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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sir Oliver Lodge-The Survival of Man-B [BOOK]


Book: "The Survival of Man"
Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS
Availability: Out of Print

- Section Three -
Spontaneous Telepathy and Clairvoyance
Chapter 9
Examples of Apparent Clairvoyance
___________________________________________
          TO show that some apparent clairvoyance, whether it be due to hyperaesthesia or telepathy or something else, is really possible, I take an instructive little experiment recorded by Mrs. Verrall in Proceedings, vol. xi., page 192-which she tried in November 189o with her daughter, who was then a child aged 71 years. Other instances will be mentioned later on-see, for instance, p. 178.
Recognition of Objects by Telepathy or Hyperaesthesia
Percipient, H., Aged 7/12 Years
Mrs. Verrall reports as follows:
In November 1890, I tried the following experiment with H. I drew a diagram, which I placed on H.'s forehead, while her eyes were shut, and asked her to describe it. To make the performance more like a game, I went on to ask what colour it was, and what she could see through it. We tried four experiments, three on the afternoon of November 16th, and one at 6.15 on November 30th, with the following results:-
Object drawn - A triangle.
Result - H. drew a triangle with her finger in the air. Right.
Object drawn - A triangle with apex cut off.
Result. - H. described and drew an irregular figure, which did not seem to satisfy her, then said it was like an oval dish. Wrong.
Object drawn. - A square.
Result. - H said: "It's like a window with no cross bars," and drew a four-sided rectangular figure in the air. Right.
Object drawn - A square divided into 4 squares by a vertical and a horizontal line.
Result. - H. said: "It's a diamond". "What else?" said I, meaning what colour, etc. "It's got a line across it, and another across that. [Right.] The colour is pale blue."
When I gave her the diagram, she turned it angle-wise and said,
"Oh yes, that's right, and the colour was not far wrong." As the diagram was drawn in ink on white paper, I did not understand, and asked what she meant. She said, "Why, it's all blue, bluish white inside, and even the ink is blue." The diagram had been dried with blotting paper and was not a very deep black, but I could see nothing blue. Ten minutes afterwards she picked up the paper again and commented on the fact that it was blue, the lines dark bright blue, and the inside pale blue. I burnt the diagram and discontinued the game after observing this persistence of a self-suggested hallucination.
We had previously tried experiments which seemed to show that the child could feel the diagram. She could almost always tell whether the right or wrong side of a playing card were placed on her forehead. I was quite unable to distinguish the two sides. I am more inclined to attribute her successes (3 out of 4) to hyperaesthesia than to telepathy.
I will now quote a case which is rather a striking example of the fact that the intelligence operative through unconscious or subliminal processes is superior to that of the normal intelligence of the persons concerned; so that just as people occasionally seem able to become cognisant of facts or events by means ordinarily Closed to them, - a phenomenon which appears akin to the water-dowsing faculty, and to the "homing" instincts of animals, - so sometimes they can write poetry or solve problems beyond their normal capacity.
Here, for instance, is the case of the solution of a mathematical problem by automatic writing - with the pencil not held in the hand but attached to the heart-shaped piece of board called a "planchette." It is quoted from the record which I communicated at the time to the journal of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. xi.
A Case of Automatic Intelligence
One feature of interest is that both the witnesses are exceptionally competent. The account was written by an old pupil of my own at Bedford College in the seventies-one of the ablest students there, - Miss C. M. Pole, daughter of the late Dr. Pole, F.R.S., the well - known Engineer, Musician, and writer on card-games. Miss Pole is now Mrs. Garrett Smith, living at Magdeburg, and writes as follows:- 
In the early part of 1885 I was staying at - in the house of Mrs. Q., and I and her daughter, Miss Q., B.A., Lond., used to amuse ourselves in writing with a Planchette. We had several Planchettes (I think four), but we could only get response from one of them, which belonged to Miss Q. In the house with us were some eight or nine others. . . . but for no other pair would the Planchette act. The same one had formerly given good results with Miss Q. and another friend, but I have never written with a Planchette before or since. We got all sorts of nonsense out of it, sometimes long doggerel rhymes with several verses. Sometimes we asked for prophecies, but I do not remember ever getting one which came true, and my impression is that generally when we asked for a prophecy the thing went off in a straight line-running off the table if we did not take our hands off. It often did this, refusing to write at all, and towards the end of my stay there I believe it was always so; we could get no answer from it. I believe we often asked Planchette who the guiding spirit was; but I only once remember getting a definite connected answer. Then it wrote that his name was "Jim", and that he had been a Senior Wrangler. After other questions we asked it to write the equation to its own curve [in other words, to express mathematically the outline of the heart-shaped board]. Planchette wrote something like this quite distinctly -
(The curl backwards always denoted that the answer was finished.) We repeated the question several times, but each time the answer was the same, sometimes more, sometimes less distinct. We unconscious of any influence a sin 0 interpreted it as r = a sin 0/0. . . . I knew just enough to be able to draw the curve represented by the equation. In my first try I made a mistake and believed the curve to be quite a different one, but afterwards I drew [something like] the following [rough sketch] - a double never-ending spiral (but see p. 103):-
We checked our result by taking the equation to the Mathematical Master at the Boys' College, who drew the same (sort of) curve for us, but we did not tell him where we got the equation from.
I cannot say whether the Planchette we used was really exactly the shape of the outside curve; I should rather fancy that with the heart shape the resemblance ended. I am quite sure that I had never seen the curve before, and therefore the production of the equation could not have been an act of unconscious memory on my part. Also I most certainly did not know enough mathematics to know how to form an equation which would represent such a curve, or to know even of what type the equation must be. But I had come across such equations and drawn the curves represented by them;- for instance, afterwards I found In my notebook the spiral r 0 = 1/2 (3.142) a, and the cardioid r = a (1 + cos 0). We had used no textbook, and in the full notes of the lectures I had attended, these were the two curves I found most similar to Planchette's. If my brain produced the equation written by Planchette, it must have been that I unconsciously formed an equation like some I had seen before, which by a curious coincidence chanced to represent a heart-shaped curve. I know that we were both quite unconscious of any influence we may have exercised on the Planchette. 
CECILIA GARRETT SMITH
Magdeburg, November 1903
I (0. L.) made inquiries about Miss Q, and found that she was well known to friends of mine, and was a serious and responsible and trustworthy person, so I wrote some further questions to her, and received the following reply :-
March 23rd, 1904
. . . As far as Miss Pole and I were concerned, it was quite bona-fide, and was not open to any suspicion of practical joking or setting traps for each other. It is true that when we wrote planchette, it was never with any serious motive, such as with the object of testing the unconscious mind, or for any scientific purpose, but merely for the fun of the thing. We used to ask it to prophesy future events, and to make up poetry, and all purely for amusement, after the manner of schoolgirls. Nevertheless, all that was written was quite in good faith.
The equation written did not come within the mathematical knowledge I then possessed, which was limited to the mathematics necessary for the London B.A. Pass Degree. I knew of course that every curve could be represented by an equation, and I was familiar with polar co-ordinates in which the equation was written. But the only equations I could then identify were those of the conic sections. Miss Pole had read some elementary Differential, and knew more than I did, but my impression is that her knowledge was not sufficient to enable her to trace curves.
Certainly neither of us perceived from the appearance of the equation that the reply was the correct one, but that I think would have been too much to expect, even if our knowledge had been much higher than it was.
I did not know sufficient at that time to attempt to plot the curve. I believe Miss Pole did attempt it, but if so, her attempts were unsuccessful. We were not satisfied that the equation did represent a curve like the outline of the planchette till we had asked our mathematical master to trace it for us. (This was done without telling him any of the facts of the case.)
I do not remember that we ever closely compared the curve he drew in tracing the equation with the actual planchette in question. We did not take the matter very seriously, and were quite content when we saw that the solution was at all events approximately true.
On now tracing the curve represented by the equation, I am inclined to think that it very closely resembles the shape of the actual planchette used, from my memory of it. (The planchette is no longer in existence.) ....
To this I (0. L.) add that the equation which would naturally occur to any one is the cardioid r = a (1 + cos 0) : and if this equation had been written by planchette there would have been nothing specially remarkable; for although not then in Mrs. Garrett Smith's mind, she had undoubtedly known it as a student.
The equation written by Planchette is not a familiar one and certainly would not be likely to occur to her, nor would it have occurred to me. The sketch given does not profess to be an exact representation of the curve corresponding to the equation written by the planchette, but only represents her recollection of its general character.
Mr. J. W. Sharpe, of Bournemouth, has been good enough to draw out an accurate graph of the curve, and here is his drawing on a reduced scale.
It is to be remembered that the equation r = a(sin0/0), was given by Planchette, as representing mathematically the shape of its own outline or boundary; the intelligence controlling its movements being represented as that of a Senior Wrangler.
With regard to his drawing, Mr. Sharpe observes that the curve does not consist of two sets of spirals, as at first depicted roughly, but of two sets of loops, all passing through the cusp and touching one another there, and all contained within the outer heart-shaped boundary. The loops meet only at the cusp, and there is an infinite number of them. They decrease in area without limit, ultimately sinking into the point of the cusp.
The equation very well represents the ordinary form of a planchette. But if it had accidentally been reversed into r=a(o/sin0) the curve would have been entirely different and entirely unlike any planchette outline.
Mr. Sharpe thinks it very unlikely that either of the automatises had ever seen an accurate graph of the equation given in their writing. It is of course much more difficult to invent an equation to fit a given curve (which was the feat performed by the writing in this case) than, when the equation is given, to draw the curve represented by it.
Power of Unseen Reading
In illustration of supernormal power of a still more excessive kind I quote from the automatic writings of Mr. Stainton Moses - well known as a master for many years in University College School, London-who for a great part of this period used to write automatically in the early morning in solitude. A great number of these writings have been published and are well known to all students of the subject; but the following incident is of a surprising character and is an example, though an exceptionally strong one, of the power of reading letters, etc., possessed in some degree by one or two of the "controls" of Mrs. Piper and of many another medium in history.
The following script was obtained by Mr. Stainton Moses while he was sitting in Dr. Speer's library and discoursing with various supposed communicators through his writing hand:-
See Proceedings, S.P.R., vol. xi., p. 106 
S. M. Can you read?
"No, friend, I cannot, but Zachary Gray can, and Rector. I am not able to materialise or to command the elements."
S M. Are either of those spirits here?
"I will bring one by and by. I will send . . . Rector is here?"
S. M. I am told you can read. Is that so? Can you read a book?
(Handwriting changed.) "Yes, friend, with difficulty." M. Will you write for me the last line of the first book of the AEneid?
"Wait - Omnibus errantem terris A fluctibus aestas." [This was right.]
S.M. Quite so. But I might have known it. Can you go the bookcase, take the last book but one on the second shelf, and read me the last paragraph of the ninetyfourth page? I have not seen it, and do not even know its name.
(With a little delay the following writing came.]
"I will curtly prove by a short historical narrative, that Popery is a novelty, and has gradually arisen or grown up since the primitive and pure time of Christianity, not only since the apostolic age, but even since the lamentable union of Kirk and state by Constantine."
