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or the Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival
Zoar, or the Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival
W. H. Salter
Publisher: Sidgwick and Jack son, London Published: 1961 Pages: 238 A vailability: O ut of Print
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: The Scope of Psychical Research and the Nature of the Evidence Chapter 3: Apparitions Chapter 4: Apparitions: Some Special Types Chapter 5: Haunts and Poltergeists Chapter 6: Materialisations Chapter 7: Ecstasy and Inspiration Chapter 8: Dissociation Chapter 9: The Controls of Mediums Chapter 10: Communications through Mediums. I: As affected by Normal Causes Chapter 11: Communications through Mediums. II: As affected by Paranormal Faculties of the Living Chapter 12: Communications through Mediums. III: Limited Scope of these Causes and Faculties Chapter 13: Crosscorrespondences Chapter 14: Crosscorrespondences: New Evidence Chapter 15: To What does the Evidence Point? Chapter 16: Zoar: "Is it not a Little One?"
William Henry Salter 1880-1969. W e nt to Trinity C olle ge , C am bridge , with a C lassical Scholarship in 1899, took a first class de gre e in 1901, turne d to re ad Law, and was calle d to the Barin 1905. Joine d the Socie ty for Psychical R e se arch in 1916, to be com e a m e m be r of its C ouncil thre e ye ars late r. From 1920 to 1931, a ve ry difficult financial pe riod, he se rve d as Honorary Tre asure r; and from 1924 to 1948 he was Honorary Se cre tary. He was Pre side nt from 1947 to 1948. He m ade m any contributions to the SPR Journal and Proceedings , and publishe d two adm irable book s, Ghosts and Apparitions (1938) and Zoar (1961). Zoar, or The Evidence for Psychical Research Concerning Survival (1961, Sidgwick and Jack son, London).
Chapter 1: Introduction
W. H. Salter DURING THE many years that I was an Honorary Officer of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) I was often consulted by persons who, under the stress of recent bereavement, wished for enlightenment on the question whether man survives the death of the body. Many of those seeking advice had, before they were bereaved, no settled convictions: their vague recollections of early religious teaching about the future life, itself perhaps lacking precision, contended in their minds with equally vague nations that science had disproved all that. Others who had reached what they supposed to be a secure position of belief or unbelief, found that it did not hold fast against the shock of bereavement. Not all bereaved persons of course find themselves in either of these predicaments, but evidently many do. They come to the Society expecting that it can not only give a plain yes or no to a problem that has exercised the mind of man from the earliest ages, but can put shortly and crisply the reasons and evidence for or against belief. They have no clear idea of the sort of evidence which psychical research has brought to bear on the problem, its variety and complexity, the different degrees of certainty attaching to different parts of it, the alternative interpretations to which much of it is susceptible. As bereavement comes, sooner or later, to most people, and no one can say in advance how much he will be shaken by it, it is surely prudent for everyone to prepare himself in some degree for the shock, by considering the problem from all its relevant aspectsreligion, philosophy, physiology and psychology in all its branches, and especially that branch of psychology known as psychical research, with which this book deals. Myers's Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, left uncompleted by him when he died in 1901, is a splendid book, but the evidence bearing on the problem of survival that has accumulated since his death is immense, and much of it of a kind unknown at that time. Of more recent date are several brief summades of the evidence with instructive comment, notably the latter part of Tyrrell's Science and Psychic Phenomena (1938), Gardner Murphy's papers in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (1945, 1946, since reprinted in book form) and Professor Broad's Myers Memorial Lecture (SPR 1958). Fuller accounts are to be found in Mrs. Heywood's The Sixth Sense (1959) and Professor Hornell Hart's The Enigma of Survival, which cover so much of the ground as to leave me in doubt whether I should be justified in putting my own views before the public. It seems to me, however, that the importance of the subject is such that anyone whose experience has given him both a fairly wide knowledge of psychical research as a whole, and a detailed knowledge of sides of it still unfamiliar to the public, ought to put forward his views, and put them forward candidly, regardless of whether they are in line with opinions generally held, or with such as are held by more eminent persons, or whether they rest on items of evidence or processes of reasoning that will strike many readers as odd. I should perhaps say at the outset, what the reader would soon discover for himself, that I have nothing more than the most superficial knowledge of any of the provinces of learning on which psychical research abutsthe other branches of psychology, philosophy, or science in general. I trust that I trespass on these provinces only when necessary, and then with a diffidence not inferior to that shown by their rightful occupants when they discuss psychical research without making a close study of it. The SPR has made it a settled policy to express no corporate opinion, leaving the field open for unfettered discussion. It is therefore not in any way responsible for the opinions expressed in this book by one of its former officers. But I take this opportunity of thanking the Council for permission to quote extensively from its publications. Any discussion of survival naturally raises questions as to the bias of the parties to it. The emotional tinge that
usually affects professedly intellectual arguments as to the destiny of human personality after death suggests that very deep levels have been stirred, that the primitive animal instinct for selfpreservation has perhaps sublimated itself into a desire to perpetuate individual life beyond bodily death. But the bias is not always, of course, in favour of belief in survival. An emotional horror of the whole idea of life after death inspired Lucretius to write one of the world's greatest poems. Many sensitive persons have been led partly by the cares of bodily existence, and partly by distaste for their own personalities to hope that the gospel preached by Lucretius may be true. Then again there is the "Conflict of Science and Religion", not indeed nowadays waged with the same acrimony as a century ago, but having none the less an influence on the beliefs of the ordinary citizen, who has probably never bothered to examine the issues critically. Who can be sure how far and in what way his judgment as to survival has been conditioned by these varied and contrary influences? In this matter no one can claim complete immunity from bias, but a high degree of protection is given by a long training in psychical research. To be effective the training should include a wide general knowledge of all the phenomena, of the past history of the subject, and of the background of popular belief and sentiment. To this should be added a much more detailed knowledge of at least one of the main branches, "mental" or "physical", spontaneous, mediumistic or experimental, combined with a good deal of firsthand experience as experimenter, sitter or automatist. An officer of the SPR, and doubtless of some other societies too, acquires much of this in his daytoday work. He is constantly interviewing enquirers who report occurrences that have puzzled them and that they are inclined to regard as uncanny. He gets letters from all over the world giving similar reports. Long manuscripts purporting to have been dictated by spirits are submitted for his opinion. From time to time he visits a "haunted" house, or sits with a medium, or takes part in an experiment for extrasensory perception. Whatever he reads, hears or observes he can discuss with experienced colleagues of an independent turn of mind, and, if he is wise, he will do so whenever he comes across anything seeming to require serious consideration. In dealing as part of the routine of his office with this bewildering and heterogeneous mass of material the researcher has to keep his attention closely fixed on the details. It is only by doing this that he can hope to understand What sort of happenings his fellowcitizens regard as "supernormal" and why, or to grasp the strong and weak points in a report of an apparition or a poltergeist, in a sitting for "physical" phenomena, or of an experiment in clairvoyance. A very intimate knowledge of detail in any subject will prevent the possessor of it from too freely generalising on it. This may be a reason why most of the surveys of psychical research Myers's great book is an outstanding exceptionhave been written by persons whose minds were not preoccupied by the day today work of the SPR or of any other body with similar aims and methods. I have been a member of the SPR for more than forty years and an officer for most of that time, but engaged more in administration than research. I should lik e to think that I had been sufficiently involved in research to derive a fair degree of immunity from bias in writing on it, but not so involved as to inhibit generalisation. My wife's membership of the Society was even longer and her firsthand experience, extending to most branches of the subject, much fuller. Neither of us had followed closely recent developments in quantitative experiment. She had a great deal more experience of sitting with "physical" mediums than I had, as after a time I found the strain on the eyes during a séance in dim light intolerable. We might both claim considerable knowledge of "spontaneous cases" (i.e., apparitions, etc.), trance mediumship and automatic writing. She was a member of "the SPR group of Automatists", of which her mother, Mrs. Verrall, was the first member in point of time. The automatic writings of the group are generally agreed among psychical researchers to be of great importance, entitling them to more than summary treatment. But many aspects of them have never been made public before, or only scrappily in an article here and there, and I am therefore discussing them with a fullness that would otherwise be out of proportion to the scale of the book. I first began to write this book six or seven years ago, but circumstances prevented my then completing more than the first half. After some years' interval I took it up again and finished it, not to my entire satisfaction, as some of the later parts did not join on well to the earlier ones. When the book was begun and when the first draft was finished, I had not suffered any recent bereavement. About eighteen months ago I began trying to remodel it by pulling it together. I had not gone far when I suffered the crushing blow of my wife's sudden death. I can no longer therefore claim to write with emotional detachment but will most positively assert that the opinions I now put forward are substantially the same as those that my wife and I often discussed together, and that I formed when the end of earthly life seemed far off for either of us. The question one often hears put, "Is death the end?" is too stupid to deserve an answer. After the death of anyone things are different from what they would have been if he had never lived, and that is true whether the death be of Socrates, Caesar, or Shakespeare, or the veriest Simple Simon. Something continues, and the
question that needs an answer is, what is that something? In this book, after a chapter defining the nature of psychical research, its scope and methods, there will follow chapters concerned with the evidence sometimes claimed to support the opinion, ancient and widespread, that after the death of the body of flesh and blood men and women live on in a body having some, but not all, of the properties we associate with ordinary matter. In these chapters apparitions of various kinds, poltergeists, and the socalled "physical phenomena" of the séance room. will be discussed. The succeeding chapters will deal with evidence, derived from "trancemediumship" and automatic writing, that does not raise the question of survival in a quasimaterial form. This section will open with a discussion of various psychological states which, though not in themselves mediumistic, throw light on mediumistic trance and the Controls that emerge in it, and will proceed to consider how far communications purporting to come from the spirits of the dead can be attributed to the faculties, normal or paranormal, of the living. An attempt will then be made to construct a theory that will cover all the evidence set out in the previous chapters that is, in my view, trustworthy.
Chapter 2: The Scope of Psychical Research and the Nature of the Evidence
W. H. Salter PSYCHICAL RESEARCH is the attempt to complete the exploration of human personality by the systematic investigation of all its real or supposed faculties that appear to be part of the natural order of things but not to have been effectively brought within the province of any other department of science that deals with human activities. Popular belief has in many times and places firmly held that some persons, at least, had the gift of apprehending events, distant in space or future in time, and of getting into touch with modes of existence other than the everyday life of the body. The evidence to this effect, which in the form of ghoststories and reports of premonitory dreams and similar happenings had accumulated for ages without systematic enquiry, received in the nineteenth century a large increase from some of the effects observed by the early students of hypnotism and from the reports of phenomena occurring at Spiritualist séances. The case for a careful, impartial examination of the evidence was thus growing stronger at the same time that the theological objections to it were weakening. This led to the foundation in 1882 of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) by a group which included many leading scientists, philosophers and scholars. So little was known about these things at the time, that the founders of the Society, in a manifesto issued by them in the first volume of the Society's Proceedings , did not attempt a more exact definition of the subject matter of their proposed researches than to describe it as "that large group of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and Spiritualistic". The enumeration in the same document of particular kinds of phenomena is now mainly of historical interest. These phenomena and the faculties through which they seemed to be produced were in the early days of the Society known as "supernormal", a word which was unfortunately liable to confusion with "supernatural", especially as many of the occurrences with which psychical research had, and still has, to deal are of kinds to which long established tradition has attached supernatural associations; apparitions, for example, and foreknowledge. It cannot be too clearly stated that psychical research neither affirms nor denies the reality of any beings, or things, or events belonging to the supernatural order. When however, as is often the case, such events occur in a setting which seems to be part of the natural order of things, that setting can properly be investigated by ordinary, mundane methods. The ethical or devotional significance of any event transcending the natural order may be of the greatest importance to the psychical researcher as a person, but it lies altogether outside the province of his studies, just as a student of birds may have an intense aesthetic enjoyment of their colouring, although scientifically he is only concerned with it as distinguishing one species from another, or for its protective value or other biological utility. "Paranormal" has now in general use taken the place of "supernormal" and will he used with that meaning in this book. It is itself however not free from objection. What, it may be asked, is meant by the "normal"? Not, it is important to say, the usual or habitual, although in other contexts the word is often loosely used with that meaning. It has been found necessary in psychical research to draw a distinction between what is and what is not, at any given time, accepted as real by general scientific opinion, and to fix on a word that will briefly indicate whatever is so accepted. For this purpose "normal" is perhaps as good as any other, but there is, as I shall try later to show, reason to believe that some faculties which have not as yet won scientific recognition are as widely distributed as any that have won it, though they may often not manifest themselves in a way to attract casual attention. The prefix also needs justification. One of the objections to "supernormal" was that it suggested that the things so described were in some ways superior or preferable to the general run of things. Whether or not such a suggestion corresponded with the facts, it was undesirable even to hint at it in a term descriptive of things the distinctive character of which was determined in quite another way. The prefix "para" suggests some resemblance between the faculties and events that are the proper study of psychical research and those that are more generally recognised, some parallelism between them. It has, for example, been claimed that by "clairvoyance" a written message enclosed in a sealed and opaque envelope can be read, and that by "telekinesis" a medium can raise an object without the use of muscular, mechanical or other physical force of any kind known to science. If these claims are to be regarded as substantiatedand in my view "clairvoyance"
appeared to suggest a deviation for the worse from average human nature. the reading of the message or the raising of the object. the evidence as to which he was examining. and. was examined by whatever methods led to the fullest and most accurate knowledge. Notwithstanding these and other difficulties. There are many factors that restrict the efficiency of experiment with human beings. There are however other factors of mind. economic and the strength and prevalence of the factors involved can be statistically assessed. Historically the two lines of enquiry. was common to both. The founders of this Society fully recognise the exceptional difficulties which surround this branch of research. of course. impose any comparable restriction on his studies. then.. for example. This may provide an important clue to the patient's suppressed wishes regarding the senior male members of his family. and many of the early researchers were active in both fields. in which the patient sees a near relative. of his ." It is.and "telekinesis" are among the more dubious phenomena of psychical researchit is only in the effect produced. The Founders' manifesto already mentioned contained the following paragraph: "The aim of the Society will be to approach these various problems ee above] without prejudice or prepossession of any kind. and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many problems. There was. He had one concern. Medical psychology and psychical research deal largely with exceptional and peculiar cases and seek to build up a system of organised knowledge out of refractory material of this kind. ran close together. mean that the psychotherapist is dealing with a mass of phenomena so heterogeneous as to defy classification. and one only. one of which works with measurable units. run over by a bus. something a good deal better. It is from his point of view irrelevant to enquire whether the uncle was in fact run over. of a dream related to a psychoanalyst by a patient. if he was. and not necessarily to the method. there also. and. an uncle perhaps. religious. forbid some kinds of experiment. It was a matter of indifference to him whether the real or supposed faculties. how close it was. If he has reason to suppose there was a correspondence between dream and accident. and in that lies the essential difference. but that it is by qualitative reasoning that he must reach his conclusions. the medical psychologist having a tendency to focus his attention on pathological material with a view to effecting cures. Observation. in civilised countries. Exceptional efficiency in the use of recognised forces does not constitute paranormality. followed by science that psychical research is committed. Observation and experiment are both used by established branches of science. is immediately apparent on glancing at representative samples of the relative literatures and noting the frequency of statistics in the one and their almost complete absence in the other. and experiment in chemistry. consistently with the task he had undertaken. always some difference of approach. Much of their subject matter. or as some of them in fact did. Reasons of humanity. to see that all serious evidence suggesting the possible existence of human faculties not recognised by other branches of science or imperfectly explored by them. for example.. and that is the line of enquiry that the analyst. once not less obscure nor less hotly debated. whether the details of the accident corresponded with those in the dream. Both methods also have their use in psychology. while the psychical researcher could not. or to prevent him drawing significant correlations between one class and another. with degrees of importance that vary according to the particular department of that science. hypnotism for example.g. and the other does not. that they can be considered parallel to recognised faculties and forces. Take the case. This does not. for reasons too obvious to call for elaboration. This on the other hand is just the point of interest to the psychical researcher. and in other kinds the experimenter may be frustrated by deliberate resistance or deception on the part of his subject. temperament and disposition that vary so from one individual to another as to be beyond the reach of mass experiment or exact quantitative assessment. There is no resemblance of method. the relative importance of the two methods varying in the different branches. cultural. however. if so. he cannot shirk the often difficult and tedious task of ascertaining whether there was in fact any correspondence and. predominates in astronomy. follows up. and the difference between two branches of psychological science. to the spirit of scientific enquiry. much has been learnt partly by experiment and partly by observation about such mental activities as are common to mankind or to large human groups national. The lifting of a few ounces at a séance held under strict conditions would count for more in that way than all the muscular feats of a modern Hercules. or any of the methods.. Of this kind is the subject matter of psychotherapeutics. The difference of objective between medical psychology and psychical research reveals itself in a difference of treatment even when both are dealing with identical material. quite properly for his purpose. when both were new. and whether it can reasonably be attributed to the patient's knowledge (e.
In accordance with the established practice among psychical researchers. and passing through the semiexperimental to the spontaneous. as is sometimes supposed. phenomena. were they not so well established. For a complete exploration of our mental activities we need not only psychology in its more general form but such special developments of it as medical psychology and. the psychoanalyst is concerned with the subjective aspect of the patient's experience. "waves" for example. a mental event only. The history of hypnotism illustrates that process. So far as he is concerned. Psychical research employs different methods according to the many different kinds of material that it is investigating. An instance of telepathy is. and how far can their good faith be reasonably assumed? . qualifications such as "alleged" or "ostensible" are for the sake of brevity omitted in the discussion of real or supposed faculties or phenomena. Again. To put it shortly. and reserve his critical faculties for the appraisement of the results. If. For example. for the reasons already given. clumsy terms for which. so far as can be ascertained. since it has no patent counterpart in the physical world. The primary division of them is into "mental" and "physical". beginning with the fully experimental. mediumistic and experimental. can be classified according to the conditions in which they are observed as spontaneous. such technical terms as I have not been able to avoid. even though. except where the omission might cause misunderstanding. Faculties that can be investigated in this way become sooner or later. this is called telepathy. it is spontaneous. In reports of telekinesis on the other hand an observable physical event has to be explained. so that his results can be checked by other experimenters working with similar material. there is a physical basis for telepathy. and so ipso facto pass out of the province of the psychical researcher. If the mental content of two or more persons is in whole or in part the same in circumstances which do not. without taking into account other factors. The distinction between the two classes is easily illustrated by comparing and contrasting "telepathy" and "telekinesis". The word "spontaneous" explains itself. Results obtained with individual subjects under conditions reaching this standard may be classed as experimental. of which I shall make as sparing a use as practicable. to what extent does the evidence depend on the good faith of the parties concerned. Some subjects are able to produce positive results under conditions adequate. Enough has already been said as to the meaning of paranormal phenomena. so long as such actions depend on faculties that are universal or at least widely spread. When human beings are the subject matter that ideal. offer an adequate explanation by the normal means of communication. At the other end of the scale is the experimental evidence. nor by chance coincidence. and after less or more opposition from orthodoxy. incorporated in official science. or are we dealing with some unparalleled lusus Naturae? And (a more embarrassing question). so that he can apply whatever conditions he wishes. There is therefore a very wide range of conditions governing the production of paranormal phenomena by exceptionally endowed subjects. when examined. With other subjects the investigator may have to make the best compromise as to conditions that he can. when they first occur. whether or not the evidence when examined points to the operation of some force which could be called "paranormal" as being unrecognised by science. The ideal scientific experiment is one in which the material is wholly within the experimenter's control. mental or physical. such as speech and writing.uncle's habits) or to chance. though it is possible for the psychologist to measure with a fair amount of accuracy the actions of human beings under conditions which he can to a considerable extent control and vary. While some interesting results have been obtained in psychical research through experiments with groups of subjects and this is the type of experiment which approaches nearest to the repeatable investigation is mainly concerned with individual subjects endowed with exceptional powers for the production of phenomena. the psychical researcher with its possible objective aspect as an instance of paranormal cognition of a kind to be discussed later. explaining. for the elimination not only of deliberate deception by the subject. is unattainable. Do the phenomena conform as to general type to other phenomena supported by independent evidence. there has been no repeatable experiment. whether mental or physical. But it would be a mistake to set out the phenomena in a scale of descending evidential value. whatever intention or impulse on the part of someone else may possibly be behind it. so far as the investigator and his readers can judge. it has not been observed and remains at the best an inference. nor yet by the natural association of ideas deriving from a common normal knowledge of facts. of equal importance. or he may even have to accept the phenomena as they come. can exactly measure the results under varying conditions. Like all other organised enquiries it has developed a terminology of its own. as already stated. and can repeat the experiment with the assurance that under the same conditions he will get the same results. someone perceives an apparition without any effort or intention on his part. ingenuity and a Greek lexicon could doubtless find substitutes. psychical research. but also of the innocent production by normal means of effects that could be mistaken for paranormal.
to lapses of memory. It has an unbroken history since 1882. it is useless for that purpose. and that most of the items conform to certain types. so far as it is positive. Nor do I claim that all the evidence published by the SPR is above criticism; I shall in fact myself criticise some parts of it. finds himself in a very different situation from that of the chemist. The only reasonable course seems to me to be to take careful note of it. This weakness must be recognised but should not be exaggerated. though it may do good in sharpening one's watchfulness for better evidenced instances of the same type. as many experiments in telepathy and kindred faculties have been. experimental results and mediumistic records which may have influenced the writer would merely befog him. but to keep it in a sort of quarantine until enough parallels have occurred to show that it is not just a slip of the kind to which even experienced enquirers applying well tested methods may be prone. deliberate or subconscious.It will be seen from the foregoing that in most branches of psychical research the enquirer. To throw at him the thousand and one spontaneous cases. In extenuation of this egotism it might be said that the material used by me has been accepted by other psychical researchers of greater eminence. do not within a reasonable time produce parallels supported by good evidence. Before any piece of recorded evidence is used to build an argument on. the problem of chance is fairly easy. If however all the investigation that is constantly proceeding into spontaneous cases. which would bore him to extinction. The researcher of today can build on the experience extending over nearly eighty years of a long line of predecessors. but this dictum must be applied with caution and commonsense. their carefulness as observers and recorders. In this respect the publications of the SPR have a unique importance. to insufficiency of written record and to deception. I shall not use any material that does not seem to me to pass both these tests or that my judgment rejects or hesitates to accept m more general grounds. Everything that it has published has first been scrutinised by an experienced and critical committee. it would be monstrous to reject absolutely an item that was otherwise well authenticated because it was exceptionally exceptional. Others had distinguished themselves in public affairs or business. their Competence to distinguish the true from the spurious. in such a way as to produce results capable of statistical analysis. The eminent men and women who have guided it have differed widely among themselves in their opinions both as to details of evidence and on larger issues. Many of these were eminent in various branches of science. all the sittings with mediums. Where the matter is of a kind that has been . as chance coincidence. Where experiments have been framed. variety and quality the SPR literature is without a rival and no writer need apologise if he takes it as the main source of the evidence he cites to support and illustrate his argument. unless they were accompanied by a commentary several times as long. such as survival. Examination of the material recorded in this literature shows that most of it sorts itself out into certain classes. If it fails badly in the first test. at no point of which has it fallen under the control of cranks or doctrinaires. of the highest quality has come from America. all the experiments. There will therefore inevitably be a subjective element in his conclusions. The SPR publications have indeed no monopoly of value: much. or biologist.) (2) Does the occurrence recorded show a general correspondence with other recorded occurrences that are individually well evidenced? If an item passe both these tests me is justified in embodying it in one's argument. when assessing his material and attempting to arrange it in order. but a genuine instance of a novel type for which a place will have to be found in any theoretical structure. If it passes the first test but fails at the second. To support my argument. He has to form a judgment of the character and qualities of the persons whose reports on phenomena he is studying. of their integrity. the anomalous instance had better be consigned to limbo. for example. It is therefore possible to make use today of various techniques skilfully elaborated over this long period for the purpose of avoiding errors due to faulty observation. for example. The mass of material that has been investigated during all this time also provides a check on what can with confidence be accepted as the basis for theory. But for a combination of quantity. but for much of his material even this guide will be lacking. appraisal of the evidence often demands. in psychical research. which soon become familiar to the psychical researcher and are easily recognised by him when he meets them again and again. and he must depend on his own commonsense. There remains the problem of how many and what instances to put before the reader. physicist. what is to be done? As most of the material of psychical research is exceptional. When he is satisfied that he has got at the real facts he must then consider whether they admit of a normal explanation such. careers in which success depends on making correctly the same sort of judgments of men and events that. it should be subject to a double scrutiny: (1) Does it in all substantial respects comply with the canons of evidence generally accepted in psychical research? (Formal defects do not necessarily vitiate the record.
my only desire being to advance. as it receives in some of the later chapters of this book. Only by so doing have the remarkable positive achievements of psychical research been possible. A critic of these views cannot reasonably be required to demolish each several piece in turn. positive knowledge of a subject of supreme importance. Much of this book. is negative. To have omitted it would have laid me open to the charge either that I was ignorant of what some people hold to be vital evidence. For a more detailed examination of the evidence reference can be made to other literature. But my argument has a negative side. especially of the earlier part of it.abundantly discussed in recent times there is no point in quoting more instances than are required to illustrate the argument. requires fuller treatment. too. Less familiar material. if it be but a little. and in developing this I have set out and analysed some material which I definitely do not accept. . A negative attitude in itself makes no appeal to me. From the foundation of the SPR in 1882 it has been necessary to clear away continually the accumulations of credulity. He has discharged his duty if he goes straight for the best known instances and those to which the adherents of these views attach the greatest weight. hearsay and (it must be added) fraud. on the other hand. Here also some selection has been necessary. or that it had been suppressed because it told against my argument. Several views that seem to me erroneous are each of them held on the strength of several pieces of evidence that seem to me defective or spurious.
feature. that can make itself seen and heard by the living. the second writing more than two thousand years after the first. which of them first saw the figure. and the ghost's account of it. noncommittal term "quasimaterial". and therefore not one that psychical research would attempt to put. of some person whom they in some way resembled. but that is not subject to all the limitations of ordinary matter. however extraordinary the affair was. Until recent times this opinion rested almost entirely on apparitions seen or heard at about the time of the death. could be found. . stating facts unknown to his hearer. paranormal and supernatural questions. the case would call for a paranormal explanation. the recurrence in a specified place. Where two or more persons are present he is seen sometimes by all of them. Marcellus. Salter ONE OF the earliest and most persistent views as to what follows on the death of the body of flesh and blood is that the dead continue to exist in another body closely resembling in appearance the one that has died. from the way the story is told. leaving no trace behind: all perfectly normal. the appearance of Patroclus in the 23rd book of the Iliad. For every separate point in the story. where an apparition is seen by more than one person at the same time. the only departure from realism. "Collective" cases. in the clothes worn. which are among the oldest of human experiences.e. and answered. the transmission of true information unknown to the hearer. it slips from Achilles' grasp like smoke. i. The case is in fact a good illustration of how a single occurrence may raise normal. Hamlet and the rest. The dead king is seen several times. without leaving the domain of the "normal" as already defined. Various names. I shall use the inclusive. He gives a long and detailed account of the manner of his death. with slightly different shades of meaning. sometimes by one only. if only he could get the chance. a parallel instance. "etheric". The earliest accounts which have come down to us are not reported at first hand by the percipient. trouble and money to investigate. how much of that long speech did Hamlet get down on his tablets? Is he sure that he had not already heard rumours or entertained suspicions as to how his father died? What assurance has he that the death really happened as stated by the ghost? On the last point Hamlet would doubtless refer to Claudius's reaction to "the Mousetrap" and if he could meet the other two points equally well. and that of the dead king in Hamlet. "Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned. but are poetic fictions doubtless based on the popular belief of the time. It is clear. Ordinary enquiry as to the facts could go no further. which he never does. such as "astral". voice and. at a length of 23 lines. It resembles the dead man in height. but later found to be true. But the story taken as a whole is just the sort of thing that every psychical researcher would give untold time. have been applied to this conception. There psychical research would have to stop.. "metethedal". As to the King's death. Shakespeare's account is a great deal more impressive. and of the boundary between what is and what is not the proper province of psychical research. that can occupy a position in space and move. The ghost of Patroclus is almost completely realistic. there are several questions he would have to put to Bernardo. significantly. to put it shortly on ghosts. After it has spoken. often but not always in the same place. he would wish to ask Bernardo and Marcellus. Though it can touch the living. which first recognised it as the dead King? Did he say or do anything that might have prompted the other to see or recognise it? Were the glimpses of the moon sufficient to give them a clear view? How much Rhenish had they drained before going on duty? All these questions could be put. H. well or moderately well established. as established by modern enquiry. The earlier the narrative the closer it comes to real experience. being uncommon and the psychology of them obscure. If however he should he so lucky. it cannot usually be grasped by them and it can pass through solid walls and closed doors.Chapter 3: Apparitions W. and could be paralleled from many cases reported to the SPR during the last generation. that it would have been accepted by Shakespeare's contemporaries. or after it. the "collective" perception. Bring with thee airs of heaven or blasts from hell?" That is a question which could only be answered on the supernatural plane. and for that reason less realistic. Take for comparison two ghost stories told by two great poets.
But he wrote on the eve of the Age of Reason when it became the fashion to decry as the product of vulgar credulity any narrative that did not harmonise with current scientific theory. is a good example of a veridical crisisapparition. sitting on a chair. the number of coincidences between the vision and the event are perhaps fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us to expect. The talk about "a fair calculation" is mere bluff. but on recovering my senses I found myself sprawling on the floor. Before however leaving Brougham's case it is to be noted that. or as well as. learnt of it. Instances of the type occur frequently in the literature. vol." (See Phantasms of the Living. As a good specimen of this process one may take the experience recorded sixtytwo years after it happened by Lord Brougham in his Memoirs. I pp. The story. and after a few years Brougham had almost forgotten him. According to that record. Soon after my return to Edinburgh. In 1862 he wrote: "I have just been copying out from my journal the account of this strange dream: Certissima mortis imago! And now to finish the story begun sixty years since. and he had both been students they had drawn up an agreement. it is an extremely bad example of how experiences should be recorded. since the materials for such a calculation would be impossible to obtain. seeks to reduce his experience to the commonplace and normal. except where these present special distinctive features. nor are any particulars given as to just what it said or the date Brougham.'s death. and precise. The type includes cases where the experience is auditory or tactile instead of. That a former Lord Chancellor. written with their blood. announcing G. if Brougham's narrative inspires more confidence than his reasoning. He has left no record of the experience other than one written sixtytwo years later. that whichever died the first should appear to the other. by which Brougham. There is no independent corroboration of the letter from India announcing G. "How I got out of the bath I know not. which was so far good. The frequency of dreams. a former fellow student at Edinburgh University. According to these he was. For the persistent disparagement of them did not prevent these things happening. he noted the vision in his diary.. This type of case is so central to the whole problem of apparitions as to impel me to attempt this formal definition of it. but made no attempt to get the date confirmed by his travelling companion. while lying in it. which is still. and stating that he had died on the 19th of December! "Singular coincidence! Yet when one reflects on the vast numbers of dreams which night after night pass through our brains. visual. he was certainly not having an ordinary dream. It could only be possibly relevant if no distinction were drawn between vague and incoherent dreams on the one hand. travelling in Sweden in December 1799. had disappeared. or whatever it was. however good an example it may be of a type of experience. and if in fact such a calculation had been made and had shown the coincidences to be fewer than chanceexpectation. On reaching his inn after a long day's journey he took a hot bath and. however carefully they may have been recorded. the leader of the "March of Mind". is therefore quite beside the point. as a young man of twentyone. that is to say that by some means other than any of the ordinary means of communication it transmits visually facts not normally known to the percipient relating to a crisis involving another person who is visually represented. absurdly enough. had gone to India. and however critically investigated. realistic dreams on the other. It is not a common incident of dreamlife that makes a man get out of a bath and sprawl unconscious on the floor. that had taken the likeness of G. looking calmly at him. Brougham could not bring himself to talk of the vision even to the friend travelling with him.. imputed to accounts dealing with similar subjects. 6) Now whatever precisely Brougham's psychological state was when he saw G. should fumble his argument in this way. where the diligent reader may look for them. shows the strength of the then prevailing bias against anything that might now be termed paranormal. he saw a friend G.. Defects such as these and the manifold errors due to them discredited stories of ghosts and of other occurrences that could not be forced within the framework of current scientific doctrine. or by hook or crook to explain it away somehow. and happening to persons who could not be ." When G. I shall discuss the type rather than separate examples of it.though with some reservations on the part of the more sophisticated. and brought on them the stigma of "anecdotalism".'s death. there would still be a problem calling for explanation. G. there arrived a letter from India. Having set out Brougham's case with some fullness. 395. The apparition.
after nearly twenty years in which knowledge of paranormal faculties had been greatly extended. but there are three publications of the SPR which by reason of the number of cases set out. suggested that something more than chancecoincidence was at work. came to the same conclusion. between experience and event. such as poor light; (2) absence of satisfactory confirmation of the experience. Proc . the death being neither known to the percipient nor expected by him; with such visions were grouped auditory and tactile experiences of the same sort: (2) the death of the recognised person. there must be satisfactory evidence that at the time he stated his experience he had no normal knowledge of the event nor could have rationally inferred it. so that it became possible to determine more exactly how far chancecoincidence was a sufficient explanation of correspondences. and the care and skill with which they were verified and analysed. his carelessness.000 (approximately) waking experiences collected in response to a questionnaire. Henry Sidgwick collected and classified all the cases which had been privately printed in the Society's Journal but not published anywhere (1923. Then. where a case is evidentially sound. The next point to be considered is whether. were examined in accordance with the principles established by Phantasms . or by a statement made to an independent witness; (3) faults of memory. The Committee that drafted the Report pointed out that the question would only be settled by selecting a coincidence between two definite events and seeing how often it would occur by chance. especially where there is no sufficient record in writing; (4) failure to verify with care the event with which the experience is supposed to correspond. the correspondence of experience and event can reasonably be assigned to chance coincidence. and recent cases. are (1) faulty observation. When therefore the SPR was founded in 1882. types of experience sparsely or dubiously represented in them. that survived critical examination. are of exceptional importance. First. and how often it actually does occur. and more could easily be obtained.lightly brushed aside as incompetent or credulous witnesses. with records of 17. with Myers and Podmore as coadjutors. Proc . But as an essential first step it was necessary to look closely into the evidential weaknesses that had brought the traditional ghost story into disrepute. or the conditions in which the experience occurs. the essential points of the experience must be stated and independently confirmed before the corresponding event is known to the percipient; second. or most of the cases. it was natural that its very wide programme of research should include an enquiry into a subject in which much material lay ready to hand in the form of already reported experiences. some of them were too old to be unreservedly accepted. or is only formally and superficially defective. The main rules to be followed to cure these defects are simple to state but not always easy to apply or enforce. XXXIII). An analysis by the authors of Phantasms of the 5. The main importance of the book arises from the analysis of the different sources of error that had discredited cases of this kind. The lapse of time between this and the earlier collections makes it possible to judge how far the progress of enquiry supports. The main sources of error. and of a similar number of dreams collected in the same way. Mrs. and to formulate a procedure for eliminating them. a matter on which one may sometimes have to rely on the percipient's word; third. The Report of the Census. due to the percipient's emotional state.000 waking experiences to analyse. Although every effort was made to verify the cases set out in it. The first is Phantasms of the Living (1886) of which Edmund Gurney was the main author. and the putting forward of a hypothesis that would cover the cases. either by a written note made at the time. Next in time is the Report on the Census of Hallucinations (1894. There are many collections of ghost stories and other "spontaneous cases". The two events they selected were: (1) visions of a recognised person seen by a waking percipient within twelve hours of the death of that person. the event must be verified to show that the correspondence is real. The report sets out fully the elaborate statistical process that the analysis involved. in which a much larger number of cases. as shown in Phantasms . It can be summarised by . or fails to support. X). like that in Brougham's case.
(1) For the sake of simplicity I omit referenc e to the auditory and tac tile cases. they had had a paranormal experience when fully awake. such as those that relate to spontaneous experiences and sittings with mediums. from which some general principles can be deduced. What then is the cause of them? The traditional answer was that the dead person was locally present in a body having some. which is in fact held by some serious students. But after making allowance for this. 2 12; Journal XXXII. statistics are of help only when the enquiry has been planned so as to lead up to quantitative assessment. five geometrical symbols. Both in Phantasms and in the Census Report there are many interesting tables of statistics. In wellestablished cases. to use the term then current. such as those collected in Phantasms ; or experiences that are never "externalised" to any of the senses. of the qualities of ordinary matter. In other lines of enquiry. it has been accepted by most psychical researchers that these experiences take place "in the mind's eye". but are none the less objective. scenes from books. the agent choosing any one out of an unlimited number of "targets" for the percipient to aim at. however. The most important of these is the table in the Census Report that shows that about one in ten of the 17. Some experiments have been conducted with "free" material. imaginary episodes. and so on. Where however the question is whether an occurrence is fortuitous or not. although often carelessly used to imply weakness of mind. e. The authors of Phantasms advanced the hypothesis that apparitions(1) were telepathic impressions transmitted by the person represented in them. One may mention visions that are only in part realistic.000 persons asked whether. statistics are of little value. as has been done in many recent experiments in ESP. and of the realistic. For reports of them see Proc . XXIX. Apparitions are usually clothed and are sometimes accompanied by visionary objects resembling those they used in their former life. but not in fact there. This view would bring them into line with those semirealistic. it may be desirable to emphasise. for instance. and the variation may be as significant as the instance's conformity with a general type. means simply the "apparent perception of external object not actually present" (Concise Oxford Dictionary). the apparition leaves no trace behind at the end of the experience. to the percipient's mind and externalised as a visual hallucination. The hallucinatory view of apparitions was not new; the telepathic view of them was. as where a mourning band "seen" round a top hat. Have all these things also quasimaterial counterparts that continue their previous association with the quasimaterial body of the dead? There is no clearcut division between apparitions and a large number of other nonfortuitous experiences to which the hypothesis of a quasimaterial body cannot readily be applied. This last word. 46109; XXXIV. the relative frequency of visual and auditory experiences. portended a death; or dreams. but the details vary from instance to instance so as to defy quantitative appraisal.saying that correspondences between these two events were found to be 440 times as numerous as might have been expected if nothing but chance had to be taken into account.g. It is therefore possible to . answered yes; that one in twenty of them had seen a realistic apparition; and one in thirty a realistic apparition of a recognised person. but not all. whic h are in a general way parallel. In other experiments the number of targets is limited.. semirealistic and symbolical types; of the relations between agent and percipient: of the proportions of male and female percipients. and would get over the other difficulties mentioned with regard to the hypothesis of the local presence of a quasimaterial body. showing e. Such material falls within certain general classes. the figures of the Census Report may be accepted as showing the veridical deathcoincidences are not fortuitous. as at the date of Phantasms the experimental evidence for "thoughttransference". But this view presents many difficulties. left much to be desired both as to quantity and quality. to put the question shortly.g. as where a man in a hotel bedroom saw a portrait of his father occupying the frame of a picture at a time when his father was dying many hundreds of miles away; or symbolic visions. including that of being perceived by the senses of the living. The best known experiments of this type were those in which Gilbert Murray was the percipient. intuitions that may be just as definite and veridical as a realistic apparition. and the literature on experimental telepathy is voluminous. hazardously so in fact. The position is now quite different. 29. While none of these difficulties may be conclusive against the quasimaterial hypothesis. called the "agent". symbolic and intuitional experiences and dreams with which they share the quality of being veridical. pictures. and the targets were incidents of real life. as corresponding to something real but external to the percipient's normal knowledge or expectation.
but the impulse seems to have been purely subconscious. so rare that the authors doubted their genuineness. when Phantasms appeared. If there were such a telepathic code it would have to be one capable of putting over complex ideas and elaborate mental images. In some instances of crisisapparitions a conscious desire to communicate with the percipient is shown by the agent's crying out the percipient's name. It is desirable to give a name to all that region of the mind which lies outside of immediate awareness and beyond the reach of easy recall to conscious memory. 419): "I think the kind of union of minds. for instance. for . more fundamental." She added that it was in "collective" cases. It cannot however be confidently asserted that telepathy infringes the "law of inverse squares". here shown may be regarded as the type or norm of telepathic communication to which all other cases conform in varying degrees. It is not fatal to this view that the "waves" cannot at present be specified. No one has ever pointed to any organ in the human body capable of transmitting or receiving any sort of wave over more than trifling distances. apparitions of persons dying in Australia being seen in England. the concept is so at variance with the generally accepted principles of science. Sidgwick wrote (p. especially to proving it to people who rightly or wrongly distrust their ability to judge the evidence by their own commonsense. a reciprocal dream experience of two friends who had vivid dreams on the same night in which they each thought they stood in a dark wood. G. This book will be largely occupied with accounts of the many and varied functions of the subconscious. every normal mode of transmitting messages depends on some prearranged code understood by bath parties. Tyrrell in his Apparitions (1943. in which several percipients shared the same experience. The early conception of telepathy was that it was a oneway process between a single agent and a single percipient. Some spontaneous cases. that this could perhaps be most clearly seen. In other cases there is no such direct evidence. but had the disadvantage of confusion with "sublime" for those ignorant of its etymology. Cases of this type were. B. and she called it transfusion rather than transmission of thought. Mrs.estimate precisely the probability that the results of a series of attempts at them were or were not due to chance. It has indeed been held by some students that transmission is effected through "waves" of some kind. She cites. This is much too simple to fit the material with which the psychical researcher now has to deal. A desire to communicate may be inferred from the fact that a message is actually transmitted. This is not possible with "free" material. Soal in the United Kingdom. the leaves of which turned into flame. Comparison of longdistance and shortdistance experimental results suggests that there is some reduction in effectiveness in the former. What then is the code? Who formulated it? How did it become intelligible as between agents and percipients having no normal knowledge of it? Then there is the question of whether it is affected by the distance between agent and percipient. XXXIII. or in some of the cases of crisisapparitions. as new forms of radiation are constantly being discovered. Commenting on these cases. and the method is accordingly better adapted to proving that telepathy is a real faculty. are reciprocal. The word "subliminal" was used by Myers and many others with much the same meaning. that no methods of enquiry into it ought to be neglected. But the relative effectiveness over long and short distances can only be tested by experiment. If instances of telepathy are. as some of the spontaneous cases show. where the other also was: one of them shook a tree. for instance. but for the present it is sufficient to make it clear in what sense that word is used. as I believe them to be. as in experiments such as those with Gilbert Murray. The type was however wellestablished when Mrs. The conflict with general scientific opinion is due to the absence of any physical mechanism to account for the transmission from agent to percipient. and the percipient an agent. each of whom has recorded his results in several books. the thinking and feeling together. and of importing. objections. the agent being also a percipient. It is effective over great distances. common enough. But there are other. but there are too many variables involved to make the comparison conclusive. revised edition 1953) argued that even in cases that were neither "collective" nor reciprocal the dramatic presentation of the telepathic impulse implied some collaboration between agent and percipient. perhaps in all cases on the agent's. Rhine in America and S. The quantitative method is the more conclusive as to the reality of telepathy. The best known investigators who have employed this method are J. and even where some conscious desire is shown it may well have been made effective by subconscious activity. Sidgwick wrote her report in Proc . Most serious of all. the qualitative the more informative as to how it works. Collaboration would be subconscious on the percipient's part. and in most.
