from Mrs. Piper whose educational standard was modest, were above the average in knowledge of English literature and interest in it. This would include knowledge of English versions of Classical literature and legend, and the references to Greece and Rome to be found in Mrs. Holland's and Mrs. Wilson's scripts imply no greater knowledge than could have been obtained in this way. Mrs. Verrall's and H.V.'s scripts show a great familiarity with the Classics, as might have been expected: more surprising perhaps are the grammatical lapses of which their subconscious minds were often guilty. Mrs. Piper's references to the Classics sometimes seem to imply more learning than can easily be attributed to her normal powers. The wealth of classical allusions made by Mrs. Willett in the "Ear of Dionysius" (Proc. XXIX) is hard to explain on any normal hypothesis, but that most interesting case stands outside the general scheme of the scripts.

Paranormal knowledge of definite, verifiable facts may, I think, be found in the scripts of Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Holland, H.V., and Mrs. Willett. So far as concerns the scheme of the scripts as it has been discussed, the most striking instances of allusions in the scripts to facts of which normally acquired knowledge cannot be attributed to the automatists are those relating cryptically to Phyllis and Mary Catherine Lyttelton by Mrs. Verrall, while she was the sole automatist, and the more explicit references to Mary Catherine Lyttelton in Mrs. Willett's scripts from 1912 to 1916. Facts not normally known to Mrs. Holland or H.V. are referred to in their scripts in the usual cryptic way, but they concern matters which, though related to the general scheme of the scripts, have been left undiscussed in this chapter for fear of overburdening it.

It has been argued that there is a consistent scheme set out in the scripts of the SPR group of automatists over about thirty years from 1901 to 1930, comprising both a Story of past events and a Plan for the future. The scheme is really there, and not an invention of the perfervid ingenuity of the interpreters, for it rests on careful documentation, painstaking research into facts, and commonsense handling of symbols and allusions. The intricacy combined with the consistency of the scheme shows that it was not fortuitous. Common association of ideas among the automatists, and the spread of knowledge of each others scripts through publication in the Proceedings of the Society, and through correspondence and conversation between them, are doubtless contributing factors, but inadequate as an explanation of the whole affair. They do not account for paranormal references appearing independently in the scripts of several members. Incidentally the spread of information by normal means was never uncontrolled nor unrecorded, and allowance for it was made when the scripts came to be interpreted. In default of any sufficiently normal explanation, a paranormal one must he sought, and if one can be found harmonious with the probable explanations of other paranormal occurrences, so much the better.


Chapter 15: To What does the Evidence Point?
- W. H. Salter -
          IN PSYCHICAL research there are no short cuts. It has been necessary in the foregoing chapters to explore a few by-paths just far enough to show that, however well trodden, they lead nowhere. It has also been necessary to take a roundabout course which, in Chapters VII and VIII in particular, may seem to have strayed a long way from the goal. A stage has now been reached where the negative parts of the enquiry may be left behind without regret, and attention fixed on its positive aspects.

Basically these are the functions of the subconscious as a creative agent and as an organ whereby the individual is in touch in a special way with external intelligences. Its creative powers in dreams and in poetic inspiration were illustrated in Chapter VII by several examples, in some of which the subconscious collaborated with the conscious faculties more or less an equal terms, while in others it was so definitely the dominant partner as to seem almost to supersede them. In some instances, again, subconscious activity was shown as occurring in a context having no relation to communication with discarnate minds; in others the poet felt that the inspiration reaching him from some superhuman source was bound up with, or was evoked by, a dead man's surviving personality. This latter sensation is described in the passages quoted from Adonais and In Memoriam and in Blake's letter of the 6th May 1800.

Factual evidence is of no help in judging whether or not the inspired poet is justified in his claim to have derived his inspiration from the surviving intelligence of a dead man, or from some superhuman reality, like Milton's Urania, or from some mysterious union of the two. But whatever the poet's conviction may be as to the source from which his best work is inspired, it cannot just be disregarded. Difficulties there may be in the way of its literal acceptance, but in any attempt at a complete map of the subconscious some place must be found for it.

Full verification, on the other hand, is possible as to the functions of the subconscious as an organ of contact with the intelligences of other living persons. Observation of spontaneous paranormal occurrences and experiments in telepathy with "free" material, if inadequate as exact proof of that faculty, have brought it within the bounds of reasonable conviction, and have very usefully supplemented the quantitative experiments, which have demonstrated the reality of it as a faculty of living persons, by throwing light on its nature and on the way it works. As the basis for the summing up I am now about to attempt I regard telepathy as occurring not only by a one-way transmission from a single agent to a single percipient, but transfusively in such a way that both the persons concerned, or all if more than two, are agents and percipients at the same time: see p. 33.

The examples of telepathic action given above, omitting for the present those the context of which raises the question whether some discarnate intelligence may not be participating, are either unusual, perhaps unique, experiences of ordinary people, as e.g. crisis apparitions mostly are, or repeated but discontinuous actions of persons having exceptional powers, such as percipients in experiments. If those were the only ways in which the faculty operated it would be natural to wonder what purpose it served in the scheme of things, and to suspect, as some students have done, that it survives as a curious relic of a distant age before sight, hearing and the other senses were sufficiently developed, or differentiated, to serve as means of communication between man and man. For thousands of years men have communicated with each other by speech and writing with a certainty, precision and fullness far in excess of anything that could be claimed for experimental telepathy or for that faculty as it manifests itself in crisis apparitions. Telepathy was indeed at one time a speedier means of conveying news over great distances than any of its normal competitors, but scientific invention has for a long time robbed it of even this advantage.

There are however grounds for believing that telepathy has in the past fulfilled and still fulfils a useful purpose not in competition with but as supplementary to more normal means of communication. When the resources of speech are under discussion it is well to hear what the experts have to say, the scholars and the poets. I will quote one from each group, both men of distinction recently dead. Gilbert Murray, whose scholarship was combined with experience as a successful percipient, declared that without telepathy language could not have developed. Walter de la Mare said that without telepathy there could be no intimate conversation.

