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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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


Zoar, or the Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival
W. H. Salter
Publisher: Sidgwick and Jackson, London
Published: 1961
Pages: 238
Availability: Out of Print
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Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: The Scope of Psychical Research and the Nature of the Evidence
Chapter 3: Apparitions
Chapter 4: Apparitions: Some Special Types
Chapter 5: Haunts and Poltergeists
Chapter 6: Materialisations
Chapter 7: Ecstasy and Inspiration
Chapter 8: Dissociation
Chapter 9: The Controls of Mediums
Chapter 10: Communications through Mediums. I: As affected by Normal Causes
Chapter 11: Communications through Mediums. II: As affected by Paranormal Faculties of the Living
Chapter 12: Communications through Mediums. III: Limited Scope of these Causes and Faculties
Chapter 13: Cross-correspondences
Chapter 14: Cross-correspondences: New Evidence
Chapter 15: To What does the Evidence Point?
Chapter 16: Zoar: "Is it not a Little One?"
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Chapter 1: Introduction
- W. H. Salter -
          DURING THE many years that I was an Honorary Officer of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) I was often consulted by persons who, under the stress of recent bereavement, wished for enlightenment on the question whether man survives the death of the body. Many of those seeking advice had, before they were bereaved, no settled convictions: their vague recollections of early religious teaching about the future life, itself perhaps lacking precision, contended in their minds with equally vague nations that science had disproved all that. Others who had reached what they supposed to be a secure position of belief or unbelief, found that it did not hold fast against the shock of bereavement.

Not all bereaved persons of course find themselves in either of these predicaments, but evidently many do. They come to the Society expecting that it can not only give a plain yes or no to a problem that has exercised the mind of man from the earliest ages, but can put shortly and crisply the reasons and evidence for or against belief.

They have no clear idea of the sort of evidence which psychical research has brought to bear on the problem, its variety and complexity, the different degrees of certainty attaching to different parts of it, the alternative interpretations to which much of it is susceptible. As bereavement comes, sooner or later, to most people, and no one can say in advance how much he will be shaken by it, it is surely prudent for everyone to prepare himself in some degree for the shock, by considering the problem from all its relevant aspects-religion, philosophy, physiology and psychology in all its branches, and especially that branch of psychology known as psychical research, with which this book deals.

Myers's Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, left uncompleted by him when he died in 1901, is a splendid book, but the evidence bearing on the problem of survival that has accumulated since his death is immense, and much of it of a kind unknown at that time. Of more recent date are several brief summades of the evidence with instructive comment, notably the latter part of Tyrrell's Science and Psychic Phenomena (1938), Gardner Murphy's papers in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (1945, 1946, since reprinted in book form) and Professor Broad's Myers Memorial Lecture (SPR 1958). Fuller accounts are to be found in Mrs. Heywood's The Sixth Sense (1959) and Professor Hornell Hart's The Enigma of Survival, which cover so much of the ground as to leave me in doubt whether I should be justified in putting my own views before the public. It seems to me, however, that the importance of the subject is such that anyone whose experience has given him both a fairly wide knowledge of psychical research as a whole, and a detailed knowledge of sides of it still unfamiliar to the public, ought to put forward his views, and put them forward candidly, regardless of whether they are in line with opinions generally held, or with such as are held by more eminent persons, or whether they rest on items of evidence or processes of reasoning that will strike many readers as odd.

I should perhaps say at the outset, what the reader would soon discover for himself, that I have nothing more than the most superficial knowledge of any of the provinces of learning on which psychical research abuts-the other branches of psychology, philosophy, or science in general. I trust that I trespass on these provinces only when necessary, and then with a diffidence not inferior to that shown by their rightful occupants when they discuss psychical research without making a close study of it. The SPR has made it a settled policy to express no corporate opinion, leaving the field open for unfettered discussion. It is therefore not in any way responsible for the opinions expressed in this book by one of its former officers. But I take this opportunity of thanking the Council for permission to quote extensively from its publications.

Any discussion of survival naturally raises questions as to the bias of the parties to it. The emotional tinge that usually affects professedly intellectual arguments as to the destiny of human personality after death suggests that very deep levels have been stirred, that the primitive animal instinct for self-preservation has perhaps sublimated itself into a desire to perpetuate individual life beyond bodily death. But the bias is not always, of course, in favour of belief in survival. An emotional horror of the whole idea of life after death inspired Lucretius to write one of the world's greatest poems. Many sensitive persons have been led partly by the cares of bodily existence, and partly by distaste for their own personalities to hope that the gospel preached by Lucretius may be true. Then again there is the "Conflict of Science and Religion", not indeed nowadays waged with the same acrimony as a century ago, but having none the less an influence on the beliefs of the ordinary citizen, who has probably never bothered to examine the issues critically. Who can be sure how far and in what way his judgment as to survival has been conditioned by these varied and contrary influences?

In this matter no one can claim complete immunity from bias, but a high degree of protection is given by a long training in psychical research. To be effective the training should include a wide general knowledge of all the phenomena, of the past history of the subject, and of the background of popular belief and sentiment. To this should be added a much more detailed knowledge of at least one of the main branches, "mental" or "physical", spontaneous, mediumistic or experimental, combined with a good deal of first-hand experience as experimenter, sitter or automatist. An officer of the SPR, and doubtless of some other societies too, acquires much of this in his day-to-day work. He is constantly interviewing enquirers who report occurrences that have puzzled them and that they are inclined to regard as uncanny. He gets letters from all over the world giving similar reports. Long manuscripts purporting to have been dictated by spirits are submitted for his opinion. From time to time he visits a "haunted" house, or sits with a medium, or takes part in an experiment for extrasensory perception. Whatever he reads, hears or observes he can discuss with experienced colleagues of an independent turn of mind, and, if he is wise, he will do so whenever he comes across anything seeming to require serious consideration.

In dealing as part of the routine of his office with this bewildering and heterogeneous mass of material the researcher has to keep his attention closely fixed on the details. It is only by doing this that he can hope to understand What sort of happenings his fellow-citizens regard as "supernormal" and why, or to grasp the strong and weak points in a report of an apparition or a poltergeist, in a sitting for "physical" phenomena, or of an experiment in clairvoyance. A very intimate knowledge of detail in any subject will prevent the possessor of it from too freely generalising on it. This may be a reason why most of the surveys of psychical research - Myers's great book is an outstanding exception-have been written by persons whose minds were not preoccupied by the day - to-day work of the SPR or of any other body with similar aims and methods.

I have been a member of the SPR for more than forty years and an officer for most of that time, but engaged more in administration than research. I should like to think that I had been sufficiently involved in research to derive a fair degree of immunity from bias in writing on it, but not so involved as to inhibit generalisation.

My wife's membership of the Society was even longer and her first-hand experience, extending to most branches of the subject, much fuller. Neither of us had followed closely recent developments in quantitative experiment. She had a great deal more experience of sitting with "physical" mediums than I had, as after a time I found the strain on the eyes during a séance in dim light intolerable. We might both claim considerable knowledge of "spontaneous cases" (i.e., apparitions, etc.), trance mediumship and automatic writing.

She was a member of "the SPR group of Automatists", of which her mother, Mrs. Verrall, was the first member in point of time. The automatic writings of the group are generally agreed among psychical researchers to be of great importance, entitling them to more than summary treatment. But many aspects of them have never been made public before, or only scrappily in an article here and there, and I am therefore discussing them with a fullness that would otherwise be out of proportion to the scale of the book.

I first began to write this book six or seven years ago, but circumstances prevented my then completing more than the first half. After some years' interval I took it up again and finished it, not to my entire satisfaction, as some of the later parts did not join on well to the earlier ones. When the book was begun and when the first draft was finished, I had not suffered any recent bereavement. About eighteen months ago I began trying to remodel it by pulling it together. I had not gone far when I suffered the crushing blow of my wife's sudden death. I can no longer therefore claim to write with emotional detachment but will most positively assert that the opinions I now put forward are substantially the same as those that my wife and I often discussed together, and that I formed when the end of earthly life seemed far off for either of us.

The question one often hears put, "Is death the end?" is too stupid to deserve an answer. After the death of anyone things are different from what they would have been if he had never lived, and that is true whether the death be of Socrates, Caesar, or Shakespeare, or the veriest Simple Simon. Something continues, and the question that needs an answer is, what is that something? In this book, after a chapter defining the nature of psychical research, its scope and methods, there will follow chapters concerned with the evidence sometimes claimed to support the opinion, ancient and widespread, that after the death of the body of flesh and blood men and women live on in a body having some, but not all, of the properties we associate with ordinary matter. In these chapters apparitions of various kinds, poltergeists, and the so-called "physical phenomena" of the séance-room. will be discussed.

The succeeding chapters will deal with evidence, derived from "trance-mediumship" and automatic writing, that does not raise the question of survival in a quasi-material form. This section will open with a discussion of various psychological states which, though not in themselves mediumistic, throw light on mediumistic trance and the Controls that emerge in it, and will proceed to consider how far communications purporting to come from the spirits of the dead can be attributed to the faculties, normal or paranormal, of the living. An attempt will then be made to construct a theory that will cover all the evidence set out in the previous chapters that is, in my view, trustworthy.

Chapter 2: The Scope of Psychical Research and the Nature of the Evidence
- W. H. Salter -
          PSYCHICAL RESEARCH is the attempt to complete the exploration of human personality by the systematic investigation of all its real or supposed faculties that appear to be part of the natural order of things but not to have been effectively brought within the province of any other department of science that deals with human activities.

Popular belief has in many times and places firmly held that some persons, at least, had the gift of apprehending events, distant in space or future in time, and of getting into touch with modes of existence other than the everyday life of the body. The evidence to this effect, which in the form of ghost-stories and reports of premonitory dreams and similar happenings had accumulated for ages without systematic enquiry, received in the nineteenth century a large increase from some of the effects observed by the early students of hypnotism and from the reports of phenomena occurring at Spiritualist séances. The case for a careful, impartial examination of the evidence was thus growing stronger at the same time that the theological objections to it were weakening. This led to the foundation in 1882 of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) by a group which included many leading scientists, philosophers and scholars.

So little was known about these things at the time, that the founders of the Society, in a manifesto issued by them in the first volume of the Society's Proceedings, did not attempt a more exact definition of the subject-matter of their proposed researches than to describe it as "that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and Spiritualistic". The enumeration in the same document of particular kinds of phenomena is now mainly of historical interest.

These phenomena and the faculties through which they seemed to be produced were in the early days of the Society known as "supernormal", a word which was unfortunately liable to confusion with "supernatural", especially as many of the occurrences with which psychical research had, and still has, to deal are of kinds to which long established tradition has attached supernatural associations; apparitions, for example, and foreknowledge. It cannot be too clearly stated that psychical research neither affirms nor denies the reality of any beings, or things, or events belonging to the supernatural order. When however, as is often the case, such events occur in a setting which seems to be part of the natural order of things, that setting can properly be investigated by ordinary, mundane methods. The ethical or devotional significance of any event transcending the natural order may be of the greatest importance to the psychical researcher as a person, but it lies altogether outside the province of his studies, just as a student of birds may have an intense aesthetic enjoyment of their colouring, although scientifically he is only concerned with it as distinguishing one species from another, or for its protective value or other biological utility.

"Paranormal" has now in general use taken the place of "supernormal" and will he used with that meaning in this book. It is itself however not free from objection. What, it may be asked, is meant by the "normal"? Not, it is important to say, the usual or habitual, although in other contexts the word is often loosely used with that meaning. It has been found necessary in psychical research to draw a distinction between what is and what is not, at any given time, accepted as real by general scientific opinion, and to fix on a word that will briefly indicate whatever is so accepted. For this purpose "normal" is perhaps as good as any other, but there is, as I shall try later to show, reason to believe that some faculties which have not as yet won scientific recognition are as widely distributed as any that have won it, though they may often not manifest themselves in a way to attract casual attention.

The prefix also needs justification. One of the objections to "supernormal" was that it suggested that the things so described were in some ways superior or preferable to the general run of things. Whether or not such a suggestion corresponded with the facts, it was undesirable even to hint at it in a term descriptive of things the distinctive character of which was determined in quite another way. The prefix "para" suggests some resemblance between the faculties and events that are the proper study of psychical research and those that are more generally recognised, some parallelism between them. It has, for example, been claimed that by "clairvoyance" a written message enclosed in a sealed and opaque envelope can be read, and that by "telekinesis" a medium can raise an object without the use of muscular, mechanical or other physical force of any kind known to science. If these claims are to be regarded as substantiated-and in my view "clairvoyance" and "telekinesis" are among the more dubious phenomena of psychical research-it is only in the effect produced, the reading of the message or the raising of the object, that they can be considered parallel to recognised faculties and forces. There is no resemblance of method, and in that lies the essential difference. Exceptional efficiency in the use of recognised forces does not constitute paranormality. The lifting of a few ounces at a séance held under strict conditions would count for more in that way than all the muscular feats of a modern Hercules.

The Founders' manifesto already mentioned contained the following paragraph:
"The aim of the Society will be to approach these various problems []ee above] without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated. The founders of this Society fully recognise the exceptional difficulties which surround this branch of research..."
It is, then, to the spirit of scientific enquiry, and not necessarily to the method, or any of the methods, followed by science that psychical research is committed. Observation and experiment are both used by established branches of science, the relative importance of the two methods varying in the different branches. Observation, for example, for reasons too obvious to call for elaboration, predominates in astronomy, and experiment in chemistry. Both methods also have their use in psychology, and, there also, with degrees of importance that vary according to the particular department of that science.

There are many factors that restrict the efficiency of experiment with human beings. Reasons of humanity, in civilised countries, forbid some kinds of experiment, and in other kinds the experimenter may be frustrated by deliberate resistance or deception on the part of his subject. Notwithstanding these and other difficulties, much has been learnt partly by experiment and partly by observation about such mental activities as are common to mankind or to large human groups - national, cultural, religious, economic - and the strength and prevalence of the factors involved can be statistically assessed.

There are however other factors of mind, temperament and disposition that vary so from one individual to another as to be beyond the reach of mass experiment or exact quantitative assessment. Of this kind is the subject matter of psycho-therapeutics, and the difference between two branches of psychological science, one of which works with measurable units, and the other does not, is immediately apparent on glancing at representative samples of the relative literatures and noting the frequency of statistics in the one and their almost complete absence in the other. This does not, of course, mean that the psychotherapist is dealing with a mass of phenomena so heterogeneous as to defy classification, or to prevent him drawing significant correlations between one class and another, but that it is by qualitative reasoning that he must reach his conclusions.

Medical psychology and psychical research deal largely with exceptional and peculiar cases and seek to build up a system of organised knowledge out of refractory material of this kind. Historically the two lines of enquiry, when both were new, ran close together. Much of their subject matter, hypnotism for example, was common to both, and many of the early researchers were active in both fields. There was, however, always some difference of approach, the medical psychologist having a tendency to focus his attention on pathological material with a view to effecting cures, while the psychical researcher could not, consistently with the task he had undertaken, impose any comparable restriction on his studies. It was a matter of indifference to him whether the real or supposed faculties, the evidence as to which he was examining, appeared to suggest a deviation for the worse from average human nature, or as some of them in fact did, something a good deal better. He had one concern, and one only, to see that all serious evidence suggesting the possible existence of human faculties not recognised by other branches of science or imperfectly explored by them, was examined by whatever methods led to the fullest and most accurate knowledge.

The difference of objective between medical psychology and psychical research reveals itself in a difference of treatment even when both are dealing with identical material. Take the case, for example, of a dream related to a psychoanalyst by a patient, in which the patient sees a near relative, an uncle perhaps, run over by a bus. This may provide an important clue to the patient's suppressed wishes regarding the senior male members of his family, and that is the line of enquiry that the analyst, quite properly for his purpose, follows up. It is from his point of view irrelevant to enquire whether the uncle was in fact run over, and, if he was, whether the details of the accident corresponded with those in the dream. This on the other hand is just the point of interest to the psychical researcher. If he has reason to suppose there was a correspondence between dream and accident, he cannot shirk the often difficult and tedious task of ascertaining whether there was in fact any correspondence and, if so, how close it was, and whether it can reasonably be attributed to the patient's knowledge (e.g., of his uncle's habits) or to chance. To put it shortly, the psychoanalyst is concerned with the subjective aspect of the patient's experience, the psychical researcher with its possible objective aspect as an instance of paranormal cognition of a kind to be discussed later. For a complete exploration of our mental activities we need not only psychology in its more general form but such special developments of it as medical psychology and, of equal importance, psychical research.

Psychical research employs different methods according to the many different kinds of material that it is investigating. Like all other organised enquiries it has developed a terminology of its own, of which I shall make as sparing a use as practicable, explaining, when they first occur, such technical terms as I have not been able to avoid. In accordance with the established practice among psychical researchers, qualifications such as "alleged" or "ostensible" are for the sake of brevity omitted in the discussion of real or supposed faculties or phenomena, except where the omission might cause misunderstanding.

Enough has already been said as to the meaning of paranormal phenomena. The primary division of them is into "mental" and "physical", clumsy terms for which, were they not so well established, ingenuity and a Greek lexicon could doubtless find substitutes. The distinction between the two classes is easily illustrated by comparing and contrasting "telepathy" and "telekinesis". If the mental content of two or more persons is in whole or in part the same in circumstances which do not, when examined, offer an adequate explanation by the normal means of communication, such as speech and writing, nor by chance coincidence, nor yet by the natural association of ideas deriving from a common normal knowledge of facts, this is called telepathy. An instance of telepathy is, so far as can be ascertained, a mental event only, since it has no patent counterpart in the physical world. If, as is sometimes supposed, there is a physical basis for telepathy, "waves" for example, it has not been observed and remains at the best an inference. In reports of telekinesis on the other hand an observable physical event has to be explained, whether or not the evidence when examined points to the operation of some force which could be called "paranormal" as being unrecognised by science.

Again, phenomena, whether mental or physical, can be classified according to the conditions in which they are observed as spontaneous, mediumistic and experimental. The word "spontaneous" explains itself. For example, someone perceives an apparition without any effort or intention on his part. So far as he is concerned, it is spontaneous, whatever intention or impulse on the part of someone else may possibly be behind it.

At the other end of the scale is the experimental evidence. The ideal scientific experiment is one in which the material is wholly within the experimenter's control, so that he can apply whatever conditions he wishes, can exactly measure the results under varying conditions, and can repeat the experiment with the assurance that under the same conditions he will get the same results. When human beings are the subject matter that ideal, as already stated, is unattainable, though it is possible for the psychologist to measure with a fair amount of accuracy the actions of human beings under conditions which he can to a considerable extent control and vary, so long as such actions depend on faculties that are universal or at least widely spread, so that his results can be checked by other experimenters working with similar material. Faculties that can be investigated in this way become sooner or later, and after less or more opposition from orthodoxy, incorporated in official science, and so ipso facto pass out of the province of the psychical researcher. The history of hypnotism illustrates that process.

While some interesting results have been obtained in psychical research through experiments with groups of subjects - and this is the type of experiment which approaches nearest to the repeatable -investigation is mainly concerned with individual subjects endowed with exceptional powers for the production of phenomena, mental or physical. Some subjects are able to produce positive results under conditions adequate, so far as the investigator and his readers can judge, for the elimination not only of deliberate deception by the subject, but also of the innocent production by normal means of effects that could be mistaken for paranormal. Results obtained with individual subjects under conditions reaching this standard may be classed as experimental, even though, for the reasons already given, there has been no repeatable experiment.

With other subjects the investigator may have to make the best compromise as to conditions that he can, or he may even have to accept the phenomena as they come, and reserve his critical faculties for the appraisement of the results. There is therefore a very wide range of conditions governing the production of paranormal phenomena by exceptionally endowed subjects. But it would be a mistake to set out the phenomena in a scale of descending evidential value, beginning with the fully experimental, and passing through the semi-experimental to the spontaneous, without taking into account other factors. Do the phenomena conform as to general type to other phenomena supported by independent evidence, or are we dealing with some unparalleled lusus Naturae? And (a more embarrassing question), to what extent does the evidence depend on the good faith of the parties concerned, and how far can their good faith be reasonably assumed?

It will be seen from the foregoing that in most branches of psychical research the enquirer, when assessing his material and attempting to arrange it in order, finds himself in a very different situation from that of the chemist, physicist, or biologist. He has to form a judgment of the character and qualities of the persons whose reports on phenomena he is studying, of their integrity, their carefulness as observers and recorders, their Competence to distinguish the true from the spurious. When he is satisfied that he has got at the real facts he must then consider whether they admit of a normal explanation such, for example, as chance coincidence. Where experiments have been framed, as many experiments in telepathy and kindred faculties have been, in such a way as to produce results capable of statistical analysis, the problem of chance is fairly easy, but for much of his material even this guide will be lacking, and he must depend on his own commonsense. There will therefore inevitably be a subjective element in his conclusions.

This weakness must be recognised but should not be exaggerated. The researcher of today can build on the experience extending over nearly eighty years of a long line of predecessors. Many of these were eminent in various branches of science. Others had distinguished themselves in public affairs or business, careers in which success depends on making correctly the same sort of judgments of men and events that, in psychical research, appraisal of the evidence often demands. It is therefore possible to make use today of various techniques skilfully elaborated over this long period for the purpose of avoiding errors due to faulty observation, to lapses of memory, to insufficiency of written record and to deception, deliberate or subconscious.

The mass of material that has been investigated during all this time also provides a check on what can with confidence be accepted as the basis for theory. In this respect the publications of the SPR have a unique importance. It has an unbroken history since 1882, at no point of which has it fallen under the control of cranks or doctrinaires. The eminent men and women who have guided it have differed widely among themselves in their opinions both as to details of evidence and on larger issues, such as survival. Everything that it has published has first been scrutinised by an experienced and critical committee. The SPR publications have indeed no monopoly of value: much, for example, of the highest quality has come from America. Nor do I claim that all the evidence published by the SPR is above criticism; I shall in fact myself criticise some parts of it. But for a combination of quantity, variety and quality the SPR literature is without a rival and no writer need apologise if he takes it as the main source of the evidence he cites to support and illustrate his argument. Examination of the material recorded in this literature shows that most of it sorts itself out into certain classes, and that most of the items conform to certain types, which soon become familiar to the psychical researcher and are easily recognised by him when he meets them again and again. Before any piece of recorded evidence is used to build an argument on, it should be subject to a double scrutiny:

(1) Does it in all substantial respects comply with the canons of evidence generally accepted in psychical research? (Formal defects do not necessarily vitiate the record, but this dictum must be applied with caution and commonsense.)

(2) Does the occurrence recorded show a general correspondence with other recorded occurrences that are individually well evidenced?

If an item passe both these tests me is justified in embodying it in one's argument. If it fails badly in the first test, it is useless for that purpose, though it may do good in sharpening one's watchfulness for better evidenced instances of the same type. If it passes the first test but fails at the second, what is to be done? As most of the material of psychical research is exceptional, it would be monstrous to reject absolutely an item that was otherwise well authenticated because it was exceptionally exceptional. The only reasonable course seems to me to be to take careful note of it, but to keep it in a sort of quarantine until enough parallels have occurred to show that it is not just a slip of the kind to which even experienced enquirers applying well tested methods may be prone, but a genuine instance of a novel type for which a place will have to be found in any theoretical structure. If however all the investigation that is constantly proceeding into spontaneous cases, all the experiments, all the sittings with mediums, do not within a reasonable time produce parallels supported by good evidence, the anomalous instance had better be consigned to limbo.

To support my argument, so far as it is positive, I shall not use any material that does not seem to me to pass both these tests or that my judgment rejects or hesitates to accept m more general grounds. In extenuation of this egotism it might be said that the material used by me has been accepted by other psychical researchers of greater eminence. There remains the problem of how many and what instances to put before the reader. To throw at him the thousand and one spontaneous cases, experimental results and mediumistic records which may have influenced the writer would merely befog him, unless they were accompanied by a commentary several times as long, which would bore him to extinction. Where the matter is of a kind that has been abundantly discussed in recent times there is no point in quoting more instances than are required to illustrate the argument. For a more detailed examination of the evidence reference can be made to other literature. Less familiar material, on the other hand, requires fuller treatment, as it receives in some of the later chapters of this book.

But my argument has a negative side, too, and in developing this I have set out and analysed some material which I definitely do not accept. To have omitted it would have laid me open to the charge either that I was ignorant of what some people hold to be vital evidence, or that it had been suppressed because it told against my argument. Here also some selection has been necessary. Several views that seem to me erroneous are each of them held on the strength of several pieces of evidence that seem to me defective or spurious. A critic of these views cannot reasonably be required to demolish each several piece in turn. He has discharged his duty if he goes straight for the best known instances and those to which the adherents of these views attach the greatest weight.

Much of this book, especially of the earlier part of it, is negative. From the foundation of the SPR in 1882 it has been necessary to clear away continually the accumulations of credulity, hearsay and (it must be added) fraud. Only by so doing have the remarkable positive achievements of psychical research been possible. A negative attitude in itself makes no appeal to me, my only desire being to advance, if it be but a little, positive knowledge of a subject of supreme importance.
Chapter 3: Apparitions
- W. H. Salter -
          ONE OF the earliest and most persistent views as to what follows on the death of the body of flesh and blood is that the dead continue to exist in another body closely resembling in appearance the one that has died, that can make itself seen and heard by the living, that can occupy a position in space and move, but that is not subject to all the limitations of ordinary matter. Though it can touch the living, it cannot usually be grasped by them and it can pass through solid walls and closed doors. Various names, with slightly different shades of meaning, such as "astral", "etheric", "metethedal", have been applied to this conception. I shall use the inclusive, non-committal term "quasi-material".

Until recent times this opinion rested almost entirely on apparitions seen or heard at about the time of the death, or after it, of some person whom they in some way resembled, to put it shortly on ghosts, which are among the oldest of human experiences. The earliest accounts which have come down to us are not reported at first hand by the percipient, but are poetic fictions doubtless based on the popular belief of the time. The earlier the narrative the closer it comes to real experience, as established by modern enquiry. Take for comparison two ghost stories told by two great poets, the second writing more than two thousand years after the first, the appearance of Patroclus in the 23rd book of the Iliad, and that of the dead king in Hamlet.

The ghost of Patroclus is almost completely realistic, and could be paralleled from many cases reported to the SPR during the last generation. It resembles the dead man in height, feature, voice and, significantly, in the clothes worn. After it has spoken, at a length of 23 lines, the only departure from realism, it slips from Achilles' grasp like smoke, leaving no trace behind: all perfectly normal.

Shakespeare's account is a great deal more impressive, and for that reason less realistic. The dead king is seen several times, often but not always in the same place. Where two or more persons are present he is seen sometimes by all of them, sometimes by one only. He gives a long and detailed account of the manner of his death, stating facts unknown to his hearer, but later found to be true. For every separate point in the story, the recurrence in a specified place, the "collective" perception, the transmission of true information unknown to the hearer, a parallel instance, well or moderately well established, could be found. But the story taken as a whole is just the sort of thing that every psychical researcher would give untold time, trouble and money to investigate, if only he could get the chance, which he never does.