The experimental evidence is good enough to exempt it from summary rejection. could produce realistic apparitions visible by a percipient unaware of the attempt. It had to he shown that telepathy. has been generally though not unanimously accepted by psychical researchers. which are much the most common type of experience. rarer. and these will be discussed in the next chapter. if accepted as a real faculty. types. the metaphor of "threshold". A few fairly good cases were reported to the SPR in the latter years of the 19th century. I think. but Mrs. I share without reserve the majority view. except as regards conative activity. Sidgwick writing in 1923 could find no reports later than 1900. The argument of Phantasms at one other point rested on slight evidence. but if it is a correct view that in the spontaneous cases it is the agent's subconscious that is effective. but these are not characteristic of the "subconscious" as a whole. so far at least as regards single apparitions seen by a single percipient. but hardly good enough to support so important a part of the argument. . It is to be hoped that the further experiments now contemplated will throw more light on this problem.those better informed on this point. which to English people has little relevance. That there is a region of the mind having the qualities they describe as distinctive of the "unconscious" is. notwithstanding this weakness. But there are other. A few successful experiments are quoted in Phantasms . since there is good reason to believe that the subconscious has powers exceeding those of the conscious mind. which is an important element in both conceptions. in only one of which was the agent's intention to project a vision of himself confirmed by independent testimony before the experiment was made. to which the argument cannot without difficulty be made to extend. then failure in consciously directed experiments would not further weaken the argument. established. One of the cases was later found to be a hoax. It is more important to emphasise the distinction between "subconscious" as used in this book. and "unconscious" as used by the Freudians. The argument of Phantasms .
and second accounts which they wrote out at some uncertain date between 1902 and 1906 after consultation with each other. as many dreams are. But veridical apparitions. Myers's view is very hard to state clearly and briefly. Apparitions. as beginning and ending within the percipient's mind. form a very much smaller class. Mention should be made of Professor Hornell Hart's paper. It is not surprising that opinions among well informed students should differ. normal persons and things. i. They cannot be considered. and other hypotheses have been put forward." Neither Gurney's nor Myers's views have met with universal acceptance among psychical researchers. such as are seen by more than one percipient at the same time: (b) "iterative" apparitions. corresponding with that region of space where the distant agent conceives himself to be exercising his supernormal perception. such as are seen on more than one occasion whether by the same or different percipients: (c) apparitions seen a considerable time after the death of the agent and conveying information outside the percipient's normal knowledge or inference. i.e. It is considerably expanded and altered so as to form a picture inconsistent with the normal contemporary scene. The earlier version is consistent with the persons and scenes described being such as anyone else might have seen in 1901 by normal eyesight; the second is not. Are the percipients two. 50. one of them being that "they are often seen collectively by two or more persons at the same time". and they point to certain types of apparitions which do not seem amenable to the telepathic hypothesis. or a small group. so to speak. owing to the scarcity of collective cases which are not wholly illusory. These three types will be considered in that order. In the first edition of the book the second version is printed as if it were the first. but unrelated to anything external to his personality. and it is the only one printed in most of the later editions." in SPR Proc . H. For .. In the Versailles case the belief that two English ladies in August 1901 saw the grounds and buildings of the Petit Trianon as they were at the time of the French Revolution and there met and conversed with several persons of that period is based on a confusion between the first reports of their experiences which they each wrote in November of that year.. As to the nature of collective cases Gurney and Myers expressed different opinions in Phantasms . Salter THE QUESTION is often raised as to whether apparitions are objective. or a crowd? Was the apparition observed indoors. He regarded the respective hallucinations of each member of the group as all generated by a conception in a distant mind. "Six Theories about Apparitions. and this can only be answered by the further question as to what sense "objective" is to receive. But those who raise the question probably have a more materialistic conception of objectivity in view. as to things that have happened since the agent's death.e. to use Professor Broad's phrase. and owing also to the varied conditions in which experiences occur. as the other two classes might. but his remarks on p.e.228) that "Apparitions and their accessories are semi substantial" as having several characteristics which he lists. conditioned perhaps. in a public place? Under what conditions of visibility? How soon after the experience was it described to persons who had not themselves shared it? Did all the percipients describe their share in it independently? What was their emotional state at the time? When considering the objectivity or semiobjectivity of collective apparitions it is first of all necessary to set aside the pure illusions. by internal conflicts.291 of the second volume give the gist of it." Both of them rejected what Myers called "the gross conception of a molecular metaorganism. There are three principal types which they specify: (a) "collective" apparitions. being "diffused from a 'radiant point' or phantasmogenetic. the Versailles "Adventure" and the Borley Nun.. as was shown in the preceding chapter. He argues (p. focus.Chapter 4: Apparitions: Some Special Types W. corresponding to some verifiable event outside the percipient's normal knowledge or inference. i. are fairly common. Gurney's view was that perception spread from the percipient who first had the experience to the others by telepathic infection. The originals of this later version they destroyed in 1906 after making fair copies. Among these I would include two cues that have received wide publicity in our time. and those of recognised persons not very much rarer. out of doors. due solely to misinterpretation of actual. They have therefore a sort of objectivity that cannot be claimed for the others.
but soon went up to the side of her husband's berth. came to the door of his stateroom. Sidgwick puts it (Proc . As between Mr. a street or a park. a passenger on the same ship. after caressing him for a few moments. Her description of the ship. asked her whether she had been to see her brother during the night. It is a misfortune that there are so few collective cases that are both veridical and wellauthenticated. On his waking. About four o'clock in the morning it seemed to her that she went out to seek him. It implies. Borley Rectory was built in 1863. the position of the stateroom and the arrangement of the berths in it was correct. as much might be learnt from them. 45). in which exceptional features are present that might be useful clues to problems still obscure. His part in the incident rests on Wilmot's statement. being anxious as to her husband's safety owing to the reported loss of another vessel. and these accounts. Attempts have been made to fit the descriptions of persons and places in the first version. bent down. crossing a wide and stormy sea. One night. It is a serious weakness that no written account of the case was made for more than twenty years." and on being pressed for an explanation. if only the evidence were a little better. has not prevented the wildest conjectures as to the supposed nun's identity and fate. On her saying "No".. Until 1929 Borley had not been the scene of any psychic occurrence of an indubitably physical kind. Wilmot sailed from Liverpool for New York in a ship which in mid Atlantic ran into a heavy gale lasting several days. In 1863 Mr. 51. when she was questioned about it in 189o. as Mrs.e. One summer evening in 1900 four daughters of the house thought that they had seen the nun in the garden. she said that. the night of Wilmot's dream). The earliest written or printed accounts are of the statements they made verbally to other people in 1928. The experience is therefore of the "mental" order and. giving those words a wide sense. 178. a more complex conception of telepathy than the old one of singleway thoughttransference from one agent to one percipient. supported by that of his sister. she had lain awake that night for a long time thinking of him. Wilmot because she was present in some quasimaterial form is ruled out. As between Wilmot and Tait it was collective. The essential thing however would be to show that the descriptions in the first version are definitely inconsistent with what a visitor to Versailles in an ordinary state of consciousness would have seen. however. From this angle these attempts seem to me quite inconclusive. Almost her first question was "Did you receive a visit from me a week ago Tuesday?" (i. stooped down and kissed him and. as reported by the persons who received them. and The Ghosts of Versailles . In consequence of several illusory or hallucinatory incidents a belief grew up in the neighbourhood that it was haunted by a nun. then in the United States. Tait. The day after landing Wilmot joined his wife. She seemed to discover that he was not the only occupant of the room. he dreamed that his wife. saw a man in the upper berth looking right at her. The fact that there never was a nunnery anywhere near Borley. clad in her nightdress. the upper berth of which was occupied by Mr. In general the chance that normal persons have been mistaken for paranormal is increased if the experience has occurred out of doors. by which time Tait was dead. was for a moment afraid to go in.a more detailed criticism of the evidence I would refer to my article in SPR Journal XXXV. Tait leant over and said "You're a pretty fellow to have a lady come and visit you in this way. Asked to explain. and that therefore it was improbable that any living nun had any connection with the place. to actual persons of the Revolutionary period. thinking that possibly the visitor was Wilmot's sister. hesitated a little. but as one was awake and the other asleep the nation that both "saw" Mrs. 1957. and to buildings either existing some few years before the Revolution or planned. but from then on there is no lack of ostensibly paranormal phenomena that were certainly physical. She descended to a stateroom in the stem. The astounding structure of fantasy and fraud connected with Borley is described in Proc . VII. since more than one percipient is involved. quietly withdrew. The only doubt is whether any were genuine. where it is impossible to . related what he had seen while wide awake in his berth. "Each perceived the other in the situation in which the other supposed himself or herself to be". even though any theoretical interpretation of it can only be put forward tentatively. who went up to her brother. The case seems to me evidentially good enough to warrant consideration. kissed and embraced him and then went away. telepathic. he said he had seen some woman in white. Wilmot the case is veridical because. but unfortunately they made no written record of what they had seen. The following morning Tait. to a black steamship up whose side she went. by Lucille Iremonger. when the storm was beginning to abate toward morning. especially if it has occurred in a public place. the only one worth considering. The case now to be mentioned is of the tantalising class all too frequent in psychical research. It exactly corresponded with Wilmot's dream. He had a lower berth in a stateroom. do not agree on the crucial point as to how far the evening was advanced or how much light there was to see the figure by. and Mrs. Their good faith is above suspicion. then came to his side.
but its apparent movements went far beyond mere misinterpretation of actuality. G. a rifle shot. visions of the Virgin. namely the sun. It was naturally impracticable to obtain accounts from more than a few eyewitnesses and these did not exactly tally. and the times of the stages of the attack as recorded in official documents and by press correspondents. gunfire. or how far collective perception was spread by the cries or gestures of those first affected.. that collective misperception even on a massive scale is no guarantee of physical objectivity. that part of it which relates to the apparent motions of the sun. imagining some fear How easy is a bush supposed a bear. the sun. That point may be academic. The illusion has now developed adjuncts that axe hallucinatory. Both as regards form and content we think the experience must be rated a genuine psi phenomenon.. The Message of Fatima. type of objectivity described at the beginning of this chapter. was involved.be sure who was or might have been present in the flesh. Lambert.. cannot be considered either as pure illusion or pure hallucination. This appeared to sweep round the sky in circles. One sees the rough dark shape in one's path. Of the other. Uncertainty is still further increased if the percipients are members of a crowd who cannot. shouts and cries. there being in fact no such noise. be questioned as to just what their experience was. seen in Portugal in 1917. Part of it projects: the head doubtless. are all appropriate. and the devotional feelings inspired by them. and Mrs. but the behaviour of the crowd showed that there was a widespread sense of having observed something in the sky quite outside the habitual course of things.. Gay. It was an illusion. repeated at fixed intervals and culminating in October of that year in an experience shared by several thousand spectators. There is however an incident forming part of the culminating experience which can be discussed as a proper subject for ordinary physical and psychological enquiry. Both percipients had read newspaper accounts of the actual Dieppe raid of 1942. The Fatima visions. Perhaps in the discussions that have taken place on these cases too sharp a distinction has been made between collective illusion and collective hallucination. A chill wind blows. of which little or nothing was derived from previous normally acquired knowledge. heard the noise of cries. but there is not enough detailed information as to when the several kinds of sound first occurred to enable one to judge whether they are 'phased in' correctly. an experienced official of the War Office and President of the Society 19551958. and to approach the earth. As Father Martindale says in his book. There were. divebombing. and had those descriptions been even approximately true. it will be remembered. The outline wavers: the beast must be bristling with anger. Suppose however that growls are then heard proceeding from the imaginary bear.m. . be rash to assume that the sounds heard were a sort of 'soundtrack' repetition of the sounds of the Raid. The experience. but it is a point of importance." There is nothing in the experience to suggest that it was the result of post mortem activity by any person. and the variations in sound corresponded to some extent with the different stages of the attack. between 4 and 7 a. are by now so wellknown as to make a full account of them here superfluous. "No one supposes that the sun was physically dislodged from its place in the solar system". because an actual object. 607618) by Mr. gunfire and divebombing out at sea. of a natural object. in the night. 36. W. lie altogether outside the province of psychical research. Astronomers did not observeany disturbances corresponding to the descriptions of members of the crowd. whichever view be taken. It concerns the motions. or apparent motions. The sounds heard by the percipients extended over the hours when similar sounds would have been heard on the coast during the actual raid. So far all is just illusion due to misinterpretation of something actually seen.. The various kinds of sound heard. but neither had looked up the history of it in connection with their visit to the French coast. planes. psychological. The visions of the Virgin. The authors point out that the experience cannot be explained as due to misinterpretation of actual noises "heard off" but that "it would . prints in parallel columns the times at which the percipients heard the different noises.. all of them. that would have been the end of life on this planet. a good example is the experience of two English women taking a holiday on the French coast near Dieppe who on 4th August 1951. The account of the case in SPR Journal (Vol. being supernatural.
after hearing some raps.C. except the chin. but have elements which may perhaps have been physically objective. but he had gone. and persisted in this statement when told he was in France. She turned to embrace him. The sister believed this to have happened about 9. Mere lapse of time since the death is therefore a very insecure reason for distinguishing between phantasms of the living and phantasms of the dead. and said "Fancy coming out here".e. then in India. If knowledge is conveyed of things not normally known to him but occurring during the agent's life. Not however conclusive. I will turn to cases where evidence to that effect is stronger. an old friend of the mother's. who had not corresponded with her for quite eighteen months. both towards the end of 1917. in which there is little evidence for the agency of an identifiable person. If the knowledge conveyed is of things unknown to the percipient but happening after the agent's death. a point on which she seems herself to have had some doubt when she writes of the whole experience. in relation to "communications" received through mediums. by telepathy from some living person. and seem not to have been casual or purposeless. and wrote to his mother expressing her anxiety. the argument for the agent's survival and continued activity is stronger. But memories may remain latent for many years. followed by sleep and a vision which she was certain was not a dream. For the purpose of estimating whether such cases could be explained by chance it was necessary to fix a definite time limit. went to sleep and then woke up to see him on the bed beside her. After his death had become known two other incidents occurred.15 on the morning of the 19th. "Poltergeist" cases. In the other his fiancée. XXXIII. it must reckon as one of the very numerous class for which no paranormal explanation is needed. and has been claimed to suggest continued activity after death. though the exact dates cannot be fixed. but not of any recognised person; a class including most cases that are called "haunts"; (c) those in which the main phenomena are objectively physical. was nursing her baby when she turned round and saw her brother. and the raps heard by the fiancée: she had "asked him to rap twice if he was ever going to show himself" to her. to whom she was devoted. Twentyfour hours was convenient for this purpose. Leaving for later consideration the haunts and poltergeists. and the results of experiments in thoughttransference suggested that twelve hours was about the limit for which a telepathic impression might remain latent in the percipient's subconscious. On the afternoon of the 19th. but it is not demonstrably objective. In Phantasms of the Living the authors regarded as deathcoincidences cases occurring within twelve hours before or after the death. Captain BowyerBower of the R. who had a sudden sensation of "most unnatural coldness". but the raps the fiancée heard came in answer to her request. i.F. She tried to touch him and he disappeared. If the experience conveys to the percipient no knowledge he did not already possess. Until a few weeks before his death he had been for several months in England and his sister had not heard that he had returned to France. unless the events lie outside not only the percipient's normal knowledge but such paranormal knowledge as he may have acquired e. and there seems no reason why a shorter period of latency should be definitely fixed for telepathic impressions. was shot down and killed on the Western Front soon after dawn on the 19th March 1917. saw all his face. Of this striking series of incidents the first is a very good example of a crisisapparition at the time of death. "I certainly did not dream it. This last is a difficulty which constantly besets the seeker for evidence of survival. 167 176. That however does not settle the question whether they were objective. the cold felt by the mother. Those of us who live in old houses often hear raps of natural origin. and two raps came. In one his mother. had a "certain and awful feeling" that Captain BowyerBower had been killed. She supposed he had been posted to India."Iterative" cases fall into three groups: (a) Those relating to some recognised dead person; (b) those where the main phenomena consist of apparitions. The fourth and fifth incidents are not veridical as both percipients knew of the death. was downstairs.. and the second and third may with less assurance he also classed as veridical deathcoincidences. but this explanation becomes less and less probable with the lapse of time. His lips moved in a whisper. but owing to the letter having been destroyed there is no full confirmation of the date or hour.g. pp. or imagine it. News that he was missing was received by his mother on the 23rd. Before she received the War Office telegram announcing that he was missing his mother received a letter from another sister saying that her little daughter then under three years old had told her that her uncle. The possibility of telepathy from the living detracts from the value as evidence for survival of some of the instances of apparitions which have often been . but of course it may be something to do with my brain". gradually emerge in a yellowblue ray of light. Cold is reported as part of many psychic experiences. it can be considered a case of latent telepathy. It will be more fully discussed later in the book. A good example of group (a) is to be found in Proc . In the late part of the morning of the 19th his sister.
17) in which a man. if we can be certain that we have all the facts. The figure in every respect resembled the sister when living. and inside the inner pocket. "You all must take care of your Mammy". saw standing by him the figure of his sister. "He took hold of his overcoat this way and pulled it back and said. when she had obliterated the traces of it with powder. apparition. it has much less claim to be considered a manifestation of complete personality than the phenomena of trancemediumship and automatic writing discussed later in this book. rather than telepathy from the living. or borderland case) providing evidence of activity after death. In 1905 he made a will leaving his whole property to his third son. who in 1876 was attending to his business correspondence in broad daylight. an unattested will in an old Bible not in ordinary use unless. and added. James found the old Bible in a drawer in his mother's house and in the presence of witnesses found between two folded pages on which the 27th Chapter of Genesis was printed another will. In June 1925 the second son. Before probate however the Testator appeared again to his son. with whom I exchanged several letters. which was sewn up. the three surviving sons and the widow of the son who died. This vision may have been a "borderland" experience occurring between sleep and waking. as I prepared it for publication in SPR Proceedings (Vol. but in an experience as informative as this the distinction is of little importance. but he took the trouble to make arrangements likely to prevent the second will ever being effective. he were able to reveal the will's existence and whereabouts by appearances after his death. . This is an interesting case but of little value in proving the agency of the dead. James. who had at first contested it. or borderland case. or of his family after his death. 'You will find my will in my overcoat pocket. VI. a paper in a sewnup coat pocket. This experience. saying: "Where is my old will?" and showing "considerable temper". a possible origin for a telepathic impression." James went to his elder brother's house and found the coat. who nearly fainted away and on recovering said that he had indeed seen his sister. whereby the Testator "After reading the 27th Chapter of Genesis". He also told his mother. XXXVI. as no living mortal but herself was aware of that scratch which she had accidentally made while attending to the body after death. began to have vivid dreams of his father appearing at his bedside and speaking. it is probably the best case of an apparition (or realistic dream.quoted. except that there was a bright red line or scratch on the righthand side of the face.' and then disappeared. On either hypothesis it is curious that there should have been a lapse of nine years between the death and the experience. It was more realistic than pure dreams usually are. If the case is accepted as genuine. by the purposiveness of the repeated appearances and the detailed information conveyed as to matters outside the percipient's normal knowledge. There is for example the American case (Proc . The scratch was known to the mother. which he can hardly have foreseen. James. and himself died about a year later. Marshall. 517524). who was inclined to ridicule him at first. the last named having an interest opposed to the provisions of the second will. who proved the will. James Chaffin. Marshall's widow. It detracts from the force of a narrative of supposedly paranormal events if any part of it which is not paranormal is improbable. though unattested by witnesses. The figure was dressed in a black overcoat which James had often seen his father wearing. divided his property equally between. a minor. whether dream. in which the supplanting of Esau by Jacob is related. put into effect within a few months of the first appearance. The second will was apparently intended to set light what he regarded as the injustice of the first. The second will. was valid by the law of the State and was admitted to probate in December 1925. I take a personal interest in it. and though the experience may be regarded as a "vehicle" by which the Testator communicated. dated 16th January 19 19. From this weakness at any rate the Chaffin Will Case appears to be free. In this case the Testator's action as to his second will during his life seems hard to explain. withdrawing her opposition on being shown the actual paper. pp. who had died in 1867. his four sons. leaving a widow and a son. died in 1921 as the result of a fall. and on that assurance the case was published. But the purpose was a limited one. said that to anyone who knew country folk in that area there would be nothing incredible in the action of the Testator during his life. has a fuller content and is more impressive than most apparitions. He hurried home and told his father. a farmer in North Carolina. a roll of paper with the words "Read the 27th Chapter of Genesis in my daddie's old Bible". On the other hand it is hard to believe that the whole story was a putup job between the Testator's widow. The American lawyer. leaving a widow and four sons.
according to their inclinations. then aged 19. Haunted Houses are much more numerous in fiction than in fact. in Nova Scotia in the past. as there is an offchance that every now and then something may be happening that will repay his attention. phantasms of the kinds mentioned being observed in connection with materially objective phenomena. and more thrilling too.Chapter 5: Haunts and Poltergeists W. visual. She was the principal percipient in the case and prepared the report printed in SPR Proceedings ten years later. By the light of a candle Miss Morton saw her standing at the head of a staircase. the impression being of widow's weeds. Two other sisters and a brother. and doubtless many other investigators' experience. when collected" except. Occurrences of the first type are known as "haunts". to be followed. none is of greater interest than the "Morton" case. the inability or unwillingness of an old gentleman. It occurred in Cheltenham and was investigated by Myers. Among cases of haunts in which no demonstrably physical phenomena are reported. The first is of recurrent phantasms. The first manifestation took place towards the end of June in the same year. Salter NOTHING IN the realm of the "psychic" or "occult" arouses so much popular interest as Haunted Houses. . There are two main types of occurrence in a house or other locality. I do not number among them houses where the husband having had a stomachache in the night. Miss R. saw an apparition. that are not clearly distinguished in the public mind. so called from the fictitious name under which the family concerned preferred to be known. wherever a test is possible. If any of our visitors have come here with this intention. She also heard light footsteps. each saw the figure several times in the period between 1883 and 1887: some of the appearances are said to have occurred in daylight. often recurrent and. found to be materially objective. and to find that neither the frequency nor the accessibility of our ghosts is as great as they had expected. Some of her experiences she recorded at the time in letters to a friend. breakages and displacements of objects. Some suggest the most lurid possibilities which however fade away on examination. and also from two servants. and on the 29th January 1884 she spoke to it twice. The second is of noises. H. I have found no discrepancy in the independent testimonies. In the Prefatory Note to Miss Morton's report of the case in SPR Proc . Morton. The figure began to descend the stairs. he questioned several of the percipients. of the second as "poltergeists". not different apart from their recurrence from those discussed in the two preceding chapters. Noises of various kinds were heard. who knew that town well. In fact their own continent has produced examples not inferior. The psychical researcher cannot however afford to throw into his waste paper basket all the reports in letters or newspaper cuttings that come to him. auditory or tactile. C. at the time a boy of 7 or 8. or the wife having mislaid the saucepan or finding a chimney smoke. I have been told that enterprising travel agencies in America hold out as one of the principal attractions of a visit to the United Kingdom the prospect of seeing our historic ghosts. but at this point Miss Morton's candle burnt out. promptly calls in the aid of the nearest journalist. In the next two years she saw the figure again about halfadozen times. to remember an incident six years old of which there is a written record made shortly after its occurrence. none of the experiences being demonstrably objective in the ordinary material sense. they are likely to be disappointed. provided some knowledgeable person is on the spot before the pitch is hopelessly queered. VIII he writes: "In this case it is observable that the phenomena as seen or heard by all the witnesses were very uniform in character even in the numerous instances where there had been no previous communication between the percipients. he adds. and the Morton family moved in at the end of April 1882. either by one of the local clergy or a medium from a neighbouring town. but each item of it could be paralleled from my own. but the figure disappeared without making reply. a few years later. Rarely the two types overlap. and more recently on Long Island. Not all cases reported are on the face of them as trivial as this. which are quoted in the report. He interviewed the head of the family during the period of the manifestations and. The apparition was of a tall lady dressed in black. a neighbour. This is an imaginary psychic incident. and the like. The house was built about 1860. when a daughter. Written statements were obtained from these two sisters and the brother.
Lambert points out that a substantial number of poltergeist cases have been reported from places where the action of tidal and subterranean water would be likely to be strong. The only reason for regarding Miss Campbell's experience as "telepathic" would be the correspondence in dates. These facts are all good evidence that the figure was not made of our common clay. To establish a poltergeist in the opinion of the household and neighbours it would be essential that the effects of the action of the water should be noticeable by them. in this and other respects. wind and waterpipes can produce noises odd enough to baffle a household. on the night when Miss Morton first spoke to the figure. It would have been better if others besides Miss R. are on record that could not be explained by direct action of water. Morton had made written records at the time. But as neither percipient received any information they did not already possess. Lambert has recently stressed. wind. where the occurrences are materially objective. or with the view of apparitions set out in the preceding chapters. but did not know of the caretaker's experience. It conveyed no knowledge to the percipients which they did not already possess. which. must be classed as good. After Miss R. C. is used without prejudice in place of a clumsy periphrasis such as "The figure resembling the late Rector". since several cases of simultaneous hallucination of more than one sense were reported to the Census Committee. as was. Thin cords were stretched at various heights. (It will be understood that the third personal pronoun. for no obvious reason. the experience was not veridical. as she thought. Her own advice to Miss Morton might have stimulated her to have a visual hallucination. It is a curious feature of the case that Miss Campbell. If it had appeared to one percipient only. however. The first is normal. Mr. practically rule out the possibility that a living person was mistaken for a phantom. These failed. There were only the flimsiest grounds for connecting it with any previous occupant of the house. The principal percipients. In the poltergeist cases. Both appearances were in daylight. due to telepathy. operative through some person who is in a sort of way a medium. herself saw the apparition "telepathically" as she puts it. by a subnormal adolescent. Thus in a case investigated by the SPR (Journal XIX. it vanished. is not conclusive. large or small. She was at the time at her home in the North of England. as Mr. it has long been recognised that rats. and. across the stairs and the figure was seen to pass through them. the friend to whom Miss Morton first spoke of the apparition. or because they are of a kind that no geophysical disturbance. It was not recognised. nonhuman agency: animals. Morton's first experience had become known to other members of the Morton family. pressure by tidal water or underground streams. C. When Miss Morton cornered the figure and attempted to touch it. This would limit the supposed psychic phenomena to noises of various kinds. often. were of good education and intelligence. but would be consistent either with the astraletheric hypothesis. On the other hand. though not perfect. He spoke to her. who were members of the Morton family. The third is deceptive imitation of paranormal activity. ordinary suggestion might induce hallucinations in them. and small breakages and displacements. but the action itself not. but not always.) About four years later the wife of the then Rector saw the former Rector in another part of the same building. but even so we must suppose that the printed account represents the facts in their main outline at least. Many phenomena. 262) a Rector was seen in his church by the caretaker about a year after his death. only to be expected in the poor light in which most of the apparitions took place. Miss Campbell's experience may perhaps help towards finding an explanation.Miss R. C. especially rats. She knew his appearance from photographs. especially at certain times and seasons. it may have been due to suggestion aided by chance. three possible causes have to be considered: they may all be in operation in a single case. quite a hundred miles from Cheltenham. could have caused. and the correspondence in date is not outside the range of chance coincidence. If it was not. but she could not of course have known when this would be. As to the first sort of cause. and made a favourable impression on Myers when he interviewed them. there would have been nothing to differentiate it from the general run of apparitions that. The evidence in this case. The second is paranormal activity. though curious. "he". just happen. waterpipes. There are also a few cases of recognised apparitions being seen in the same building by more than one person independently and at different times. Morton made several attempts to test the possible materiality of the apparition. A camera was kept in readiness and some exposures made. either because they are too big to have been so produced without thrusting the cause on the attention of the household. The figure mostly appeared and disappeared indoors in conditions that. the apparition was not veridical. The fact that the caretaker both "saw" and "heard" the voice of the late Rector does nothing to prove her experience other than hallucinatory. It was Miss Campbell who had suggested to Miss Morton that she should speak to the figure on its next appearance. which makes it improbable that an actual living person was mistaken for an apparition of a dead man. the writing on .
as later research showed. who visited the house at this time. shylooking boy who had been under treatment for nervous trouble. The hypothesis that the phenomena were simulated through the agency of a subnormal adolescent was put forward by Podmore. When poltergeists occur. The first disturbances in the house consisted of the throwing of small. who knows what trickery can effect. Among the members of the household were a son. Three generations lived in the house. or is it invariably deceptive. aged 85. fourteen. There is some evidence that. prove that there never is. is very frequently an adolescent. and might apply to many more. reserving that word for the conduct of persons who have fewer claims on our sympathy. the direct agency for which was human. and. and the question is whether it is ever paranormal. Later on. as in a case I looked into some years ago. the phenomena are in my view always fraudulent. in the view of the SPR representatives who kept the grandson under careful observation. There was also a free lance investigator. The house stood near the course of an underground stream. such as to frighten an unwanted member of the household into quitting. and further that the agent. Though nonhuman causes are beyond doubt at work in some cases. but that he is occasionally a subnormal adult. Is there never anything paranormal? It is not possible to. and occasionally also an adult who is neither mentally nor physically below the average. have been caused by the latter. One should not however call the trickery of subnormal adolescents or adults fraud. The strains which puberty places on even a healthy child are immensely intensified if the child is not up to the mark in mind or body. as has often been done. or more than one. or a cripple. a little psychological knowledge and increase of affection to the child will probably put a rapid end to the trouble. During his visits remarkable things happened which the . If the parents make enough ado about his performances he may himself come to believe that they are genuine and sinister. or if there is more than one. because it is extremely rare for a critical observer. stones were thrown at it from adjoining property. such as potatoes and lumps of coal. It is generally agreed that there is one human agent. and could all. not only because the disturbances were sometimes focused on boys. frighten his parents and other seniors by making them believe they have to deal with occult. but I am sure he was on the right track. to prevent the purchaser of a house taking up residence and evicting a family of squatters. in 1896 after an examination of all the poltergeist cases which had then been investigated by the SPR. He is lucky if he can get a firsthand account of them soon after their occurrence from an eyewitness who may know little about trickery but is at any rate intelligent. continued in fraud. Is the agency of any of them a case of genuine mediumship. No more definite motive for his causing them could be found than is usually traceable where an adolescent is the centre of trouble of this kind. He is compelled to forego some of the fun that he sees other boys and girls of his own age enjoying. perhaps. who had had brainfever as a child and still suffered from frequent headaches. "Begun in fun. for instance. and furniture was upset and smashed. mystify. As to such cases Mr. but this fact and its possible significance were not realised at the time. a delicate. As an instance of the complex situation that may be found in a poltergeist case. larger objects were thrown about the kitchen. Lambert argues that geophysical causes started noises or small movements which the household could not explain. But he can find some compensation for this if by a little trickery he can fool. whether consciously or subconsciously? Where the person is neither mentally nor physically subnormal. and his nephew. including a senile grandfather. or mentally defective. "the naughty little girl theory" is not quite fair. and so triggered off other phenomena of a different type or on a larger scale. aged forty. it is the human activity which is the most important.the walls in Borley Rectory. Informed opinion is not unanimous. hard objects. as they occasionally do. and designed to further some plan. but the weight of it seems to me to be strongly against the paranormal. The word "trickery" may he thought to beg the question. tubercular perhaps. on adults too. Podmore may have ridden his hypothesis too hard. in intelligent families." was the summary of the report on one case. To call it. and that the son might have been actuated by a desire to frighten the old man out of the house. whose removal from the scene would at once be followed by the cessation of the disturbances. take the disturbances in a London house which aroused great interest about thirty years ago. From the report of representatives of the SPR who paid several visits. before disturbances began inside the house. sinister forces. but because the whole point of Podmore's view was that the state of mind that prompted the causation of the disturbances was different from the wilful naughtiness of a healthy child. It is not necessary to work any very recondite piece of deception to fool the sort of household where these things usually happen. or. The grandfather was a constant target for these. and ending in fright. Disturbances however continued during the son's absence. then one of the agents. one of the authors of Phantasms . mentally or physically subnormal. to be present when the phenomena are occurring. it would appear that both son and grandson might have been responsible for causing disturbances.
So much doubt attaches to apparitions reported as seen in connection with occurrences of the poltergeist type that it is useless to speculate whether they are to any degree material. Occasionally a poltergeist case. took up residence at the Rectory. There is no doubt that some at least of the phenomena. for instance. but no phenomena that. This suggestion will not appear improbable to those who know how later he manipulated and distorted other people's evidence as to events at Borley. as to call for a thorough scrutiny of the evidence. real or supposed. in most cases. suddenly breaks out into physical phenomena of various kinds continued for several years during which the occupants of the Rectory entirely change. of his exposure of Rudi Schneider. the appearance of messages on walls and pieces of paper. He was succeeded by his son. did not live at the Rectory. which was occupied by his sisters. The place was invaded week by week by groups whose hunger for sensation much exceeded. E. conducted over several years. accompanied by a wife much younger than himself. Populus vult decipi. No qualification as to materiality is needed regarding the candlesticks hurtling through the air. or who have followed his conduct in other matters. 1911 to 1920. heard many marvels but saw none. their competence as investigators.claims to have seen them? Is it certain that whoever is causing the disturbances is not also fabricating reports of apparitions in order to arouse still greater interest and to make the whole affair conform more closely to the popular notion of how a ghost should behave? At Borley the process was reversed. with apparitions. of the haunting. In poltergeist cases which are free from suspicion of deliberate deception there is a characteristic psychological situation not usually found among percipients of apparitions. the reputation for haunting was increased by rustic credulity. but not in conversation showing much sign of worldly wisdom. and the misinterpretation of ordinary sights and sounds. and. English village.members of the household who were not themselves under suspicion attributed to him. A case which had run for several decades. L. a charming and cultivated man. which had ceased to be used as such. whose first experience this was of life in a small. On the 10th June 1929 a journalist. overturning of furniture. were faked by Mrs. throwing of objects. There is no reason to suppose they were anything else than subjective hallucinations. is reported as developing apparitions. The reputation of the Rectory for being haunted was started by the visions of Henry Bull. and through Harry Price. including voices. They saw a glass candlestick hurtle past their heads. odours. a cousin of the Bulls. and interviewed both the Foysters. while Harry Price was tenant of the Rectory. visited the Rectory. written and oral. the Rev. Harry Bull who died in 1927. and so on. This it received in Vol. who later wrote tip the haunt in two books. Smith. 51 of SPR Proceedings in a report based on most careful examination of the available evidence. On this occasion thick panes of glass fell from a roof. Mrs. A. Nor is it worth while to waste time over reports of still later events. after the typical disturbances. The Rector. notwithstanding change of occupant. whether genuine or not. whose apparent motive was to worry her husband into giving up the living. For this startling development there is only one reasonable explanation. not least remarkable. Between then and January 1932 ostensibly paranormal phenomena occurred in great number and astonishing variety. Henry Bull who built Borley Rectory in 1863 lived there till his death in 1892. namely that these occurrences were deliberately faked by Harry Price. It is therefore desirable to look closely into the reports of apparitions seen in poltergeist cases. I visited the Rectory during the first year of the Foyster incumbency. and so introduce something which had no place in the accounts of . Foyster. and so on. The journalist returned. the phenomena ceased. the circumstances. For the whole of the two Bull incumbencies and the first few months of that of their successor. Both the change from apparition to poltergeist. In October 1930 the Rev. in general. wrote it all down with great care. apparitions. pebbles come tumbling down the stairs. invited by Mr. splashing them both with splinters. It is unnecessary to describe the events after the Foysters had left. the messages for example. perhaps a little mild hoaxing. the furniture knocked about. but for several years. and only regret that here and there the tone is so biased as to detract from the force of the commentary. a notable eccentric. bringing with him Harry Price. When it became clear that he would not do this. These are material in the ordinary sense of the word. and went there twice later after they had left. G. Foyster. Who . Two days later all that was changed most dramatically. and the continuance of the poltergeist phenomena. are so unlike what the psychical researcher's experience of other cases would lead him to expect. Smith who became Rector in 1928. I have not the slightest doubt that the report gives a true picture. were certainly physical. Foyster and some organs of the Press it had at Borley its heart's desire. remote.
the Census Report (Proc . but they are not objective in the sense of consisting of anything physical or material in the usual meaning of those words: they do not. semirealistic and symbolic visions. drugs or the electrical stimulation of the brain. semirealistic or symbolic .. Phantasms of the Living (1886). as corresponding in some way to things external to the percipient's normal knowledge or inference. with which the next chapter will deal. 1894) and Mrs. but cases which deviate substantially should be discarded in the formulation of principles. no connecting link such as a supposed intermediate semimaterial substance: see subclause 17 post. alcohol. (8) Realistic veridical apparitions stand at one end of a series of experiences at the other end of which stand veridical intuitions devoid of sensory imagery. This is more reasonably explained by supposing that the whole apparition. dreams and intuitions. Rigid adherence to them is in practice a counsel of perfection. the apparitions: they are the most numerous and what is said about them applies in general to experiences of the other two kinds. "borderland" cases. occurs as a mental image than on the view that it is a quasimaterial replica of a person of flesh and blood. but of a quite different kind. (4) A small proportion of such apparitions show a correspondence with external events of which the percipient had no normal knowledge and which he could not infer by any normal reasoning. (2) Nothing is at present known as to whether sane and healthy persons when they see apparitions of the kind described in this and the preceding chapters are in any particular physiological condition. psychological and other points each of them raises. may be produced by disease. e. the rules governing which are such as commonsense dictates: they have been stated shortly in Chapter III. (9) The series of veridical experiences that ranges from apparitions to intuitions can most satisfactorily be explained if all of them are considered as presentations to the percipient's conscious mind of telepathic impulses received by his subconscious from another person who is connected with it visually or in some other way. Any explanation must he such as will explain the whole series of experiencesrealistic. Hallucinations. but that the cases chosen are leading cases few will probably deny. occurring within twelve hours before or after the death of the person seen. i. XXXIII (1923). Between apparitions and events of a definitely physical or material kind there is no continuous series. and a Census on the same scale today might very likely show figures different from those of 1894. according to the type of experience.e. It will doubtless be suggested that if other casts had been chosen a different moral could have been extracted from them. Sidgwick's paper in Proc .g. The number of reported instances of apparitions and of cognate auditory and tactile experiences is enormous.. and have also set out and commented on several cases that have come to be regarded as "leading cases" on the various topics under discussion. Since that date there has been a great reduction in the number of experiences of all kinds reported. X.apparitions discussed in Chapter III. including the clothes. For information as to the frequency or scarcity of different types of apparition reliance has been placed on the three collections already specified. show that the correspondence is not due to chance. leave any material aftereffects. Before however leaving the subject of apparitions I will summarise my views on them and on their bearing on the problem of survival. Their natural affinity is with the physical phenomena of the séance room. It is convenient to call this person the "agent" without necessarily implying that his activity is telepathic. This becomes much clearer if one insists on a high evidential standard. Presentation may be by a realistic. These are called "veridical". (6) Veridical apparitions are therefore objective. I have attempted above to describe the main types. There is however no reason to suppose that the relative proportions of the various types would differ so much as to affect the propositions set out below: (1) It is not uncommon for sane and healthy people to see apparitions while believing themselves to be fully awake. (For the sake of brevity I will mention only the visual experiences. and accordingly that it requires some paranormal explanation. (7) Most human apparitions are clothed. For the purpose of deducing general principles they can be considered as conforming to various types. and not merely of reports of them. giving examples with comments. (5) Statistics applied to the particular class of veridical apparitions known as "deathcoincidental". This probably implies a reduction in the number of actual experiences.) Several volumes would be required to set them all out with an adequate comment on the evidential. (3) Nothing is known as to the psychological conditions in which the great majority of such apparitions are seen.
and especially if the apparitions are seen. as is most clearly shown in "reciprocal" experiences. they are so rare as to make it impossible usefully to argue as to their cause. and for the influence of the words or actions of one percipient on the others. Veridical apparitions seen shortly after death may therefore be the result of telepathic impulses from the agent while alive. or disproof. but it is not known for how long. The length of time between death and experience cannot be taken as by itself decisive for or against activity by a living agent. They seem to me however to be such as are indicated by a broad view of the best available material. when a considerable time has elapsed. I put forward these propositions as my personal opinion. Otherwise apparitions tell neither for nor against survival. the evidence for the existence of a substance intermediate between mind and matter derives from various types of "physical phenomena" and the statements of the mediums through whom these are produced. and might therefore continue in operation after the death of the body. If the later percipients have no knowledge of the earlier percipients' experiences. 31 above). that is evidence of the agent's survival in the way and to the extent that information obtained under the like conditions through a medium would be. as in a "haunt". (12) If an apparition conveys to the percipient information as to matters outside his normal knowledge or inference or that of any other person from whom he can be reasonably supposed to have derived it telepathically. Of many of them in the present state of our knowledge complete proof. In the next chapter I give reasons for considering this evidence unsatisfactory. Cases of this type are. and the same is possible. as might have been expected. In considering reports of them large allowance must be made for misinterpretation of natural persons and objects. but not otherwise. As examples of telepathy and part of the evidence for that faculty they help to show that mental processes are not entirely conditioned by bodily ones. is not possible. These cases however are seldom veridical or suggestive of the activity of a recognisable dead agent. and the conditions in which this happens vary. certainly for a short time. (17) Apart from apparitions. though less probable. rare. without claiming that sufficient proof of all of them has been adduced. there is something odd requiring explanation.hallucination (as to which see p. (10) The basic idea of telepathy is transfusion of minds rather than transmission of ideas. or of any material or quasimaterial being. or be completely without externalisation. A few cases in which information as to events after the agent's death is paranormally conveyed by an apparition add support to the survival hypothesis. in the same place. (15) If there are any well established cases of veridical apparitions being seen simultaneously by more than one percipient. (14) Poltergeists are an altogether different type of occurrence notwithstanding occasional reports of apparitions being connected with typical poltergeist disturbances. (13) Apparitions of the same agent may be seen at different times by different percipients. and if the matters in question relate to things that have happened since the agent's death. but it is the nature of the information and not its conveyance by an apparition that matters. (11) A telepathic impulse may remain latent in the percipient's subconscious. (18) The main bearing of apparitions on the problem of survival is indirect. whose nature is now under discussion. . (16) Collective percipience is no guarantee of the local presence of any person or object consisting of any kind of matter (or quasimatter) for which there is satisfactory evidence.
may prove not only his presence but his identity. They are sometimes claimed at séances to be the work of spirits. One common characteristic is indeed the difficulty which the investigator encounters in attempting to examine any of them under conditions that will exclude sources of error shown by experience to be prevalent in this branch of psychical research. or even if he sees a crisisapparition of the kind discussed in Chapter III. they all of them imply some deviation from the familiar course of events in the physical world and from the socalled "laws" generally accepted as governing that world. when he is by himself in his sittingroom. such as a convincing communication. and to have discussed the position with them. Salter THE REST of this book will deal with mediumship. and if he can do that by other evidence. The psychology of mediumship is curious and an attempt will be made in the two chapters following this to illustrate it by parallels to be found among persons who could not be classed as mediums. If both the "physical" phenomena and the statements regarding them made through the medium are accepted as genuine. and that they take form in . The ordinary citizen has no cause to be surprised if he has a veridical dream.Chapter 6: Materialisations W. touched or photographed. if they can he shown to be genuinely paranormal. a material or quasimaterial form. including the eminent French physiologist. and so to round off the consideration of the evidence put forward to support the conception of survival in a quasimaterial form. In few other respects do these heterogeneous occurrences appear to be connected with each other. that productive of the "physical phenomena" of the séanceroom. capable of being seen and occasionally touched by the sitters; impressions in wax of parts of the body; "spirit" photographs. as well. They developed as an alternative explanation the hypothesis of "ideoplasmy". Such are materialised phantoms. The study of them is highly technical. Apart from such cases. This I have postponed in order to introduce here the discussion of a particular variety of mediumship. H. that is the real or supposed possession and exercise by specially endowed persons of paranormal faculties not shared by mankind at large. Without any claim to be an expert myself. the movement of objects without apparent muscular or mechanical force. There have however been many psychical researchers. "physical" phenomena of these kinds are. If the occurrences reported have been accurately described. But that. but it is for the spirit first to prove his existence and. Another feature common to the "physical" phenomena of mediumship and differentiating them from the "mental" phenomena of psychical research. there is an end of the matter: the survival of spirits in a material or quasimaterial form has been proved. or that his hairbrush should suddenly and invisibly be transported from his bedroom. and the production of a voice claiming to come from the mouth neither of the medium nor of any other living person present. that is to say. These things are reported to happen in poltergeist cases and in the psychological setting typical of them. who have believed in the genuineness of "Physical" phenomena of this kind while rejecting the view that spirits were concerned in their production. suggest by their nature the activity of a surviving entity having. or being capable of assuming. as evidence. and of experts alive at any one time there has never been more than a handful whose opinion as to the genuineness or otherwise of what happens in a "physical" séance deserves to carry weight. I have had the good fortune to know some who were. and so on. All these phenomena seem intended to suggest that some being other than the persons present in the flesh was present in the séanceroom in a form sufficiently material to be seen. This prima facie suggestion is often supported by statements made through the medium that a "spirit" has been present and has caused the occurrence of the phenomena. of course as to have read many reports of varying degrees of value. or to emit sounds such as come from the mouths of living persons. or to make impressions on wax similar to those a body of flesh and blood would make. the view that materialisations are produced from the medium's energy and a substance ("ectoplasm") supplied by him with the assistance perhaps of the sitters. his identity. whether of the whole figure or of part. superfluous. the table should be raised off the floor without his touching it. if need be. Other kinds however. it is claimed. it is in the séance room they are to be sought. is a very remote contingency. which. "apports". Many forms of "physical" phenomena are not in themselves suggestive of the activity of an entity that has survived bodily death: raps. Charles Richet. is that they belong to the séanceroom and not to the world of everyday life. The variety of "physical" phenomena which have at one time or another been reported is enormous.