This latter pronouncement is supported by what my friends tell me and my own experience confirms to be a not uncommon occurrence. It is what is popularly called "taking the words out of one's mouth". A group of friends with a similar mental background are talking together, each contributing something. Then, out of the blue, two of them will at the same moment say the same thing. What they say may arise naturally out of the preceding talk, in which case there is nothing remarkable. But every now and then, as many people would assert, what is said by the two, while not, it may be, entirely unconnected with what has gone before, strikes both the speakers and their friends as giving the conversation a new and surprising turn. It is a sport, something like the spray of pink flowers I noticed today on a scarlet rosebush. The subject of the verbal sport is often trivial enough, and the deviation from the general run of the talk not as distinct as the difference in colour of the roses. It is not therefore a thing that would carry any weight in an argument to prove the reality of telepathy. If however that is proved, as I take it to be, this odd, intangible phenomenon does, I think, reinforce the view implicit in de la Mare's pronouncement, that as between friends telepathy is continuous.

Another type of occurrence, where the evidence for its being paranormal is equally intangible, is the exchange of letters between friends who have not corresponded with each other for a long time. Here again, if some event of interest to both has become known to them, of a kind to prompt the exchange, there is no need to invoke telepathy. But is that always the whole story? The case for continuity receives much stronger support from cross-correspondences, but these lie outside the immediate discussion which is confined to the normal and paranormal faculties of the living in circumstances in which there is no question of discarnate activity.

The utility of telepathy, if continuous, is not far to seek. Intercourse between friends by conversation and letters is intermittent. Moreover, language, spoken or written, just because it is so precise in its conveyance of information as to facts, is defective in the transmission of more subtle thoughts and feelings. The dictum that "Language was given us to conceal our thoughts" was no doubt cynical in intention, but it is a matter of common observation that even where there is no desire for concealment or deception of any sort, the spoken or written word often gives rise to distressing misunderstanding. Telepathy, as a continuous stream of common subconscious thought and feeling would help not only to check these misunderstandings, but to fill in the gaps incidental to normal intercourse by speech or letter.

In two passages in Human Personality Myers puts the claim for telepathy even higher. He writes (Vol. I, p. 111):
"Beyond and above man's innate power of world-wide perception, there exists also that universal link of spirit with spirit which in its minor earthly manifestations we call telepathy."
And later (Vol. II, p. 282):
"Love is a kind of exalted but unspecialised telepathy: the simplest and most universal expression of that mutual gravitation or kinship of spirits which is the foundation of telepathic law."
The emphasis on universality in these two passages and elsewhere in the book implies a belief in some form of "common subconscious" shared by all sentient creatures. This is a conception difficult to imagine and impossible to prove. It is the psychological counterpart of the mystic idea of the Great Soul. When this idea takes the form of a belief that there is no link between creature and creature except through the Great Soul, it is rejected even by those who, like Tennyson, claim to have had mystic experience of the Great Soul: see In Memoriam, XLVII.

To illustrate the first of the two passages quoted, Myers prints a long summary of part of Plato's Symposium. He lays most stress on the discourse of Diotima who maintains that earthly love leads on to an impersonal fulfilment in knowledge of Very Beauty, but to his summary of her discourse he prefixes a much shorter summary of the discourse of Aristophanes who regards as the goal of love the complete and eternal fusion of pairs of lovers. Myers arranges his summary of the two discourses in such a way as to indicate that there is nothing contradictory between a fully personal union between two lovers in life and death, and communion with the Great Soul in its aspect of Beauty, but rather that the one conception is complementary to the other. Whether Plato shared that view is another matter. All that is relevant here is to note that acceptance of a subconscious linkage between individuals has not committed all those who have proclaimed it to "the faith as vague as all unsweet" that leaves no place for human love or friendship after the death of the body.

The nature of the evidence for precognition and clairvoyance as faculties of the living, sometimes distinguishable from each other and from telepathy, has been briefly treated in Chapter XI. Sometimes however the evidence is sufficient to show that there has been paranormal activity, but not enough to show whether the activity was telepathic, clairvoyant or precognitive, or perhaps of a nature not conforming to any of those three terms in their usual meaning. In such cases it is convenient to speak of General Extrasensory Perception (GESP), or more briefly Psi. Any phrase however of which the word "Perception" forms part is unsatisfactory as a label for faculties of the kind that are operative in the more complex forms of mediumistic communications and, more particularly, in the cross-correspondences. A term is needed that does more justice to the intenseness and the duration of the activity there shown, that implies the progressive element of thinking rather than the more static notion of perceiving.

It is however less important to invent new technical terms than to emphasise that where discarnate intelligences are, ostensibly at least, acting through living persons, the difficulty of assigning the paranormal activity shown to one or other of these three faculties is greatly increased. The investigators of Mrs. Piper, whether they took the survivalist view of her mediumship or not, were agreed that the veridical element in the communications could be attributed to telepathy between the living only by crediting that faculty with powers unparalleled by the results of experiment. The "One Horse Dawn" case certainly was not plain ordinary telepathy, and in addition it raised in a curious way the problem of time. Whatever the cause of Mrs. Leonard's successful book-tests may have been, it was certainly not plain, ordinary clairvoyance, if those epithets are applicable to so obscure and dubious a faculty. What is there in the context of ostensible discarnate activity that makes these faculties, or GESP, or Psi, if those terms are preferred, undergo so curious a transformation?

Arguments as to survival seem often to start with a preconceived idea as to what constitutes survival, and then to debate whether the evidence is of a kind to establish that idea. It is a more sensible procedure to take the evidence step by step and note what sort of survival, if any, it points to. This is the course I propose to follow, beginning with evidence that is completely normal, and generally accepted, not to say commonplace.