If however he should he so lucky, there are several questions he would have to put to Bernardo, Marcellus, Hamlet and the rest. "Collective" cases, i.e., where an apparition is seen by more than one person at the same time, being uncommon and the psychology of them obscure, he would wish to ask Bernardo and Marcellus, which of them first saw the figure, which first recognised it as the dead King? Did he say or do anything that might have prompted the other to see or recognise it? Were the glimpses of the moon sufficient to give them a clear view? How much Rhenish had they drained before going on duty? All these questions could be put, and answered, without leaving the domain of the "normal" as already defined, however extraordinary the affair was.

As to the King's death, and the ghost's account of it, how much of that long speech did Hamlet get down on his tablets? Is he sure that he had not already heard rumours or entertained suspicions as to how his father died? What assurance has he that the death really happened as stated by the ghost? On the last point Hamlet would doubtless refer to Claudius's reaction to "the Mousetrap" and if he could meet the other two points equally well, the case would call for a paranormal explanation. There psychical research would have to stop. Ordinary enquiry as to the facts could go no further.
"Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs of heaven or blasts from hell?"
That is a question which could only be answered on the supernatural plane, and therefore not one that psychical research would attempt to put. The case is in fact a good illustration of how a single occurrence may raise normal, paranormal and supernatural questions, and of the boundary between what is and what is not the proper province of psychical research.

It is clear, from the way the story is told, that it would have been accepted by Shakespeare's contemporaries, though with some reservations on the part of the more sophisticated. But he wrote on the eve of the Age of Reason when it became the fashion to decry as the product of vulgar credulity any narrative that did not harmonise with current scientific theory, or by hook or crook to explain it away somehow.

As a good specimen of this process one may take the experience recorded sixty-two years after it happened by Lord Brougham in his Memoirs. According to these he was, as a young man of twenty-one, travelling in Sweden in December 1799. On reaching his inn after a long day's journey he took a hot bath and, while lying in it, he saw a friend G., a former fellow student at Edinburgh University, sitting on a chair, looking calmly at him.
"How I got out of the bath I know not, but on recovering my senses I found myself sprawling on the floor. The apparition, or whatever it was, that had taken the likeness of G., had disappeared."
When G. and he had both been students they had drawn up an agreement, written with their blood, that whichever died the first should appear to the other. G. had gone to India, and after a few years Brougham had almost forgotten him.

Brougham could not bring himself to talk of the vision even to the friend travelling with him. In 1862 he wrote:
"I have just been copying out from my journal the account of this strange dream: Certissima mortis imago! And now to finish the story begun sixty years since. Soon after my return to Edinburgh, there arrived a letter from India, announcing G.'s death, and stating that he had died on the 19th of December!

"Singular coincidence! Yet when one reflects on the vast numbers of dreams which night after night pass through our brains, the number of coincidences between the vision and the event are perhaps fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us to expect."

(See Phantasms of the Living, vol. I pp. 395, 6)
Now whatever precisely Brougham's psychological state was when he saw G., he was certainly not having an ordinary dream. It is not a common incident of dream-life that makes a man get out of a bath and sprawl unconscious on the floor. The frequency of dreams, by which Brougham. seeks to reduce his experience to the commonplace and normal, is therefore quite beside the point. It could only be possibly relevant if no distinction were drawn between vague and incoherent dreams on the one hand, and precise, realistic dreams on the other. The talk about "a fair calculation" is mere bluff, since the materials for such a calculation would be impossible to obtain, and if in fact such a calculation had been made and had shown the coincidences to be fewer than chance-expectation, there would still be a problem calling for explanation. That a former Lord Chancellor, the leader of the "March of Mind", should fumble his argument in this way, shows the strength of the then prevailing bias against anything that might now be termed paranormal.

The story, if Brougham's narrative inspires more confidence than his reasoning, is a good example of a veridical crisis-apparition, that is to say that by some means other than any of the ordinary means of communication it transmits visually facts not normally known to the percipient relating to a crisis involving another person who is visually represented. This type of case is so central to the whole problem of apparitions as to impel me to attempt this formal definition of it. Instances of the type occur frequently in the literature, where the diligent reader may look for them. Having set out Brougham's case with some fullness, I shall discuss the type rather than separate examples of it, except where these present special distinctive features. The type includes cases where the experience is auditory or tactile instead of, or as well as, visual.

Before however leaving Brougham's case it is to be noted that, however good an example it may be of a type of experience, it is an extremely bad example of how experiences should be recorded. He has left no record of the experience other than one written sixty-two years later. According to that record, he noted the vision in his diary, which was so far good, but made no attempt to get the date confirmed by his travelling companion. There is no independent corroboration of the letter from India announcing G.'s death, nor are any particulars given as to just what it said or the date Brougham. learnt of it.

Defects such as these and the manifold errors due to them discredited stories of ghosts and of other occurrences that could not be forced within the framework of current scientific doctrine, and brought on them the stigma of "anecdotalism", which is still, absurdly enough, imputed to accounts dealing with similar subjects, however carefully they may have been recorded, and however critically investigated. For the persistent disparagement of them did not prevent these things happening, and happening to persons who could not be lightly brushed aside as incompetent or credulous witnesses. When therefore the SPR was founded in 1882, it was natural that its very wide programme of research should include an enquiry into a subject in which much material lay ready to hand in the form of already reported experiences, and more could easily be obtained. But as an essential first step it was necessary to look closely into the evidential weaknesses that had brought the traditional ghost story into disrepute, and to formulate a procedure for eliminating them.

There are many collections of ghost stories and other "spontaneous cases", but there are three publications of the SPR which by reason of the number of cases set out, and the care and skill with which they were verified and analysed, are of exceptional importance. The first is Phantasms of the Living (1886) of which Edmund Gurney was the main author, with Myers and Podmore as coadjutors. Although every effort was made to verify the cases set out in it, some of them were too old to be unreservedly accepted. The main importance of the book arises from the analysis of the different sources of error that had discredited cases of this kind, and the putting forward of a hypothesis that would cover the cases, or most of the cases, that survived critical examination.

Next in time is the Report on the Census of Hallucinations (1894, Proc. X), in which a much larger number of cases, and recent cases, were examined in accordance with the principles established by Phantasms, so that it became possible to determine more exactly how far chance-coincidence was a sufficient explanation of correspondences, like that in Brougham's case, between experience and event. Then, after nearly twenty years in which knowledge of paranormal faculties had been greatly extended, Mrs. Henry Sidgwick collected and classified all the cases which had been privately printed in the Society's Journal but not published anywhere (1923, Proc. XXXIII). The lapse of time between this and the earlier collections makes it possible to judge how far the progress of enquiry supports, or fails to support, types of experience sparsely or dubiously represented in them.

The main sources of error, as shown in Phantasms, are

(1) faulty observation, due to the percipient's emotional state, his carelessness, or the conditions in which the experience occurs, such as poor light;

(2) absence of satisfactory confirmation of the experience, either by a written note made at the time, or by a statement made to an independent witness;

(3) faults of memory, especially where there is no sufficient record in writing;

(4) failure to verify with care the event with which the experience is supposed to correspond.

The main rules to be followed to cure these defects are simple to state but not always easy to apply or enforce. First, the essential points of the experience must be stated and independently confirmed before the corresponding event is known to the percipient; second, there must be satisfactory evidence that at the time he stated his experience he had no normal knowledge of the event nor could have rationally inferred it, a matter on which one may sometimes have to rely on the percipient's word; third, the event must be verified to show that the correspondence is real.

The next point to be considered is whether, where a case is evidentially sound, or is only formally and superficially defective, the correspondence of experience and event can reasonably be assigned to chance-coincidence. An analysis by the authors of Phantasms of the 5,000 (approximately) waking experiences collected in response to a questionnaire, and of a similar number of dreams collected in the same way, suggested that something more than chance-coincidence was at work. The Report of the Census, with records of 17,000 waking experiences to analyse, came to the same conclusion. The Committee that drafted the Report pointed out that the question would only be settled by selecting a coincidence between two definite events and seeing how often it would occur by chance, and how often it actually does occur. The two events they selected were:

(1) visions of a recognised person seen by a waking percipient within twelve hours of the death of that person, the death being neither known to the percipient nor expected by him; with such visions were grouped auditory and tactile experiences of the same sort:

(2) the death of the recognised person.

The report sets out fully the elaborate statistical process that the analysis involved. It can be summarised by saying that correspondences between these two events were found to be 440 times as numerous as might have been expected if nothing but chance had to be taken into account.

Both in Phantasms and in the Census Report there are many interesting tables of statistics, showing e.g. the relative frequency of visual and auditory experiences, and of the realistic, semi-realistic and symbolical types; of the relations between agent and percipient: of the proportions of male and female percipients, and so on. The most important of these is the table in the Census Report that shows that about one in ten of the 17,000 persons asked whether, to put the question shortly, they had had a paranormal experience when fully awake, answered yes; that one in twenty of them had seen a realistic apparition; and one in thirty a realistic apparition of a recognised person.

Where however the question is whether an occurrence is fortuitous or not, statistics are of help only when the enquiry has been planned so as to lead up to quantitative assessment, as has been done in many recent experiments in ESP. In other lines of enquiry, however, such as those that relate to spontaneous experiences and sittings with mediums, statistics are of little value. Such material falls within certain general classes, from which some general principles can be deduced, but the details vary from instance to instance so as to defy quantitative appraisal, and the variation may be as significant as the instance's conformity with a general type.

But after making allowance for this, the figures of the Census Report may be accepted as showing the veridical death-coincidences are not fortuitous. What then is the cause of them? The traditional answer was that the dead person was locally present in a body having some, but not all, of the qualities of ordinary matter, including that of being perceived by the senses of the living. But this view presents many difficulties. In well-established cases, for instance, the apparition leaves no trace behind at the end of the experience.

Apparitions are usually clothed and are sometimes accompanied by visionary objects resembling those they used in their former life. Have all these things also quasi-material counterparts that continue their previous association with the quasi-material body of the dead?

There is no clear-cut division between apparitions and a large number of other non-fortuitous experiences to which the hypothesis of a quasi-material body cannot readily be applied. One may mention visions that are only in part realistic, as where a man in a hotel bedroom saw a portrait of his father occupying the frame of a picture at a time when his father was dying many hundreds of miles away; or symbolic visions, as where a mourning band "seen" round a top hat, but not in fact there, portended a death; or dreams, such as those collected in Phantasms; or experiences that are never "externalised" to any of the senses, intuitions that may be just as definite and veridical as a realistic apparition.

While none of these difficulties may be conclusive against the quasi-material hypothesis, which is in fact held by some serious students, it has been accepted by most psychical researchers that these experiences take place "in the mind's eye", but are none the less objective. as corresponding to something real but external to the percipient's normal knowledge or expectation.

The authors of Phantasms advanced the hypothesis that apparitions(1) were telepathic impressions transmitted by the person represented in them, called the "agent", to the percipient's mind and externalised as a visual hallucination. This last word, it may be desirable to emphasise, means simply the "apparent perception of external object not actually present" (Concise Oxford Dictionary), although often carelessly used to imply weakness of mind. This view would bring them into line with those semi-realistic, symbolic and intuitional experiences and dreams with which they share the quality of being veridical, and would get over the other difficulties mentioned with regard to the hypothesis of the local presence of a quasi-material body.
(1) For the sake of simplicity I omit reference to the auditory and tactile cases, which are in a general way parallel.

The hallucinatory view of apparitions was not new; the telepathic view of them was, hazardously so in fact, as at the date of Phantasms the experimental evidence for "thought-transference", to use the term then current, left much to be desired both as to quantity and quality. The position is now quite different, and the literature on experimental telepathy is voluminous. Some experiments have been conducted with "free" material, the agent choosing any one out of an unlimited number of "targets" for the percipient to aim at. The best known experiments of this type were those in which Gilbert Murray was the percipient, and the targets were incidents of real life, imaginary episodes, pictures, scenes from books. For reports of them see Proc. XXIX, 46-109; XXXIV, 2 12; Journal XXXII, 29.

In other experiments the number of targets is limited, e.g., five geometrical symbols. It is therefore possible to estimate precisely the probability that the results of a series of attempts at them were or were not due to chance. This is not possible with "free" material, and the method is accordingly better adapted to proving that telepathy is a real faculty, especially to proving it to people who rightly or wrongly distrust their ability to judge the evidence by their own commonsense. The best known investigators who have employed this method are J. B. Rhine in America and S. G. Soal in the United Kingdom, each of whom has recorded his results in several books.

If instances of telepathy are, as I believe them to be, common enough, the concept is so at variance with the generally accepted principles of science, that no methods of enquiry into it ought to be neglected. The quantitative method is the more conclusive as to the reality of telepathy, the qualitative the more informative as to how it works.

The conflict with general scientific opinion is due to the absence of any physical mechanism to account for the transmission from agent to percipient. It has indeed been held by some students that transmission is effected through "waves" of some kind. It is not fatal to this view that the "waves" cannot at present be specified, as new forms of radiation are constantly being discovered. But there are other, more fundamental, objections. No one has ever pointed to any organ in the human body capable of transmitting or receiving any sort of wave over more than trifling distances. Most serious of all, every normal mode of transmitting messages depends on some prearranged code understood by bath parties. If there were such a telepathic code it would have to be one capable of putting over complex ideas and elaborate mental images, as in experiments such as those with Gilbert Murray, or in some of the cases of crisis-apparitions. What then is the code? Who formulated it? How did it become intelligible as between agents and percipients having no normal knowledge of it?

Then there is the question of whether it is affected by the distance between agent and percipient. It is effective over great distances, as some of the spontaneous cases show, apparitions of persons dying in Australia being seen in England. But the relative effectiveness over long and short distances can only be tested by experiment. Comparison of long-distance and short-distance experimental results suggests that there is some reduction in effectiveness in the former, but there are too many variables involved to make the comparison conclusive. It cannot however be confidently asserted that telepathy infringes the "law of inverse squares".

The early conception of telepathy was that it was a one-way process between a single agent and a single percipient. This is much too simple to fit the material with which the psychical researcher now has to deal, Some spontaneous cases, for instance, are reciprocal, the agent being also a percipient, and the percipient an agent. Cases of this type were, when Phantasms appeared, so rare that the authors doubted their genuineness. The type was however well-established when Mrs. Sidgwick wrote her report in Proc. XXXIII. She cites, for instance, a reciprocal dream experience of two friends who had vivid dreams on the same night in which they each thought they stood in a dark wood, where the other also was: one of them shook a tree, the leaves of which turned into flame. Commenting on these cases, Mrs. Sidgwick wrote (p. 419):
"I think the kind of union of minds, the thinking and feeling together, here shown may be regarded as the type or norm of telepathic communication to which all other cases conform in varying degrees."
She added that it was in "collective" cases, in which several percipients shared the same experience, that this could perhaps be most clearly seen, and she called it transfusion rather than transmission of thought. Tyrrell in hisApparitions (1943, revised edition 1953) argued that even in cases that were neither "collective" nor reciprocal the dramatic presentation of the telepathic impulse implied some collaboration between agent and percipient.

Collaboration would be subconscious on the percipient's part, and in most, perhaps in all cases on the agent's. In some instances of crisis-apparitions a conscious desire to communicate with the percipient is shown by the agent's crying out the percipient's name. In other cases there is no such direct evidence. A desire to communicate may be inferred from the fact that a message is actually transmitted, but the impulse seems to have been purely subconscious, and even where some conscious desire is shown it may well have been made effective by subconscious activity.

This book will be largely occupied with accounts of the many and varied functions of the subconscious, but for the present it is sufficient to make it clear in what sense that word is used. It is desirable to give a name to all that region of the mind which lies outside of immediate awareness and beyond the reach of easy recall to conscious memory. The word "subliminal" was used by Myers and many others with much the same meaning, but had the disadvantage of confusion with "sublime" for those ignorant of its etymology, and of importing, for those better informed on this point, the metaphor of "threshold", which to English people has little relevance. It is more important to emphasise the distinction between "subconscious" as used in this book, and "unconscious" as used by the Freudians. That there is a region of the mind having the qualities they describe as distinctive of the "unconscious" is, I think, established, but these are not characteristic of the "subconscious" as a whole, except as regards conative activity, which is an important element in both conceptions.

The argument of Phantasms at one other point rested on slight evidence. It had to he shown that telepathy, if accepted as a real faculty, could produce realistic apparitions visible by a percipient unaware of the attempt. A few successful experiments are quoted in Phantasms, in only one of which was the agent's intention to project a vision of himself confirmed by independent testimony before the experiment was made. One of the cases was later found to be a hoax. A few fairly good cases were reported to the SPR in the latter years of the 19th century, but Mrs. Sidgwick writing in 1923 could find no reports later than 1900. The experimental evidence is good enough to exempt it from summary rejection, but hardly good enough to support so important a part of the argument. It is to be hoped that the further experiments now contemplated will throw more light on this problem, but if it is a correct view that in the spontaneous cases it is the agent's subconscious that is effective, then failure in consciously directed experiments would not further weaken the argument, since there is good reason to believe that the subconscious has powers exceeding those of the conscious mind.

The argument of Phantasms, notwithstanding this weakness, has been generally though not unanimously accepted by psychical researchers, so far at least as regards single apparitions seen by a single percipient, which are much the most common type of experience. I share without reserve the majority view. But there are other, rarer, types, to which the argument cannot without difficulty be made to extend, and these will be discussed in the next chapter.

Chapter 4: Apparitions: Some Special Types
- W. H. Salter -
          THE QUESTION is often raised as to whether apparitions are objective, and this can only be answered by the further question as to what sense "objective" is to receive. Apparitions, as was shown in the preceding chapter, are fairly common, and those of recognised persons not very much rarer. But veridical apparitions, corresponding to some verifiable event outside the percipient's normal knowledge or inference, form a very much smaller class. They cannot be considered, as the other two classes might, as beginning and ending within the percipient's mind, conditioned perhaps, as many dreams are, by internal conflicts, but unrelated to anything external to his personality. They have therefore a sort of objectivity that cannot be claimed for the others.

But those who raise the question probably have a more materialistic conception of objectivity in view, and they point to certain types of apparitions which do not seem amenable to the telepathic hypothesis. There are three principal types which they specify: (a) "collective" apparitions, i.e., such as are seen by more than one percipient at the same time: (b) "iterative" apparitions, to use Professor Broad's phrase, i.e., such as are seen on more than one occasion whether by the same or different percipients: (c) apparitions seen a considerable time after the death of the agent and conveying information outside the percipient's normal knowledge or inference, as to things that have happened since the agent's death. These three types will be considered in that order.

As to the nature of collective cases Gurney and Myers expressed different opinions in Phantasms. Gurney's view was that perception spread from the percipient who first had the experience to the others by telepathic infection, so to speak. Myers's view is very hard to state clearly and briefly, but his remarks on p.291 of the second volume give the gist of it. He regarded the respective hallucinations of each member of the group as all generated by a conception in a distant mind, being
"diffused from a 'radiant point' or phantasmogenetic, focus, corresponding with that region of space where the distant agent conceives himself to be exercising his supernormal perception."
Both of them rejected what Myers called "the gross conception of a molecular metaorganism."

Neither Gurney's nor Myers's views have met with universal acceptance among psychical researchers, and other hypotheses have been put forward. Mention should be made of Professor Hornell Hart's paper, "Six Theories about Apparitions," in SPR Proc. 50. He argues (p.228) that "Apparitions and their accessories are semi-substantial" as having several characteristics which he lists, one of them being that "they are often seen collectively by two or more persons at the same time".

It is not surprising that opinions among well informed students should differ, owing to the scarcity of collective cases which are not wholly illusory, i.e., due solely to misinterpretation of actual, normal persons and things, and owing also to the varied conditions in which experiences occur. Are the percipients two, or a small group, or a crowd? Was the apparition observed indoors, out of doors, in a public place? Under what conditions of visibility? How soon after the experience was it described to persons who had not themselves shared it? Did all the percipients describe their share in it independently? What was their emotional state at the time?

When considering the objectivity or semi-objectivity of collective apparitions it is first of all necessary to set aside the pure illusions. Among these I would include two cues that have received wide publicity in our time, the Versailles "Adventure" and the Borley Nun.

In the Versailles case the belief that two English ladies in August 1901 saw the grounds and buildings of the Petit Trianon as they were at the time of the French Revolution and there met and conversed with several persons of that period is based on a confusion between the first reports of their experiences which they each wrote in November of that year, and second accounts which they wrote out at some uncertain date between 1902 and 1906 after consultation with each other. The originals of this later version they destroyed in 1906 after making fair copies. The earlier version is consistent with the persons and scenes described being such as anyone else might have seen in 1901 by normal eyesight; the second is not. It is considerably expanded and altered so as to form a picture inconsistent with the normal contemporary scene. In the first edition of the book the second version is printed as if it were the first, and it is the only one printed in most of the later editions. For a more detailed criticism of the evidence I would refer to my article in SPR Journal XXXV, 178, and The Ghosts of Versailles, 1957, by Lucille Iremonger. Attempts have been made to fit the descriptions of persons and places in the first version, the only one worth considering, to actual persons of the Revolutionary period, giving those words a wide sense, and to buildings either existing some few years before the Revolution or planned. The essential thing however would be to show that the descriptions in the first version are definitely inconsistent with what a visitor to Versailles in an ordinary state of consciousness would have seen. From this angle these attempts seem to me quite inconclusive.

Borley Rectory was built in 1863. In consequence of several illusory or hallucinatory incidents a belief grew up in the neighbourhood that it was haunted by a nun. One summer evening in 1900 four daughters of the house thought that they had seen the nun in the garden. Their good faith is above suspicion, but unfortunately they made no written record of what they had seen. The earliest written or printed accounts are of the statements they made verbally to other people in 1928, and these accounts, as reported by the persons who received them, do not agree on the crucial point as to how far the evening was advanced or how much light there was to see the figure by.

Until 1929 Borley had not been the scene of any psychic occurrence of an indubitably physical kind, but from then on there is no lack of ostensibly paranormal phenomena that were certainly physical. The only doubt is whether any were genuine. The fact that there never was a nunnery anywhere near Borley, and that therefore it was improbable that any living nun had any connection with the place, has not prevented the wildest conjectures as to the supposed nun's identity and fate. The astounding structure of fantasy and fraud connected with Borley is described in Proc. 51.

It is a misfortune that there are so few collective cases that are both veridical and well-authenticated, as much might be learnt from them. The case now to be mentioned is of the tantalising class all too frequent in psychical research, in which exceptional features are present that might be useful clues to problems still obscure, if only the evidence were a little better. In 1863 Mr. Wilmot sailed from Liverpool for New York in a ship which in mid-Atlantic ran into a heavy gale lasting several days. He had a lower berth in a state-room, the upper berth of which was occupied by Mr. Tait. One night, when the storm was beginning to abate toward morning, he dreamed that his wife, then in the United States, came to the door of his state-room, clad in her nightdress. She seemed to discover that he was not the only occupant of the room, hesitated a little, then came to his side, stooped down and kissed him and, after caressing him for a few moments, quietly withdrew. On his waking, Tait leant over and said "You're a pretty fellow to have a lady come and visit you in this way," and on being pressed for an explanation, related what he had seen while wide awake in his berth. It exactly corresponded with Wilmot's dream. The following morning Tait, thinking that possibly the visitor was Wilmot's sister, a passenger on the same ship, asked her whether she had been to see her brother during the night. On her saying "No", he said he had seen some woman in white, who went up to her brother.

The day after landing Wilmot joined his wife. Almost her first question was "Did you receive a visit from me a week ago Tuesday?" (i.e., the night of Wilmot's dream). Asked to explain, she said that, being anxious as to her husband's safety owing to the reported loss of another vessel, she had lain awake that night for a long time thinking of him. About four o'clock in the morning it seemed to her that she went out to seek him, crossing a wide and stormy sea, to a black steamship up whose side she went. She descended to a state-room in the stem, saw a man in the upper berth looking right at her, was for a moment afraid to go in, but soon went up to the side of her husband's berth, bent down, kissed and embraced him and then went away. Her description of the ship, the position of the state-room and the arrangement of the berths in it was correct.

It is a serious weakness that no written account of the case was made for more than twenty years, by which time Tait was dead. His part in the incident rests on Wilmot's statement, supported by that of his sister, when she was questioned about it in 189o. The case seems to me evidentially good enough to warrant consideration, even though any theoretical interpretation of it can only be put forward tentatively.

As between Mr. and Mrs. Wilmot the case is veridical because, as Mrs. Sidgwick puts it (Proc. VII, 45), "Each perceived the other in the situation in which the other supposed himself or herself to be". As between Wilmot and Tait it was collective, but as one was awake and the other asleep the nation that both "saw" Mrs. Wilmot because she was present in some quasi-material form is ruled out. The experience is therefore of the "mental" order and, since more than one percipient is involved, telepathic. It implies, however, a more complex conception of telepathy than the old one of single-way thought-transference from one agent to one percipient.

In general the chance that normal persons have been mistaken for paranormal is increased if the experience has occurred out of doors, especially if it has occurred in a public place, a street or a park, where it is impossible to be sure who was or might have been present in the flesh. Uncertainty is still further increased if the percipients are members of a crowd who cannot, all of them, be questioned as to just what their experience was, or how far collective perception was spread by the cries or gestures of those first affected.

Perhaps in the discussions that have taken place on these cases too sharp a distinction has been made between collective illusion and collective hallucination.
in the night, imagining some fear
How easy is a bush supposed a bear.
One sees the rough dark shape in one's path. Part of it projects: the head doubtless. A chill wind blows. The outline wavers: the beast must be bristling with anger. So far all is just illusion due to misinterpretation of something actually seen. Suppose however that growls are then heard proceeding from the imaginary bear, there being in fact no such noise. The illusion has now developed adjuncts that axe hallucinatory.

The Fatima visions, seen in Portugal in 1917, are by now so well-known as to make a full account of them here superfluous. There were, it will be remembered, visions of the Virgin, repeated at fixed intervals and culminating in October of that year in an experience shared by several thousand spectators. The visions of the Virgin, being supernatural, and the devotional feelings inspired by them, lie altogether outside the province of psychical research. There is however an incident forming part of the culminating experience which can be discussed as a proper subject for ordinary physical and psychological enquiry.

It concerns the motions, or apparent motions, of a natural object, namely the sun. This appeared to sweep round the sky in circles, and to approach the earth. As Father Martindale says in his book, The Message of Fatima, "No one supposes that the sun was physically dislodged from its place in the solar system". Astronomers did not observe-any disturbances corresponding to the descriptions of members of the crowd, and had those descriptions been even approximately true, that would have been the end of life on this planet. It was naturally impracticable to obtain accounts from more than a few eye-witnesses and these did not exactly tally, but the behaviour of the crowd showed that there was a widespread sense of having observed something in the sky quite outside the habitual course of things.