(The book on examination proved to be a queer one called "Roger's Antipopopriestian, an attempt to liberate and purify Christianity from Popery, Politikirkality, and Priestrule." The extract given above was accurate, but the word "narrative" substituted for "account.") 
S.M. How came I to pitch upon so appropriate a sentence?
"I know not, my friend. It was done by coincidence. The word was changed in error. I knew it when it was done, but would not change."
S M. How do you read? You wrote more slowly, and by fits and starts.
"I wrote what I remembered and then went for more. It is a special effort to read, and useful only as a test. Your friend was right last night; we can read, but only when conditions are very good. We will read once again, and write, and then impress you of the book:
"Pope is the last great writer of that school of poetry, the poetry of the intellect, or of the intellect mingled with the fancy" That is truly written. Go and take the eleventh book on the same shelf. [I took a book called Poetry, Romance, and Rhetoric.] It will open at the page for you. Take it and read, and recognise our power and the permission which the great and good God give us, to show you of our power over matter. To Him be glory. Amen."
(The book opened at page 145, and there was the quotation perfectly true. I had not seen the book before: certainly had no idea of its contents. S. M.) (These books were in Dr. Speer's library:- F. W. H. M.)
To this Mr. Myers pertinently appends the note:- is plain that a power such as this, of acquiring and reproducing fresh knowledge, interposes much difficulty in the way of identifying any alleged spirit by means of his knowledge of the facts of his earth life.
Dream Lucidity
To illustrate the fact that extra or supernormal lucidity is possible in dreams, a multitude of instances might be quoted from the publications of the Society for Psychical Research. Almost at random I quote two, -the first a short one of which the contemporary record is reported on by a critical and sceptical member of the Society, Mr. Thos. Barkworth, in the journal of the Society for December 1895.
G. 249. Dream.
The following is a case that was noted at the time, before it was known to be veridical. It was received by Mr. Barkworth, who writes concerning it:-
"WEST HATCH, CHIGWELL, ESSEX, August 24th, (1895)
"It has been often made a subject of reproach by persons who distrust the S.P.R. that the evidence we obtain is seldom, if ever, supported by written records demonstrably made before the dream or the hallucination had been verified by subsequently ascertained facts. Indeed, a Mr. Taylor Innes, writing in the Nineteenth Century some years ago, went so far, if I remember rightly, as to assert that no such case could be produced up to the time he wrote. It must certainly be admitted that in provokingly numerous instances it is found that the alleged letter or diary has been destroyed.
"The following experience of the Rev. E. K. Elliott, Rector of Worthing, who was formerly in the navy, and who made the entry in his diary as quoted when he was cruising in the Atlantic out of reach of post or telegraph, will therefore be found of interest. The diary is still in his possession.
T. B.
Extract from diary written out in Atlantic, January 14th, 1847
"Dreamt last night I received a letter from my uncle, H. E. dated January 3rd, in which news of my dear brother's death was given. It greatly struck me.
"My brother had been ill in Switzerland, but the last news I received on leaving England was that he was better. 
"The "January 3rd" was very black, as if intended to catch my eye. On my return to England I found, as I quite expected, a letter awaiting me saying my brother had died on the above date.
Worthing "E. K. ELLIOTT"
The second case I quote is a much longer and more elaborate one, and we owe its receipt to Dr. Hodgson while in America.
There are many partially similar records of people becoming aware of an accident in which some near relative was injured or killed: and it is noteworthy that the emotion caused by injury seems as likely to convey such an impression as anything pertaining to death itself; but the point of the following narrative is that a complete stranger became impressed with facts which were happening at a distance, without the slightest personal interest in any one concerned - so that it seems to make in favour of a general clairvoyant faculty rather than for any spiritistic explanation. The prefix P. 224 is merely a classificatory reference number.
P. 224. Dream.
The following case has some resemblance to Mrs. Storie's experience, of which an account was published in Phantasms of the Living, vol. i. P. 370, except that the person whose fate was represented in the dream was in the case here printed entirely unknown to the dreamer. The account is written by Mr. H. W. Wack, Attorney, and comes to us through the American Branch of the Society.
"COURT HOUSE ST. PAUL, MINN., February 10th, 1892
"I believe I have had a remarkable experience. About midnight on the 29th day of December, headsore and fatigued, I left my study where I had been poring over uninspiring law text, and climbing to my chamber door, fell into bed for the night.
"Nothing unusual had transpired in my affairs that day, and yet, when I gave myself to rest, my brain buzzed on with a myriad fancies. I lay an hour, awake, and blinking like an over-fed owl. The weird intonation of an old kitchen clock fell upon my ears but faintly, as it donged the hour of two. The sound of the clock chime had hardly died when I became conscious (of) my position in a passenger coach on the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railroad. I was journeying to Duluth, Minnesota, from St. Paul, in which latter place I had gone to sleep I was aware that I bad been on the train about four hours and that I was somewhere near the town of Shell Lake, viz., distant from St. Paul about eighty miles, I had often been over the road, and as I peered through the coach window, I recognised, in the moonlit scene, features of country and habitation I had seen before. We were plunging on, almost heedlessly as it seemed, when I fancied I heard and was startled from my reverie by a piercing shriek, which was protracted into a piteous moaning and gasping, as if some human creature were suffering some hideous torture.
"Then I felt the train grind heavily to an awkward stop. There was a sudden commotion fore and aft. Trainmen with lanterns hurried through m car and joined employes near the engine. I could see the lights flash here and there, beside and beneath the cars; brakemen moved along the wheels in groups, the pipe voice of the conductor and the awe-stricken cry of the black porter infused a livening sense to a scene which I did not readily understand. Instinctively I concluded that an accident had happened, or perhaps that a break to the train had occasioned this sudden uprising of trainmen. A minute later I was out upon the roadbed. The brusque and busy search and the disturbed manner of the attendants did not propitiate elaborate inquiry from a curious passenger, so I was appeased to be told, in very ugly snappish English, that if I bad eyes I might see for myself that some one got killed, I reckon. Everybody moved and acted in a spirit of stealth, and each, it appeared, expected a horrible "find". The trucks were being examined from the rear of the train forward. Blood splotches were discovered on nearly all the bearings under the entire train. When the gang reached one of the forward cars, all lights were cast upon on a truck which was literally scrambled with what appeared to be brains - human brains, evidently, for among the clots were small tufts of human hair. This truck, particularly, must have ground over the bulk of a human body. Every fixture between the wheels was smeared with the crimson ooze of some crushed victim. But where was the body, or at least its members? The trucks were covered only with a pulp of mangled remnants. The search for what appeared of the killed was extended 500 yards back of the train and all about the right-of-way with no more satisfactory result than to occasionally find a bloodstained tie.
"All hands boarded the train; many declaring that it was an unusual mishap on a railroad which left such uncertain trace of its victim. Again I felt the train thundering on through the burnt pine wastes of northern Minnesota. As I reclined there in my berth, I reflected upon the experience of the night, and often befuddled my sleepy head in an effort to understand how a train, pushing along at the rate of thirty miles an hour, could so grind and triturate a vital bulk, staining only trucks behind the engine, unless the killed at the fatal time were upon the truck or huddled closely by it. I concluded, therefore that the body being destroyed under the train had been concealed near the bespattered fixtures of the car. I had read of death to tramps stealing rides by hiding themselves under or between cars, and finally I dismissed meditation-assured that another unfortunate itinerant had been crushed out of existence. Horrible! I shuddered and awoke-relieved to comprehend it all a dream.
"Now the fact that the foregoing is an accurate statement of a dream experienced by me is not a matter for marvel. Taken alone, there is nothing remarkable in the time at which this vision blackened my sleep. The spell was upon me between two and three o'clock in the morning - of that I am certain. I am positive of the time, because, when I awoke, I heard the clock distinctly, as it struck three.
"On the morrow, I, - who usually forget an ordinary dream long before breakfast - recounted to the family the details of the night's distraction. From my hearers there followed only the ordinary comments of how ghastly and how shocking the story was as told and how strange the nature of the accident - that no parts of the body had been found. The latter circumstance was, to me also, quite an unusual feature of railroad casualty.
"The evening following the night of the dream (December 30th), at 5 o'clock, I returned to my home, stepped into my study, and, as I am in the habit of doing, I glanced at a page of the St. Paul Dispatch, a daily evening newspaper. It had been casually folded by a previous reader, so that in picking it up flatly, the article which first fixed my attention read:
"'Fate of a tramp. Horrible death experienced by an unknown man on the Omaha Road. His remains scattered for miles along the track by the merciless wheels.
" 'Duluth, December 30. - Every truck on the incoming Omaha train from St. Paul this morning was splashed with blood. Trainmen did not know there had been an accident till they arrived here, but think some unfortunate man must have been stealing a ride between St. Paul and this city. Trainmen on a later train state that a man's leg was found by them at Spooner, and that for two miles this side the tracks were scattered with pieces of flesh and bone. There is no possible means of identification.'
"Here was an evident verification of all that transpired in my mind between two and three o'clock on the previous night. I reflected, and the more I pondered the faster I became convinced that I had been in some mysterious form, spirit or element, witness of the tragedy reported in the columns of the pressthat my vision was perfect as to, general details, and the impression complete and exact to time, place, and circumstance, The next morning I scanned the pages of the Pioneer Press of December 31st, and read the following paragraph:-
" 'Unknown man killed, Shell Lake, vis. Special telegram, December 30th - Fragments of the body of an unknown man were picked up on the railroad track today. Portions of the same body were also found on over 100 miles of the railroad. He is supposed to have been killed by the night train, but just where is not known.'
"With this came the conviction to me that, living and asleep, 100 miles from the place of the killing, I had been subjected to the phantom-sight of an actual occurrence on the Omaha railroad, as vivid and in truth as I have stated it above.
"I have not written this account because Mark Twain and other authors have published in current magazines their ex. periences in what is termed Mental Telepathy or Mental Telegraphy. On the contrary, having read a number of those articles, I have hesitated to utter, as authentic, what I now believe to be a material and striking evidence of the extent, the caprice, and the possibilities of this occult phenomenon.
"HARRY W. WACK."
In reply to Dr. Hodgson's inquiries, Mr. Wack wrote:
"ST. PAUL, February 20th, 1892
"MY DEAR SIR, - Replying to your valued favour of the 15th inst., I will say that you are right in understanding that my account of the dream submitted to your Society is a true narrative.
"I reaffirm every word of it, and give you my solemn assurance that, as I have stated, I informed the family and friends of the dream and its details, before I had the first suspicion that the public press ever had contained or ever would contain a report of such an actual occurrence.
"If desirable I will make affidavit as to the truth of the substance of the narrative in your hands.
"I enclose a few corroborative letters, the signatures to which I procured yesterday, February 19th. If these serve you well and good.
"HARRY W. WACK."
The following were the corroborative letters enclosed:-
(I) "ST. PAUL, February 20th, 1892
"GENTLEMEN, - Referring to an account of a dream submitted to you by Mr. Harry Wack of this city which I have read, I beg leave to add the following facts corroborative of the narrative.