Other members of the medium's family were present. and saw the medium in her black dress lying an the sofa." At a later sitting (21st May. Crookes began his interest in spiritualism in a state of strong emotion. which was opened after about five minutes to reveal the medium in the black dress and boots and tied to the chair by the sealed tape. the most famous of all "physical" mediums. He followed within "three seconds". owing to the loss of a brother to whom he was deeply attached. sprang up and seized first a muscular wrist and then a substantial waist. and we heard her moan occasionally. known as "Katie King". who in 1872 at the age of sixteen began giving sittings at which a "spirit form". when two figures were certainly seen together. It retreated into the recess. if fraud there were. fast scrutiny until I had no doubt whatever of her objective reality. but in the meanwhile Katie King had vanished. talking to those present. who had not been present at this sitting. and an eminent scientist facts of course altogether beyond dispute and that he has given clear testimony in a case where mistake was incredible. dressed in black velvet; she did not move when he took her hand and held the light close to her face. show a complete disregard of commonsense precautions against fraud. because of the shawl. unless accompanied by long experience and objective examination of psychical phenomena. On the affirmative side the main argument is that Crookes was a highly intelligent man. also in his own house. A figure in white drapery ("Katie King") came out of the recess into the room and moved about under the observation of the sitters. the most famous are those observed by William Crookes in his sittings with Florence Cook. and so stimulated Crookes. By 1874 however he had had considerable experience of mediums. including D. But there were two sittings held at the medium's suggestion in her own home." None of the photographs taken at the sittings at Crookes's house showed the two faces.. several of the sitters saw figures they believed to be the medium and Katie King together under strong electric light. Volkman published an account of the sitting. One of these. On the negative side the main arguments were: first that the control conditions throughout were inadequate; . Crookes was present behind the curtain and saw and heard Katie and the medium say goodbye to each other. clothed in a black dress and boots and tied to the chair by sealed tape. A like argument is raised over and over again when poltergeists are discussed but long experience has shown both the inclination and the ability of adolescents to gull their seniors. Other sitters then rescued the figure out of Volkman's grasp. Of all fullform materialisations. Crookes reports: "We did not on these occasions actually see the face of the medium. Intelligence is highly relevant; eminence in science or any other walk of life is not. it is idle to discuss the rival merits of the spiritistic and ideoplasmic hypotheses. At a sitting held in December 1873 at the house of the medium's father the medium sat in a curtained recess. She then said she thought she could show herself and the medium together. 1874). as he says. The basic question is the genuineness of the physical phenomena; unless this can be answered in the affirmative. also at the medium's house. Three separate times did I carefully examine Miss Cook crouching before me to he sure that the hand I held was that of a living woman. must be assumed. On the 29th March 1874 Katie King walked about the room where the sitting was held for nearly two hours. materialised. Crookes wished to rebut any suggestion that the medium had masqueraded as the spirit by showing that to his own observation both had been present at the same time. "Raising the lamp I looked around and saw Katie standing close behind Miss Cook. namely that Florence Cook was too young to carry out a fraud of the complexity that. Volkman. No white drapery was found. 3rd April and 5th June. He went in and by the light of his lamp saw the medium crouching on the floor. we saw her move uneasily under the influence of the intense light. and the medium's bedroom served m a cabinet. D.accordance with the thoughts of those present. His first sittings. a Mr. Crookes himself reinforced the case for genuineness by an argument which cannot in the light of later investigations of poltergeist cases be allowed much weight. and invited Crookes to come into the cabinet with a phosphorus lamp he had brought. but we saw her hands and feet. the faces of both being visible. as described in his biography by Fournier d'Albe.. The genuineness of the Katie King phenomena has from then till now been a matter of acute controversy. On other occasions. after watching the figure for about forty minutes came to the conclusion that it was the medium disguised. Home. On one occasion Katie King at a sitting in Crookes's house invited him behind the curtain. to publish his accounts of sittings with Florence Cook in 1872 and 1874 at which he had been present; they will be found in the issues of The Spiritualist for 6th February. and several times taking Crookes's arm. 1874. and three separate times did I turn the lamp to Katie and examine her with stead.
any more than Volkman did when he grasped a muscular wrist and substantial waist. and in 1900 they invited a M. a lawyer by profession and a friend of their son Maurice. were sittings held at the medium's house. being already established as a materialising medium. she could not avoid giving Richet sittings; the whole thing was a sham. Marsault published his account of the affair in 1906. Marthe Beraud. later known as Eva C. finding herself alone for a few minutes with Marsault and his friend. His favourable report was first published in 1905 and was read with amazement by Marsault. between whom and Maurice's parents some coldness had developed owing to his sceptical attitude to the séances. Marsault went to see Marthe and her father. Richet stuck to his own opinion. He was now appearing in a fully materialised form.second that at the sittings at Crookes's house he did not see both figures at the same time. They were then joined by Marthe's two younger sisters. "Do you want to have some fun? You know Bergolia is all humbug; my sister and I will give you some fun". the manifestations were thoroughly material. Mine.. was materialising too. Noel said that Maurice also had appeared and kissed her. Noel's importunities. He reports Marthe as saying that she had been led into mediumship by Mme. She had previously told Marsault that all the materialisations were false. whether genuine or not. colours and . and the phenomena were of a rather different order. he says. 333369. and his wife. von Schrenck Notzing. He accepted the materialisation as a genuine case of ideoplasmy. and that. to attend them. On learning of his death Marsault. At the séance which followed Marthe. The inadequacy of the Control at these two sittings was pointed out by several spiritualists when Crookes published his account of them. They are therefore in no way evidence against him.. No fullform phantoms were seen but from various parts of the body there seemed to come masses of cc substance" of various sizes. impersonated Bergolia in a very transparent way. and Helen Duncan. made public during Crookes's life and he had no opportunity of answering them. Later in 1900 Maurice went to the Congo on business and died there in 1904. In a case however of phenomena for which no close parallel could be cited. become engaged to a young Frenchwoman named Marthe Beraud. For this part of Marthe's career see SPR Proceedings Vol. before leaving Algiers. In later years Florence Cook confessed boasted might be the better word that Katie King was a deliberate fraud on her part. where a member of her family might possibly have impersonated Katie King. and another spirit. His account may be read in his Thirty Years of Psychical Research (translated from the French. is reported by Marsault as saying. Bergolia had chatted with Mme. etc. These "confessions" were never. calling herself Bergolia and claiming to be his sister. Marsault learnt that the manner of the séances had changed. but this avowal astounded him. both having forms sufficiently material to he touched. in which the control conditions were not so negligible as in the time of Bergolia. Crookes noted nothing quasimaterial about Katie's arm when she took his. A spirit named BienBoa. noticed at various times by Crookes himself. Impersonation of Katie sometimes by the medium and sometimes by another woman would account for difference. that it is significant that the only two instances when it is beyond doubt that the medium and Katie King were present at the same time. who wrote confidentially to Richet saying he feared Richet had been deceived. the distinguished physiologist. At this stage no materialisations had taken place. in Katie's appearance. I believe. At the end of the nineteenth century there were living in Algiers a French General. height. 1906. the medium's confessions seem to me rather damaging. being perhaps deceived into thinking that clothes which the medium had removed in order to impersonate the spirit still had the medium's body inside them; thirdly. The next stage was that Charles Richet. She invited Marsault and a friend to supper and a séance. 1923) where a photograph of BienBoa is reproduced (p. SchrenckNotzing in his first reports of her called her "Eva W' without any hint that she was the same person as the famous Marthe Beraud. had sittings at the Noel's house and witnessed the materialised BienBoa. dismissing Marsault in a very cavalier fashion. In 1908 Marthe came to Paris and in 1909 began to give sittings to a private circle to which Dr. paid them a visit of condolence. but her part in it had been passive. After the supper Marthe. Marsault. who claimed to have been an Arab Chief. a wellknown German doctor and psychical researcher. had for some time been giving communications without showing himself. drunk tea and eaten sweets with her. something will now be said. Noel. Since the days of Florence Cook other mediums have been famous for the appearance at sittings with them of fullyformed phantoms. They were holding regular séance at their villa. XXVII. It is to be noted that. and in which strong doubts of genuineness have been raised by the Volkman sitting and the unsatisfactory conditions at Crookes's own sittings. So began a new phase of Marthe's mediumship. meeting also her mother and two sisters. Noel. 507). and if there were no other grounds for suspecting the genuineness of Katie King they could he disregarded.. visited Algiers. was introduced. About two of the most famous. In January. He had.
Some of them are pleasant enough as twodimensional drawings: but why twodimensional if they are spirits? Again. She was twice prosecuted for fraud and convicted. whether ideoplasmic or fraudulent. I would refer. for example. My wife was present at some of these sittings and I was the notetaker at a sitting described in the report (SPR Proc . Dr. some bore a curious resemblance to photographs of notable persons published in the French Press. but until her death in 1956 enjoyed the confidence of many believers.consistencies. sometimes shapeless. which when the wax has hardened shows all the characteristic contours and markings of a human hand. of a materialised or partly materialised spirit is the production of wax moulds of parts of the human body. The investigating Committee considered that the precautions taken were sufficient to prevent the extrusion of pseudoparanormal objects even if the medium had succeeded in introducing them into the séanceroom. It is not however the question whether any of her phenomena were genuine which I wish to discuss.. It is claimed that the mould could not have been formed round a hand of flesh and blood that was subsequently withdrawn. Helen Duncan was the most famous materialising medium of our time in this country. Vol. The only continuous lighting during the medium's trance was a dim red light on the notetaker's desk. They were convinced that the moulds were produced paranormally by "Ideoplasmy". say. When Eva C. A few faces of both the rough and the more finished types were produced at the series of forty sittings given to an SPR Committee in 1920. He says (pp. and sometimes in the form of flat or flattish objects on which appeared faces either roughly drawn or in a more finished style. who was a member of the Committee. In the absence of precautions it would be possible for a trickster to produce bogus moulds in two ways at least: (1) by a hand or hands dipped in the wax and withdrawn when the wax cooled. Thus at two sittings in 1913 she produced faces bearing a likeness." The Committee as a whole much regretted that they were unable to come definitely either to positive or negative conclusions. which notwithstanding differences of detail was unmistakable. sometimes roughly suggestive of hands etc. not even the addition of a moustache could convert the President Wilson of 1913 into a plausible visitor from another world. announced the production of "substance". whilst the sittings in England were too few and the phenomena too insignificant to enable any satisfactory conclusion to be arrived at. an exceptional power of compressing the wrist and the . but that other question whether her materialisations in themselves suggest a spiritual origin. and on occasion flashlight photographs were taken. Much the same criticism applies to the faces of the Eva C. of a hand. contributed to the report a section in which he discussed the possibility of fraud in relation both to Eva C's sittings on the Continent and to the London series. to imitate the established traditional concept of a spirit? To me it most certainly does. like photographs. 328. or at the photographs of the faces produced at the sittings with Eva C. head of the Institut Metapsychique at Paris. e. and during the sitting both her hands were controlled by experienced sitters. concealed in some way. reproduced from a book of Harry Price. as some people have. Of the faces produced at her Paris sittings. Dingwall. Mrs. regretting only that we have been misled by the poets and artists to expect something different. to the photograph facing p. Geley. 275). to photographs of President Wilson and President Poincare which had been published in 1912 in the Miroir. XLVIII. was stripped and sewn into a stockingette costume. At a sitting for this sort of phenomenon the procedure adopted is somewhat as follows: The medium's hands are controlled by sitters; a bowl of wax warm enough to take a mould from is placed near by; out of the bowl is taken a mould. it was inspected by an electric torch turned on for that purpose. A glance at the photograph of BienBoa in Richet's book. The faces were not just cut out from the Miroir but look like rough copies of the Miroir photographs deliberately altered in detail. How much spirituality is there in that? Another type of occurrence sometimes claimed to demonstrate the presence in the séanceroom. Before the sittings Eva C. first in 1933 and then in 1944. as the aperture at the wrist was too small to permit withdrawal of anything but an ectoplasmic hand. 329): "Speaking purely for myself I cannot say that I altogether rely upon the observations of her continental investigators. provided the trickster had. especially hands.g. President Wilson is given a moustache. sittings. The souls of the departed may conceivably inhabit forms resembling BienBoa; if so we must endure the prospect with fortitude. is sufficient to explain why many believers in the genuineness of her mediumship rejected a spiritistic view of it. 37 of SPR Proc . XXXII) as "a very remarkable one" (p. Such moulds were obtained with the Polish medium Kluski in 1921 at sittings conducted by Charles Richet and Dr. But does not BienBoa look like a clumsy attempt.
perhaps. fingers and palms of the hand were produced. and had given her impressions on wax of both his thumbs. Margery had paid Kerwin a professional visit when he had explained to her how dental wax was used. and this form of mediumship has a very long history. Sometimes the puzzling results are due to an accidental intrusion of light. In that year there was a new development. producing blurs or fogs which a lively imagination can convert into persons or things of another world. it is sometimes contended. were of astonishing variety and had aroused violent controversy as to their genuineness. who made reports on the American prints to the American Society. although the photographer knows that no such figure was visually present. It was later found that the correspondence extended to the thumb prints obtained at Margery's sittings in England. The question is whether this claim was justified. and on the English prints to the SPR. if it is a film. 1523). produced in the presence of many experienced investigators. an American authority on "dermatoglyphics". The appearance of several ghostly figures before the altar of a cathedral in an amateur photograph that attracted much publicity recently was pronounced by experts to be due partly to double exposure and partly to a slight movement of the camera while one of the exposures was being made. negatives of the complete roll are more informative still. At one of the English sittings in 1929 a fingerprint of the medium's was found on a piece of wax used at the sitting. proves the survival of spirits in a quasimaterial form is "Spiritphotography".bones at the base of the thumb; (2) by the introduction into the séanceroom of moulds made before the séance by ordinary technical processes. In sittings held under the auspices of the SPR. mostly snapshots. together with spare pieces of wax. or a part of a building look like a figure. and aroused a violent controversy in Spiritualist circles. Large numbers of prints of thumbs. XLIII pp. If amateur photographs. called in the reports "Kerwin". As a result of further enquiries Mr. A Mr. Dudley. In that year Mumler in America began to produce photographs on which the forms of "spirits" appeared. In 1932 however a more damaging discovery was made. The effects of accidental double exposure in producing "ghosts" are now so well known that few amateurs bother the SPR with examples. who had supervised many of her American sittings and published reports on them. Mediums do sometimes get to know before a séance of supposedly secret methods of control. Some thumb prints of the same pattern were also produced at sittings given by her in England.. Their prints are often forwarded to the SPR for an opinion. without any intention to do so. In 1926 Mrs. Ten years later an English practitioner. have photographed some manifestation of the spirit world. In the following year it was discovered that in two of his photographs the "spirit" was a person still living. On comparison of the sitters' prints with the numerous impressions from Margery sittings which were accessible to him. the thumb and finger prints being said to correspond to those of her dead brother. Amateur photographers of unquestionable bona fides sometimes get results which puzzle them and lead them to wonder whether they may not. was already known as a medium whose phenomena. Vol. the wife of a wellknown surgeon of Boston. were all that had to be considered. particularly as regards the second method. but I have less confidence that nothing of the kind could have happened in the Institut of those days. and the natural inference was that at a critical moment Margery's hands were not controlled so efficiently as to prevent her being able to manipulate the wax. I should be confident that no such risk would be incurred. and that his left thumb prints corresponded to some left thumb impressions from the sittings. Mass. one of her strongest supporters. Dudley ascertained that very shortly before the first sitting at which "Walter" prints had been produced. prints and prints made on a razor by her brother shortly before his death. (see SPR Proc . Sometimes a freak of light and shade makes a real object present within the photographic field a tree. the original negative film or plate is much more informative and. Walter. Richet and Geley claimed that they had taken adequate precautions against both these forms of trickery. and this substance was in fact found in the moulds produced. was active. Mr. This would seem to be an adequate safeguard. there would he no need to bring "spirit photography" into a discussion of survival. was collecting for the records of the American Society for Psychical Research digital prints of all the sitters who had ever been present at a Margery sitting when thumb or finger prints were produced. stretching back to 1862. His . Dudley's view as to the correspondence between the "Walter" impressions and the Kerwin prints was confirmed by Professor Cummins. Dudley found to his surprise that the impression of Kerwin's right thumb corresponded in every instance with impressions of right thumbs produced at the sittings. On examination it was found that the prints on the razor were too indistinct to prove anything. Hudson. while the cause of the unexpected result can often be detected from the positive print. paranormally as it was claimed. Crandon ("Margery"). Before Dudley's discovery many of Margery's supporters had accepted without question a supposed correspondence between her séanceroom. Another type of phenomenon which. provided it were certain that the medium had no knowledge before the sitting that the chemical was to he used. But there have been mediums who specialised in the production of "spirit photographs". Among her earlier sitters was a dentist. The precaution taken was to mix with the wax used for the séance a chemical substance easily traceable after the séance. It should be noted here that.
there is substituted a plate on which a "spirit" image has already been impressed. "Extras" are often well defined photographs of heads. Price took with him plates on which the makers had printed marks that remained invisible till after development. Such flashlight apparatus can easily be palmed and used in the darkroom or pocket without fear of detection.." Major Rampling Rose. Price's exposure of Hope. and most of the results now show a small face identical in kind with what can be produced by flashlight apparatus. When the plate is developed. it will develop as a negative image. (2) There is however another technique which can be used by a medium who knows that he has to work with a marked plate. Where substitution is possible. and had had four years aerial photographic experience during the First World War. The technique used has been carefully studied. Substitution of plates may be more clearly detected in other ways than by inference from such clues as the double marginal line. confessed to the fraudulent production of "spirit" photos by double exposure. The original magazine or book illustration from which the "extra" has been copied has sometimes been identified. his work had been to track down defects and devise methods to overcome them. It consists of a small electric bulb with wires which are connected to a battery hidden about the person. of course. In 1875 a Frenchman. He got back a plate with an "extra" but without any makers' mark. If the identity of the sitter is known to the medium beforehand." For the BarlowRampling Rose paper see SPR Proc . a double exposure usually means a double marginal line; the presence on the plate of a double marginal line is strong evidence of double exposure. It should be explained that in 1922 Harry Price had a sitting with William Hope. Barlow writes: "Since Mr. it is no mystery if "extras'' appear. a good deal of reliance seems to be placed on the . Fred Barlow. It takes a very expert observer under better conditions than usually prevail to see the substitution being made. who had a large business as a photographic manufacturer. He continued: "I do not remember ever seeing a single abnormal photograph of all those which have passed through my hands that could not be explained by purely natural means. I quote from a report made to the SPR in 1932 by Mr. In a print the edges can be trimmed so as to conceal this clue. Mr. and an "extra". These inauspicious episodes have not prevented the revival of "spirit photography" from time to time. and some fraudulent methods have been discovered. Sometimes the heads are surrounded by "ectoplasmic clouds" similar to what can be produced by placing some fluffy material in contact with the plate. VII. who had Previously been a strong supporter of the genuineness of "spirit Photography". demonstrated the use of a flashlamp of this kind at a meeting of the SPR. but where the sitter brings with him marked plates which he gives the medium. and it is only necessary to switch on the bulb for a second or so to print the positive on to the sensitive plate where. substitution seems to have become too risky. it is clear that substitution has in fact taken place. but was due to the refraction of rays of light passing through the mixed auras of the "spirits" and the sitters. on being prosecuted by his Government. XLI. something which would not have been visible in the ordinary way to a person standing where the camera stood. Barlow in his research.supporters admitted that some of his photos looked as if there had been double exposure. and at the end of the sitting is handed a plate complete with "extra" but lacking the mark. The two principal are these: (1) For the virgin plate.. and as dark slides do not exactly fit the plates they are to hold. the best known "spirit" photographer of that time. Buguet. The "spirits" however assured them that the appearance of double exposure did not indicate fraud. that is to say. For the early history of "spirit" photography see SPR Proc . 268289. of course. with or without "ectoplasmic clouds". In front of this electric bulb is placed a small positive face. there appear both a normal portrait of the sitter. as it is called. He added that during the thirty years he had been in the trade. but determines not to be defeated by this precaution. For instance the rebate of the dark slide makes a distinct line down the margin of the plate. though. 121138. which is strong evidence of fraud. The developed negative will often show signs of the double exposure. that he had taken photographs in almost every part of the world. Whatever the method used by the spirit photographer. this is not always possible. reproducing the features of wellknown public men or women. and collaborated with Mr. which the sitter is intended to believe is being exposed. and the grain of the paper on which the original was printed detected. he may be able to obtain for copying photographs taken during life of some of his dead friends or relations.
Margery Crandon. of course. although it is highly suspicious if. Florence Cook. though not as solid as living flesh and blood. A medium may cheat whenever lax conditions permit trickery and yet. Some who had known the real man well accepted the Claimant; others rejected him. It is not difficult to trace the stages which have led to these various types of phenomenon being taken. in the first case. the Tichborne Claimant. very naturally in prescientific times.A. separately or together. conditions which were imposed to prevent the simulation of phenomena in sittings held. and through some ectoplasmic vocal organism of the Control. at the medium's insistence. Most people's judgment as to the source of sounds is notoriously fallible. At Cambridge in 1895 and at other times and places she was caught in the act." He was referring to the materialised phantoms of the séanceroom. XXIII. for instance. genuine "spirit" photographs or genuinely paranormal thumbprints were ever produced through the mediumship of any of them. in the second case. as happening not in the percipient's mind. First of all there are visual and auditory hallucinations at or about the time of the death of the person "seen" or "heard". and so on. which enables movements to he seen in the dark. the. to embellish narratives of . or later. apparently. The reader can form his own opinion as to the probability or otherwise that genuine fullform materialisations. Finally reference should he made to the claim sometimes advanced by the Controls of mediums. A broom and a sheet are quite enough to make up a grandmother for some wild enthusiasts who go with the figure in their eye and see what they wish to see. Stainton Moses ("M. but as to which was wrong there still lingers a doubt sufficient to provoke animated controversy in books and the Press. have been found connected with fraudulent methods. in poor light or even complete darkness. has made unnecessary the measures complained of. were the most famous mediums of their day in their own lines. No medium has so far come forward to claim the reward. As the famous Spiritualist. The next stage is for popular belief. Efforts to test this claim with appropriate apparatus for locating sounds have not so far succeeded. Oxon. there occur incidents of a kind which. but from some other part of the room where the sitting is being held. but his words are equally appropriate to spirit photographs. quasiphysical objectivity is confirmed by some of these experiences conveying or implying knowledge of facts not till then known to the percipient. and by others of them being collective or recurrent. exposure of one medium is not evidence against another medium producing similar phenomena. and to that extent as being physically objective. It is not only in the psychic context however that the problem of false recognition arises. There is. Vol. For years now the apparatus generally known as the "infrared telescope".imaginative powers of the sitter. including some whose bona fides is above suspicion."). wrote in 1875: "Some people would recognise anything. The nation of this limited. and were accepted as genuine by many sitters. but in some external region. but at Naples in 1908 she produced phenomena which the highly competent committee who then investigated her believed to be genuine: see SPR Proc . tying of hands and wrists. As regards any type of psychic experience it is impossible to prove that no genuine example has ever occurred. And. Mediums used to complain that the conditions of control to which they were asked to submit were unpleasant and irksome search of the body for concealed objects. especially in the dark or in poor light. with the help of the poets and storytellers. the case of that most substantial revenant. These are genuine experiences misinterpreted. A reward has been offered for mediums capable of producing physical phenomena with the infrared telescope as the sole method of control. as evidence supporting this conception. which does indeed involve objectivity of a different order. This reluctance confirms me in my view that none of the phenomena discussed in this or the preceding chapters support the quasimaterial conception of survival. Eusapia Palladino is the most striking instance. that the voice in which "communications" are given comes not from the medium's own mouth or vocal chords. and generally whether or not phenomena of these types lend any support to belief in survival in a quasi material form. whose cases have been discussed in this chapter. which are at least equal to those shown by any amateur photographer in interpreting blurs and fogs on his snapshots. For the weight to be attached to the statements of Controls about themselves see Chapter IX. produce genuine results under strict conditions. The presence of "ectoplasmic clouds" in such a position on the plate as to obscure the features of the "spirit extra" naturally greatly increases the chances of false recognition. Whatever substance there may have been in this complaint has long lost all its relevance. William Hope. Both parties cannot have been right.
is often shamelessly exploited in the séanceroorn by deliberate fraud. which one hesitates to stigmatise as fraud because of the irresponsible nature of the persons most closely concerned. the motive of edification is at the back of it. originating and confirmed in the way described above. to the discredit of a profession numbering many honourable members. But the belief in quasimaterial spirits. This leads on to poltergeist trickery. All this may have been done in good faith. as in the original version of the Don Juan story. even where. would make the whole experience physically objective: hence the traditional ghost story. if true. .subjective occurrences with picturesque details that.
Occasionally such communications are combined with "physical" phenomena. and while he could decipher some of the writing on one piece he could make nothing of the other. As the dream had stated. That our dreams are very largely shaped by internal conflicts and resistances. but two sections of a cylinder which had been cut into three parts. In his dream a Babylonian priest took him into the treasure house of a temple. while many "communications" are given in states not far removed from normal consciousness: this is particularly true of automatic writing. He thought the pieces had originally been part of finger rings. This however. and would have made his acceptance public. His dream may therefore have been no more than a mechanism for presenting to his conscious mind a connection. namely sleep. . already formed by his subconscious. and that from the previously indecipherable inscriptions he could reconstruct a dedication to the god Ninib. We may begin with a condition familiar to everyone. If that view is correct." On the next day he put the two pieces together. which for want of a better term is often called "trance mediumship". that much goes on in the subconscious which will not fit into the canonical scheme of Freudianism (see above); Freud himself was prepared to accept telepathy. whether at actual sittings or through printed reports of them.Chapter 7: Ecstasy and Inspiration W. Salter THE PREVIOUS chapter was concerned with the particular form of mediumship that produces materialisations and other "physical" phenomena sometimes supposed to support the theory of survival in a quasimaterial form. but psychical research has shown in relation. The influence of the Freudian unconscious is extremely pervasive. was puzzled by two small pieces of agate with fragmentary inscriptions. 1317. Some of these states are common and familiar: others in greater or less degree rare. the priest in the dream would be his own subconscious dramatised. All the information required for this solution was already possessed by the archaeologist before he fell asleep. had his followers allowed him to do so. but had it presented to him in a dream with that mixture of realism and symbolic imagery typical of dreams. Here is an example quoted from SPR Proc . The mediumship with which the rest of this book will be concerned is of a different kind. found that they fitted so as to form part of a cylinder. There are however instances in which the sleeper did not merely find the solution complete in his conscious mind on waking. Possibly a solution had been almost reached by normal mental processes before sleep. and find themselves at a loss whether to regard it with belief or disgust. In discussing therefore this type of mediumship it may be helpful to start with a survey of various mental states which may at first sight seem to have little connection with each other or with mediumship. and that the third section would not he found. and declared to him that these two pieces were not finger rings. independently of the evidential value. They may or may not form part of the ordinary conscious life. between consciously known facts. Whether so combined or not the communications ought to be judged on their own merits. "If you will put the two together you will have confirmation of my words. People who encounter mediumship for the first time. The first two rings had served as earrings for the god Ninib. if any. The characteristic of mediumship of this kind is the communication of messages purporting to come from the surviving minds of persons now dead. and in the case of mediums of the highest standard generally. Many sleepers have found on waking that problems that seemed to them insoluble overnight have somehow solved themselves without any conscious effort on their part. but often. it was impossible to make a complete cylinder out of the two fragments. who was in 1893 preparing a report on some Babylonian finds for an American university. but not all of them a paranormal explanation seems required. XII. Many phenomena of "physical" mediumship are probably produced in genuine trance. although it suggests paranormal activity during sleep. to telepathy. for instance. they are not. The presence of trance is not the criterion. H. nor indeed does it prove any subconscious activity at all. often doubtless think it a very queer business. For some. as taught by Freud and his followers. and with sleep the obstacles to success may just have vanished. and is less misleading than such an alternative as "clairvoyant mediumship". An archaeologist. The phrase "trance mediumship" is however by now established in general use. of physical phenomena occurring through the same mediumship. does not clearly demonstrate it. but the final stage of grasping it had been frustrated by fatigue or by excessive concentration working through "the law of reversed effort". and the piece needed for this was never found. nobody who has examined his own dreams for any length of time will be disposed to doubt.
which it could see." In another case a Mr. however clumsy. The most famous case is that of the American Dr.. He relates that at no stage of the experience was his consciousness dimmed.. The latter part of this chapter will treat of creative imagination. gradually detached itself from one part of the body after another. "where I slowly rose and expanded into the full stature of a man. differing greatly as to the fullness of the experience. but which he found himself calling his "mentor". his real self separated for a time from his body. Looking at the couch he had left he saw his body lying there just as he had Composed it.. reported in SPR Proc . After some hesitation he attempted to cross the boundary. of which Coleridge's fragmentary Kubla Khan is the most famous example.Even more impressive are the instances of imaginative creation in dreams. His Ego somehow or other acquired clothes. Wiltse.. Without previous thought and without apparent effort on my part my eyes opened. but it may aid to a better understanding of what the poets have to say on that subject. if we now consider some curious psychological states of which accounts have been given by persons of more common clay. about to die. II. which was also me. fairly explains itself. and the nature of its constituent parts." The thoughts were to the effect that the rocks were the boundary between two worlds; once he passed them he could no more return into the body; he could not do so unless he believed his work in the body to he finished. as it were. sank into unconsciousness.. which was blocked by three enormous rocks. from outside. to use his own phrase. "while the A consciousness. VIII. but: "I suddenly realised that my consciousness was separating from another consciousness.. He said goodbye to his family.. and often seems to see. On leaving the house he walked a short way down the street. The following is a summary of Dr. XXX." The Ego attached itself to one consciousness (A). but having this feature in common. "Kenwood". a description which. of a bluish cast and perfectly naked".. who had been suffering greatly from fatigue and anxiety as a result of tending his wife during an Illness. but a small. I came back into the body really angry ." From a source he did not know. and he was aware of a presence which he could not see. His "Ego". and also to the doctor attending him. which broke loose from the body and fell to the floor. In the yeas 1889 he seemed to himself. These states are generally known as "outofthebody" experiences. that a living person feels. who was apparently dying. densely black cloud moved towards him and he knew he was to be stopped: ". Here again the percipient was a doctor. and as they touched me thoughts not my own entered into my brain. Vol. There are several examples on record.. not seeming to be a form. Wiltse's own account of his experience. seemed to be altogether outside my body. showing signs of being a composite of "consciousnesses" from different parts of the body. I seemed to be translucent. and I knew no more. he received information as to the problems of space and time. finally emerging from the head "like a soapbubble attached to the bowl of a pipe". which was now me. and later along a mountain road. Then a great dark cloud. and passed about four hours without pulse or perceptible heartbeat. while he recognised the B personality "as belonging to the body". and also in Human Personality. The ceiling and roof seemed to disappear and he clearly saw a star: . and once I was back all the clarity of vision of anything and everything disappeared. and reviewed in the SPR Journal. with bolts of fire darting through it. composed his limbs. which he also "sees". Then from the right side and the left of the cloud a tongue of black vapour shot forth and rested lightly upon either side of my head." He saw the cot on which he was lying and realised "in astonishment and disappointment" that he was in the body. stood over his head. A rather more recent case is that contributed to the Edinburgh Medical Journal in 1937 by Sir Auckland Geddes. and tending to disintegrate. He then returned to a state of conscious existence within the body and "watched the interesting process of the separation of soul and "body".. remembered in the morning an experience he had had during the night. But a doctor hastily summoned made an injection which made his heart beat more strongly: "I was drawn back and I was intensely annoyed because I was so interested. the cloud touched my face.. but filling the cloud: "like some vast intelligence. Vol. a fact which embarrassed him as he was aware of the presence of two ladies.
After long enquiry only one man could be traced who claimed to have been an eyewitness. Some of the characteristics of these experiences have curious parallels in the accounts which authors and artists have given of the process of imaginative creation. that are without parallel in wellevidenced cases. By the time he had collected it. 240274. This type of case. from the post office. not. I think. 106 118). in which he analyses a number of experiences including several in which he was himself the percipient. prompts the question: Have we not proof here of an "astral body". He heard footsteps behind him and a voice which said. 50. and saw one pair of footprints in the snow. It incorporated sensational features. He shot down and I turned to see him enter my body. He told me by impressing it on my mind that my wife would be all right. He reached his camp there one winter afternoon and decided to collect his mail."My Spirit left my body which I saw by my wife's in bed. On this subject Rosamond Harding's An Anatomy of Inspiration (2nd Edn. The interesting point of this narrative is that the unseen companion of the Canadian wilds should talk Australian slang. neck and thorax of my fatherinlaw (deceased). But there are firsthand accounts from soldiers who took part in the famous retreat of weary men having collective illusions of seeing friendly troops covering their flanks when no such troops were there.. and saw nobody. "Windy. and this varies from case to case just as might be expected if we were to suppose the presentation to the conscious mind of several real but subjective adventures of the subconscious. The case is reported in the SPR Journal. The Star came nearer and in passing me assumed the head. Many important observations on cases of this kind are to be found in Professor Whiteman's paper in Proc . when the hardships may have been severe. about two miles distant through the bush. and no more. (SPR Journal XVII. "Kenwood's" experience a "star" becomes a dead relative. she is quite all right'. In each of the three instances there is strong element of symbolism. The protector was doubtless a projection. capable of making contact with. I have never enjoyed such mental exhilaration before or since. going and returning. Heffer. Common to all the instances quoted is the sense (a) of existence in an entity not entirely out of touch with earthly affairs. was that of a man who in early manhood roughed it in various parts of the world.. of happy days in Australia. I seemed to resemble the shape of a flame with a long silver thread attached to my earth body.. of which other examples are on record. In the Wiltse case the external intelligence becomes almost a personal Deity. 1942) is most instructive. Later he had a job as engineer in a still undeveloped part of Canada. famous at one time. and was starting back. Vol. but not dependent on the "earth body". capable of almost complete detachment from the "earth body" during life. Again I passed my fatherinlaw who impressed the thought on my mind 'Don't worry about her. The next morning he went carefully over his track of the previous day." (after a period without conscious memory) "My memory came back as I was shooting earthwards. his own. of "The Angels of Mons" was a pious fiction originating in a parish magazine. previously published. artists. An instance of this. and presumably therefore capable of continued existence after death and of complete entry into the world of the spirit then? There is indeed enough uniformity within this group of cases to show that they describe a genuine class of experience and are not a random assortment of oddities. With these examples of one part of the personality feeling itself to be detached temporarily from another may be compared the experiences of men who in situations of difficulty and danger have had the reassuring sensation of the presence of a protective companion. I enjoyed what I can only liken to the Peace of God which passeth all understanding. externalised to his sense of hearing. I remember the cord getting very short. manifesting in dark clouds and lightning. though not of fully entering into. He pressed on and when he reached his quarters turned round to see who his companion was. the spiritual world before death. "Kenwood" had "never enjoyed such mental exhilaration before or since" as during his experience. In Mr. The reader of that book may be surprised to learn how great a number of authors. so that in the Wiltse case there is "disappointment" and in the Geddes case "annoyance" at the return. while Mr. He could hear wolves howling in the distance. and (c) of contact with some intelligence other than that of the percipient. but did not include the risk of being eaten by wolves in the snow. pp. and his regimental records showed that he was in England at the time. XXXIII. such as the production of panic among the horses of the enemy cavalry. musical composers and scientific discoverers have left it on record that their . In the Geddes case the "mentor" hardly emerges from abstraction. particularly the back blocks of Australia. cobber?". a country for which he had a great affection. but I am unable to recall anything of the reentry into my body.. (b) of this existence being preferable to earthly existence. The story." The next day the wife's health was greatly improved. which he had not received for several days. it was rapidly getting dark. But the differences must not be overlooked.
Sometimes the poem had to be taken in hand and completed by the brain. All that came to him in his dreams he put to the Brownies' credit. . and he has put all psychical researchers in his debt by relating so fully the development of his subconscious. Towards the end of his lecture The Name and Nature of Poetry (Cambridge University Press 1933) A. "he masqueraded there in a threecornered hat. a tendency not... For my present purpose it will be sufficient to quote a few examples from wellknown English authors. Speculating as to who the Brownies were. As a not very happy child he had typical anxiety dreams. He mentions that he has seldom written poetry unless he was rather out of health. sometimes a line or two of verse. The debt would be still greater if he had contrived to be a little more plainspoken.S.. and unable after two days' racking his brains to think of a plot. involving trial and disappointment. and reserving to a later stage all comparison between them and the accounts which have already been quoted of other experiences. This seems to be an example of the tendency of the subconscious to project itself into some external and independent entity. sometimes a whole stanza at once.) a story piece by piece like a serial. of course. and sometimes ending in failure. whom he also calls "Brownies". he dreamt two scenes which became the nucleus of The Strange Case of Dr. It is a big leap from Sarah Gamp and the Brownies to the transcendent Beings and Powers. and how great a variety of forms the feeling of inspiration may take. the change towards "otherness" is noticeable. Hyde. In R. Considerations of space compel me to detach these passages ruthlessly from their context. I am about to quote several passages in which the poets assert that either in some ecstatic state. but found that he had some control as to what he dreamt. accompanied. they have encountered some Being or Power which has seemed to them outside themselves. then perhaps the spring would bubble up again. Thus. when he began to write fiction he found that "the little people who manage man's internal theatre". they can tell him (i. and was much engaged with Jacobite conspiracy between the hour for bed and that for breakfast. with a sudden and unaccountable emotion. or in the course of inspiration.e. Jek yll and Mr. L. and having developed a taste for the Georgian period of history. E." Later still. he says. In fact he specially mentions the pit of the stomach as "the source of the suggestions thus proferred to the brain". and one thing is beyond doubt. "afternoons are the least intellectual portion of my life . Gamp did with him. though accessible only through his subconscious. R. in this instance pushed to the point of complete acceptance of the projection. He thought however that the Brownies had "a hand in it even then". he points out their connection With himself and his training as a writer: "only I think they have more talent.L. Stevenson was an early member of the SPR. there would flow into my mind. Is the change entirely verbal? The Brownies might be taken simply as his own conscious personification of his subconscious. When taking an afternoon walk. or they might denote some entity that Stevenson felt to be external to himself. not preceded. Other authors have recorded that their characters have become so alive as to take the development of the story into their hands. and the bodily sensations that he experienced when in the creative mood. wishing to write a story round the theme of "man's double being". with no hint of inspiration from an external source." If Stevenson's account of his childhood phantasies be compared with his description of his adult literary activities. but it always had to he worked over and completed in his waking hours. by a vague notion of the poem which they were destined to form part of..." Housman is clearly describing a process of subconscious activity. but the damage thus done may perhaps be mitigated by printing all the passages consecutively. Housman describes the conditions that he found conducive to the writing of poetry.. with whom the poets claim to have been in communion.best work was done wholly or partially without conscious effort. There would usually be a lull of an hour or so. Stevenson's Across the Plains there is A Chapter on Dreams . as Dickens says Mrs. and to hold conversations with them. and keep him all the while in ignorance of where they aim. which was apt to be a matter of trouble and anxiety. were willing to stage for him scenes which in his waking life he could work up into "printable and profitable tales". which tells us much more about the development of his creative powers.
And starlight wood. I hear his advice.. entered there: But from my left foot a black cloud redounding spread over Europe." (Milton..such as those called "outofthebody". with fearful steps pursuing Hopes of high talk with the departed dead. while thou Visitest my slumbers nightly." (Blake. the East. damp my intended wing Depressed; and much they may if all be mine." (Blake. Urania] Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed. 1800) (d) "In my Brain are studies and Chambers filled with books and pictures of old. P.. From out the portals of my Brain . P.. Up led by thee [i.. cave and ruin. Letter of 25th April..L.. who deigns Her nightly visitation unimplored. .. and clasped my hands in ecstasy!" (Shelley. or inspires Easy my unpremeditated verse .. yet not alone.. Hymn to Intellectual Beauty) ..." (Milton. An earthly guest. I (a) ". and sped Thro' many a listening chamber. I have written this Poem from immediate dictation. Milton. and see him in my remembrance. swift as the swallow or swift: And on my left foot falling on the tarsus. 4447) II (c) "Daughters of Beulah! Muses who inspire the Poet's Song Record the journey of immortal Milton through your Realms. By your mild power descending down the nerves of my right arm. And dictates to me slumbering.. Letter of 6th May.. 'Milton's shadow'] in the Zenith as a falling star Descending perpendicular. . without Premeditation and even against my Will; ..e. IX. With like safety guided down. 2830) (b) "If answerable style I can obtain Of my celestial Patroness. I was not heard .. and even now write from his dictate." (Blake. . twelve or sometimes twenty or thirty lines at a time. Thy tempering. unless an age too late. 1800) (e) ". Return me to my native element . 1216. Come into my hand. 2024. and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the Spirit. Still govern thou my song. Uranian .." (Blake.. or cold Climate.1803) III (a) "While yet a boy I sought for ghosts. Letter of 21st Sept. and drawn empyreal air.e. Not hers who brings it nightly to my car.... Sudden thy* shadow fell on me; I shrieked. or when Morn Purples. and in the regions of my imagination.... for I have in these three years composed an immense number of verses on One Grand Theme." (Blake. Milton. or years.L.. Book I) (c) "Thirteen years ago I lost a brother. similar to Homer's Iliad or Milton's Paradise Lost... VII. Book I) (b) "So first I saw him [i. which I wrote and painted in ages of Eternity before my mortal life.
And came on that which is. why shrink. why turn back. even in the case of The Prisoner. unuttered harmony. Emily Bronte's "Messenger of Hope" is as much an abstraction as the "mentor" of the Geddes case. Blake and "Kenwood" both speak of messages from a dead kinsman. and the flesh to feel the chain. Nor can it be doubted that the experiences described have a general resemblance one with another in spite of great differences on some points. Adonais from Stanzas LIII and LV) IV "So word by word. No one would mistake the tone in which Milton and Shelley speak of the source of their inspiration or confuse their words with the conventional invocations of the Nine. "And mine in his was wound and whirl'd About empyreal heights of thought. and fierce impatience ends; Mute music soothes my breast. and so it is with the poets too." (Tennyson. in words suggestive of an actual outofthebody experience. and as such she is . my inward spirit feels: Its wings are almost freeits home.. or percipient. "Oh! dreadful is the check intense the agony When the car begins to hear. and the eye begins to see; When the pulse begins to throb. my heart? 'Tis Adonais calls! Oh. stricken through with doubt. That I could never dream. The dead man touched me from the past. Common to both classes of experience is the sense of being in touch with some power which definitely is not the conscious mind of the poet. and line by line. a hush of peace a soundless calm descends; The struggle of distress.. of many kinds. At length my trance Was cancelled. In this latter respect the parallel with the "outofthebody experiences" is close. the brain to think again; The soul to feel the flesh. The deep pulsations of the world." (Shelley. hasten thither No more let Life divide what Death can join together" "The Breath whose might I have invoked in song Descends on me . The external powers sensed by the percipients were. The Prisoner) That in all these passages the poets are recounting vivid experiences of their own will hardly be doubted. And all at once it seemed at last His living soul was flashed on mine. Measuring the gulph.* The "Thou" is the "unseen Power" of Intellectual Beauty. till Earth was lost to me. And offers for short life. "Then dawns the Invisible; the Unseen its truth reveals. V "A Messenger of Hope comes every night to me. it stoops and dares the final bound. its harbour found. and when we come to analyse the drama of mediumship we shall find parallels there to both the classes of experience discussed in the present chapter. and caught. eternal liberty "But first. In Memoriam XCV)* * I quote the original version altered by Tennyson in later editions. susceptible none the less of a symbolic interpretation." (Emily Bronte. My outward sense is gone. speaks of Urania as sister to the Eternal Wisdom. "Aeonian music measuring out. as the case may be. The steps of Time the shocks of Chance The blows of Death. (b) "Why linger. although the passage quoted from that poem is set in a fictional framework. it will be remembered. Milton.
or in the borderland state following on sleep ("dictates to me slumbering or when Morn purples the East"). conscious life. constructive mental activity. Perhaps the situation can best be explained by supposing that in all the instances cited in this chapter there is a temporary fusion of the conscious mind. with the subconscious. The falling star there is reminiscent of the falling star in the Kenwood case. This comes very near to suggesting that when all these poets claim that they have been inspired by an external . In view of the dream experiences mentioned at the beginning of this chapterthe dream of which Kubla Khan was a memory. and it may perhaps best be described in the words in which Milton calls on Celestial Light to "irradiate" his mind "through all her powers ". but the complete poem of hundreds of lines which he believed himself to have dreamt. and also. Both in that passage of Blake and in the first passage quoted from the same poem the idea of a particular part of the body. The withdrawal is slightest when. sometimes extreme. under a spiritcontrol different from that of the rest of her body. a case which lies on the boundary of dissociation and mediumship. for the return to normal. of which the waking consciousness retains at most a shadowy recollection. 116120 below). but I suggest. for example. If Coleridge really had in his mind. Is it possible by comparison of the points of agreement and difference between all the experiences described in this chapter. hand or foot. to a severe physical shock. it is claimed. and that it was at night that Tennyson fell into a trance and Emily Bronte was visited by the Messenger of Hope. and a corresponding distaste. To these sources of inspiration Blake adds his own antenatal memories for which the "outofthebody" experiences provide no parallel. except for transcription. In Adonais and In Memoriam the power is.L. Coleridge was an opium addict. but they may serve as clues to trace connections between mental states which at a first glance seem very different. and the cloud of the same passage reminds us of Wiltse's cloud. It is to be noted however that some very inferior authors and artists have felt the sense of inspiration as keenly as any of the great masters. Milton (P. It is at its maximum when the sleeper on waking believes himself to have been presented with material complete. first that even in a welldefined group there are likely to be real differences of detail in the subconscious impression they create. One may however be found in the case of Hélène Smith. not only the fragment that he has left us. which may take the form of greater mental clarity. It is to be noted that of the authors mentioned. and secondly that the subconscious draws on an extensive symbolic repertory in presenting them to the conscious mind. Emily Bronte and Stevenson were all consumptives. summarised in the next chapter. This complicates the problem. it is difficult to suppose that his creative power at the moment of waking could have composed the whole with such speed as to make him believe that all the work had been done during sleep. the dream that solved the archaeologist's puzzle it may be significant that Milton's inspiration came to him in sleep. 111. a condition particularly likely to occur in the borderland state between sleep and waking. and states of inspiration and ecstasy as known to the poets. as in some cases I have not quoted. being controlled by the external power suggests a connection with a phase of the Piper mediumship (see pp. in some way. we find hard to conceive. or. In the outofthebody experiences the sense of separation from the body seems to be due to bodily illness or extreme bodily fatigue. enhanced creative power or ecstasy. when fully awake.almost an aspect of Deity: Wiltse is admonished by a power with the traditional divine adjuncts of thunder and lightning. Cases of this latter kind raise the question whether there is during sleep subconscious. to work begun and fairly far advanced without conscious effort on his part. Stevenson puts the finishing touches. conjoined with it. All these are doubtless details in themselves of no particular significance. the ultimate reality of the Universe. to form a picture of the subconscious at work that will be of use in the later stages of the enquiry? It should be borne in mind that a group of experiences which are substantially similar may appear very unlike each other when they emerge into consciousness. or whether in the borderland state following sleep constructive activity goes on with a pressure and at a speed which. (b) There is a sense of existence at a higher level during the experience. Shelley. that the following factors are common to all the experiences: (a) The partial or complete withdrawal of the mind from the preoccupations of ordinary life. when her right hand and arm were. Blake's eccentricity came at times near insanity. when freed from the preoccupations of ordinary life. with the Brownies' help. when he started to write down Kubla Khan. such as concussion in an air raid or a hammering in a boxing match. dreams. 155) definitely associates his inspiration with his blindness. the soul of a dead man. The second passage quoted from Blake's Milton is of particular interest. This was the state in which Urania dictated to Milton his "unpremeditated verse". for either or both of two reasons. "outofthebody" cases.