The experience, that part of it which relates to the apparent motions of the sun, cannot be considered either as pure illusion or pure hallucination. It was an illusion, because an actual object, the sun, was involved, but its apparent movements went far beyond mere misinterpretation of actuality. That point may be academic, but it is a point of importance, whichever view be taken, that collective mis-perception even on a massive scale is no guarantee of physical objectivity.

Of the other, psychological, type of objectivity described at the beginning of this chapter, a good example is the experience of two English women taking a holiday on the French coast near Dieppe who on 4th August 1951, between 4 and 7 a.m., heard the noise of cries, gunfire and dive-bombing out at sea. Both percipients had read newspaper accounts of the actual Dieppe raid of 1942, but neither had looked up the history of it in connection with their visit to the French coast. The sounds heard by the percipients extended over the hours when similar sounds would have been heard on the coast during the actual raid, and the variations in sound corresponded to some extent with the different stages of the attack. The account of the case in SPR Journal (Vol. 36, 607-618) by Mr. G. W. Lambert, an experienced official of the War Office and President of the Society 1955-1958, and Mrs. Gay, prints in parallel columns the times at which the percipients heard the different noises, and the times of the stages of the attack as recorded in official documents and by press correspondents.

The authors point out that the experience cannot be explained as due to misinterpretation of actual noises "heard off" but that
"it would ... be rash to assume that the sounds heard were a sort of 'sound-track' repetition of the sounds of the Raid. The various kinds of sound heard, gunfire, dive-bombing, planes, a rifle shot, shouts and cries, are all appropriate, but there is not enough detailed information as to when the several kinds of sound first occurred to enable one to judge whether they are 'phased in' correctly.... Both as regards form and content we think the experience must be rated a genuine psi phenomenon, of which little or nothing was derived from previous normally acquired knowledge."
There is nothing in the experience to suggest that it was the result of post mortem activity by any person.

"Iterative" cases fall into three groups: (a) Those relating to some recognised dead person; (b) those where the main phenomena consist of apparitions, but not of any recognised person; a class including most cases that are called "haunts"; (c) those in which the main phenomena are objectively physical, i.e., "Poltergeist" cases.

A good example of group (a) is to be found in Proc. XXXIII, pp. 167- 176. Captain Bowyer-Bower of the R.F.C. was shot down and killed on the Western Front soon after dawn on the 19th March 1917. News that he was missing was received by his mother on the 23rd. In the late part of the morning of the 19th his sister, then in India, was nursing her baby when she turned round and saw her brother. She supposed he had been posted to India, and said "Fancy coming out here". She turned to embrace him, but he had gone. Until a few weeks before his death he had been for several months in England and his sister had not heard that he had returned to France.

Before she received the War Office telegram announcing that he was missing his mother received a letter from another sister saying that her little daughter then under three years old had told her that her uncle, to whom she was devoted, was downstairs, and persisted in this statement when told he was in France. The sister believed this to have happened about 9.15 on the morning of the 19th, but owing to the letter having been destroyed there is no full confirmation of the date or hour.

On the afternoon of the 19th, an old friend of the mother's, who had not corresponded with her for quite eighteen months, had a "certain and awful feeling" that Captain Bowyer-Bower had been killed, and wrote to his mother expressing her anxiety.

After his death had become known two other incidents occurred, both towards the end of 1917, though the exact dates cannot be fixed. In one his mother, who had a sudden sensation of "most unnatural coldness", saw all his face, except the chin, gradually emerge in a yellow-blue ray of light. In the other his fiancée, after hearing some raps, went to sleep and then woke up to see him on the bed beside her. His lips moved in a whisper. She tried to touch him and he disappeared.

Of this striking series of incidents the first is a very good example of a crisis-apparition at the time of death, and the second and third may with less assurance he also classed as veridical death-coincidences. The fourth and fifth incidents are not veridical as both percipients knew of the death, but have elements which may perhaps have been physically objective, the cold felt by the mother, and the raps heard by the fiancée: she had "asked him to rap twice if he was ever going to show himself" to her, and two raps came, followed by sleep and a vision which she was certain was not a dream. Cold is reported as part of many psychic experiences, but it is not demonstrably objective. Those of us who live in old houses often hear raps of natural origin, but the raps the fiancée heard came in answer to her request, and seem not to have been casual or purposeless. That however does not settle the question whether they were objective, a point on which she seems herself to have had some doubt when she writes of the whole experience, "I certainly did not dream it, or imagine it, but of course it may be something to do with my brain".

Leaving for later consideration the haunts and poltergeists, in which there is little evidence for the agency of an identifiable person, I will turn to cases where evidence to that effect is stronger, and has been claimed to suggest continued activity after death. In Phantasms of the Living the authors regarded as death-coincidences cases occurring within twelve hours before or after the death. For the purpose of estimating whether such cases could be explained by chance it was necessary to fix a definite time limit. Twenty-four hours was convenient for this purpose, and the results of experiments in thought-transference suggested that twelve hours was about the limit for which a telepathic impression might remain latent in the percipient's subconscious. But memories may remain latent for many years, and there seems no reason why a shorter period of latency should be definitely fixed for telepathic impressions. Mere lapse of time since the death is therefore a very insecure reason for distinguishing between phantasms of the living and phantasms of the dead. If the experience conveys to the percipient no knowledge he did not already possess, it must reckon as one of the very numerous class for which no paranormal explanation is needed. If knowledge is conveyed of things not normally known to him but occurring during the agent's life, it can be considered a case of latent telepathy, but this explanation becomes less and less probable with the lapse of time. If the knowledge conveyed is of things unknown to the percipient but happening after the agent's death, the argument for the agent's survival and continued activity is stronger.

Not however conclusive, unless the events lie outside not only the percipient's normal knowledge but such paranormal knowledge as he may have acquired e.g. by telepathy from some living person. This last is a difficulty which constantly besets the seeker for evidence of survival. It will be more fully discussed later in the book, in relation to "communications" received through mediums. The possibility of telepathy from the living detracts from the value as evidence for survival of some of the instances of apparitions which have often been quoted.

There is for example the American case (Proc. VI, 17) in which a man, who in 1876 was attending to his business correspondence in broad daylight, saw standing by him the figure of his sister, who had died in 1867. The figure in every respect resembled the sister when living, except that there was a bright red line or scratch on the right-hand side of the face. He hurried home and told his father, who was inclined to ridicule him at first. He also told his mother, who nearly fainted away and on recovering said that he had indeed seen his sister, as no living mortal but herself was aware of that scratch which she had accidentally made while attending to the body after death, when she had obliterated the traces of it with powder. This is an interesting case but of little value in proving the agency of the dead, rather than telepathy from the living. The scratch was known to the mother, a possible origin for a telepathic impression. On either hypothesis it is curious that there should have been a lapse of nine years between the death and the experience.

From this weakness at any rate the Chaffin Will Case appears to be free. I take a personal interest in it, as I prepared it for publication in SPR Proceedings (Vol. XXXVI, pp. 517-524). James Chaffin, a farmer in North Carolina, died in 1921 as the result of a fall, leaving a widow and four sons. In 1905 he made a will leaving his whole property to his third son, Marshall, who proved the will, and himself died about a year later, leaving a widow and a son, a minor. In June 1925 the second son, James, began to have vivid dreams of his father appearing at his bedside and speaking. This vision may have been a "borderland" experience occurring between sleep and waking. It was more realistic than pure dreams usually are, but in an experience as informative as this the distinction is of little importance.

The figure was dressed in a black overcoat which James had often seen his father wearing.
"He took hold of his overcoat this way and pulled it back and said, 'You will find my will in my overcoat pocket,' and then disappeared."
James went to his elder brother's house and found the coat, and inside the inner pocket, which was sewn up, a roll of paper with the words "Read the 27th Chapter of Genesis in my daddie's old Bible". James found the old Bible in a drawer in his mother's house and in the presence of witnesses found between two folded pages on which the 27th Chapter of Genesis was printed another will, dated 16th January 19 19, whereby the Testator "After reading the 27th Chapter of Genesis", in which the supplanting of Esau by Jacob is related, divided his property equally between. his four sons, and added, "You all must take care of your Mammy".

The second will, though unattested by witnesses, was valid by the law of the State and was admitted to probate in December 1925, Marshall's widow, who had at first contested it, withdrawing her opposition on being shown the actual paper. Before probate however the Testator appeared again to his son, James, saying: "Where is my old will?" and showing "considerable temper".

This experience, whether dream, apparition, or borderland case, has a fuller content and is more impressive than most apparitions, if we can be certain that we have all the facts. It detracts from the force of a narrative of supposedly paranormal events if any part of it which is not paranormal is improbable. In this case the Testator's action as to his second will during his life seems hard to explain. The second will was apparently intended to set light what he regarded as the injustice of the first, but he took the trouble to make arrangements likely to prevent the second will ever being effective, - a paper in a sewn-up coat pocket, an unattested will in an old Bible not in ordinary use - unless, which he can hardly have foreseen, he were able to reveal the will's existence and whereabouts by appearances after his death.

On the other hand it is hard to believe that the whole story was a put-up job between the Testator's widow, the three surviving sons and the widow of the son who died, the last named having an interest opposed to the provisions of the second will. The American lawyer, with whom I exchanged several letters, said that to anyone who knew country folk in that area there would be nothing incredible in the action of the Testator during his life, or of his family after his death, and on that assurance the case was published.

If the case is accepted as genuine, it is probably the best case of an apparition (or realistic dream, or borderland case) providing evidence of activity after death, by the purposiveness of the repeated appearances and the detailed information conveyed as to matters outside the percipient's normal knowledge. But the purpose was a limited one, put into effect within a few months of the first appearance, and though the experience may be regarded as a "vehicle" by which the Testator communicated, it has much less claim to be considered a manifestation of complete personality than the phenomena of trance-mediumship and automatic writing discussed later in this book.

Chapter 5: Haunts and Poltergeists
- W. H. Salter -

 NOTHING IN the realm of the "psychic" or "occult" arouses so much popular interest as Haunted Houses. I have been told that enterprising travel agencies in America hold out as one of the principal attractions of a visit to the United Kingdom the prospect of seeing our historic ghosts. If any of our visitors have come here with this intention, they are likely to be disappointed, and to find that neither the frequency nor the accessibility of our ghosts is as great as they had expected. In fact their own continent has produced examples not inferior, in Nova Scotia in the past, and more recently on Long Island.

Haunted Houses are much more numerous in fiction than in fact, and more thrilling too. I do not number among them houses where the husband having had a stomach-ache in the night, or the wife having mislaid the saucepan or finding a chimney smoke, promptly calls in the aid of the nearest journalist, to be followed, according to their inclinations, either by one of the local clergy or a medium from a neighbouring town. This is an imaginary psychic incident, but each item of it could be paralleled from my own, and doubtless many other investigators' experience.

Not all cases reported are on the face of them as trivial as this. Some suggest the most lurid possibilities which however fade away on examination. The psychical researcher cannot however afford to throw into his waste-paper basket all the reports in letters or newspaper cuttings that come to him, as there is an off-chance that every now and then something may be happening that will repay his attention, provided some knowledgeable person is on the spot before the pitch is hopelessly queered.

There are two main types of occurrence in a house or other locality, that are not clearly distinguished in the public mind. The first is of recurrent phantasms, visual, auditory or tactile, not different apart from their recurrence from those discussed in the two preceding chapters, none of the experiences being demonstrably objective in the ordinary material sense. The second is of noises, breakages and displacements of objects, and the like, often recurrent and, wherever a test is possible, found to be materially objective. Rarely the two types overlap, phantasms of the kinds mentioned being observed in connection with materially objective phenomena. Occurrences of the first type are known as "haunts", of the second as "poltergeists".

Among cases of haunts in which no demonstrably physical phenomena are reported, none is of greater interest than the "Morton" case, so called from the fictitious name under which the family concerned preferred to be known. It occurred in Cheltenham and was investigated by Myers, who knew that town well. He interviewed the head of the family during the period of the manifestations and, a few years later, he questioned several of the percipients. In the Prefatory Note to Miss Morton's report of the case in SPR Proc. VIII he writes:
"In this case it is observable that the phenomena as seen or heard by all the witnesses were very uniform in character - even in the numerous instances where there had been no previous communication between the percipients. I have found no discrepancy in the independent testimonies, when collected"
except, he adds, the inability or unwillingness of an old gentleman, a neighbour, to remember an incident six years old of which there is a written record made shortly after its occurrence.

The house was built about 1860, and the Morton family moved in at the end of April 1882. The first manifestation took place towards the end of June in the same year, when a daughter, Miss R. C. Morton, then aged 19, saw an apparition. She was the principal percipient in the case and prepared the report printed in SPR Proceedings ten years later. The apparition was of a tall lady dressed in black, the impression being of widow's weeds. By the light of a candle Miss Morton saw her standing at the head of a staircase. The figure began to descend the stairs, but at this point Miss Morton's candle burnt out. In the next two years she saw the figure again about half-a-dozen times, and on the 29th January 1884 she spoke to it twice, but the figure disappeared without making reply. She also heard light footsteps. Some of her experiences she recorded at the time in letters to a friend, which are quoted in the report. Two other sisters and a brother, at the time a boy of 7 or 8, each saw the figure several times in the period between 1883 and 1887: some of the appearances are said to have occurred in daylight. Written statements were obtained from these two sisters and the brother, and also from two servants. Noises of various kinds were heard.

Miss R. C. Morton made several attempts to test the possible materiality of the apparition. A camera was kept in readiness and some exposures made. These failed, as was. only to be expected in the poor light in which most of the apparitions took place. Thin cords were stretched at various heights, across the stairs and the figure was seen to pass through them. When Miss Morton cornered the figure and attempted to touch it, it vanished. These facts are all good evidence that the figure was not made of our common clay, but would be consistent either with the astral-etheric hypothesis, or with the view of apparitions set out in the preceding chapters. It is a curious feature of the case that Miss Campbell, the friend to whom Miss Morton first spoke of the apparition, herself saw the apparition "telepathically" as she puts it, on the night when Miss Morton first spoke to the figure. She was at the time at her home in the North of England, quite a hundred miles from Cheltenham. It was Miss Campbell who had suggested to Miss Morton that she should speak to the figure on its next appearance, but she could not of course have known when this would be. The only reason for regarding Miss Campbell's experience as "telepathic" would be the correspondence in dates, which, though curious, is not conclusive.

The evidence in this case, though not perfect, must be classed as good. The principal percipients, who were members of the Morton family, were of good education and intelligence, and made a favourable impression on Myers when he interviewed them. It would have been better if others besides Miss R. C. Morton had made written records at the time, but even so we must suppose that the printed account represents the facts in their main outline at least. The figure mostly appeared and disappeared indoors in conditions that, in this and other respects, practically rule out the possibility that a living person was mistaken for a phantom. On the other hand, the apparition was not veridical. It conveyed no knowledge to the percipients which they did not already possess. It was not recognised. There were only the flimsiest grounds for connecting it with any previous occupant of the house. If it had appeared to one percipient only, there would have been nothing to differentiate it from the general run of apparitions that, for no obvious reason, just happen.

Miss Campbell's experience may perhaps help towards finding an explanation. If it was not, as she thought, due to telepathy, it may have been due to suggestion aided by chance. Her own advice to Miss Morton might have stimulated her to have a visual hallucination, and the correspondence in date is not outside the range of chance-coincidence. After Miss R. C. Morton's first experience had become known to other members of the Morton family, ordinary suggestion might induce hallucinations in them.

There are also a few cases of recognised apparitions being seen in the same building by more than one person independently and at different times. Thus in a case investigated by the SPR (Journal XIX, 262) a Rector was seen in his church by the caretaker about a year after his death. He spoke to her. (It will be understood that the third personal pronoun, "he", is used without prejudice in place of a clumsy periphrasis such as "The figure resembling the late Rector".) About four years later the wife of the then Rector saw the former Rector in another part of the same building. She knew his appearance from photographs, but did not know of the caretaker's experience. Both appearances were in daylight, which makes it improbable that an actual living person was mistaken for an apparition of a dead man. But as neither percipient received any information they did not already possess, the experience was not veridical. The fact that the caretaker both "saw" and "heard" the voice of the late Rector does nothing to prove her experience other than hallucinatory, since several cases of simultaneous hallucination of more than one sense were reported to the Census Committee.

In the poltergeist cases, where the occurrences are materially objective, three possible causes have to be considered: they may all be in operation in a single case. The first is normal, non-human agency: animals, especially rats, wind, water-pipes, and, as Mr. Lambert has recently stressed, pressure by tidal water or underground streams. The second is paranormal activity, operative through some person who is in a sort of way a medium. The third is deceptive imitation of paranormal activity, often, but not always, by a sub-normal adolescent.

As to the first sort of cause, it has long been recognised that rats, wind and water-pipes can produce noises odd enough to baffle a household. Mr. Lambert points out that a substantial number of poltergeist cases have been reported from places where the action of tidal and subterranean water would be likely to be strong, especially at certain times and seasons. To establish a poltergeist in the opinion of the household and neighbours it would be essential that the effects of the action of the water should be noticeable by them, but the action itself not. This would limit the supposed psychic phenomena to noises of various kinds, and small breakages and displacements.

Many phenomena, however, are on record that could not be explained by direct action of water, either because they are too big to have been so produced without thrusting the cause on the attention of the household, or because they are of a kind that no geophysical disturbance, large or small, could have caused, the writing on the walls in Borley Rectory, for instance. As to such cases Mr. Lambert argues that geophysical causes started noises or small movements which the household could not explain, and so triggered off other phenomena of a different type or on a larger scale, the direct agency for which was human.

Though non-human causes are beyond doubt at work in some cases, it is the human activity which is the most important, and the question is whether it is ever paranormal. It is generally agreed that there is one human agent, or more than one, whose removal from the scene would at once be followed by the cessation of the disturbances, and further that the agent, or if there is more than one, then one of the agents, is very frequently an adolescent, mentally or physically sub-normal, but that he is occasionally a sub-normal adult, and occasionally also an adult who is neither mentally nor physically below the average. Is the agency of any of them a case of genuine mediumship, or is it invariably deceptive, whether consciously or subconsciously?

Where the person is neither mentally nor physically subnormal, the phenomena are in my view always fraudulent, and designed to further some plan, such as to frighten an unwanted member of the household into quitting, or, as in a case I looked into some years ago, to prevent the purchaser of a house taking up residence and evicting a family of squatters.

The hypothesis that the phenomena were simulated through the agency of a sub-normal adolescent was put forward by Podmore, one of the authors of Phantasms, in 1896 after an examination of all the poltergeist cases which had then been investigated by the SPR. To call it, as has often been done, "the naughty little girl theory" is not quite fair, not only because the disturbances were sometimes focused on boys, and, as later research showed, on adults too, but because the whole point of Podmore's view was that the state of mind that prompted the causation of the disturbances was different from the wilful naughtiness of a healthy child. Podmore may have ridden his hypothesis too hard, but I am sure he was on the right track.

The strains which puberty places on even a healthy child are immensely intensified if the child is not up to the mark in mind or body, tubercular perhaps, or a cripple, or mentally defective. He is compelled to forego some of the fun that he sees other boys and girls of his own age enjoying. But he can find some compensation for this if by a little trickery he can fool, mystify, perhaps, frighten his parents and other seniors by making them believe they have to deal with occult, sinister forces. If the parents make enough ado about his performances he may himself come to believe that they are genuine and sinister. "Begun in fun, continued in fraud, and ending in fright," was the summary of the report on one case, and might apply to many more.

It is not necessary to work any very recondite piece of deception to fool the sort of household where these things usually happen. When poltergeists occur, as they occasionally do, in intelligent families, a little psychological knowledge and increase of affection to the child will probably put a rapid end to the trouble.

The word "trickery" may he thought to beg the question. Is there never anything paranormal? It is not possible to, prove that there never is, because it is extremely rare for a critical observer, who knows what trickery can effect, to be present when the phenomena are occurring. He is lucky if he can get a first-hand account of them soon after their occurrence from an eye-witness who may know little about trickery but is at any rate intelligent. Informed opinion is not unanimous, but the weight of it seems to me to be strongly against the paranormal. One should not however call the trickery of sub-normal adolescents or adults fraud, reserving that word for the conduct of persons who have fewer claims on our sympathy.

As an instance of the complex situation that may be found in a poltergeist case, take the disturbances in a London house which aroused great interest about thirty years ago. The house stood near the course of an underground stream, but this fact and its possible significance were not realised at the time. There is some evidence that, before disturbances began inside the house, stones were thrown at it from adjoining property. Three generations lived in the house, including a senile grandfather, aged 85. The first disturbances in the house consisted of the throwing of small, hard objects, such as potatoes and lumps of coal, The grandfather was a constant target for these. Later on, larger objects were thrown about the kitchen, and furniture was upset and smashed. Among the members of the household were a son, aged forty, who had had brain-fever as a child and still suffered from frequent headaches, and his nephew, fourteen, a delicate, shy-looking boy who had been under treatment for nervous trouble. From the report of representatives of the SPR who paid several visits, it would appear that both son and grandson might have been responsible for causing disturbances, and that the son might have been actuated by a desire to frighten the old man out of the house. Disturbances however continued during the son's absence, and could all, in the view of the SPR representatives who kept the grandson under careful observation, have been caused by the latter. No more definite motive for his causing them could be found than is usually traceable where an adolescent is the centre of trouble of this kind. There was also a free-lance investigator, who visited the house at this time. During his visits remarkable things happened which the members of the household who were not themselves under suspicion attributed to him.

Occasionally a poltergeist case, after the typical disturbances, is reported as developing apparitions. In poltergeist cases which are free from suspicion of deliberate deception there is a characteristic psychological situation not usually found among percipients of apparitions. It is therefore desirable to look closely into the reports of apparitions seen in poltergeist cases. Who .claims to have seen them? Is it certain that whoever is causing the disturbances is not also fabricating reports of apparitions in order to arouse still greater interest and to make the whole affair conform more closely to the popular notion of how a ghost should behave?

At Borley the process was reversed. A case which had run for several decades, with apparitions, real or supposed, but no phenomena that, whether genuine or not, were certainly physical, suddenly breaks out into physical phenomena of various kinds continued for several years during which the occupants of the Rectory entirely change. Both the change from apparition to poltergeist, and the continuance of the poltergeist phenomena, notwithstanding change of occupant, are so unlike what the psychical researcher's experience of other cases would lead him to expect, as to call for a thorough scrutiny of the evidence.

This it received in Vol. 51 of SPR Proceedings in a report based on most careful examination of the available evidence, written and oral, conducted over several years. I visited the Rectory during the first year of the Foyster incumbency, and interviewed both the Foysters, and went there twice later after they had left. I have not the slightest doubt that the report gives a true picture, in general, of the haunting, and only regret that here and there the tone is so biased as to detract from the force of the commentary.

Henry Bull who built Borley Rectory in 1863 lived there till his death in 1892. He was succeeded by his son, Harry Bull who died in 1927, but for several years, 1911 to 1920, did not live at the Rectory, which was occupied by his sisters.

The reputation of the Rectory for being haunted was started by the visions of Henry Bull, a notable eccentric. There is no reason to suppose they were anything else than subjective hallucinations. For the whole of the two Bull incumbencies and the first few months of that of their successor, the Rev. G. E. Smith who became Rector in 1928, the reputation for haunting was increased by rustic credulity, perhaps a little mild hoaxing, and the misinterpretation of ordinary sights and sounds. On the 10th June 1929 a journalist, invited by Mr. Smith, visited the Rectory, heard many marvels but saw none.

Two days later all that was changed most dramatically. The journalist returned, bringing with him Harry Price, who later wrote tip the haunt in two books. On this occasion thick panes of glass fell from a roof, splashing them both with splinters. They saw a glass candlestick hurtle past their heads, pebbles come tumbling down the stairs, and so on. For this startling development there is only one reasonable explanation, namely that these occurrences were deliberately faked by Harry Price. This suggestion will not appear improbable to those who know how later he manipulated and distorted other people's evidence as to events at Borley, or who have followed his conduct in other matters, the circumstances, for instance, of his exposure of Rudi Schneider.

In October 1930 the Rev. L. A. Foyster, a cousin of the Bulls, took up residence at the Rectory, accompanied by a wife much younger than himself, whose first experience this was of life in a small, remote, English village. Between then and January 1932 ostensibly paranormal phenomena occurred in great number and astonishing variety, including voices, apparitions, odours, throwing of objects, overturning of furniture, and, not least remarkable, the appearance of messages on walls and pieces of paper. The Rector, a charming and cultivated man, but not in conversation showing much sign of worldly wisdom, wrote it all down with great care. There is no doubt that some at least of the phenomena, the messages for example, were faked by Mrs. Foyster, whose apparent motive was to worry her husband into giving up the living. When it became clear that he would not do this, the phenomena ceased.

It is unnecessary to describe the events after the Foysters had left, while Harry Price was tenant of the Rectory, which had ceased to be used as such. The place was invaded week by week by groups whose hunger for sensation much exceeded, in most cases, their competence as investigators. Nor is it worth while to waste time over reports of still later events. Populus vult decipi, and through Harry Price, Mrs. Foyster and some organs of the Press it had at Borley its heart's desire.

So much doubt attaches to apparitions reported as seen in connection with occurrences of the poltergeist type that it is useless to speculate whether they are to any degree material. No qualification as to materiality is needed regarding the candlesticks hurtling through the air, the furniture knocked about, and so on. These are material in the ordinary sense of the word, and so introduce something which had no place in the accounts of apparitions discussed in Chapter III. Their natural affinity is with the physical phenomena of the séance room, with which the next chapter will deal. Before however leaving the subject of apparitions I will summarise my views on them and on their bearing on the problem of survival.

The number of reported instances of apparitions and of cognate auditory and tactile experiences is enormous. (For the sake of brevity I will mention only the visual experiences, the apparitions: they are the most numerous and what is said about them applies in general to experiences of the other two kinds.) Several volumes would be required to set them all out with an adequate comment on the evidential, psychological and other points each of them raises. For the purpose of deducing general principles they can be considered as conforming to various types. This becomes much clearer if one insists on a high evidential standard, the rules governing which are such as commonsense dictates: they have been stated shortly in Chapter III. Rigid adherence to them is in practice a counsel of perfection, but cases which deviate substantially should be discarded in the formulation of principles.

I have attempted above to describe the main types, giving examples with comments, and have also set out and commented on several cases that have come to be regarded as "leading cases" on the various topics under discussion. It will doubtless be suggested that if other casts had been chosen a different moral could have been extracted from them, but that the cases chosen are leading cases few will probably deny. For information as to the frequency or scarcity of different types of apparition reliance has been placed on the three collections already specified, Phantasms of the Living (1886), the Census Report (Proc. X, 1894) and Mrs. Sidgwick's paper in Proc. XXXIII (1923). Since that date there has been a great reduction in the number of experiences of all kinds reported. This probably implies a reduction in the number of actual experiences, and not merely of reports of them, and a Census on the same scale today might very likely show figures different from those of 1894. There is however no reason to suppose that the relative proportions of the various types would differ so much as to affect the propositions set out below:

(1) It is not uncommon for sane and healthy people to see apparitions while believing themselves to be fully awake.