"After careful consideration of the article, I find that the story of the dream on December 29th-30th is in substance identical with that which was related by Mr. Wack at breakfast on the morning of December 30th, 1891 On that occasion Mr. Wack stated that he had been agitated the previous night by a dream of unusual features, and then, at the request of those present, he recited what now appears in his -article, which I have just perused for the first time. On the evening of December 30th, 1891, when Mr Wack discovered the newspaper item, he again mentioned the dream and called my attention to the newspaper item, and several of the family discussed the matter. On the morning of December 31st, another newspaper clipping bearing on the same matter was debated by the family.
"Aside from the unusual features and hideousness of the dream, there was nothing to startle us, until the newspaper accounts developed the affair in a mysterious sense. The first version of the dream was given in the morning of December 30th. The first newspaper dispatch appeared and was discovered in the evening of the same day. This I know of my own knowledge, being present on each occasion.
MRS. MARGARET B. MACDONALD
(2) "ST. PAUL, MINN, February 20th, 1892
"GENTLEMEN, - I have read the letter of Mrs. Macdonald, with whom I visited on December 29th, 30th, 31st, and days following, and with your permission I will say that I also was present at breakfast when Mr. Wack mentioned the dream, and at dinner (6 p.m.) when Mr. Wack called our attention to the newspaper item, which he then declared was a positive verification of the dream he experienced the night before. I have read the account of the dream, and I believe it to be precisely as I understood it from Mr. Wack's account given on the morning of December 30th, 1891.
"ROSE B. HAMILTON"
(3) "ST. PAUL, February 20th, 1892
"GENTLEMEN, - Having read the foregoing letters of Mrs. Macdonald and Miss Rose B. Hamilton, and being familiar with the facts and incidents therein set forth, I would add my endorsement to them as being in strict accord with the truth.
"Mr. Wack stated his dream as he has written of it in the article which I understand he has submitted to you, on the morning of December 30th, 1891. He came upon and drew our attention to the newspaper articles in the evening of December 30th, and on the morning of December 31st, 1891. It was these newspaper dispatches which made the dream interesting, and thereafter it was freely discussed.
"C. E. McDONALD"
Mr. H. W. Smith, an Associate Member of the American Branch, writes to Dr. Hodgson in connection with the case:-
"OFFICE OF SMITH & AUSTRIAN, COMMISSION MERCHANTS,
"290, E., 6th STREET, PRODUCE EXCHANGE,
"ST. PAUL, MINN., April 14th, 1892
"MY DEAR SIR, - It has been impossible for me to accept Mr. Wack's invitation to meet at his house the witnesses he cited in his communication to you. I have already written you of my preliminary interview with Mr. Wack, and it confirms in my own mind the high opinion which I previously held of him through our acquaintanceship, extending over a series of years. There is no reasonable doubt in my mind that the statement he makes is substantially correct, at least as respects any and all allegations of fact. Of course the application of these facts to an unknown force is a matter upon which I cannot speak."
"HERBERT W. SMITH"
Instances like this are by no means solitary, and whatever view we take of them we have to include them in the roll of facts demanding explanation - an explanation which may not be readily forthcoming. It may be presumed that as far as they go they make against the spiritistic hypothesis in any simple or direct form; and that is why in a book like this it is necessary to emphasise them.
Meanwhile, all we are sure of is that information is obtained by some mediums which is entirely beyond their conscious knowledge, and occasionally beyond the conscious knowledge of everyone present. But as to how this lucidity is attained we are as yet in the dark; though we must ultimately proceed to consider the possibility that it is by some sort of actual communication from other intelligences, akin to the conveyance of information in the accustomed and ordinary human way, by rumour, by conversation, and by the press.
Incidents that seem to point to some form of supernormal communication are exemplified in the experiments of Dr. van Eeden of Bussum, in Holland, with Mrs. Thompson at Hampstead, lady who is referred to more particularly in Section IV of this book. (See his paper on sittings with Mrs. Thompson in Proceedings, S.P.R., vol. xvii., especially pp. 86-7 and 11:2-115'. Dr. van Eeden, having cultivated the power of controlling his own dreams, so as to be able to dream of performing actions which he had planned while awake, arranged with Mrs. Thompson that he would occasionally call "Nelly" (her "control") in his dreams after returning to Holland, and that if she heard him calling she should tell Mr. Piddington, who was in charge of the sittings, at his next sitting. On three occasions, in January and February 1900, some success was obtained in these experiments; that is, "Nelly" stated that she had heard Dr. van Eeden calling, and had "been to see him"; the dates she gave were approximately, though not exactly, the same as those recorded in his diary of dreams; but on each occasion she gave details, which were afterwards verified, as to his circumstances at the time. On a fourth occasion (April 19th, 1900), when "Nelly" stated that she had been to see Dr. van Eeden, he had no dream of her at the time, but she gave a description of his condition which corresponded with what it had been during the early part of the same month.
A case of a somewhat similar kind is the one recorded in Dr. Hodgson's report on Mrs. Piper (Proceedings, Vol. viii., P. 120), where Mr. M. N. in America relates that Mrs. Piper's control, "Dr. Phinuit," had said that he would visit Mr. N.'s dying father in England about certain matters connected with his will, and where later on it was reported by those attending the dying father that he had complained of the presence of an obtrusive old man. (This case is quoted below, see page 116.)
Clairvoyance of the Dying
The extra lucidity of the dying is a thing so often asserted that it has become almost a commonplace; and sometimes, as in the case of children, it would seem to eclipse mere imagination - as for instance, when a dying child welcomes, and appears to be welcomed by, its deceased mother. But these visions and auditions, which are unmistakably common, are usually of things beyond our ordinary cognisance, so that for the most part they have to be relegated to the category of the unverifiable. Occasionally, however, we have records of a kind of clairvoyant faculty whereby terrestrial occurrences also are perceived by persons who in health had no such power; and these are worthy of attention, especially those which are reciprocal, producing an impression at both ends of a terrestrial line, as if the telepathic and less material mode of communication had in their case already begun.
The extant descriptions of dying utterances are very much like the utterances in the waking stages of Mrs. Piper's trance, to be subsequently mentioned - and these do not appear to be random or meaningless sayings, but do really correspond to some kind of reality, since in them the appearance of strangers is frequently described correctly and messages are transmitted which have a definite meaning. Moreover, the look of ecstasy on Mrs. Piper's face at a certain stage of the waking process is manifestly similar to that seen on the faces of some dying people; and both describe the subjective visions as of something more beautiful and attractive than those of earth.
Whether the dying really have greater telepathic power as agents, which is what is assumed in the ordinary telepathic explanation of Phantasms of the Living, is doubtful, but that they sometimes have greater sensibility as percipients seems likely; and sometimes the event which they are describing is likewise apprehended by another person at a distance, - thus appearing to demonstrate reciprocal telepathic influence. There is a small group of cases illustrative of the reciprocal clairvoyance of the dying, - I can only quote an illustrative case or two from the few which are well evidenced, i.e., which come up to the standard of the Society for Psychical Research in this matter - but I omit the authentication in quoting them, and I also abbreviate, as I only here wish to indicate the kind of thing.
The writer of the following account is Colonel B., a well-known Irish gentleman. He explains that his wife engaged to sing with her daughters a Miss X., who was training as a public singer but who ultimately did not come out in that capacity, having married a Mr. Z.
Six or seven years afterwards Mrs. B., who was dying, in the presence of her husband spoke of voices she heard, singing, saying that she had heard them several times that day, and that there was one voice among them which she knew, but could not remember whose voice it was.
"Suddenly she stopped and said, pointing over my head, says Colonel B., " 'Why, there she is in the corner of the room it is Julia X. she is coming on; she is leaning over you; she has her hands up she is praying; do look; she is going.' I turned but could see nothing. Mrs. B. then said, 'She is gone.' All these things [the hearing of singing and the vision of the singer] I imagined to be the phantasies of a dying person.
"Two days afterwards, taking up the Times newspaper, I saw recorded the death of Julia Z., wife of Mr. Z. I was so astounded that in a day or so after the funeral I went up to and asked Mr. X. if Mrs. Z., his daughter, was dead. He said, 'Yes poor thing, she died of puerperal fever. On the day she died she began singing in the morning, and sang and sang until she died.' "
The case next quoted is a curious incident connected with a deceased child, obtained in one of the bereaved mother's sittings with Mrs. Piper in America, at a time when Phinuit was in control.
It is the concluding portion of a long and striking series of communications, extremely characteristic of identity, which are quoted both in Human Personality, Vol. ii. 245-7, and in Proc. S.P.R., vol. xiii. pp. 386-9. The mother's testimony is thus reported:-
The remarks made at her second sitting suggest that "the little book" in the child's mind was not this one. 'Kakie wants the little bit of a book mamma read by her bedside, with the pretty bright things hanging from it - mamma put it in her hands - the last thing she remembers." Mrs. Sutton states that this was a little prayer book with a cross and other symbols in silver attached to ribbons for marking the places, and that it was sent to her by a friend after Kakie had ceased to know any one except perhaps for a passing moment. Mrs. Sutton read it when Kakie seemed unconscious, and after Kakies's death placed it in her hands to prevent the blood settling in the nails. She adds later that Mrs. Piper's hands, when the book was asked for at the sitting, were put into the same position as Kakie's.
There is also evidence of reciprocity of an unusual kind in connection with the Piper case; for "Phinuit" has been described as perceived by a dying person at a distance, in correspondence with the assertion of Phinuit that he would go and talk to this same person about unfair clauses in his will.
The account of this curious episode is from an American gentleman who had had a good deal of experience in Piper sittings, and who does not want his name disclosed. Of three examples of what he calls predictions, thus obtained, I select this one, as it illustrates the kind of reciprocal experience of which I am now speaking. The account is corroborated by Mrs. "M. N."
April 5th, 1889
. . . About the end of March of last year I made [Mrs. Piper] a visit (having been in the habit of doing so, since early in February, about once a fortnight). [As Phinuit] told me that the death of a near relative of mine would occur in about six weeks, from which I should realise some pecuniary advantages, I naturally thought of my father, who was advanced in years, and whose description Mrs. Piper had given me very accurately some week or two previously. She had not spoken of him as my father, but merely as a person nearly connected with me. I asked her at that sitting whether this person was the one who would die, but she declined to state anything more clearly to me. MY wife, to whom I was then engaged, went to see Mrs. Piper a few days afterwards, and she told her (my wife) that my father would die in a few weeks.
About the middle of May my father died very suddenly in London from heart failure, when he was recovering from a very slight attack of bronchitis, and the very day that his doctor had pronounced him out of danger. Previous to this Mrs. piper (as Dr. Phinuit) had told me that she would endeavour to influence my father about certain matters connected with his will before he died. Two days after I received the cable announcing his death, my wife and I went to see Mrs. Piper, and she (Phinuit) spoke of his presence, and his sudden arrival in the spirit-world and said that he (Dr. Phinuit) had endeavoured to persuade him in those matters while my father was sick. Dr. Phinuit told me the state of the will, and described the principal executor and said that he (the executor) would make a certain disposition in my favour, subject to the consent of the two other executors when I got to London, England. Three weeks afterwards I arrived in London; found the principal executor to be the man Phinuit had described. The will went materially as he had stated. The disposition was made in my favour; and my sister, who was chiefly at my father's bedside the last three days of his life, told me that he had repeatedly complained of the presence of an old man at the foot of his bed, who annoyed him by discussing his private affairs . . ..