To express his awareness of this Tennyson uses a curious literary device. with a special association with the right person. we have examples of subconscious constructive activity more complex. If the view of telepathy put forward in the preceding chapters is even approximately true. start from normal life and return to it again. dramatic work. as this was consistent with his belief that he had several times been in touch with the Great Soul. but of short duration. and that the whole personality was closed against all access to reality except through the conscious use of the five senses. or the Daughters of Beulah. describing the setting of his lonely vigil. or more emphatically still by persons whom one associates with the name mystic. In the crisisapparitions it is the percipient's subconscious that has the best claim to be responsible for the constructive. whether made by any of these poets. after his trance had ended. In creative imagination. before the onset of the trance. and that the subconscious has wider and more subtle powers of apprehension. couched at case The white glimmered. by mediating between the particular conscious mind with which it is specially associated. or even to Urania herself in regarding them all as selfdramatisations of the subconscious. and at the other the mystics who believe themselves to have been in touch with the One. that the conscious mind has been specialised to deal with the everyday details of life. and capable of producing works like Paradise Lost. or whatever there is beyond flammantia moenia mundi. the overwhelming vividness and certainty. since it is an important function of the subconscious to be something more than itself. of the original edition to "The living soul". Even so it would be imprudent to speak of "merely the subconscious". Several of the experiences quoted on pp. In Chapter III it was suggested that in a crisisapparition there was evidence of constructive work by the percipient's subconscious. even the trivial events. "that which is". which they proceed to personalise. there is nothing derogatory to the Brownies. elaborate perhaps in detail. We are not justified in Putting any limit. at that time at least. to which Tennyson applies the words. At one end of this would be placed the authors who have felt that their best work came independently of their conscious effort. and "his" to "this" in the next line. whether as regards the events. NOTE: In Memoriam. it is impossible to divide into completely watertight compartments the subconscious activities of members of a pair or group of persons in telepathic relation with each other. on the power of the subconscious to apprehend what lies. but prompted by an external stimulus. extending over years rather than seconds. Section XCV: in the edition of 1878 Tennyson's "conscience" induced him to change the words "His living soup. That is a nation one would not readily entertain even in the case of Stevenson's Brownies. 8689 were in some degree mystical. subconscious. he repeats the same words. But it must be the right subconscious. But if the view is accepted. however they name it. "where. outside the individual mind. At various points in between would come the authors who have felt they have been conscious of the influence of some external source of power. as regards Arthur Hallam's continued personal existence. a scale could be drawn. however. they have deluded themselves and have simply been drawing on their. if one held the view that the subconscious was nothing more than an inferior section of the mind. Only those who have had comparable experiences have a claim to be heard on this point. or appears to lie. It does not lie within the province of psychical research to venture any opinion as to the truth of such an affirmation. If. and the trees Laid their dark arms about the field. any alte terminus haerens . In the fourth stanza of this section. Transcendental experiences. . but without the intensity of feeling or certainty experienced by the mystics. a reality independent of his own feeling.Being or Power. and for elaboration of detail. to be misunderstood as claiming that his tranceexperience proved. on the other hand. He did not apparently wish. and so far as it is possible to apply ordinary standards to experiences from which the essential part as it would seem to them. at no point of which could a sharp division be made. he speaks of the knolls. of ordinary life. He made no alteration in the phrase "that which is". famous alike for the architectural conception of the whole. as affirming contact with a superhuman reality. The same principle may govern creative imagination. although for many purposes some of these activities more closely concern one of the pair than the other or one member of the group than the rest. without any definite feeling as to how it came. as was said in Chapter Ill." And in the thirteenth stanza. and may conveniently be referred to as his activities. and other minds with which it has less intimate and continuous contact. has been left out.
which becomes their master which will have its own way. development and end of her trance in Chapters XV and XVI of Charlotte Brontë's Villette. or at least when they write most fluently. quoted in The Brontë Story by Margaret Lane (p. Writing to G.. A parallel to the experience described here may be found in the account given by Lucy Snowe of the beginning. an influence seems to waken in them. Charlotte Bronte writes: "When authors write best. 194). Is it not so? And should we try to counteract this influence? Can we indeed counteract it?" . Lewes in a letter..Emily Brontë's The Prisoner. H.
about five in the morning. everything belonging to his life before the 17th January. a man who rented a stareroom there. At first he travelled a great deal but as the result of his wife's disapproval of his frequent absences from home he confined his activities to his own neighbourhood. H. 15th November. known by name at least to most readers. but no loss of personal identity or of memory. He went by the name of A. Twentysix hours later his sight was perfectly restored.I. and attended the Chapel several times. I will first summarise a case reported in SPR Proc. VI1 221 257. These aspects of dissociation have therefore a special significance for psychical research. and he retained the sense of touch. being still deaf and dumb. but his mind remained quite clear. and he said within himself 'I would rather he struck deaf and dumb for ever than to go there'. living in half of it and using the other half as a small toy and sweet shop. Memory of the earlier life returned spontaneously in March: memory of the interval between 17th January and 1st February was tapped under hypnosis. but "his spirit rose up in decided and bitter opposition. This case shows dissociation in a very simple form. settled up his business affairs and took him back to Rhode Island. hearing and speech; he became perfectly helpless. He then ascended the pulpit. which was substantially verified by enquiry at the places where he said he had stayed en route. or took away his horse. and he attended the Methodist Church regularly.. Miss Beauchamp of Boston. and loss of memory for almost. Mass. in consequence of which he became an evangelist. In his youth he was religious. there arrived in Norristown. Miss Beauchamp. when she was twentythree years old. Brown. There was nothing peculiar in his behaviour. Morton Prince for treatment in 1898. he wrote on a slate a long message. In the second crisis there was loss of identity. A nephew from Providence came over." A few minutes later he lost sight. came to Dr. The Dissociation of a Personality (Longmans). and his report of the case. He was amazed to learn from a neighbour that he was in Norristown and that eight weeks had elapsed since he left home. was more complex. not quite. 1887. At the age of 13. to draw money to pay for a farm he was buying. and are sometimes reported to be accompanied by the production of paranormal phenomena both of the "physical" and "mental" types. Salter IT IS indeed a sharp descent from the empyreal air of the poet to the "Gorgons and Hydras and Chimeras dire" of the psychiatrist. had a severe shock with disastrous . The Beauchamp case.Chapter 8: Dissociation W. He stabled his horse. drew several hundred dollars from the bank. psychological and physiological. In neither of the two crises of Ansel Bourne's life was there any change Of character. In 1826 there was born in New York a boy called Ansel Bourne. he heard an explosion like a gun shot. which lie outside the scope of this discussion. The last thing he could remember was visiting Providence. speechand abrupt change of opinion. On the 28th October he had a strong internal feeling that he ought to go to "Meeting" at the Chapel. creatures that are now so familiar to the public through films and novels that some justification may seem to be needed for inviting the reader to bestow further attention upon them here The reason for doing so is that cases of "split personality" some times show curious parallels with some of the incidents of medium ship. a sensitive child much given to daydreaming. change of Occupation. hearing. In August of that year he had a severe illness. and for everything that had happened between then and the 1st February. About 1st February. aggravated by a sunstroke. is a document of absorbing interest. J. and broke down several times on attempting to resume work. There are other aspects which raise many problems. and he wrote on a slate asking the Minister for forgiveness. This troubled him and weighed on his conscience and may have contributed to the second great crisis of his life. On 17th January. and started to visit a sister living in that town. In the first crisis there was temporary loss of control Of several bodily functionssight. by writing. and woke to find himself in a strange bed in a town he did not recognise. 1887. who was trained as a carpenter and carried on that trade until 1857. A fortnight later he had a vision. for a prayermeeting to be held in his house. but became in course of time a convinced atheist. which was quiet and respectable. which the Minister read to the congregation.. A few years later he was hypnotised and in trance gave an account of his doings and travels between the 17th January and the 1st February.. In an instant his hearing and speech were completely restored. He never reached his sister's house. paid various bills. On Sunday. R. and developed feelings of enmity for the Minister who lived next door. Pa. He also asked. On the I 5th March. he went from his home to Providence.
She had all the spontaneous gaiety varied with fractiousness of a lively child. and whether she. A few years later she began to train as a hospital nurse and in 1893. Her mother. both before and after the hospital episode. who at first strongly objected. as "She". and a gift for expressing her trains of thought which seem to me exceptional even among clever children. partly from things coming hazily and unconsciously into her mind. BIV had no clear memory of things that happened between the hospital episode and her own emergence in 1899. Sally made her take both hands and rub her eyes. Sally in fact enjoyed tormenting BI. but she came to acquire a good deal of knowledge of that period partly by inference from what she heard. but selfreliant and selfassertive. in taking the body a long walk which left it. but she was morbidly conscientious and reticent. and then admitted having made them. dogtired. which BI had to disown. In his book Prince gave the name BI to the personality with which he thus became acquainted. however. She also knew Bl's thoughts . This meant "squeezing" Sally. and that the interval had been employed by Sally. So Sally "got her eyes open". underwent a second shock. BI was an ultrasensitive and conscientious adult. she was. Sally had all the spontaneity and mischievousness of a child of twelve or thirteen. as well as the BII of the hypnotic state. There were very large gaps in BI's memory. In the hypnotic state she persisted in saying "no" when Prince said "You are 'She'". gave birth to a baby. and Sally claimed to have access to the memories of the other two. bodily pains and other troubles. She would find that she had unaccountably "lost" several hours. as the doctors put it. healthy existence for any length of time continuously. improvement in appetite. Eventually by a process of suggestion Prince achieved a synthesis of BI and BIV which he calls "the Real Miss Beauchamp". but came to acquiesce in the process and even to further it. and partly by "deliberate" effort of recollection. and may even go so far as to initiate others. perhaps with a lighted cigarette in her hand: she detested smoking.results on her mental stability. and her mother died soon after. Sally claimed to remember everything that had happened since early infancy. On a later occasion. One is glad to learn that in the final product the more engaging of Sally's characteristics. with tastes that in general were exactly the opposite of Bl's. BI or BIV were uppermost. But on occasion she would also show a power of sustained thinking. though temporary. who was an easy victim. when BI returned. There were then three personalities. Sally and BIV controlling the body turn and turn about. the hypnotised patient spoke of herself as she was in her waking state. To the hypnotised BI he gave the name BII. and found that when out of the hypnotic state she had no memory of what took place within it. but he was doubtless right in repudiating suggestions that Sally was no more than an artifact of his own creation. vigour and general bodily health. BI. Her childishness was that of temperament rather than of intelligence. Each of the three had a different temperament. and then come to. Each had also her own stream of memory and consciousness. Prince treated BI by hypnotic suggestion. Miss Beauchamp was given the baby to hold. especially of things that had happened since the hospital episode in 1893: she had no knowledge of what occurred while either Sally or BIV were uppermost. Among all the psychological subtleties carefully analysed by Prince the status of Sally is the one most important for an understanding of mediumship. or in writing indiscreet letters. and was very shrewd in the way children often are. in his words. telling fibs. She was welleducated and religious and had strong literary tastes. It is reasonable to suppose that the two . first denied making certain statements which had been made during a previous period of hypnosis. BIV was also adult. suffering greatly from headaches. and while the mother was seriously ill. But after a few weeks' treatment the patient. from which she was still suffering when she came under Prince's care. She was able to control the body for hours at a time. It died in her arms. when BI was daydreaming." This new personality BII later adopted for herself the name "Sally". "a 'neurasthenic' of a pronounced type". followed by a longer spell of dissociation. Treatment of the kind applied by Prince tends perhaps in the early stages to emphasise any dissociations that may have arisen spontaneously. 1898. who was insusceptible to fatigue. The treatment given produced a marked. When Prince first knew her. while being trained. were not wholly destroyed. so regrettably lacking in the other two personalities. Then one day in June. and this lack of knowledge prevented her being able to bully BIV as she had bullied Bl. and gave as her reason for the denial "Because 'she' does not know the same things as I do. None of them. a word probably implying dissociation. insomnia. and was in her own words "on top of the heap at last". BI would fade out. It was only after treatment had proceeded for some time that Prince learnt of the shock she had had in 1893. Sally at first manifested herself only when BI had been hypnotised. for example. was capable of maintaining a normal. whom she idolised. But she met a tougher antagonist when in 1899 BIV appeared. but soon BI found herself being governed in her waking life by impulses alien to her own character. by which she has become deservedly famous. not long after. Miss Beauchamp herself became "delirious". but not at first BIV's. while in hypnosis.
so called by people who live on earth. one capable of growth and development within the subconscious. as in the other cases of multiple personality now to be mentioned a very much closer approximation to mediumship can be found. Later in that year they moved into another State. To the question." Then she said. 1916 and reviewed in SPR Proc . and these. and so became known as "Sleeping Margaret": she had a mature mind and helped Walter Prince with advice in the treatment of the case. i. Vol. This she repeatedly denied. Mary Roff had suffered from periods of insanity. with Sleeping Margaret still uppermost during sleep. "morbidly the slave of duty and lacking in humour". "Sick Doris". On one occasion BIV tried talking to Sally and asking her questions which." Doris Fischer was later on adopted by Walter and Mrs. XXIX p. When in 1909. who died in Watseka in 1865. "Who are you?" Sally replied "A Spirit". he put it to her that she was a spirit. and they made various other moves before settling in Watseka in 1871. It is desirable to make this point plain. Relying on her apparent immunity to the influence of suggestion. in Walter Prince's view. where the subject was a girl who had had a very severe shock in early childhood. XXIX. In 1911 Walter Prince discovered a fourth personality. A still closer approach to mediumship appears in "the Watseka Wonder". but qualified her denials with ambiguous statements. which only manifested when Margaret was asleep. could only with extreme improbability be assigned to her normally acquired knowledge. but this answer need not be taken too seriously as representing Sally's real views of herself. For instance in the Doris Fischer case. Walter Prince(1). I do not know whether I have a name or not. For some reason Prince heads the Chapter (XXII) in which this episode is narrated "Sally plays the medium". that might account for the comparatively mature side that Sally sometimes showed. They had a daughter. two families named Vennum and Roff: for a few months in that year they lived near each other. "Real Doris" who since the mother's death had only achieved conscious existence for a few minutes at a time. While she was a member of their household. as to the paranormality of which Walter Prince. Vol. may possibly have been mistaken. but the only foundation for this assertion is that Sally disclosed matters unknown to BIV. Three personalities were then in joint occupation of the body. Walter Prince succeeded in eliminating first Sick Doris and then Margaret. under the title "The Psychic in the House'' (Boston SPR Proc . born in 1864 at a place about seven miles from Watseka. "There. . Prince as their daughter and was known as Theodosia Prince. Some of the occurrences were raps and other auditory phenomena. of the American SPR 1915. there were several personalities bearing a general resemblance to the Beauchamp family group. If however Prince was right in regarding Sally as a "coconscious" entity. Sally answered in writing. reported in the Proc . Mary. leaving Real Doris as the only personality active during waking hours. "I am a spirit. Walter Prince was puzzled as to Sleeping Margaret's nature and origin. Illinois.severe emotional shocks experienced by Miss Beauchamp during her adolescence. but nothing more than a slight acquaintance grew between them during that time. after some resistance. (1) No relation of Morton Princ e. first at the time of her mother's death and then at the time of the episode at the hospital. I only know that I was sent by someone higher to guard Doris when she was three years old. without hypnosis. born in 1846. But there were also crystal visions seen by Miss Prince relating to past events in the three houses. After that the Vennums moved to the other end of the city. In 1871 there were living at Watseka. underfeeding and overworking her. and Margaret who was childlike in her limitations and enjoyed tormenting Sick Doris. 1926). at the age of twentyone. she came in touch with the eminent American psychical researcher. I. The Roffs had settled in Watseka in 1859. and when this had been arranged Sleeping Margaret wrote (see SPR Proc . 394). matters on which she was reticent. a man with a highly critical mind but suffering from deafness. when Lurancy Vennum was about a year and a half old. It was eventually decided that Doris should have sittings with a medium. occurrences of an ostensibly paranormal kind took place in three houses where they lived. They had a daughter named Lurancy.e. you may believe as much of that as you like. prevented her personality developing in a balanced way as a whole. her mother had been dead for more than two years and her drunken father had used her as a household drudge. some of which were confirmed by previous occupants. By suggestion and persuasion. They were observed by Walter Prince and formed the subject of a report by him to the Boston SPR of which he was the Executive Officer.
who had had the requisite training. Stevens when he was called in. and recognised her brother. and calling a lady. During this period she was a happy member of the Roff family. He told Lurancy that Mary had been used to the same conditions as she herself. when he crossexamined several of the principal witnesses. Being asked how long she would stay. Thus she announced one afternoon that her "brother". who gave no evidence of an existence independent of Lurancy. she said. however. sometimes several times a day. In his presence she had a fit which he relieved by hypnotising her. trivial. Mary's father said that his daughter had been in heaven for twelve years. Some years later Hodgson reported the case to the SPR: see Journal X pp. She seemed also to have paranormal knowledge of contemporary events. such as those that confronted Dr. was that the case belonged "in its main manifestations to the spiritistic category". being wellbehaved. Dr. 1878. She remembered various incidents. and she would give them long messages from Mary. On neither point did he win the support of all his colleagues on the Society's Council. 98 104. but that he and his wife would be glad to have her come. . who was a stranger to them. she said. and these continued until the end of January 1878. would be taken seriously ill that night as happened. calling them by the petnames Mary had used. and he suggested she should find a better Control. Her health remained good. In the trances she had ecstatic visions of heaven and angels. Stevens called the next day he had to be introduced as a stranger. Although there had never been intimate friendship between the two families before 1878. i. Tills was not where the Roffs believed him to be. On the 21st she took a formal farewell of the Roff family and their friends. Lurancy ever showed paranormal knowledge. to the Roff household. She readily recognised all the members of the Roff family and their friends. the Roffs and Vennums had lived in the same town for nearly seven years. and particularly about their daughter Mary. The important point however for the present purpose is that the case started as one of pathological dissociation and was at first marked by the appearance of Controls. When Dr. 1878. but he had had no special training in testing evidence of supposedly paranormal events. and Hodgson. and for a short time had been close neighbours. On arriving at the Vennum's home she recognised all the Vennum family. and was perfectly happy with them. She remained with the Vennums for several days. Stevens should be sent for. and of people who had died. and Hodgson. He failed however to get a reply to letters sent by him to Lurancy herself. wanted to come. Lurancy for a time resumed full possession of her own body. but they sent there and found him. He evidently considered that through that Control paranormal powers were displayed. the case can properly be cited as an example of a secondary personality dramatised as a group of spirits of the dead. The case was reported by Dr. She occasionally went into trance. On the 11th February she was sent by the Vennums to the house of the Roffs where she met the Roff family in a most affectionate way. Henry Vennum. On the 31st January 1878 the Roffs persuaded the Vennums to call in a Dr. When she became calm. She then mentioned the name of Mary Roff who. and was escorted to her father's office by a married Roff daughter. Stevens. but not knowing the family. came on the scene too late to clear up the doubts on this point. Whatever view therefore be taken of the Mary Roff Control. Stevens in the ReligioPhilosophical Journal for 1879. meaning presumably by "main manifestations" the incidents connected with the Mary Roff Control. and talked with angels and other spirits. she began having fits or trances. and she in fact stayed with them till the 21st May. contributed to the same paper a report of a visit paid by him to Watseka in 1890. but her physical health greatly improved. Stevens's report is generally accepted as an accurate account of what came under his own observation. but in 1877 when she was thirteen. including a small brother and sister. She lived with the Vennums until 1882 when she married a farmer. On the 19th May.e. Frank Roff. The next day Vennum told Roff that Lurancy claimed to be Mary and was "homesick". and Lurancy said that Mary would take the place of the previous evil Controls. occurring during Mary's life. whose illness had been much discussed locally. and "constantly pleading to go home". and declared that he would be found at a certain house. then apparently in good health. She then demanded that Dr. by her previous name. Until this move the Roffs continued to see her. "The angels will let me stay till some time in May". sullen and refusing to speak with anyone except himself. the investigator of the Ansel Bourne case. It may be doubted whether as "Mary Roff". who had remarried since Mary's death. some of then.As a small child Lurancy was healthy. she said that she had been controlled by evil spirits. and two years later moved further West. He found Lurancy looking like an "old hag". No one can say with certainty how much gossip Lurancy may not have heard about the Roffs. His personal opinion.
but may reasonably be taken as a highly developed specimen of that class. Her reminiscences of her Indian preexistence. she was in her latest incarnation an inhabitant both of earth and Mars. and her curious psychic experiences do not seem either to have been caused by her state of health. Although both her parents were Protestants. incidentally. If Leopold was Cagliostro. when returning one day from school. Simandini. so that in addition to previous existences on earth. as it were. and she was able to take an active and useful part in life. that there was some mystery about her birth. and the subordinate roles were filled by Genevan friends or acquaintances slightly disguised. He claimed. Her first Control claimed to be Victor Hugo. This circumstance. then Hélène must have been his wife. 1893. without accepting payment. The psychic experiences of Hélène's adult life had their roots in incidents of her childhood. For the most part however he was friendly to her. The incident of the dog which attacked her left permanent traces both on Hélène's conscious and subconscious mind. while Leopold established himself in her belief as the eighteenthcentury wonderworker Cagliostro. In the closing years of the nineteenth century there was living at Geneva a young woman who held with success a responsible business position. She gave sittings. Some of the Martians were old friends. the middleclass young woman she seemed to her neighbours to be. but they would also intervene on their own initiative. during one of her trances. She was healthy in body and mind. Hélène. but a rival soon appeared who gave the name of Leopold. The various characters of this elaborate drama could be evoked at séances. when she learnt of it. such as the magician Astane. For the whole period when she was under observation her general health. and she felt that at various times in her normal life he had helped and protected her. or yet to have affected it in any way. The Marie Antoinette Control would do much the same. she was attacked by a dog. made a study of her case and reported on it in a book the English translation of which is called From India to the Planet Mars . In October 1894 she learnt that she was also a reincarnation of a medieval Indian princess. . she became convinced she was the reincarnation of Marie Antoinette. on the latter in the production of the triad of wonderworkers. which. Then at the age of ten. reproduced with surprising accuracy some of the grammatical and syntactical peculiarities of her native French. is from Switzerland. by subconscious memory of the history book mentioned above. kept close to the statements to be found in an old history of India written in French. Leopold pulled away the chair on which Hélène was about to sit. At a sitting in February. Professor Flournoy of Geneva University attended these sittings. Her mediumship was fully developed. from which she was rescued by a man. The principal personalities of the drama were all herself as transplanted from another planet. wearing a brown robe. aided so far as regards the Indian episode. Under the guidance of Leopold she visited the planet Mars. The Simandini and Made Antoinette Controls seem to be both examples of the selfmagnifying fantasy based on the supposed Mystery of her birth. Doris Fischer and Lurancy Vennum. and on her return to earth described and drew pictures of the inhabitants. and of course superior to. Thus Hélène would begin to write a letter in her ordinary handwriting and Leopold would complete it in his handwriting. This incident caused a great shock to her. lent colour to a fantasy of a very common type. She had during childhood recurrent visions and other experiences. The Martian language. Parallel instances could have been quoted from British and Continental sources. learnt the language. or from other ages on this planet. but copies of it were accessible in Genevan public libraries. whose husband had been reborn as Prof. Her Martian language was rather more elaborate and coherent than the language which children often invent to puzzle their elders. and on points where they were at variance with it. which differs in various ways from the preceding ones. whose bona fides was above suspicion. bore no resemblance to that of the historic Cagliostro. their houses and the scenery. on the former as a horror of dogs in general. formerly the Indian magician Kanga. Flournoy. but on learning doubts as to the historicity of that lady. she was for some reason baptised in a Catholic Church. When in her normal condition however she knew that her rescuer had been a living man of her own time. both so far as they coincided with historical fact. had no conscious recollection of having read the book. In three points the case of Hélène Smith differs strikingly from those of Miss Beauchamp. apparently a member of a religious order.The cases so far cited in this chapter happen all to have occurred in the United States. The last case to be quoted. In this book she is given the pseudonym Hélène Smith. and that she was really someone different from. to a circle of friends. which led on to her taking part in séances. was good. as written by Hélène. to have been the man in the brown robe who had rescued her from the dog. mental and physical.
the first identified by her with her actual protector from the dog. principal. affected spiritualism much less than elsewhere. But henceforth it will gradually assume the character of something persistent. and might well so continue after the death of the body. even among nonCatholic communities such as the Geneva of sixty years ago. or possibly both or all of them. place and time. reduced the status of secondary personalities to that of moods of the principal partner. unitary; appearing at last as the deepest and most permanent representative of man's true being. after discussing fully in his first five chapters cases of the kind quoted in this chapter and the preceding one. has found it comparatively easy to gain adherence in Latin countries. for example. Although his view differed so widely from that of Myers. Kanga. a fact which may perhaps account for the inconsistencies in his views of the subliminal which his critics have pointed out. If so. The glimpses which we have till now obtained of it have shown it as something incidental. . the argument for survival from split personalities can no longer be maintained. even if he never showed the persistent hostility to her that Sally showed to BI and BIV. The shock of the dog incident did not however shatter Hélène's personality. including those of persons whose psychological make up was normal. by pulling the chair from under Hélène. the same would be true of all "minds". But there may have been other reasons. writes as follows in the opening paragraph of his sixth chapter: "Our view of the subliminal self must pass in this chapter through a profound transition. that is to say that it consisted. In the Englishspeaking countries reincarnationist doctrine has. XIX) Balfour put forward the view that the human organism was "polypsychic". It was always a twoedged argument. a book whose title shows the conclusion to which his argument is directed.Leopold. and much other matter indicative of the complexities of personality as well. and the spiritualist movement was not tied to traditional Christian views of the life after death. This view he elaborated in his study of Mrs. subordinate. or BI or BIV or the Miss Beauchamp created (or was it reconstructed?) by Morton Prince's professional skill? This difficulty has been familiar to all who have combined the study of dissociation with that of paranormal phenomena. This may have been one of the reasons for the reincarnationist form that the mediumship took. XLIII. One. I understand. probably because modern spiritualism was born a hundred years ago in the United States as one among many varieties of more or less Christian belief then flourishing or developing there. Leopold. Myers. in Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. Modern psychological research has however. despite all changes of name. fragmentary. If there is survival. as the passage just quoted from Myers shows. Among these critics was (Gerald) Lord Balfour. if two or more "minds" (or whatever word is preferred) are specially connected with one body. But before he had established himself in a beneficent role. of centres linked together by telepathy. Vol. showed that he was not free from the tendency to annoy. one of the psychical centres being the controlling self. In most Latin countries on the other hand opposition to spiritualism by the dominant religion was from the start absolute. The cases discussed in this chapter may naturally raise a doubt whether human personality is not so mutable and fragmentary as to make it absurd to suppose that it could conceivably survive the death of the body. If that is so. it is well known that lie believed no less strongly in survival. up to the present. Willett's mediumship in SPR Proc . In his Presidential address (SPR Proc . must therefore be selfsubsistent in life." Myers did not live to complete his book. and its disappearance is not one that believers in survival have any cause to regret. temperaments. which has throughout the ages been part and parcel of many religious and philosophical systems. An argument has sometimes been based on cases of dual or multiple personality that. Astane. As a natural consequence reincarnation. capacities. A Hélène transplanted to nineteenthcentury Geneva from medieval India or eighteenthcentury France or the planet Mars was still Hélène. common among secondary personalities. they cannot all be conditioned by the body which they share. who was very familiar with the literature of alternating and multiple personalities. each with different memories. is it Sally who is destined to survive. so far as its psychical elements were concerned.
three professors of the local university declared that the raps were produced by deliberate movements of the girls' kneejoints. who intensely disliked Home's influence over his wife. Home. D. In reply to a question as to who was giving the answers it was stated to be a pedlar who had been murdered on the spot for a sum of $500 he had been carrying. On the evening of the 31st March.Chapter 9: The Control of Mediums W. The mediumistic movement soon spread to Europe. "How characteristic of poor dear Soandso! just how he used to behave!" Physical phenomena may. we . fraud was never proved against him. but they do not seem in themselves to have been very impressive. unless one attributes to the many eminent witnesses of them an astounding incompetence as observers and as recorders of what they observed. and of the deaths that had occurred in their families. There is no reason to suppose that the pedlar or his $500 ever existed. the more paranormal they are the less likely are they to be distinctive or even appropriate. if the phenomena are genuine. but this did not check the growth of the movement they had set on foot. but unfair in one important point. But while these witnesses have recorded the deep impression made on them by such feats as Home's taking in his hands a redhot coal from the fire and placing it on the head of an old gentleman without doing an injury to his own hand or the other's head. drew Mr. The most famous of all mediums. who in 1848 were living in a farmhouse in Arcadia. ostensibly by the communicating spirit. Raps broke out in houses they had never visited. and to persons eminent in other walks of life. nine of them referring to phenomena of the purely "physical" type. that is considered important. Vol. Sludge in the poem is caught cheating and. He is the original from whom Robert Browning. Messages claiming to come from the spirits of the dead were given through Home. though there were several suspicious incidents in Home's career. The question as to the genuineness and origin of materialised forms was sufficiently discussed in Chapter VI. raps were heard which answered questions put in the presence of about a dozen persons. Their fame grew: together with an elder sister they gave sittings for raps in several towns. possibly. To the new issue Oliver Lodge contributed an Introduction in which he lists and classifies the phenomena described under ten headings. if the reader is intended to identify Sludge with Home. though it was noticed that at first they did not occur unless the girls were present. In 1926 Lord Dunraven published through the SPR (Proc . It is a habit which. unless either there is present at the sitting a form perceptible to the sitters' senses and such as the surviving spirit may reasonably be supposed to inhabit. The number of persons addicted to this practice in life cannot be considerable. It was his spirit that was credited by the Arcadians with producing the raps. with the Fox sisters among the leaders. Two young girls in fact. H. Salter WHILE MEDIUMS might claim remote descent from such ancient and exalted persons as the Sibyl who guided Aeneas through the world of the dead. the Medium.Y. an admirable study of the relations between the sillier type of sitter and the less reputable type of medium. he gave sittings in many countries to royalties. and not the content of the message. after the two girls had gone to bed. since the conditions of ordinary life are very different from those of a properly controlled séance. State of New York. Correct answers were given to such questions as the ages of various neighbours. Great however as was their fame. It is. XXXV) the account of his sittings with Home which he had printed for private circulation in 1870. Sludge. in which messages are given in what is claimed to be the voice of the Communicator: since it is the resemblance of the voice. a common occurrence in séances held in the dark for a tambourine to be shaken. it was overshadowed by that of D. their pedigree in the direct line does not go back much more than a century and is of humble origin. and by 1851 there were said to be a hundred Mediums in New York City. As to physical phenomena purporting to be produced by a surviving spirit. it is not. or else there occurs behaviour distinctive of the bodily activity of that person. The remaining one is the socalled "direct voice". scientists like William Crookes. provide evidence of the existence of some physical force not at present recognised by science; they are no evidence at all of the survival of any person who has departed this life. Many of Home's "physical" phenomena are extremely difficult to explain away by normal means. the number of their children. reported that while doing this any of those who saw it exclaimed. mostly neighbours called in by the parents. Margaretta Fox aged 15. and her sister Katie aged twelve. for example. After an exhibition which they gave at Rochester.. arid writers like Elizabeth Barrett Browning. this is in fact as "physical" a phenomenon as the other nine. There was an epidemic of rapping. who paid his first visit to England in 1855. N. and vice versa. I think.
"Clairvoyant" is no longer tolerable now that clairvoyance has acquired a more precise definition: its use would only lead to serious 'confusion. not always mutually consistent. but confined themselves to introducing the Communicators and relaying their messages in the third person ("He says" etc. now to be discussed and the phenomena connected with them. If the messages do not prove themselves. He produced both physical and mental phenomena. and not uncharacteristic of him. or ostensibly so.must suppose we adopt when we join the Choir Invisible. are not. their origin cannot be proved by communications which are themselves of dubious authenticity. while convenient for the sake of brevity. "Trancemedium" is also inexact. actual or ostensible. Psychical research and spiritualism both have fairly long histories in the course of which they have elaborated terminologies. As in the case of materialisations. to arranging the times. It may be so considered for several reasons. these being called "Communicators". It may not be superfluous at this point to remind the reader of what was said in Chapter II that the omission of qualifying words such as "ostensible" in speaking of controlling or communicating personalities. and changing with the course of time. As however it is short and less misleading than "clairvoyant" it will be used to cover all forms of mediumship in which communications are received that purport to come from the surviving spirits of the dead. are strengthened as evidence of his survival and identity when accompanied by "physical" phenomena. Not all believers in "physical" phenomena accept the spiritualistic view of them. It began in what may be called the prehistorical period before the founding of the SPR in 1882 made psychical research an organised study. Some. Automatists are a type of trancemedium who practise one on the various techniques described in a later chapter. especially those received through automatic writing. besides sending evidential messages themselves. I shall accordingly omit further discussion of "physical" phenomena except in so far as their occurrence throws light on the psychological situation in which phenomena of the socalled "mental" type are produced. (It is now usual to spell this word with a capital C when applied to a trance personality.) In course of time however it became desirable to distinguish between (a) the spirits whose purpose it was to give evidence of their identity to their friends on earth.). it may be a convenient place to explain some of the words that will be used to describe the personalities. and messages of interest to them. they are no guarantee of the "physical" phenomena. introduce other Communicators. such as the adequacy of the control measures in force at the sitting. does not imply any assertion whether they are. what they purport to The mediumship of Stainton Moses has been spoken of as a historical turningpoint. It is sometimes claimed that messages purporting to come from a particular dead person. Even if the genuineness of these phenomena is established on other grounds. there . or. rather than to bother the reader with a new technical term that fresh research might in a few years render obsolete. so with regard to other "physical" phenomena. duradon and general conditions of sittings. if they accept it. and to explaining the philosophy of mediumship. also purporting to be due to him. There is no very convenient or exact term in general use to describe the sort of medium whose phenomena are not of the "physical" order. it has seemed to me better to retain it with such change in definition as lucidity may demand. to imparting moral exhortation. sometimes based on obsolete conceptions of the things intended to be defined. the view was prevalent that during trance a spirit invaded the medium's body of which it took complete and undivided control. others. In the early days of trancemediumship. The distinction between Control and Communicator is not sharply defined. Later mediums have specialised in one or the other. as it does in the mediumship (18721883) of Stainton Moses. It remains in general use even by persons who do not accept the independent existence of Controls. It is to spirits of this second kind that the word "Control" is now mostly applied. Stainton Moses was an original member of the Society. alternative explanations have the support of several eminent and experienced investigators. do not regard the medium's own mind or spirit as being eliminated by the Control's activity. and moreover while many "communications" are received in trance. Where a word has become established in general use. and with a small c when applied to the condition prevailing when such a personality is manifesting. displacing the medium's own spirit. even at the expense of verbal symmetry. and (b) other spirits who made no serious attempt to prove their identity. Some Communicators speak in the first person without the intervention of a separate Control: this state of things is called "direct control". As this was in several ways a turningpoint in the history of mediumship. or are not. then the "physical" phenomena accompanying them are superfluous. and is anyhow inexact. "Mental" as applied to persons has an unfortunate connotation. If the messages are by themselves sufficient to establish his survival (as to which see the chapters that follow this). as "physical" phenomena are generally produced in trance. Hence the personalities who claimed to manifest during the trance were called "Controls".
ABRAHAM FLORENTINE aged 83 years. This fact supports the inference suggested by the correspondence between the newspaper notices and the record of the sitting. about a third of the four score spirits manifesting through him being the spirits Of persons recently dead who claimed to give evidence of their survival and identity. who on one occasion during a séance is reported to have brought a brass candlestick from another room and hit the medium over the head with it. Stainton Moses in a letter to the Spiritualist speaks of "his liberation from the body which (if I may guess again) had become a burden to him from a painful illness". especially where both were incorrect. not one month and 17. Notice of funeral hereafter. or of a cc physical" medium through whom communications of importance have been received. but producing a latent subconscious memory that was activated by the conditions of the sitting. died August 5th 1874. how had it come to Stainton Moses's conscious. where he lived. with the same statement as to his age. reads: "A new spirit manifested by tilts. A veteran of the war of 1812. It is of course conceivable that the Egyptian Chom. but there is no evidence that he actually saw them. August 5th. making no impression on his conscious memory. however playfully intended. "Prudens". 8285 and Journal XX 148152. etc. He gave his name as Abraham Florentine. and learned men of various periods and countries. might have given Stainton Moses information about themselves which could be shown to be true and which could be shown at the same time not to have formed part of his extensive scholarly knowledge. As to his age there appeared to he a trifling mistake: he was indeed 83 years old. In his mediumship the distinction between Control and Communicator becomes plain. On the whole however the message seemed at the time to provide striking evidence for spirit communication. but so far as I know this did not happen. The New York Daily Tribune of the 6th August 1874 printed an almost identical notice. mind? Enthusiasts for an indefinite extension of extrasensory perception might attribute it to direct clairvoyance. An extract from Stainton Moses's notebook for 1st September. There was time for the newspapers to reach London. It is not unnatural that to many of the medium's contemporaries. 1 month and 17 days. to name but a few of this group. In Brooklyn. It is to be noted that. But further enquiry made in 1921 showed that the mistake might be significant. but as his birthday was the 8th June. An entry in the Brook lyn Daily Eagle of the evening of the 5th August 1874 read: FLORENTINE. after a long and painful illness. such an assault should seem. not otherwise known to fame. who knew Stainton Moses to be in ordinary life a sincere and conscientious man. or Plotinus. or Beethoven or Benjamin Franklin. a child spirit. at Brooklyn. The possibility of marginal perception with consequent latent memory is the most serious difficulty to be faced when assessing records of sittings with trance mediums. or the prophet Haggai. 17 days. it must be supposed that the newspaper entry attracted a casual glance ("marginal perception" is the term). and his war service were correct. 1 month. that the source of the information given at the sitting was one of the newspapers. and lie was in the American War of 1812.. before the sitting." From enquiries made of his widow it was shown that the statements made as to his name. An interesting and instructive example is the manifestation at sittings on the 1st and 2nd September. For the present purpose however a greater interest attaches to the Controls who gave no evidence of identity that need be considered. 223226. to conceal their identities from the world at large. conclusive proof that . If so. "Rector". There being no ground for imputing conscious deception to him. but not made public during his life or for some time after. of a Communicator who gave the name Abraham Florentine. or possibly to telepathy between the compositor in America and Stainton Moses.being no more recent example of a trancemedium worth serious consideration who produced notable physical phenomena. aged 83 years. The most anomalous of the Controls was "Little Dicky". Speer's account of the sitting say anything as to the length of Abraham Florentine's illness or whether it was painful. it would be simpler to assume that he had in fact read it. 1874. the date and place of his death. he had lived in addition 1 month and 27 days. and it may appear curious that if he had done so he should have forgotten it within a few days. They included characters from the Old and New Testaments. 1874. though neither Stainton Moses's contemporary record nor Mrs. or subconscious. For this important case see SPR Proceedings XI. If however it was possible for him to have read the Obituary in either paper. Within this group the lead was taken by a band of spirits who assumed descriptive Latin names such as "Imperator Servus Dei". The names they had borne on earth were revealed to Stainton Moses.
whatever his own psychological status. at which Phinuit was Control. Piper's first visit to England in 18891890. Comparison with them suggests exactly the opposite. first time obtained a substantial body of evidence on which such a claim could with any show of reason be based. or G.P. in writing while . and that the communications received through her conveyed information outside her normally acquired knowledge. On two points however there was disagreement. G. She lived to a great age. In the first period the messages were entirely oral. dying in 1950. should be taken seriously. They provided a multiple alias for the expression of views formed by him over many years. Piper there was for the. appeared as Communicator and gave the anonymous sitter correct information. an her second visit to a healing medium named Cocke for relief from the effects of an accident. Phinuit had only a smattering of French and no systematic knowledge of medicine. The PiperRector failed to establish his identity with the MosesRector. He continued as main Control after Hodgson's death and acted as such during the fourth period of the mediumship. with some writing. delivered in trance. that "Little Dicky" was a dramatisation of one aspect of the medium's subconscious. The name to which the MosesRector laid claim had not at this time been made public: it was in fact St. delivered in trance in either case. Cocke had a doctorControl called Finney. while in the fifth she practised automatic writing without trance. diversified otherwise only by frequent bouts of illness. But he seems to have shown some flair for diagnosis and he impressed his investigators as a personality who. In the second they were mainly oral. Moreover these opinions were more likely to impress the world if issued over the names of a host of saints and sages than they would have done if he had claimed to. In 1892 a young man named Pellew (called in the records George Pelham. messages from particular dead persons. Piper in the state of ordinary consciousness. Piper gave messages. though he no longer had a cure of souls. A secondary motive may have been that in the company of the saints and sages he obtained welcome relief from the dull routine of a schoolmaster's life. this is not at all so obvious. when she was investigated by a very able SPR Committee consisting of Myers. During the whole of her active mediumship she was under the close investigation of critical and competent researchers. and they were all agreed that she was perfectly honest."Little Dicky" was a personality quite separate from his victim. The primary consideration was. Lodge and Walter Leaf. Piper. The main Control at this time was Rector. He was the dominant Control during Mrs. The messages were given during this. During these periods entry into trance was painful. At a sitting a few weeks after his death. and more rarely after that. she herself went into trance. whether any of her Controls existed independently of her. With the changes in Controls was associated a change in the Condition in which Mrs. but with the advent of Rector it became much easier. that only through the Controls could he effectively fulfil his mission of giving to the world the philosophy embodied in the "Spirit Teachings" dictated by them.) died suddenly in America. the most famous of trance mediums. who was introduced by a Control calling himself Stainton Moses as a former member of his Imperator group. Perhaps "Little Dicky" was a relief from too many saints and sages. and all that need for the present be said is that through Mrs. He was none the less. on the testimony of several sitters. or indeed to give proofs of being any person who had ever lived. The third period may be considered as extending from January 1897 to Hodgson's sudden death in December 1905. I think. Piper's principal investigator. His last appearance was in 1897. The main Control during this period. where he had been well known to Hodgson. Hippolytus. and Mrs. This suggestion would not deserve to carry much weight in tile absence of reasonable motives for so elaborate a mystification. which it would have been impossible to reconcile with the doctrines of the Church of England of which he was a priest. the third period. be their author. She willingly collaborated with them. but does not seem to have produced anything of importance after 1915. Mrs. the year following the close of Stainton Moses's activity. To a later generation familiar with records of poltergeist cases and the story of Sally Beauchamp. The mediumship of Mrs. frequently until 1896. being unable to give this name. The first period began when. and whether any of the communications should be taken as what they claimed to be. in the first four of which her communications were produced in trance. The latter point will be discussed in another chapter. Piper's mediumship may be divided into five periods. began in 1884. distinctly impressive. because as regards his conscious mind there is no doubt that Stainton Moses sincerely believed in the independent reality of the Controls. was Phinuit who claimed to have been a French doctor. and he made contradictory statements as to his birthplace. which lasted until 1892. and that it is not unlikely that other aspects were dramatised by other of his Controls. Subconscious motives of course. Mrs.P. Later he acted as Control. Piper's Phinuit (the spelling is due to the sitter who recorded her trance) obviously owed his name and his selfattributed doctorship to Cocke's Control. and was regarded by William James as having a "Capacity for being a spiritual advise?' superior to that of Mrs.
the trance lasted. Then there is the fact. "My body seemed so dark and heavy as though it did not belong to me: I had to struggle for breath. for instance. we wish to take you with us: we wish to give you a rest from your tired body". who called her right arm and hand "Old Stump". such as Mrs. While in hospital. None of these three can so readily be dismissed as figments of Mrs. She was greeted by singing. after an operation it seems. Piper. The other points relate to the veridical nature of the communications made by all of them.. when her Imperator Control "closed the light". but not in my view conclusive. has a parallel in the case of Anna Winsor. There was a Sir Walter Scott who declared there were monkeys in the sun. and professes a contempt for her medium. At the end of her sittings Mrs. More direct psychological methods have been brought to bear on the Controls of some recent mediums.P. Feda has never gone beyond causing Mrs. Leonard and Mrs. appearing inert. First there is the integrity of Mrs. Leonard's only Control. or Margaret for Doris Fischer. though often in great physical pain. the Piper mediumship had a host of minor ones. but not altogether. is the child Feda. Piper's conscious mind. each in his way seemed to surpass Mrs. a Mentor who asserted his identity with the Stainton Moses Control of the same name. (18601863: see H. but is not inconsistent with elaborate dramatisation in the subconscious. There was. not worth further discussion were it not that their appearance raises doubts as to the scope of fantasy in her mediumship as a whole. Feda. and it alone. which will be discussed in a later chapter. Their status was debated at great length and with much ability on both sides in SPR Proceedings . Not indeed a complete parallel. apart from CommunicatorControls. In favour of their independence there are several points deserving consideration. XXVIII. But whereas both Sally and Margaret were guilty of spiteful actions. But the PiperMentor avowed himself to be the classical Ulysses. that though neither Phinuit nor Rector could prove their identity. The analogy between some aspects of the Piper mediumship and conditions unassociated with mediumship described in earlier chapters is obvious. 354360). In particular a plausible. regarded them as something intelligent but foreign. and she also expressed disgust at finding herself back in normal life. These are obvious absurdities. an eleventh century Arab philosopher. The same is true of the Controls of other trance mediums and the messages received through them. examples of which have been given in Chapter VII.. and "saw a light as though all spacethe whole earth was aglowsuch a light! I never saw anything like it before". The same conditions prevailed during the fourth period. as Mrs. in a way recalling the feelings of the percipient in "outofthebody" experiences. like Sally. and a ring of beautiful women dancing. but none in my view conclusive. She felt a stab in the back where she was attached to a cord that looked like the ray of light which she had followed in her ascent. which is admitted. one would say. There followed a fifth period when she wrote automatically but not in trance. which lasted until 1911.P. the whole body of the medium. But there was in Mrs. was notably placid in temperament. G.P. She heard voices saying "Come. passed between hedges with flowers. is most amusing. since whatever view be taken as to their independence no action of theirs is as relevant to that question as the communications obtained through the same medium. or of being pulled back by one. a person preeminently fitted to serve as a spiritual guide. not unlike that which Sally boasted to have for Miss Beauchamp. But in considering the nature of mediumistic Controls one is not entirely confined to argument from analogy. except the hand that wrote. 377380)." (Proc . Mrs. which she styles "a dream or vision". Two of her Controls. Piper several times spoke of "sliding down" a cord into the body. and came to a pillared building where she met several dead relations and Communicators. I felt depressed to think that I had got back. and so casts doubts on the claims to an independent existence made by the principal Controls. Anna Winsor. After a pause she felt she was being lifted and was not on her bed. Piper's subconscious. It is however of interest to note that the odd phenomenon of Mrs. To define the status of the Piper Controls is a matter of great psychological interest. Piper's case no such show of hostility between the hand and the rest of the organism as was recorded with Anna Winsor. she had a welldeveloped experience of this type. case could be made out for regarding G. not. Here again Chapter VII should be taken into account. Piper's right hand gave the appearance of being. I. but does not very closely concern the question of survival.'s apparent success as a Communicator. Phinuit. She was pulled back to her body and found herself awake. The latter claimed to be Algazzali. Garrett. closely resembles secondary personalities of the Sally type. Piper's hand acting as if it by itself. as Anna Winsor represented "an extreme form of hysteroepilepsy" while Mrs. appeared to her. as guaranteeing his independence as a Control. and a George Eliot who had met Adam Bede in heaven. who in some ways. Phinuit and G. accepted by critical investigators. and Rector.P. . possessed intelligence. Piper's normal powers. She passed through a delicate blue drapery. In addition to the principal Controls named.