(2) Nothing is at present known as to whether sane and healthy persons when they see apparitions of the kind described in this and the preceding chapters are in any particular physiological condition. Hallucinations, but of a quite different kind, may be produced by disease, alcohol, drugs or the electrical stimulation of the brain.

(3) Nothing is known as to the psychological conditions in which the great majority of such apparitions are seen.

(4) A small proportion of such apparitions show a correspondence with external events of which the percipient had no normal knowledge and which he could not infer by any normal reasoning. These are called "veridical".

(5) Statistics applied to the particular class of veridical apparitions known as "death-coincidental", i.e., occurring within twelve hours before or after the death of the person seen, show that the correspondence is not due to chance, and accordingly that it requires some paranormal explanation.

(6) Veridical apparitions are therefore objective, as corresponding in some way to things external to the percipient's normal knowledge or inference, but they are not objective in the sense of consisting of anything physical or material in the usual meaning of those words: they do not, e.g., leave any material after-effects.

(7) Most human apparitions are clothed. This is more reasonably explained by supposing that the whole apparition, including the clothes, occurs as a mental image than on the view that it is a quasi-material replica of a person of flesh and blood.

(8) Realistic veridical apparitions stand at one end of a series of experiences at the other end of which stand veridical intuitions devoid of sensory imagery. Any explanation must he such as will explain the whole series of experiences-realistic, semi-realistic and symbolic visions, "borderland" cases, dreams and intuitions. Between apparitions and events of a definitely physical or material kind there is no continuous series, no connecting link such as a supposed intermediate semi-material substance: see sub-clause 17 post.

(9) The series of veridical experiences that ranges from apparitions to intuitions can most satisfactorily be explained if all of them are considered as presentations to the percipient's conscious mind of telepathic impulses received by his subconscious from another person who is connected with it visually or in some other way, according to the type of experience. It is convenient to call this person the "agent" without necessarily implying that his activity is telepathic. Presentation may be by a realistic, semi-realistic or symbolic hallucination (as to which see p. 31 above), or be completely without externalisation.

(10) The basic idea of telepathy is transfusion of minds rather than transmission of ideas, as is most clearly shown in "reciprocal" experiences.

(11) A telepathic impulse may remain latent in the percipient's subconscious, certainly for a short time, but it is not known for how long. Veridical apparitions seen shortly after death may therefore be the result of telepathic impulses from the agent while alive, and the same is possible, though less probable, when a considerable time has elapsed. The length of time between death and experience cannot be taken as by itself decisive for or against activity by a living agent.

(12) If an apparition conveys to the percipient information as to matters outside his normal knowledge or inference or that of any other person from whom he can be reasonably supposed to have derived it telepathically, and if the matters in question relate to things that have happened since the agent's death, that is evidence of the agent's survival in the way and to the extent that information obtained under the like conditions through a medium would be, but not otherwise. Cases of this type are, as might have been expected, rare.

(13) Apparitions of the same agent may be seen at different times by different percipients, and the conditions in which this happens vary. If the later percipients have no knowledge of the earlier percipients' experiences, and especially if the apparitions are seen, as in a "haunt", in the same place, there is something odd requiring explanation. These cases however are seldom veridical or suggestive of the activity of a recognisable dead agent, or of any material or quasi-material being.

(14) Poltergeists are an altogether different type of occurrence notwithstanding occasional reports of apparitions being connected with typical poltergeist disturbances.

(15) If there are any well established cases of veridical apparitions being seen simultaneously by more than one percipient, they are so rare as to make it impossible usefully to argue as to their cause. In considering reports of them large allowance must be made for misinterpretation of natural persons and objects, and for the influence of the words or actions of one percipient on the others.

(16) Collective percipience is no guarantee of the local presence of any person or object consisting of any kind of matter (or quasi-matter) for which there is satisfactory evidence.

(17) Apart from apparitions, whose nature is now under discussion, the evidence for the existence of a substance intermediate between mind and matter derives from various types of "physical phenomena" and the statements of the mediums through whom these are produced. In the next chapter I give reasons for considering this evidence unsatisfactory.

(18) The main bearing of apparitions on the problem of survival is indirect. As examples of telepathy and part of the evidence for that faculty they help to show that mental processes are not entirely conditioned by bodily ones, and might therefore continue in operation after the death of the body. A few cases in which information as to events after the agent's death is paranormally conveyed by an apparition add support to the survival hypothesis, but it is the nature of the information and not its conveyance by an apparition that matters. Otherwise apparitions tell neither for nor against survival.

I put forward these propositions as my personal opinion, without claiming that sufficient proof of all of them has been adduced. Of many of them in the present state of our knowledge complete proof, or disproof, is not possible. They seem to me however to be such as are indicated by a broad view of the best available material

Chapter 6: Materialisations
- W. H. Salter -
THE REST of this book will deal with mediumship, that is the real or supposed possession and exercise by specially endowed persons of paranormal faculties not shared by mankind at large. The psychology of mediumship is curious and an attempt will be made in the two chapters following this to illustrate it by parallels to be found among persons who could not be classed as mediums. This I have postponed in order to introduce here the discussion of a particular variety of mediumship, that productive of the "physical phenomena" of the séance-room, and so to round off the consideration of the evidence put forward to support the conception of survival in a quasi-material form.

The variety of "physical" phenomena which have at one time or another been reported is enormous. If the occurrences reported have been accurately described, they all of them imply some deviation from the familiar course of events in the physical world and from the so-called "laws" generally accepted as governing that world. In few other respects do these heterogeneous occurrences appear to be connected with each other. One common characteristic is indeed the difficulty which the investigator encounters in attempting to examine any of them under conditions that will exclude sources of error shown by experience to be prevalent in this branch of psychical research. Another feature common to the "physical" phenomena of mediumship and differentiating them from the "mental" phenomena of psychical research, is that they belong to the séance-room and not to the world of everyday life. The ordinary citizen has no cause to be surprised if he has a veridical dream, or even if he sees a crisis-apparition of the kind discussed in Chapter III. But that, when he is by himself in his sitting-room, the table should be raised off the floor without his touching it, or that his hairbrush should suddenly and invisibly be transported from his bedroom, is a very remote contingency. These things are reported to happen in poltergeist cases and in the psychological setting typical of them. Apart from such cases, it is in the séance-room they are to be sought.

The study of them is highly technical, and of experts alive at any one time there has never been more than a handful whose opinion as to the genuineness or otherwise of what happens in a "physical" séance deserves to carry weight. Without any claim to be an expert myself, I have had the good fortune to know some who were, and to have discussed the position with them, as well, of course as to have read many reports of varying degrees of value.

Many forms of "physical" phenomena are not in themselves suggestive of the activity of an entity that has survived bodily death: raps, the movement of objects without apparent muscular or mechanical force, "apports", and so on. They are sometimes claimed at séances to be the work of spirits, but it is for the spirit first to prove his existence and, if need be, his identity, and if he can do that by other evidence, such as a convincing communication, "physical" phenomena of these kinds are, as evidence, superfluous.

Other kinds however, if they can he shown to be genuinely paranormal, suggest by their nature the activity of a surviving entity having, or being capable of assuming, a material or quasi-material form. Such are materialised phantoms, whether of the whole figure or of part, capable of being seen and occasionally touched by the sitters; impressions in wax of parts of the body; "spirit" photographs, and the production of a voice claiming to come from the mouth neither of the medium nor of any other living person present. All these phenomena seem intended to suggest that some being other than the persons present in the flesh was present in the séance-room in a form sufficiently material to be seen, touched or photographed, or to make impressions on wax similar to those a body of flesh and blood would make, or to emit sounds such as come from the mouths of living persons. This prima facie suggestion is often supported by statements made through the medium that a "spirit" has been present and has caused the occurrence of the phenomena, which, it is claimed, may prove not only his presence but his identity.

If both the "physical" phenomena and the statements regarding them made through the medium are accepted as genuine, there is an end of the matter: the survival of spirits in a material or quasi-material form has been proved. There have however been many psychical researchers, including the eminent French physiologist, Charles Richet, who have believed in the genuineness of "Physical" phenomena of this kind while rejecting the view that spirits were concerned in their production. They developed as an alternative explanation the hypothesis of "ideoplasmy", that is to say, the view that materialisations are produced from the medium's energy and a substance ("ectoplasm") supplied by him with the assistance perhaps of the sitters, and that they take form in accordance with the thoughts of those present. The basic question is the genuineness of the physical phenomena; unless this can be answered in the affirmative, it is idle to discuss the rival merits of the spiritistic and ideoplasmic hypotheses.

Of all full-form materialisations, the most famous are those observed by William Crookes in his sittings with Florence Cook, who in 1872 at the age of sixteen began giving sittings at which a "spirit form", known as "Katie King", materialised. At a sitting held in December 1873 at the house of the medium's father the medium sat in a curtained recess, clothed in a black dress and boots and tied to the chair by sealed tape. A figure in white drapery ("Katie King") came out of the recess into the room and moved about under the observation of the sitters. One of these, a Mr. Volkman, after watching the figure for about forty minutes came to the conclusion that it was the medium disguised, sprang up and seized first a muscular wrist and then a substantial waist. Other sitters then rescued the figure out of Volkman's grasp. It retreated into the recess, which was opened after about five minutes to reveal the medium in the black dress and boots and tied to the chair by the sealed tape. No white drapery was found. Volkman published an account of the sitting, and so stimulated Crookes, who had not been present at this sitting, to publish his accounts of sittings with Florence Cook in 1872 and 1874 at which he had been present; they will be found in the issues of The Spiritualist for 6th February, 3rd April and 5th June, 1874. Crookes wished to rebut any suggestion that the medium had masqueraded as the spirit by showing that to his own observation both had been present at the same time.

On one occasion Katie King at a sitting in Crookes's house invited him behind the curtain. He followed within "three seconds", as he says, and saw the medium in her black dress lying an the sofa, but in the meanwhile Katie King had vanished. On other occasions, also in his own house, several of the sitters saw figures they believed to be the medium and Katie King together under strong electric light. Crookes reports:
"We did not on these occasions actually see the face of the medium, because of the shawl, but we saw her hands and feet. we saw her move uneasily under the influence of the intense light, and we heard her moan occasionally."
None of the photographs taken at the sittings at Crookes's house showed the two faces.

But there were two sittings held at the medium's suggestion in her own home, when two figures were certainly seen together, the faces of both being visible. Other members of the medium's family were present, and the medium's bedroom served m a cabinet. On the 29th March 1874 Katie King walked about the room where the sitting was held for nearly two hours, talking to those present, and several times taking Crookes's arm. She then said she thought she could show herself and the medium together, and invited Crookes to come into the cabinet with a phosphorus lamp he had brought. He went in and by the light of his lamp saw the medium crouching on the floor, dressed in black velvet; she did not move when he took her hand and held the light close to her face.
"Raising the lamp I looked around and saw Katie standing close behind Miss Cook... Three separate times did I carefully examine Miss Cook crouching before me to he sure that the hand I held was that of a living woman, and three separate times did I turn the lamp to Katie and examine her with stead. fast scrutiny until I had no doubt whatever of her objective reality."
At a later sitting (21st May, 1874), also at the medium's house, Crookes was present behind the curtain and saw and heard Katie and the medium say goodbye to each other.

The genuineness of the Katie King phenomena has from then till now been a matter of acute controversy. On the affirmative side the main argument is that Crookes was a highly intelligent man, and an eminent scientist - facts of course altogether beyond dispute - and that he has given clear testimony in a case where mistake was incredible. Intelligence is highly relevant; eminence in science or any other walk of life is not, unless accompanied by long experience and objective examination of psychical phenomena. Crookes began his interest in spiritualism in a state of strong emotion, owing to the loss of a brother to whom he was deeply attached. His first sittings, as described in his biography by Fournier d'Albe, show a complete disregard of commonsense precautions against fraud. By 1874 however he had had considerable experience of mediums, including D. D. Home, the most famous of all "physical" mediums. Crookes himself reinforced the case for genuineness by an argument which cannot in the light of later investigations of poltergeist cases be allowed much weight, namely that Florence Cook was too young to carry out a fraud of the complexity that, if fraud there were, must be assumed. A like argument is raised over and over again when poltergeists are discussed but long experience has shown both the inclination and the ability of adolescents to gull their seniors.

On the negative side the main arguments were: first that the control conditions throughout were inadequate; second that at the sittings at Crookes's house he did not see both figures at the same time, being perhaps deceived into thinking that clothes which the medium had removed in order to impersonate the spirit still had the medium's body inside them; thirdly, that it is significant that the only two instances when it is beyond doubt that the medium and Katie King were present at the same time, both having forms sufficiently material to he touched, were sittings held at the medium's house, where a member of her family might possibly have impersonated Katie King. The inadequacy of the Control at these two sittings was pointed out by several spiritualists when Crookes published his account of them. Impersonation of Katie sometimes by the medium and sometimes by another woman would account for difference., in Katie's appearance, height, etc., noticed at various times by Crookes himself.

In later years Florence Cook confessed - boasted might be the better word - that Katie King was a deliberate fraud on her part. These "confessions" were never, I believe, made public during Crookes's life and he had no opportunity of answering them. They are therefore in no way evidence against him, and if there were no other grounds for suspecting the genuineness of Katie King they could he disregarded. In a case however of phenomena for which no close parallel could be cited, and in which strong doubts of genuineness have been raised by the Volkman sitting and the unsatisfactory conditions at Crookes's own sittings, the medium's confessions seem to me rather damaging. It is to be noted that, whether genuine or not, the manifestations were thoroughly material. Crookes noted nothing quasi-material about Katie's arm when she took his, any more than Volkman did when he grasped a muscular wrist and substantial waist.

Since the days of Florence Cook other mediums have been famous for the appearance at sittings with them of fully-formed phantoms. About two of the most famous, Marthe Beraud, later known as Eva C., and Helen Duncan, something will now be said.

At the end of the nineteenth century there were living in Algiers a French General, Noel, and his wife. They were holding regular séance at their villa, and in 1900 they invited a M. Marsault, a lawyer by profession and a friend of their son Maurice, to attend them. At this stage no materialisations had taken place. Later in 1900 Maurice went to the Congo on business and died there in 1904. He had, before leaving Algiers, become engaged to a young Frenchwoman named Marthe Beraud. On learning of his death Marsault, between whom and Maurice's parents some coldness had developed owing to his sceptical attitude to the séances, paid them a visit of condolence. Marsault learnt that the manner of the séances had changed. A spirit named Bien-Boa, who claimed to have been an Arab Chief, had for some time been giving communications without showing himself. He was now appearing in a fully materialised form, and another spirit, calling herself Bergolia and claiming to be his sister, was materialising too. Bergolia had chatted with Mme. Noel, drunk tea and eaten sweets with her. Mine. Noel said that Maurice also had appeared and kissed her. She invited Marsault and a friend to supper and a séance.

After the supper Marthe, finding herself alone for a few minutes with Marsault and his friend, is reported by Marsault as saying, "Do you want to have some fun? You know Bergolia is all humbug; my sister and I will give you some fun". She had previously told Marsault that all the materialisations were false, but this avowal astounded him. They were then joined by Marthe's two younger sisters. At the séance which followed Marthe, he says, impersonated Bergolia in a very transparent way.

The next stage was that Charles Richet, the distinguished physiologist, visited Algiers, had sittings at the Noel's house and witnessed the materialised Bien-Boa. His account may be read in his Thirty Years of Psychical Research(translated from the French, 1923) where a photograph of Bien-Boa is reproduced (p. 507). He accepted the materialisation as a genuine case of ideoplasmy. His favourable report was first published in 1905 and was read with amazement by Marsault, who wrote confidentially to Richet saying he feared Richet had been deceived. In January, 1906, Marsault went to see Marthe and her father, meeting also her mother and two sisters. He reports Marthe as saying that she had been led into mediumship by Mme. Noel's importunities, and that, being already established as a materialising medium, she could not avoid giving Richet sittings; the whole thing was a sham, but her part in it had been passive. Marsault published his account of the affair in 1906. Richet stuck to his own opinion, dismissing Marsault in a very cavalier fashion. For this part of Marthe's career see SPR Proceedings Vol. XXVII, 333-369.

In 1908 Marthe came to Paris and in 1909 began to give sittings to a private circle to which Dr. von Schrenck-Notzing, a well-known German doctor and psychical researcher, was introduced. Schrenck-Notzing in his first reports of her called her "Eva W' without any hint that she was the same person as the famous Marthe Beraud. So began a new phase of Marthe's mediumship, in which the control conditions were not so negligible as in the time of Bergolia, and the phenomena were of a rather different order. No full-form phantoms were seen but from various parts of the body there seemed to come masses of cc substance" of various sizes, colours and consistencies, sometimes shapeless, sometimes roughly suggestive of hands etc., and sometimes in the form of flat or flattish objects on which appeared faces either roughly drawn or in a more finished style, like photographs. Of the faces produced at her Paris sittings, some bore a curious resemblance to photographs of notable persons published in the French Press. Thus at two sittings in 1913 she produced faces bearing a likeness, which notwithstanding differences of detail was unmistakable, to photographs of President Wilson and President Poincare which had been published in 1912 in the Miroir. The faces were not just cut out from the Miroir but look like rough copies of the Miroir photographs deliberately altered in detail, e.g. President Wilson is given a moustache.

A few faces of both the rough and the more finished types were produced at the series of forty sittings given to an SPR Committee in 1920. My wife was present at some of these sittings and I was the note-taker at a sitting described in the report (SPR Proc. Vol. XXXII) as "a very remarkable one" (p. 275). Before the sittings Eva C. was stripped and sewn into a stockingette costume, and during the sitting both her hands were controlled by experienced sitters. The investigating Committee considered that the precautions taken were sufficient to prevent the extrusion of pseudo-paranormal objects even if the medium had succeeded in introducing them into the séance-room, concealed in some way. The only continuous lighting during the medium's trance was a dim red light on the note-taker's desk. When Eva C. announced the production of "substance", it was inspected by an electric torch turned on for that purpose, and on occasion flashlight photographs were taken.

Dr. Dingwall, who was a member of the Committee, contributed to the report a section in which he discussed the possibility of fraud in relation both to Eva C's sittings on the Continent and to the London series. He says (pp. 328, 329):
"Speaking purely for myself I cannot say that I altogether rely upon the observations of her continental investigators, whilst the sittings in England were too few and the phenomena too insignificant to enable any satisfactory conclusion to be arrived at."
The Committee as a whole much regretted that they were unable to come definitely either to positive or negative conclusions.

A glance at the photograph of Bien-Boa in Richet's book, or at the photographs of the faces produced at the sittings with Eva C. is sufficient to explain why many believers in the genuineness of her mediumship rejected a spiritistic view of it. The souls of the departed may conceivably inhabit forms resembling Bien-Boa; if so we must endure the prospect with fortitude, regretting only that we have been misled by the poets and artists to expect something different. But does not Bien-Boa look like a clumsy attempt, whether ideoplasmic or fraudulent, to imitate the established traditional concept of a spirit? To me it most certainly does. Much the same criticism applies to the faces of the Eva C. sittings. Some of them are pleasant enough as two-dimensional drawings: but why two-dimensional if they are spirits? Again, not even the addition of a moustache could convert the President Wilson of 1913 into a plausible visitor from another world.

Mrs. Helen Duncan was the most famous materialising medium of our time in this country. She was twice prosecuted for fraud and convicted, first in 1933 and then in 1944, but until her death in 1956 enjoyed the confidence of many believers. It is not however the question whether any of her phenomena were genuine which I wish to discuss, but that other question whether her materialisations in themselves suggest a spiritual origin. I would refer, for example, to the photograph facing p. 37 of SPR Proc. XLVIII, reproduced from a book of Harry Price. How much spirituality is there in that?

Another type of occurrence sometimes claimed to demonstrate the presence in the séance-room. of a materialised or partly materialised spirit is the production of wax moulds of parts of the human body, especially hands. At a sitting for this sort of phenomenon the procedure adopted is somewhat as follows: The medium's hands are controlled by sitters; a bowl of wax warm enough to take a mould from is placed near by; out of the bowl is taken a mould, say, of a hand, which when the wax has hardened shows all the characteristic contours and markings of a human hand. It is claimed that the mould could not have been formed round a hand of flesh and blood that was subsequently withdrawn, as the aperture at the wrist was too small to permit withdrawal of anything but an ectoplasmic hand.

Such moulds were obtained with the Polish medium Kluski in 1921 at sittings conducted by Charles Richet and Dr. Geley, head of the Institut Metapsychique at Paris. They were convinced that the moulds were produced paranormally by "Ideoplasmy". In the absence of precautions it would be possible for a trickster to produce bogus moulds in two ways at least: (1) by a hand or hands dipped in the wax and withdrawn when the wax cooled, provided the trickster had, as some people have, an exceptional power of compressing the wrist and the bones at the base of the thumb; (2) by the introduction into the séance-room of moulds made before the séance by ordinary technical processes, Richet and Geley claimed that they had taken adequate precautions against both these forms of trickery. The question is whether this claim was justified, particularly as regards the second method. The precaution taken was to mix with the wax used for the séance a chemical substance easily traceable after the séance, and this substance was in fact found in the moulds produced. This would seem to be an adequate safeguard, provided it were certain that the medium had no knowledge before the sitting that the chemical was to he used. Mediums do sometimes get to know before a séance of supposedly secret methods of control. In sittings held under the auspices of the SPR. I should be confident that no such risk would be incurred, but I have less confidence that nothing of the kind could have happened in the Institut of those days.

In 1926 Mrs. Crandon ("Margery"), the wife of a well-known surgeon of Boston, Mass., was already known as a medium whose phenomena, produced in the presence of many experienced investigators, were of astonishing variety and had aroused violent controversy as to their genuineness. In that year there was a new development. Large numbers of prints of thumbs, fingers and palms of the hand were produced, paranormally as it was claimed, the thumb and finger prints being said to correspond to those of her dead brother, Walter. Some thumb prints of the same pattern were also produced at sittings given by her in England.

At one of the English sittings in 1929 a fingerprint of the medium's was found on a piece of wax used at the sitting, and the natural inference was that at a critical moment Margery's hands were not controlled so efficiently as to prevent her being able to manipulate the wax. In 1932 however a more damaging discovery was made. A Mr. Dudley, one of her strongest supporters, who had supervised many of her American sittings and published reports on them, was collecting for the records of the American Society for Psychical Research digital prints of all the sitters who had ever been present at a Margery sitting when thumb or finger prints were produced. Among her earlier sitters was a dentist, called in the reports "Kerwin". On comparison of the sitters' prints with the numerous impressions from Margery sittings which were accessible to him, Dudley found to his surprise that the impression of Kerwin's right thumb corresponded in every instance with impressions of right thumbs produced at the sittings, and that his left thumb prints corresponded to some left thumb impressions from the sittings. It was later found that the correspondence extended to the thumb prints obtained at Margery's sittings in England.

As a result of further enquiries Mr. Dudley ascertained that very shortly before the first sitting at which "Walter" prints had been produced, Margery had paid Kerwin a professional visit when he had explained to her how dental wax was used, and had given her impressions on wax of both his thumbs, together with spare pieces of wax. Mr. Dudley's view as to the correspondence between the "Walter" impressions and the Kerwin prints was confirmed by Professor Cummins, an American authority on "dermatoglyphics", who made reports on the American prints to the American Society, and on the English prints to the SPR. (see SPR Proc. Vol. XLIII pp. 15-23). Before Dudley's discovery many of Margery's supporters had accepted without question a supposed correspondence between her séance-room. prints and prints made on a razor by her brother shortly before his death. On examination it was found that the prints on the razor were too indistinct to prove anything.

Another type of phenomenon which, it is sometimes contended, proves the survival of spirits in a quasi-material form is "Spirit-photography". Amateur photographers of unquestionable bona fides sometimes get results which puzzle them and lead them to wonder whether they may not, without any intention to do so, have photographed some manifestation of the spirit world. Their prints are often forwarded to the SPR for an opinion. It should be noted here that, while the cause of the unexpected result can often be detected from the positive print, the original negative film or plate is much more informative and, if it is a film, negatives of the complete roll are more informative still. Sometimes the puzzling results are due to an accidental intrusion of light, producing blurs or fogs which a lively imagination can convert into persons or things of another world. Sometimes a freak of light and shade makes a real object present within the photographic field - a tree, perhaps, or a part of a building - look like a figure, although the photographer knows that no such figure was visually present.

The effects of accidental double exposure in producing "ghosts" are now so well known that few amateurs bother the SPR with examples. The appearance of several ghostly figures before the altar of a cathedral in an amateur photograph that attracted much publicity recently was pronounced by experts to be due partly to double exposure and partly to a slight movement of the camera while one of the exposures was being made.

If amateur photographs, mostly snapshots, were all that had to be considered, there would he no need to bring "spirit photography" into a discussion of survival. But there have been mediums who specialised in the production of "spirit photographs", and this form of mediumship has a very long history, stretching back to 1862. In that year Mumler in America began to produce photographs on which the forms of "spirits" appeared. In the following year it was discovered that in two of his photographs the "spirit" was a person still living. Ten years later an English practitioner, Hudson, was active, and aroused a violent controversy in Spiritualist circles. His supporters admitted that some of his photos looked as if there had been double exposure. The "spirits" however assured them that the appearance of double exposure did not indicate fraud, but was due to the refraction of rays of light passing through the mixed auras of the "spirits" and the sitters. In 1875 a Frenchman, Buguet, on being prosecuted by his Government, confessed to the fraudulent production of "spirit" photos by double exposure. For the early history of "spirit" photography see SPR Proc. VII, 268-289.

These inauspicious episodes have not prevented the revival of "spirit photography" from time to time. The technique used has been carefully studied, and some fraudulent methods have been discovered. The two principal are these: (1) For the virgin plate, which the sitter is intended to believe is being exposed, there is substituted a plate on which a "spirit" image has already been impressed. When the plate is developed, there appear both a normal portrait of the sitter, and an "extra", as it is called, that is to say, something which would not have been visible in the ordinary way to a person standing where the camera stood. The developed negative will often show signs of the double exposure. For instance the rebate of the dark slide makes a distinct line down the margin of the plate, and as dark slides do not exactly fit the plates they are to hold, a double exposure usually means a double marginal line; the presence on the plate of a double marginal line is strong evidence of double exposure, which is strong evidence of fraud. In a print the edges can be trimmed so as to conceal this clue.

"Extras" are often well defined photographs of heads. Sometimes the heads are surrounded by "ectoplasmic clouds" similar to what can be produced by placing some fluffy material in contact with the plate. Where substitution is possible, it is no mystery if "extras'' appear, with or without "ectoplasmic clouds", reproducing the features of well-known public men or women. The original magazine or book illustration from which the "extra" has been copied has sometimes been identified, and the grain of the paper on which the original was printed detected. If the identity of the sitter is known to the medium beforehand, he may be able to obtain for copying photographs taken during life of some of his dead friends or relations, though, of course, this is not always possible.