On one point everyone is agreed, believers in the traditional faiths, spiritualists, men inclined to "honest doubt", and convinced materialists, that part of what we are disposed to regard as a man's personality, the part which comes to our mind most immediately and insistently when we think of a living friend, his bodily presence with the well-known features, gestures, tone of voice, suffers dissolution on death. In considering the survival of personality we are considering a personality that by common consent has suffered some loss. It is at this point that disagreement begins. Is the "natural body" to be regarded as "this muddy vesture of decay" freedom from which is all gain, or as the essential person conditioning all thoughts and feelings, or as something intermediate between the extremes of these idealistic and materialistic views, to which Horace's words may be applied: Non omnis moriar multaque pars mei/vitabit Libitinam?

But what of the distinction between conscious and subconscious? Do both survive the death of the body, and if so are they divided in the same way and to the same extent as in life? That during life the division was not at any time complete, and was in some circumstances obliterated, has already been shown. If the view is correct that the function of the conscious is to cope with the immediate, day-to-day problems of bodily existence, there would seem to he no point in its continuance as an even partially distinct part of a discarnate intelligence, supposing such a thing to exist. Communications through mediums and automatists often contain both elements, material which, if its origin were a living person, one would unhesitatingly assign to his conscious mind, and other material suggestive of subconscious activity. if a durable fusion of conscious and subconscious is a feature of discarnate existence, the result might be assumed to be an intense intellectual activity, a foretaste of which is during life in the body offered in moments of inspiration by the temporary fusion of those elements. But the difficulty of communicating with friends still in the body would be increased by such fusion, as in this life recognition of friend by friend occurs on the conscious level on both sides. Communicators often mention the difficulties they purport to experience in sending messages intelligible to those intended to receive them. The trouble may be due to their inability to recapture the feelings appropriate to their own previous unintegrated condition.

To return to Horace and his claim that a part, a large part, of him would escape the Goddess of Funerals, it was through his poetry that he claimed a long life for himself, and that "life" in fact has already lasted five or six times as long as he predicted. A similar thought has inspired men and women in many ages and countries to perpetuate such a "vicarious existence", to adopt Samuel Butler's phrase, by their achievements in peace and war. It is not an ignoble concept, and it represents all that many thinking people of our time, especially when not under the stress of recent bereavement, either expect or desire. Nor is such posthumous existence confined to a chosen few. The village Hampdens and the mute, inglorious Miltons have it as certainly, if not for so long, as the more illustrious men who bore those names.

Among distinguished men Horace has been one of the lucky ones. All his writings have come down to us, and there is, I think, no serious dispute as to their general meaning and intention. But of other ancient authors of equal fame only a small part of their work, and of some practically nothing, has reached us, or what has reached us is of debatable meaning. Horace's fame and influence have grown, as he foresaw, but through what he wrote before Libitina claimed her share, and not through any subsequent writings.

The founders of great movements in religion and politics have been on the whole less fortunate. Within a few generations, possibly within a period shorter than their life on earth, their followers will have explained, expanded, subtracted from their teachings so as to make them unrecognisable to their authors, had these the power to follow the course of events since their death.

But to most of mankind the case of "the rude forefathers of the hamlet" is of more concern than that of the leaders of the race. Everyone can, if he so chooses, leave behind him pleasant memories of love and friendship, and a tale of useful if inconspicuous work. But within a hundred years the personal memories will have faded, and the work been overlaid by that of his successors. That for him is the end of vicarious existence, so long as it depends on the operation of normal causes.

Telepathy however changes the picture a good deal. The natural effect of it will be to intensify and prolong vicarious existence by keeping fresh his friends' memories of the dying man. If he was devoted to any cause during his life, his devotion will have been more fully understood by them, and any legacy of ideas he may leave behind him will suffer a smaller risk of perversion.

A much more important consequence of telepathy has however to be considered if it be regarded as continuous and transfusive in the way already described. This brings in the problem of the group mind. Imagine a closely knit group of friends sharing a common, absorbing interest, religious perhaps, or political, or professional. In addition to the conscious linkage between them due to their meeting each other and exchanging letters, there will also be a subconscious bond impelling them by their group-relation to act in a special, distinctive way. Such is the basis of military discipline. But the minds of the members of the group would still be their separate minds, and there would be no group mind as well. Except, perhaps, where the conscious and subconscious bonds were reinforced by particularly intense emotion, as in some religious communities, both primitive and more highly developed. In primitive religions, we are told, rites come before deities, who are a personification and projection of the communal emotions of those who celebrate the rites. That is how it appears to sophisticated scholars. To the primitive thiasos however the centre of the rite, that gave the rite its purpose and validity, was no abstract personification, but a person with a mind and will of his own. And possibly the thiasos knew best.

In more fully developed societies mediumship offers favourable opportunities for watching the workings of the group mind. According to the "ectoplasmic" view of physical phenomena held by some eminent men like Richet, the force needed to produce the phenomena is generated partly by the medium and partly by the sitters. Some of the instances that the believers in "ectoplasmy" have quoted, the materialisations of Eva C., for instance, were very dubious, but there may all the same be something in the notion of collaboration of medium and sitters in stimulating paranormal activity. In trance mediumship, where the phenomena are less suspect, the force is of course of a different order.

It is not however necessary to have recourse to mediums in order to observe the emergence of an interpersonal intelligence, on a small scale indeed and in conditions that do not favour definite proof. The old-fashioned practice of table-tilting has fallen into disuse, regrettably I think. I have on various occasions joined with friends in this practice, and have read reports of table-tilting, planchette or other forms of automatism as conducted by other groups. The experience gained in this way has left on me the clear impression, in a matter where proof is not to be expected, that during the process of automatism and through it an ad hoc intelligence emerges which is not the intelligence of any single member of the group. I use the word intelligence, as I have previously used the phrase script-intelligence, non-committally. Whatever it is that emerges is too rudimentary and transient to be called a personality, but if my impression is correct, we have here a clue that will help us to understand phenomena that, on a much larger scale, suggest the existence and activity of a group mind. It is a misfortune that so little seems being done at present in the way of experimental automatism by groups of friends willing to give open-minded, critical attention to the psychological aspects of the results. One further qualification must be added, that they have no bias against an entirely qualitative assessment of the product.