("M. N.")
A similar illustration of reciprocity occurred in the case of the lady called "Elisa Mannors," whose near relatives and friends concerned in the communications were known also to Mr. Myers.
On the morning after the death of her uncle, called F. in the report, she described an incident in connection with the appearance of herself to her uncle on his death-bed. Dr. Hodgson's account of this is in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii. P. 378, as follows: -
The notice of his [F.'s] death was in a Boston morning paper, and I happened to see it on my way to the sitting. The first writing of the sitting came from Madame Elisa, without my expecting it. She wrote clearly and strongly, explaining that F. was there with her, but unable to speak directly, and that she wished to give an account of how she had helped F. to reach her. She said that she had been present at his deathbed, and had spoken to him, and she repeated what she had said, an unusual form of expression, and indicated that he had heard and recognised her. This was confirmed in detail in the only way possible at the time, by a very intimate friend of Madame Elisa and myself, and also of the nearest surviving relative of F, I showed my friend the account of the sitting; and to this friend, a day or two later, the relative, who was present at the death-bed, stated spontaneously that F. when dying saw Madame Elisa who was speaking to him, and he repeated what she was saying. The expression so repeated which the relative quoted to my friend, was that which I had received from Madame Elisa through Mrs. Piper's trance, when the death-bed incident was, of course, entirely unknown to me.
Writing of Foreign Languages
Instances in which foreign languages unknown to the medium are written or spoken are comparatively rare.
At a sitting in 1892, when Madame Elisa Mannors was "communicating," some Italian was written by request, the lady being as familiar with Italian as with English, but only two or three common words were decipherable. The first names of sitter and communicator were given, and the last name was both written and afterwards given by G.P. to Phinuit. Some of the writing was of a personal character, and some about the watch [concerning which inquiry had been made]; and G.P. stated correctly, inter alia, that the sitter's mother was present (in "spirit") with the communicator, and that he himself did not know her. The real names are very uncommon. The Italian for "It is well, Patience," was whispered at the end of the sitting as though by direct control of the voice of Madame Elisa
Further attempts were made to speak and write Italian, but not much was said, and the writing was not very legible. Concerning this Dr. Hodgson remarks:-
"As I have mentioned elsewhere (Report, pp. 293, 332), the intelligence communicating by writing is not conscious of the act of writing. The chief difficulty apparently in getting another language written by the hand is that strange words tend to be written phonetically unless they are thought out slowly letter by letter. The writing is usually much more legible now then it was during the period of the records from which I am quoting, when there was frequently much difficulty in deciphering even the simplest English words. It was therefore not surprising that, so little of the Italian written by Madame Elisa was decipherable.
This does not appear to be a strong case, but the next one seems to me better:
Dr. Hodgson reports the following case in a sitting which a Mr. Vernon Briggs had with Mrs. Piper in October LS93 (Proc. S.P.R., xiii. 337; or Hum. Pers. ii. 244).
The communication purported to come from a Honolulu boy named Kalua, who became much attacked to Mr. Briggs during a six months' stay of Mr. Briggs in Honolulu in 18Si, and who followed Mr. Briggs back to Boston under somewhat romantic circumstances in 1883. He was soon sent back to his native island, but again returned to Boston, where he was shot in 1886, in a sailors' Bethel, whether intentionally or not was unknown There was some suspicion against a Swede who was imprisoned, but there was no evidence against him, and he was finally discharged. The Swede said that Kalua had accidentally shot himself with a revolver, and eventually confessed that after the accident he had himself hidden the revolver behind a flue, where, after taking part of the chimney down, it was found. Mr. Briggs had taken a handkerchief belonging to Kalua with him to the sitting. Kalua had been shot through the heart, and there was some confusion apparently about the locality of the suffering, "stomach" and "side" being mentioned, under what appeared to be the direct control of the voice by "Kalua," - and Mr. Briggs asked if it was Kalua. Phinuit then spoke for "Kalria," who said that he did not kill himself, that he had been gambling with the other man who disputed with him and shot him, but did not mean to, and who threw the revolver "into the hot box where the pepples are" (meaning the "furnace" and the "coals"), and hid his purse under the steps where he was killed. "Kalua" also said there was shrubbery near it. The cellar of the house was examined, but no purse was found, and there was no shrubbery in the cellar. "Kalua" tried to write Hawaiian. but the only "ordinary" words deciphered were "lei" (meaning wreaths, which he made daily for Mr. Briggs) which was written clearly and frequently, and an attempt at "alolia" - greeting. Phinuit tried to get the answer to the question where Kalua's father was, but could only succeed in getting "Hiram." But the writing gave the answer ' Hawaiian Islands." In reply to the question which one, the answer in writing was Kawai, but Phinuit said Tawai. The word is spelt Kawai but is pronounced Tawai by the natives of the island itself and in the island where Kalua was born. The natives of the other islands call it Kawai.
Cases in which the lucidity or clairvoyant faculty is not limited to the present, but apparently anticipates the future, are sufficiently important to deserve a separate chapter; for it is manifestly extremely difficult to contemplate such a faculty.
- Section Three -
Spontaneous Telepathy and Clairvoyance
Chapter 10
Prevision
___________________________________________
          HITHERTO we have dealt only with knowledge of the present and the past; but assertions are made that there is a kind of lucidity occasionally attainable by healthy people which is beyond the powers of any ordinary intelligence, even aided by telepathy; inasmuch as knowledge is sometimes exhibited not only of occurrences at a distance but also of events which have not yet happened, and which could not by any process of reasoning be inferred.
Is it possible to become aware of events before they have occurred, by means other than ordinary scientific prediction?
The anticipation of future events is a power not at all necessarily to be expected on a Spiritistic or any other hypothesis; it is a separate question, and will have important bearings of its own. An answer to this question in the affirmative may vitally affect our metaphysical notions of "Time," but will not of necessity have an immediate bearing on the existence in the universe of intelligences other than our own. A cosmic picture gallery (as Mr. Myers calls it), or photographic or phonographic record of all that has occurred or will occur in the universe, may conceivably - or perhaps not conceivably - in some sense exist, and may be partly open and dimly decipherable to the lucid part of the automatist's or entranced person's mind.
But the question for us now is whether we can obtain clear and unmistakable proof of the existence of this foreseeing power in any form. It is not an easy thing to establish beyond any kind of doubt. Casual and irresponsible critics have said that documentary evidence, such as a postmark on a letter which detailed an event either not yet happened or certainly not known by ordinary methods at the date of the postmark (like a recent shipwreck in mid-ocean for instance), would be proof positive to them of something occult. A writer in The Nineteenth Century goes so far as to say that a document thus officially verified by a Post Office clerk would be worth thousands of pounds to the British Museum. If so it would be singularly easy to get rich. I believe that a postmark on an envelope would satisfy some of these critics but a postmark on the document itself would be entirely convincing.
I wonder some enterprising forger has not endeavoured to gull a leading journal by an elaborate account say, of the Victoria disaster, or the Santander explosion, or the Messina earthquake, written on foolscap paper transmitted blank through the post, at small cost, in preparation for any such striking event; or perhaps on paper subsequently covered with previous postmarks by a genial Post Office friend, and decorated with red tape by a live Government clerk!
The feeling that everything done by a Post Office official is conclusive, is of the same order as the opinion that barristers or criminal judges or medical practitioners are the only people fit to investigate unusual mental phenomena, because their practice makes them familiar with the warpings of the human mind.
But to consider the case of a medical practitioner, as I understand a doctor's business, it is to cure an abnormality if he can, not to prolong and investigate it. True, a doctor may be a scientific man in addition, but qua physician he is out of his element as a general investigator, and as a leading practitioner he has very little spare time. Were it not so, the record against the profession - the attitude the main body of doctors has taken or used to take to everything new - would be not only pitiful, as it is, but essentially disgraceful.
But about this question of postmarks. Let it not be thought that I claim that their evidence is worthless. As evidence subsidiary to testimony they may be very valuable, and every effort should be made to get them; my contention only is that they do not dipense with testimony.
This I hold is the function of all circumstantial evidence, or of any automatic record; it lessens the chance of self-delusion or over-exuberant imagination, it can never be held to guard against fraud. If a couple of friends by interchanging letters, with their dates verified in some cold-blooded official manner, are able to establish foreknowledge of events such as could hardly be guessed or inferred, then their testimony is strengthened by the date-marks to this extent:- Either the things happened as they say, or they are in some sort of collusion to bear false witness and deceive. One could only grant them the loophole of self-deception on the alternative of something very like insanity.
That is how these automatic records, photographs and the like, may be so valuable-as supplementary to human testimony-never as substitutes for it.
Anticipation of Events
Have we any trustworthy evidence at all as to the power of foreseeing unpredictable events? Strange to say, we have, but it is not yet sufficient in volume to justify any generalisation: it is only enough to cause us to keep an open mind, even in this direction, and be ready critically to scrutinise future evidence as it arrives. Mrs. Sidgwick's paper on the evidence for premonitions is in vol. v. of Proceedings S.P.R.
I attach no high importance to predictions of illness and death: they may represent an unusual power of diagnosis, but need not represent anything more. Besides, a great number of these predictions fail; so much so that a prediction of this kind now hardly perturbs an experienced person who receives it.
And even the successful prevision of an accident must be attributed as a rule to accidental concordance unless it is accompanied by an exceptional amount of detail.
The following case is contained in Mrs. Sidgwick's paper, Proceedings, vol. v. P. 333. It is from an enginedriver who was interviewed afterwards by an agent of the S.P.R. in America.
(In 1853) I was firing a locomotive, a fine new passenger engine, built for speed, and just from the shop. I thought myself lucky to he on such a fine engine, and was proud of my position. One night, May 29th, 1853, I dreamed that the train ran through a shallow cut, and came out on a high stone bridge, over which the train passed, and then the engine turned over down the bank some 70 feet, into the river. I mentioned my dream the next morning to the family with whom I was living. The lady [now dead] told me I was going to be killed, but I told her that in my dream I had assurance that I should not be hurt. On the second morning after my dream, we were sent over a part of the road with which I was not familiar, and presently came to a shallow cut, and I saw a number of men ahead on the track. The engineer was near-sighted and did not see them. I called to him to stop the engine; he tried to do so, but the track was wet, and seeing that part of the track ahead had been taken up, he jumped from the engine. I remained on it and tried to stop it. Before this could be done, we were on a stone bridge, and I could not get off. The engine left the track, and at the other end of the bridge turned over twice before it reached the bottom, and I with it, receiving but a small scratch, how I do not know. I climbed the bank, and looking back, saw just what I had seen in my dream. The bridge was 200 feet long, with five stone arches, 54 feet high, and the bank down which the engine rolled 70 feet.