Substitution of plates may be more clearly detected in other ways than by inference from such clues as the double marginal line. It takes a very expert observer under better conditions than usually prevail to see the substitution being made, but where the sitter brings with him marked plates which he gives the medium, and at the end of the sitting is handed a plate complete with "extra" but lacking the mark, it is clear that substitution has in fact taken place.

(2) There is however another technique which can be used by a medium who knows that he has to work with a marked plate, but determines not to be defeated by this precaution. I quote from a report made to the SPR in 1932 by Mr. Fred Barlow, who had Previously been a strong supporter of the genuineness of "spirit Photography". It should be explained that in 1922 Harry Price had a sitting with William Hope, the best known "spirit" photographer of that time. Price took with him plates on which the makers had printed marks that remained invisible till after development. He got back a plate with an "extra" but without any makers' mark. Mr. Barlow writes:
"Since Mr. Price's exposure of Hope, substitution seems to have become too risky, and most of the results now show a small face identical in kind with what can be produced by flash-light apparatus. Such flash-light apparatus can easily be palmed and used in the darkroom or pocket without fear of detection... It consists of a small electric bulb with wires which are connected to a battery hidden about the person. In front of this electric bulb is placed a small positive face, and it is only necessary to switch on the bulb for a second or so to print the positive on to the sensitive plate where, of course, it will develop as a negative image."
Major Rampling Rose, who had a large business as a photographic manufacturer, and collaborated with Mr. Barlow in his research, demonstrated the use of a flashlamp of this kind at a meeting of the SPR. He added that during the thirty years he had been in the trade, his work had been to track down defects and devise methods to overcome them, that he had taken photographs in almost every part of the world, and had had four years aerial photographic experience during the First World War. He continued:
"I do not remember ever seeing a single abnormal photograph of all those which have passed through my hands that could not be explained by purely natural means."
For the Barlow-Rampling Rose paper see SPR Proc. XLI, 121-138.

Whatever the method used by the spirit photographer, a good deal of reliance seems to be placed on the imaginative powers of the sitter, which are at least equal to those shown by any amateur photographer in interpreting blurs and fogs on his snapshots. As the famous Spiritualist, Stainton Moses ("M.A. Oxon."), wrote in 1875:
"Some people would recognise anything. A broom and a sheet are quite enough to make up a grandmother for some wild enthusiasts who go with the figure in their eye and see what they wish to see."
He was referring to the materialised phantoms of the séance-room, but his words are equally appropriate to spirit photographs. It is not only in the psychic context however that the problem of false recognition arises. There is, for instance, the case of that most substantial revenant, the Tichborne Claimant. Some who had known the real man well accepted the Claimant; others rejected him. Both parties cannot have been right, but as to which was wrong there still lingers a doubt sufficient to provoke animated controversy in books and the Press.

The presence of "ectoplasmic clouds" in such a position on the plate as to obscure the features of the "spirit extra" naturally greatly increases the chances of false recognition.

Finally reference should he made to the claim sometimes advanced by the Controls of mediums, including some whose bona fides is above suspicion, that the voice in which "communications" are given comes not from the medium's own mouth or vocal chords, but from some other part of the room where the sitting is being held, and through some ectoplasmic vocal organism of the Control. Efforts to test this claim with appropriate apparatus for locating sounds have not so far succeeded. Most people's judgment as to the source of sounds is notoriously fallible, especially in the dark or in poor light. For the weight to be attached to the statements of Controls about themselves see Chapter IX.

As regards any type of psychic experience it is impossible to prove that no genuine example has ever occurred. A medium may cheat whenever lax conditions permit trickery and yet, apparently, produce genuine results under strict conditions. Eusapia Palladino is the most striking instance. At Cambridge in 1895 and at other times and places she was caught in the act, but at Naples in 1908 she produced phenomena which the highly competent committee who then investigated her believed to be genuine: see SPR Proc. Vol. XXIII. And, of course, the, exposure of one medium is not evidence against another medium producing similar phenomena, although it is highly suspicious if, in the second case, there occur incidents of a kind which, in the first case, have been found connected with fraudulent methods.

Florence Cook, William Hope, Margery Crandon, whose cases have been discussed in this chapter, were the most famous mediums of their day in their own lines, and were accepted as genuine by many sitters. The reader can form his own opinion as to the probability or otherwise that genuine full-form materialisations, genuine "spirit" photographs or genuinely paranormal thumb-prints were ever produced through the mediumship of any of them, and generally whether or not phenomena of these types lend any support to belief in survival in a quasi-material form.

Mediums used to complain that the conditions of control to which they were asked to submit were unpleasant and irksome search of the body for concealed objects, tying of hands and wrists, and so on, - conditions which were imposed to prevent the simulation of phenomena in sittings held, at the medium's insistence, in poor light or even complete darkness. Whatever substance there may have been in this complaint has long lost all its relevance. For years now the apparatus generally known as the "infra-red telescope", which enables movements to he seen in the dark, has made unnecessary the measures complained of. A reward has been offered for mediums capable of producing physical phenomena with the infra-red telescope as the sole method of control. No medium has so far come forward to claim the reward. This reluctance confirms me in my view that none of the phenomena discussed in this or the preceding chapters support the quasi-material conception of survival.

It is not difficult to trace the stages which have led to these various types of phenomenon being taken, separately or together, as evidence supporting this conception. First of all there are visual and auditory hallucinations at or about the time of the death of the person "seen" or "heard", or later. These are genuine experiences misinterpreted, very naturally in pre-scientific times, as happening not in the percipient's mind, but in some external region, and to that extent as being physically objective, though not as solid as living flesh and blood. The nation of this limited, quasi-physical objectivity is confirmed by some of these experiences conveying or implying knowledge of facts not till then known to the percipient, which does indeed involve objectivity of a different order, and by others of them being collective or recurrent.

The next stage is for popular belief, with the help of the poets and story-tellers, to embellish narratives of subjective occurrences with picturesque details that, if true, would make the whole experience physically objective: hence the traditional ghost story. All this may have been done in good faith, even where, as in the original version of the Don Juan story, the motive of edification is at the back of it. This leads on to poltergeist trickery, which one hesitates to stigmatise as fraud because of the irresponsible nature of the persons most closely concerned. But the belief in quasi-material spirits, originating and confirmed in the way described above, is often shamelessly exploited in the séance-roorn by deliberate fraud, to the discredit of a profession numbering many honourable members.

Chapter 7: Ecstasy and Inspiration
- W. H. Salter -

THE PREVIOUS chapter was concerned with the particular form of mediumship that produces materialisations and other "physical" phenomena sometimes supposed to support the theory of survival in a quasi-material form. The mediumship with which the rest of this book will be concerned is of a different kind, which for want of a better term is often called "trance mediumship". The presence of trance is not the criterion. Many phenomena of "physical" mediumship are probably produced in genuine trance, while many "communications" are given in states not far removed from normal consciousness: this is particularly true of automatic writing. The phrase "trance mediumship" is however by now established in general use, and is less misleading than such an alternative as "clairvoyant mediumship". The characteristic of mediumship of this kind is the communication of messages purporting to come from the surviving minds of persons now dead. Occasionally such communications are combined with "physical" phenomena, but often, and in the case of mediums of the highest standard generally, they are not. Whether so combined or not the communications ought to be judged on their own merits, independently of the evidential value, if any, of physical phenomena occurring through the same mediumship.

People who encounter mediumship for the first time, whether at actual sittings or through printed reports of them, often doubtless think it a very queer business, and find themselves at a loss whether to regard it with belief or disgust. In discussing therefore this type of mediumship it may be helpful to start with a survey of various mental states which may at first sight seem to have little connection with each other or with mediumship. Some of these states are common and familiar: others in greater or less degree rare. They may or may not form part of the ordinary conscious life. For some, but not all of them a paranormal explanation seems required.

We may begin with a condition familiar to everyone, namely sleep. That our dreams are very largely shaped by internal conflicts and resistances, as taught by Freud and his followers, nobody who has examined his own dreams for any length of time will be disposed to doubt. The influence of the Freudian unconscious is extremely pervasive, but psychical research has shown in relation, for instance, to telepathy, that much goes on in the subconscious which will not fit into the canonical scheme of Freudianism (see above); Freud himself was prepared to accept telepathy, and would have made his acceptance public, had his followers allowed him to do so. Many sleepers have found on waking that problems that seemed to them insoluble overnight have somehow solved themselves without any conscious effort on their part. This however, although it suggests paranormal activity during sleep, does not clearly demonstrate it, nor indeed does it prove any subconscious activity at all. Possibly a solution had been almost reached by normal mental processes before sleep, but the final stage of grasping it had been frustrated by fatigue or by excessive concentration working through "the law of reversed effort", and with sleep the obstacles to success may just have vanished.

There are however instances in which the sleeper did not merely find the solution complete in his conscious mind on waking, but had it presented to him in a dream with that mixture of realism and symbolic imagery typical of dreams. Here is an example quoted from SPR Proc. XII, 13-17. An archaeologist, who was in 1893 preparing a report on some Babylonian finds for an American university, was puzzled by two small pieces of agate with fragmentary inscriptions. He thought the pieces had originally been part of finger rings, and while he could decipher some of the writing on one piece he could make nothing of the other. In his dream a Babylonian priest took him into the treasure house of a temple, and declared to him that these two pieces were not finger rings, but two sections of a cylinder which had been cut into three parts, and that the third section would not he found. The first two rings had served as ear-rings for the god Ninib. "If you will put the two together you will have confirmation of my words." On the next day he put the two pieces together, found that they fitted so as to form part of a cylinder, and that from the previously indecipherable inscriptions he could reconstruct a dedication to the god Ninib. As the dream had stated, it was impossible to make a complete cylinder out of the two fragments, and the piece needed for this was never found. All the information required for this solution was already possessed by the archaeologist before he fell asleep. His dream may therefore have been no more than a mechanism for presenting to his conscious mind a connection, already formed by his subconscious, between consciously known facts. If that view is correct, the priest in the dream would be his own subconscious dramatised.

Even more impressive are the instances of imaginative creation in dreams, of which Coleridge's fragmentary Kubla Khan is the most famous example. The latter part of this chapter will treat of creative imagination, but it may aid to a better understanding of what the poets have to say on that subject, if we now consider some curious psychological states of which accounts have been given by persons of more common clay. These states are generally known as "out-of-the-body" experiences, a description which, however clumsy, fairly explains itself. There are several examples on record, differing greatly as to the fullness of the experience, and the nature of its constituent parts, but having this feature in common, that a living person feels, and often seems to see, his real self separated for a time from his body, which he also "sees", as it were, from outside.

The most famous case is that of the American Dr. Wiltse, reported in SPR Proc. VIII, and also in Human Personality, Vol. II. The following is a summary of Dr. Wiltse's own account of his experience. In the yeas 1889 he seemed to himself, and also to the doctor attending him, about to die. He said goodbye to his family, composed his limbs, sank into unconsciousness, and passed about four hours without pulse or perceptible heart-beat. He then returned to a state of conscious existence within the body and "watched the interesting process of the separation of soul and "body". His "Ego", to use his own phrase, gradually detached itself from one part of the body after another, finally emerging from the head "like a soap-bubble attached to the bowl of a pipe", which broke loose from the body and fell to the floor, "where I slowly rose and expanded into the full stature of a man. I seemed to be translucent, of a bluish cast and perfectly naked", a fact which embarrassed him as he was aware of the presence of two ladies. His Ego somehow or other acquired clothes. Looking at the couch he had left he saw his body lying there just as he had Composed it. On leaving the house he walked a short way down the street, and later along a mountain road, which was blocked by three enormous rocks. Then a great dark cloud, with bolts of fire darting through it, stood over his head, and he was aware of a presence which he could not see, not seeming to be a form, but filling the cloud:
"like some vast intelligence.... Then from the right side and the left of the cloud a tongue of black vapour shot forth and rested lightly upon either side of my head, and as they touched me thoughts not my own entered into my brain."
The thoughts were to the effect that the rocks were the boundary between two worlds; once he passed them he could no more return into the body; he could not do so unless he believed his work in the body to he finished. After some hesitation he attempted to cross the boundary, but a small, densely black cloud moved towards him and he knew he was to be stopped: "... the cloud touched my face, and I knew no more. Without previous thought and without apparent effort on my part my eyes opened." He saw the cot on which he was lying and realised "in astonishment and disappointment" that he was in the body.

A rather more recent case is that contributed to the Edinburgh Medical Journal in 1937 by Sir Auckland Geddes, and reviewed in the SPR Journal, Vol. XXX. Here again the percipient was a doctor, who was apparently dying. He relates that at no stage of the experience was his consciousness dimmed, but:
"I suddenly realised that my consciousness was separating from another consciousness, which was also me."
The Ego attached itself to one consciousness (A), while he recognised the B personality "as belonging to the body", showing signs of being a composite of "consciousnesses" from different parts of the body, and tending to disintegrate,
"while the A consciousness, which was now me, seemed to be altogether outside my body, which it could see."
From a source he did not know, but which he found himself calling his "mentor", he received information as to the problems of space and time. But a doctor hastily summoned made an injection which made his heart beat more strongly:
"I was drawn back and I was intensely annoyed because I was so interested... I came back into the body really angry ... and once I was back all the clarity of vision of anything and everything disappeared..."
In another case a Mr. "Kenwood", who had been suffering greatly from fatigue and anxiety as a result of tending his wife during an Illness, remembered in the morning an experience he had had during the night. The ceiling and roof seemed to disappear and he clearly saw a star:
"My Spirit left my body which I saw by my wife's in bed. I seemed to resemble the shape of a flame with a long silver thread attached to my earth body. I enjoyed what I can only liken to the Peace of God which passeth all understanding. I have never enjoyed such mental exhilaration before or since... The Star came nearer and in passing me assumed the head, neck and thorax of my father-in-law (deceased). He told me by impressing it on my mind that my wife would be all right. He shot down and I turned to see him enter my body..." (after a period without conscious memory) "My memory came back as I was shooting earthwards. Again I passed my father-in-law who impressed the thought on my mind 'Don't worry about her, she is quite all right'. I remember the cord getting very short, but I am unable to recall anything of the re-entry into my body."
The next day the wife's health was greatly improved. The case is reported in the SPR Journal, Vol. XXXIII.

This type of case, of which other examples are on record, prompts the question: Have we not proof here of an "astral body", capable of almost complete detachment from the "earth body" during life, capable of making contact with, though not of fully entering into, the spiritual world before death, and presumably therefore capable of continued existence after death and of complete entry into the world of the spirit then? There is indeed enough uniformity within this group of cases to show that they describe a genuine class of experience and are not a random assortment of oddities. Common to all the instances quoted is the sense (a) of existence in an entity not entirely out of touch with earthly affairs, but not dependent on the "earth body", (b) of this existence being preferable to earthly existence, so that in the Wiltse case there is "disappointment" and in the Geddes case "annoyance" at the return, while Mr. "Kenwood" had "never enjoyed such mental exhilaration before or since" as during his experience, and (c) of contact with some intelligence other than that of the percipient.

But the differences must not be overlooked. In the Wiltse case the external intelligence becomes almost a personal Deity, manifesting in dark clouds and lightning. In the Geddes case the "mentor" hardly emerges from abstraction. In Mr. "Kenwood's" experience a "star" becomes a dead relative. In each of the three instances there is strong element of symbolism, and this varies from case to case just as might be expected if we were to suppose the presentation to the conscious mind of several real but subjective adventures of the subconscious.

Many important observations on cases of this kind are to be found in Professor Whiteman's paper in Proc. 50, pp. 240-274, in which he analyses a number of experiences including several in which he was himself the percipient.

With these examples of one part of the personality feeling itself to be detached temporarily from another may be compared the experiences of men who in situations of difficulty and danger have had the reassuring sensation of the presence of a protective companion. An instance of this, not, I think, previously published, was that of a man who in early manhood roughed it in various parts of the world, particularly the back blocks of Australia, a country for which he had a great affection. Later he had a job as engineer in a still undeveloped part of Canada.

He reached his camp there one winter afternoon and decided to collect his mail, which he had not received for several days, from the post office, about two miles distant through the bush. By the time he had collected it, and was starting back, it was rapidly getting dark. He could hear wolves howling in the distance. He heard footsteps behind him and a voice which said, "Windy, cobber?". He pressed on and when he reached his quarters turned round to see who his companion was, and saw nobody. The next morning he went carefully over his track of the previous day, and saw one pair of footprints in the snow, his own, going and returning, and no more. The interesting point of this narrative is that the unseen companion of the Canadian wilds should talk Australian slang. The protector was doubtless a projection, externalised to his sense of hearing, of happy days in Australia, when the hardships may have been severe, but did not include the risk of being eaten by wolves in the snow.

The story, famous at one time, of "The Angels of Mons" was a pious fiction originating in a parish magazine. It incorporated sensational features, such as the production of panic among the horses of the enemy cavalry, that are without parallel in well-evidenced cases. After long enquiry only one man could be traced who claimed to have been an eye-witness, and his regimental records showed that he was in England at the time. But there are first-hand accounts from soldiers who took part in the famous retreat of weary men having collective illusions of seeing friendly troops covering their flanks when no such troops were there. (SPR Journal XVII, 106- 118).

Some of the characteristics of these experiences have curious parallels in the accounts which authors and artists have given of the process of imaginative creation. On this subject Rosamond Harding's An Anatomy of Inspiration(2nd Edn. Heffer, 1942) is most instructive. The reader of that book may be surprised to learn how great a number of authors, artists, musical composers and scientific discoverers have left it on record that their best work was done wholly or partially without conscious effort, and how great a variety of forms the feeling of inspiration may take. For my present purpose it will be sufficient to quote a few examples from well-known English authors.

Towards the end of his lecture The Name and Nature of Poetry (Cambridge University Press 1933) A. E. Housman describes the conditions that he found conducive to the writing of poetry, and the bodily sensations that he experienced when in the creative mood. He mentions that he has seldom written poetry unless he was rather out of health. When taking an afternoon walk, he says,
"afternoons are the least intellectual portion of my life ... there would flow into my mind, with a sudden and unaccountable emotion, sometimes a line or two of verse, sometimes a whole stanza at once, accompanied, not preceded, by a vague notion of the poem which they were destined to form part of... There would usually be a lull of an hour or so, then perhaps the spring would bubble up again... Sometimes the poem had to be taken in hand and completed by the brain, which was apt to be a matter of trouble and anxiety, involving trial and disappointment, and sometimes ending in failure."
Housman is clearly describing a process of subconscious activity, with no hint of inspiration from an external source. In fact he specially mentions the pit of the stomach as "the source of the suggestions thus proferred to the brain".

In R. L. Stevenson's Across the Plains there is A Chapter on Dreams, which tells us much more about the development of his creative powers. As a not very happy child he had typical anxiety dreams, but found that he had some control as to what he dreamt, and having developed a taste for the Georgian period of history,
"he masqueraded there in a three-cornered hat, and was much engaged with Jacobite conspiracy between the hour for bed and that for breakfast."
Later still, when he began to write fiction he found that "the little people who manage man's internal theatre", whom he also calls "Brownies", were willing to stage for him scenes which in his waking life he could work up into "printable and profitable tales". Thus, wishing to write a story round the theme of "man's double being", and unable after two days' racking his brains to think of a plot, he dreamt two scenes which became the nucleus of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. All that came to him in his dreams he put to the Brownies' credit, but it always had to he worked over and completed in his waking hours. He thought however that the Brownies had "a hand in it even then". Speculating as to who the Brownies were, he points out their connection With himself and his training as a writer:
"only I think they have more talent, and one thing is beyond doubt, they can tell him (i.e. R.L.S.) a story piece by piece like a serial, and keep him all the while in ignorance of where they aim."
If Stevenson's account of his childhood phantasies be compared with his description of his adult literary activities, the change towards "otherness" is noticeable. Is the change entirely verbal? The Brownies might be taken simply as his own conscious personification of his subconscious, or they might denote some entity that Stevenson felt to be external to himself, though accessible only through his subconscious. Stevenson was an early member of the SPR, and he has put all psychical researchers in his debt by relating so fully the development of his subconscious. The debt would be still greater if he had contrived to be a little more plainspoken.

Other authors have recorded that their characters have become so alive as to take the development of the story into their hands, and to hold conversations with them, as Dickens says Mrs. Gamp did with him. This seems to be an example of the tendency of the subconscious to project itself into some external and independent entity, a tendency not, of course, in this instance pushed to the point of complete acceptance of the projection. It is a big leap from Sarah Gamp and the Brownies to the transcendent Beings and Powers, with whom the poets claim to have been in communion.

I am about to quote several passages in which the poets assert that either in some ecstatic state, or in the course of inspiration, they have encountered some Being or Power which has seemed to them outside themselves. Considerations of space compel me to detach these passages ruthlessly from their context, but the damage thus done may perhaps be mitigated by printing all the passages consecutively, and reserving to a later stage all comparison between them and the accounts which have already been quoted of other experiences, such as those called "out-of-the-body".
I (a) "... Up led by thee [i.e. Urania]
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy tempering. With like safety guided down,
Return me to my native element ...
... yet not alone, while thou
Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when Morn
Purples, the East. Still govern thou my song,
Uranian ..."
          (Milton, P.L. VII, 12-16, 28-30)
(b) "If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial Patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplored,
And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse ...
... unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years, damp my intended wing
Depressed; and much they may if all be mine,
Not hers who brings it nightly to my car."
          (Milton, P.L. IX, 20-24, 44-47)
II (c) "Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poet's Song
Record the journey of immortal Milton through your Realms.
... Come into my hand,
By your mild power descending down the nerves of my right arm,
From out the portals of my Brain ..."
          (Blake, Milton, Book I)
(b) "So first I saw him [i.e. 'Milton's shadow'] in the Zenith as a falling star
Descending perpendicular, swift as the swallow or swift:
And on my left foot falling on the tarsus, entered there:
But from my left foot a black cloud redounding spread over Europe."
          (Blake, Milton, Book I)
(c) "Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the Spirit, and see him in my remembrance, and in the regions of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate."
          (Blake, Letter of 6th May, 1800)
(d) "In my Brain are studies and Chambers filled with books and pictures of old, which I wrote and painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life."
          (Blake, Letter of 21st Sept. 1800)
(e) "... for I have in these three years composed an immense number of verses on One Grand Theme, similar to Homer's Iliad or Milton's Paradise Lost... I have written this Poem from immediate dictation, twelve or sometimes twenty or thirty lines at a time, without Premeditation and even against my Will; ..."
          (Blake, Letter of 25th April,1803)
III (a) "While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Thro' many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead,...
I was not heard - ...
Sudden thy* shadow fell on me;
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstasy!"
(Shelley, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty)
* The "Thou" is the "unseen Power" of Intellectual Beauty.
(b) "Why linger, why turn back, why shrink, my heart?
'Tis Adonais calls! Oh, hasten thither
No more let Life divide what Death can join together"

"The Breath whose might I have invoked in song
Descends on me ..."
          (Shelley, Adonais from Stanzas LIII and LV)
IV "So word by word, and line by line,
The dead man touched me from the past,
And all at once it seemed at last
His living soul was flashed on mine,

"And mine in his was wound and whirl'd
About empyreal heights of thought,
And came on that which is, and caught,
The deep pulsations of the world,

"Aeonian music measuring out,
The steps of Time - the shocks of Chance -
The blows of Death. At length my trance
Was cancelled, stricken through with doubt."
(Tennyson, In Memoriam XCV)*
* I quote the original version altered by Tennyson in later editions.
V "A Messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers for short life, eternal liberty

"But first, a hush of peace - a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast, unuttered harmony,
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.

"Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals,
My outward sense is gone, my inward spirit feels:
Its wings are almost free-its home, its harbour found,
Measuring the gulph, it stoops and dares the final bound.

"Oh! dreadful is the check - intense the agony -
When the car begins to hear, and the eye begins to see;
When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again;
The soul to feel the flesh, and the flesh to feel the chain."
          (Emily Bronte, The Prisoner)
That in all these passages the poets are recounting vivid experiences of their own will hardly be doubted, even in the case of The Prisoner, although the passage quoted from that poem is set in a fictional framework, susceptible none the less of a symbolic interpretation. No one would mistake the tone in which Milton and Shelley speak of the source of their inspiration or confuse their words with the conventional invocations of the Nine. Nor can it be doubted that the experiences described have a general resemblance one with another in spite of great differences on some points. In this latter respect the parallel with the "out-of-the-body experiences" is close, and when we come to analyse the drama of mediumship we shall find parallels there to both the classes of experience discussed in the present chapter. Common to both classes of experience is the sense of being in touch with some power which definitely is not the conscious mind of the poet, or percipient, as the case may be. The external powers sensed by the percipients were, it will be remembered, of many kinds, and so it is with the poets too. Emily Bronte's "Messenger of Hope" is as much an abstraction as the "mentor" of the Geddes case. Blake and "Kenwood" both speak of messages from a dead kinsman. Milton, in words suggestive of an actual out-of-the-body experience, speaks of Urania as sister to the Eternal Wisdom, and as such she is almost an aspect of Deity: Wiltse is admonished by a power with the traditional divine adjuncts of thunder and lightning. In Adonais and In Memoriam the power is, in some way, the soul of a dead man, and also, conjoined with it, the ultimate reality of the Universe.

To these sources of inspiration Blake adds his own antenatal memories for which the "out-of-the-body" experiences provide no parallel. One may however be found in the case of Hélène Smith, summarised in the next chapter, a case which lies on the boundary of dissociation and mediumship. The second passage quoted from Blake's Milton is of particular interest. The falling star there is reminiscent of the falling star in the Kenwood case, and the cloud of the same passage reminds us of Wiltse's cloud. Both in that passage of Blake and in the first passage quoted from the same poem the idea of a particular part of the body, hand or foot, being controlled by the external power suggests a connection with a phase of the Piper mediumship (see pp. 116-120 below), when her right hand and arm were, it is claimed, under a spirit-control different from that of the rest of her body. All these are doubtless details in themselves of no particular significance, but they may serve as clues to trace connections between mental states which at a first glance seem very different.

In the out-of-the-body experiences the sense of separation from the body seems to be due to bodily illness or extreme bodily fatigue, or, as in some cases I have not quoted, to a severe physical shock, such as concussion in an air raid or a hammering in a boxing match. It is to be noted that of the authors mentioned, Blake's eccentricity came at times near insanity, Coleridge was an opium addict, Shelley, Emily Bronte and Stevenson were all consumptives. Milton (P.L. 111, 1-55) definitely associates his inspiration with his blindness.

In view of the dream experiences mentioned at the beginning of this chapter-the dream of which Kubla Khan was a memory, the dream that solved the archaeologist's puzzle - it may be significant that Milton's inspiration came to him in sleep, or in the borderland state following on sleep ("dictates to me slumbering or when Morn purples the East"), and that it was at night that Tennyson fell into a trance and Emily Bronte was visited by the Messenger of Hope.