G. are not conclusive for or against the independence of Controls. the time between stimulus and response. The purpose was to discover whether mediumistic trance could be shown to have features distinguishing it from the normal ("alpha") rhythm observed with subjects resting but awake.E. The analysis of the results led to a long technical discussion in several volumes of SPR Proceedings . The instrument was attached to Mrs. have a bearing on the status of Controls only if it be a valid assumption that the correlation between mental processes and bodily conditions is constant. test described above. Leonard's sitters.E. the ControlCommunicators took on marked personal characteristics of speech and manner. the scripts of two or more automatists of the group had to be read together to get at the meaning.E. In the "crosscorrespondences" which were an important feature of these scripts. absolutely straightforward.Leonard such embarrassments as prevailing on her to give an expensive present or to walk through the streets of a town trailing a toy balloon. a conception which many scientists find difficulty in accepting notwithstanding the impressive mass of evidence in its favour. The SPR Journal (XXXVI. With some of the automatists the Communicators hardly emerged from an impersonal collectivity. or E. The method is to read to a subject lists of stimulus words to which the subject replies with the first words he thinks of. probably formed round a nucleus of material repressed by the medium's conscious mind. the messages being introduced with some such phrase as "they say". The evidence therefore of the automatic writings of the SPR group does not run counter to the view formed from a survey of trancemediumship in general that the case for survival is not strengthened by the very doubtful claims to independent existence made by Controls. With others a Communicator would take on for a time a not very strongly marked individuality.G. and indeed such evidence as is available suggests that in telepathy mental activity may occur without a corresponding physical stimulus. Leonard and Mrs. was that Feda was a secondary personality. Uvani. all identifiable either by their names or in other ways. remained in. and then while she went into. The subject's reactions. using the same stimuluslist to each of them in trance. and from the rhythm observed in hypnosis. so far as they can be differentiated from Communicators. by which the electrical activity of the cerebral cortex is recorded on a moving paper strip. and other physiological tests. Of the five principal members of the group of automatists none had a Control who was not also a Communicator. whether the mental processes manifest themselves in normal or paranormal activities. Willett. whether they give positive or. Garrett recourse has also been had to the electro encephalograph. who did not give messages purporting to be evidential. Feda is moreover. and with one. Carington's conclusion. both of whom collaborated most willingly. as in the E. This has yet to be proved.G. spoke.g. For this purpose the degree of personalisation shown by the ControlCommunicators of the various automatists counted for nothing. e. during which time her Control. 344378.E. Garrett's head at two sessions in 1951. A discussion of the bearing on this problem of the status of Controls would he incomplete without consideration of the part they play in the scripts of this group. In 1933 Whately Carington began to apply to Mrs. and came out of trance. Mrs. Trance was at the second session induced by hypnosis. Garrett. and in light and deep sleep. E. With Mrs. on the universal testimony of Mrs. . in hysterical dissociation. i. which represent each of the members of the group as being in touch with another group consisting of Communicators. whose contribution towards a solution of the problem of survival is generally agreed to be outstanding. the established psychological technique of wordassociation tests. Leonard's sitters. negative results. For a character sketch of her see SPR Proceedings XXXII. first when she was awake but resting. the record being known as an electroencephalogram. 588596) reports. which was not however accepted by all Mrs. are noted and on examination are found to show a pattern characteristic of each subject. tests. In the present state of knowledge therefore physiological tests. "There was no significant E. and then. change when the subject went into or came out of either the trance state or the hypnotic state".G. Carington administered this test first to each of these mediums in their normal state.e. In the latter part of this book much will be said about the "SPR group of automatists".
may not find them in a mood that promises success. if any. If neither of these causes fully accounts for the evidence. automatist. or himself in a difficult mood. classical scholar and Professor of English Literature at Cambridge. The distinction however between the two is not clear cut. Verrall in 1916; my wife (whom for brevity I will call H. That this is not a private fad of my own can be shown by the very numerous papers in SPR Proceedings from Vol. Verrall. Willett. Helen. the apparent indications of survival are not wholly illusory but point to some underlying reality. on the other hand. The automatist. speaks of her "mediumship": (SPR Proc . G. but lies outside the conscious knowledge of the medium. But of those that are true how many are lucky shots? How many can be assigned to the medium's normally acquired knowledge? Mediums are members of an honourable profession. and the emergence of welldeveloped Controls rarer. So far as more ordinary standards of judgment are applicable. suggest the survival and identity of some specific person. to the operation of the paranormal faculties of living persons.Chapter 10: Communications Through Mediums I: As affected Through Normal Means W. allowance must he made for conventional ideas of a future life derived from the complex interaction of outofthebody experiences. whether pro. I will first consider messages purporting to convey information that was within the knowledge of the Communicator when alive. failing that. W. and are cited here simply because they have in my mind become attached to various points that will need discussion. Balfour. I think. Messages of comfort and exhortation may be closely combined in mediumistic utterance with other messages which. and still more on that of my wife and her family. Communicator or sitter. XX (1906) on. fessionally or not. How each of them comes into the story will appear as this discussion proceeds. long established as a regular cult pursued with great ardour. This lapse of time justifies me. The first question here is whether it is knowledge of verifiable facts. Automatists are not essentially a different type of person from mediums. If evidence of survival is to be sought from verifiable statements of fact. If any test of their truth is to be applied. but they work under conditions that axe a temptation to devious practices. And of course verifiable statements abound in mediumistic utterances.) ceased to be active as an automatist or sitter about twentyfive years ago. and very often spontaneously. They have to give sittings. and the systematic teaching of religious bodies. The remainder of this book will be devoted to a consideration of how far this latter type of material can be reasonably attributed to normal causes. is one who makes use of these powers occasionally. By mediums are generally meant persons who make a regular practice of employing their psychic powers. H. has both adopted and modified these conventional ideas. Salter THE USE of the cumbrous double word "ControlCommunicator" in the last chapter illustrates the difficulty of defining precisely what is meant by a "communication". as I ever had in estimating the value of their contribution towards the solution of this problem. W.V. XLIII). To return from this parenthesis to mediumistic communications and their bearing on the question of survival. it must be sought elsewhere. While the communications I have myself received are of no exceptional importance. Automatists also in general go into a lighter state of dissociation than regular mediums. when analysing the psychology of Mrs. in claiming freedom from such personal bias. The use of devices such as planchette or ouijaboard is more frequent with automatists than with regular mediums. account must also be taken of the extent to which spiritualism. the Sixth Aeneid and the Divina Commedia. no survey of this problem would approach completeness that failed to give prominence to the parts played in it by A. it must be a transcendental one lying outside the province of psychical research. it would follow that unless some transcendental factor unverifiable by ordinary enquiry has intervened. and their daughter. If so. Verrall died in 1912; Mrs. as discussed in this chapter. It is however convenient to give them a different name. or. literary tradition as exemplified in the Frogs . The sitter may be by nature uncongenial. No . in which one or other of them figures as experimenter. In fact much automatic speech and writing is of the "inspirational" type and produced in a state very slightly removed from normal consciousness. his wife. a famous member of "the SPR group of automatists". at prearranged dates which. can the nature of this reality be ascertained? To illustrate the argument I shall draw on my own experience. when they fall due. if taken at their face value. nor is it fundamental. Where the descriptions come through a professional medium. Messages for example often describe the conditions in which the Communicator finds himself after bodily death. whom I married.
e.member of a profession likes to fall down on the job. points out that. If he wants a more precise assessment. the Communicator) "means it is coming soon. sincerely believe these descriptions. Good mediums intensely dislike having unsought confidences thrust upon them when in a state of ordinary consciousness. It is a waste of time attempting to decide how much of this equivocal material falls on one side of the dividing line between chance and nonchance. This is a fair criticism of a great deal of the material reported to the SPR. Leonard. There are moreover other ways. or mediumistic. that there is no certainty as to the extent to which chance has affected the results. paid a short visit to England which was announced in the psychic press. we will suppose. doubts may be thrown on the genuineness of the trance. experimental as where the targets are "free". A too free response to "fishing" is not the only way in which a sitter may convey to a medium information which may later reappear in a communication to himself or to some other sitter. With typical candour she said to him. and how much on the other." "My! How did you guess that?" "I knew you were in England and thought you would . If the sitter rises to any item. except as a means of showing up the poverty of sittings that any emotionally unbiased person of intelligence would at the first glance recognise as poor. read for himself any day in the spiritualist press in the comfort of his home and at the cost of a few pence. wearing a brooch with a coronet and the initials of a man of title whose sudden death had not long before received great newspaper publicity. it may be used as bait for more extensive "fishing". and of some of the material published by it. It is fit and proper that a sitter should wish to be on informal. besides incautious chatter. But the anonymous sitter cannot always help revealing his identity.) "Or perhaps he" (i. spontaneous. while the medium is in a fully conscious state. This reduced the anonymity to a farce. thrown out tentatively. In either event the medium has been put in an unfair position. The course which puts the least strain on it is to describe the other world. All the rest can simply be disregarded." (The sitter. who has already been mentioned. that could only be assigned to chance by a ludicrous straining of probability. and the mechanism of communication by whatever formula is at the time prevalent in the spiritualist movement. and the subconscious. and very likely will. Balfour in his important study of Mrs. thereby throwing light on her own psychic processes. It is a frequent criticism of qualitative material in psychical research. Willett's psychology. though she was familiar with Myers's writings on the "subliminal". the nature of the "astral" or "etheric" body. has a particular dislike of acknowledging defeat. In that case he would do well to ask a few of his friends to look through the records. of conveying useful information. G. Thus when Walter Prince. experimental and mediumistic. if he so wishes. and uses his language to describe her sensations. To the medium's great annoyance the sitter arrived in deep widow's weeds." Given a wide meaning to each of the words "family". The medium may. If any of the information so imparted comes out later in a trance communication. she gives an account of the relations between "subliminal" and "supraliminal" (approximately equivalent to subconscious and conscious as I use those words) that differs widely from his. without recourse to stock phrases; much also from the use in one meaning of words the usual and established meaning of which is different. Prince. This will give him a rough and ready guide as to the extent to which the successes may be assigned to chance. he may be deeply impressed. since there is on record a larger mass than the most diligent student could master of qualitative material. he can apply one of the various formulae that have been worked out for the statistical evaluation of sittings. these sentences would at any time fit a large part of the population. It looks for an easy way out and finds there is a choice of several. If he shows interest in any of them. A sitter who does not care to waste his time or his guineas in listening to a medium say what he can. has still other tests to meet before it can be accepted as paranormal. I have yet however to meet any experienced sitter who has found this technique satisfactory in practice. On the other hand anticipation of such a possible consequence may inhibit the flow of communication. A large number of random shots will almost certainly produce some hits. whether spontaneous in origin such as apparitions. and if any of these happen to light on a spot where the sitter is emotionally sensitive. Some years ago a sitting was booked with a wellknown medium for an anonymous sitter. And of course material that successfully passes the test of chance. will politely but firmly direct the communications into other channels. W. and to tell him how far the communications fit their own circumstances. active during trance. "I think you are Dr. such remarks as these may be added: "There has been a birthday in the family lately. The sitter who is dissatisfied with vague talk and wishes for verifiable facts may receive strings of common Christian names. he booked an anonymous sitting with Mrs. but this desire may lead to gossipy chatting before or after the sitting. does not respond. and "soon". "lately". But much may be learnt from a medium who can describe the process of communication as he feels it. friendly terms with the medium.
with disappointing results. He wants perhaps to remember some name which has completely escaped his conscious memory. and therefore fails to give complete information as to whether the medium attempted to "fish". Before however anyone passes a too censorious judgment on the medium. such as the ferreting out of information about a sitter.probably ask for a sitting with me. which comes easily with practice. But undue reticence may be equally detrimental. "Good sitters make good mediums. let him examine his own subconscious in the light of his everyday experience. Home). whether themselves sitters or not. his family circle and interests in order to provide material which could be worked up into "communications". Most of it was collected before taperecording of sittings was introduced. Sitters who have established friendly relations with trancemediums are from time to time told by them that they have been present when other mediums have pooled information about sitters. were the result of careful enquiry." Prince had an accent of the pungency of which he was quite unaware. It may however be taken for granted that the sitters were in the main friendly but discreet. or as to whether the sitter was too expansive. Fortunately there is in the Proceedings of the SPR an almost embarrassing wealth of material. Piper and Mrs. there is obviously no deliberate intention to deceive. all wrong and some of them fantastic. A few years ago. "Fishing" and "fluking" are practices to be regretted because they waste the time (and money) of the sitter.e." That puts a good point too bluntly. "Fishing" is a further step. on which the student can rely. in the wrong direction. he hands out to an expectant sitter anything lying ready in his subconscious. But it is the fact that no small share of the credit for the long and successful careers as mediums of Mrs. and if so to what extent and with what success. D. I knew about how old you are and your voice told me you were from the States. Browning evidently agreed that Sludge's complaint on this score was well founded. when they get through these devices incorrect. But the milder phrase is sometimes used to cover actions that are thoroughly fraudulent. I was well past middle age before either of my parents died. answers to their questions. showing the degree of success or failure at each point of the sitting. D. This has always been true and never more than at the present time. Leonard is due to the SPR investigators who from the early days of their mediumship combined personal friendliness with a sharp eye for evidence. Sludge" (i. For some years before that a few mediums judged me to be a man likely to have a father and/or mother in the spirit world and gave me messages of comfort appropriate to my supposed state of bereavement. may discourage a sitter from further enquiry. All this may properly be described as "trancedeception" and not as conscious fraud. for no amount of skill or patience or tact on the sitter's part will make up for the absence or weakness of a medium's paranormal powers. fetching up a name which the conscious mind will accept as that really needed. Much the same thing happens to experimenters with the planchette or ouijaboard. In return both of thee mediums eagerly collaborated with the SPR in planning and conducting experiments designed to extend knowledge of psychic processes. and provide a facile pretext for the depreciation of mediumship and of psychical research. it may be absurdly incorrect. a small step. The main difficulty is in extemporising sufficiently neutral responses to remarks by the Control or Communicator which come near to being questions and would in an ordinary talk between friends meet with frank replies. and offers his conscious mind one name after another. if his luck is in. made a fair record of what passed between medium and sitter; and that the annotations. an exhaustive search was made in Great Britain for other trance mediums worth intensive study. Instances have already been given of the too informative sitter. A sitter's age may by itself mislead a fishing medium. Reports from America indicate that things are no better there. Bad sitters on the other hand must take a large share of the blame for the less satisfactory features of mediumship. Few persons interested in the survival question are likely to have a sufficient number of sittings with trance mediums of high quality to provide out of their own experience material on which to form a judgment. . A sitter who maintains a frigid silence throughout the sitting is likely to come away with little to show for it. For success he must acquire the art. It adds to the value of the reports that their authors were far from unanimous in their views of trancemediumship. or not expansive enough. of encouraging the medium at appropriate moments without giving away facts. casual lapses being candidly noted; that the notetakers. Leonard had restricted her activity as a medium. It is no slur on the integrity of a trancemedium if. when Mrs. Much as he disliked "Mr. His subconscious rummages around. having nothing paranormal in stock. In the conditions in which such experiments are usually conducted. In full trance the subconscious enjoys greater liberty and is even less willing to admit defeat. before finally.
He was a bachelor and was generally believed by his intimate friends never to have contemplated marriage while living in America. In each case the memory is revived by an appropriate stimulus; in her case by Hodgson's death and the presence of his friends at her sittings; in his by her trance reference to the incident at his sitting." (1) Owing to misprints. The incident. "one of them asked me to join in. (1) acquisition of knowledge. both the acquisition of the knowledge and the revival of the memory being conscious processes. Piper in the spring of 1906(1) the HodgsonControl stated that he had met a lady in Chicago to whom he had proposed marriage." It is also possible that mediums may "mug up" from biographies and books of reference facts as to a sitter or his friends that may come in useful later. but by way of superlative caution each was at an early stage of her career subjected to private enquiry. and its possible occurrence in a communication through a medium or through automatic writing is hard to assess owing to individual . Piper and Mrs. How far the rot extends it would be impossible to say. Leonard. XXIII 2025). The trance. Latent memory (or "cryptomnesia") is a particularly baffling problem. Proc. But at sittings with Mrs. Not long ago I happened to mention to a trancemedium that an old case seemed to me to show internal evidence of collusion between two other mediums. as for some time after 1895 he would almost certainly have retained a conscious memory of it. (2) retention. and none of them suggested Miss Densmore. On looking up his correspondence with Hodgson. There never was any ground for suspecting the good faith of either. Piper. had a sitting with Mrs. Jones who sat with you last week has booked a sitting with me for next week. but that she had refused him. Her maiden name ("Miss Densmore" in the report) was given together with her two Christian names. He made enquiries among other intimate friends of Hodgson as to the names of women to whom they thought he might have proposed. We here leave behind us that unsavoury topic. from which each of them emerged with flying colours. she said. as 1905. Hodgson had even known each other. For Newbold only stage (2) was subconscious. Richard Hodgson. and I shall not waste time discussing it as a serious hypothesis. but she confirmed to him the statement as to Hodgson's proposal. was "an excellent one to count in favour of spirit return. Mrs. the date of these sittings is given in the SPR report. died in 1905. Newbold replied that he began to remember: was it about eight or nine years ago? To this the Control assented. What sort of communication does she want? Is it her husband or her son she wants messages from?" And so on. "Quite right". there are not other mediums of equal integrity. Piper in trance remembered what had passed in trance between her and the living Hodgson eleven years earlier (Newbold's "eight or nine years" was an understatement) and also remembered that Newbold was the one sitter who could have been expected to remember it. because these are the mediums most frequently quoted by me. He did not know that she and. Newbold. was subconscious. To none of the other sitters to whom the Control spoke of the affair was any suggestion made that they remembered it. She seemed not to have spoken of the proposal to anyone but her sister. Newbold in a state of ordinary consciousness remembered what he had been told. (3) revival. Newbold found that in 1895 the PiperControls had prophesied that both he and Hodgson would soon be happily married: Newbold was; Hodgson was rejected. who had for many years supervised the American sittings given by Mrs. I should not however wish it to be supposed that. therefore.They report remarks such as this: "Mrs. or sequence of processes. It has been necessary more than once in the foregoing pages to discuss the fraudulent simulation of psychic phenomena. eleven years before. Professor W. who seems to have been Hodgson's only confidant. Newbold. R. he (Hodgson) had been led to consult the PiperControls about it himself. In each case the memory seems to have been latent in the subconscious for many years; in Newbold's probably for less than eleven. as James said in his report on the HodgsonControl (SPR Proc . the whole process. "escaped the Stygian Pool though long detained". This incident (known as the "Huldah" case from the second name wrongly assigned to Miss Densmore) shows the importance of preserving complete records. notwithstanding a mistake in the middle name. to identify her as an old acquaintance of his. XXIII. It also shows the tenacity of the subconscious memory. For her. A few black sheep do not discredit a whole profession. also in a conscious state. In none of the material I shall from now quote do I believe fraud to have played a part. adds that Miss Densmore was frequently mentioned in the sittings of 1895. and it is on records of sittings with them that I shall mainly draw. mediums who have been most intensively studied by the SPR are Mrs. Piper at which the HodgsonControl asked him whether he remembered "Miss Densmore". In June 1906 another old friend of Hodgsn. These enabled William James. unless indeed it should turn out that while it was happening.
When in 1927 and 1928 Dr. Other statements volunteered by the Communicator could also be verified as correct from the preface to one of her novels and from local directories of the district. why this inability to make correct statements as to matters not to be found in the reference books? The most probable explanation seems to me to be that the medium. living and dead.N. I had never heard of her. even when liberal allowance was made for the mistakes. which can be verified from the D. whether volunteered by M. It may also explain the Margaret Veley scripts of Dr. and the MS [i. which assimilated it with other matter acquired in the same way. accounts of conversations that never took Place with dead persons in whom the medium was interested. I got to know facts about her and her family which were not to be found in any of these books. I think. but having what is called a "flypaper mind". and dealt with matters that should have been introduced more delicately. and that glancing through the pages casually she had come on references to my relatives. XXXVIII. why this curious distinction between largely correct fact. If however the communications were a telepathic reflection of my conscious and /or subconscious mind. and the significance of some of the facts stated correctly. XXXVIII 281374. or made in reply to questions. Soal and a friend produced a number of scripts purporting to be communications from her.) In my report (Proc . the second process must be subdivided into (2a) relegation to the subconscious. Almost everything said during the trance about my ancestors was correct.e. It is no good crossexamining Controls as to their statements and I refrained from attempting to do this. has a marked propensity. both as regards the character and opinions of the persons named. at some time been within my conscious knowledge. had occasion to look up passages in books of reference. For imaginative fiction or dramatisation the subconscious.. through friends and relations of Margaret Veley. if they are compared with most ostensibly spiritistic communications. and asked me to look into them. and (2b) retention of what has been so relegated. again. it was a real communication from the other world. the novel already mentioned]. It was obvious that the medium's subconscious had erected a structure of imaginative fiction on a basis of fact. The Control never followed up my lead. 322323) I summed up my analysis of the veridical element in the communications as follows: "It will. About my living relative much was said that was true and could be verified from books of reference that were sufficiently uptodate. Mainly. for purposes quite unconnected with these sittings. but on looking her up in the Dictionary of National Biography while the scripts were in progress I was astonished to find that almost everything said in them about her life and writings was correct. be generally agreed that the proportion of success to failure. however. This explanation has already been suggested in connection with the case of Abraham Florentine in the records of Stainton Moses: see Chapter IX. as follows: "(A) Statements.g. I think. She may never have consciously digested what she thus came across.. To latent memory I am inclined to assign the rather numerous correct statements I recently received from a nonprofessional medium about my ancestors and one of my living relatives. where her family lived. some of which were of deep interest to Margaret Veley when alive. and wholly incorrect background? If. Braintree. but I deliberately gave the Control several openings to expand by talking of matters connected with the persons named which were known to me but could not be found in books of reference. met with practically no response. though I had to verify some of them from printed sources. as Newbold relegated his knowledge of Hodgson's proposal.B. But the true statements about him were mixed with several that were fictitious; e. All the facts had. The verifiable statements (and the unverifiable residuum is very small) may be classified under four heads. as was shown in previous chapters. and to the fact that when the knowledge is acquired in a conscious state. is unusually high in these scripts. Essex.differences between one person and another. to the varying states of mind in which the initial (1) and final (3) stages may take place. as regards matters outside the admitted normal knowledge of the automatists. . Soal: see SPR Proc . Questions on these matters. It could be verified from works of reference. But how in this instance did the basis of fact get there? The correct statements were too numerous and too far removed from the commonplace to be attributable to chance. a careful reading of which would however also show that a few mistakes were made. passed it on undigested to her subconscious memory. (After rereading my report recently I must admit that some of the questions savoured of crossexamination. Margaret Veley (18431887) was a novelist and poet of some note during her life.V. Moreover the background of the communications was altogether unreal.
and business documents and by conversation is incalculable. It is not surprising that in many cases different views as to the possible operation of latent memory are expressed. like the traditional elephant. The interest centres on correct statements of facts less accessible to the general public."(B) Statements." My report was shown in proof to two of Margaret Veley's relatives with a request that they should say whether in their opinion the scripts were characteristic of her outlook on life and habits of thought. Again. W'. As stated above. day by day. but the later parts did not; the other (a niece) that there was nothing that recalled her aunt in any way. It is therefore most desirable to ascertain as definitely as practicable in what book or other document the statements may be found. Under both heads (B) and (C) there is a mixture of success and failure. not at any rate such communications as anyone need bother about. But as he could have seen it. with the successes largely preponderating. whether volunteered or in reply to questions. though appearing before the communication. owing to the presence in it of an unusual form of words and of a mistake. volumes of the County Directory. The scripts included several verses ostensibly dictated by Margaret Veley. In the Abraham Florentine case it was possible to paint with fair certainty to a particular printed document as the source from which the communication had been derived. since so many uncertain factors are likely to be involved. though there is no direct evidence that he did. or how lucky. never forgets. By this means one can form a fair assessment of the probability of a medium acquiring the necessary knowledge in his ordinary reading or conversation. we are not considering possible fraudulent acquisition of knowledge. who preferred at the time to he known as "Mr. unless there are grounds for supposing that in this context his normal knowledge exceeds the average. It is sometimes said that the subconscious. when prompted by the HodgsonControl. "The success is almost perfect under head (A) and the failure almost complete under head (D). Soal. both of which were repeated in the communication. He did not regard cryptomnesia as a major explanation of the Margaret Veley scripts. by newspapers. such as precognition or clairvoyance. A definite source can seldom be indicated with as much certainty as in that case. newspapers. or was confirmed on some later occasion.g. which may therefore be considered as probably unknown to the medium. and if the paper in question had first appeared after the communication had been made. This source was an Obituary Notice in an American newspaper. One of them thought that the earlier part of the scripts fell in with her recollections. The number of items of information which most people acquire by reading books. it might perhaps be regarded as an instance. of clairvoyance. conversation with fellowcommuters and all the apparatus of civilised life! That however is not the stuff of which communications are made. which can be verified from matter scattered up and down a considerable number of other books. it being all most unlike her in what was said and the way of saying it. "(D) Statements in reply to questions regarding matters which cannot be verified from any such source. man has been to construct consciousness as a shelter under which he can conduct his ordinary affairs unembarrassed by unwanted memories of all the trivialities thrust on his attention hour by hour. "(C) Statements volunteered as to matters which cannot be verified from any printed source which I1 have been able to trace" [the sources consulted by me were listed in a footnote occupying half a page of small print]. or to whom the relevant facts were known. an exceptionally good instance. This is a matter of importance in judging the probability of information once acquired being forgotten by the conscious mind. could not possibly have been seen by Stainton Moses. it is safer to invoke a normal factor such as latent memory rather than a paranormal one. if the Obituary. The second part of the SPR report. entitled "The Literary Style of the Scripts" was contributed by Dr. the case might possibly be considered as precognitive. How clever. differing as to this from the view I have expressed. e. One can also infer how long before the communication was made the knowledge was first acquired. In the Huldah case Newbold. said he "began" to remember the .
to receive the impression that somewhere in the smaller type giving details of where the persons named had lived or the place of their death is the name of a particular street or village with which one has some sort of association. The roll with the insertion is then flashed on the screen at the usual rate. but (b) he fails to recognise the facts as previously known to him. latent memory bring excluded. The name has registered but not with the definition that attaches to things perceived in full awareness. have gone in at one car of her conscious mind and out at the other. The surprising thing is that he should not have retained even after that lapse of time a clearer memory of an affair that. How accessible to the medium were the supposed sources of information? How complex is the knowledge shown? Is it such as could he acquired by anyone running his eye over a page. In view of the possible ethical and political consequences the professional associations. so rapidly. or to recognise the possible source when pointed out to him. It would however seem at present that there is a considerable difference between experimental subception. For instance. It is a very common experience. In the Veley case all the documents mentioned as possible sources of information had been in existence for many years. Suppose however that (a) a possible source of information can be shown. the column of deaths recorded in a newspaper. might well have slipped his conscious memory altogether. Doubtful questions of chancecoincidence and lapsed memory are not of course peculiar to psychical . a roll of cinema film is cut. or even that there has been any interruption of the sequence. As regards the communications made about my relatives. but forgotten by it: he may further be able to recollect how and when he came to know them. The incident was then eleven years old. as is generally known. so to speak. must when it was happening have aroused his keen interest. he may have acquired knowledge of them? Certain answers to these questions may often he unattainable. I cannot suppose that their affairs were in themselves of any interest to the medium. so that they could well. one can form a fairly good assessment of the respective degrees of probability to be assigned to the hypotheses of paranormal activity and of latent memory. Consider the case of a medium who in a dissociated state makes correct statements of fact which are shown to him when he returns to ordinary consciousness. and if it was in fact a case of cryptomnesia. But by combining what seem to be the most likely answers to each. say. he has acquired the information in some other. and the faculty which would account for even so simple a case as that of Abraham Florentine. and a single exposure from a quite different film is inserted. One cannot say just where in the column it occurs. or the marginal perception which we frequently observe as following casual glances at a newspaper. He may recognise them as facts previously known to his conscious mind. But subconsciously he may not only have noted the interruption but have observed the nature of the insertion. is that an indication that he never knew them normally? That. could only have been learnt within a few months before the sitting. paranormal way? This can only be answered by asking several further questions. if learnt from written sources. his normal acquisition of the knowledge about them shown in the scripts might date back long enough to account for it having completely faded from his conscious mind. owing to his friendship with Hodgson and his own engagement. if one glances rapidly at. Soal seems to have had no personal interest in the Veleys. and. that is. if ever.Chicago lady. Psychologists in their experiments have gone a stage further. which seems to suggest that he still retained a conscious memory of the affair. has been made of this by advertisers. had it concerned a matter of indifference to Newbold. though some of the facts. how keen an interest in the relevant facts can be assumed an the medium's part at the date when. or by reading a few pages once without special attention: or must a close and careful study be supposed? How long an interval of time was there between the supposed date of acquisition and the communication? Most important of all. of advertisers in the United Kingdom and the United States have pronounced against its commercial use. Dr. It has been shown that sensory stimuli too faint to be consciously perceived may none the less have registered in the subconscious. Use. Where the amount of verifiable detail in a communication is even greater than was transmitted in that case the plausibility of subception as an explanation is very small. by a process called "subception". and references to it have been made in the Press under the description of "subliminal" or "splitsecond" advertising. but a careful reading will show that the impression was correct. that the spectator cannot consciously see what the insertion is. but a very dim and vague one.
the action of the novel being dated about a generation before the plaintiff's professional engagement at the town mentioned. the plaintiff being an actress who complained that her name had been attached to a very obnoxious character in a novel. The plaintiff won her case. . Both were actresses connected with a theatre in the same provincial town. thereby vindicating her character. The author of the novel said she had never heard of the plaintiff. There were several other particulars applicable to herself which also appeared as connected with this character in the book. and that in one important particular there was a marked divergence. The principal actor in the novel had a name closely resembling that of the principal actor in the plaintiff's company. Latent memory (cryptomnesia) is therefore left as an alternative explanation to sheer chancecoincidence. but the scale of damages awarded her showed that the Court accepted the author's statement that she intended no reference to the plaintiff and had indeed never heard of her. and it is sometimes helpful to consider them in an unrelated context. The author could of course only speak as to her conscious knowledge and memory. Both had red or reddish hair. The real and fictional actor were also of the same religion as each other.research. Both the plaintiff and her fictional counterpart were of the same religious persuasion. but a different one from that of the plaintiff. an unusual one. A libel action was not very long ago decided in the Courts. There were thus seven points of close resemblance between fact and fiction. that the resemblances were accidental. The Christian name of both real and fictional persons was the same: so was the surname. Many communications quoted as evidence for survival show a much less remarkable constellation of correspondences than is to be found in this action.
or as to the place where she died. period and position in life which he claims as his own. when he has done ninetenths of the talk and the Control has merely produced some almost inaudible mutters. by a very careful investigator. in travel or by casual reading. "Goodnight". the Walter Prince mentioned in an earlier chapter. Curran. Several of her acquaintances confirmed her statements and testified to her integrity. in some cases at least.. It is sufficient here to say that her education was moderate and she never had any strong bookish or historical interests. evidence for survival communications claiming to come from an obscure individual of an earlier age is well illustrated by the case of Patience Worth. anything persists more or less comparable to his personality when in the flesh. Curran's own mind. For reasons given in Chapter II the supernatural' cannot be brought within the scope of this discussion. in the language used by the sitter. conscious or subconscious. if at all. The difficulty of assessing as. she is vague or reticent as to the facts of her earthly existence. and may report having had a long conversation with the Control in some foreign tongue which he himself speaks fluently. so far as they are evidential. She was also asked by Prince a number of questions as to her education and interests. etc.Chapter 11: Communications Through Mediums II: As affected by Paranormal Faculties of the Living W. Patience Worth was the name claimed by the Communicator. some person or persons no longer in this body of flesh and blood. The student is thus fortunate in being well placed to judge whether her voluminous automatic output can reasonably be attributed to Mrs. and discarnate activity on the other. emigration or death. was a farm worker who emigrated to one of the American Colonies. (In a discussion whether after a man's bodily death. It may however be gathered that she was born somewhere in England. etc. Spoken or written communications are sometimes made in languages which are said to be unknown to the medium. Most of us have at some time acquired. who was thirty years old when they began in 1913. But it is not too easy to be certain how much knowledge a person possesses of a language of which he quite honestly believes himself innocent. and the report prints her replies.) Communications through mediums purport. and to supplement this by other matter which the sitter will accept as being beyond the normal powers of the medium. The evidence from phenomena supposed to support this view was rejected in earlier chapters. interspersed with a few phrases. The best a little known Communicator can do is to produce something not too obviously untypical of the country. There is no precise statement as to the dates of her birth. There is the further difficulty that trancespeech is often indistinct: an eager sitter may imagine he hears more than he does. and emanate from. the small change of conversation in quite a number of languages besides those of which we admit knowledge. and this may pour out in trance. 34) that "she could not be brought to place any valuation on giving data about her alleged life on earth". just as the most respectable persons may release a flood of blasphemy and obscenity under an anaesthetic. which is capable of manifesting itself in séanceroom materialisations. "spirit" photographs. The communications came through the automatic writing of a Mrs. which must therefore be limited as regards the choice of possible causes to the faculties of persons living in the body on the one hand. which has aroused enormous interest in America and a good deal in the United Kingdom. Voluble in other respects. possibly in Dorset. H. Sometimes too little is known about the alleged Communicator to show whether the messages attributed to him are in fact characteristic: they must be accepted as such on trust. "How do you do?". because of the view that the dead inhabit a tenuous. With so many points left doubtful it is not surprising that she has not yet been identified with any demonstrably real person. Curran herself. Prince's report begins with an autobiographical sketch by Mrs. and was killed in a raid by Red Indians. Salter THE QUESTION now to be discussed is whether all communications that cannot be assigned to normal factors can be adequately accounted for by the paranormal faculties of living people. Prince says (p. Apparently it all happened during the Seventeenth Century. There is fortunately a full report published by the Boston SPR (1927). "discarnate" is well established as an appropriate term for such a condition. or Whether. it is necessary to look further afield. . It is necessary to add these last words. quasimaterial body. to show knowledge not possessed by the medium and to be characteristic of.
perhaps from Dorset? The communications are partly in verse. with a morsel of the dream phantasy with which most people's subconscious is well stored. I have no doubt. partly in prose. embellished. Curran of everyday life. it may be noted. like Paradise Lost. or to use them sparingly. Curran's. both in linguistic skill and literary power. Curran herself may be left out of account. and I shall therefore consider its bearing on messages received through mediums. The most reasonable explanation of this incident would be that Mrs. unless he had made a much more intensive study of Early and Middle English than there is any reason to attribute to her? How many could do it even after considerable study. Strict correctness would therefore call for the use in the first case of the words "telepathy between the living". they seem to me not to leave much of a case for supposing that the book was dictated or inspired by any individual who at any time had an earthly existence. can it be said that her communications are characteristic of her supposed role as a seventeenth century English farm girl transplanted to North America. are undoubtedly paranormal. If these findings are true. as regards the monkeys. telepathy. The Walter Scott case is not an isolated one. if Mrs. Patience Worth. provided one concedes to it powers parallel. Blake and Shelley. In addition to the linguistic problem Patience Worth raises the question as to the source of the literary power and skill which good critics have found in the books. The faculties generally described by the phrase Extrasensory Perception (ESP) on the other hand. goes beyond what might be expected from the Mrs. It was natural and right that. For instance Richard Hodgson. The sitter may for instance receive through the medium messages making statements that at the time he believes to be true. are written in language free from archaisms. The language has been studied by scholars who report an extremely high proportion of words of AngloSaxon origin and an almost entire absence of wards of recent introduction. who strenuously maintained the survivalist view of the communications that came through Mrs. several of which. There remains however a problem raising a different but difficult issue. Several other instances might be quoted of a sitter's thoughts being given him as "communications" in circumstances which point strongly to the sitter's mind rather than to that of the purporting Communicator as the source. though on a much lower level of achievement. Piper's subconscious tapped by telepathy Hodgson's strong contemporary interest in Scott. when in the early years of Mrs Piper's mediumship psychical researchers for the first time had to consider seriously communications ostensibly coming from the. alternative explanations should be examined. the very laughable "Scott" who said there were monkeys in the sun. And examination showed that telepathy was not merely a possibility of her mediumship but that there was evidence of its actual occurrence. independently of the recognised channels of sense" (see glossary to Human Personality and above). but at the same time do not find it characteristic of any specific period or district. The generally accepted definition of telepathy. impersonating some external source of inspiration. if they really exist. "the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another. but also cases where one or both were dead. whose prose and verse are mixed. spirits of the dead. Of the reality of one of them. Whether or not powers of this kind are to be regarded as paranormal. is a mere verbal question. and was in this way stimulated to produce a feeble dramatisation of Scott. but it does not seem necessary to look beyond her subconscious. such as Milton's Urania. including possible telepathy between the sitter and the medium. that is to say ability to keep off words of Latin derivation or recent introduction. It was argued in an earlier chapter that imaginative writing of the highest order. had one day been reading with great interest and attention Walter Scott's Life and Letters . to those shown in the poems of Milton. that is? It should however be noted that the linguistic knowledge required is negative. would cover cases of thoughttransference occurring. The next day "Scott" made his first appearance at a Piper sitting. In Telk a. before doing the like with regard to precognition and clairvoyance. but to avoid prolixity I shall use the single word "telepathy" in such cases. unless the longer phrase is needed to prevent confusion. Could anyone by conscious effort write in a language as archaistic as that of Telk a with a fluency equal to Mrs.Exact identification being impracticable. often gave grounds for supposing it to be the product of the author's subconscious. not only between a living agent and a living percipient. but which on enquiry he finds to be incorrect. both are in English so far removed from presentday usage as to deter all but the most resolute reader. . Piper. do it consciously and deliberately.
took the view that.; (3) and another sister who painted; (4) that there was an uncle C. Piper's meeting with Clarke in America and on board ship. but that if they were supplemented by "thoughttransference". mentions (Proc . Piper's sittings on this visit to England.'s widow had abdominal trouble. were prepared to go further: the point to be noted here is that they and Leaf were unanimous that telepathy from the living was the minimum hypothesis worth considering. Clarke notes that this cousin "committed suicide in a fit of melancholia by stabbing his heart". She also gave a sitting at Mr. Piper. He says that at the time he entertained "an unwarrantable distrust" of H. when several messages were given about the relations of Mrs. Clarke says in her note. Lodge and Myers. that he had been put there to watch the place and was trustworthy." This is not quite exact. That any man could have imparted unconsciously such curious and unusual family histories as those told to Mrs. travelling on the same ship as Mr. said as to her mother and some of her near relations in Germany was wrong. no further explanation was needed. as telepathy was often called in those days. before leaving England. Phinuit made the following statements: (1) that Mrs. now in the spirit. especially in connection with an Uncle C. Clarke who was German by birth. This procedure has produced interesting results.. . "a striking account of my uncle's family in Germany. later referred to as a sister had trouble with her ankles (Mrs. who had been off his mind; (5) that Uncle C. but was "ready to suppose that a man was watching the "house". Clarke had with Mrs." Leaf. as the cousin E. and with his head. 'the supposition is simply impossible to those who have had the opportunity of watching Mrs. adds Clarke in his note on the sittings. Not long after this Mrs. Clarke. Clarke. Clarke's house. Clarke. also dead; "There was something the matter with his heart. after a supposed visit to Clarke's house in England. whose visit to America was caused by a financial failure the loss from which he was trying to minimise. such as Hodgson.Walter Leaf. was told by the Control. Clarke would be amazing enough. with or without moustache. "my mind at the time undeniably entertained some apprehension lest the facts should prove to have been otherwise". and its inadequacy for the subtle designs attributed to it. though the action of the men in question had in fact been entirely honourable. but would "wade through it all light" within four and a half months. had arranged that in certain circumstances a policeman should be hired to guard the house: at the time of the sitting he did not know whether this arrangement had been carried out. he scored a number of remarkable successes. and gave sittings to several prominent members of the Society. VI. More direct evidence for the intervention of telepathy in communications professing to come from the dead may be found in. these would not by themselves account for all her successful hits. which "was soon removed altogether by a closer acquaintance with facts". Phinuit. whether large or small. He says it was an accident. M" over some of the facts stated were unknown to Mr. "There are parties that haven't dealt honourably with you". Clarke had belonging to her someone called M.'s death was not due to an accident though he may possibly have wished that this family should regard it in that way. after referring to Mrs. Later in the same sitting Clarke was warned emphatically against a man. Clarke had a sister of that name who was bedridden for ten years); (2) that she had a sister E. reporting on the early stage of the Piper mediumship. Piper came to England at the invitation of the SPR. On the debit side must be set the loss of confidence between medium and sitter. With mediums like Mrs. Piper first in America in September 1889 and then in December of that year in England. Although most of what the Control. 559): "It will be suggested no doubt that she had succeeded in pumping him as to his wife's family in the course of conversation. and his children. that he was in financial trouble... had a son. T. had been called in." Later Phinuit said "he was hurt there (makes motion of stabbing heart)". a very cautious and critical man. Clarke himself till he heard them asserted by the medium and confirmed by his wife. E. 568571) the sittings which his friend J. The names and facts are all correct. the German name being correctly pronounced: that M. as did the accusation about the "parties". (6) That Uncle C. Leaf's comment. H. The prediction proved untrue. and estimating the singularly limited range of her conversation. said that a "big man with a dark moustache" had been in the kitchen a good while during the day. Mrs. which may adversely affect later sitters. cases where a sitter has foisted on the medium a fictitious "Communicator" of his own invention. while there was some fluking and fishing. But. The Control continued. And later again the Control. Some of the other SPR investigators of that time. Mrs. is (p.. commenting on the whole series of Mrs. In fact no policeman.
I have in an earlier chapter expressed my personal acceptance of the telepathic view of veridical spontaneous experiences. if that seems inadequate. or on which of them he and the agent were en rapport. connected with each other by some central topic or idea. but a great revival of this line of research was pioneered by Tyrrell. zebra when zebra was the target. but it is impossible to say on how many of those two hundred times. as Leaf argued. five simple diagrams. Nor where hits occur in sittings. say. whether it be telepathy between medium and sitter at the period of the sitting when these statements are made. one must have recourse to some paranormal hypothesis. statistically assessable experiments are. Leonard. But except in an experiment of this kind. Suppose that in one run the percipient guesses all twentyfive right: suppose even that in forty consecutive runs totalling one thousand guesses he scores one thousand hits. Piper's known integrity and the considerations urged by Leaf in his comments. or some other dubious practice. both agent and percipient being fully conscious at the time. which may . The experiments usually consist of a series of runs each of twentyfive guesses. The normal explanations are (1) chance; not very plausible in view of the unusual circumstances described; (2) cryptomnesia; again. Many of the messages were completely wrong: others were doubtful or showed right and wrong mixed in various proportions: several others again were right. and has been vigorously promoted by Carington and Soal in this country. it is not reasonable to strike an average for the whole sitting or experiment. separate selfcontained affairs. who stabbed himself in the heart. They are clear cut in a way that experiments with "free" material cannot be. A little evidence of this kind existed when Leaf wrote. for which alternative explanations have been put forward. If the sitter happens in fact to have lost a near friend called Tom. They can. and are more directly affirmative than "crisis apparitions". The question is whether. The hits. often form a group. the human mind does not Emit itself to making choices between five symbols. guess. each taking up a second or two. There is a definite correct statement for which an explanation. as in the Clarke case. Again target. but that view. depends on inference. In default of a reasonable explanation of a normal sort. At almost every point the experimental situation differs widely from the mediumistic. are they. it may not. to deny the significance of the successes. Tom and Dick and Harry. guess follow each other with machinelike regularity at intervals of a few seconds. The precision with which the results of quantitative experiment can be assessed is due to the use of a limited number of targets for the percipient to aim at. either in mediumistic communications or in the results of experiments. Two hundred times he guessed. Piper and the Clarkes; (3) fishing. and. who have shown themselves anxious to cooperate in experiments. All that of course has its value. they were ever en rapport so far as the zebras were involved. scientific. if indeed. Where successes are clustered in this way. The Clarke sittings may be taken as typical of good sittings uncomplicated by experiment. target. not very plausible in view of the recency of the acquaintance between Mrs. mescaline. it would seem. has to be found. the mention of that name at a sitting may be a fluke; again.. if that average proves near the borderline of chance. or five assorted animals. which may be ruled out by Mrs. and the answer will depend on what view is taken of telepathy. or even lines that they have themselves suggested. none of any interest to it. the less informative they are in some respects. but clustered round particular topics.Piper and Mrs. however correct. as in quantitative experiments. it is impossible to say which of those one thousand hits were paranormal. and there is no method of discriminating between the two hundred flukes and the eight hundred instances of telepathy. the paranormal transmission of information in some other way. it may be. Unfortunately the more precise. the zebra situation is reproduced. It is true that where the communications consist of nothing more than commonplace names. and so on. Who can say? Consider however the information given through Mrs. which cannot be proved. or. telepathy is a sufficient explanation for the successful hits in the Clarke sittings and in other sittings of the same general type. Their experiments have beyond doubt added greatly to the cogency of the argument for telepathy as a real faculty. A modern student will naturally have in the forefront of his mind the quantitative experiments of the last thirty years or so. normal or paranormal. and requiring a longish time to develop. it is much better to follow up lines of experiment that have been previously explained to and approved by them. and were neither commonplace nor scattered at random among the mistakes. and by what evidence that view is determined. and by Rhine and others in America. Another difference. Clarke's German uncle and his son E. erotic pictures. Piper about Mrs. since by unaided chance he would have scored two hundred of them or thereabouts. show what type of person is likely to prove a good percipient; how far belief or disbelief in the faculty is likely to influence the results positively or negatively; what stimulative effect is produced by alcohol.