For group phenomena on a larger scale one must turn to the scripts of the SPR group of automatists discussed in the two preceding chapters. They are in fact the largest piece of connected material in psychical research, largest in respect of the volume of scripts, the length of time, over thirty years, during which they were produced, and the number of automatists involved, about a dozen, if a few who made minor contributions are included. They are also notable for the distinguished ability of several both of the automatists and of the interpreters, for the carefulness of the documentation, and above all for their complexity and the many curious problems that they raise.

The scripts which have already been published amount, with the comments, to a whole literature, and there are a large number still awaiting publication when favourable circumstances, including finance, permit. For judging however the relations of the group to the persons composing or connected with it the published material is fully sufficient. The group situation here is highly complex, as there is not simply one group involved, but three inter-connected groups, those of the Communicators, the automatists and the interpreters. In each group some of the members were linked by ties of love, friendship or kinship, with some others of the same group, and also with some others of each of the other two groups. This naturally increased the need for care in preventing unintentional leakage between the automatists, who had in fact for the most part very slight normal connections with each other, and it also increased the difficulty of the interpreters, in deciding how much allowance should be made for unavoidable leakage, e.g. through publication of early scripts while later ones were being produced, and for latent memory. Fortunately they were men and women of superhuman pertinacity. But the multiple emotional relations pervading the three groups may very well have been an essential condition for the production of paranormal work of this size, complexity and duration.

The outstanding features of the scripts of the group were (1) the evidence of design, and of a designer outside the group of automatists, provided by the cross-correspondences some examples of which have been discussed in Chapter XIII; (2) the evidence of a purpose common to the group and set out cryptically in a common symbolic scheme persisting during the whole duration of the scripts, i.e. from 1901 to 1930 or later, as explained in Chapter XIV; (3) references to events not normally known to the automatist in whose script they occur, for examples of which see' Lady Balfour's recently published paper, The Palm Sunday Case in Proc. 52, Part 189. Besides these there are remarkable instances of other types of material, the product of a single automatist rather than of the group, such as the case of Myers's "posthumous" message (Proc. 52, I) and the Statius and Ear of Dionysius cases (Proc. XXVII, XXIX).

The automatists differed among themselves in the relative emphasis laid in their scripts on the Communicating group as a group and on its separate members. Personalisation of the separate Communicators is strongest with Mrs. Willett, and faintest with H.V. and Mrs. Stuart Wilson. The difference seems to correspond to their differences of temperament, Mrs. Willett being more prone to subconscious dramatisation than the others, and it is therefore superficial. In substance the Communicators, though very closely bound together as a group, are clearly represented as not completely merged in it. Each draws on his own memories and associations, and some of them are represented as using their special abilities to further in different ways the common purpose.

In his admirable papers on the survival problem in the Journal of the American SPR for 1945 Gardner Murphy stresses the need for distinguishing between evidence that points to a "static" survival, and evidence supporting the conception of survival of an active kind, the only kind that would be generally recognised as survival in any true sense. This chapter and the two preceding ones are intended to-show a particular instance of active survival on a large scale, namely in a group the members of which promote their post mortem activities through that group, and convey information as to those activities by means of the subconscious activities of another group, that of the automatists.

The psychical researcher can say as much as that, but no more, without stepping outside his legitimate province, and he can say it with the support of evidence that is not open to reasonable criticism of its genuineness, of the care with which it has been recorded and verified, or of the skill with which it has been interpreted. The last point is important, as unless the interpretation of the cryptic language of the scripts is substantially right, the argument I have put forward is seriously weakened.

To Phantasms of the Living (1886) the authors prefixed three lines of Greek verse the meaning of which is that wise men receive the highest truths through oracular riddles from which dullards learn nothing. It was doubtless out of politeness that the authors left these lines untranslated. No question of politeness now arises, for a generation that finds William Blake and James Joyce easy reading could not possibly boggle at the oracular riddles of the scripts. All that is needed is patience to master the symbolic scheme, as expounded in several papers in SPR Proceedings, and willingness for a time to forget Freud. It is of course a pertinent question why the scripts do not say a plain thing in a plain way. Piddington's suggestion, that the intention was to prevent the automatists guessing prematurely the inner meaning of their own scripts, seems to me borne out by the increasing explicitness with which over a long period certain topics are referred to.

It will no doubt have been noted that little of positive evidence cited in this book is of recent date. That this is so is most regrettable It is largely, 1 think, due to the widening gap, noticeable soon after the end of the First World War, between psychical research and psychotherapeutics. Freud's immense contribution to the understanding of the subconscious was from an early date recognised by psychical research and he, personally, was always friendly to the SPR, of which he was a Corresponding Member from 1911. Many however of his leading followers chose to adopt an attitude of doctrinaire superciliousness towards psychical research, which made co-operation impossible. The climax came in 1924 after he had written to Ernest Jones, his most prominent supporter in the United Kingdom, saying that the impression made on him by the reports of the Gilbert Murray experiments was so strong that he would "even be prepared to lend the support of psychanalysis to the matter of telepathy". This so alarmed his supporters that they put pressure on him to soft-pedal his interest. The public were permitted to learn these facts for the first time in 1958, thirty-four years after they occurred, and nineteen years after Freud's death.

There are welcome signs that a younger generation of Freudians are more willing to follow Freud's line, but it was disastrous that for so long the psychoanalytic school should have narrowed its enquiry into the subconscious by rejecting so valuable a key to it as telepathy, and have also refused all co-operation with psychical researchers who were pursuing their own enquiries into the same subject in no less scientific a spirit and with longer experience. How much material came the way of the psychoanalysts and failed to yield all the information about the subconscious that could have been gained by examination from the angle of psychical research, we shall never know.