Is it possible by comparison of the points of agreement and difference between all the experiences described in this chapter, dreams, "out-of-the-body" cases, and states of inspiration and ecstasy as known to the poets, to form a picture of the subconscious at work that will be of use in the later stages of the enquiry? It should be borne in mind that a group of experiences which are substantially similar may appear very unlike each other when they emerge into consciousness, for either or both of two reasons, first that even in a well-defined group there are likely to be real differences of detail in the subconscious impression they create, and secondly that the subconscious draws on an extensive symbolic repertory in presenting them to the conscious mind. This complicates the problem, but I suggest, that the following factors are common to all the experiences:

(a) The partial or complete withdrawal of the mind from the pre-occupations of ordinary life. The withdrawal is slightest when, for example, Stevenson puts the finishing touches, with the Brownies' help, to work begun and fairly far advanced without conscious effort on his part. It is at its maximum when the sleeper on waking believes himself to have been presented with material complete, except for transcription. Cases of this latter kind raise the question whether there is during sleep subconscious, constructive mental activity, of which the waking consciousness retains at most a shadowy recollection, or whether in the borderland state following sleep constructive activity goes on with a pressure and at a speed which, when fully awake, we find hard to conceive. If Coleridge really had in his mind, when he started to write down Kubla Khan, not only the fragment that he has left us, but the complete poem of hundreds of lines which he believed himself to have dreamt, it is difficult to suppose that his creative power at the moment of waking could have composed the whole with such speed as to make him believe that all the work had been done during sleep.

(b) There is a sense of existence at a higher level during the experience, which may take the form of greater mental clarity, enhanced creative power or ecstasy, and a corresponding distaste, sometimes extreme, for the return to normal, conscious life. It is to be noted however that some very inferior authors and artists have felt the sense of inspiration as keenly as any of the great masters.

Perhaps the situation can best be explained by supposing that in all the instances cited in this chapter there is a temporary fusion of the conscious mind, when freed from the preoccupations of ordinary life, with the subconscious, a condition particularly likely to occur in the borderland state between sleep and waking. This was the state in which Urania dictated to Milton his "unpremeditated verse", and it may perhaps best be described in the words in which Milton calls on Celestial Light to "irradiate" his mind "through all her powers".

This comes very near to suggesting that when all these poets claim that they have been inspired by an external Being or Power, they have deluded themselves and have simply been drawing on their. subconscious. That is a nation one would not readily entertain even in the case of Stevenson's Brownies, if one held the view that the subconscious was nothing more than an inferior section of the mind, and that the whole personality was closed against all access to reality except through the conscious use of the five senses. But if the view is accepted, that the conscious mind has been specialised to deal with the everyday details of life, and that the subconscious has wider and more subtle powers of apprehension, there is nothing derogatory to the Brownies, or the Daughters of Beulah, or even to Urania herself in regarding them all as self-dramatisations of the subconscious.

In Chapter III it was suggested that in a crisis-apparition there was evidence of constructive work by the percipient's subconscious, elaborate perhaps in detail, but of short duration. In creative imagination, on the other hand, we have examples of subconscious constructive activity more complex, extending over years rather than seconds, and capable of producing works like Paradise Lost, famous alike for the architectural conception of the whole, and for elaboration of detail. But it must be the right subconscious, with a special association with the right person.

Even so it would be imprudent to speak of "merely the subconscious", since it is an important function of the subconscious to be something more than itself, by mediating between the particular conscious mind with which it is specially associated, and other minds with which it has less intimate and continuous contact. If the view of telepathy put forward in the preceding chapters is even approximately true, it is impossible to divide into completely water-tight compartments the subconscious activities of members of a pair or group of persons in telepathic relation with each other, although for many purposes some of these activities more closely concern one of the pair than the other or one member of the group than the rest, and may conveniently be referred to as his activities. In the crisis-apparitions it is the percipient's subconscious that has the best claim to be responsible for the constructive, dramatic work, but prompted by an external stimulus. The same principle may govern creative imagination.

Several of the experiences quoted on pp. 86-89 were in some degree mystical, as affirming contact with a superhuman reality, to which Tennyson applies the words, "that which is". It does not lie within the province of psychical research to venture any opinion as to the truth of such an affirmation, whether made by any of these poets, or more emphatically still by persons whom one associates with the name mystic. Only those who have had comparable experiences have a claim to be heard on this point. If, however, and so far as it is possible to apply ordinary standards to experiences from which the essential part as it would seem to them, the overwhelming vividness and certainty, has been left out, a scale could be drawn, at no point of which could a sharp division be made. At one end of this would be placed the authors who have felt that their best work came independently of their conscious effort, without any definite feeling as to how it came, and at the other the mystics who believe themselves to have been in touch with the One, however they name it. At various points in between would come the authors who have felt they have been conscious of the influence of some external source of power, which they proceed to personalise, but without the intensity of feeling or certainty experienced by the mystics. We are not justified in Putting any limit, any alte terminus haerens, on the power of the subconscious to apprehend what lies, or appears to lie, outside the individual mind, whether as regards the events, even the trivial events, of ordinary life, or whatever there is beyond flammantia moenia mundi.

NOTE: In Memoriam, Section XCV: in the edition of 1878 Tennyson's "conscience" induced him to change the words "His living soup, of the original edition to "The living soul", and "his" to "this" in the next line. He did not apparently wish, at that time at least, to be misunderstood as claiming that his trance-experience proved, as regards Arthur Hallam's continued personal existence, a reality independent of his own feeling. He made no alteration in the phrase "that which is", as this was consistent with his belief that he had several times been in touch with the Great Soul.

Transcendental experiences, as was said in Chapter Ill, start from normal life and return to it again. To express his awareness of this Tennyson uses a curious literary device. In the fourth stanza of this section, describing the setting of his lonely vigil, before the onset of the trance, he speaks of the knolls,
"where, couched at case
The white glimmered, and the trees
Laid their dark arms about the field."
And in the thirteenth stanza, after his trance had ended, he repeats the same words.

Emily Brontë's The Prisoner. A parallel to the experience described here may be found in the account given by Lucy Snowe of the beginning, development and end of her trance in Chapters XV and XVI of Charlotte Brontë's Villette. Writing to G. H. Lewes in a letter, quoted in The Brontë Story by Margaret Lane (p. 194), Charlotte Bronte writes:
"When authors write best, or at least when they write most fluently, an influence seems to waken in them, which becomes their master - which will have its own way... Is it not so? And should we try to counteract this influence? Can we indeed counteract it?"
Chapter 8: Dissociation
- W. H. Salter -
IT IS indeed a sharp descent from the empyreal air of the poet to the "Gorgons and Hydras and Chimeras dire" of the psychiatrist, creatures that are now so familiar to the public through films and novels that some justification may seem to be needed for inviting the reader to bestow further attention upon them here The reason for doing so is that cases of "split personality" some times show curious parallels with some of the incidents of medium ship, and are sometimes reported to be accompanied by the production of paranormal phenomena both of the "physical" and "mental" types. These aspects of dissociation have therefore a special significance for psychical research. There are other aspects which raise many problems, psychological and physiological, which lie outside the scope of this discussion.

I will first summarise a case reported in SPR Proc. VI1 221- 257. In 1826 there was born in New York a boy called Ansel Bourne, who was trained as a carpenter and carried on that trade until 1857. In his youth he was religious, but became in course of time a convinced atheist, and developed feelings of enmity for the Minister who lived next door. In August of that year he had a severe illness, aggravated by a sunstroke, and broke down several times on attempting to resume work. On the 28th October he had a strong internal feeling that he ought to go to "Meeting" at the Chapel, but "his spirit rose up in decided and bitter opposition, and he said within himself 'I would rather he struck deaf and dumb for ever than to go there'." A few minutes later he lost sight, hearing and speech; he became perfectly helpless, but his mind remained quite clear, and he retained the sense of touch. Twenty-six hours later his sight was perfectly restored, and he wrote on a slate asking the Minister for forgiveness. He also asked, by writing, for a prayer-meeting to be held in his house, and attended the Chapel several times, being still deaf and dumb. On Sunday, 15th November, he wrote on a slate a long message, which the Minister read to the congregation. He then ascended the pulpit. In an instant his hearing and speech were completely restored. A fortnight later he had a vision, in consequence of which he became an evangelist. At first he travelled a great deal but as the result of his wife's disapproval of his frequent absences from home he confined his activities to his own neighbourhood. This troubled him and weighed on his conscience and may have contributed to the second great crisis of his life.

On 17th January, 1887, he went from his home to Providence, R.I., to draw money to pay for a farm he was buying. He stabled his horse, drew several hundred dollars from the bank, paid various bills, and started to visit a sister living in that town. He never reached his sister's house, or took away his horse.

About 1st February, 1887, there arrived in Norristown, Pa., a man who rented a stare-room there, living in half of it and using the other half as a small toy and sweet shop. He went by the name of A. J. Brown. There was nothing peculiar in his behaviour, which was quiet and respectable, and he attended the Methodist Church regularly. On the I 5th March, about five in the morning, he heard an explosion like a gun shot, and woke to find himself in a strange bed in a town he did not recognise. The last thing he could remember was visiting Providence. He was amazed to learn from a neighbour that he was in Norristown and that eight weeks had elapsed since he left home. A nephew from Providence came over, settled up his business affairs and took him back to Rhode Island. A few years later he was hypnotised and in trance gave an account of his doings and travels between the 17th January and the 1st February, which was substantially verified by enquiry at the places where he said he had stayed en route.

This case shows dissociation in a very simple form. In neither of the two crises of Ansel Bourne's life was there any change Of character. In the first crisis there was temporary loss of control Of several bodily functions-sight, hearing, speech-and abrupt change of opinion, but no loss of personal identity or of memory. In the second crisis there was loss of identity, change of Occupation, and loss of memory for almost, not quite, everything belonging to his life before the 17th January, and for everything that had happened between then and the 1st February. Memory of the earlier life returned spontaneously in March: memory of the interval between 17th January and 1st February was tapped under hypnosis.

The Beauchamp case, known by name at least to most readers, was more complex. Miss Beauchamp of Boston, Mass., came to Dr. Morton Prince for treatment in 1898, when she was twenty-three years old, and his report of the case, The Dissociation of a Personality (Longmans), is a document of absorbing interest. At the age of 13, Miss Beauchamp, a sensitive child much given to day-dreaming, had a severe shock with disastrous results on her mental stability. Her mother, whom she idolised, gave birth to a baby, and while the mother was seriously ill, Miss Beauchamp was given the baby to hold. It died in her arms, and her mother died soon after. Miss Beauchamp herself became "delirious", as the doctors put it, a word probably implying dissociation. A few years later she began to train as a hospital nurse and in 1893, while being trained, underwent a second shock, followed by a longer spell of dissociation, from which she was still suffering when she came under Prince's care.

When Prince first knew her, she was, in his words, "a 'neurasthenic' of a pronounced type", suffering greatly from headaches, insomnia, bodily pains and other troubles. She was well-educated and religious and had strong literary tastes, but she was morbidly conscientious and reticent. It was only after treatment had proceeded for some time that Prince learnt of the shock she had had in 1893. In his book Prince gave the name BI to the personality with which he thus became acquainted. Prince treated BI by hypnotic suggestion, and found that when out of the hypnotic state she had no memory of what took place within it. To the hypnotised BI he gave the name BII. The treatment given produced a marked, though temporary, improvement in appetite, vigour and general bodily health.

But after a few weeks' treatment the patient, while in hypnosis, first denied making certain statements which had been made during a previous period of hypnosis, and then admitted having made them. On a later occasion, not long after, the hypnotised patient spoke of herself as she was in her waking state, as "She". In the hypnotic state she persisted in saying "no" when Prince said "You are 'She'", and gave as her reason for the denial "Because 'she' does not know the same things as I do." This new personality BII later adopted for herself the name "Sally", by which she has become deservedly famous.

Sally at first manifested herself only when BI had been hypnotised, but soon BI found herself being governed in her waking life by impulses alien to her own character, telling fibs, for example. Then one day in June, 1898, when BI was daydreaming, Sally made her take both hands and rub her eyes. So Sally "got her eyes open", and was in her own words "on top of the heap at last". She was able to control the body for hours at a time. BI would fade out, and then come to, perhaps with a lighted cigarette in her hand: she detested smoking. She would find that she had unaccountably "lost" several hours, and that the interval had been employed by Sally, who was insusceptible to fatigue, in taking the body a long walk which left it, when BI returned, dog-tired, or in writing indiscreet letters, which BI had to disown. Sally in fact enjoyed tormenting BI, who was an easy victim.

But she met a tougher antagonist when in 1899 BIV appeared. There were then three personalities, BI, Sally and BIV controlling the body turn and turn about, as well as the BII of the hypnotic state. Each of the three had a different temperament. Each had also her own stream of memory and consciousness, and Sally claimed to have access to the memories of the other two. None of them, however, was capable of maintaining a normal, healthy existence for any length of time continuously. BI was an ultra-sensitive and conscientious adult. BIV was also adult, but self-reliant and self-assertive, with tastes that in general were exactly the opposite of Bl's. Sally had all the spontaneity and mischievousness of a child of twelve or thirteen. There were very large gaps in BI's memory, especially of things that had happened since the hospital episode in 1893: she had no knowledge of what occurred while either Sally or BIV were uppermost. BIV had no clear memory of things that happened between the hospital episode and her own emergence in 1899, but she came to acquire a good deal of knowledge of that period partly by inference from what she heard, partly from things coming hazily and unconsciously into her mind, and partly by "deliberate" effort of recollection. Sally claimed to remember everything that had happened since early infancy, both before and after the hospital episode, and whether she, BI or BIV were uppermost. She also knew Bl's thoughts, but not at first BIV's, and this lack of knowledge prevented her being able to bully BIV as she had bullied Bl.

Eventually by a process of suggestion Prince achieved a synthesis of BI and BIV which he calls "the Real Miss Beauchamp". This meant "squeezing" Sally, who at first strongly objected, but came to acquiesce in the process and even to further it. One is glad to learn that in the final product the more engaging of Sally's characteristics, so regrettably lacking in the other two personalities, were not wholly destroyed.

Among all the psychological subtleties carefully analysed by Prince the status of Sally is the one most important for an understanding of mediumship. Treatment of the kind applied by Prince tends perhaps in the early stages to emphasise any dissociations that may have arisen spontaneously, and may even go so far as to initiate others, but he was doubtless right in repudiating suggestions that Sally was no more than an artifact of his own creation. Her childishness was that of temperament rather than of intelligence. She had all the spontaneous gaiety varied with fractiousness of a lively child, and was very shrewd in the way children often are. But on occasion she would also show a power of sustained thinking, and a gift for expressing her trains of thought which seem to me exceptional even among clever children. It is reasonable to suppose that the two severe emotional shocks experienced by Miss Beauchamp during her adolescence, first at the time of her mother's death and then at the time of the episode at the hospital, prevented her personality developing in a balanced way as a whole. If however Prince was right in regarding Sally as a "co-conscious" entity, i.e. one capable of growth and development within the subconscious, that might account for the comparatively mature side that Sally sometimes showed.

On one occasion BIV tried talking to Sally and asking her questions which, after some resistance, Sally answered in writing. To the question, "Who are you?" Sally replied "A Spirit", but this answer need not be taken too seriously as representing Sally's real views of herself. For some reason Prince heads the Chapter (XXII) in which this episode is narrated "Sally plays the medium", but the only foundation for this assertion is that Sally disclosed matters unknown to BIV. It is desirable to make this point plain, as in the other cases of multiple personality now to be mentioned a very much closer approximation to mediumship can be found.

For instance in the Doris Fischer case, reported in the Proc. of the American SPR 1915, 1916 and reviewed in SPR Proc. Vol. XXIX, where the subject was a girl who had had a very severe shock in early childhood, there were several personalities bearing a general resemblance to the Beauchamp family group. When in 1909, at the age of twenty-one, she came in touch with the eminent American psychical researcher, Walter Prince(1), her mother had been dead for more than two years and her drunken father had used her as a household drudge, underfeeding and overworking her. Three personalities were then in joint occupation of the body, "Real Doris" who since the mother's death had only achieved conscious existence for a few minutes at a time, "Sick Doris", "morbidly the slave of duty and lacking in humour", and Margaret who was child-like in her limitations and enjoyed tormenting Sick Doris. In 1911 Walter Prince discovered a fourth personality, which only manifested when Margaret was asleep, and so became known as "Sleeping Margaret": she had a mature mind and helped Walter Prince with advice in the treatment of the case.
(1) No relation of Morton Prince.

By suggestion and persuasion, without hypnosis, Walter Prince succeeded in eliminating first Sick Doris and then Margaret, leaving Real Doris as the only personality active during waking hours, with Sleeping Margaret still uppermost during sleep. Walter Prince was puzzled as to Sleeping Margaret's nature and origin, matters on which she was reticent. Relying on her apparent immunity to the influence of suggestion, he put it to her that she was a spirit. This she repeatedly denied, but qualified her denials with ambiguous statements. It was eventually decided that Doris should have sittings with a medium, and when this had been arranged Sleeping Margaret wrote (see SPRProc. XXIX p. 394),
"I am a spirit, so called by people who live on earth. I do not know whether I have a name or not. I only know that I was sent by someone higher to guard Doris when she was three years old."
Then she said,
"There, you may believe as much of that as you like."
Doris Fischer was later on adopted by Walter and Mrs. Prince as their daughter and was known as Theodosia Prince. While she was a member of their household, occurrences of an ostensibly paranormal kind took place in three houses where they lived. They were observed by Walter Prince and formed the subject of a report by him to the Boston SPR of which he was the Executive Officer, under the title "The Psychic in the House'' (Boston SPR Proc. Vol. I, 1926). Some of the occurrences were raps and other auditory phenomena, as to the paranormality of which Walter Prince, a man with a highly critical mind but suffering from deafness, may possibly have been mistaken. But there were also crystal visions seen by Miss Prince relating to past events in the three houses, some of which were confirmed by previous occupants, and these, in Walter Prince's view, could only with extreme improbability be assigned to her normally acquired knowledge.

A still closer approach to mediumship appears in "the Watseka Wonder". In 1871 there were living at Watseka, Illinois, two families named Vennum and Roff: for a few months in that year they lived near each other, but nothing more than a slight acquaintance grew between them during that time. After that the Vennums moved to the other end of the city. They had a daughter named Lurancy, born in 1864 at a place about seven miles from Watseka. Later in that year they moved into another State, and they made various other moves before settling in Watseka in 1871. The Roffs had settled in Watseka in 1859. They had a daughter, Mary, born in 1846, who died in Watseka in 1865, when Lurancy Vennum was about a year and a half old. Mary Roff had suffered from periods of insanity.

As a small child Lurancy was healthy, but in 1877 when she was thirteen, she began having fits or trances, sometimes several times a day, and these continued until the end of January 1878. In the trances she had ecstatic visions of heaven and angels, and of people who had died, including a small brother and sister. On the 31st January 1878 the Roffs persuaded the Vennums to call in a Dr. Stevens, who was a stranger to them. He found Lurancy looking like an "old hag", sullen and refusing to speak with anyone except himself. In his presence she had a fit which he relieved by hypnotising her. When she became calm, she said that she had been controlled by evil spirits, and he suggested she should find a better Control. She then mentioned the name of Mary Roff who, she said, wanted to come.

Mary's father said that his daughter had been in heaven for twelve years, but that he and his wife would be glad to have her come. He told Lurancy that Mary had been used to the same conditions as she herself, and Lurancy said that Mary would take the place of the previous evil Controls.

The next day Vennum told Roff that Lurancy claimed to be Mary and was "homesick". She remained with the Vennums for several days, being well-behaved, but not knowing the family, and "constantly pleading to go home", i.e. to the Roff household. On the 11th February she was sent by the Vennums to the house of the Roffs where she met the Roff family in a most affectionate way. Being asked how long she would stay, she said, "The angels will let me stay till some time in May", and she in fact stayed with them till the 21st May, 1878. During this period she was a happy member of the Roff family. She occasionally went into trance, and talked with angels and other spirits, but her physical health greatly improved.

She readily recognised all the members of the Roff family and their friends, calling them by the pet-names Mary had used, and calling a lady, who had re-married since Mary's death, by her previous name. She remembered various incidents, some of then, trivial, occurring during Mary's life. She seemed also to have paranormal knowledge of contemporary events. Thus she announced one afternoon that her "brother", Frank Roff, then apparently in good health, would be taken seriously ill that night as happened. She then demanded that Dr. Stevens should be sent for, and declared that he would be found at a certain house. Tills was not where the Roffs believed him to be, but they sent there and found him.

On the 19th May, 1878, Lurancy for a time resumed full possession of her own body, and recognised her brother, Henry Vennum. On the 21st she took a formal farewell of the Roff family and their friends, and was escorted to her father's office by a married Roff daughter. On arriving at the Vennum's home she recognised all the Vennum family, and was perfectly happy with them. When Dr. Stevens called the next day he had to be introduced as a stranger. She lived with the Vennums until 1882 when she married a farmer, and two years later moved further West. Until this move the Roffs continued to see her, and she would give them long messages from Mary. Her health remained good.

The case was reported by Dr. Stevens in the Religio-Philosophical Journal for 1879, and Hodgson, the investigator of the Ansel Bourne case, contributed to the same paper a report of a visit paid by him to Watseka in 1890, when he cross-examined several of the principal witnesses. He failed however to get a reply to letters sent by him to Lurancy herself. Some years later Hodgson reported the case to the SPR: see Journal X pp. 98-104.

It may be doubted whether as "Mary Roff", Lurancy ever showed paranormal knowledge. Although there had never been intimate friendship between the two families before 1878, the Roffs and Vennums had lived in the same town for nearly seven years, and for a short time had been close neighbours. No one can say with certainty how much gossip Lurancy may not have heard about the Roffs, and particularly about their daughter Mary, whose illness had been much discussed locally. Dr. Stevens's report is generally accepted as an accurate account of what came under his own observation, but he had had no special training in testing evidence of supposedly paranormal events, and Hodgson, who had had the requisite training, came on the scene too late to clear up the doubts on this point. His personal opinion, however, was that the case belonged "in its main manifestations to the spiritistic category", meaning presumably by "main manifestations" the incidents connected with the Mary Roff Control. He evidently considered that through that Control paranormal powers were displayed. On neither point did he win the support of all his colleagues on the Society's Council. The important point however for the present purpose is that the case started as one of pathological dissociation and was at first marked by the appearance of Controls, such as those that confronted Dr. Stevens when he was called in, who gave no evidence of an existence independent of Lurancy. Whatever view therefore be taken of the Mary Roff Control, the case can properly be cited as an example of a secondary personality dramatised as a group of spirits of the dead.

The cases so far cited in this chapter happen all to have occurred in the United States. Parallel instances could have been quoted from British and Continental sources. The last case to be quoted, which differs in various ways from the preceding ones, is from Switzerland.

In the closing years of the nineteenth century there was living at Geneva a young woman who held with success a responsible business position. She was healthy in body and mind, and her curious psychic experiences do not seem either to have been caused by her state of health, or yet to have affected it in any way. She gave sittings, without accepting payment, to a circle of friends. Professor Flournoy of Geneva University attended these sittings, made a study of her case and reported on it in a book the English translation of which is called From India to the Planet Mars. In this book she is given the pseudonym Hélène Smith.

The psychic experiences of Hélène's adult life had their roots in incidents of her childhood. Although both her parents were Protestants, she was for some reason baptised in a Catholic Church. This circumstance, when she learnt of it, lent colour to a fantasy of a very common type, that there was some mystery about her birth, and that she was really someone different from, and of course superior to, the middle-class young woman she seemed to her neighbours to be. Then at the age of ten, when returning one day from school, she was attacked by a dog, from which she was rescued by a man, apparently a member of a religious order, wearing a brown robe. This incident caused a great shock to her. She had during childhood recurrent visions and other experiences, which led on to her taking part in séances.

Her first Control claimed to be Victor Hugo, but a rival soon appeared who gave the name of Leopold. At a sitting in February, 1893, Leopold pulled away the chair on which Hélène was about to sit. For the most part however he was friendly to her, and she felt that at various times in her normal life he had helped and protected her. He claimed, during one of her trances, to have been the man in the brown robe who had rescued her from the dog. When in her normal condition however she knew that her rescuer had been a living man of her own time, while Leopold established himself in her belief as the eighteenth-century wonder-worker Cagliostro. If Leopold was Cagliostro, then Hélène must have been his wife, but on learning doubts as to the historicity of that lady, she became convinced she was the re-incarnation of Marie Antoinette. In October 1894 she learnt that she was also a reincarnation of a medieval Indian princess, Simandini, whose husband had been re-born as Prof. Flournoy. Under the guidance of Leopold she visited the planet Mars, learnt the language, and on her return to earth described and drew pictures of the inhabitants, their houses and the scenery, so that in addition to previous existences on earth, she was in her latest incarnation an inhabitant both of earth and Mars. Some of the Martians were old friends, such as the magician Astane, formerly the Indian magician Kanga.

The various characters of this elaborate drama could be evoked at séances, but they would also intervene on their own initiative, as it were. Thus Hélène would begin to write a letter in her ordinary handwriting and Leopold would complete it in his handwriting, which, incidentally, bore no resemblance to that of the historic Cagliostro. The Marie Antoinette Control would do much the same.

The Martian language, as written by Hélène, reproduced with surprising accuracy some of the grammatical and syntactical peculiarities of her native French. Her reminiscences of her Indian pre-existence, both so far as they coincided with historical fact, and on points where they were at variance with it, kept close to the statements to be found in an old history of India written in French. Hélène, whose bona fides was above suspicion, had no conscious recollection of having read the book, but copies of it were accessible in Genevan public libraries. Her Martian language was rather more elaborate and coherent than the language which children often invent to puzzle their elders, but may reasonably be taken as a highly developed specimen of that class. The Simandini and Made Antoinette Controls seem to be both examples of the self-magnifying fantasy based on the supposed Mystery of her birth, aided so far as regards the Indian episode, by subconscious memory of the history book mentioned above.

In three points the case of Hélène Smith differs strikingly from those of Miss Beauchamp, Doris Fischer and Lurancy Vennum. For the whole period when she was under observation her general health, mental and physical, was good, and she was able to take an active and useful part in life. Her mediumship was fully developed. The principal personalities of the drama were all herself as transplanted from another planet, or from other ages on this planet, and the subordinate roles were filled by Genevan friends or acquaintances slightly disguised.

The incident of the dog which attacked her left permanent traces both on Hélène's conscious and subconscious mind, on the former as a horror of dogs in general, on the latter in the production of the triad of wonder-workers, Leopold, Kanga, Astane, the first identified by her with her actual protector from the dog. But before he had established himself in a beneficent role, Leopold, by pulling the chair from under Hélène, showed that he was not free from the tendency to annoy, common among secondary personalities, even if he never showed the persistent hostility to her that Sally showed to BI and BIV. The shock of the dog incident did not however shatter Hélène's personality. This may have been one of the reasons for the reincarnationist form that the mediumship took. A Hélène transplanted to nineteenth-century Geneva from medieval India or eighteenth-century France or the planet Mars was still Hélène, despite all changes of name, place and time.