But while telepathy between the living may increase the probability of survival. or years? Is telepathy a oneway process. which I have attempted to describe; chance is the least serious of them. Each form of enquiry has its own shortcomings. in which they are frequently found. or a joint activity of both parties? Is there such a thing as group telepathy. in which the activities of several persons are combined? The more elaborate realistic apparitions suggest that the role of the percipient is not entirely passive but that on the subconscious level agent and percipient collaborate. That at least is a view which has often been maintained. to be measured. In both of these the content by its complexity and variety. there appears to be some fairly close psychological connection between the parties concerned. In the course of them veridical communications have been closely examined to see whether instances could be found which could not be accounted for by telepathy. Thus the spontaneous cases in themselves. The reason for these experiments. a statistical rule of thumb is available to this end. The objection sometimes brought against it that it fails to distinguish between flukes and significant hits is of little substance. is that while in most cases of telepathy. so long as its scope cannot be more clearly defined. as some would say. spontaneous cases do occasionally occur in which no such connection between apparent agent and apparent percipient can be traced. if they failed to exclude telepathy altogether. Between the results of that kind of experiment and communications received through the more successful mediums the differences are so many and so great as to make it seem ludicrous to explain or. Thorough investigation . or favourable factor? Is the rapport between them capable of enduring for a considerable period. "Collective percipience" also implies more than simple oneway transference of thought between two persons. For this last reason qualitative enquiry. so far as transmission is concerned. sometimes at the instance of the mediums. so long as one is not in too great a hurry to formulate a rigid definition of it. and also. or in veridical crisis apparitions. say. require for their explanation a sort of interpersonal mental activity of a paranormal kind. is a nonphysical process and the very notion of such a thing is anathema to many scientists it gives some support to the conception of a nonphysical mode of existence after the dissolution of the body. In quantitative experiment. at any rate as basically conceived. is the kind demonstrated by quantitative experiment. As a basis for theory these marginal cases must be discarded. and is greatly reduced if one takes into account telepathy as it manifests itself in experiments with "free" material. To what extent is some normal contact between agent and percipient necessary. of a kind that. whether experimental or spontaneous. spontaneous. and experiments have been devised. In all forms of enquiry into paranormal cognition instances are bound to occur in which the operation of chance cannot be either proved or disproved. it also diminishes its provability. One does not need a tapemeasure to ascertain that an elephant is larger than a mouse. Acceptance however of a view of telepathy wide enough to include qualitative experiments and crisis apparitions does not imply that telepathy thereby becomes an allsufficient explanation of whatever veridical communications cannot reasonably be assigned to any normal cause. is essential to the central and ultimate purpose of psychical research. to telepathy between them? What is the effect of emotional relationship between them? Is conscious effort on the part of one or the other a necessary. it is to be noted. The divergent views held by psychical researchers as to this have been responsible for the inconclusiveness of many of the elaborate discussions on survival which take up so much space in SPR Proceedings . if one so wishes. Before that can be assumed several situations must be considered where difficulties arise through the very limited knowledge we at present possess of the scope of telepathy and the conditions under which it functions. which can. or friendship. experimental. or months. Here are some questions. In the other forms of enquiry commonsense. or conducive. or the fact that they are engaged in the joint adventure of an experiment. be called "telepathy". which will be described in the next chapter. mediumistic. that of the ordinary processes of thought. and apart from mediumistic and other phenomena. During the last twentyfive years or so the only kind of telepathy which has engaged the attention either of students of psychical research or of such members of the public as have shown any interest in that subject. explain away veridical communications as due to nothing but telepathy. If telepathy.or may not be material. while quite unlike the bare choice between five targets offered in quantitative experiments. whether arising from kinship. in days. would at least push it further and further away into the region of the improbable. is that in sittings one of the parties is in trance or some condition other than full normal consciousness. The absurdity is however due to the needlessly narrow view of telepathy now generally prevalent. resembles that of communications through a medium.
notetaker. are possible. and any other person with whom he has been in normal contact. But the evidence from mediumship may require giving GESP a more extended meaning. or to telepathy from A. In the chapters that follow some communications will be discussed in which faculties seem to have been operative. as there is a mass of evidence about telepathy reaching us from hundreds of spontaneous experiences and from experiments both qualitative and quantitative. and of precognition from instances of "displacement" in card experiments. or other faculties. that there has been no collusion between A and B. So again in experiments in cardguessing. it is less likely to be affected by faculties of living minds such as clairvoyance and precognition. but on the next target to that. Suppose further that on the pack being examined B's claims are found to be correct. than by telepathy where at least two. "Travelling clairvoyance" is still sometimes used to describe waking visions or dreams of scenes that are either imaginary or. Suppose also.therefore of a communication coming through a Medium must take account of the possibility. although there is no evidence to show that he in fact knew it. if that phenomenon is to be considered precognitive. minds are concerned. but yet not apparently quite the same. These last words distinguish it from telepathy. "Clairvoyance" is a word which has often been vaguely used to denote any visual experience which could not be assigned to normal sense perception. supported by a few spontaneous cases where the facts are well established. But we are not wholly without guidance on these matters. What the operative factor would be is hard to explain by reference to any normal and generally accepted sense of faculty. . which do not involve more than a single mind. precognition hardly seems the appropriate word for that kind of displacement The lack of exact knowledge of the scope and limits of telepathy makes it difficult enough to judge whether it is a reasonable explanation of a message through a medium conveying veridical information not within the medium's normal knowledge. if a percipient makes a significant proportion of hits not on the target coinciding in time with his guess. Here again the derivation of the word is to some extent misleading. not entirely unlike clairvoyance and precognition as shown in experiments with living subjects. but also from some other unidentifiable minds as well. "Precognition" is the word generally applied to occurrences in which there appears to be some anticipation of future events not due to chance nor based on inference from normal knowledge. and possibly more. that the medium's subconscious has picked up information not only from the minds of the sitter. who had no normal knowledge of the order of the cards. with powers that do not coincide with any of the three. even if the derivation of the word suggests an unreal analogy with the ordinary power of sight. The term GESP (General Extrasensory Perception) is sometimes applied to a situation where the facts seem to show that some paranormal faculty has been at work but are not sufficient to define whether that faculty is telepathy. Mediumistic communication being essentially a bilateral or multilateral affair. such as chance or normal inference. In such a case the successes could not reasonably be assigned either to chance. Suppose a new pack of playing cards is thoroughly shuffled by A and placed facedownwards on a table. clairvoyance or precognition. if real. but where other explanations. to include another faculty. remote from the actual locality of the percipient. Our knowledge of clairvoyance is derived from a very few experiments. It might be a reasonable inference from his action that subconsciously he did know it. of course. and that B coming in from another room says that the cards from twenty to thirty in the pack counting downwards are such and such. But with precognition and clairvoyance we are not so well placed. Clairvoyance is a convenient label. a very remote possibility perhaps. As so used it would include transcendental visions of angels and other supernatural persons or objects. But for a long time now psychical researchers have given "clairvoyance" the more precise meaning of the direct paranormal apprehension of physical facts by a percipient without the intervention of any other mind. The anticipation may show itself by conduct such as a person would not take unless he knew what was going to happen.
After pointing out (l). he kept records of what passed at the sittings. with having taken the obvious precautions to preserve the sitted anonymity.P. 330) of the exhibition at sittings with old friends of memories "such as would naturally be associated as part of the G. His natural habit of mind was sceptical. in the absence of evidence to the contrary. Salter TO APPRECIATE the present position of the survival problem as affected by ESP it is useful to glance backward several years before the experiments to exclude telepathy mentioned in the preceding chapter had been devised. Piper to know nothing.Chapter 12: Communications Through Mediums III: Limited Scope of these Causes and Faculties W. during his life. 392. which are prima facie explicable on the assumption that it comes from the alleged Communicators. however innocently. which certainly do not suggest in themselves that they originate otherwise. and sitters who had. Piper by friends of his about whom Hodgson believed Mrs. true even if experiments with "free" material are taken into account along with those of the quantitative kind.P. and Richard Hodgson's study of it. produced for the first time a mass of material that raised an apparently clearcut issue between telepathy and communication from the dead.P. and he verified the messages given as far as he could obtain the sitters' cooperation. as he showed in his investigation of "physical phenomena" in England. and for which we can find no corresponding limitations in the minds of living persons; on the other hand. That is not of course to claim that his inferences based on the annotated records of the sittings were of necessity infallible. but for which discrimination there is no satisfactory explanation to be found by referring them to Mrs. His report on this stage of the Piper mediumship occupies about three hundred pages (284582) of Vol. and still is. He must therefore be credited. 393): "In general then we may say that there are on the one hand various limitations in the information shown through Mrs. and of the Blavatsky phenomena in India. Piper's personality. in which he argues strongly in favour of the latter. Piper's percipient personality". his claim that the telepathic hypothesis requires "an extension of telepathy between one living person and another far beyond what we have been able to produce experimentally"." Later in the same section he argues that from the successes and failures shown with various types of information conveyed in the communications it is possible to form an opinion as to the source of the information. He sums up this part of his argument thus (pp. as. from among about one hundred and fifty persons who had had anonymous sittings with her. Piper's trance. He had been a friend. personality.P. Piper during the period of the G. Intending sitters were introduced by him. that there are various selections of information given in connection with particular Communicators. for instance. and includes two sections totalling fifty pages (357406) on the respective merits of the telepathic and spiritistic hypotheses. living. which was not always very freely extended. and which are accompanied by the emotional relations which were connected with such friends in the mind of G. H. XIII of SPR Proceedings . if we so wish. The emergence of the G. Piper had. but none can be identified. Control to distinguish between sitters who had been known to G. of Hodgson and within a few weeks of his death communications claiming to come from him were being received through Mrs. whether the alleged Communicators or "Mrs.P. Control in the Piper mediumship. which are intelligible if regarded as made by the alleged Communicators themselves. The sudden death in New York in 1892 of Pellew (called George Pelham or G." . in the records) has been mentioned in Chapter IX. The presence in all experiments of a known conscious agent in itself divides them sharply from communications through mediums in many of which some living agent may be assumed. not. That was then. Some parts of his argument no one would probably challenge. and to check up on the possibility that Mrs.P. obtained information about them and their friends. to prevent leakage. Hodgson was at this time in general charge of the Piper sittings. Hodgson speaks (p. 328) the extraordinary ability shown by Mrs. though not a particularly close friend.
if they stood by themselves. if that possibility be admitted. He accordingly resolved to test Mrs. his friend and neighbour. she must have learnt something from Balfour and others. W. Verrall's scripts for possible telepathy from him. The success of the dramatisation varies immensely from instance to instance. Her husband. This holds true whether in fact the substance of the message is a memory latent in the medium's subconscious. or the effectiveness of the same Communicator with other sitters. Mrs. The "living persons" must be taken as including at the lowest estimate all Mrs. a pattern clear enough in places. makes it natural that mediums should prefer to clothe the messages they are giving in trappings appropriate to the real or supposed Communicator rather than to present them to the sitter as unadorned statements. a meaningful pattern could be found that covered large parts of the scripts. the part it plays in their talk. Mrs. Of Gurney too. W. Some mediums are able to give long series of sittings. W.P. Willett's Gurney Control seems to have been most lifelike. Piper's percipient personality". much that is typical both in matter and manner being received. but knew that there had been much discussion as to how far ostensible communications from the dead could be accounted for by telepathy from the living. or is a telepathic impression from some other living person. Balfour. but was greatly impressed by the fervour of his belief and wished to give him an opportunity of communicating. Several of Mrs. from the surviving intelligence of a person now dead. Piper so to speak. XXIX 197243). One very distinctive thing about most people is their sense of humour. Control impressed his friends and her Myers Control was also on occasions impressive. might suggest that Hodgson had overlooked the point that the dividing line was not between the Communicators and the essential Mrs. and that the difference bears little relation. A sceptic might argue that allowance must be made not only for telepathy from the sitter. although she had never met Gurney when alive. illustrated in a previous chapter. His plan. to dramatise material coming. Superficially they appeared meaningless. Experience has shown that some people make much better sitters than others. Hodgson admits in the same paragraph that there is not sufficient evidence to justify a claim to certainty for his conclusion. if he were able to do so. who had known him well. Verrall. in particular by the reproduction of his somewhat boisterous humour and fondness for puns. began writing automatically. extending it may be over several years. A. Willett's personal knowledge of him was of the slightest. and in fact the presence as a factor in the problem of such a variable quantity as "the minds of living persons" detracts heavily from the force of his argument. Again. The strong propensity of the subconscious. though doubtless she had heard him described by his wife and some of his friends. in which messages are received by sitters from a Communicator well known to them but quite unknown to the medium. was not greatly interested in psychical research. if any. but confused in others. all who knew A. phrases and quotations in several languages. Mrs. That is true also of what is perhaps an even more remarkable fact. citing as a parallel the absurd "recognitions" of fraudulent "extras" in "spirit photography". English. have been struck by the amazing fidelity of the communications to Verrall's manner of speech and writing. but between them and. if one script was compared with another.P. as he more correctly puts it a few lines lower. Verrall well.The last few words. to the closeness of their friendship with the Communicator from whom they seek messages. but methodical study of them as they progressed showed that. and the sort of subjects which provoke it. and have read Balfour's report on the Ear of Dionysius case (Proc . This argument would carry more weight with me if I had not known how careful and critical many of Mrs. By the 5th March she had got past the initial stage of mere scrawls. or comes. Control. Mrs. Piper's G. Leonard's sitters were. which he formed in April 1901 he could not later remember the exact date in that monthwas . from an outside source. Piper's sitters during the period of the G. and nothing out of character being said at any sitting from beginning to end. A few weeks after Myers's death in January 1901. G. was greatly struck by it. Greek and Latin predominating. "the minds of living persons acting upon Mrs. but for hints as to the Communicator's personality unintentionally dropped at sittings; he might also doubt whether the resemblance was really as close as the sitter thought. as I was fortunate enough to do. She was at this time no believer in survival. and these numbered about one hundred and fifty. But in any case this is not the sort of evidence that can be expected to carry much weight except with the Communicator's friends. who had been dead twenty years when her automatism began. while never putting a foot wrong with uncharacteristic jest or inappropriate solemnity. its manner. Leonard's regular sitters have commented on the ability of her Communicators to make the right kind of jokes about the right things. Verrall. or appearing to it to come. Her scripts were an odd jumble of words. the degree in which they have it.
it must be supposed that his subconscious was capable of influencing his wife's scripts in the direction desired by his conscious mind. but scanned her scripts to note whether they showed any sign of being influenced by these words. and this absurd phrase has stuck to the experiment. taken from Electra's lament. case for her script having been telepathically influenced by her husband's plan. which may be translated "the early(1) olive with Sabine berries will be planted with the help of the Gods". Her script therefore of 31st March 1901 looks like the first step in the solution of a test that had not yet been planned. XXX 175229 and 296305) As Verrall had read. Verrall between the 10th April 1901. One of them had jokingly suggested "A onehorse dawn" as a possible translation. The first half certainly means "one" or "alone". in Euripides's Orestes (1. Or. means that the simple notion of thoughttransference from which the early psychical researchers started. This is quoted by Jebb in a note on a chorus in Oedipus Coloneus . of possible significance. But in 19 17 Piddington. group" with an acumen equalled only by his industry. *** Unfortunately. that there are repeated references to Oedipus. XX. if not entirely conclusive. were ***. to anyone else. were noted along three lines: (1) the appearance of several other words beginning in ***** on which emphasis seemed to be laid. for the scripts purported to be inspired by Myers and his friends. The three target words never appeared in Mrs." Jebb takes the first three examples of compound words of this type from Oedipus Coloneus . was led to look up a note of Jebbs in his edition of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus . (3) references to reversals in the course of Nature similar in a general way to those described by Electra. The context describes the portents that accompanied the feud in the House of Pelops. if only that made sense. "praecox olea baccis Sabinis ponetur dis adjuvantibus ". 1004 *** 'Eos who drives her steeds alone' (when the moon and stars have disappeared from the sky). if not earlier. how the sun and the stars changed their courses. and argues. had discussed its meaning. Verrall wrote a script containing the following words. by which time. if it is to be called telepathic. and in particular references to each of the three passages from it quoted in Jebb's note. Verrall's in 19 16. the second might mean "horse". and reviewed. but the meaning of the first word is debatable. The words. The second and third words mean "towards the dawn". He adds. The partial success of the experiment has in fact been used to support the argument that a telepathic impression may be disguised as a communication from the dead. .P. who was working over the large mass of scripts of "the S. he believes the experiment to have begun. But there was a more curious complication to follow. Verrall written while the experiment was in progress. So the matter stood until after Verrall's death in 19 12 and Mrs.R. Verrall of his plan then or before October 1902. Three ideas had cmerged which were all implicit in the target phrase and must therefore have been in Verrall's thoughts while the experiment was in progress. Piddington analyses twenty scripts written by Mrs. "So I understand Eur. has been left far behind. but approaches to them. The convergence of these three lines made an arguable. 1004). correctly in my view.to think of three words from a Greek play having a special association for him but unknown. The process involved. If then these twenty scripts are to be brought within the framework of Verrall's experiment. in praise of the olive. Jebb's edition of the Oedipus Tyrannus when it was published in 1887. Mrs. it is conceivable that he retained a subconscious memory that Jebb had illustrated the meaning of the first word of the targetphrase from the Orestes by three supposed parallels from the Oedipus Coloneus . or any that could now be supported by the evidence from quantitative experiment. Verrall's personal association with the phrase was that the passage of which it forms part was set in a Cambridge examination. and that immediately after the examination he and two friends. After several examples taken from Sophocles and Euripides. The mention of "Sabine berries" shows it to be an allusion to a passage of Juvenal. He did not tell Mrs. we currently unable to reproduc e Greek letters. Verrall's script. which however during the eighteen months when it was carefully scanning her scripts as they appeared never gave any sign of recognising what was happening. Jebb ends the note. which is reported in Proc . that is before Verrall had devised his experiment. and this chorus in its turn is quite unmistakably alluded to by scripts of Mrs. (2) reference to dawn. and the 31st May 1902. "I maintain that one of the main objects of the intelligence responsible for the OneHorse Dawn scripts was to refer to Jebb's note and to indicate thereby the words *** (Proc . both dead long before 1901. On the 31st March 1901. the blind wanderer of that play. in which Jebb discusses the use and meaning in Greek tragedy of compound adjectives the first element of which is a word implying number. as he believed. Athena's gift to her city.
. 439 and XLV. If the issue really lay between communication from the dead as so far discussed in this book. another intelligence had devised and imposed upon him. The essence of the technique was that the sitter in charge of the sitting should know very little indeed about the desired Communicator or the friends wishing to get. Can either of them. and the Rev." He adds that this hypothesis. A different view of survival will be presented later. would at least be effective in restricting to the few facts known to the sitter the medium's or Control's power of drawing correct inferences from the sitter's speech.) As early as the Piper sittings in the nineties it became clear that among possible explanations of true messages received through her mediumship must be reckoned. A considerable amount of evidence can now be quoted in support of this odd sort of occurrence but it has little apparent affinity with what we all mean by prediction. and should only pass on to the medium or the Control the minimum of information (also of course recorded) sufficient to enable the Control to select the right Communicator from any others with whom the Control might he in touch. telepathy from the sitter and also from some other person with whom the medium had no direct contact. and telepathy as so conceived. depending as it did solely on the minimal information passed on by the sitter. Lodge's secretary. succeeding target. his experiment earlier than he at a later time supposed. when ostensible communications from the dead are explained as examples of the paranormal faculties of the living. The question of the scope to be allowed to normally acquired knowledge and inference is even more troublesome in this connection than in cases of apparent spontaneous telepathy. precognition and clairvoyance. but which should not be entirely ignored. it was argued. XLIII.(1) More exactly "ripe before its time". or at any rate ruminated on "devising". . was therefore narrowed down to chance (an unsatisfactory explanation where the facts were unusual). he says. The evidence for precognition as a faculty of living minds is slight. Verrall was not the real originator of the experiment. Drayton Thomas. while theoretically not conclusive against the hypothesis of remote telepathy. telepathy from the Communicator's friends. if one leaves out of account the very curious phenomenon of forward displacement in cardguessing experiments. Enough has already been said for the present in criticism of that view of telepathy. Predictions moreover. should record the extent of his knowledge. Piddington however mentions another hypothesis which. in touch with him. Through a Stranger's Hands. must be examined. though he did not know it. I should give the preference to the former alternative. It is possible that Verrall's memory was at fault and that he had "devised". account for what purport to be communications from the dead? (1) See Miss Walker's book. if it did nothing else. as a faculty of living persons. the slenderness of the rapport between the Communicator's friends and the medium or Control. that it gives relevance to the script words "praecox" and "disadjuvantibus ". like the others he discusses. or next but one. Telepathy from the sitter would be restricted in the same way. that is. or messages from the Communicator himself. It seems to me to have at least one point in its favour. And in my view enough success has been achieved through this technique(1) to render inadequate as an explanation any conception of telepathy based on the results of quantitative experiment. appearance or gestures.g. XSXIV 159165. the correct guessing not of the contemporary target. is incapable of proof. but of the next. and the c ases reported by Drayton Thomas in SPR Proceedings (e. "I am not disposed to press. (See Proc . As between these two last. This was a possibility that required exploring. if too exact a translation of them is not pressed. but that he carried out an experiment which. For the present "I am not disposed" to go further than to emphasise that. C. The choice. but before that two other modes of extrasensory perception. 257). This technique. It is that Dr. besides of course chance and inference from facts normally known to her where these seemed relevant. and that in the process he had subconsciously appreciated the appropriateness of the notes of Jebb which have been mentioned. those faculties have a way of assuming unusual and surprising shapes. seemed to tell strongly against it. and led to the development of a technique of proxy sittings by Miss Nea Walker. since facts were correctly stated at sittings which the sitter could not verify from his own knowledge. or regarded as a simple oneway transmission of thoughts from a single agent to a single percipient.
was able to read the contents of sealed envelopes under conditions which critical experimenters considered fraudproof.000 trials during three years a subject consistently obtained high scores in correctly guessing the order of cards in packs shuffled and cut by one of the investigators and placed downwards on a table out of the subject's sight." The analysis of these attempts was complicated by the difficulty in many cases of being certain as to which page of which book Feda was trying to indicate. The packs were the ordinary packs of 25 Zener cards with five simple geometrical diagrams. so that chance would be expected to give five hits a pack. Sidgwick's report is largely due to her detailed discussion of these uncertainties. and which is not. Ossowiecki. XXXI. For other forecasts of a more agreeable kind no date of fulfilment was suggested. Results so mathematically amazing are not to be expected in communications from discarnate minds. Dingwall and enclosed by him in the innermost of three opaque envelopes. whether as a faculty of the living. have been notorious for seldom saying a plain thing in a plain way. obtained through Mrs. There are indeed a few interesting spontaneous cases of apparent foreknowledgethe pig. A critic who was sceptical as to clairvoyance but prepared to give a very wide scope to telepathy. Mrs. as instances of the persistence over a long period of a train of thought in the subconscious minds of a group of persons who. though warlike in phrasing. as defined in Chapter XI. whom the bishop's wife dreamt she would find standing by the sideboard in the breakfast room. Thus in 1923 he correctly described a design drawn by Dr. A sceptic who criticised on these lines the forecasts of public events found in the scripts of the SPR group of automatists by some of the interpreters (see Piddington's paper in Proc . and there he was. or specifying the time within which fulfilment is to be expected. generally accepted. is so slight that a discussion as to whether the second can be distinguished from the first is less profitable in the existing state of our knowledge. As examples therefore of precognition. Leonard's mediumship. The packet was presented to Ossowiecki at a sitting at which Dingwall was not present. the evidence for prediction. has deservedly attained popular famebut in general. they cannot bear much weight. than a dispute would at present (October 1960) he as to whether Yetis are or are not members of the human species. there is enough experimental evidence to make it worth while to consider the possible bearing of this faculty as possessed by living people on the problem of survival. and when Dingwall received it back afterwards he was satisfied that it had not been tampered with. is referred to by one of the automatists in a script written before the war began. highly allusive material. This is true whether or not the predictions claim to be inspired by discarnate intelligences. Leonard has not seen with her bodily eyes. The Polish medium. The subject's average was nearly seven. whose view of them may after all have been the true one. since there are sufficient authentic human beings to serve as standards of comparison. Such a critic would however be hard put to it to explain the MartinStribic experiments in America. or as purporting to originate with discarnate intelligences. known to the sitter. 241400) describes them as "attempts by Mrs. the sinking of the Lusitania. at the time of the sitting. Piddington's introduction to his paper is a very valuable exposition of the technique for interpreting a mass of highly complex. Leonard's Control Feda to indicate the contents of a particular page of a particular book which Mrs. but several of the passages Piddington quotes. and they still remain no more than a pious hope. It is true that at least one of the most notable incidents of the First World War. Though there has been some criticism of the experiments. could no doubt explain such an incident as an instance of the latter faculty. they are. . Sidgwick in the most important published discussion of them Proc . In the three instances 1 am about to summarise I have for the sake of brevity omitted all this part of her discussion.from the days of Delphi on. The length of Mrs. in which in over 90. but astonishing results have come from experiments of another kind. and by doubts as to whether Feda's description of the supposed contents really fitted. For clairvoyance. XXXIII) could make out a fairly strong case. in their conscious minds. the odds against chance in an experiment of this magnitude justifying the description of "astronomical". from the booktests. for instance. differed considerably amongst themselves in opinion and temperament. I think. These scripts are however of great interest in another way. were taken in a metaphorical sense by the writers. leaving it to the reader who may have any doubts an these points to satisfy them by consulting her report.
the second page mentioning the Trojan War. and placed by them on a shelf in an order known only to them. At the sitting of the 30th October 1918. or to Mrs.. Greek is a language unknown to either of them. but having writing in it. several Greek books were lent by my wife (H. . if an example of it. There was a long folded piece of paper pasted in it which had on one side the words "Table of Semitic or SyroArabian Languages". the end of the fighting in the First World War was already expected. Section 123) is the Greek word for armistice. 301309. and the Talbot case. Pages 2 and 4 were mentioned and it was said that on page 2 there was an allusion to Asia." that the Communicator particularly wished them "Just now. 253) an anonymous sitter (Mrs. but even so it is quite inadequate by itself to account for other of the Leonard booktests. and telepathy from her subconscious cannot be disregarded.000 years: Feda spoke three times of imitation. subjective judgments rule out mathematical precision. one of the Greek books was indicated. and that the leading Ionians had adopted the same style. of about the size specified by Feda. On the fourth page it is said that the leading men in the wealthy class at Athens had until shortly before his day tied up their hair in topknots fastened with golden cicadas. and on her return home spoke of the medium talking a lot of rubbish about a book. the first volume of the Oxford text of Thucydides. There are thus four points of correspondence between the communication and the pages specified; Asia. Talbot could not think of any book of the kind.V. Talbot was positive that she had never seen the book before. imposes a still greater strain on our powers of belief. In all comparisons of qualitative results. A. Aryan. Leonard had or ever had had any normal knowledge of the contents of the particular page of the book indicated by Feda. She also indicated the size as being about 8 to 10 inches by 4 or 5. and as having a table of languages. or not dressing it.000 years ago. On page 13 was an extract from a book. Verrall. however.) to Lady Troubridge and Miss RadclyffeHall. Post Mortem. the armistice being signed eleven days later. At the date of the sitting. a period far more than 2. Semitic. even of the Ossowiecki type.There can be no reasonable doubt that in none of these three cases Mrs. and imitation. On the last line of the page in question (Book IV. She was however persuaded to make a search and at the back of a top shelf found a shabby black leather notebook of her husband's. For example. is so odd as to provoke much incredulity. They conform in this respect to the general run of Leonard booktests. however. as being dark in colour. In none of these three cases does the result seem to me capable of being attributed with any plausibility to chance. Nor can direct clairvoyance by the medium. If therefore Feda's description of the contents of a particular page was correct. the success was due either to chance. and although her sight of the contents. XXXI pp. At the same sitting the sitters were told to turn to a specified page near the end of the book. who is. and also some rather extraordinary manner of dressing the hair. Talbot) received through Feda a message from her husband asking her to look on page twelve or thirteen of a book she described for something written that would be so interesting after their conversation at the sitting. though not in a way that would enable him to read them. and said she got headdresses of some peculiar kind. stated to be helped sometimes by other Communicators. In the first case (Proc . The first few pages of Thucydides' text in this edition (in which the pages are not numbered) deal with the early history of Greece. In the first case the existence of the book was unknown to her; in the other two. the diagram in particular. Mrs. Although Mrs. in which a man describes his sensations immediately before and after death. with a diagram of lines going out from a centre. an extraordinary manner of dressing the hair. did not revive any memories of having seen it. Feda described the book as not being printed. XXXI. described in Proc . just lately". and that the book took the Communicator back far more than 2. while in the Talbot case the book was tucked away in a house not known to the medium. the possibility of latent memory on her part. however carefully analysed. and on the other a diagram as described and the words "General Table of the Aryan and IndoEuropean Languages". or to her own clairvoyant powers. or to knowledge paranormally acquired from some other mind. "I think it's only one word.B. Leonard. or to the Communicator. but the case against chance as an adequate explanation of the successful Leonard booktests is overwhelming. IndoEuropean. Arabian being specified. the things to be read were shown to the subject. In those cases. Direct clairvoyance. since in a control experiment with fictitious booktests (Proc .V. Sidgwick's report. XXXIII) the proportion of complete and partial successes was less than a sixth of those in Mrs. W. and that at the very bottom of that page there was just a word. in view of the results of the Ossowiecki and MartinStribic experiments. if the existence was known the position was not. including A.
Once the envelope is opened. She did not enter the room after I had put the books there and did not know what books were there or in what order they stood. She neither knew where the book was nor could have read it if it had lain open before her. it must be assumed that I not only remembered. Leonard described in Proc . after the tiresome small boy in Daisy Miller. Leonard. a trustworthy medium has revealed the contents." she said. There. or clairvoyance or any other. straightforward clairvoyance from a Communicator who had survived bodily death. Many people have left behind them scaled envelopes with messages inside. long pole in his hand". described on another page as "a long alpenstock". With a precision that she did not always attain Feda indicated unmistakably not only the particular book. and more complicated schemes have been devised to eliminate these doubts. of the order and the . Mrs. XXXI 286289. but if such an instance should occur. In preparation for the next booktest that might be given I had some weeks previously placed on a shelf in an unused room in our house a row of books. and these had produced crosscorrespondences. "I bought it!" responded Randolph. The sitters knew where the book was.Direct clairvoyance from Mrs. or a correct inference based on knowledge of the Communicator's habit of mind and his interests. the test becomes of no value. whether telepathy. And since in the present generation experimental evidence has increased for clairvoyance. Or his intention to leave that message might have been telepathically grasped during his life by one of his friends and have remained latent in the friend's subconscious memory. as a power which some living persons can exercise. whose family could not live up to him. would. and what line of that page. subconsciously. "Posthumous" messages of the simpler kind have therefore fallen out of favour. In 1919 my wife had a sitting with Mrs. for that matter.e. Wilson had jokingly given the name Randolph to the intelligence responsible for her share in them (or her nominal share. for example. Stuart Wilson. for she felt her conscious mind was not responsible). whatever explanation will suffice. Here is another case where. and the part of the page where Randolph and his "pole" were mentioned. it was said. and some newly bought by me in London and not seen by my wife before the sitting. There might be a normal explanation. If the depositor is at all well known. At various times between 1930 and 1933 Oliver Lodge deposited with the SPR and the London Spiritualist Alliance (as it was then called) several envelopes. I do not know of any instance in which a claim to know the contents has been made with complete success. if exercisable by discarnate intelligences. did not know where the book was. but not to Mrs. I was the only person with normal knowledge of what books stood on the shelf. But one has no right to assume that a paranormal faculty capable of being exercised by persons in the body. except possibly as a test of telepathy from the opener. She had a few years previously begun experiments in telepathy with Mrs. This I find hard to believe. The "pole" in question was an alpenstock. there are likely to be a number of claims to have received communications from him as to what the contents are. allowance must be made for that faculty also. mention of an armistice occurs. each containing one or more other envelopes with instructions. and with directions that the envelope should only he opened if. not too easy to follow. chance. Nor. If Feda's success was due to her having telepathically tapped my mind. plain. but could not read Greek. but the passage had an association with cross correspondences appropriate to my wife. Some form of paranormal activity must be postulated other than direct clairvoyance by itself. as I had not read the book for a long time. W. nor could she reasonably he supposed to have known on what page. or direct telepathy whether between medium and sitter or between medium and my wife who lent the book. the Communicator. The words did not form part of any crosscorrespondence. This fact was known to my wife and me. it would not be a decisive proof of survival. who knew Greek. straightforward clairvoyance from the medium will not. In the middle of page 15 and beginning just above the middle occur these words: "I should like to know where you got that pole. only operate in just the same way and without any modification. Verrall) is pretending to show me a long. some taken from other shelves in the house. Henry James's Daisy Miller (Nelson edition) but the page (15) and the exact place on the page (1/4 inch above halfway down). which does not seem to me absolutely incredible. My wife. in the opinion of the person with whom the envelope has been deposited. but that I retained a subconscious memory of the page on which. would be found "a word or words which will form a crosscorrespondence" "a long pole he (i. would plain. Leonard is of no help here. whose embarrassment as to when he ought to open it is therefore great. A. that Daisy Miller occupied a particular place on the shelf.
It might remain doubtful how the key was obtained. who had obtained subconscious knowledge of them telepathically. within a few weeks Mrs. 114 115). Thouless's proposal to leave a short message enciphered and then reenciphered on the Playfair system. Cumberland. as already mentioned. and there was no mention of the Symposium or of Plato. There are however obvious weaknesses. and Mrs. in his view. and this is yet another instance which cannot be explained by plain. but also his associations with it in Platonic language of the same general tenour as the Diotima passage. That book had been published in 1903. while some friend of his. whose discourse in the Symposium of Plato is quoted at some length in Myers's Human Personality (Vol. 121134. but there would be no doubt that it fitted the lock. Two keywords would be required and without knowledge of them both the message should. It was some time before her script made a definite claim to knowledge of the contents of the sealed packet. if able to do so. The words of Diotima were not quoted. The name of the place. Verrall's script and until then unseen by her Myers had not only described the Valley. and also that in Mrs. to the very small. meant nothing to Mrs. For a fuller account of this complicated experiment. The experiment seemed therefore to her and to nearly all the other persons present. In December 1904 the packet was opened. might remember them both. as the place that he would wish to revisit after death. He died in 1901 and. 52. and the contents read out. it was more like a "near miss". If both keywords were given in a communication through a medium. Enquiry however showed that in documents unpublished at the time of Mrs. . if he could. Verrall began writing automatically.circumstances in which each envelope was to be opened. a complete failure. if the communication made the posthumous message intelligible. Several years before his death Myers left with Lodge a sealed envelope containing a message in which he named the "Valley". In my view a paranormal hypothesis of some kind is required. Perhaps a happy mean between the simplicity of the oldfashioned posthumous test and the excessive complexity of Lodge's scheme is to be found in Dr. but in a script written on the 13th July 1904. decipherment would be easy. Verrall. as might conceivably have been claimed if the "posthumous" message had shown a verbal correspondence with the script. But something of value would be gained by this scheme. Hallsteads. The intention was that each letter when opened should give a clue that would be a stimulus to assist a medium to get the next clue right and so by progressing from clue to clue to arrive at the final message. Hallsteads. Hallsteads. Verrall's early scripts were Latin phrases appropriate to Myers's description of the place. This delay may have contributed. not to say doubtful. Verrall. along with the great complexity of the test itself. These two discoveries when put together suggested that though the experiment was in form a failure. Lodge died in 1940 and war conditions made it impossible to begin applying the test for several years. defy deciphering. Vol. and there would be no doubt as to the message deciphered being that left by the Communicator. so as to provide a channel through which he might communicate. which was quite unambiguous. but have forgotten both the keywords. who had read it. success attained as reported in SPR Journal 38. or one of them. I pp. It is this doubt which has made it impossible to claim more than a partial success for the posthumous test arranged by Myers. direct clairvoyance. and has even led to its being for some time regarded as a complete failure. see my paper in Proceedings . she declared that the envelope would contain certain words of Diotima. The Communicator might survive his bodily death. was aware that the whole of that part of the dialogue had had a deep meaning for Myers during his life.
" (Proc . i. though incomplete. why. for in Vol. and are under special conditions accessible to us. one (Mrs. and a pattern implies a designer. is an early example. have been overcome. that memories of the dead survive. and with novel capacities. or what. The answer is concealed within a pattern of extreme complexity. It proves. for reasons already explained. The problem of design becomes still more difficult in relation to the crosscorrespondences. moreover. all that could be considered as established would be that a person's memories. automatic scripts running to more than two thousand. the personality a unit of consciousness. if nothing more were involved. Sidgwick) had some recollection of Myers's connection with Hallsteads. It cannot. the passages from Greek literature. telepathy in particular. all this roundabout elaboration and mystification. The trouble arises partly from the sheer bulk of the material. and then only through Piddington's exceptional gifts of industry and ingenuity? The subconscious is not generally so modest or diffident as to deny itself the early triumph of a recognised success. The automatist's subconscious. and on the curious circumstance that among the twentytwo persons who witnessed the opening of the packet. Reviewing Myers's Human Personality Walter Leaf wrote: "The evidence is very striking and very strong. One naturally looks first to the subconscious of either the agent. are found to be linked together in . which occupy a large proportion of the space in SPR Proceedings from 1906 on. and she had access to one of these.e. There were.) Myers himself indeed looked forward to evidence accruing at some not too remote date of "the will and vital force" of discarnate personalities. however unrelated they may seem to be when looked at singly. or some of them. who may have gained subconscious knowledge of it by telepathy from him. continued to exist with some degree of organised coherence after the death of the body. limited and selfcontained. seems to have been at immense pains to disguise a considerable success as a complete failure. XVIII. be considered a case of straightforward telepathy. or to risk the chance that its success may never even he recognised. But in either case. who may conveniently be called "the script intelligence". Either of them could perhaps have provided all the materials used to form the pattern. where recognition of the considerable. or of the percipient. or are. and even more from the quantity of topics which form the subject matter topics which. and the notes to Jebb's editions. Salter A WEAKNESS of the evidence for survival so far presented is that even at its best. a noncommittal phrase which leaves open for later consideration who. begun within three months of his death. the script intelligence is. some unpublished. I think. who knew the target. such as chance and latent memory. and also by paranormal powers of the living. 59. II of Human Personality (p. That the subconscious of both agent and percipient had some share in the result may be taken for granted. carrying on into another world the aspirations and the affections of this. The OneHorseDawn experiment.Chapter 13: CrossCorrespondences W. and when the doubts and difficulties raised by normal factors. degree of success attained depended on the comparison of several documents. But I do not see that it proves the survival of what we call the living spirit. and from the number of persons concerned as automatists and Communicators." It may be significant that a new type of evidence first makes its appearance soon after Myers's death and ostensibly through the agency of a discarnate group of which he is a leader. some published. This chapter and the next will be occupied with a discussion of this most difficult and involved matter. a centre of will and vital force. H. but did either work out the pattern in which the materials were used? A similar problem arises in connection with Myers's "posthumous" packet. agents in unexpected ways. which resulted in the full degree of success only being recognised after both agent and percipient were dead. and to have run the risk of it never being recognised as anything else. only a few copies of the unpublished document which was an indispensable link between the script and the contents of the packet. instead of a simple and direct answer.. 274) he writes: "We cannot simply admit the existence of discarnate spirits as inert or subsidiary phenomena; we must expect to have to deal with them as agents on their own account.
Nor. and between them and various persons and events. 235. was singularly apt: see Proc . and that up to the present few attempts have been made to put together the gist of the numerous articles already published in Proceedings in such a way that it can readily he understood by a reader without previous knowledge of the subject(1). Where such information was given. Verrall of whom she knew no more than could be gathered from a few references to her in Human Personality. There are moreover some correlations between the various scripts. For the same reason the word "automatist" will be used to cover all members of the group. Verrall. I will first choose for comment that known. so that a reference to the text in a script purporting to be inspired by Myers. Piper was a famous professional medium. The scripts she wrote in the latter part of that year and in 1904 show several traces of apparently paranormal knowledge of such things as Mrs. Stuart Wilson. In the first script. serving in India. her earlier attempts at which she had discontinued. It is contained within four scripts. made of impressions received by her in a state of slight dissociation. Mrs.the oddest ways. 234. from a phrase in her script. The possibility of subconscious telepathic leakage has also to be borne in mind. The essence of crosscorrespondences is that between the scripts of two or more automatists writing independently there is a significant connection through both or all of them writing the same phrase or alluding to the same topic. (1) Saltmarsh's Evidence of Personal Survival from CrossCorrespondences (Bell. if the phrase or topic is thoroughly commonplace. if the scripts are spread at random over a long period. say. 297303. even though that includes. The qualifying words "significant" and "independently" are of the essence. and the fact. although Mrs. Mrs. XXI. Finally there is the allusive phrasing. When the crosscorrespondences began to be noticed. There being no question as to the good faith of the automatists. The succeeding chapter by discussing new material may perhaps give the material already published a new aspect. and the Greek text over the gateway of Selwyn College. perhaps. 1124. For the sake of simplicity. reported in the newspapers. The present chapter will go over ground which would have been familiar enough to psychical researchers. Verrall quoted a line of Latin verse which she recognised as coming from the 2nd book of the Aeneid and as part of the narrative of the fall of . Holland took part. Mrs. I shall use the word "scripts" to cover all the documentary matter comprising the crosscorrespondences. and he had often expressed to her his scholarly annoyance at an error in the carving. with relevant particulars as to time. "Holland" was the sister of Rudyard Kipling and the wife of an army officer. careful arrangements were made to ensure that no automatist received random information as to the writings of any other member of the group. or if they are the natural product of a common train of thought set going by some stimulus affecting them all. besides the automatic writings of several members of the group. 1938) deserves the highest praise. and the use of symbols to denote both persons and topics. and the records which another member. XXVII. The group may be said to have begun to function as a group when Mrs. it was done deliberately by the investigators. In the hope of not putting too heavy a strain on the reader's patience the case has been simplified by cutting out several subsidiary topics which would require long explanation. named Fleming. "Holland" was directed by her script to write to Mrs. forty years ago. and more fully in Proc . Verrall's address at Cambridge.. of 2nd March 1906. Verrall lived near the College. I should not attempt the task of condensing this material into two chapters were it not that these scripts are regarded by many of the acutest students of survival evidence as being of the greatest importance. even with rather less commonplace phrase or topics. and one of a series intended to be read by Mrs. It was reported by Alice Johnson with brief comment in Proc . etc. whose mediumship was for the most part unconnected with this group. as Ave Roma Immortalis . With a little help from chance such correspondences would be bound to occur. but is less so to the present generation. XXI. or part of a script. after reading Human Personality shortly after its publication. Both Myers and Mrs. in which no mention was made of her automatic writing. written by another member. she felt impelled to resume the practice of automatic writing. the recorded tranceutterances of Mrs. it was thus possible for the investigators to say with certainty whether at any given time any member of the group had seen a particular script. and make its purpose clearer. In 1903. Of the many crosscorrespondences in which Mrs. consisting largely of quotations in several languages. was carefully noted. some interesting event. There is no significance in two or three people quoting the same phrase or referring to the same topic. the first written on the 2nd and the last on the 7th March 1906. Piper and later of my wife and Mrs: Willett. particularly in a group the members of which had much the same intellectual background. which have not previously been made public. but there is a point beyond which simplification involves distortion I have tried not to exceed that.
Piddington wrote a . and telepathically have impressed them on Mrs. Holland must both have been familiar with this sentiment of Myers. but her husband told her that he saw a connection between this verse and another Latin passage occurring later in the script. Actually. and Piddington. he did not explain what meaning he found in the passage. and the columns set up to commemorate their exploits; the persecution of the Christians; Pope Leo I and the protection of the city against Attila by Saints Peter and Paul; Gregory the Great. to which the words Roma immortalis are much more appropriate. if taken to be correct. written in the earliest days of the Empire. The last paragraph of the last chapter of Human Personality compares the "nascent race of Rome. though he did not tell her so. Mrs. and apart from special circumstances. there follow references to the emperors Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. after he had formed the opinion that the script of 2nd March 1906 referred cryptically to Raphael's picture. Holland who had no normal knowledge of Mrs. It is to be noted however (1) that the whole affair was begun and ended in six days. Except for telling her that one phrase (primus inter pares ) meant the Pope. at some time in the middle of the day that cannot be exactly fixed. who increased the Papal power; the placing of the statues of St. but it is conceivable that. was deliberately used by the scriptintelligence to frustrate the automatist's understanding until the purpose of the scriptintelligence had been effected. sometimes their superficially nonsensical language. three of them being the principal members at that time of the SPR group of automatists (Mrs. which would have been most improbable if the only operative cause had been a common train of thought. Mrs. to Dante and to Piddington's part in the affair. and my wife. Seven persons were involved. or at least of imperial and Christian Rome. are all about the later Empire. while Mrs. The other four were the medium. Peter and St. Mrs. and Mrs. Home. The last script. after the reference to the fall of Troy. might have formed the associations with Trajan. Verrall. After allusions to the fall of Troy which led to the foundation of Rome. that it referred to Raphael's picture in the Vatican of Pope Leo I. Verrall and Mrs. Paul on the columns where the statues of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius had formerly stood; the triumph of the Church under Popes Julius II and Leo X. In all its stages it was spread over four and a half years. turning back Attila from his intended attack on Rome. Verrall's written on the 4th and 5th March conveyed no meaning to her. but with a stage of marked activity between the 20th April and 24th July 1908. references to the number Seven.Troy. Mrs. from Trajan on. and that at the same time and in like manner he impressed Mrs. but. they present "a thumbnail sketch" of the history of Rome. Once again we have a pattern for which a designer must be sought. Holland. which bore from the Trojan altar the hallowing fire" with "the whole nascent race of man". 222253) was much more diffuse and complex. 4th and 5th March. There is no trace of his conscious intention. This suggestion cannot be either proved or disproved. that of the 7th March. ruminating on the two saints as protectors of Rome." which correctly implies that the other automatists's part was complete: (3) that the Rome that Myers used as a symbol was that of the Aeneid. it offers no explanation of why and how the subject ever found its way into the first script. The rest of the script seemed meaningless to her. Inability of the automatists to grasp the meaning of what they are writing recurs so frequently in the whole body of scripts as strongly to suggest that their cryptic language. A full account of the affair as reported by Alice Johnson sets out some connections between the scripts of these seven which for simplicity's sake I omit. under the celestial protection of St. A reference to or elaboration of it in the scripts of either or both would therefore not be significant by itself. as there was in the OneHorse Dawn experiment. Holland's subconscious with the general idea of Roma immortalis . was written by Mrs. his subconscious. Verrall's subconscious. XXIV. Frith and Mrs. It included the words "Ave Roma immortalis. as Alice Johnson interprets these three scripts. How could I make it any clearer without giving her the clue?" In several of his writings Myers takes the story of Rome as told in the Aeneid as symbolic of the spiritual evolution of mankind. Two further scripts of Mrs. confining myself to three topics. and once again Verrall's role as possible agent must be considered.V. Piper. H. Holland writing "How could I make it any clearer without giving her the clue. Mrs. Peter and St. that of 2nd March 1906. apart from the words "the Stoic persecutor". Paul. Verrall's scripts. and the triumph of Christian Rome. from July 1904 to January 1909. and I have no doubt rightly. Verrall's scripts of 2nd. which she saw could only mean the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius and their columns mentioned above. for whom Raphael worked. On the 13th July 1904.). two minor automatists. aided by chance: that there are in the scripts of each automatist words suggesting a crosscorrespondence. 1906. Verrall's script saying that she would receive a message from another woman and that "after some days" she would easily understand what she was writing. He thought. The Sevens case (Proc .
scaled it. and ends "Surely Piddington will see that this is enough and should be acted on. Verrall's script. and Mrs. These allusions seemed to throw light on other references to Dante in the scripts of Mrs. nevertheless the script may.. 7. continued: "But that is not rightit is something contemporary that you are to record note the hour in London half the message has come. This led Mrs. Mrs. was a reference to two passages of Dante. and if I can communicate. which mentioned Leah and Rachel. wrote: "A rainbow in the sky fit emblem of our thought The sevenfold radiance from a single light many in one and one in many. wrote a script which. and so forth. Verrall seems to have understood the script when she read it on the 28th August 1907. I shall endeavour to remember to transmit in some form or other the number SEVEN. On the 6th August 1907 H.m. Verrall's scripts to "note the hour" because "something contemporary" was to be recorded. nor did she know that her mother was doing so. The reason why I select the word seven is because seven has been a kind of tic with me ever since my early boyhood. I think. and that these messages were to be "coordinated". F. As from this point allusions to the Divina Commedia are closely connected in the scripts with allusions to . Verrall had no normal knowledge.H. did not herself follow up the Dante references. Nothing more happened for over three years.V. The other is the account in Canto 27 of the Purgatorio of the dream which Dante had while in the Seventh Circle. Verrall and H. One passage was from the Convito and has no bearing on the crosscorrespondence. without too great a strain. Then see whether they can complete." The third stage was introduced by Piddington's discovery on the 15th February 1908 that a script written by Mrs. I should try to communicate such things as: 'The seven lamps of architecture'.V. 'We are seven'. Verrall. Verrall. be regarded as referring to Piddington's "posthumous" letter.V."posthumous letter" at the Society's room in London. the draft of a paper in which he analysed all the references to Dante they were not at that time numerous to be found in all the scripts. and gave it to Alice Johnson to keep. Let Piddington choose a sentence that they do not know and send part to each." The script continued with a Latin sentence. These two documents of 13th July 1904 complete the first stage. which might be construed as meaning that someone had sent messages to various persons. after some nonsensical Latin and Greek words.V. Although this was probably not written till shortly after Mrs. and added that he had purposely cultivated "this tie'. The only "contemporary" event relevant to communications from Myers was Piddington's "posthumous" letter. 'unto seventy times seven'. H." The rest of the script purports to give the contents of Myers's "posthumous" envelope (see p.. "As it seems to me not improbable that it may be difficult to transmit an exact word or idea. 'The seven sleepers of Ephesus'. That is how Mrs. and in March Piddington showed Mrs. as the memory of it might "survive the shock of death". On the same day at 11.W. Verrall to read the Purgatorio. for she herself wrote a script including these words: "Try this new experiment Say the same sentence to each of them and see what completion each gives to it. of the existence of which Mrs. 168). Piper. the 27th and 28th Cantos of which in particular were discussed in his draft.15 a. the only instance of any direction in all Mrs. The letter began as follows: "If ever I am a spirit. who was then in Surrey.. and although the phrase "half the message" is not altogether appropriate to this opening move in a crosscorrespondence involving six other persons.M" This is." He continues by referring to his habit of taking it as a good omen for his golf if he saw from the links a railway engine drawing seven carriages. Holland on the 8th April 1907. it may be that. H. unable to transmit the simple word seven in writing or as a written number.