Nor axe psychical researchers altogether free from blame in narrowing their own enquiries by concentrating them almost exclusively for the last twenty years on material suitable for quantitative assessment. This is a useful line of research which has yielded important results, but it excludes from purview all but the simplest mental processes and everything tinged with emotion. Enquiry directed to the paranormal manifestations of complex and emotional thinking must proceed concurrently, if psychical research is not to abandon that exploration of human personality to which it, and no other branch of science, is committed. Here again the signs are not unhopeful. The renewed activity in the collection and analysis of spontaneous cases, such as those described in Chapters III and IV, is a welcome beginning.


Chapter 16: Zoar: "Is it not a Little One?" Gen. XIX
- W. H. Salter -
          THE EVIDENCE set out in the preceding chapters and the discussion of it would be altogether inadequate as the sole basis of a judgment as to the survival of personality after the death of the body. For such a judgment a man would have to take into account other organised systems of fact and inference from fact, and also the impression left on him by the experiences of his whole life, viewed as objectively as he could manage to view them. These vary so much from person to person as to make it useless to attempt to relate them to the hypothesis of survival put forward in this book.

There is of course a subjective element in the organised systems too. Facts are dry bones. Inference is needed to give them life, and inference implies subjectivity. Different theorists, working on facts accessible to all of them, can and do produce very different systems. This is true of the systems with which psychical research has the closest contacts, science and religion.

As between science and psychical research the point at issue is telepathy, which is accepted as a real faculty by most psychical researchers, including some scientists of great distinction, and is rejected by so large a section of scientists as to justify one, for the sake of brevity, in speaking of it as rejected by science. For other forms of extra-sensory perception than telepathy there is indeed evidence, but in relation to the survival hypothesis put forward in the preceding chapter it is telepathy, as a faculty dependent on the combined activity of more than me intelligence, that is of primary importance.

The conflicting views of telepathy held by scientists in general and by many popular writers present a situation that must strike every student of psychical research as ludicrous. One party rejects and the other accepts telepathy, the only common ground between them being that neither gives any indication of having made a study of the evidence sufficient to justify either a positive or a negative conclusion.

The evidence as to telepathy is voluminous and varied, consisting of records partly of quantitative experiments in extrasensory perception, partly of experiments with "free material", and very largely of sittings with trance mediums and automatic writing in which the experimental element is slight, not to mention reports of apparitions and other "spontaneous cases" in which it is wholly absent. The number of persons who are, or ever have been, well informed as to the whole of this material is extremely small, and I hasten to add I am not one of them. The weight of the evidence cannot he brushed aside by suggestions that. some person of unblemished character faked the results, or that some experienced investigator omitted to follow a procedure favoured by his less experienced critic, or even by proof that somebody somewhere has done a sum wrong. A negative judgment to carry any weight must deal with the whole of the evidence and must rest on a recognition that subject matter so varied requires for its proper study equally varied methods, some of which will be unfamiliar to persons trained in enquiries into material of a different kind.

As to positive judgments, facile acceptance of psychical phenomena by popular writers has also been harmful. The mischief has been worst, perhaps, where the subject has been of a kind lending itself to sensational treatment, haunted houses for instance and the phenomena of the séance-room. Compared with these, telepathy is, superficially at least, lacking in thrills, but the implications of it are of such far-reaching importance that one at least of the forms in which it appears to manifest itself ought to be studied, and studied intensively, by anyone interested in the mental side of human life. If the study of one form gave a positive result that would suffice to establish the reality of the faculty. Study of the other forms, so long as the enquirer merely wished for proof, would then be unnecessary, but the results would increase his understanding of a problem which is in parts admittedly obscure. If on the other hand either the first form he studied or any he studied later gave negative or inconclusive results, then it would be a case for suspension of judgment until he had examined all the forms, supposing his leisure and patience to hold out long enough.

The common and very natural dislike of entertaining an idea foreign to one's preconceived notions, and perhaps subversive of them, is doubtless at the root of much of the opposition to telepathy and of the unwillingness even to examine the evidence. It is however possible to formulate an argument against it in terms that a reasonable, fair-minded critic might use, somewhat as follows:
"I admit the ability of the investigators whose enquiries have led them to pronounce in favour of telepathy, and I will assume, for the sake of argument, that the evidence for it, taken by itself, is as strong as you claim. I have not given to the study of it the time which you say it requires. But other investigators, of equal ability, and enjoying superior facilities for research, working on other material, have reached conclusions incompatible with the existence of a faculty of the kind you assert. I refer to the inter-relation of physical and mental processes, demonstrated by current research in ever greater detail."
Of this inter-relation everyone is aware, on a small scale, from his own experience if he has attempted to write a difficult letter when suffering from a heavy cold. But as far as a layman can judge from pronouncements of eminent scientists they do not yet claim to he able to account for all mental activity in physical terms. An argument therefore, that no transmissive or transfusive act could take place between two or more intelligences without corresponding activity by the bodies associated with them, involves some admixture of inference with the facts established by research. in the argument for telepathy on the other hand the facts give more direct support and require less assistance from inference, so that in the present state of knowledge the affirmative view is the more objective.

A case is, however, precarious if it rests on the assumption that a vigorous flowing tide will slacken before it is endangered. It may not be idle to speculate how the case for telepathy would stand if research at some future time established so complete an interrelation between bodily and mental processes as to render untenable the inference, at present the rational inference, that the telepathic process is non-physical. Such a hypothetical conclusion might be reached without discovering what physical process in particular was concerned. In that event the position of telepathy as a method of communication between intelligences otherwise than by any of the channels of sense recognised at that time, would remain untouched. There would then have to be cooperation between physiologists and psychical researchers to discover what the physical process was, reviewing for instance the old "wave" hypothesis, which at present seems to run counter to the evidence.