The Marmontel Case
The perception of incidents at a distance is common enough, but the perception of incidents in the future is rare. The following selection from experiences of this kind received by Mrs. Verrall must serve as an example of the few trustworthy cases I know of (Proc. S.P.R., vol. xx. p. 331).
On December 11th, 1901 - i.e. towards the end of the first year in which Mrs. Verrall had developed the power of automatic writing - her hand wrote as follows:-
Nothing too mean, the trivial helps, gives confidence. Hence this. Frost and a candle in the dim light. Marmontel, he was reading on a sofa or in bed - there was only a candie's light She will surely, remember this. The book was lent, not his own - he talked about it.
Then there appeared a fanciful but unmistakable attempt at the name Sidgwick.
No meaning was conveyed by the above, but the concluding effort naturally suggested that Mrs. Sidgwick should be applied to. This was done; and her reply, received on December 17th, said that she could make nothing of it but would report if the name Marmontel turned up.
Mrs. Verrall was now away from home and had decided to abandon writing till her return. But all the 17th she was so disturbed by a desire to write that she made time, and that evening obtained the following:
I wanted to write. Marmontel is right. It was a French book, a Memoir I think. Passy may help, Souvenirs de Passy, or Fleury. Marmontel was not on the cover-the book was bound and was lent-two volumes in old-fashioned binding and print. It is not in any papers-it is an attempt to make some one remember-an incident.
"Soon after my return to Cambridge - Mrs. Verrall reports-about December 25th, 1901, I was looking through a list of books - which I had glanced at before December 11th - and found an advertisement of "Marmontel, Moral Tales, selected and translated by G. Saintsbury." This, strange though such an admission may seem, was, as far as I could remember, my first conscious knowledge of Marmontel as a French writer."
So ends the record of the obtaining of the script. The sentence in the first portion "She will surely remember this" is a characteristic sotto voce remark which is not infrequent in these scripts, - having the same sort of signification as the terminal sentence of the second portion. It means that Mrs. Verrall herself will surely remember having obtained the writing, when at some future time the incident described is referred to.
Now begins the verification by quite unexpected means.
In January 1902 Mrs. Verrall happened to write to a friend of hers named Mr. Marsh, asking him to come for a weekend visit; and he replied fixing March 1st. She had had no recent communication with him since June 1901. On February 23rd she sent him a post card to remind him of his visit, and he replied with a letter on February 24th.
Mrs. Verrall then reports as follows:-
"On March 1st Mr. Marsh arrived, and that evening at dinner he mentioned that he had been reading Marmontel. I asked if he had read the Moral Tales, and he replied that it was the Memoirs. I was interested in this reference to Marmontel, and asked Mr. Marsh for particulars about his reading, at the same time explaining the reasons for my curiosity. He then told me that he got the book from the London Library, and took the first volume only to Paris with him, where he read it on the evening of February 20th, and again on February 21st. On each occasion he read by the light of a candle; on the 20th he was in bed, on the 21St lying on two chairs. He talked about the book to the friends with whom he was staying in Paris. The weather was cold, but there was, he said, no frost. The London Library copy is bound, as most of their books are, not in modem binding, but the name 'Marmontel' is on the back of the volume. The edition has three volumes; in Paris Mr. Marsh had only one volume, but at the time of his visit to us he had read the second also.
"I asked him whether 'Passy' or 'Fleury' would 'help,' and he replied that Fleury's name certainly occurred in the book, in a note; he was not sure about Passy, but undertook to look it up on his return to town, and to ascertain, as he could by reference to the book, what part of the first volume he had been reading in Paris. He is in the habit of reading in bed, but has electric light in his bedroom at home, so that he had not read 'in bed or on a sofa by candlelight' for months, until he read Marmontel in Paris.
"On his return to town Mr. Marsh wrote to me (March 4, 1902), that on February 21st while lying on two chairs he read a chapter in the first volume of Marmontel's Memoirs describing the finding at Passy of a panel, etc., connected with a story in which Fleury plays an important part.
"It will thus be noted that the script in December, 1901, describes (as [presumably] past) an incident which actually occurred two and a half months later, in February, 1902, - an incident which at the time of writing was not likely to have been foreseen by any one. I ascertained from Mr. Marsh that the idea of reading Marmontel occurred to him not long before his visit to Paris. It is probable that had he not seen me almost immediately upon his return, when his mind was full of the book, I should never have heard of his reading it, and therefore not have discovered the application of the scripts of December 11th and 17th.
"The description is definite, and in the main accurate. There are, however, errors: -Though the weather was cold, it does not seem to have been actually freezing on either of the two nights in question; the book was not in two volumes only, as seems implied, though only two volumes had been read when the incident was related to me; the name Marmontel was on the back of the book, though not on the face of the cover; the binding, though not modem, can hardly be described as old-fashioned. But the reference to Passy and Fleury - names which, so far as I can discover, are not together in any passage of Marmontel's Memoirs except that read by Mr. Marsh on February 21st - is a precise and, I think, remarkable coincidence."
Two other points may be noted: -
(1) That the script on December 17th did not accept the suggestion that the name Marmontel had anything to do with Mrs. Sidgwick;
(2) The omission to give any name to the reader of Marmontel.
This latter kind of reticence is characteristic of the script; and, although it may be superficially regarded from a sarcastic point of view, it is really essential to the verification of the prevision, because if Mr. Marsh's name had been given, Mrs. Verrall would naturally have written to him a premature inquiry, which would have spoilt the whole thing.
But inasmuch as she had no inkling of Mr. Marsh in connexion with it, that gentleman was left unconsciously to carry out the anticipation, entirely ignorant of it and uninfluenced by it.
The anticipation received in December was fulfilled in February and was reported on in March.
The fact that the anticipation was received in December is proved by the preservation of Mrs. Sidgwick's letter of December 17th saying that she could make nothing of it, but that if the name turned up in some manuscripts she was then reading she would let Mrs. Verrall know.
Discussion of Possibility
In his book Mr. Myers contemplated the occurrence of prevision, and dealt with it in many an eloquent passage. The following is too eloquent for the incident just quoted, but it serves to illustrate his view of the possibility of such things:-
"Few men have pondered long on these problems of Past and Future without wondering whether Past and Future be in very truth more than a name - wbether we may not be apprehending as a stream of sequence that which is an ocean of co-existence, and slicing our subjective years and centuries from timeless and absolute things. The precognitions dealt with here, indeed, hardly overpass the life of the individual percipient. Let us keep to that small span, and let us imagine that a whole earth-life is in reality an absolutely instantaneous although an infinitely, complex phenomenon. Let us suppose that my transcendental self discerns with equal directness and immediacy every element of this phenomenon; but that my empirical self receives each element mediately, and through media involving different rates of retardation; just as I receive the lightning more quickly than the thunder. May not then seventy years intervene between my perceptions of birth and death as easily as seven seconds between my perceptions of the flash and the peal? And may not some intercommunication of consciousness enable the wider self to call to the narrower, the more central to the more external, 'At such an hour this shock will reach you! Listen for the nearing roar!' "
But let us consider whether there is any way, of regarding the fulfilment of a meaningless anticipation - such as this of the Marmontel case, just quoted without trenching on so difficult a question as the reality of time?
I can only suggest something of the nature of hypnotic suggestion, automatically effected. An outside or, let us say, a subliminal intelligence gets the record made by Mrs. Verrall. that an unspecified man will read Marmontel on a frosty night lying on a sofa by candle light, etc., and then sets to work to try and secure that within the next two or three months some man shall do it - some one who is sufficiently a friend of Mrs. Verrall to make it reasonably likely that in subsequent conversation she may sooner or later hear of the circumstance.
I make the suggestion for what it is worth, as the only way that occurs to me of avoiding still more difficult notions;- provided of course we do not dismiss the whole thing as invention - which is preposterous, or as chance, which in my judgment is put out of court by the amount of detail, and by other incidents of the same general nature as this one which have also occurred in Mrs. Verrall's script.
It may be asked what possible object there can be in thus predicting a perfectly unimportant and commonplace incident.
The object, to those associated with the work or the Society for Psychical Research, is manifest enough.
During the lifetime of Professor Sidgwick and Mr. Myers we often discussed what sort of evidence could be regarded as conclusive as to the existence of supernormal, even if not posthumous, intelligence. And it was agreed that prediction of future events of an insignificant kind, such as could not be inferred or deduced by however wide a knowledge of contemporary events, - incidents which were outside the range of any amount of historical or mathematical or political skill, - would be conclusive, if obtained in quantity sufficient to eliminate chance. It did not at all follow that such anticipations were possible, - so far as we could tell they might be beyond not only normal but supernormal powers, - but if possible it was realised that they would be singularly satisfactory.
Accordingly it is eminently characteristic of an intelligence purporting to be associated in any way with the late Professor Sidgwick or the late Mr. Myers that attempts of that kind should be made. Several attempts have now been made with more or less success, and I have selected one of them. Others will be found in Mrs. Verrall's paper (Proceedings, vol. xx.) in the chapter called "Future Events."
END OF SECTION III.


- Section Four -
Automatism and Lucidity
Chapter 11
Automatic Writing and Trance Speech
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          WE now enter upon the more detailed consideration of a group of facts, in which of late years the Society has been remarkably prolific - and the general truth of which is accepted without hesitation by all the prominent members; who, though they differ in their interpretation, yet receive the evidence with practical unanimity as to its interest and importance - receive it, that is to say, with all the unanimity that we desire or expect.
The facts have led some observers to the rather vague and ill-defined hypothesis that vistas of unlimited information lie open to people in a clairvoyant state; as if during unconsciousness a psychical region were entered wherein the ordinary barriers between soul and soul, or mind and mind, are broken down. Even this surmise must not be rejected without examination, if we are driven to it, but it is not a known vera causa.
Naturally it is only when all normal means of obtaining information have been scrupulously avoided that any problem arises; but it is generally agreed that the first hypothesis that must be made, whenever normal explanations thoroughly break down, is that telepathy of some kind is occurring from some living person and is influencing the sensitive mind or brain of the unconcious or partially unconscious operator, after the fashion of an objectified and sympathetic dream.
This hypothesis is extremely elastic, and can be stretched to cover an immense area; indeed, to get beyond it, and definitely find a region which it will not cover, is exceedingly difficult. For twenty years at least members of the society have been intimately acquainted with excellent and astonishing examples of trance speaking and automatic writing, and yet they have hesitated to make full use of all this material, and have refrained from proceeding in the direction towards which it undoubtedly points, so long as there was a chance - even a remote chance - that an established variety of telepathy or some extension of it might constitute a sufficient explanation. Some seem able to hold that telepathy from living people is still sufficient - or at least as sufficient as it has ever been and that no further step beyond it need be taken. Others are impressed with the idea-not without qualms and surviving hesitation - that the time has come when it may be legitimate and necessary to take a further step, and to admit, as a working theory, the view which undoubtedly the phenomena themselves suggest - the view they have all the time been, as it were, forcing upon us; namely, that there can be actual telepathic or telergic influence from some outside intelligence the surviving intelligence, apparently, of some of those who have recently lived on this planet. These are represented as occasionally, under great difficulties and discouragements, endeavouring to make known the fact that they can communicate with us, by aid of such intervening mechanism as is placed at their disposal such as the brain nerve and muscle of an automatist or medium. The assertion made is that, during the temporary suspension of the normal control, discarnate intelligences can with difficulty make use of these organs for the purpose of translating their own thought into mechanical movement, and so producing some kind of speech or writing in the physical world. Such utilisation of physiological apparatus, by an intelligence to which it does not normally belong, is what is called motor automatism or "telergy," or popularly - when of an extreme kind - "possesion."