But there may have been other reasons. In the English-speaking countries reincarnationist doctrine has, up to the present, affected spiritualism much less than elsewhere, probably because modern spiritualism was born a hundred years ago in the United States as one among many varieties of more or less Christian belief then flourishing or developing there. In most Latin countries on the other hand opposition to spiritualism by the dominant religion was from the start absolute, and the spiritualist movement was not tied to traditional Christian views of the life after death. As a natural consequence reincarnation, which has throughout the ages been part and parcel of many religious and philosophical systems, has found it comparatively easy to gain adherence in Latin countries, even among non-Catholic communities such as the Geneva of sixty years ago.

The cases discussed in this chapter may naturally raise a doubt whether human personality is not so mutable and fragmentary as to make it absurd to suppose that it could conceivably survive the death of the body. If there is survival, is it Sally who is destined to survive, or BI or BIV or the Miss Beauchamp created (or was it reconstructed?) by Morton Prince's professional skill? This difficulty has been familiar to all who have combined the study of dissociation with that of paranormal phenomena. Myers, for example, in Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, a book whose title shows the conclusion to which his argument is directed, after discussing fully in his first five chapters cases of the kind quoted in this chapter and the preceding one, and much other matter indicative of the complexities of personality as well, writes as follows in the opening paragraph of his sixth chapter:
"Our view of the subliminal self must pass in this chapter through a profound transition. The glimpses which we have till now obtained of it have shown it as something incidental, subordinate, fragmentary. But henceforth it will gradually assume the character of something persistent, principal, unitary; appearing at last as the deepest and most permanent representative of man's true being."
Myers did not live to complete his book, a fact which may perhaps account for the inconsistencies in his views of the subliminal which his critics have pointed out.

Among these critics was (Gerald) Lord Balfour, who was very familiar with the literature of alternating and multiple personalities. In his Presidential address (SPR Proc. XIX) Balfour put forward the view that the human organism was "polypsychic", that is to say that it consisted, so far as its psychical elements were concerned, of centres linked together by telepathy, one of the psychical centres being the controlling self. This view he elaborated in his study of Mrs. Willett's mediumship in SPR Proc. Vol. XLIII. Although his view differed so widely from that of Myers, it is well known that lie believed no less strongly in survival.

An argument has sometimes been based on cases of dual or multiple personality that, if two or more "minds" (or whatever word is preferred) are specially connected with one body, each with different memories, temperaments, capacities, they cannot all be conditioned by the body which they share. One, or possibly both or all of them, must therefore be self-subsistent in life, and might well so continue after the death of the body. If so, the same would be true of all "minds", including those of persons whose psychological make up was normal.

Modern psychological research has however, I understand, reduced the status of secondary personalities to that of moods of the principal partner. If that is so, the argument for survival from split personalities can no longer be maintained. It was always a two-edged argument, as the passage just quoted from Myers shows, and its disappearance is not one that believers in survival have any cause to regret.



Chapter 9: The Control of Mediums
- W. H. Salter -


  WHILE MEDIUMS might claim remote descent from such ancient and exalted persons as the Sibyl who guided Aeneas through the world of the dead, their pedigree in the direct line does not go back much more than a century and is of humble origin. Two young girls in fact, who in 1848 were living in a farmhouse in Arcadia, State of New York, Margaretta Fox aged 15, and her sister Katie aged twelve. On the evening of the 31st March, after the two girls had gone to bed, raps were heard which answered questions put in the presence of about a dozen persons, mostly neighbours called in by the parents. Correct answers were given to such questions as the ages of various neighbours, the number of their children, and of the deaths that had occurred in their families. In reply to a question as to who was giving the answers it was stated to be a pedlar who had been murdered on the spot for a sum of $500 he had been carrying. There is no reason to suppose that the pedlar or his $500 ever existed.

It was his spirit that was credited by the Arcadians with producing the raps, though it was noticed that at first they did not occur unless the girls were present. Their fame grew: together with an elder sister they gave sittings for raps in several towns. After an exhibition which they gave at Rochester, N.Y., three professors of the local university declared that the raps were produced by deliberate movements of the girls' knee-joints, but this did not check the growth of the movement they had set on foot. Raps broke out in houses they had never visited. There was an epidemic of rapping, and by 1851 there were said to be a hundred Mediums in New York City.

The mediumistic movement soon spread to Europe, with the Fox sisters among the leaders. Great however as was their fame, it was overshadowed by that of D. D. Home, who paid his first visit to England in 1855. The most famous of all mediums, he gave sittings in many countries to royalties, and to persons eminent in other walks of life, scientists like William Crookes, arid writers like Elizabeth Barrett Browning. He is the original from whom Robert Browning, who intensely disliked Home's influence over his wife, drew Mr. Sludge, the Medium, an admirable study of the relations between the sillier type of sitter and the less reputable type of medium, but unfair in one important point, if the reader is intended to identify Sludge with Home. Sludge in the poem is caught cheating and, though there were several suspicious incidents in Home's career, fraud was never proved against him.

Messages claiming to come from the spirits of the dead were given through Home, but they do not seem in themselves to have been very impressive. In 1926 Lord Dunraven published through the SPR (Proc. Vol. XXXV) the account of his sittings with Home which he had printed for private circulation in 1870. To the new issue Oliver Lodge contributed an Introduction in which he lists and classifies the phenomena described under ten headings, nine of them referring to phenomena of the purely "physical" type. The remaining one is the so-called "direct voice", in which messages are given in what is claimed to be the voice of the Communicator: since it is the resemblance of the voice, and not the content of the message, that is considered important, this is in fact as "physical" a phenomenon as the other nine.

Many of Home's "physical" phenomena are extremely difficult to explain away by normal means, unless one attributes to the many eminent witnesses of them an astounding incompetence as observers and as recorders of what they observed. But while these witnesses have recorded the deep impression made on them by such feats as Home's taking in his hands a red-hot coal from the fire and placing it on the head of an old gentleman without doing an injury to his own hand or the other's head, it is not, I think, reported that while doing this any of those who saw it exclaimed, "How characteristic of poor dear So-and-so! just how he used to behave!" Physical phenomena may, possibly, provide evidence of the existence of some physical force not at present recognised by science; they are no evidence at all of the survival of any person who has departed this life, unless either there is present at the sitting a form perceptible to the sitters' senses and such as the surviving spirit may reasonably be supposed to inhabit, or else there occurs behaviour distinctive of the bodily activity of that person. The question as to the genuineness and origin of materialised forms was sufficiently discussed in Chapter VI. As to physical phenomena purporting to be produced by a surviving spirit, the more paranormal they are the less likely are they to be distinctive or even appropriate, and vice versa, since the conditions of ordinary life are very different from those of a properly controlled séance. It is, for example, a common occurrence in séances held in the dark for a tambourine to be shaken, ostensibly by the communicating spirit. The number of persons addicted to this practice in life cannot be considerable. It is a habit which, if the phenomena are genuine, we must suppose we adopt when we join the Choir Invisible.

It is sometimes claimed that messages purporting to come from a particular dead person, and not uncharacteristic of him, are strengthened as evidence of his survival and identity when accompanied by "physical" phenomena, also purporting to be due to him. If the messages are by themselves sufficient to establish his survival (as to which see the chapters that follow this), then the "physical" phenomena accompanying them are superfluous. If the messages do not prove themselves, they are no guarantee of the "physical" phenomena. Even if the genuineness of these phenomena is established on other grounds, such as the adequacy of the control measures in force at the sitting, their origin cannot be proved by communications which are themselves of dubious authenticity. Not all believers in "physical" phenomena accept the spiritualistic view of them. As in the case of materialisations, so with regard to other "physical" phenomena, alternative explanations have the support of several eminent and experienced investigators.

I shall accordingly omit further discussion of "physical" phenomena except in so far as their occurrence throws light on the psychological situation in which phenomena of the so-called "mental" type are produced, as it does in the mediumship (1872-1883) of Stainton Moses. As this was in several ways a turning-point in the history of mediumship, it may be a convenient place to explain some of the words that will be used to describe the personalities, actual or ostensible, now to be discussed and the phenomena connected with them. Psychical research and spiritualism both have fairly long histories in the course of which they have elaborated terminologies, not always mutually consistent, sometimes based on obsolete conceptions of the things intended to be defined, and changing with the course of time. Where a word has become established in general use, it has seemed to me better to retain it with such change in definition as lucidity may demand, even at the expense of verbal symmetry, rather than to bother the reader with a new technical term that fresh research might in a few years render obsolete.

There is no very convenient or exact term in general use to describe the sort of medium whose phenomena are not of the "physical" order. "Mental" as applied to persons has an unfortunate connotation, and is anyhow inexact. "Clairvoyant" is no longer tolerable now that clairvoyance has acquired a more precise definition: its use would only lead to serious 'confusion. "Trance-medium" is also inexact, as "physical" phenomena are generally produced in trance, or ostensibly so, and moreover while many "communications" are received in trance, others, especially those received through automatic writing, are not. As however it is short and less misleading than "clairvoyant" it will be used to cover all forms of mediumship in which communications are received that purport to come from the surviving spirits of the dead. Automatists are a type of trance-medium who practise one on the various techniques described in a later chapter.

In the early days of trance-mediumship, the view was prevalent that during trance a spirit invaded the medium's body of which it took complete and undivided control, displacing the medium's own spirit. Hence the personalities who claimed to manifest during the trance were called "Controls". (It is now usual to spell this word with a capital C when applied to a trance personality, and with a small c when applied to the condition prevailing when such a personality is manifesting.) In course of time however it became desirable to distinguish between (a) the spirits whose purpose it was to give evidence of their identity to their friends on earth, and messages of interest to them, these being called "Communicators", and (b) other spirits who made no serious attempt to prove their identity, but confined themselves to introducing the Communicators and relaying their messages in the third person ("He says" etc.), to arranging the times, duradon and general conditions of sittings, to imparting moral exhortation, and to explaining the philosophy of mediumship. It is to spirits of this second kind that the word "Control" is now mostly applied. It remains in general use even by persons who do not accept the independent existence of Controls, or, if they accept it, do not regard the medium's own mind or spirit as being eliminated by the Control's activity.

The distinction between Control and Communicator is not sharply defined. Some Communicators speak in the first person without the intervention of a separate Control: this state of things is called "direct control". Some, besides sending evidential messages themselves, introduce other Communicators. It may not be superfluous at this point to remind the reader of what was said in Chapter II that the omission of qualifying words such as "ostensible" in speaking of controlling or communicating personalities, while convenient for the sake of brevity, does not imply any assertion whether they are, or are not, what they purport to

The mediumship of Stainton Moses has been spoken of as a historical turning-point. It may be so considered for several reasons. It began in what may be called the pre-historical period before the founding of the SPR in 1882 made psychical research an organised study. Stainton Moses was an original member of the Society. He produced both physical and mental phenomena. Later mediums have specialised in one or the other, there being no more recent example of a trance-medium worth serious consideration who produced notable physical phenomena, or of a cc physical" medium through whom communications of importance have been received. In his mediumship the distinction between Control and Communicator becomes plain, about a third of the four score spirits manifesting through him being the spirits Of persons recently dead who claimed to give evidence of their survival and identity.

An interesting and instructive example is the manifestation at sittings on the 1st and 2nd September, 1874, of a Communicator who gave the name Abraham Florentine. An extract from Stainton Moses's notebook for 1st September, 1874, reads:
"A new spirit manifested by tilts. He gave his name as Abraham Florentine, and lie was in the American War of 1812, died August 5th 1874, aged 83 years, 1 month, 17 days, at Brooklyn."
From enquiries made of his widow it was shown that the statements made as to his name, the date and place of his death, and his war service were correct. As to his age there appeared to he a trifling mistake: he was indeed 83 years old, but as his birthday was the 8th June, he had lived in addition 1 month and 27 days, not one month and 17. On the whole however the message seemed at the time to provide striking evidence for spirit communication. But further enquiry made in 1921 showed that the mistake might be significant. An entry in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of the evening of the 5th August 1874 read:
FLORENTINE. In Brooklyn, August 5th, after a long and painful illness, ABRAHAM FLORENTINE aged 83 years, 1 month and 17 days. A veteran of the war of 1812. Notice of funeral hereafter.
The New York Daily Tribune of the 6th August 1874 printed an almost identical notice, with the same statement as to his age. It is to be noted that, though neither Stainton Moses's contemporary record nor Mrs. Speer's account of the sitting say anything as to the length of Abraham Florentine's illness or whether it was painful, Stainton Moses in a letter to the Spiritualist speaks of "his liberation from the body which (if I may guess again) had become a burden to him from a painful illness". This fact supports the inference suggested by the correspondence between the newspaper notices and the record of the sitting, especially where both were incorrect, that the source of the information given at the sitting was one of the newspapers.

If so, how had it come to Stainton Moses's conscious, or subconscious, mind? Enthusiasts for an indefinite extension of extrasensory perception might attribute it to direct clairvoyance, or possibly to telepathy between the compositor in America and Stainton Moses. If however it was possible for him to have read the Obituary in either paper, it would be simpler to assume that he had in fact read it. There was time for the newspapers to reach London, where he lived, before the sitting, but there is no evidence that he actually saw them, and it may appear curious that if he had done so he should have forgotten it within a few days. There being no ground for imputing conscious deception to him, it must be supposed that the newspaper entry attracted a casual glance ("marginal perception" is the term), making no impression on his conscious memory, but producing a latent subconscious memory that was activated by the conditions of the sitting. The possibility of marginal perception with consequent latent memory is the most serious difficulty to be faced when assessing records of sittings with trance mediums. For this important case see SPR Proceedings XI, 82-85 and Journal XX 148-152, 223-226.

For the present purpose however a greater interest attaches to the Controls who gave no evidence of identity that need be considered. It is of course conceivable that the Egyptian Chom, not otherwise known to fame, or the prophet Haggai, or Plotinus, or Beethoven or Benjamin Franklin, to name but a few of this group, might have given Stainton Moses information about themselves which could be shown to be true and which could be shown at the same time not to have formed part of his extensive scholarly knowledge, but so far as I know this did not happen.

Within this group the lead was taken by a band of spirits who assumed descriptive Latin names such as "Imperator Servus Dei", "Rector", "Prudens", etc., to conceal their identities from the world at large. The names they had borne on earth were revealed to Stainton Moses, but not made public during his life or for some time after. They included characters from the Old and New Testaments, and learned men of various periods and countries.

The most anomalous of the Controls was "Little Dicky", a child spirit, who on one occasion during a séance is reported to have brought a brass candlestick from another room and hit the medium over the head with it. It is not unnatural that to many of the medium's contemporaries, who knew Stainton Moses to be in ordinary life a sincere and conscientious man, such an assault should seem, however playfully intended, conclusive proof that "Little Dicky" was a personality quite separate from his victim. To a later generation familiar with records of poltergeist cases and the story of Sally Beauchamp, this is not at all so obvious. Comparison with them suggests exactly the opposite, that "Little Dicky" was a dramatisation of one aspect of the medium's subconscious, and that it is not unlikely that other aspects were dramatised by other of his Controls.

This suggestion would not deserve to carry much weight in tile absence of reasonable motives for so elaborate a mystification. Subconscious motives of course, because as regards his conscious mind there is no doubt that Stainton Moses sincerely believed in the independent reality of the Controls. The primary consideration was, I think, that only through the Controls could he effectively fulfil his mission of giving to the world the philosophy embodied in the "Spirit Teachings" dictated by them. They provided a multiple alias for the expression of views formed by him over many years, which it would have been impossible to reconcile with the doctrines of the Church of England of which he was a priest, though he no longer had a cure of souls. Moreover these opinions were more likely to impress the world if issued over the names of a host of saints and sages than they would have done if he had claimed to, be their author.

A secondary motive may have been that in the company of the saints and sages he obtained welcome relief from the dull routine of a schoolmaster's life, diversified otherwise only by frequent bouts of illness. Perhaps "Little Dicky" was a relief from too many saints and sages.

The mediumship of Mrs. Piper, the most famous of trance mediums, began in 1884, the year following the close of Stainton Moses's activity. She lived to a great age, dying in 1950, but does not seem to have produced anything of importance after 1915. During the whole of her active mediumship she was under the close investigation of critical and competent researchers. She willingly collaborated with them, and they were all agreed that she was perfectly honest, and that the communications received through her conveyed information outside her normally acquired knowledge. On two points however there was disagreement, whether any of her Controls existed independently of her, and whether any of the communications should be taken as what they claimed to be, messages from particular dead persons. The latter point will be discussed in another chapter, and all that need for the present be said is that through Mrs. Piper there was for the, first time obtained a substantial body of evidence on which such a claim could with any show of reason be based.

Mrs. Piper's mediumship may be divided into five periods, in the first four of which her communications were produced in trance, while in the fifth she practised automatic writing without trance. The first period began when, an her second visit to a healing medium named Cocke for relief from the effects of an accident, she herself went into trance. The main Control during this period, which lasted until 1892, was Phinuit who claimed to have been a French doctor. Cocke had a doctor-Control called Finney, and Mrs. Piper's Phinuit (the spelling is due to the sitter who recorded her trance) obviously owed his name and his self-attributed doctorship to Cocke's Control. Phinuit had only a smattering of French and no systematic knowledge of medicine, and he made contradictory statements as to his birthplace. But he seems to have shown some flair for diagnosis and he impressed his investigators as a personality who, whatever his own psychological status, should be taken seriously. He was the dominant Control during Mrs. Piper's first visit to England in 1889-1890, when she was investigated by a very able SPR Committee consisting of Myers, Lodge and Walter Leaf. His last appearance was in 1897. In 1892 a young man named Pellew (called in the records George Pelham. or G.P.) died suddenly in America, where he had been well known to Hodgson, Mrs. Piper's principal investigator. At a sitting a few weeks after his death, at which Phinuit was Control, G.P. appeared as Communicator and gave the anonymous sitter correct information. Later he acted as Control, frequently until 1896, and more rarely after that.

The third period may be considered as extending from January 1897 to Hodgson's sudden death in December 1905. The main Control at this time was Rector, who was introduced by a Control calling himself Stainton Moses as a former member of his Imperator group. The name to which the Moses-Rector laid claim had not at this time been made public: it was in fact St. Hippolytus. The Piper-Rector failed to establish his identity with the Moses-Rector, being unable to give this name, or indeed to give proofs of being any person who had ever lived. He was none the less, on the testimony of several sitters, distinctly impressive, and was regarded by William James as having a "Capacity for being a spiritual advise?' superior to that of Mrs. Piper in the state of ordinary consciousness. He continued as main Control after Hodgson's death and acted as such during the fourth period of the mediumship.

With the changes in Controls was associated a change in the Condition in which Mrs. Piper gave messages. In the first period the messages were entirely oral, delivered in trance. In the second they were mainly oral, with some writing, delivered in trance in either case. During these periods entry into trance was painful, but with the advent of Rector it became much easier. The messages were given during this, the third period, in writing while the trance lasted, the whole body of the medium, except the hand that wrote, appearing inert. The same conditions prevailed during the fourth period, which lasted until 1911, when her Imperator Control "closed the light". There followed a fifth period when she wrote automatically but not in trance.

In addition to the principal Controls named, the Piper mediumship had a host of minor ones. There was, for instance, a Mentor who asserted his identity with the Stainton Moses Control of the same name. The latter claimed to be Algazzali, an eleventh century Arab philosopher. But the Piper-Mentor avowed himself to be the classical Ulysses, not, one would say, a person pre-eminently fitted to serve as a spiritual guide. There was a Sir Walter Scott who declared there were monkeys in the sun, and a George Eliot who had met Adam Bede in heaven. These are obvious absurdities, not worth further discussion were it not that their appearance raises doubts as to the scope of fantasy in her mediumship as a whole, and so casts doubts on the claims to an independent existence made by the principal Controls, Phinuit, G.P., and Rector.

None of these three can so readily be dismissed as figments of Mrs. Piper's subconscious. Their status was debated at great length and with much ability on both sides in SPR Proceedings. In favour of their independence there are several points deserving consideration, but none in my view conclusive. First there is the integrity of Mrs. Piper's conscious mind, which is admitted, but is not inconsistent with elaborate dramatisation in the subconscious, examples of which have been given in Chapter VII. Then there is the fact, accepted by critical investigators, that though neither Phinuit nor Rector could prove their identity, each in his way seemed to surpass Mrs. Piper's normal powers. Here again Chapter VII should be taken into account.

The other points relate to the veridical nature of the communications made by all of them. In particular a plausible, but not in my view conclusive, case could be made out for regarding G.P.'s apparent success as a Communicator, which will be discussed in a later chapter, as guaranteeing his independence as a Control.

To define the status of the Piper Controls is a matter of great psychological interest, but does not very closely concern the question of survival, since whatever view be taken as to their independence no action of theirs is as relevant to that question as the communications obtained through the same medium. The same is true of the Controls of other trance mediums and the messages received through them.

It is however of interest to note that the odd phenomenon of Mrs. Piper's hand acting as if it by itself, and it alone, possessed intelligence, has a parallel in the case of Anna Winsor, (1860-1863: see H.P. I. 354-360). Not indeed a complete parallel, as Anna Winsor represented "an extreme form of hystero-epilepsy" while Mrs. Piper, though often in great physical pain, was notably placid in temperament. Anna Winsor, who called her right arm and hand "Old Stump", regarded them as something intelligent but foreign, as Mrs. Piper's right hand gave the appearance of being. But there was in Mrs. Piper's case no such show of hostility between the hand and the rest of the organism as was recorded with Anna Winsor.

At the end of her sittings Mrs. Piper several times spoke of "sliding down" a cord into the body, or of being pulled back by one, and she also expressed disgust at finding herself back in normal life, in a way recalling the feelings of the percipient in "out-of-the-body" experiences. While in hospital, after an operation it seems, she had a well-developed experience of this type, which she styles "a dream or vision". Two of her Controls, Phinuit and G.P., appeared to her. She heard voices saying "Come, we wish to take you with us: we wish to give you a rest from your tired body". After a pause she felt she was being lifted and was not on her bed. She passed through a delicate blue drapery, and "saw a light as though all space-the whole earth was aglow-such a light! I never saw anything like it before". She was greeted by singing, and a ring of beautiful women dancing, passed between hedges with flowers, and came to a pillared building where she met several dead relations and Communicators. She felt a stab in the back where she was attached to a cord that looked like the ray of light which she had followed in her ascent. She was pulled back to her body and found herself awake. "My body seemed so dark and heavy as though it did not belong to me: I had to struggle for breath. I felt depressed to think that I had got back." (Proc. XXVIII, 377-380).

The analogy between some aspects of the Piper mediumship and conditions unassociated with mediumship described in earlier chapters is obvious. But in considering the nature of mediumistic Controls one is not entirely confined to argument from analogy. More direct psychological methods have been brought to bear on the Controls of some recent mediums, such as Mrs. Leonard and Mrs. Garrett. Mrs. Leonard's only Control, apart from Communicator-Controls, is the child Feda, who in some ways, but not altogether, closely resembles secondary personalities of the Sally type. Feda, like Sally, is most amusing, and professes a contempt for her medium, not unlike that which Sally boasted to have for Miss Beauchamp, or Margaret for Doris Fischer. But whereas both Sally and Margaret were guilty of spiteful actions, Feda has never gone beyond causing Mrs. Leonard such embarrassments as prevailing on her to give an expensive present or to walk through the streets of a town trailing a toy balloon. Feda is moreover, on the universal testimony of Mrs. Leonard's sitters, absolutely straightforward. For a character sketch of her see SPR Proceedings XXXII, 344-378.

In 1933 Whately Carington began to apply to Mrs. Leonard and Mrs. Garrett, both of whom collaborated most willingly, the established psychological technique of word-association tests. The method is to read to a subject lists of stimulus words to which the subject replies with the first words he thinks of. The subject's reactions, e.g. the time between stimulus and response, are noted and on examination are found to show a pattern characteristic of each subject.

Carington administered this test first to each of these mediums in their normal state, and then, using the same stimulus-list to each of them in trance. The analysis of the results led to a long technical discussion in several volumes of SPR Proceedings. Carington's conclusion, which was not however accepted by all Mrs. Leonard's sitters, was that Feda was a secondary personality, probably formed round a nucleus of material repressed by the medium's conscious mind.

With Mrs. Garrett recourse has also been had to the electro- encephalograph, by which the electrical activity of the cerebral cortex is recorded on a moving paper strip, the record being known as an electro-encephalogram. or E.E.G. The purpose was to discover whether mediumistic trance could be shown to have features distinguishing it from the normal ("alpha") rhythm observed with subjects resting but awake, and from the rhythm observed in hypnosis, in hysterical dissociation, and in light and deep sleep. The instrument was attached to Mrs. Garrett's head at two sessions in 1951, first when she was awake but resting, and then while she went into, remained in, and came out of trance, during which time her Control, Uvani, spoke. Trance was at the second session induced by hypnosis. The SPR Journal (XXXVI, 588-596) reports, "There was no significant E.E.G. change when the subject went into or came out of either the trance state or the hypnotic state".

E.E.G. tests, and other physiological tests, have a bearing on the status of Controls only if it be a valid assumption that the correlation between mental processes and bodily conditions is constant, whether the mental processes manifest themselves in normal or paranormal activities. This has yet to be proved, and indeed such evidence as is available suggests that in telepathy mental activity may occur without a corresponding physical stimulus, a conception which many scientists find difficulty in accepting notwithstanding the impressive mass of evidence in its favour. In the present state of knowledge therefore physiological tests, whether they give positive or, as in the E.E.G. test described above, negative results, are not conclusive for or against the independence of Controls.

In the latter part of this book much will be said about the "SPR group of automatists", whose contribution towards a solution of the problem of survival is generally agreed to be outstanding. A discussion of the bearing on this problem of the status of Controls would he incomplete without consideration of the part they play in the scripts of this group, which represent each of the members of the group as being in touch with another group consisting of Communicators, all identifiable either by their names or in other ways. Of the five principal members of the group of automatists none had a Control who was not also a Communicator, i.e. who did not give messages purporting to be evidential. With some of the automatists the Communicators hardly emerged from an impersonal collectivity, the messages being introduced with some such phrase as "they say". With others a Communicator would take on for a time a not very strongly marked individuality, and with one, Mrs. Willett, the Control-Communicators took on marked personal characteristics of speech and manner. In the "cross-correspondences" which were an important feature of these scripts, the scripts of two or more automatists of the group had to be read together to get at the meaning. For this purpose the degree of personalisation shown by the Control-Communicators of the various automatists counted for nothing. The evidence therefore of the automatic writings of the SPR group does not run counter to the view formed from a survey of trance-mediumship in general that the case for survival is not strengthened by the very doubtful claims to independent existence made by Controls, so far as they can be differentiated from Communicators.

Chapter 10: Communications Through MediumsI: As affected Through Normal Means
- W. H. Salter -
   THE USE of the cumbrous double word "Control-Communicator" in the last chapter illustrates the difficulty of defining precisely what is meant by a "communication". Messages of comfort and exhortation may be closely combined in mediumistic utterance with other messages which, if taken at their face value, suggest the survival and identity of some specific person. The remainder of this book will be devoted to a consideration of how far this latter type of material can be reasonably attributed to normal causes, as discussed in this chapter, or, failing that, to the operation of the paranormal faculties of living persons. If neither of these causes fully accounts for the evidence, it would follow that unless some transcendental factor unverifiable by ordinary enquiry has intervened, the apparent indications of survival are not wholly illusory but point to some underlying reality. If so, can the nature of this reality be ascertained?