That telepathy, as described above, is a real faculty is placed beyond reasonable doubt if a comprehensive view of the whole evidence for it is taken. Whether it has a physical or a non-physical basis, and, if physical, of what kind, are questions which in their wider implications are interesting and important, but irrelevant as regards the argument for survival set out in this book. The essential point is that telepathy, whatever its basis, as a force working interpersonally among a living group, can give rise to mental activities so distinctively characteristic of a dead member of the group as to he best described as due to his discarnate intelligence: further, that the activities in question include not only revived memories of verifiable events known to few besides himself, and unknown to the person through whom they are communicated, but, of more importance, the initiation and execution of designs of the kind described in the three preceding chapters.

While there are some aspects of psychical research that are naturally repugnant to anyone who meets them, and not least of course to the psychical researcher who is more aware of them than the general public, there are others that he has no reason to like but has learnt to tolerate as inevitable by-products of activities that are on balance of value. In the first group comes fraud, of which no more need be said than that there are in several countries societies pledged to the examination of psychical phenomena "without prejudice or prepossession of any kind", to quote once more the manifesto of the Founders of the SPR, which can put the enquirer on a path free from that pitfall.

The second group consists of the often tedious and apparently pointless maunderings to be found in the "communications" received through trance mediums and automatists. It frequently happens that a sitting or a script, productive of material worth study, shows in its earlier part stuff of this kind. This may be compared with the confused noises an orchestra makes when tuning up before a concert, or it might be said that the subconscious has to clear its throat before it can achieve the enunciation proper to the delivery of its message.

The qualification "apparently pointless" was used advisedly. Much probably is in fact pointless but appearances may be deceptive. Nonsense, as Lewis Carroll showed, may be the most effective vehicle for conveying sense. There is not much surface meaning in the clues of a cross-word puzzle, if taken separately. Crossword devotees confidently hope that in combination the clues will yield them an orderly pattern of intelligible words. The automatic scripts of "the SPR group" are, I have not the slightest doubt, a puzzle on a very large scale indeed, but of a slightly different kind. The clues are there, in the form of recurrent quotations, or recurrent cryptic allusions to various topics. And just as in a crossword puzzle the same letter forms part of two words, one read "down" and the other "across", so in the scripts the same quotation or allusion may serve a dual purpose in relation to two different topics. But while the cross-word gives a pattern of separate and usually unrelated words, the pattern of the scripts, immensely complex as it is, consists in the interconnection of the various quotations, allusions, personal references and topics into a coherent whole.

With subconscious nonsense may be grouped triviality, the occurrence of which in messages purporting to come from the dead has often given. much offence. To take one out of hundreds of instances that have occurred, on her first visit to England Mrs. Piper gave Oliver Lodge a sitting at which a dead uncle of his was the Communicator. As part of the evidence of his identity mention was made of a snake-skin which he was said to have possessed as a boy (Proc. VI, 515). It is an obvious enough criticism that if there is personal survival, the dead will not after many years bother to remember or talk about such trivial childish affairs. But, as has often been pointed out, a man who is prevented by circumstances from free, direct communication with his friends, to whom he can nevertheless send an oral message through a third party, could choose no better way of authenticating the message than by including in it mention of some trifling affair known to himself and the intended recipient, but not to the intermediary or anyone likely to have concocted a spurious message.

That communications contain absurdities and trivialities for which no reasonable justification could be found is highly probable. But communications should not be discredited offhand on account of apparent defects of this kind without careful consideration of the relation of the offending passages to the whole and of the possibility that there is some good reason for their being where they are.

A religiously minded person who reads records of sittings may come across passages that are not only obnoxious in a general way because of their triviality, but are from his standpoint particularly distasteful as cheapening by their shallow assurance the whole question of human existence or as repugnant to the orthodox doctrines of his faith. For examples of the last one need look no further than the Spirit Teachings of Stainton Moses, mentioned in an earlier chapter.

Many religions draw a distinction between two orders of things, natural and supernatural, the latter being an order in which the ordinary methods of enquiry, legal, historical and scientific, have no validity. Without pausing to consider how far the distinction is itself valid, it is convenient to adopt it for the purposes of the present discussion, and psychical research has recognised it in like manner by substituting the word "paranormal" as defining the scope of its enquiries for the earlier "supernormal", which was liable to he confused by the public with "supernatural".

In pursuit of research within the natural order every enquirer must use the methods for ascertaining facts that experience has shown to be useful in relation to facts of the kind he is studying, and must draw what seem to him the most probable inferences from those facts, regardless of whether his facts and his inferences appear to conflict with the facts found and the inferences drawn by enquirers into other departments of the natural order, or with any teachings or beliefs, however based, as to the supernatural. That is both his right and his duty as researcher. But that does not mean that as a human being he must or should form his conclusions on questions of general human interest, such as the survival of personality after the death of the body, solely an his own system of facts and inferences, or indeed solely m the totality of facts proved within the natural order together with such inferences as those who have established the facts have drawn from them. He must of course take all that into account so far as he knows it, being on his guard against the certain intrusion into it of a subjective element. But it is proper for him also to take into account all his own experience of life, including whatever he has learnt from religious leaders, philosophers and poets. Here the subjective element is likely to be greater but more obvious, and therefore less dangerous.

The theory of survival put forward in this book is based on natural, but paranormal, facts of a particular kind and on inferences that can reasonably, I would say that must almost inevitably, be drawn from them. Its relation to another system of natural fact, mainly physiological fact, and inference has already been discussed. It remains to consider its relation to the teachings as to the supernatural of religious systems, especially those that are theistic.

It would be sheer mockery to offer this theory as a satisfaction Of. or an alternative to, the hope of immortality, to ask seekers for Zion to be content with Zoar. 'Me shortcomings of the theory, if taken as, the last word on survival, would from the religious angle be very obvious. It says nothing about the relation of the human soul to the Deity, or as to the effect of conduct in this life on the state of the soul in the life to come. If the evidence on which the theory is based is accepted, there is no assurance of any future existence except of a most impermanent kind, of a duration shorter than the natural term of life in the body.