It does not by any means follow that the agent or intelligence, active in this unusual experience, is necessarily that of a departed person, but that is undoubtedly the form which the phenomenon often takes; so if we resign ourselves to be guided by facts at all, we may as well try how far the claim openly and persistently made will carry us, before definitely discarding it. And if we are going to try it at all, I urge that we had better try it frankly and thoroughly: it had better be accepted provisionally as a working hypothesis and pressed as far as it will go. That is the way to test any provisional hypothesis. Hesitate as long as you like before giving a theory even provisional and tentative acceptance; but once having determined on testing a key or theoretical solution, then utilise it to the utmost. Try it in all the locks; and if it continually fails to open them, reject it; but do not hesitate each time over the insertion of the key. Hesitate before accepting a working hypothesis, not after. If false, its falseness will become apparent by its failure and inability to fit the facts.
Mr. Myers himself pointed out in Human Personality, vol. i. p. 250, that if we allow ourselves to contemplate such a hypothesis it will at least fit in with many other facts; the innovation that we are called upon to make is to suppose that segments of the personality can operate in apparent separation from the organism. 'Such a supposition, of course, could not have been started without proof of telepathy, and could with difficulty be sustained without proof of survival of death. But, given telepathy, we, have some psychical agency, connected with man, operating apart from his organism. Given survival, we have an element of his personality - to say the least of it - operating when his organism is destroyed. There is therefore no very great additional burden in supposing that an element of his personality may operate apart from his organism, while that organism still exists.
"Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute. If we have once got a man's thought operating apart from his body - if my fixation of attention on, say, the two of diamonds does somehow so modify another man's brain a few yards off that he seems to see the two of diamonds floating before him - there is no obvious halting place on his side till we come to 'possession' by a departed spirit, and there is no obvious halting place on my side till we come to 'travelling clairvoyance,' with a corresponding visibility of my own phantasm to other persons in the scenes which I spiritually visit."
Mind and Body
So let us consider in the first place what occurs during the ordinary process of speaking or writing - speaking or writing of the most normal or commonplace kind. An idea is conceived in the mind, but in order to achieve some effect in the material world it must move matter. The movement or rearrangement of matter is all that we ourselves are able to accomplish in the physical universe: the whole of our direct terrestrial activities resolve themselves into this, the production of changes of motion and arrangement.
But a thought belongs to a different order of existence; whatever it is, it is not material; it is neither matter nor force; it has no direct power over matter. Directly and unaided it can move nothing. How then can it get itself translated in terms of motion? How can it, from the psychical category, produce a physical effect?
Physiology informs us, not indeed of the whole manner of the achievement, but of part at least of the method.
The thing that can move matter is called muscle. In muscle is located the necessary energy, which only requires to be stimulated into activity in order to be transformed into visible motion and transferred in any required direction.
In a living body, means are provided for stimulating its muscles, in the shape of an intricate arrangement of nerve fibres, which, when themselves excited in one of many ways, can cause the muscle to contract. This part of the process is not indeed fully understood, but it is familiarly known. The excitation of the nerves may be a mere random tweaking, or irritation, by a mechanical or electric goad; but in a living organism it can also be produced in a more meaningful and economical fashion, by the discharge of energy from a central cell, such as exists in the cortex or grey matter of the brain. This process may also be considered as comparatively though not completely understood; the central ganglion is clearly the direct means of getting the nerve excited, the muscle contracted, and the direct motion produced. But what is it that stimulates the brain? What is it that desires the particular motion and liberates energy from the appropriate brain cell? In some cases it is mere reflex action: it is some stimulus which has arrived from the peripheral nerve-endings, so as to evoke response in a central ganglion - say, in the spine or the cerebellum-whence the stimulus has proceeded to a neighbouring cell and so to the efferent nerve fibres. In that case no consciousness is involved; the psychical element is absent; there is no intelligence or will in the process, nor any necessary sensation. The wriggling of a worm, and many contortions of the lower animals, may be - shall we say, may be hoped to be? - of this order.
But I am not taking the case of reflex and unconscious action; I am definitely postulating a thought or idea conceived in the mind - operating, so to speak, on the will - and determining that there shall be a response in the material world. By what means the stimulus gets out of the psychical region into the physical, and liberates energy from the brain centre, I have not the remotest idea; nor, I venture to say, has any one.
The operation is at present mysterious. But conspicuously it occurs; it is evidently a rational and I should say an ultimately intelligible process, - a process, that is to say, on which discovery is possible, though at present there has been no discovery concerning it.
Somehow or other the connexion is established; and by long habit it seems to be established in normal cases without difficulty - nay, rather with singular case, as when a pianist executes in miraculous fashion a complicated sonata.
Things may go wrong, energy may be liberated in the wrong direction, the wrong muscles may be stimulated, so that stammering and contortions result. Or the mental connexion may be in a state of suspense, the mind may be unable to get at the right centre, so to speak, and may refrain from acting on any for a time; in which case we have hesitation, aphasia, feebleness of many kinds, up to paralysis. Or these effects may be due to faults and dislocation in the physiological mechanism, - faults which can perhaps be discovered and set right. If the brain centres are fatigued, also, the response is weak and uncertain. But when everything physiological is in good health, and when the conscious self is in good condition, with a definite thought that it wants to convey, then it appears to be able to play upon the brain, as a musician plays upon a keyboard, and to get its psychical content translated into terms of mechanical motion; so that other intelligences, sufficiently sympathetic and suitably provided with receptive mechanism, can be made more or less aware of the idea intended to be conveyed. Which means that, by aid of their nerve fibres and brain centres, mechanical movements can be translated back into thought once more.
That is the usual process, from mind to mind through physiological apparatus and physical mechanism. The physical mechanism is a neutral intermediary of nonliving matter, belonging to nobody; or rather belonging equally to everybody. We can all throw the air into vibration; and at some public meetings everybody does so, at one and the same time, with some resulting confusion. We can all write with ink; and if need be we can dip our pens into our neighbours' inkstand and use his desk, though with some loss of convenience; we find it difficult to lay our hands upon his notepaper, and it is not efficacious if, on finding his cheque-book, we proceed to fill up and sign his cheques. The identity of the scribe then becomes an important consideration. Pretended identity in such cases may perturb the social conscience, and be stigmatised not merely as unrecognised and wrongful possession, but as fraud.
Thus of all existing forms of matter there are certainly some which can be used intelligently though temporarily by people to whom they do not belong. But whatever may be the undiscriminating communism of the main part of the physical universe, the physiological part is undoubtedly appropriated by individuals; body No. 1 belongs definitely to operator No. 1, and body No. 2 to operator No. 2. And the common idea - I might say the common-sense idea - is that operator No. 1 is entirely limited to control over his own physiological apparatus, and has no direct means of getting at the apparatus of another person otherwise than through neutral physical means. That is the natural prima facie notion, based upon ordinary experience; but it need not be exactly true or complete, - facts may turn up which suggest something different or supplementary.
As a matter of fact, telepathy has suggested - without any necessary reference to the physiological part of the business - that mind can act directly on mind, and can thereby indirectly operate on the physical world through the organism of another person. But cases also occur where the mind of the second person appears to be left out of the process altogether; he may be thinking his own thoughts or doing nothing particular, - in a state of unconsciousness perhaps, or at any rate of inattention, - and yet his physiological mechanism may be set in action, and his physical neighbourhood affected in such a way as to suggest a stimulus proceeding not from himself at all, but from the mind of another person; who in this case must be conceived as operating not upon the second mind, but directly upon its brain. Or if not upon the brain, then perhaps upon some other portion of the nervous system, - say, upon spinal or other ganglia not essentially or necessarily associated with consciousness, and not arousing any consciousness, but stimulating the parts usually controlled by the subconsciousness, - the parts which regulate the beating of the heart, the respiration of the lungs, the digestion or secretions of the body.
Assuming that such a thing is possible, - assuming that a mind can operate, not only as usual on its own body, not only telepathically as supposed on another mind, but directly and telergically upon another body, then that is exactly what is meant by a case of incipient or partial possession.
So far, it may be said, we have no a priori reason to doubt its occurrence, and no a priori reason to expect it. We know nothing about the connexion between mind and body, except that the brain is the specially appropriate organ or instrument for the purpose; and accordingly we are not entitled to any a priori views. We know that each organism is usually appropriated by, and belongs to, the special psychical character or unit which commonly employs it; just as a violin belongs to a special operator, who might resent any other person, especially a novice, attempting to play upon it. The desk of an author is his private property, from which a certain class of literature usually emanates; and he might not like to see it used for works of fiction, or scandalous gossip, or the advocacy of vaccination, or vegetarianism, or Christian Science, or tariff reform. But that proves nothing as to the impossibility of so utilising it. The power may exist, but may be in abeyance, or be recognised as inappropriate and inconvenient, or even as dangerous and illegal.
But if the power exist, it is a fact worth knowing. If it is possible for the normal operator to go out for a walk and leave his writing mechanism open to the casual tramp or the enterprising visitor, it is a definite fact that we may as well know.
Now as to the power of dislocation or suspension of the usual connection between mind and body, it is supposed more or less to occur during sleep; it is certainly supposed to occur during trance; and, in case of what is called travelling clairvoyance, it would appear to be in some sort a demonstrable fact.
Anyhow, it is orthodox - not scientifically orthodox but religiously orthodox - to maintain that the connexion between ourselves and our organism is only temporary, and that at what we call "death" we shall give up this material mode of manifestation for ever: so that the body resolves itself into its original elements. And it is usually supposed that, after having lost control of our appropriate and normally possessed bodily organs, even though we still persist as psychical entities, we have in our new state no means of operating upon the physical world. No more can we move pieces of matter; no more can we stimulate ideas in the minds of our friends when we are "dead." No, not unless one of three things happens.
First, the telepathic power may continue; and we may operate directly on conscious or unconscious minds of living persons in such a way as to cause them to produce some physical effect or record, by normal means, through their own accustomed mechanism.
Second, a materialising power may continue, analogous to that which enabled us, when here on the planet, to assimilate all sorts of material, to digest it and arrange it into the organism that served us as a body. It is extraordinarily difficult to conceive of such a power, and impossible to suppose that it can be a direct power of a psychical agency unaided by the reproductive activity of any other unit already incarnate; because such a power would imply a control of mind over matter which by hypothesis we conceive does not in fact exist, save through the mechanism of a brain. Such action we might well consider to be miracle.
Still something of the kind has been asserted to occur; though always, I believe, in the presence of some peculiarly disposed organism or medium.