(3) the sevenbranched candlestick and the seven colours of the rainbow. Of the items in this script (1) is mentioned in Cantos 21 and 22 of the Paradiso as seen in the Seventh Heaven; (2) may be the wheel of Cantos 10. Mrs. H. but leaving out Piddington and apparently including a minor automatist. She wrote "We were seven in the distance as a matter of fact" and. Home. after questions on other subjects.V. the American investigator. said "Seven times seven and seventyseven send the burden of my words to others". the possible allusions to Dante. tick." The script is signed F. Mrs. As a pagan he is not permitted to see the mystic vision of Christ and the Church. Mrs.. On the 11th May 1908 H. On the same day Mrs. besides several allusions to these Cantos which seem to me certain. It is not however until Canto 30 that Dante notices that he is no longer there.. In Canto 31 Dante is instructed to gaze on "the emeralds". Vergil and Statius reach a flowery meadow through which runs a small stream. Frith wrote a poem including the following lines: "Pisgah is scaled the fair and dewy lawn Invites my footsteps till the mystic seven Lights up the golden candlestick of dawn. Home. as one who had led others to Christianity but by his continuance as a pagan could not enter the Earthly Paradise: "Not for his eyes that Vision in its glory" etc. In Canto 28 he." Alice Johnson understood the emphatic reference to Green to allude to the "emeralds" of Canto 31 which reflected the Grifon as a mirror reflects the sun. (While there is no doubt that both Mrs. (c) a spinning top with many colours that blend into one. we are seven. which Alice Johnson noted in their scripts. Verrall finished her reading of these Cantos on the 8th May 1908 and on the same day wrote sixteen lines of English verse on Vergil. Piper gave a sitting at which Dorr. I do not mention. Piper. This is the last place at which Vergil is mentioned as present. seem to me very doubtful. found the seals intact and opened it. On the 11th June Mrs. There are in the scripts. Home refer with emphasis to the Sevens topic. Piper and Mrs. That concludes the third act of the drama. or golden candlestick of dawn. Verrall.. The fourth is brief. including "We are seven". On the 12th May 1908 Mrs." though it appears primarily to refer to Hodgson. and it seems clear that the intention is to refer to the Earthly Paradise and to Cantos 28 and 29 of the Purgatorio. and "tick. as being doubtful. On the 24th July 1908 a Myers Control. W. (4) "many mystic sevens. Frith and Mrs. Not only on the ocean may the Green Ray appear. In view of Mrs. Mrs. then at sea. Myers. She then got out his sealed envelope from the locked drawer where she had kept it. purporting to speak through Mrs. said 'Ye are Seven. seven". 7. he told her that the subject of his "posthumous" letter was variations on the theme of Seven." She proceeds to describe symbolically the seven who should be in accord. can he see the Grifon in its twofold nature.. wrote a script including references to (1) Jacob's ladder.. Piper in America. as a Sun in a mirror. H.seven.) On the 27th November 1908. after he and she had examined the case more thoroughly. On the 23rd July 1908 Mrs. Until that day she had . may also allude to the "tic" that Piddington twice speaks of. Mrs. Holland. that is on the gleaming eyes of Beatrice who is standing in the car: only as reflected in them. several others which. asked her to explain some of the words she had spoken on the 8th May. Mention has already been made of Dante's dream of Rachel in Canto 27. On the 19th November 1908 Alice Johnson told Piddington of a sevens crosscorrespondence with Dante allusions to be found in the scripts of Mrs. tick. tick. Holland. during the wakingstage that followed her trance. and I have accordingly not dwelt an them.V." "We are seven" is one of the phrases Piddington mentioned in his "posthumous" letter. wrote: "There should be at least three in accord and if possible seven. 12 and 28 of the Paradiso; (3) alludes to the seven candlesticks of Canto 29 of the Purgatorio. I said Clock! Tick. it may make the case easier to follow if a brief summary is here given of the contents of Cantos 2731 of the Purgatorio to which most of the allusions relate. typified by a Grifon drawing a Car. "Seven of us. The latter part of the same script had these words: "Take this for token 'Green beyond belief' . specifying six of the actual seven correctly. tick. Following this towards the sunrise (Canto 29) they see approaching seven candlesticks the flames of which leave in the heavens a trail of the colours of the rainbow. They examined it." The Biblical Pisgah has no connection with any mystic seven. Forbes. who was not in fact concerned. Holland's earlier references to Dante this seems to me probably right.
This is in effect an argument that the scriptintelligence was the discarnate mind of F. He put on record various associations with Seven. where a green ray is sometimes seen immediately after the sun sinks below the horizon. being based on what the design "looked like" to Alice Johnson. as she was Alice Johnson (Proc . Her argument. 256) writes: "What was it that from each and all of these miscellaneous sources extracted the strands needed for the interweaving of Seven and Dante? The task would not. Various references to Seven did some time later appear in the scripts and speech of several automatists; and that these did not find their way into the scripts "by accident" is. Verrall. An "experiment". in my view. each having some special connection with the automatist who draws on it. who did not even know that such an envelope existed. over more than four years. F. whether by "you" the Communicator is supposed to mean just the automatists. Piper and Mrs. I maintain only that there is strong evidence of the existence of such a plan." She argues (p. in my opinion. Holland. but made no conscious effort to transmit them. and this is to some extent an argument against the unitary view. Alice Johnson's fuller analysis should however leave no trace of doubt.H. The critics of this view argued that an appearance of "complementariness" might arise accidentally if some automatist attempted to impress an idea expressed in her own script on the . Holland's reference to the Green Ray which may appear "not only on the ocean". and implies that the experiment then suggested had been carried out and successfully concluded. be regarded as other than very doubtful. assuming that he was able to influence the automatists to carry it out. Verrall. There is no reason to suppose that every detail of the contribution to the whole made by each automatist was present to the subconscious mind of either Piddington or Mrs. H. but in those cases the collaboration is apparently brief. who carries the thoughts to the receivers? Ask him that. of course. the two subjects are very closely combined. Frith and H. I think. The unitary view presupposes that the collaboration was very close. and Mrs. On the 27th January 1909 Mrs. Illustrations of the two main subjects are drawn from a great variety of sources. Either view presupposes some subconscious collaboration between Piddington. But in the scripts of Mrs. Collaboration between agent and percipient at a subconscious level was suggested in Chapter III as part of the process resulting in veridical apparitions of the more complex kind.had no inkling what the contents might be. so that on the whole the unitary view is to be preferred. as writer of the "posthumous" letter. wrote a script ending with the following passage: "And ask what has been the success of Piddington's last experiment? Has he found the bits of his famous sentence scattered among you all? And does he think that is accident. but subjective judgments are not to be despised when made by a person of her acuteness of mind. on the unitary view. depends on "the element of complementariness" shown. and not of two or more. evidence of the design or agency of some intelligence which was cognisant of the whole scheme. Mrs. Myers whose name or initials are appended to some of the scripts. scientific training and immense knowledge of the scripts of the SPR group. Home. as finally revealed". 261) that the case affords "strong. be very difficult for anyone who had such a plan in mind. XXIV at p.W. Mrs. or as two that happened to overlap in time. But were they "started by one of you". or a group including Piddington with them? The identity of the scriptintelligence behind these references to Seven and to Dante must depend in part on whether the references to both topics are taken as constituting a single crosscorrespondence. Mrs. or something looking very like an experiment. In the SevenscumDante case on the other hand it extended over at least three months and. clear from the very condensed account of the case I have given. or started by one of you? But even if the source is human. Verrall. suggests the individual contribution of an automatist who was at the time at sea. as she claimed. whose reading of the Purgatorio was followed by a new development in the scripts of three other members of the group besides herself. It was not quite of the kind indicated in the scripts.M. by the fact that in them each automatist contributed a part of the pattern and none the whole. involving Piddington had been carried out and concluded.V. Verrall. Mrs. W." This script obviously refers back to her script of 28th August 1907. make no allusions to Dante that could. The argument for an external designer is frankly subjective. Verrall. Thus. with considerable success. Two of the automatists. and I think it looks like the plan of one mind. and that this could not be attributed to the subconscious of either Piddington or Mrs. Piddington never sent parts of a sentence to various automatists. which applies equally to all the more complex crosscorrespondences.
In the main however the design as pieced together by the investigators is coherent and it is certainly far from commonplace. also began writing in 1903. I think. The cross correspondences. Mrs. What is well established is that there is a design running through the scripts of every member of the group. I think. This is of course speculative. Mrs. of which he knew nothing until it had figured in the scripts for over a month. If during these periods the flow of script had been completely checked. for instance. as it would have frustrated his purpose to put on record what might after his death prove a good test of survival. explanations as to the process of communication. Mrs. while others were left with nothing to do except wait for their cue. But some qualifications must be made. XXIII "The two scripts would indeed be orientated about the same idea; but they would be very far from identical . As against sub. This involved changes from time to time in the type of phenomena to be found in the scripts. Verrall's automatic writing began in 1901 and continued until very shortly before her death in 1916. that running through the whole of the scripts of the SPR group and extending over thirty years there was a design comparable to that of particular crosscorrespondences examples of which have been given. When in the course of years the scripts. that had by that time been traced. H. had further developed. the reproduction in her script being fragmentary and incomplete. Piper.scripts of some other automatist. The whole thing. occasional failures occurred in the consistency with which the symbols were used. they might have lost interest and not been prepared to resume their parts when occasion required. Holland's connection with the group began in the autumn of 1903 and continued until a breakdown in her health in 1910.V. Substantially. She went on producing scripts until 1932. Verrall's script telepathically.V. Mrs. as was natural. H. As to four of the principal members of the group. was one huge cross correspondence. but with much less frequency in the latter part of that period. Holland. this is true and is very remarkable in view of the composition of the group and the changes that in the course of time took place in its membership. having served their purpose become fewer and less elaborate.. Piddington meant. Mrs. and the subsidiary ones in black. Verrall. They seem to have adopted the practice of filling in their spare time with repeating points already made. with dotted lines joining seven of the circles to others in order to explain their interconnections. particularly the First World War. Piper's long mediumship began in 1886 and continued until after 1920: it was only . but wrote few scripts until 1907. It soon became evident to the investigators that the scripts of all the automatists taken together did not constitute a hotchpotch of unrelated material in which crosscorrespondences. as in that experiment a conscious telepathic agent could be pointed to. and his study of them. so that one of them might he furthering the design by occupying the centre of the stage. even had the supplementary tables been doubled or trebled. conscious telepathic transmission from him there is the combination of Seven with Dante allusions. The parts played by the automatists were not interchangeable. deliberate action. and the like could not be done with any of the crosscorrespondences. Mrs. that was precisely what he did not wish. was forced to use a diagram of 23 circles showing the parent topics printed in red. mildly complementary correspondences are likely to result from attempts at simple correspondences. As the economist Pigou put it in Proc . or what appears to be mere padding.. This he supplemented with three tabular statements showing which topics were implicit and which explicit; their distribution among the various automatists; and the chronological order of their emergence. As the years went by the symbolism became more and more complex and. "posthumous" letter." He quotes as illustration Verrall's attempt in the OneHorse Dawn experiment to influence Mrs. were embedded at random. as he calls them. As early as 1908 Piddington discussing (Proc . selfcontained and of short duration. but so far from having any wish to transmit telepathically the contents of his. XXII) the "concordant automatisms". in that it could not be grasped by any automatist from knowledge of her own scripts but only by someone who had the scripts of the whole group to study. there is no need to say more here than to give the dates of their activity. Neither the OneHorse Dawn experiment nor the Sevens case was as simple as Pigou's argument demands. This was not a satisfactory basis for his argument. It includes a sort of timetable related to events of which the automatists did not foresee the occurrence. but that they had such complex connection with each other as to make it difficult to analyse them separately.. The automatists were prevented from understanding the significance of their scripts by the cryptic language of them and by the use of symbols to denote persons or topics. as he said to me. no twodimensional diagram would any longer have met his needs. In the Sevens case Piddington comes nearest to it as the only person concerned who took conscious.
V. nor one unworthy of the persons represented as engaging in it. developed her faculty to write in 1908 and continued until after 1930 with some interruption during the First World War. wasting time and effort in furthering. even after H. Holland or Mrs. Piddington and G. Proof of their survival and identity was indeed one of their purposes as claimed in the scripts.V. Mrs. That however was a special case. Mrs. An argument that for thirty years F. As declared in the scripts. W. and the facts had been referred to.. as suggesting a very much closer personal familiarity between its members than in fact existed. Balfour. Stuart Wilson. Verrall and H. Wilson. or of the script intelligence if that phrase is preferred. H. and itself depending for its meaning on facts not normally known to any member of the group until long after the appropriate symbols had been established. Of the less important members of the group a few have been named. . Mrs. who took it into account in their interpretation of their writings. and some acute differences of political opinion. for a few years following Hodgson's death in 1905. That is not a trivial project. Her "scripts" were the records she made of impressions received by her in a state of slight dissociation shortly before going to sleep. responded during the First World War to an appeal by the SPR for persons willing to take part in experiments in telepathy. whether written before. This did not in some cases result in any personal contacts.however for a part of that time. and the ingenuity of interpreters such as Alice Johnson. was the bringing about of a worldorder based on international peace and social justice. Wilson never knew personally any member of the group except H. Common trains of thought in a group the members of which. would defeat itself. Mrs. Dame Edith Lyttelton joined the group in 1913.V. in proving their survival and identity by intricate verbal puzzles like the crosscorrespondences. Nor was it one which either the automatists or the interpreters could feel that they were. in their respective roles. with whom she made contact through the experiments in telepathy. The scantiness of her personal connection with the group and the difference of national background added greatly to the value of her contribution to the total effect. Willett's identity was never known to Mrs. the ultimate purpose of the Communicators. naturally saw a good deal of each other. They were found on examination to be connected with the scripts of other members of the group. cryptically indeed. had all been reared in the same climate of humanist idealism. whose husband was Myers's brotherinlaw. The next chapter will seek to explain this. for the use of a symbolic scheme common to the group. W. and they continued till about 1930. but not the only. when Piddington.V. but as regarded in retrospect with no uncertainty. But this would not suffice to account for the way the subject is developed in their scripts. It might indeed be suggested that to all the automatists the ideal was so acceptable as to make it unnecessary to look for a paranormal explanation of the emphasis laid on it in the scripts of the group. but in a short account such as this no further mention of them need be made. They would have been almost as worthily occupied in banging tambourines in the darkness of a séanceroom. Henry Sidgwick and their friends spent their post mortem energies. the time of a group of women several of whom had fairly important duties of other kinds. had moved to London. but this sort of detachment was in a less degree characteristic of the group as a whole. Her mother saw most of her scripts when or soon after they were written and showed her some of her own: all this was recorded in detail and passed on to the investigators. the American wife of an officer in the British Army. Mrs. that her scripts had any close connection with those of other members of the group. might account for the support which the project receives in their scripts. to stop writing unless they felt a strong impulse. invited her and H. but much of her automatic writing did not claim any connection with the scripts of the group: I do not know how long her connection may be considered as lasting. and speaking broadly the only connection between the automatists began when concordances between their scripts were noticed. nor indeed the most important purpose. Myers. notwithstanding differences of nationality. during or after the First World War. Three other automatists played very important parts in the group. without invoking inspiration from an external source. who had become the principal investigator and was overwhelmed with the mass of material requiring his attention. "Willett" (Mrs. CoombeTennant). Without some explanation as to the nature of this socalled "group" that word might be misleading.
about the Founders' work in psychical research. certainly knew the whole story. Mrs. he never during his life showed any interest in psychical research. Verrall knew them all personally. A full account of her and the scripts relating to her may be found in Lady Balfour's paper on "The Palm Sunday Case" in Proc . He was a distinguished biologist. As to whether the project is nearer fulfilment now than it was when first proclaimed there would be sharp differences of opinion.Chapter 14: Crosscorrespondences: New Evidence W. 'Ye were seven in the distance as a matter of fact". Salter IT IS no part of my argument to suggest that the scripts of the SPR group must be paranormal because forty or fifty years ago they proclaimed a project which we can all see ripening to fulfillment. H. in obscure Latin. Mrs. The very existence of the project must be accepted. and Annie Eliza Marshall of Hallsteads (see p. The other four members of the communicating group were Francis Maitland Balfour. Willett and Mrs. She died as a young unmarried woman on Palm Sunday. Holland. Sidgwick and as her husband's contemporary at Trinity. Of these four F. asked to explain the words "We are seven". were found by later enquiry to have a special appropriateness to one of the communicating group. Octavia Laura Tennant. Holland. and so on. Francis. who was related to him by marriage. . his full name being given in two early scripts of Mrs. others referred to by symbols which. Octavia Laura Tennant was the first wife of Alfred Lyttelton and died in 1886 soon after the birth of her only child. and had possibly heard of this memorial. 167 above) whom Myers called Phyllis in his autobiographical fragment. Verrall.V. All that I am concerned to do is to explain and illustrate the manner in which the project is announced in the scripts and to draw some inferences from it. Mary Catherine Lyttelton. her burial and the action taken to perpetuate her memory which were known to very few persons but are alluded to in the scripts of several of the automatists at first cryptically. Mrs. The group consisted of four men and three women. Willett. H. to the crest and coatofarms of her family. There were unusual circumstances connected with her last illness. Verrall had most probably heard of her. spoken at an earlier sitting.. There would therefore have been no point in referring to any of them by symbols such as those used to denote the other Communicators. Verrall in which. The first cryptic references to her are to be found in the early scripts of Mrs. and to a portrait of her holding a candle. a relative of BurneJones. on the word of the Communicators.V. This statement is supported by the scripts of Mrs. Three of the men were the three principal founders of the SPR. if at all. 1875. Frederic Myers. It will be remembered that at her sitting of 12th May 1908 Mrs. Balfour is the only one mentioned by name in any of the scripts. Wilson all of whom refer to the activities of a group of seven. allusion is made to the memorial tablet a peacock on a laurel tree designed for her by BurneJones. but did not recognise the reference to her or it in her automatic writing. Mrs. there are numerous symbolic references to him connected with his first name. and Edmund Gurney. the seven petals of a flower of some variety that cannot be identified. 52. The group itself is symbolised collectively by the seven traditional colours of the rainbow. Verrall who was a neighbour of her brother Arthur Lyttelton. Myers was also known personally to Mrs. Verrall's. the seven notes of the scale. Piper. and to Mrs. declared. and they are identified in the scripts by their names or initials. and not through his real name (though this is given) that the scripts indicate his work as a member of the group. Willett's scripts of 1912. Unlike other members of his family. when he was Master of Selwyn. To aid in his studies he kept a fishingboat at Dunbar. All the automatists knew something. Piper. Besides the overt mentions of his name. She knew him both as the brother of Mrs.. and it is through these symbols. and most of them a great deal. to H. Some of the seven are mentioned by name. Cambridge. M. Mrs. who made a special study of embryology and the evolution of fishes. The symbols by which the scripts indicate her include references to these circumstances. if not understood at the time by the automatist concerned. his studies of fish life and his death in the Alps. Henry Sidgwick. to both her Christian names. He was killed in an Alpine accident in 1882. Mary Catherine Lyttelton was probably known by name to Mrs. but with more definiteness in Mrs.
Inadequate as this group of seven obviously was to bear the whole responsibility of the plan. she would almost certainly have recognised her fairly frequent references to them. and of the points at which the evidence fell short of cogency. Balfour. and there were many more in it than the automatists knew. The Phyllis references began to appear within a few weeks of her first script. Verrall never of herself recognised. and for most of the time the only automatist. Verrall's scripts made ten years or more earlier: see Lady Balfour's paper. When Mrs. Hallsteads. Her purpose was to give Myers an opportunity of communicating. It was not until further reference of a more explicit kind had been made to them in Mrs. She had already given cryptically in her scripts her maiden surname and. they had some special qualifications for being its prophets. 162. After the opening in December 1904 of Myers's "posthumous" envelope. they say. This name Myers took from Vergil's Seventh Ecologue. a description of her home. or the scriptintelligence working through her. the latter of which begins Phyllis amat corylos . lines 59 and 63. Phyllis loves the hazels. whose first Christian name she also knew. and the argument from nonrecognition is even more cogent here. Verrall learnt her full name and other facts relating to her. cryptic quotation. As regards Mary Catherine Lyttelton. both learnt all the facts and could understand allusions in Mrs. M. Myers had formed a deep attachment. was made before any of the Communicators died. Willett's scripts written between 1912 and 1916 that the investigators. And in fact the scripts expressly disclaim any suggestion that a small group like this. 168. meaningless to her conscious mind. Myers's reticence on this part of his lift makes it unlikely that he ever gave Mrs. she.For Annie Eliza Marshall. She did not know what had been her surname either before or after marriage. some of the circumstances referred to in her scripts were known to so few as to make it most improbable that she had ever heard of them. of words in a sonnet by Myers which to the best of her recollection she had never seen before its publication in October 1904 in the posthumous book Fragments of Prose and Poetry; see Proc . lasting . Knowledge however of their personal histories would not give any rational grounds for inferring that they would all be associated in the plan set out in the scripts. between which a close friendship existed; Myers and Phyllis by their mutual love. Nor is it plausible in my view to attribute to latent memory the occurrence in the first of all her scripts. that of 5th March 1901. The plan. Myers and Gurney as founders of the SPR; Sidgwick F. had in these years specified a communicating group of seven. Verrall was the most important. close as their friendship was. nor the circumstances in which Myers met her. and the second stage of the timetable starts then. after close enquiry. nor the name "Phyllis" by which he called her in his unpublished writings. and whether or not this may be regarded as accomplished. At this point a sceptic might reasonably say that he would reserve his criticism of the alleged scheme and of the symbolism in which it is set out until he had been given further particulars of the scheme and examples of the symbols as used in the scripts. which influenced his whole outlook on life. The group of seven Communicators had several internal links; Sidgwick. who died in 1876. of a polyglot. as Mrs. Mrs. Myers and Gurney were well aware of the stage the problem of survival had reached at the end of the nineteenth century. Verrall's scripts either as to circumstances connected with Mary Catherine Lyttelton or with Phyllis he would like to know what reason there is for invoking anything other than subconscious memory. drawn from one social stratum in one country. or indeed in any common venture. Mrs. began writing in 1903. Mrs.V. XXIV. The hazel is accordingly an appropriate symbol for her. From the beginning of her scripts in March 1901 until the opening of the Myers "posthumous" envelope in December 1904. Verrall began writing automatically she knew that Myers had been deeply in love with a woman long since dead. as all belonging by birth or marriage to the Balfour or Lyttelton families. Verrall any particulars of it. Mary Catherine Lyttelton and Octavia Laura Tennant. The facts themselves were so curious that if she had ever had normal knowledge of them. as mentioned on p. whose cryptic appearance in her scripts Mrs. All seven were by reason of family links and friendships established during their lives. in a position to get a hearing through two such other groups as the SPR automatists and their interpreters. was undertaking a project of the scale and importance indicated. Sidgwick. Verrall began writing automatically with the possibility of communications from him in view. In the case of Phyllis. Holland and H. some mentioned by name and some by symbolic allusions not recognised by her at the time but clear enough in retrospect when the clues were forthcoming. and was intensely interested in everything that related to his inner life. but that with regard to any claim for paranormal knowledge in Mrs.
an international order embodying all that was best in the Pax Augusta. when they caused her intense surprise. Mrs. but in a rather different form as only one automatist was concerned: see Proc .33). 11. published the next year in Proc . in particular a peaceful order. Mrs. not a process of gradual evolution over an indefinite period of time. are the words quantum mutatus ab illo applied by Vergil (Aen. and to the (retrospective) prophecies of the Pax Romana in the Aeneid are to he found in very early Verrall scripts. Wilson died. from the end of 1922 on. rerum dominos gentemque togatam (I. of predictions of the coming War of 1914 as one of the sacrifices necessary to the achievement of a better world order.V. H. Willett's "literary puzzles". a labour continuing through all the ages. At the same time. This conjunction did not however occur till early in the following year (1902). but Mrs. the purpose of the Communicators. In it Myers adapts to his own ends Vergil's famous line. (3) the entry into the group of automatists of Mrs. there was little point in continuing the crosscorrespondences. Mrs. During this period nothing much remained for the scripts to do beyond confirming and emphasising points they had already made. provided a new form of evidence for survival. and Mrs. with another line from the same book of the Aeneid: Romanos. H. it is to illustrate a different ideal.V. again. embedded in an apparently meaningless context. and mainly through them. and may very likely have read his poem. and the last line of that book is a quotation in the original Latin of another line (I. "I knew that the subject of the speeches in that dialogue was . The main feature of this period is the production of crosscorrespondences in which. Verrall. is clearly set out and is linked with the Communicators both individually and as a group. was informed of them in 1933. published nearly two years later. When however Mrs. The main features of this period were. at various times. but a practical policy to be worked for in her own age. 274) to the ghost of Hector when he hands to Aeneas the sacred fire from the Trojan shrine. the last one of significance being "The Master Builder". More important perhaps than these is the phrase "Diodma gave the clue" in her script of 31st May 1901.. Verrall knew well both the Aeneid and Myers's enthusiasm for it. which put in the hands of the investigators clues to cryptic personal references in the scripts of the earlier automatists; (2) the increasing definiteness in the scripts. The problem of design which was raised by the crosscorrespondences recurs in Mrs. etc. references to Rome. without ever being told of them. 1. Willett of obscure allusions in the earlier scripts. of the crucial Willett scripts of 1912. such as the "Statius" and "Ear of Dionysius" cases. Willett's scripts from 19 12 on. the principal automatists were Mrs. Tantae molis erat Romanam condere gentem (Aen. To return to the first stage of script activity. Neither of the two latter had any knowledge. Verrall in her scripts quotes the Aeneid. These. XXXVI. the nucleus of which consists of two scripts of H. for the reasons given in Chapter XIII.until the Willett scripts of 1912. The Aeneid is to him an allegory of human evolution. Mrs. In the meantime it is to be noted that her 3rd and 4th scripts make two quotations from the second book of the Aeneid in which is told the fall of Troy. And. For this purpose she combines the line Tantae molis . 297) from the same passage. in his Presidential Address (1900) he speaks of "the mighty struggle humanam condere gentem". p. XXVII and XXIX. Willett. writing "So hard a matter was the birth of Man". Willett and some minor automatists took part. particularly those of Mrs. only outlined during the previous stage. while they were themselves writing scripts. 477505. I knew that she was the one woman in the Platonic dialogues. Lyttelton. In the 4th script. H.V. With the elucidation through Mrs. As she says in her report on her early scripts in Proc . Holland. They accordingly fade out. This passage in Vergil is the central part of the peroration of Human Personality. Stuart Wilson. when Piddington read a paper entitled "Forecasts in Scripts concerning the War". Wilson. whose scripts have a special interest due to her almost complete personal detachment from the other members of the group. Piper. (1) Mrs. The third stage may be regarded as lasting from the spring of 1912 until the winter of 1922. 31: "When in May 1901 there was an allusion in my script to Diotima. of the 9th March 1901. XXXIII. During the final period. 282). The Implicit Promise of Immortality. XX. as she often does. The 6th and 7th of her scripts (13th and 14th March 1901) refer to Aeneas's visit to the future site of Rome as told in the eighth book of the Aeneid. published in 1882. Lyttelton's written between 5th December 1918 and 2nd January 1919: see Proc . Mrs. the toga being the distinctive garb of peace. in 1956. a disaster without which there would have been no Rome.V. and that she was introduced in the Symposium" (a dialogue she had not then read). where they continued for a long time. and one of Mrs.
thus: 13th January.) suggesting the hazel which is a frequent symbol of her (Phyllis amat corylos )." Gens togata is repeated later in the script. Verrall is not quoted there; though it is alluded to in a later portion of Myers's book.. Devoniac is better [probably an allusion to the evolution of fishes in the Devonian era." She took the point of reference to be Diotima's assertion that Love was neither a god nor a man but a great spirit. as one may call it.. was not long in making its appearance in her scripts. Balfour's first name combined with two of the Hazel names. Francis Hezeltine [F.P. Hazelrigg.R. Balfour symbol with a reference to Aristophanes' discourse in the Symposium. 282] and another short word. which plays an important part in the scripts.. Verrall's script of 21st December 1901 the gengroup of words and some personal symbols are combined(1). more strictly scallop shells. but. another reference to her]. In three scripts written between 13th January and 3rd February 1902 the topic of gens togata is emphasised and elaborated. words such as gens (race or people) and also words meaning "to beget'.. I looked the passage up to see what Diotima said. of the family shield]. Balfour is mentioned by name: Octavia Laura Tennant's memorial is alluded to: Mary Catherine Lyttelton is referred to by the palm. M.Love. But the topic of "children of the spirit"." The phrase "a fish or a counter" perhaps combines an F. and that in a curious way. one of these being Love. The passage that had impressed Mrs. but one too complicated to explain here. M. The rest of Diotima's speech does not seem to have impressed her at the time. Between the 18th September and the 20th December 1901. and that all intercourse between God and men was through spirits. Latin and other languages which borrow from them. Mrs. much the longest quotation made by Myers from any author (reports of cases of course excepted) is his adaptation and abridgement (pp. occurs this passage: "Heseltine is the reference Look it up. Find the key for the lock and keep it close. Verrall presumably read this part of Diotima's discourse in 1901. Do not forget the word it is gens togata [Aeneid I. or on references to the four members of the communicating group other than the three founders of the S.. Balfour].. that of 4th January 1902. which have no meaning except as cryptic allusions to Phyllis]. "Marigold and cockleshells [the first name of Mary Catherine Lyttelton and the three shells. whom we call Father of our Laws". so far at least as concerned her conscious mind. Gens togata rapit. I] Gentes seems right. since the children which are born to them are fairer and more immortal far": she instances "Homer's offspring". published early in 1903.. and how far it could be described as a 'clue'. In Mrs. and of their being "bound by a far closer bond than that of earthly children. etc. and by other symbols too: Phyllis by five names (Haslemere. Spatula [palmleaf. In the next script but one. it would seem. one a flat fish] a fish or a counter. M. In Human Personality." . and "the children of Solon. (1) When quoting scripts I Put in square brackets the literary sources of important phrases and notes on their significance. Devornik was in the last. in Greek. a frequent symbol relating to her death on Palm Sunday. and she did not study the dialogue more closely until November 1902. M. Tell Hodgson the words in gen that is nearly right *** [Begetting] is important not Genesis. and so to F. Myers does however quote the passage in which Diotima speaks of the union of the "godlike man" and the "noble and wellnurtured soul" whom he has sought. 113115 of Volume I) of part of Jowett's translation of the Symposium.. From the root gen come. she wrote twentyfour scripts in fourteen of which there is either emphasis on words formed from the root gen. [Drawings of two fishes. F.. with translations of some of them. without taking particular note of it.. "Three Latin words can she not write them? would give the clue Quid fremuerunt gentes? [Psalm II.
and it rested on armed force. the three sources of our civilisation. gens nata togae has I think.. so the scripts claim. But I mean a wider thing. the whole world". but as a notion. VI. The city of Cecrops is violet and hoary [Swinburne." It was Marcus Aurelius who said "As I am Marcus. their birth. 26 'But Jerusalem that is above is free. It was not worldwide. no warrant in Vergil but is an invention of the scriptintelligence. "psychological eugenics". a universal country. Athens and Jerusalem. paticularly Mrs.29th January. the mother of us all [Galatians IV. because of the abundance of literary allusions to it. and though the Pax Romana is a convenient type. In a script of 29th April 1907 Mrs. But just as the script intelligence brings back to earth the foundation of Rome from the nebulous allegory to which Myers had relegated it. without regard to any supposed actual instance. France and "all man to be".. The Universal City is all colours and no colour but best described as a golden GLEAM. In inverted commas single thus 'Gens nata togae'. "Gennata no Gens nata togae [the race born to the toga] those are the three words there is moreBut the other words are the test Gens nata togae. I will merely quote as illustrations a few scripts . M. Willett calls it.. I think. "All colours and no colour" is another way of expressing the idea of the colours of the rainbow united in a single light. Erechtheus ] look back at that. and to England. character and destiny are influenced by those responsible for the plan. 853). '. 33 and 272] Gens togata manet ['The people that wears the toga remains' or 'endures'] . as Mrs. which is the mother of us all'] "Not 'O fair city of Cecrops' "But Oh fair city of God [Marcus Aurelius Meditations . which is developed very fully in the scripts of several of the automatists. They are "children of the spirit" because.. and certainly not to claim that it is bound to succeed. This script combines references to Rome. Stuart Wilson. pro patria is written on a circle not I think a ring. particularly by the Seven Communicators making use of the embryological knowledge of F. as an ideal it is inadequate. just an equivalent for the New Jerusalem of Revelations but an existing state of freedom contrasted with the bondage of the Law. and not to claim that the plan actually exists. To return to the subject of "children of the spirit"." 3rd February. gentile no gentes gens togata vocat Romam Romanam condere gentem [Combination of Aen. Willett and Mrs. my country is Rome; as I am a man. Balfour and the psychological studies of Edmund Gurney. is to establish a worldorder of peace." While gens togata comes from the Aeneid. It may be significant that the colours here are not limited to seven. The plan. IV] "That gives one clue I have long wanted to say that I tried before I spoke of Athens [=the city of Cecrops'] but you did not complete Golden City of God." Towards the end of his short poem Tennyson says "England France all man to be Will make one people ere man's race be run. the imposition of the habit of peace by battling down the proud (see Aen. The mere notion of "psychological eugenics" will doubtless seem absurd to many. implying that others besides the group of seven communicators are furthering the plan. Bk. Verrall writes: "Victor in poesy Victor in Romance and Lord of Human Tears [Tennyson To Victor Hugo; 'poesy' should be 'drama'] .. 1. so in the scripts "the children of the spirit" are not laws or constitutions but children of flesh and blood to be born and nurtured in the ideal of a worldorder of peace which they will help to establish. I have no doubt that the whole series of scripts from the 18th September 1901 to the 3rd February 1902 is an elaborate weaving together of the lines quoted from the First Book of the Aeneid and the claim of Diotima as to "children of the spirit" in the Symposium. "Jerusalem that is above" is not. At the risk of tedium I repeat that I am concerned only with the development of the plan as the various automatists set it out in their scripts. it does not seem so to me.. as already said.
while the quotation from Matthew IV. particularly to Everard Feilding's investigation of the famous medium Eusapia Palladino. M. the opening verses of the ninth chapter of Isaiah. the name "Franz" and some other details strongly suggest that it is to this that her scripts point. after references to "the nuthatch". Two days later. the surname Palladino suggesting Paladin in the sense of a warrior prince. Paradiso. M.V. by Mrs. She had no conscious recollection of having heard of F. His father.. But is Eugene just a bad shot at Eusapia. no part in him. Mrs. in the spiritual sense. "born of love not hate". written independently and within three days of each other. Mrs. who hated Pompilia and murdered her. Gaetano reckons as a child of the spirit. The second script would not by itself have suggested any allusion to the birth of children. The harmony of the spheres. Holland's script of 3rd November 1909 has a passage which provides an interesting example of the cryptic methods of the scriptintelligence. especially Canto XII]. is very definitely a birth reference: see v. was the priest who did his best to rescue her from 'Count Guido's clutches. H. The script of the 13th begins "I see your icey ramparts drawn Between the sleepers and the dawn "The last sunset was the beautiful one. It runs as follows. The people who sat in darkness" [Matthew IV. Pompilia's grave is described read that and find the words there five words together. from which it is taken with a slight change ("sat" for "walked"). as a jocular reference to séances held in the dark. "a scholar a student". which should be read in conjunction with the scripts of 6th and 20th June which precede and follow it. In that case Eugene in the script of 3rd November 1909 presumably relates to Eugenics also and implies F.V. writes "The ship and the stars twin starssafe comes the ship to harbour [Macaulay. 6]. Balfour's research in that subject. because the five saints after whom she had been named had done so little for her. slightly misquoted] . the crest of the Feildings. being as his mother says. Holland took a keen but sceptical interest.6. 5th November 1909.. such as the famous Prince Eugene? The only other place in Holland script in which the word Eugene occurs is in her script of 13th June 1906. and two others. 6. Although F. It is perhaps significant that the script of 26th May 1904 was written on an anniversary of the birth of Mary Catherine Lyttelton. but may have read a printed account of his death. Battle of Lake Regillus. Holland mentions. XXIII) for in Feilding's research Mrs. obviously do. Verrall's script of 6th September 1902 has in an apparently irrelevant context the single word "Gaetan" and her script of 26th May 1904 has "The Ring and the Book. the obvious intention is to combine references to him as mountaineer and as geneticist. and it ends with mention of "a thin crust of snow on the glacier". and was probably intended by the scriptintelligence to look. The child mother. It is to be noted that. What of Eugene?" And it later refers to spiked boots. It is characteristic of the script intelligence to introduce a topic in this unobtrusive way. The first part of the script of the 6th is about "a friend who was killed on the mountain".of the earlier automatists. after a newly canonised saint. Verrall. That of the 20th has a single word that is relevant "Gringelwald" (sic ). written on the birth of his son Hallam] you wrote of that before the spinning top [Dante. had. probably an allusion to Myers's poem "On a Grave at Grindelwald". ropes and the name "Franz". describing a death in the high Alps. M. the only scripts of Mrs. If the Alpine allusions in these scripts relate to him. she says. Balfour. Holland and H. Count Guido. but the two scripts. two being scripts of Mrs. Balfour's fatal accident did not occur near Grindelwald nor near the other Alpine centres Mrs. out of the deep my child [Tennyson." In Book VII of Browning's poem Pompilia says she gave her child the name Gaetano." . an iceaxe. Her true love. in which he had recently reported to the SPR (Proc . harmony of colour and sound seven sounds and seven colours. De Profundis . and to their family motto; "Eugene the Paladin. has not in itself or by its context there any reference to the birth of children. On the surface this script looks. as she is in all the scripts particularly associated with the birth topic. Verrall referring to Pompilia or her child.
The Roman Forum Something buried there. Verrall and Mrs. But there are several points which strike me as interesting; first the emphasis laid on the sacrifices necessary to achieve the greatness of Rome.V. Mrs. had given that Society. Wilson. She also thought she knew the story of Phyllis. she did not see those of H. M. XX (1906) Mrs. "Children of the spirit" are frequently alluded to both in Mrs. including of course the automatists. when the Journal of the American SPR published a resume of a talk on scripts which H. The interpreters had however shown Mrs. Mrs. Willett in 1909 and 1910 many of Mrs. It will be noted that the part beginning "the spinning top" follows immediately on the reference to De Profundis . Apart from H. Angelo on the far side. Holland's scripts. and rather doubtful: had they been more frequent they would have had little point in view of her normal knowledge. From the quotations of scripts made in those papers readers of Proceedings . as always in the scripts. I can't describe them except that the principal one has a kindly. Mary Catherine Lyttelton. The subjects of these do indeed reappear in her scripts. That something I think was the instruments and utensils used in the sacrificial rites. The scene described in this script appears to be based on a novel by Hawthorne known as Transformation (and also as The Marble Faun) but it plainly combines the two topics of the Rome and Sevens cross correspondences. such as the symbols appropriate to various members of the communicating group. XX) and from then on numerous other reports on the scripts of the SPR group were published. To the other Communicators.V.. In view of her knowledge of Proceedings that conjunction is not in itself significant. Wilson's "scripts" are contemporary records of scenes visualised by her while preparing for sleep. She must be credited with knowledge of all the crosscorrespondences previously discussed in Proceedings including the Ave Roma Immortalis and Sevens cases described in Chapter XIII. Balfour. though in fact the account she had heard was most inaccurate.V... To particularise . Verrall's.V. symbolic allusions in her script are numerous. with special reference to the treatment of this subject in the scripts of Mrs. received her scripts. [references to Virginia. mean supernormal guidance and protection.'s and Mrs.. Wilson to the three Founders of the SPR individually are few. and the topic of "children of the spirit". Verrall refers to her sc ripts of 6th September 1902 and 26th May 1904 without any mention of Gaetano. This was a marked departure from their usual practice but was made deliberately on what they considered imperative instructions in some of the scripts.Part of this script has already been quoted and discussed in Chapter XII in connection with the Sevens crosscorrespondence. F. To the best of my knowledge nothing whatever was said in the Proceedings or in any other publication about "children of the spirit" before 1951(1). The experience often includes the hearing of words and phrases.V. and became very friendly with her. as will be seen from the first one that I shall quote. (1) In her report on her automatic writings in Proceedings vol. Willett's and Mrs. Proceedings . Wilson's scripts. References by Mrs. it will be remembered. Verrall published a report on her early scripts in 1906 (Proc . H. gained a growing knowledge of scripts. Curtius. Scaevola and Horatius] The Tiber with St. but her supposed knowledge may account for the absence of references to Phyllis in her scripts.. rather whimsically gay manner. The scripts of all the automatists stress the sacrifices without which the . except as and when they were published in SPR. but for the most part the connection between her and the other automatists is made through matters which had not been made public. Wilson's scripts. and of the topics discussed. and an impression that the seven branch candlesticks a golden lamp and other treasure lie at the bottom of the river at this point." Mrs. began in 1915 when she responded to an appeal made by the SPR for persons willing to take part in experiments in telepathy. The Great Twin Brethren here. She thus got into touch with H. but actual quotations are uncommon.. Octavia Laura Tennant and. she never knew personally any of the other automatists. Here is the Wilson script of 22nd July 1917: "One of the triumphal arches in Rome. particularly. While for several years after 1915 H. [references to Lucretia and to the Nativity] I had a dream later on that three men who sometimes seem to he talking to me about the experiments were regretting that I knew no Greek. or any of the other automatists.V. I might almost as well say 'The Lays of Ancient Rome' and leave it at that for the rest of the experiment.
" [In the original the words "the Fates or rather" are struck through.] For them the laurels. passes on to the Shunammite's son. and the seraph from whom his Order was styled "The Seraphic Order".new worldorder. of a family group.] Later passages in the script refer to "a turks head". [After further development of the changelingsaint theme.. Francis. and to Catherine Cornaro. Laurels have a dual reference in scripts generally. in whom whimsicality was a notable characteristic. but in some sort a changeling. and Vergil's Fourth Eclogue. one of the symbols of Mary Catherine Lyttelton. which would be a surprising conjunction if the Saint did not typify his namesake F. Wilson remembered one word "Sibyl". but nothing could be found in the reports in Proceedings published before the date of this script. After reference to several other topics it continues: "St. but concerning whom much is said in the scripts of other automatists. A woman holding a baby in her lap and to her left a semicircle of bowed figures in great blue cloaks. But when the phrase recurs after the scene with a baby in a cradle. M.' Gaetano is not mentioned here. Balfour. struck me as a realisation that the little creature. Their primary relation is to Octavia Laura Tennant.e. to suggest that the scripts were concerned with this idea." St. A long script of 1st March 1916 begins with the mention of a dream of which on waking Mrs. mother. Wilson knew no Greek are perhaps Sidgwick. and especially of lines that run something like this. The frequency of allusions in Mrs. who will someday rank among the saints. grandparents. and a little later runs as follows: . and the words 'There is always snow on their laurels'. who were all classical scholars; if so. This is one of the very few references in Wilson scripts to the three Founders. 188 above) here as elsewhere point to her as a member of the communicating group of seven." [The Pope is apostrophising Pompilia] "'Give one good moment to the tired old man Weary with finding all his world amiss' "I know that is not a correct quotation. Verrall's relating to Pompilia and her child. The allusions take many forms. "I found myself thinking of the part [i. standing a little way off. Laurels covered with snow. at a baby in a cradle. appear frequently in Wilson script. and I take it that when the phrase "snow on their laurels" first occurs in this script. I think it has a secondary reference to the death of another small child. but laurels covered with snow. cannot be won. "The seven branch candlesticks" as one of the numerous references to candies in scripts all relating to Mary Catherine Lyttelton (see p. It is unnecessary to elaborate the appropriateness of both Fates and Sibyls to children of destiny: see for example Catullus LXIV. Wilson had never heard. begins with the word "Eleusis". The next picture. of which Rome is a type. Myers and Gurney. The three men who regretted that Mrs. of whom Mrs. Another long script. She begins one of her first scripts (20th May 1915) with a reference to Pompilia. young aunts and uncles. 320383. I got the idea that they were old women and perhaps stood for the Fates or rather the Sibyls. Her script of 19th August 1915 runs: " . alluding probably to the Moor's head which is the Cobham (Lyttelton) crest. and there would be no case for taking this as a birthreference. Wilson's scripts to "children of the spirit" may be partly attributed to her regret that she had no children of her own. Daphne. is not altogether their own.. of The Ring and the Book] where the Pope sums up the case. looking with awe rather than affection. especially in connection with the birth of children. their faces quite hidden by their hoods. or indeed before Piddington's paper in Proceedings XXXIII (1923). Francis of Assisi in his monk's robe. the allusion is to her and her death soon after giving birth to her only child. were it not for the two scripts of Mrs. the "principal one" must be meant for Gurney. father. of 25th November 1918. but I can get no nearer.