These criticisms would he to the point, did they not rest on a misconception of what the theory claims to be. No theory founded on facts of the natural order could deal with the matters mentioned in the preceding paragraph without pushing inference much beyond the proper limit. Psychical research, in particular, has no ambition to claim territory that lawfully belongs to revelation or mystical experience, or possibly to metaphysics. The question then is whether the theory, keeping within the proper boundaries of psychical research, is a good neighbour to the occupants of adjacent ground to which it lays no claim. Does it, in other words, not only fall short of religious doctrine, as to the duration and moral aspects of life after death, but run counter to it? There is no uniformity of teaching as to the future life among the different world-religions, or even among the different Christian bodies. Substantial divergences were bound to occur when the philosophic caution with which St. Paul speaks of the spiritual body came to be fused with the perfervid imagery of the Apocalypse. To mention one denomination alone, some ingenuity seems needed to harmonise the views expressed or implied on different pages of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

The Churches are however unanimous in teaching Eternity, a conception which may imply more than an indefinite extension of Time, but is incompatible with anything less, certainly incompatible with the narrow time-limit of the evidence supporting this theory. That evidence covers about sixty years from the first death in the communicating group to the latest of the communications, a period longer. than any covered by any other paranormal evidence that need be taken seriously. One must exclude all the ancient Chinamen and Egyptians who profess to speak their languages with the pronunciation prevalent thousands of years ago, a matter on which scholars disclaim certainty. Nor, of course, am I speaking of any communications for which a supernatural origin is claimed.

The important thing is to keep clearly in mind the distinction between existence, as such, and the ability to give evidence of existence. The ability to give the communications on which this theory is mainly founded depended on there being at the same time two groups of living persons, the automatists and the interpreters, having in different ways and degrees a keen interest in the dead men and women who formed the third group, that of the Communicators. But on the supposition that the scripts do establish their continued existence, the Communicators must have been existing during all the years between their deaths-the first of them died in 1875 - and 1901, when the first communications came through Mrs. Verrall. It was Myers's death a few weeks earlier, and Mrs. Verrall's keen interest in him that activated the group of automatists. Some of the members of that group were however interested in some of the Communicators who had died before Myers, and a similar interest was more widely diffused among living persons who were not members of that group. The conditions for active survival were therefore present before the conditions favouring communication came into being.

The SPR group of automatists is not the only channel through which have come communications deserving serious consideration. Trance mediums such as Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard, to name two who have been investigated with particular thoroughness, should not be overlooked. The particular form in which communications came through the SPR group was due to that group's close connection, in ways already explained, with the communicating and interpreting groups, but, given individual mediums of sufficient power, this theory does not place any difficulties in the way of a person who, during his life, has shared the intellectual and emotional life of his friends being able to give evidence of his continued existence and activity.

Absence of communication does not in any way imply either non-existence or inactivity. Communication depends on friends, still alive on earth, having the desire to receive messages from the friend who is dead, and the good fortune to get in touch with the right sort of medium, of whom there may at any time be few. The friend's active survival depends on the links of friendship he forged when still alive.

It depends, in fact, on the extent to which he has during his life broken out of a closed egocentric circle, and its basis is therefore moral. Men may indeed associate for evil as well as for good. Two proverbs are in point, and both are true. One says, "There is honour among thieves," and the other, "When thieves fall out honest men come by their own". History, and not least recent history, has provided notable examples of political systems which, in flagrant defiance of accepted moral principles, have had none the less a long run. They have gained power and been preserved from collapse through the support of decent people, whose generous emotions of courage, loyalty and comradeship they have successfully exploited.

Harmonious association for a common end does not among the living mean the extinction of differences of opinion or divergencies of personal character, quite the contrary. There is then nothing at variance with what we observe in everyday life in the notion of a survival which is at once personal and interpersonal. If it were asked, "Within what framework is the interpersonal element effective, a group of the dead man's friends still living on earth, or a group of kindred discarnate intelligences?" the answer would be that both the interpersonal and the personal elements are most effective when the two groups interpenetrate in the way of which the various groups concerned with the automatic writings discussed in the three preceding chapters are a complex example.

Zoar is indeed no continuing city. As seen from Pisgah, it lies on the border of the Promised Land (Deut. XXXIV, 3), but from it the further read cannot be discerned by natural sight. Some idea however of that road may perhaps he gained from the direction that the road already travelled has taken. There is, to start with, a personality divided for the convenience of bodily life into two parts, conscious and subconscious, with imperfect though continuous communication between them. Between this personality and other personalities similarly divided communication is for both of them mainly on the conscious level, and is intermittent and liable to misconstruction, notwithstanding such subconscious links between the two as may to a greater or less extent maintain continuity and check misunderstanding.

In place of this state of division the argument founded on the evidence set out in previous chapters offers an integrated intelligence, in which the previous subconscious has absorbed whatever of consciousness served more than the immediate needs of the body, drawing vigour from the friends still in the body with whom it was, and is, united by "the telepathic law", as Myers put it, of love and friendship, and able without let or hindrance to join with other integrated intelligences in furtherance of whatever activities they all, and their living friends, hold of supreme importance. Its existence is at this stage both personal and interpersonal.

Zoar then, for all its smallness, is not wholly insignificant. Its limitations may in fact commend it in quarters that would reject a more detailed plan of the Promised Land with every fenced city accurately sited. Is it certain that if Dante had been born in the nineteenth century instead of the thirteenth and had recorded his vision in the twentieth, in verse of equal magnificence, his poem would have received from the religious world the acclamation that centuries have bestowed on the Divina Commedia?