Thirdly, a telergic power, analogous to that which we have already supposed occasionally active, may exist; enabling the psychical unit to detect and make use of some fully developed physiological mechanism, not belonging to it, - a fully developed brain, shall we say, with nerves and muscles complete;- so that, during temporary vacation by the usual possessor, these may be utilised for a time, and may achieve, in an unpractised and more or less blundering fashion, some desired influence upon the physical world. In such a case the operator may be understood as contriving to utter, in speech or writing, something like the message which he intends to convey to his otherwise occupied and inaccessible but still beloved friends.
Affection need not be the only motive, however, which causes a given operator to take all the trouble, and go through the process of using other people's writing materials, - at the risk of rousing superstition and fright or being ejected by medical treatment. Occasionally it may be a scientific interest surviving from the time in this life when he was a keen and active member of the S.P.R.; so that he desires above all things to convey to his friends, engaged on the same quest, some assurance, not only of his continued individual existence, - in which, on religious grounds, they may imagine that they already believe, - but of his retention of a power to communicate indirectly and occasionally with them, and to produce movements even in the material world, - by kind permission of an organism, or part of an organism, the temporary use or possession of which has been allowed him for that purpose.
Identity
The question of identity is of course a fundamental one. The control must prove his identity mainly by reproducing facts which belong to his memory and not to that of the automatist. And notice that proof of identity will usually depend on the memory of trifles. The objection frequently raised that communications too often relate to trivial subjects, a lack of intelligence, or at least of due thought, on the part of the critic. The object is to get, not something dignified, but something evidential: and what evidence of persistent memory can be better than the recollection of trifling incidents which for some personal reason happen to have made a permanent impression? Do we not ourselves remember domestic trifles more vividly than things which to the outside world seem important? Wars and coronations are affairs read of in newspapers - they are usually far too public to be of use as evidence of persistent identity; but a broken toy, or a family joke, or a schoolboy adventure, has a more personal flavour, and is of a kind more likely to be remembered in old age, or after a rending shock.
In fiction this is illustrated continually. Take the case of identification of the dumb and broken savage, apparently an Afghan prowler, in The Man Who Was. What was it that opened the eyes of the regiment, to which he had crawled back from Siberia, to the fact that twenty years ago he was one of themselves? Knowledge of a trick-catch in a regimental flower-vase, the former position of a trophy on the wall, and the smashing of a wineglass after a loyal toast. That is true to life: it is probably true to death also.
That is the kind of evidence which we ought to expect, and that is the kind of evidence which not infrequently we get. We have not been able to hold it sufficient, however. The regiment in Kipling's tale never thought of unconscious telepathy from themselves, as spoiling the testimony to be drawn from the uncouth savage's apparent reminiscence: such an explanation would have been rightly felt to have been too forced and improbable, and exaggeratedly sceptical. But when it comes to proof of surviving existence and of memory beyond the tomb, we are bound to proceed even to this length, and to discount the witness of anything that is in our own minds; or, as some think, in the mind of any living person.
Thus is the difficulty of incontrovertible proof of identity enormously increased. Even when the evidence enables a hidden thing to be discovered of which no one living possessed the secret - as in Swedenborg's discovery of the dead burgomaster's private papers above quoted, p. 96 - deferred telepathy is sometimes adduced as preferable to what must then seem to most, as it did to Swedenborg, if not to Kant, the only rational explanation.


- Section Four -
Automatism and Lucidity
Chapter 12
Personal Identity
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          IN illustration of the remarks made at end of last chapter, the following is a favourable instance of the mode in which evidence is given to prove identity in cases of automatic writing: it was described by Mr. Stainton Moses to Edmund Gurney and F. W. H. Myers, while it was still fresh, on his first meeting with them, May 9th, 1874. It is to be understood that he was an automatic writer, and one of those who could, as it were, "converse" with the script as it emanated from his own unconscious hand. He was accustomed alternately to write a conscious question and then to receive an unconscious or subliminal answer - his hand 'being apparently guided by an intelligence not his own. The record runs thus:-
On the evening of April 8th, 1874, while at Bedford with his father and mother, Mr. Stainton Moses, who had been receiving messages about ancient religions during the day, began to ask a question, "I should like -" when a meaningless drawing was made in place of intended words. 
Q. What is all that? And why was I stopped?
A. "A spirit wished to communicate, and we are commanded to permit her. She is not able to write with ease, but will communicate through us. Her name is Fanny Westoby. Do you know the name?"
Q. I do not remember.
A. "Your mother knows her well. She is a cousin of hers. Slat passed from your earth May 15th last."
Q. Was she married?
A. "Yes, her maiden name was Kirkhain."
Q. Fanny Kirkham. Yes, I have a dim remembrance. She used to live at Markby.
A. "She says that she was born in Alford, in the house now occupied by Sam Stevenson. She then lived at Markby, arid, having married, at Belchford. She passed away at Horncastle, at 63 years of age. You do not remember her, when, in the year 1845, you went to see her at Markby. Her mother, Elizabeth Kirkham, was then just released from a lingering illness, and your mother had gone to condole with her cousin. You were taken around the farm, and rode on a goat (she is anxious on this point) and she threw you in sport into a heap of wheat which was being threshed. The result was that you were severely bitten by the harvest bug. She is very anxious that you should recall this to your mother."
Q. I will, but is it wise?
A. "You will not be able to induce her to search into this matter, but you may satisfy yourself that what is said is true"
Q. Has she any message?
A. "She says, 'I lost much of my opportunity for progress through the gratification of bodily, appetite, which cast me back. My course of progress is yet to come. I find my present life not very different from yours. I am nearly same. I wish I could influence Mary, but I can't get near her."
Q. Can she assure me that she is F. W?
A. She can give you no further evidence. Stay, ask your father about Donnington and the trap-door."
Q. I have not the least idea what she means. All the better. I will ask. Any more? Is she happy?
A. 'She is as happy as may be in her present state."
Q. How did she find me out?
A. "She came by chance, hovering near her friend (i.e. Mrs. Moses), and discovered that she could communicate. She will return now."
Q. Can I help her?
A. "Yes, pray. She and all of us are helped when you devote your talents willingly to aid us."
Q. What do you mean?
A. "In advocating and advancing our mission with care and judgment. Then we are permeated with joy. May the Supreme bless you. + RECTOR"
On this Mr. Stainton Moses comments thus:- I have inquired of my mother and find the particulars given are exactly true. She wonders how I remember things that occurred when I was only 5 years old! I have not ventured to say how I got the information, believing that it would be unwise and useless. My father I can get nothing out of about the trap-door. He either does not remember, or will not say.
April 9th, 1874. My father has remembered this incident. A trap-door led on to the roof in the house lie occupied at Donnington. The house was double roofed and a good view could be had from it. F. K. on a visit wanted to go there, and got fixed halfway, amid great laughter.
(We have verified Mrs. Westoby's death in the Register of Deaths. - F. W. H. M.)
It is indeed seldom that particulars of date, place, and circumstance are given so glibly arid fully as this. Communicators themselves usually appear confused about these more precise details; but an ostensible reporter, having obtained the information from them at leisure, can sometimes quote it through an automatist with fair accuracy, as in the case above.
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Another striking case is that of the lady known here as "Blanche Abercromby"; though in this case the concealment of real name removes some of the interest that would otherwise be felt in it. When the communication arrived through Mr. Stainton Moses's hand he was not aware of her death - nor did he know her at all well; in fact, he had only met her and her husband once, at some séance and had been annoyed at the strongly expressed disbelief of her husband in the possibility of such things.
Part of the communication, the part in special handwriting, purports to be a hasty amende for this incredulity, at the earliest, posthumous opportunity. Mr. Myers examined this case carefully, being much interested in some features of it. The pages of the notebook in which the writing occurred had been gummed down and marked "private," nor had they apparently been mentioned to any one it the time. But years later after the death of Mr. Stainton Moses, this and other books came into Mr. Myers's hands, and with the consent of the executors he opened this portion.
He was surprised to find a written communication entirely characteristic of a lady known to him, here called Blanche Abercromby, who had died on a Sunday afternoon, nearly forty years ago now, at a country house about two hundred miles from London. He found that it was on the very same evening near midnight that the supernormal intimation of the death had reached Mr. Stainton Moses at his secluded lodgings in the north of London: and that afterwards the lady had ostensibly written a few lines herself. The evidence of the handwriting, which was in one point peculiar, is specifically testified to, not only by Mr. Myers, but by a member of the family, and by an expert (see Human Personality, vol. ii. P. 231, or Proc. S. P. R., xi. 96 et seq.) It is unlikely that Mr. Moses had ever seen her writing
The chances necessary to secure a verification of this case were more complex that can here be fully explained. This lady, who was quite alien to these researches, had been dead about twenty years when her posthumous letter was discovered in Mr. Moses's private notebook by one of the very few surviving persons who had both known her well enough to recognise the characteristic quality of the message, and were also sufficiently interested in spirit identity to get the handwritings compared and the case recorded.
The entries in the MS. book will now be quoted. The communications began with some obscure drawings, apparently representing the flight of a bird; then ill answer to a question as to the meaning it went on:-
A. "It is a spirit who has but just quitted the body. Blanche Abercromby in the flesh. I have brought her. No more. M."
Q. Do you mean Lady -?
No reply. (Sunday night about midnight. The information is unknown to me.)
(On Monday morning the script continues)
Q. I wish for information about last night. Is that true? Was it mentor?
A. "Yes, good friend, it was Mentor, who took pity on a spirit that was desirous to reverse former errors. She desires us to say so. She was ever an inquiring spirit, and was called suddenly from your earth. She will rest anon. One more proof has been now given of continuity of existence. Be thankful and meditate with prayer. Seek not more now, but cease. We do not wish you to ask any questions now.
+ I:S:D x RECTOR"
A week later some matter of what must be called non-evidential quality appears; but in this instance I propose to quote it because this is an important case.
Q. Can you write for me now?
A. "Yes, the chief is here."
Q. How was it that spirit (Blanche Abercromby's) came to me?
A. "The mind was directed to the subject, and being active, it projected itself to you. Moreover, we were glad to be able to afford you another proof of our desire to do what is in our power to bring home to you evidence of the truth of what we say."
Q. Is it correct to say that the direction of thought causes the spirit to be present?
A. In some cases it is so. Great activity of spirit, coupled with anxiety to discover truth and to seek into the hidden causes of things, continue to make it possible for a spirit to manifest. Moreover, direction of thought gives what you would call direction or locality to the thought. By that we mean that the instinctive tendency of the desire or thought causes a possibility of objective manifestation. Then by the help of those who, like ourselves, are skilled in managing the elements, manifestation becomes possible. This would not have been possible in this case, only that we took advantage of what would have passed unnoticed in order to work out another proof of the reality of our mission. It is necessary that there should be a combination of circumstances before such a manifestation can be possible. And that combination is rare. Hence the infrequency of such events, and the difficulty we have in arranging them: especially when anxiety enters into the matter, as in the case of a friend whose presence is earnestly desired. It might well be that so ready a proof as this might not occur again."