To illustrate the argument I shall draw on my own experience, and still more on that of my wife and her family. While the communications I have myself received are of no exceptional importance, and are cited here simply because they have in my mind become attached to various points that will need discussion, no survey of this problem would approach completeness that failed to give prominence to the parts played in it by A. W. Verrall, classical scholar and Professor of English Literature at Cambridge, his wife, and their daughter, Helen, whom I married. That this is not a private fad of my own can be shown by the very numerous papers in SPR Proceedings from Vol. XX (1906) on, in which one or other of them figures as experimenter, automatist, Communicator or sitter. Verrall died in 1912; Mrs. Verrall in 1916; my wife (whom for brevity I will call H.V.) ceased to be active as an automatist or sitter about twenty-five years ago. This lapse of time justifies me, I think, in claiming freedom from such personal bias, if any, as I ever had in estimating the value of their contribution towards the solution of this problem. How each of them comes into the story will appear as this discussion proceeds.

Automatists are not essentially a different type of person from mediums. It is however convenient to give them a different name. By mediums are generally meant persons who make a regular practice of employing their psychic powers, whether pro. fessionally or not. The automatist, on the other hand, is one who makes use of these powers occasionally, and very often spontaneously. Automatists also in general go into a lighter state of dissociation than regular mediums. In fact much automatic speech and writing is of the "inspirational" type and produced in a state very slightly removed from normal consciousness. The use of devices such as planchette or ouija-board is more frequent with automatists than with regular mediums, and the emergence of well-developed Controls rarer. The distinction however between the two is not clear cut, nor is it fundamental. G. W. Balfour, when analysing the psychology of Mrs. Willett, a famous member of "the SPR group of automatists", speaks of her "mediumship": (SPR Proc. XLIII).

To return from this parenthesis to mediumistic communications and their bearing on the question of survival, I will first consider messages purporting to convey information that was within the knowledge of the Communicator when alive, but lies outside the conscious knowledge of the medium. The first question here is whether it is knowledge of verifiable facts. Messages for example often describe the conditions in which the Communicator finds himself after bodily death. If any test of their truth is to be applied, it must be a transcendental one lying outside the province of psychical research. So far as more ordinary standards of judgment are applicable, allowance must he made for conventional ideas of a future life derived from the complex interaction of out-of-the-body experiences, literary tradition as exemplified in the Frogs, the Sixth Aeneid and the Divina Commedia, and the systematic teaching of religious bodies. Where the descriptions come through a professional medium, account must also be taken of the extent to which spiritualism, long established as a regular cult pursued with great ardour, has both adopted and modified these conventional ideas. If evidence of survival is to be sought from verifiable statements of fact, it must be sought elsewhere.

And of course verifiable statements abound in mediumistic utterances. But of those that are true how many are lucky shots? How many can be assigned to the medium's normally acquired knowledge? Mediums are members of an honourable profession, but they work under conditions that axe a temptation to devious practices. They have to give sittings, at pre-arranged dates which, when they fall due, may not find them in a mood that promises success. The sitter may be by nature uncongenial, or himself in a difficult mood. No member of a profession likes to fall down on the job, and the subconscious, active during trance, has a particular dislike of acknowledging defeat. It looks for an easy way out and finds there is a choice of several. The course which puts the least strain on it is to describe the other world, the nature of the "astral" or "etheric" body, and the mechanism of communication by whatever formula is at the time prevalent in the spiritualist movement. The medium may, and very likely will, sincerely believe these descriptions.

A sitter who does not care to waste his time or his guineas in listening to a medium say what he can, if he so wishes, read for himself any day in the spiritualist press in the comfort of his home and at the cost of a few pence, will politely but firmly direct the communications into other channels. But much may be learnt from a medium who can describe the process of communication as he feels it, without recourse to stock phrases; much also from the use in one meaning of words the usual and established meaning of which is different. G. W. Balfour in his important study of Mrs. Willett's psychology, points out that, though she was familiar with Myers's writings on the "subliminal", and uses his language to describe her sensations, she gives an account of the relations between "subliminal" and "supraliminal" (approximately equivalent to subconscious and conscious as I use those words) that differs widely from his, thereby throwing light on her own psychic processes.

The sitter who is dissatisfied with vague talk and wishes for verifiable facts may receive strings of common Christian names, thrown out tentatively. If he shows interest in any of them, such remarks as these may be added: "There has been a birthday in the family lately." (The sitter, we will suppose, does not respond.) "Or perhaps he" (i.e. the Communicator) "means it is coming soon." Given a wide meaning to each of the words "family", "lately", and "soon", these sentences would at any time fit a large part of the population. If the sitter rises to any item, it may be used as bait for more extensive "fishing".

A large number of random shots will almost certainly produce some hits, and if any of these happen to light on a spot where the sitter is emotionally sensitive, he may be deeply impressed. In that case he would do well to ask a few of his friends to look through the records, and to tell him how far the communications fit their own circumstances. This will give him a rough and ready guide as to the extent to which the successes may be assigned to chance. If he wants a more precise assessment, he can apply one of the various formulae that have been worked out for the statistical evaluation of sittings. I have yet however to meet any experienced sitter who has found this technique satisfactory in practice, except as a means of showing up the poverty of sittings that any emotionally unbiased person of intelligence would at the first glance recognise as poor.

It is a frequent criticism of qualitative material in psychical research, whether spontaneous in origin such as apparitions, experimental as where the targets are "free", or mediumistic, that there is no certainty as to the extent to which chance has affected the results. This is a fair criticism of a great deal of the material reported to the SPR, and of some of the material published by it. It is a waste of time attempting to decide how much of this equivocal material falls on one side of the dividing line between chance and non-chance, and how much on the other, since there is on record a larger mass than the most diligent student could master of qualitative material, spontaneous, experimental and mediumistic, that could only be assigned to chance by a ludicrous straining of probability. All the rest can simply be disregarded. And of course material that successfully passes the test of chance, has still other tests to meet before it can be accepted as paranormal. A too free response to "fishing" is not the only way in which a sitter may convey to a medium information which may later reappear in a communication to himself or to some other sitter. It is fit and proper that a sitter should wish to be on informal, friendly terms with the medium, but this desire may lead to gossipy chatting before or after the sitting, while the medium is in a fully conscious state. Good mediums intensely dislike having unsought confidences thrust upon them when in a state of ordinary consciousness. If any of the information so imparted comes out later in a trance communication, doubts may be thrown on the genuineness of the trance. On the other hand anticipation of such a possible consequence may inhibit the flow of communication. In either event the medium has been put in an unfair position.

There are moreover other ways, besides incautious chatter, of conveying useful information. Some years ago a sitting was booked with a well-known medium for an anonymous sitter. To the medium's great annoyance the sitter arrived in deep widow's weeds, wearing a brooch with a coronet and the initials of a man of title whose sudden death had not long before received great newspaper publicity. This reduced the anonymity to a farce. But the anonymous sitter cannot always help revealing his identity. Thus when Walter Prince, who has already been mentioned, paid a short visit to England which was announced in the psychic press, he booked an anonymous sitting with Mrs. Leonard. With typical candour she said to him, "I think you are Dr. Prince." "My! How did you guess that?" "I knew you were in England and thought you would probably ask for a sitting with me. I knew about how old you are and your voice told me you were from the States." Prince had an accent of the pungency of which he was quite unaware.

A sitter's age may by itself mislead a fishing medium. I was well past middle age before either of my parents died. For some years before that a few mediums judged me to be a man likely to have a father and/or mother in the spirit world and gave me messages of comfort appropriate to my supposed state of bereavement.

"Good sitters make good mediums." That puts a good point too bluntly, for no amount of skill or patience or tact on the sitter's part will make up for the absence or weakness of a medium's paranormal powers. But it is the fact that no small share of the credit for the long and successful careers as mediums of Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard is due to the SPR investigators who from the early days of their mediumship combined personal friendliness with a sharp eye for evidence. In return both of thee mediums eagerly collaborated with the SPR in planning and conducting experiments designed to extend knowledge of psychic processes. Bad sitters on the other hand must take a large share of the blame for the less satisfactory features of mediumship. Much as he disliked "Mr. Sludge" (i.e. D. D. Home), Browning evidently agreed that Sludge's complaint on this score was well founded.

Instances have already been given of the too informative sitter. But undue reticence may be equally detrimental. A sitter who maintains a frigid silence throughout the sitting is likely to come away with little to show for it. For success he must acquire the art, which comes easily with practice, of encouraging the medium at appropriate moments without giving away facts. The main difficulty is in extemporising sufficiently neutral responses to remarks by the Control or Communicator which come near to being questions and would in an ordinary talk between friends meet with frank replies.

Few persons interested in the survival question are likely to have a sufficient number of sittings with trance mediums of high quality to provide out of their own experience material on which to form a judgment. This has always been true and never more than at the present time. A few years ago, when Mrs. Leonard had restricted her activity as a medium, an exhaustive search was made in Great Britain for other trance mediums worth intensive study, with disappointing results. Reports from America indicate that things are no better there. Fortunately there is in the Proceedings of the SPR an almost embarrassing wealth of material, on which the student can rely. Most of it was collected before tape-recording of sittings was introduced, and therefore fails to give complete information as to whether the medium attempted to "fish", and if so to what extent and with what success, or as to whether the sitter was too expansive, or not expansive enough. It may however be taken for granted that the sitters were in the main friendly but discreet, casual lapses being candidly noted; that the note-takers, whether themselves sitters or not, made a fair record of what passed between medium and sitter; and that the annotations, showing the degree of success or failure at each point of the sitting, were the result of careful enquiry. It adds to the value of the reports that their authors were far from unanimous in their views of trance-mediumship.

"Fishing" and "fluking" are practices to be regretted because they waste the time (and money) of the sitter, may discourage a sitter from further enquiry, and provide a facile pretext for the depreciation of mediumship and of psychical research. Before however anyone passes a too censorious judgment on the medium, let him examine his own subconscious in the light of his everyday experience. He wants perhaps to remember some name which has completely escaped his conscious memory. His subconscious rummages around, and offers his conscious mind one name after another, all wrong and some of them fantastic, before finally, if his luck is in, fetching up a name which the conscious mind will accept as that really needed.

Much the same thing happens to experimenters with the planchette or ouija-board, when they get through these devices incorrect, it may be absurdly incorrect, answers to their questions. In the conditions in which such experiments are usually conducted, there is obviously no deliberate intention to deceive. In full trance the subconscious enjoys greater liberty and is even less willing to admit defeat. It is no slur on the integrity of a trance-medium if, having nothing paranormal in stock, he hands out to an expectant sitter anything lying ready in his subconscious. "Fishing" is a further step, a small step, in the wrong direction.

All this may properly be described as "trance-deception" and not as conscious fraud. But the milder phrase is sometimes used to cover actions that are thoroughly fraudulent, such as the ferreting out of information about a sitter, his family circle and interests in order to provide material which could be worked up into "communications". Sitters who have established friendly relations with trance-mediums are from time to time told by them that they have been present when other mediums have pooled information about sitters. They report remarks such as this: "Mrs. Jones who sat with you last week has booked a sitting with me for next week. What sort of communication does she want? Is it her husband or her son she wants messages from?" And so on. Not long ago I happened to mention to a trance-medium that an old case seemed to me to show internal evidence of collusion between two other mediums. "Quite right", she said, "one of them asked me to join in." It is also possible that mediums may "mug up" from biographies and books of reference facts as to a sitter or his friends that may come in useful later.

How far the rot extends it would be impossible to say. A few black sheep do not discredit a whole profession. The trance. mediums who have been most intensively studied by the SPR are Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard, and it is on records of sittings with them that I shall mainly draw. There never was any ground for suspecting the good faith of either, but by way of superlative caution each was at an early stage of her career subjected to private enquiry, from which each of them emerged with flying colours. I should not however wish it to be supposed that, because these are the mediums most frequently quoted by me, there are not other mediums of equal integrity. It has been necessary more than once in the fore-going pages to discuss the fraudulent simulation of psychic phenomena. We here leave behind us that unsavoury topic, "escaped the Stygian Pool though long detained". In none of the material I shall from now quote do I believe fraud to have played a part, and I shall not waste time discussing it as a serious hypothesis.

Richard Hodgson, who had for many years supervised the American sittings given by Mrs. Piper, died in 1905. He was a bachelor and was generally believed by his intimate friends never to have contemplated marriage while living in America. But at sittings with Mrs. Piper in the spring of 1906(1) the Hodgson-Control stated that he had met a lady in Chicago to whom he had proposed marriage, but that she had refused him. Her maiden name ("Miss Densmore" in the report) was given together with her two Christian names. These enabled William James, notwithstanding a mistake in the middle name, to identify her as an old acquaintance of his. He did not know that she and. Hodgson had even known each other, but she confirmed to him the statement as to Hodgson's proposal. He made enquiries among other intimate friends of Hodgson as to the names of women to whom they thought he might have proposed, and none of them suggested Miss Densmore. She seemed not to have spoken of the proposal to anyone but her sister. The incident, therefore, as James said in his report on the Hodgson-Control (SPR Proc. XXIII 20-25), was
"an excellent one to count in favour of spirit return, unless indeed it should turn out that while it was happening, he (Hodgson) had been led to consult the Piper-Controls about it himself."
(1) Owing to misprints, the date of these sittings is given in the SPR report, Proc. XXIII, as 1905.

In June 1906 another old friend of Hodgsn, Professor W. R. Newbold, had a sitting with Mrs. Piper at which the Hodgson-Control asked him whether he remembered "Miss Densmore". Newbold replied that he began to remember: was it about eight or nine years ago? To this the Control assented. On looking up his correspondence with Hodgson, Newbold found that in 1895 the Piper-Controls had prophesied that both he and Hodgson would soon be happily married: Newbold was; Hodgson was rejected. Newbold, who seems to have been Hodgson's only confidant, adds that Miss Densmore was frequently mentioned in the sittings of 1895.

This incident (known as the "Huldah" case from the second name wrongly assigned to Miss Densmore) shows the importance of preserving complete records. It also shows the tenacity of the subconscious memory. Mrs. Piper in trance remembered what had passed in trance between her and the living Hodgson eleven years earlier (Newbold's "eight or nine years" was an understatement) and also remembered that Newbold was the one sitter who could have been expected to remember it. To none of the other sitters to whom the Control spoke of the affair was any suggestion made that they remembered it. Newbold in a state of ordinary consciousness remembered what he had been told, also in a conscious state, eleven years before. In each case the memory seems to have been latent in the subconscious for many years; in Newbold's probably for less than eleven, as for some time after 1895 he would almost certainly have retained a conscious memory of it. In each case the memory is revived by an appropriate stimulus; in her case by Hodgson's death and the presence of his friends at her sittings; in his by her trance reference to the incident at his sitting. For her, the whole process, or sequence of processes, (1) acquisition of knowledge, (2) retention, (3) revival, was subconscious. For Newbold only stage (2) was subconscious, both the acquisition of the knowledge and the revival of the memory being conscious processes.

Latent memory (or "cryptomnesia") is a particularly baffling problem, and its possible occurrence in a communication through a medium or through automatic writing is hard to assess owing to individual differences between one person and another, to the varying states of mind in which the initial (1) and final (3) stages may take place, and to the fact that when the knowledge is acquired in a conscious state, the second process must be subdivided into (2a) relegation to the subconscious, as Newbold relegated his knowledge of Hodgson's proposal, and (2b) retention of what has been so relegated.

To latent memory I am inclined to assign the rather numerous correct statements I recently received from a non-professional medium about my ancestors and one of my living relatives. Almost everything said during the trance about my ancestors was correct. It could be verified from works of reference, a careful reading of which would however also show that a few mistakes were made. About my living relative much was said that was true and could be verified from books of reference that were sufficiently up-to-date. But the true statements about him were mixed with several that were fictitious; e.g., accounts of conversations that never took Place with dead persons in whom the medium was interested. Moreover the background of the communications was altogether unreal, both as regards the character and opinions of the persons named, and the significance of some of the facts stated correctly. It is no good cross-examining Controls as to their statements and I refrained from attempting to do this, but I deliberately gave the Control several openings to expand by talking of matters connected with the persons named which were known to me but could not be found in books of reference. The Control never followed up my lead.

It was obvious that the medium's subconscious had erected a structure of imaginative fiction on a basis of fact. For imaginative fiction or dramatisation the subconscious, as was shown in previous chapters, has a marked propensity. But how in this instance did the basis of fact get there? The correct statements were too numerous and too far removed from the common-place to be attributable to chance, even when liberal allowance was made for the mistakes. All the facts had, I think, at some time been within my conscious knowledge, though I had to verify some of them from printed sources. If however the communications were a telepathic reflection of my conscious and /or subconscious mind, why this curious distinction between largely correct fact, and wholly incorrect background? If, again, it was a real communication from the other world, why this inability to make correct statements as to matters not to be found in the reference books?

The most probable explanation seems to me to be that the medium, for purposes quite unconnected with these sittings, had occasion to look up passages in books of reference, and that glancing through the pages casually she had come on references to my relatives, living and dead. She may never have consciously digested what she thus came across, but having what is called a "fly-paper mind", passed it on undigested to her subconscious memory, which assimilated it with other matter acquired in the same way. This explanation has already been suggested in connection with the case of Abraham Florentine in the records of Stainton Moses: see Chapter IX. It may also explain the Margaret Veley scripts of Dr. Soal: see SPR Proc. XXXVIII 281374.

Margaret Veley (1843-1887) was a novelist and poet of some note during her life. When in 1927 and 1928 Dr. Soal and a friend produced a number of scripts purporting to be communications from her, and asked me to look into them, I had never heard of her, but on looking her up in the Dictionary of National Biography while the scripts were in progress I was astonished to find that almost everything said in them about her life and writings was correct. Other statements volunteered by the Communicator could also be verified as correct from the preface to one of her novels and from local directories of the district, Braintree, Essex, where her family lived. Mainly, however, through friends and relations of Margaret Veley, I got to know facts about her and her family which were not to be found in any of these books. Questions on these matters, some of which were of deep interest to Margaret Veley when alive, met with practically no response. (After rereading my report recently I must admit that some of the questions savoured of cross-examination, and dealt with matters that should have been introduced more delicately.)

In my report (Proc. XXXVIII, 322-323) I summed up my analysis of the veridical element in the communications as follows:
"It will, I think, be generally agreed that the proportion of success to failure, as regards matters outside the admitted normal knowledge of the automatists, is unusually high in these scripts, if they are compared with most ostensibly spiritistic communications. The verifiable statements (and the unverifiable residuum is very small) may be classified under four heads, as follows:

"(A) Statements, whether volunteered by M.V. or made in reply to questions, which can be verified from the D.N.B. and the MS [i.e., the novel already mentioned].

"(B) Statements, whether volunteered or in reply to questions, which can be verified from matter scattered up and down a considerable number of other books, e.g. volumes of the County Directory.

"(C) Statements volunteered as to matters which cannot be verified from any printed source which I1 have been able to trace" [the sources consulted by me were listed in a footnote occupying half a page of small print].

"(D) Statements in reply to questions regarding matters which cannot be verified from any such source.

"The success is almost perfect under head (A) and the failure almost complete under head (D). Under both heads (B) and (C) there is a mixture of success and failure, with the successes largely preponderating."
My report was shown in proof to two of Margaret Veley's relatives with a request that they should say whether in their opinion the scripts were characteristic of her outlook on life and habits of thought. One of them thought that the earlier part of the scripts fell in with her recollections, but the later parts did not; the other (a niece) that there was nothing that recalled her aunt in any way, it being all most unlike her in what was said and the way of saying it.

The scripts included several verses ostensibly dictated by Margaret Veley. The second part of the SPR report, entitled "The Literary Style of the Scripts" was contributed by Dr. Soal, who preferred at the time to he known as "Mr. W'. He did not regard cryptomnesia as a major explanation of the Margaret Veley scripts, differing as to this from the view I have expressed.

It is not surprising that in many cases different views as to the possible operation of latent memory are expressed, since so many uncertain factors are likely to be involved. In the Abraham Florentine case it was possible to paint with fair certainty to a particular printed document as the source from which the communication had been derived, owing to the presence in it of an unusual form of words and of a mistake, both of which were repeated in the communication. This source was an Obituary Notice in an American newspaper, and if the paper in question had first appeared after the communication had been made, the case might possibly be considered as precognitive. Again, if the Obituary, though appearing before the communication, could not possibly have been seen by Stainton Moses, it might perhaps be regarded as an instance, an exceptionally good instance, of clairvoyance. But as hecould have seen it, though there is no direct evidence that he did, it is safer to invoke a normal factor such as latent memory rather than a paranormal one, such as precognition or clairvoyance.

A definite source can seldom be indicated with as much certainty as in that case. The number of items of information which most people acquire by reading books, newspapers, and business documents and by conversation is incalculable. It is sometimes said that the subconscious, like the traditional elephant, never forgets. How clever, or how lucky, man has been to construct consciousness as a shelter under which he can conduct his ordinary affairs unembarrassed by unwanted memories of all the trivialities thrust on his attention hour by hour, day by day, by newspapers, conversation with fellow-commuters and all the apparatus of civilised life!

That however is not the stuff of which communications are made, not at any rate such communications as anyone need bother about. The interest centres on correct statements of facts less accessible to the general public, which may therefore be considered as probably unknown to the medium, unless there are grounds for supposing that in this context his normal knowledge exceeds the average. It is therefore most desirable to ascertain as definitely as practicable in what book or other document the statements may be found, or to whom the relevant facts were known. By this means one can form a fair assessment of the probability of a medium acquiring the necessary knowledge in his ordinary reading or conversation. As stated above, we are not considering possible fraudulent acquisition of knowledge. One can also infer how long before the communication was made the knowledge was first acquired, or was confirmed on some later occasion. This is a matter of importance in judging the probability of information once acquired being forgotten by the conscious mind.

In the Huldah case Newbold, when prompted by the Hodgson-Control, said he "began" to remember the Chicago lady, which seems to suggest that he still retained a conscious memory of the affair, but a very dim and vague one. The incident was then eleven years old, and, had it concerned a matter of indifference to Newbold, might well have slipped his conscious memory altogether. The surprising thing is that he should not have retained even after that lapse of time a clearer memory of an affair that, owing to his friendship with Hodgson and his own engagement, must when it was happening have aroused his keen interest. In the Veley case all the documents mentioned as possible sources of information had been in existence for many years. Dr. Soal seems to have had no personal interest in the Veleys, and if it was in fact a case of cryptomnesia, his normal acquisition of the knowledge about them shown in the scripts might date back long enough to account for it having completely faded from his conscious mind. As regards the communications made about my relatives, I cannot suppose that their affairs were in themselves of any interest to the medium, so that they could well, so to speak, have gone in at one car of her conscious mind and out at the other, though some of the facts, if learnt from written sources, could only have been learnt within a few months before the sitting.

Consider the case of a medium who in a dissociated state makes correct statements of fact which are shown to him when he returns to ordinary consciousness. He may recognise them as facts previously known to his conscious mind, but forgotten by it: he may further be able to recollect how and when he came to know them. Suppose however that (a) a possible source of information can be shown, but (b) he fails to recognise the facts as previously known to him, or to recognise the possible source when pointed out to him, is that an indication that he never knew them normally? That, latent memory bring excluded, he has acquired the information in some other, paranormal way?

This can only be answered by asking several further questions. How accessible to the medium were the supposed sources of information? How complex is the knowledge shown? Is it such as could he acquired by anyone running his eye over a page, or by reading a few pages once without special attention: or must a close and careful study be supposed? How long an interval of time was there between the supposed date of acquisition and the communication? Most important of all, how keen an interest in the relevant facts can be assumed an the medium's part at the date when, if ever, he may have acquired knowledge of them?

Certain answers to these questions may often he unattainable. But by combining what seem to be the most likely answers to each, one can form a fairly good assessment of the respective degrees of probability to be assigned to the hypotheses of paranormal activity and of latent memory.

It is a very common experience, if one glances rapidly at, say, the column of deaths recorded in a newspaper, to receive the impression that somewhere in the smaller type giving details of where the persons named had lived or the place of their death is the name of a particular street or village with which one has some sort of association. One cannot say just where in the column it occurs, but a careful reading will show that the impression was correct. The name has registered but not with the definition that attaches to things perceived in full awareness.

Psychologists in their experiments have gone a stage further. It has been shown that sensory stimuli too faint to be consciously perceived may none the less have registered in the subconscious, by a process called "subception". For instance, a roll of cinema film is cut, and a single exposure from a quite different film is inserted. The roll with the insertion is then flashed on the screen at the usual rate, so rapidly, that is, that the spectator cannot consciously see what the insertion is, or even that there has been any interruption of the sequence. But subconsciously he may not only have noted the interruption but have observed the nature of the insertion.

Use, as is generally known, has been made of this by advertisers, and references to it have been made in the Press under the description of "subliminal" or "split-second" advertising. In view of the possible ethical and political consequences the professional associations, of advertisers in the United Kingdom and the United States have pronounced against its commercial use.

It would however seem at present that there is a considerable difference between experimental subception, or the marginal perception which we frequently observe as following casual glances at a newspaper, and the faculty which would account for even so simple a case as that of Abraham Florentine. Where the amount of verifiable detail in a communication is even greater than was transmitted in that case the plausibility of subception as an explanation is very small.

Doubtful questions of chance-coincidence and lapsed memory are not of course peculiar to psychical research, and it is sometimes helpful to consider them in an unrelated context. A libel action was not very long ago decided in the Courts, the plaintiff being an actress who complained that her name had been attached to a very obnoxious character in a novel. There were several other particulars applicable to herself which also appeared as connected with this character in the book. The Christian name of both real and fictional persons was the same: so was the surname, an unusual one. Both had red or reddish hair. Both were actresses connected with a theatre in the same provincial town. The principal actor in the novel had a name closely resembling that of the principal actor in the plaintiff's company. Both the plaintiff and her fictional counterpart were of the same religious persuasion. The real and fictional actor were also of the same religion as each other, but a different one from that of the plaintiff. There were thus seven points of close resemblance between fact and fiction. The author of the novel said she had never heard of the plaintiff, that the resemblances were accidental, and that in one important particular there was a marked divergence, the action of the novel being dated about a generation before the plaintiff's professional engagement at the town mentioned.

The plaintiff won her case, thereby vindicating her character, but the scale of damages awarded her showed that the Court accepted the author's statement that she intended no reference to the plaintiff and had indeed never heard of her. The author could of course only speak as to her conscious knowledge and memory. Latent memory (cryptomnesia) is therefore left as an alternative explanation to sheer chance-coincidence.

Many communications quoted as evidence for survival show a much less remarkable constellation of correspondences than is to be found in this action.
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