Up to this point the argument has been kept within the limits of the natural order, the only evidence cited to support it consisting of facts, unfamiliar indeed to most people, but capable of being tested in the same manner as we test the affairs of everyday life. But here evidence of that kind fails us, as it did in Chapter VII when some of the aspects of creative imagination came to be discussed. The purpose there was to consider subconscious activity as it shows itself in contexts not involving paranormal powers of the mediumistic type, as a preparation for understanding the role of the subconscious in mediumship. The examples there quoted showed that inspiration was always the product of subconscious activity of exceptional force but, in the psychical sense, of a normal kind. Consciousness played a part that varied, sometimes as active collaborator, but, where inspiration reached its peak, as mere amanuensis. That state was accompanied by a sensation of contact with some Power or Being external to the percipient and greater than he, called by Milton Urania, sister to the Eternal Wisdom, by Shelley the One, whose attributes are Light, Beauty, Benediction and Love, by Tennyson That Which Is. And it may be significant that both for Shelley and Tennyson, whose philosophies were very different, the experience of contact with the Power is the culmination of the experience of contact with the soul of a dead man.

Every enquiry into the natural order, psychical research included, must restrict itself to evidence falling within that order, but speculation as to the relation of that evidence to matters outside the natural order may be permissible. It is obvious that the experiences set out in Chapter VII, the humbler ones and the more exalted alike, have some connection with the experiences, some trifling and sonic far otherwise, described in the following chapters. Indulging in a little liberty of speculation, I would say that there is a very close connection between the more elaborate forms of trance mediumship and automatism described in Chapters XII-XV and the inspiration of the poets, leaving aside the question of literary merit, which is not here to the point. If so, Zoar, though it is not Zion, may not be so far from it after all.

So much for speculation. To return to the natural order, the problem of survival is only part, though an important part, of the subject matter with which psychical research has to deal. There are other parts less obscure that should arouse less acute emotion. Psychical research grew up in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, when "the conflict between Religion and Science" raged furiously. Public interest tended to concentrate on the exchange of incivilities between Bishops and Professors, but there was more at issue than that. Both parties have re-adjusted their fronts. A divine who should, in Father Knox's phrase, make "the credibility of the Bible depend on the edibility of Jonah" would arouse as little enthusiasm among his colleagues as would a physicist who asserted that the universe consisted of nothing but ether and atoms. An uneasy truce has supervened, but not so far a stable entente.

In this controversy psychical research, which has consistently eschewed dogmatism, has never been directly concerned, but it has accumulated a very large body of fact bearing on the points at issue. Perhaps if both sides paid rather more attention to these facts than, with a few honourable exceptions, they have either of them done, a substantial approach might be made to a full and durable agreement. The SPR has numbered amongst its active members in this and other countries a list of men and women distinguished in various branches of science, in philosophy, scholarship and public affairs, that would be no discredit to any society that specialised in any of these subjects. No one therefore, however eminent, he he Archbishop or President of the Royal Society, need be apprehensive lest, if he takes up the study of psychical research, he will be thrust into contact with intelligences inferior to those with which he habitually associates. Nor of course will he be invited to accept any doctrine contrary to his existing state of belief. If however he is to profit from his studies, two things are essential, first, that he should take them up with an open mind, and, second, that it should be psychical research that he studies and not the various substitutes that sometimes pass under that name. He will not go far wrong if he reads what the SPR has published on any branch of the subject, taking both the pros and the cons, and extending his reading to the work of other societies in other countries that conform to the standards the SPR established nearly eighty years ago.

It is as to the first condition, the necessity for an open mind, that the scientist seems to me usually to fail. If, for instance, he takes any notice of telepathy, his reaction will probably be that of the rustic on first seeing a giraffe, "There baint no such animile". Yet much of the varied evidence for telepathy results from the use of quantitative methods that should appeal specially to him, and there are problems connected with it in the solution of which his training would be of immense help. The important bearing of these problems on biology has more than once been emphasised by Sir Alistair Hardy, and the same may be true as to other branches of science.

More vital still is the significance of telepathy with regard to human relations, social and political, national and international. This is a matter that concerns everyone, but the religious world especially, as giving a fuller meaning to the saying that we are all members one of another. That is true, whether the specially close link between man and man that research in telepathy has shown can be assigned to some physical process at present unidentified or, as most psychical researchers hold and as has been argued in this book, the process is non-physical. If the latter view of telepathy is correct, then a materialistic view of the universe is untenable. There are, of course, other arguments against materialism, but none founded on verifiable facts of the natural order that, on the present evidence, are so direct or conclusive.

It is therefore extraordinary that the clergy as a whole should hold aloof from research into a matter that would seem of vital concern to them and to the view of life they expound. When they show any interest in psychical research, as some few of them do, they too often become uncritical enthusiasts for the type of phenomena where fraud has been most rampant, séance-room materialisations for instance, or where, as in "psychic healing", the results call for interpretation with the help of specialised knowledge that they do not possess. Individual clergymen of various denominations have, it should be recognised, made valuable contributions to the work of the SPR.

Among the sciences psychical research is a comparative newcomer. The Society was founded in 1882 round a nucleus of friends whom Henry Sidgwick, the first President, and Frederic Myers began to collect in 1874. Two years before that Sidgwick had written to Myers:
"I sometimes feel with somewhat of a profound hope and enthusiasm that the function of the English mind with its uncompromising matter-of-factness will be to put the final question to the Universe with a solid, passionate determination to be answered which must come to something."
It will soon be eighty years since the Society was formed, no long period of time when the novelty and obscurity of the subject is taken into account, the fewness of the active workers though now recruited from many countries besides England, the scantiness of the material resources with which they have had to work, the lack of close connection with established academic enquiry, and the absence of support from any of the professions. None of these workers would be so bold as to assert that the "final question" had been put to the Universe, a thing which could not be done until after the complete exploration of human personality, to which they, and only they, are committed. They might however well claim that their "solid, passionate determination to be answered" in face of all their difficulties had made it possible to form some idea what shape that question must take. The world is faced with problems of more immediate urgency, but with none that on a long view is more vital.
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