Q. Then a combination of favourable circumstances aided you. Will the spirit rest, or does it not require it?
A. "We do not know the destiny of that spirit. It will pass out of our control. Circumstances enabled us to use its presence: but that presence will not be maintained."
Q. If direction of thought causes motion, I should have thought it would be so with our friends, and that they would therefore be more likely to come.
A. "It is not that alone. Nor is it so with all. All cannot come to earth. And not in all cases does volition or thought cause union of souls. Many other adjuncts are necessary before such can be. Material obstacles may prevent, and the guardians may oppose. We are not able to pursue the subject now, seeing that we write with difficulty at another time we may resume. Cease for the present and do not seek further."
+ I: S: D. RECTOR"
A few days later, Mr. Moses wrote:-
Q. The spirit B. A. began by drawing. Was it herself?
A. "With assistance. She could not write. One day if she is able to return again, she will be more able to express her thoughts . . . ."
(A few days later.)
A. "A spirit who has before communicated will write for you herself. She will then leave you, having given the evidence that is required.
"I should much like to speak more with you, but it is not permitted. You have sacred truth. I know but little yet. I have much, much to learn. BLANCHE ABERCROMBY
"It is like my writing as evidence to you."
The statement that the writing of this particular message is like that of the lady's, was long afterwards verified with some care and trouble by Mr. Myers, and is correct, as stated more in detail above. The amende, and the sentence "I have much, much to learn," are characteristic. I have myself seen the writing, and was told at the time by Mr. Myers of all the circumstances.
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Attempts have been made, and are still made from time to time, to explain all this sort of thing - some of it by the recrudescence of lapsed memory, some of it by telepathy, and some of it by clairvoyance. If such attempts are regarded as successful how can it be possible, by any means, to get over the difficulty and to establish the identity of any communicator? I reply -
(a) by gradually accumulated internal evidence, based on pertinacious and careful record;
(b) by cross correspondences, or the reception of unintelligible parts of one consistent and coherent message, through different mediums;
(c) by information or criteria specially characteristic of the supposed communicating intelligence; and, if possible, in some sense new to the world.
Cross-correspondence - that is, the reception of part of a message through one medium and part through another - is good evidence of one intelligence dominating both automatists; especially if the parts separately are unintelligible, so that they cannot be rationally signalled either by normal or supernormal means. And if the message is characteristic of some one particular deceased person, and is received through people to whom he was not intimately known, then it is fair proof of the continued intellectual activity of that personality. If further we get from him a piece of literary criticism which is eminently in his vein and has not occurred to ordinary people - not to either of the mediums, and not even to the literary world, but which on consideration is appreciated as sound as well as characteristic criticism, showing a familiar and wide knowledge of the poetry of many ages, and unifying apparently disconnected passages in some definite way, - then I say the proof, already striking, would tend to become crucial.
These, then, are the kinds of proof at which the Society is aiming. These are the kinds of proof which are in process of being attained.


- Section Four -
Automatism and Lucidity
Chapter 13
Personal Identity
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          THE most famous of recent thorough automatists, or trance speaking and trance writing mediums, is undoubtedly Mrs. Piper of Boston, U.S.A. With her an enormous amount of work has been done; and the Proceedings of the Society, both in the past and in future years, will bear witness to the richness and fertility of this case, as well as to the industry with which it has been pursued and its various stages studied. To give anything like a full account of even my own work in this direction - the merest fraction of the whole-would need much more space than it would be wise to expend on it in this book, so I shall select only such small portions as will give some idea of what happens, and refer students who wish to pursue the matter further to the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.
As a prelude to the Report on the 1890 English series of sittings, which were the first that the Society published, Mr. Myers at that time wrote an Introduction from which I will make a few extracts, because they illustrate the kind of view which that experienced investigator at that time took of these in some respects novel phenomena.
Mr. Frederick W. H. Myers's Early Testimony
"On certain external or preliminary points, all who have had adequate opportunity of judgment, are decisively agreed; but on the more delicate and interesting question as to the origin of the trance-utterances we cannot unite in any absolute view. We agree only in maintaining that the utterances show that knowledge has been acquired by some intelligence in some supernormal fashion;- and in urging on experimental psychologists the duty of watching for similar cases, and of analysing the results in some such way as we have endeavoured to do.
"The study of trance-utterances, indeed, is at first sight distasteful; since real and pretended trance-utterances have notoriously been the vehicle of much conscious and unconscious fraud. But we urge that, just as the physical and psychical phenomena of hysteria - long neglected as a mere jungle of trickeries - are now analysed with adequate security against deception, and with most fruitful results, so also these utterances are now capable of being rationally studied, - thanks to the advance in the comprehension of automatic phenomena which French and English effort during the last few years has achieved.
"These utterances, although they often occur in hysterical subjects, seem to have no necessary connection with hysteria. Nor again have we any real ground for calling them morbid per se, although their excessive repetition may lead to morbid states. All that we can safely say is that they are a form of automatism; that they constitute one of many classes of phenomena which occur in sane subjects without entering the normal waking consciousness or forming part of the habitual chain of memory.
"In previous discussions automatism has been divided into active and passive types; active automatism consisting of such phenomena as automatic writing and trance-utterance - passive, of hallucinations of sight, hearing, etc. 'The automatism may be called active if it finds a motor channel, passive if it finds a sensory channel, but the impulse whence it originates may be much the same in the one case as in the other.'
"The unsubstantial character of trance-utterances in general is fully admitted. 'Trance-addresses are eminently barren of fact; they generally show little more than a mere power of improvisation, which may either be fraudulently practised, or may be a characteristic faculty of the unconscious self.'
"When, therefore, we were informed by trusted witnesses, - by Professor William James, who is a physician as well as a psychologist and by Mr. Hodgson, whose acumen in the detection of imposture has been proved in more fields than one, - that the utterances of Mrs. Piper's trance did in their view unquestionably contain facts of which Mrs. Piper in her waking state was wholly ignorant, some inquiry into the character of this trance seemed to fall in the direct line of our work.
"However the specific trance-utterances may be interpreted, the case as a whole is a rare and remarkable one. It is an instance of automatism of that extreme kind where the upheaval of sub-conscious strata is not merely local, but affects, so to say, the whole psychical area;- where a secondary consciousness not only crops up here and there through the primary, but for a time displaces it;- where, in short, the whole personality appears to suffer intermittent change.
"These trances cannot always be induced at pleasure. A state of quiet expectancy or 'self-suggestion' will usually bring one on; but sometimes the attempt altogether fails. We never attempted to induce the trance by hypnotism. We understand, indeed, that Mrs. Piper has never been deeply hypnotised, although Professor Richet tried on her some experiments of suggestion in the waking state, and found her somewhat 'suggestible'. On the other hand, the trance has occasionally appeared when it was not desired. The first time that it occurred (as Mrs. Piper informs us) it came as an unwelcome surprise. An instance of this kind occurred at Cambridge Before going to bed she had, at my request, says Mr. Myers, and for the first time in her life, been looking into a crystal, with the desire to see therein some hallucinatory figure which might throw light on the nature of the mysterious secondary personality. She saw nothing; but next morning she looked exhausted, and said that she thought that she had been entranced during the night. The next time that she went into a trance Phinuit (which is the name she used to be known by when in the trance) said lie had come and called, and no one had answered him. It appeared as though the concentration of thought upon the crystal had acted as a kind of self-suggestion, and had induced the secondary state, when not desired.
"The trance when induced generally lasted about an hour. On one occasion in my house, and I believe once at least in America, it only lasted for about a minute. Phinuit only had time to say that he could not remain, and then the habitual moaning began, and Mrs. Piper came to herself.
"There was often a marked difference between the first few minutes of a trance and the remaining time. On such occasions almost all that was of value would be told in the first few minutes; and the remaining talk would consist of vague generalities or mere repetitions of what had already been given. Phinuit, as will be seen, always professed himself to be a spirit communicating with spirits; and he used to say that he remembered their messages for a few minutes after I entering into the medium, and then became confused. He was not, however, apparently able to depart when his budget of facts was empty. There seemed to be some irresponsible letting-off of energy which must continue until the original impulse was lost in incoherence."
Mrs. Piper's case has been more or less continuously observed by Professor William James and others almost from the date of the first sudden inception of the trance, some twenty-five years ago. Dr. Hodgson was in the habit of bringing acquaintances of his own to Mrs. Piper, without giving their names; and many of these have heard from the trance-utterance facts about their dead relations, etc., which they feel sure that Mrs. Piper could not have known. Dr. Hodgson also had Mr. and Mrs. Piper watched or "shadowed" by private detectives for some weeks, with the view of discovering whether Mr. Piper (at that time alive and employed in a large store in Boston, U.S.A.) went about inquiring into the affairs of possible "sitters," or whether Mrs.. Piper received letters from friends or agents conveying information. This inquiry was pushed pretty closely, but absolutely nothing was discovered which could throw suspicion on Mrs. Piper, - who is now aware of the procedure, but has the good sense to recognise the legitimacy - I may say the scientific necessity of this kind of probation.
It was thus shown that Mrs. Piper made no discoverable attempt to acquire knowledge even about persons whose coming she had reason to expect. Still less could she have been aware of the private concerns of persons brought anonymously to her house at Dr. Hodgson's choice.
"We took great pains," continues Mr. Myers, "to avoid giving information in talk; and a more complete security is to be found in the fact that we were ourselves ignorant of many of the facts given as to our friends' relations, etc. In the case of Mrs. Verrall, for instance, no one in Cambridge except Mrs. Verrall herself could have supplied the bulk of the information given; and some of the facts given Mrs. Verrall herself did not know. As regards my own affairs, says Mr. Myers, I have not thought it worth while to cite in extenso such statements as might possibly have been got up beforehand; since Mrs. Piper of course know that I should be one of her sitters. Such facts as that I once had an aunt, 'Cordelia Marshall, more commonly called Corrie,' might have been learnt, - though I do not think that they were learnt, - from printed or other sources. But I do not think that any larger proportion of such accessible facts was given to me than to an average sitter, previously unknown; nor were there any of those subtler points which could so easily have been made by dint of scrutiny of my books or papers. On the other band, in my case, as in the case of several other sitters, there were messages purporting to come from a friend who has been dead many years, and mentioning circumstances which I believe that it would have been quite impossible for Mrs. Piper to have discovered.
"I am also acquainted with some of the facts given to other sitters, and suppressed as too intimate, or as involving secrets not the property of the sitter alone. I may say that so far as my own personal conviction goes, the utterance of one or two of these facts is even more conclusive of supernormal knowledge than the correct statement of dozens of names of relations, etc., which the sitter had no personal motive for concealing.
"On the whole, I believe that all observers, both in America and in England, who have seen enough of Mrs. Piper in both states to be able to form a judgment, will agree in affirming (1) that many of the facts given could not have been learnt even by a skilled detective; (2) that to learn others of them, although possible, would have needed an expenditure of money as well as of time which it seems impossible to suppose that Mrs. Piper could have met; and (3) that her conduct has never given any ground whatever for supposing her capable of fraud or trickery. Few persons have, been so long and so carefully observed; and she has left on all observers the impression of thorough uprightness, candour, and honesty."
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