The quotation from Lowell brings in the candle. Both the son and Triptolemus may be regarded as children of the spirit. should need no further explanation. iv. for reasons that seemed imperative at the time. [Later the script reverts to Eleusis and] "attempts at the myth of Demeter. as far as I am concerned. in a most beautiful radiant seraph's head in a large test tube. tubes... of which I am very fond.. Triptolemus is the name of the child in some versions of the story. A bright iridescent object. called An Ember Picture I found myself quoting from it "'As we drove away in the darkness The candle she held at the door . The light took the form of gigantic warriors leaning on their great two handed swords and watching something intently. The birth of the former was predicted to his incredulous mother. In fact the belongings of a laboratory. here are two scripts: 19th March 1916 "All sorts of glass retorts. that he might be deathless and ageless. wheels (I especially noticed a sort of double wheel like this) [drawing]. or a crystal. Francis's Seraph with the wings crossed over its face. one of the most frequent symbols of Mary Catherine Lyttelton. or not so emphasised as to put the whole situation clearly before the reader. and two processions. continuing the general idea. and after what has been said of Francis Balfour's work as geneticist. I think they were the old Norse Gods. of a babe gazed on by a circle of elders. published and unpublished. and many important aspects of them never discussed in the Society's publications. nearly 3.000 pages. 1437). A leading idea of the scripts is the supersession of a world resting on force and cruelty by a humaner order of things. It ended. one of the great conquerors.. aweinspiring. though not in the Homeric Hymn. passing through swathes of dead men. This attempt to put ." The symbolic meaning of this is obvious. In front of them the Christ Child lying in a little manger and radiating a more golden light. and forming in it something like the face of a goldenhaired child." The mention of mermaids and tritons would be appropriate both to Mary Catherine Lyttelton and to Octavia Laura Tennant. references to Vikings." 3rd June 1917 " . who became a Lyttelton by marriage. "St.. and then one of children. with some items not easy to interpret. many of the scripts produced by this group have never been printed by the SPR. introduces. To return to the Franciscan allusions. Some of the receptacles were full of a clear liquid full of shining bubbles. whose husband was old. This and the foregoing chapter are meant to be a brief abstract of the scripts. Even so. Napoleon. The rest of the script. and to draw attention to various points which seem to be of importance but to have been either deliberately omitted from previous discussions. She lays the infant Triptolemus in the fire . Yet a third example of such a scene is to be found in a long script of 24th March 19 16." The idea common to both these scripts is the production of infant seraphs in a laboratory. of which this is an extract: "The Aurora Borealis.. Two examples have already been given. etc. like a soap bubble. and the birth of "children of the spirit". describes the feeling they gave me. by Elisha. in the Wilson scripts of 19th August 1915 and 1st March 1916. But his mother watched her and interfered. so he missed immortality but won lasting glory as Demeter's nursling.. The expression... That the scripts of the SPR group of automatists are the largest and most complex of all connected pieces of material that have been studied by psychical researchers is plain from the space they occupy in many volumes of Proceedings from 1906 to 1938. Alexander.. The goddess suckled him and placed him by night in the fire. A poem of Lowell's. with wings.. The story of Demeter and the babe she placed in the fire is told in the Homeric Hymn in her honour. who years later restored him to life (II Kings. etc."Mermaids and tritons in a sea cave [two tritons are the supporters of the Cobham (Lyttelton) shield].
Some of these may eventually prove susceptible of a reasonable interpretation. event or whatever it is that gives the clue. and of personal sacrifices as well.V. irrelevant in themselves but leading on to a significant point to be reached later. Others probably consist of associations in the automatist's subconscious. Some may be mere padding. Anyone interested in the technique of interpreting a mass of symbolic and allusive writings produced by several automatists should read Piddington's introduction to his paper in Proceedings XXXIII. Taken as a whole. so curiously grafted on to the Sevens case. as she did at the time. Holland's and H. and in the main draw the same connections between persons and topics. to show how other notable cases already mentioned. of which seven specified Communicators are members and prophets. have their places in the scheme.'s scripts. but nothing about bridges. which are to be regarded as sacrifices to that end.shortly the essential points of the scripts may strike some readers as too involved for easy understanding. and Norse gods. and candles. (The scripts speak of wars in the plural. Verrall's script of 29th April 1907. together with the topic of Rome. yes. or Mulciber. awestruck relatives. all of which seemed meaningless until Mrs. Balfour and Piddington. giving that word a wide meaning. or only one so farfetched as to lack plausibility. The argument put forward rests on the interpretation of a mass of symbols. to be promoted by a great body of discarnate intelligences. so to speak. This is obvious as regards the Ave Roma Immortalis and Sevens cases. all gazing on a child. and of discarnate guidance. and to be achieved by the creation of a race of "children of the spirit". considerable portions of the scripts for which no interpretation has been found. Till then. That this course of concealment and subsequent revelation was deliberately pursued by the scriptintelligence I have no doubt. The symbolism of the scripts covers both persons and topics. it must be frankly admitted. G. to make one literary allusion serve as a link between several topics. but in fact they have been treated with great leniency. all three being important in the scheme of the scripts. in which I have made extensive use of the immense industry and acumen of Alice Johnson. The symbolism relating to topics is sometimes very obscure. and here the meeting of Dante and Beatrice brings in. or lighthouses. Their presence does not invalidate the interpretation of the parts for which meanings have been found. on which one of the interpreting group wrote a commentary running to 270 pages of typescript. helping to emphasise the unity of it. But it is often plain enough. It is true also of the Earthly Paradise allusions. Freud of course". Wilson's scripts of Sibyls. has been grasped. The personal symbols are not difficult to interpret when once the name. This difference does not however affect the scripts I have quoted or the interpretation put upon them. and through great disasters like World Wars. provided there is no inconsistency in the meanings placed on them. such as the OneHorse Dawn and the Master Builder. nor yet a tangle of literary puzzles connected with each other. as was shown by the allusions to Mary Catherine Lyttelton in Mrs.) The crosscorrespondences described in Chapter XIII all fit into this scheme. and hazels. This is notoriously a hazardous business. and to show that the design could not be attributed to any single automatist. The mere mention of symbols nowadays rouses mutterings of "Oh. Nor is there any ambiguity in the idea underlying the three scenes in Mrs. The design sets out a scheme for the creation of a peaceful worldorder. Willett's Scripts of 1912. These two chapters. responded to the conscious and subconscious . of a picture. Verrall's scripts as far back as 1901. They have not been asked to pursue the ramifications of references to the Symposium. they may elude the understanding both of the automatist in whose script they appear and of any wouldbe interpreter. or Excalibur. That the general scheme of the scripts. But it is a habit of the scriptintelligence. and in Mrs. a worldorder based on peace. or the Mayflower or Hair in a Temple or a score of other heterogeneous symbols. could fail to grasp its intention. It would be possible. Nobody who took the trouble to look up the sources of the quotations in Mrs. the high lights. But each automatist paints the picture in her own way. but unconnected with the affairs of life; that on the contrary they are an integral part of a most elaborate design. W. at the cost of a long digression. the topics of the reunion of lovers. The pageant which Dante there sees is a symbolic representation of the long history of Rome in its dual aspect of Empire and Church. of which the Pax Romana is an imperfect archetype. and some of the group draw a much closer connection between some of the persons and some of the topics than the others do. the scripts use the same symbols to refer to the same persons and the same topics. There are. A little has been said about fishes. should make it clear that the crosscorrespondences are neither selfcontained literary puzzles.
comprising both a Story of past events and a Plan for the future. for it rests on careful documentation. Verrall. Wilson's scripts imply no greater knowledge than could have been obtained in this way. apart from Mrs. always on the look out for. The intricacy combined with the consistency of the scheme shows that it was not fortuitous. All the automatists.. and allowance for it was made when the scripts came to be interpreted. Common association of ideas among the automatists. Paranormal knowledge of definite. Holland or H. Verrall's and H.wishes of a group of women all brought up in the idealist climate of the last century. so much the better. but they concern matters which. while she was the sole automatist. So far as concerns the scheme of the scripts as it has been discussed. Mrs. Willett. verifiable facts may. as the idea of "children of the spirit" seems to have appealed to Mrs. I see no reason to suppose that symbols of that sort are specially frequent or important in the scripts. In default of any sufficiently normal explanation. cannot be doubted. and if one can be found harmonious with the probable explanations of other paranormal occurrences. though related to the general scheme of the scripts. Piper's references to the Classics sometimes seem to imply more learning than can easily be attributed to her normal powers. Facts not normally known to Mrs. Freudian symbolism in my own dreams. are doubtless contributing factors. nor that subsidiary but important parts of the scheme made a special appeal to particular members of the group. a paranormal one must he sought.V. The scheme is really there. The wealth of classical allusions made by Mrs. They do not account for paranormal references appearing independently in the scripts of several members. I think. XXIX) is hard to explain on any normal hypothesis. and through correspondence and conversation between them. and the spread of knowledge of each others scripts through publication in the Proceedings of the Society. but inadequate as an explanation of the whole affair. and often detecting. This would include knowledge of English versions of Classical literature and legend. Willett's scripts from 1912 to 1916. the most striking instances of allusions in the scripts to facts of which normally acquired knowledge cannot be attributed to the automatists are those relating cryptically to Phyllis and Mary Catherine Lyttelton by Mrs. be found in the scripts of Mrs. and the references to Greece and Rome to be found in Mrs. Holland. Mrs.V. and not an invention of the perfervid ingenuity of the interpreters. as might have been expected: more surprising perhaps are the grammatical lapses of which their subconscious minds were often guilty. were above the average in knowledge of English literature and interest in it.'s scripts show a great familiarity with the Classics. but that most interesting case stands outside the general scheme of the scripts.V. and commonsense handling of symbols and allusions. Incidentally the spread of information by normal means was never uncontrolled nor unrecorded. are referred to in their scripts in the usual cryptic way. and Mrs. It has been argued that there is a consistent scheme set out in the scripts of the SPR group of automatists over about thirty years from 1901 to 1930. Holland's and Mrs. and the more explicit references to Mary Catherine Lyttelton in Mrs. H. . painstaking research into facts. Wilson. Piper whose educational standard was modest. have been left undiscussed in this chapter for fear of overburdening it. Verrall. But as a very persistent dreamer. Willett in the "Ear of Dionysius" (Proc . Mrs.
in Chapters VII and VIII in particular. As the basis for the summing up I am now about to attempt I regard telepathy as occurring not only by a oneway transmission from a single agent to a single percipient. hearing and the other senses were sufficiently developed. precision and fullness far in excess of anything that could be claimed for experimental telepathy or for that faculty as it manifests itself in crisis apparitions. but scientific invention has for a long time robbed it of even this advantage. or repeated but discontinuous actions of persons having exceptional powers. as some students have done. Full verification. like Milton's Urania. but in any attempt at a complete map of the subconscious some place must be found for it. But whatever the poet's conviction may be as to the source from which his best work is inspired. There are however grounds for believing that telepathy has in the past fulfilled and still fulfils a useful purpose not in competition with but as supplementary to more normal means of communication. however well trodden. I will quote one from each group. a dead man's surviving personality. omitting for the present those the context of which raises the question whether some discarnate intelligence may not be participating. Observation of spontaneous paranormal occurrences and experiments in telepathy with "free" material. in some of which the subconscious collaborated with the conscious faculties more or less an equal terms. or from some mysterious union of the two. by throwing light on its nature and on the way it works. Walter de la Mare said that without telepathy there could be no intimate conversation. or differentiated. to serve as means of communication between man and man. it cannot just be disregarded. This latter sensation is described in the passages quoted from Adonais and In Memoriam and in Blake's letter of the 6th May 1800. 33. and to suspect. For thousands of years men have communicated with each other by speech and writing with a certainty. It has also been necessary to take a roundabout course which. or all if more than two. and attention fixed on its positive aspects. but transfusively in such a way that both the persons concerned. Telepathy was indeed at one time a speedier means of conveying news over great distances than any of its normal competitors.g. It has been necessary in the foregoing chapters to explore a few bypaths just far enough to show that. that it survives as a curious relic of a distant age before sight. Salter IN PSYCHICAL research there are no short cuts. which have demonstrated the reality of it as a faculty of living persons. Difficulties there may be in the way of its literal acceptance. the scholars and the poets. or was evoked by. experiences of ordinary people. and have very usefully supplemented the quantitative experiments. A stage has now been reached where the negative parts of the enquiry may be left behind without regret. have brought it within the bounds of reasonable conviction. Gilbert Murray. crisis apparitions mostly are. Its creative powers in dreams and in poetic inspiration were illustrated in Chapter VII by several examples. subconscious activity was shown as occurring in a context having no relation to communication with discarnate minds; in others the poet felt that the inspiration reaching him from some superhuman source was bound up with. they lead nowhere. if inadequate as exact proof of that faculty. When the resources of speech are under discussion it is well to hear what the experts have to say. H. are either unusual. as e. . are agents and percipients at the same time: see p. such as percipients in experiments.Chapter 15: To What does the Evidence Point? W. may seem to have strayed a long way from the goal. while in others it was so definitely the dominant partner as to seem almost to supersede them. again. perhaps unique. In some instances. If those were the only ways in which the faculty operated it would be natural to wonder what purpose it served in the scheme of things. Factual evidence is of no help in judging whether or not the inspired poet is justified in his claim to have derived his inspiration from the surviving intelligence of a dead man. whose scholarship was combined with experience as a successful percipient. Basically these are the functions of the subconscious as a creative agent and as an organ whereby the individual is in touch in a special way with external intelligences. declared that without telepathy language could not have developed. is possible as to the functions of the subconscious as an organ of contact with the intelligences of other living persons. or from some superhuman reality. The examples of telepathic action given above. on the other hand. both men of distinction recently dead.
It is what is popularly called "taking the words out of one's mouth". claim to have had mystic experience of the Great Soul: see In Memoriam. and the deviation from the general run of the talk not as distinct as the difference in colour of the roses. just because it is so precise in its conveyance of information as to facts. spoken or written. The subject of the verbal sport is often trivial enough. it is rejected even by those who. language. but these lie outside the immediate discussion which is confined to the normal and paranormal faculties of the living in circumstances in which there is no question of discarnate activity. The utility of telepathy. A group of friends with a similar mental background are talking together. but to fill in the gaps incidental to normal intercourse by speech or letter. If however that is proved. something like the spray of pink flowers I noticed today on a scarlet rosebush. This is a conception difficult to imagine and impossible to prove. in which case there is nothing remarkable. strikes both the speakers and their friends as giving the conversation a new and surprising turn. as I take it to be." And later (Vol. He lays most stress on the discourse of Diotima who maintains that earthly love leads on to an impersonal fulfilment in knowledge of Very Beauty. two of them will at the same moment say the same thing. To illustrate the first of the two passages quoted. It is a sport. Myers arranges his summary of the two discourses in such a way as to indicate that there is nothing contradictory between a fully personal union between two lovers in life and death. there is no need to invoke telepathy. I think. while not. like Tennyson. When this idea takes the form of a belief that there is no link between creature and creature except through the Great Soul. there exists also that universal link of spirit with spirit which in its minor earthly manifestations we call telepathy. intangible phenomenon does. It is the psychological counterpart of the mystic idea of the Great Soul. entirely unconnected with what has gone before. this odd. but rather that the one conception is complementary to the other. Whether Plato shared that view is another matter. the spoken or written word often gives rise to distressing misunderstanding. It is not therefore a thing that would carry any weight in an argument to prove the reality of telepathy. Myers prints a long summary of part of Plato's Symposium. Then. as a continuous stream of common subconscious thought and feeling would help not only to check these misunderstandings. if continuous. What they say may arise naturally out of the preceding talk. p. and communion with the Great Soul in its aspect of Beauty. is defective in the transmission of more subtle thoughts and feelings. All that is relevant here is to note that acceptance of a subconscious linkage between individuals has not committed all those who have . is the exchange of letters between friends who have not corresponded with each other for a long time. but to his summary of her discourse he prefixes a much shorter summary of the discourse of Aristophanes who regards as the goal of love the complete and eternal fusion of pairs of lovers. Intercourse between friends by conversation and letters is intermittent. if some event of interest to both has become known to them. where the evidence for its being paranormal is equally intangible. 282): "Love is a kind of exalted but unspecialised telepathy: the simplest and most universal expression of that mutual gravitation or kinship of spirits which is the foundation of telepathic law. what is said by the two. In two passages in Human Personality Myers puts the claim for telepathy even higher. Another type of occurrence. but it is a matter of common observation that even where there is no desire for concealment or deception of any sort.This latter pronouncement is supported by what my friends tell me and my own experience confirms to be a not uncommon occurrence. Telepathy. that as between friends telepathy is continuous. reinforce the view implicit in de la Mare's pronouncement. The dictum that "Language was given us to conceal our thoughts" was no doubt cynical in intention. But every now and then. it may be. as many people would assert. of a kind to prompt the exchange. each contributing something. Here again." The emphasis on universality in these two passages and elsewhere in the book implies a belief in some form of "common subconscious" shared by all sentient creatures. Moreover. But is that always the whole story? The case for continuity receives much stronger support from crosscorrespondences. XLVII. I. II. is not far to seek. 111): "Beyond and above man's innate power of worldwide perception. out of the blue. He writes (Vol. p.
of him would escape the Goddess of Funerals. and other material suggestive of subconscious activity. This is the course I propose to follow. if those epithets are applicable to so obscure and dubious a faculty. or Psi. material which. gestures. If the view is correct that the function of the conscious is to cope with the immediate. or GESP. one would unhesitatingly assign to his conscious mind. It is however less important to invent new technical terms than to emphasise that where discarnate intelligences are. in the crosscorrespondences. tone of voice. men inclined to "honest doubt". It is at this point that disagreement begins. Any phrase however of which the word "Perception" forms part is unsatisfactory as a label for faculties of the kind that are operative in the more complex forms of mediumistic communications and. if any. a large part. suffers dissolution on death. spiritualists. has already been shown. A term is needed that does more justice to the intenseness and the duration of the activity there shown. and that "life" in fact has already lasted five or . Leonard's successful booktests may have been. or as something intermediate between the extremes of these idealistic and materialistic views. believers in the traditional faiths. there would seem to he no point in its continuance as an even partially distinct part of a discarnate intelligence.proclaimed it to "the faith as vague as all unsweet" that leaves no place for human love or friendship after the death of the body. whether they took the survivalist view of her mediumship or not. and then to debate whether the evidence is of a kind to establish that idea. Piper. acting through living persons. and convinced materialists. to which Horace's words may be applied: Non omnis moriar multaque pars mei/vitabit Libitinam? But what of the distinction between conscious and subconscious? Do both survive the death of the body. it was certainly not plain. In such cases it is convenient to speak of General Extrasensory Perception (GESP). The trouble may be due to their inability to recapture the feelings appropriate to their own previous unintegrated condition. Communications through mediums and automatists often contain both elements. the difficulty of assigning the paranormal activity shown to one or other of these three faculties is greatly increased. and was in some circumstances obliterated. supposing such a thing to exist. has been briefly treated in Chapter XI. the result might be assumed to be an intense intellectual activity. or as the essential person conditioning all thoughts and feelings. Sometimes however the evidence is sufficient to show that there has been paranormal activity. beginning with evidence that is completely normal. To return to Horace and his claim that a part. if a durable fusion of conscious and subconscious is a feature of discarnate existence. ordinary clairvoyance. undergo so curious a transformation? Arguments as to survival seem often to start with a preconceived idea as to what constitutes survival. Is the "natural body" to be regarded as "this muddy vesture of decay" freedom from which is all gain. sometimes distinguishable from each other and from telepathy. But the difficulty of communicating with friends still in the body would be increased by such fusion. daytoday problems of bodily existence. On one point everyone is agreed. not to say commonplace. as in this life recognition of friend by friend occurs on the conscious level on both sides. if its origin were a living person. or more briefly Psi. The investigators of Mrs. that part of what we are disposed to regard as a man's personality. it was through his poetry that he claimed a long life for himself. or perhaps of a nature not conforming to any of those three terms in their usual meaning. and if so are they divided in the same way and to the same extent as in life? That during life the division was not at any time complete. and generally accepted. if those terms are preferred. it points to. the part which comes to our mind most immediately and insistently when we think of a living friend. Whatever the cause of Mrs. more particularly. but not enough to show whether the activity was telepathic. The nature of the evidence for precognition and clairvoyance as faculties of the living. It is a more sensible procedure to take the evidence step by step and note what sort of survival. and in addition it raised in a curious way the problem of time. ostensibly at least. that implies the progressive element of thinking rather than the more static notion of perceiving. a foretaste of which is during life in the body offered in moments of inspiration by the temporary fusion of those elements. In considering the survival of personality we are considering a personality that by common consent has suffered some loss. were agreed that the veridical element in the communications could be attributed to telepathy between the living only by crediting that faculty with powers unparalleled by the results of experiment. Communicators often mention the difficulties they purport to experience in sending messages intelligible to those intended to receive them. clairvoyant or precognitive. The "One Horse Dawn" case certainly was not plain ordinary telepathy. his bodily presence with the wellknown features. What is there in the context of ostensible discarnate activity that makes these faculties.
But within a hundred years the personal memories will have faded. A similar thought has inspired men and women in many ages and countries to perpetuate such a "vicarious existence". Among distinguished men Horace has been one of the lucky ones. were very dubious. In addition to the conscious linkage between them due to their meeting each other and exchanging letters. It is not however necessary to have recourse to mediums in order to observe the emergence of an interpersonal intelligence. that during the process of automatism and through it an ad hoc intelligence emerges which is not the intelligence of any single member of the group. I use the word intelligence. as in some religious communities. Some of the instances that the believers in "ectoplasmy" have quoted. or political. where the phenomena are less suspect. who are a personification and projection of the communal emotions of those who celebrate the rites. or what has reached us is of debatable meaning. so long as it depends on the operation of normal causes. has reached us. had these the power to follow the course of events since their death. but a person with a mind and will of his own. Such is the basis of military discipline. to adopt Samuel Butler's phrase. distinctive way. I have on various occasions joined with friends in this practice. noncommittally. as I have previously used the phrase scriptintelligence. In trance mediumship. Horace's fame and influence have grown. we are told. their followers will have explained. and the work been overlaid by that of his successors. was no abstract personification. But of other ancient authors of equal fame only a small part of their work. if he so chooses.. as he foresaw. Within a few generations. as the more illustrious men who bore those names. the materialisations of Eva C. And possibly the thiasos knew best. inglorious Miltons have it as certainly. on a small scale indeed and in conditions that do not favour definite proof. But to most of mankind the case of "the rude forefathers of the hamlet" is of more concern than that of the leaders of the race. especially when not under the stress of recent bereavement. That for him is the end of vicarious existence. In more fully developed societies mediumship offers favourable opportunities for watching the workings of the group mind. both primitive and more highly developed. if not for so long. the force needed to produce the phenomena is generated partly by the medium and partly by the sitters. his devotion will have been more fully understood by them. regrettably I think. Imagine a closely knit group of friends sharing a common. The founders of great movements in religion and politics have been on the whole less fortunate. Everyone can. expanded. Nor is such posthumous existence confined to a chosen few. and of some practically nothing. I think. but through what he wrote before Libitina claimed her share. possibly within a period shorter than their life on earth. planchette or other forms of automatism as conducted by other groups. The village Hampdens and the mute. and there would be no group mind as well. To the primitive thiasos however the centre of the rite. no serious dispute as to their general meaning and intention. but there may all the same be something in the notion of collaboration of medium and sitters in stimulating paranormal activity. leave behind him pleasant memories of love and friendship. and it represents all that many thinking people of our time. If he was devoted to any cause during his life. According to the "ectoplasmic" view of physical phenomena held by some eminent men like Richet. Except. perhaps. Telepathy however changes the picture a good deal. either expect or desire. and have read reports of tabletilting. religious perhaps. in a matter where proof is not to be expected. that gave the rite its purpose and validity. This brings in the problem of the group mind. It is not an ignoble concept. subtracted from their teachings so as to make them unrecognisable to their authors. The oldfashioned practice of tabletilting has fallen into disuse. for instance. absorbing interest. but if my impression . The natural effect of it will be to intensify and prolong vicarious existence by keeping fresh his friends' memories of the dying man. A much more important consequence of telepathy has however to be considered if it be regarded as continuous and transfusive in the way already described. Whatever it is that emerges is too rudimentary and transient to be called a personality. The experience gained in this way has left on me the clear impression. In primitive religions. and a tale of useful if inconspicuous work. where the conscious and subconscious bonds were reinforced by particularly intense emotion. there will also be a subconscious bond impelling them by their grouprelation to act in a special. But the minds of the members of the group would still be their separate minds. and any legacy of ideas he may leave behind him will suffer a smaller risk of perversion. or professional.six times as long as he predicted. the force is of course of a different order. rites come before deities. That is how it appears to sophisticated scholars. All his writings have come down to us. and there is. by their achievements in peace and war. and not through any subsequent writings.
and above all for their complexity and the many curious problems that they raise. as explained in Chapter XIV; (3) references to events not normally known to the automatist in whose script they occur. on a much larger scale. It is a misfortune that so little seems being done at present in the way of experimental automatism by groups of friends willing to give openminded. 52. and it also increased the difficulty of the interpreters. from 1901 to 1930 or later. Stuart Wilson. complexity and duration. for the carefulness of the documentation. In each group some of the members were linked by ties of love. to a whole literature. namely in a group the members of which promote their post mortem activities through that group. including finance. e. through publication of early scripts while later ones were being produced. the automatists and the interpreters. Willett. Fortunately they were men and women of superhuman pertinacity. Personalisation of the separate Communicators is strongest with Mrs. This naturally increased the need for care in preventing unintentional leakage between the automatists. I) and the Statius and Ear of Dionysius cases (Proc . suggest the existence and activity of a group mind. and faintest with H. or of the skill with which it has been interpreted. The difference seems to correspond to their differences of temperament. the only kind that would be generally recognised as survival in any true sense. critical attention to the psychological aspects of the results. and it is therefore superficial.V. and convey information as to those activities by means of the subconscious activities of another group. but no more. are clearly represented as not completely merged in it. without stepping outside his legitimate province. those of the Communicators. The scripts which have already been published amount. and some of them are represented as using their special abilities to further in different ways the common purpose. with some others of the same group. such as the case of Myers's "posthumous" message (Proc . in deciding how much allowance should be made for unavoidable leakage. For group phenomena on a larger scale one must turn to the scripts of the SPR group of automatists discussed in the two preceding chapters. 52. the length of time. of the care with which it has been recorded and verified. we have here a clue that will help us to understand phenomena that. that they have no bias against an entirely qualitative assessment of the product. XXVII. They are in fact the largest piece of connected material in psychical research. as unless the interpretation of the cryptic language of the scripts is . The Palm Sunday Case in Proc . the product of a single automatist rather than of the group. over thirty years. The outstanding features of the scripts of the group were (1) the evidence of design.e. and there are a large number still awaiting publication when favourable circumstances. provided by the crosscorrespondences some examples of which have been discussed in Chapter XIII; (2) the evidence of a purpose common to the group and set out cryptically in a common symbolic scheme persisting during the whole duration of the scripts. The group situation here is highly complex. largest in respect of the volume of scripts. Willett being more prone to subconscious dramatisation than the others. In substance the Communicators. permit. Each draws on his own memories and associations. and also with some others of each of the other two groups. Mrs. though very closely bound together as a group. Besides these there are remarkable instances of other types of material.is correct. that of the automatists. XXIX).g. if a few who made minor contributions are included. and he can say it with the support of evidence that is not open to reasonable criticism of its genuineness. Part 189. and the number of automatists involved. but three interconnected groups. and of a designer outside the group of automatists. friendship or kinship. In his admirable papers on the survival problem in the Journal of the American SPR for 1945 Gardner Murphy stresses the need for distinguishing between evidence that points to a "static" survival. about a dozen. for examples of which see' Lady Balfour's recently published paper. i. as there is not simply one group involved. with the comments. and for latent memory. But the multiple emotional relations pervading the three groups may very well have been an essential condition for the production of paranormal work of this size. One further qualification must be added. The automatists differed among themselves in the relative emphasis laid in their scripts on the Communicating group as a group and on its separate members. The last point is important. who had in fact for the most part very slight normal connections with each other. The psychical researcher can say as much as that. They are also notable for the distinguished ability of several both of the automatists and of the interpreters. For judging however the relations of the group to the persons composing or connected with it the published material is fully sufficient. This chapter and the two preceding ones are intended toshow a particular instance of active survival on a large scale. during which they were produced. and evidence supporting the conception of survival of an active kind. and Mrs.
substantially right, the argument I have put forward is seriously weakened. To Phantasms of the Living (1886) the authors prefixed three lines of Greek verse the meaning of which is that wise men receive the highest truths through oracular riddles from which dullards learn nothing. It was doubtless out of politeness that the authors left these lines untranslated. No question of politeness now arises, for a generation that finds William Blake and James Joyce easy reading could not possibly boggle at the oracular riddles of the scripts. All that is needed is patience to master the symbolic scheme, as expounded in several papers in SPR Proceedings , and willingness for a time to forget Freud. It is of course a pertinent question why the scripts do not say a plain thing in a plain way. Piddington's suggestion, that the intention was to prevent the automatists guessing prematurely the inner meaning of their own scripts, seems to me borne out by the increasing explicitness with which over a long period certain topics are referred to. It will no doubt have been noted that little of positive evidence cited in this book is of recent date. That this is so is most regrettable It is largely, 1 think, due to the widening gap, noticeable soon after the end of the First World War, between psychical research and psychotherapeutics. Freud's immense contribution to the understanding of the subconscious was from an early date recognised by psychical research and he, personally, was always friendly to the SPR, of which he was a Corresponding Member from 1911. Many however of his leading followers chose to adopt an attitude of doctrinaire superciliousness towards psychical research, which made cooperation impossible. The climax came in 1924 after he had written to Ernest Jones, his most prominent supporter in the United Kingdom, saying that the impression made on him by the reports of the Gilbert Murray experiments was so strong that he would "even be prepared to lend the support of psychanalysis to the matter of telepathy". This so alarmed his supporters that they put pressure on him to softpedal his interest. The public were permitted to learn these facts for the first time in 1958, thirtyfour years after they occurred, and nineteen years after Freud's death. There are welcome signs that a younger generation of Freudians are more willing to follow Freud's line, but it was disastrous that for so long the psychoanalytic school should have narrowed its enquiry into the subconscious by rejecting so valuable a key to it as telepathy, and have also refused all cooperation with psychical researchers who were pursuing their own enquiries into the same subject in no less scientific a spirit and with longer experience. How much material came the way of the psychoanalysts and failed to yield all the information about the subconscious that could have been gained by examination from the angle of psychical research, we shall never know. Nor axe psychical researchers altogether free from blame in narrowing their own enquiries by concentrating them almost exclusively for the last twenty years on material suitable for quantitative assessment. This is a useful line of research which has yielded important results, but it excludes from purview all but the simplest mental processes and everything tinged with emotion. Enquiry directed to the paranormal manifestations of complex and emotional thinking must proceed concurrently, if psychical research is not to abandon that exploration of human personality to which it, and no other branch of science, is committed. Here again the signs are not unhopeful. The renewed activity in the collection and analysis of spontaneous cases, such as those described in Chapters III and IV, is a welcome beginning.
Chapter 16: Zoar: "Is it not a Little One?" Gen. XIX
W. H. Salter THE EVIDENCE set out in the preceding chapters and the discussion of it would be altogether inadequate as the sole basis of a judgment as to the survival of personality after the death of the body. For such a judgment a man would have to take into account other organised systems of fact and inference from fact, and also the impression left on him by the experiences of his whole life, viewed as objectively as he could manage to view them. These vary so much from person to person as to make it useless to attempt to relate them to the hypothesis of survival put forward in this book. There is of course a subjective element in the organised systems too. Facts are dry bones. Inference is needed to give them life, and inference implies subjectivity. Different theorists, working on facts accessible to all of them, can and do produce very different systems. This is true of the systems with which psychical research has the closest contacts, science and religion. As between science and psychical research the point at issue is telepathy, which is accepted as a real faculty by most psychical researchers, including some scientists of great distinction, and is rejected by so large a section of scientists as to justify one, for the sake of brevity, in speaking of it as rejected by science. For other forms of extrasensory perception than telepathy there is indeed evidence, but in relation to the survival hypothesis put forward in the preceding chapter it is telepathy, as a faculty dependent on the combined activity of more than me intelligence, that is of primary importance. The conflicting views of telepathy held by scientists in general and by many popular writers present a situation that must strike every student of psychical research as ludicrous. One party rejects and the other accepts telepathy, the only common ground between them being that neither gives any indication of having made a study of the evidence sufficient to justify either a positive or a negative conclusion. The evidence as to telepathy is voluminous and varied, consisting of records partly of quantitative experiments in extrasensory perception, partly of experiments with "free material", and very largely of sittings with trance mediums and automatic writing in which the experimental element is slight, not to mention reports of apparitions and other "spontaneous cases" in which it is wholly absent. The number of persons who are, or ever have been, well informed as to the whole of this material is extremely small, and I hasten to add I am not one of them. The weight of the evidence cannot he brushed aside by suggestions that. some person of unblemished character faked the results, or that some experienced investigator omitted to follow a procedure favoured by his less experienced critic, or even by proof that somebody somewhere has done a sum wrong. A negative judgment to carry any weight must deal with the whole of the evidence and must rest on a recognition that subject matter so varied requires for its proper study equally varied methods, some of which will be unfamiliar to persons trained in enquiries into material of a different kind. As to positive judgments, facile acceptance of psychical phenomena by popular writers has also been harmful. The mischief has been worst, perhaps, where the subject has been of a kind lending itself to sensational treatment, haunted houses for instance and the phenomena of the séanceroom. Compared with these, telepathy is, superficially at least, lacking in thrills, but the implications of it are of such farreaching importance that one at least of the forms in which it appears to manifest itself ought to be studied, and studied intensively, by anyone interested in the mental side of human life. If the study of one form gave a positive result that would suffice to establish the reality of the faculty. Study of the other forms, so long as the enquirer merely wished for proof, would then be unnecessary, but the results would increase his understanding of a problem which is in parts admittedly obscure. If on the other hand either the first form he studied or any he studied later gave negative or inconclusive results, then it would be a case for suspension of judgment until he had examined all the forms, supposing his leisure and patience to hold out long enough. The common and very natural dislike of entertaining an idea foreign to one's preconceived notions, and perhaps subversive of them, is doubtless at the root of much of the opposition to telepathy and of the unwillingness even to examine the evidence. It is however possible to formulate an argument against it in
terms that a reasonable, fairminded critic might use, somewhat as follows: "I admit the ability of the investigators whose enquiries have led them to pronounce in favour of telepathy, and I will assume, for the sake of argument, that the evidence for it, taken by itself, is as strong as you claim. I have not given to the study of it the time which you say it requires. But other investigators, of equal ability, and enjoying superior facilities for research, working on other material, have reached conclusions incompatible with the existence of a faculty of the kind you assert. I refer to the interrelation of physical and mental processes, demonstrated by current research in ever greater detail." Of this interrelation everyone is aware, on a small scale, from his own experience if he has attempted to write a difficult letter when suffering from a heavy cold. But as far as a layman can judge from pronouncements of eminent scientists they do not yet claim to he able to account for all mental activity in physical terms. An argument therefore, that no transmissive or transfusive act could take place between two or more intelligences without corresponding activity by the bodies associated with them, involves some admixture of inference with the facts established by research. in the argument for telepathy on the other hand the facts give more direct support and require less assistance from inference, so that in the present state of knowledge the affirmative view is the more objective. A case is, however, precarious if it rests on the assumption that a vigorous flowing tide will slacken before it is endangered. It may not be idle to speculate how the case for telepathy would stand if research at some future time established so complete an interrelation between bodily and mental processes as to render untenable the inference, at present the rational inference, that the telepathic process is nonphysical. Such a hypothetical conclusion might be reached without discovering what physical process in particular was concerned. In that event the position of telepathy as a method of communication between intelligences otherwise than by any of the channels of sense recognised at that time, would remain untouched. There would then have to be cooperation between physiologists and psychical researchers to discover what the physical process was, reviewing for instance the old "wave" hypothesis, which at present seems to run counter to the evidence. That telepathy, as described above, is a real faculty is placed beyond reasonable doubt if a comprehensive view of the whole evidence for it is taken. Whether it has a physical or a nonphysical basis, and, if physical, of what kind, are questions which in their wider implications are interesting and important, but irrelevant as regards the argument for survival set out in this book. The essential point is that telepathy, whatever its basis, as a force working interpersonally among a living group, can give rise to mental activities so distinctively characteristic of a dead member of the group as to he best described as due to his discarnate intelligence: further, that the activities in question include not only revived memories of verifiable events known to few besides himself, and unknown to the person through whom they are communicated, but, of more importance, the initiation and execution of designs of the kind described in the three preceding chapters. While there are some aspects of psychical research that are naturally repugnant to anyone who meets them, and not least of course to the psychical researcher who is more aware of them than the general public, there are others that he has no reason to like but has learnt to tolerate as inevitable byproducts of activities that are on balance of value. In the first group comes fraud, of which no more need be said than that there are in several countries societies pledged to the examination of psychical phenomena "without prejudice or prepossession of any kind", to quote once more the manifesto of the Founders of the SPR, which can put the enquirer on a path free from that pitfall. The second group consists of the often tedious and apparently pointless maunderings to be found in the "communications" received through trance mediums and automatists. It frequently happens that a sitting or a script, productive of material worth study, shows in its earlier part stuff of this kind. This may be compared with the confused noises an orchestra makes when tuning up before a concert, or it might be said that the subconscious has to clear its throat before it can achieve the enunciation proper to the delivery of its message. The qualification "apparently pointless" was used advisedly. Much probably is in fact pointless but appearances may be deceptive. Nonsense, as Lewis Carroll showed, may be the most effective vehicle for conveying sense. There is not much surface meaning in the clues of a crossword puzzle, if taken separately. Crossword devotees confidently hope that in combination the clues will yield them an orderly
. I would say that must almost inevitably. solely an his own system of facts and inferences. mainly physiological fact. With subconscious nonsense may be grouped triviality.pattern of intelligible words. on her first visit to England Mrs. That communications contain absurdities and trivialities for which no reasonable justification could be found is highly probable. much offence. so in the scripts the same quotation or allusion may serve a dual purpose in relation to two different topics. to whom he can nevertheless send an oral message through a third party. The clues are there. but are from his standpoint particularly distasteful as cheapening by their shallow assurance the whole question of human existence or as repugnant to the orthodox doctrines of his faith. philosophers and poets. I have not the slightest doubt. as to the supernatural. a puzzle on a very large scale indeed. it is convenient to adopt it for the purposes of the present discussion. which was liable to he confused by the public with "supernatural". allusions. or with any teachings or beliefs. As part of the evidence of his identity mention was made of a snakeskin which he was said to have possessed as a boy (Proc . or indeed solely m the totality of facts proved within the natural order together with such inferences as those who have established the facts have drawn from them. in the form of recurrent quotations. could choose no better way of authenticating the message than by including in it mention of some trifling affair known to himself and the intended recipient. 515). especially those that are theistic. facts of a particular kind and on inferences that can reasonably. In pursuit of research within the natural order every enquirer must use the methods for ascertaining facts that experience has shown to be useful in relation to facts of the kind he is studying. as has often been pointed out. a man who is prevented by circumstances from free. such as the survival of personality after the death of the body. or recurrent cryptic allusions to various topics. personal references and topics into a coherent whole. To take one out of hundreds of instances that have occurred. and inference has already been discussed. one read "down" and the other "across". historical and scientific. But while the crossword gives a pattern of separate and usually unrelated words. A religiously minded person who reads records of sittings may come across passages that are not only obnoxious in a general way because of their triviality. the dead will not after many years bother to remember or talk about such trivial childish affairs. But it is proper for him also to take into account all his own experience of life. natural and supernatural. direct communication with his friends. Its relation to another system of natural fact. immensely complex as it is. But. For examples of the last one need look no further than the Spirit Teachings of Stainton Moses. And just as in a crossword puzzle the same letter forms part of two words. But that does not mean that as a human being he must or should form his conclusions on questions of general human interest. and psychical research has recognised it in like manner by substituting the word "paranormal" as defining the scope of its enquiries for the earlier "supernormal". but paranormal. including whatever he has learnt from religious leaders. be drawn from them. being on his guard against the certain intrusion into it of a subjective element. He must of course take all that into account so far as he knows it. That is both his right and his duty as researcher. The automatic scripts of "the SPR group" are. but of a slightly different kind. but not to the intermediary or anyone likely to have concocted a spurious message. Piper gave Oliver Lodge a sitting at which a dead uncle of his was the Communicator. It is an obvious enough criticism that if there is personal survival. and must draw what seem to him the most probable inferences from those facts. regardless of whether his facts and his inferences appear to conflict with the facts found and the inferences drawn by enquirers into other departments of the natural order. however based. Without pausing to consider how far the distinction is itself valid. Many religions draw a distinction between two orders of things. The theory of survival put forward in this book is based on natural. and therefore less dangerous. It remains to consider its relation to the teachings as to the supernatural of religious systems. have no validity. the occurrence of which in messages purporting to come from the dead has often given. Here the subjective element is likely to be greater but more obvious. VI. But communications should not be discredited offhand on account of apparent defects of this kind without careful consideration of the relation of the offending passages to the whole and of the possibility that there is some good reason for their being where they are. consists in the interconnection of the various quotations. the latter being an order in which the ordinary methods of enquiry. mentioned in an earlier chapter. the pattern of the scripts. legal.
am I speaking of any communications for which a supernatural origin is claimed. in particular. having in different ways and degrees a keen interest in the dead men and women who formed the third group.It would be sheer mockery to offer this theory as a satisfaction Of. the Communicators must have been existing during all the years between their deaths the first of them died in 1875 and 1901. has provided notable examples of . Communication depends on friends. But on the supposition that the scripts do establish their continued existence. Two proverbs are in point. Absence of communication does not in any way imply either nonexistence or inactivity. a matter on which scholars disclaim certainty. The SPR group of automatists is not the only channel through which have come communications deserving serious consideration. having the desire to receive messages from the friend who is dead. keeping within the proper boundaries of psychical research. the hope of immortality. The important thing is to keep clearly in mind the distinction between existence. Some of the members of that group were however interested in some of the Communicators who had died before Myers. or possibly to metaphysics. to ask seekers for Zion to be content with Zoar. has no ambition to claim territory that lawfully belongs to revelation or mystical experience. Paul speaks of the spiritual body came to be fused with the perfervid imagery of the Apocalypse. should not be overlooked. One says. That evidence covers about sixty years from the first death in the communicating group to the latest of the communications. and the good fortune to get in touch with the right sort of medium. The friend's active survival depends on the links of friendship he forged when still alive. a period longer. in ways already explained. The question then is whether the theory. and its basis is therefore moral. Leonard. that of the Communicators. on the extent to which he has during his life broken out of a closed egocentric circle." and the other. there is no assurance of any future existence except of a most impermanent kind. during his life. some ingenuity seems needed to harmonise the views expressed or implied on different pages of Hymns Ancient and Modern. It depends. but run counter to it? There is no uniformity of teaching as to the future life among the different world religions. The Churches are however unanimous in teaching Eternity. Substantial divergences were bound to occur when the philosophic caution with which St. and the ability to give evidence of existence. the last word on survival. It was Myers's death a few weeks earlier. One must exclude all the ancient Chinamen and Egyptians who profess to speak their languages with the pronunciation prevalent thousands of years ago. If the evidence on which the theory is based is accepted. 'Me shortcomings of the theory. would from the religious angle be very obvious. is a good neighbour to the occupants of adjacent ground to which it lays no claim. Verrall. but is incompatible with anything less. when the first communications came through Mrs. a conception which may imply more than an indefinite extension of Time. Men may indeed associate for evil as well as for good. To mention one denomination alone. to name two who have been investigated with particular thoroughness. has shared the intellectual and emotional life of his friends being able to give evidence of his continued existence and activity. in fact. as such. the automatists and the interpreters. The ability to give the communications on which this theory is mainly founded depended on there being at the same time two groups of living persons. No theory founded on facts of the natural order could deal with the matters mentioned in the preceding paragraph without pushing inference much beyond the proper limit. did they not rest on a misconception of what the theory claims to be. certainly incompatible with the narrow timelimit of the evidence supporting this theory. if taken as. of a duration shorter than the natural term of life in the body. The conditions for active survival were therefore present before the conditions favouring communication came into being. Piper and Mrs. still alive on earth. in other words. History. Nor. Trance mediums such as Mrs. Psychical research. "There is honour among thieves. as to the duration and moral aspects of life after death. and Mrs. and a similar interest was more widely diffused among living persons who were not members of that group. "When thieves fall out honest men come by their own". with the communicating and interpreting groups. but. not only fall short of religious doctrine. Does it. and both are true. and not least recent history. or even among the different Christian bodies. These criticisms would he to the point. It says nothing about the relation of the human soul to the Deity. given individual mediums of sufficient power. Verrall's keen interest in him that activated the group of automatists. than any covered by any other paranormal evidence that need be taken seriously. or as to the effect of conduct in this life on the state of the soul in the life to come. of whom there may at any time be few. this theory does not place any difficulties in the way of a person who. The particular form in which communications came through the SPR group was due to that group's close connection. or an alternative to. of course.
XXXIV. for all its smallness. is not wholly insignificant. but speculation as to the relation of that evidence to matters outside the natural order may be permissible. but capable of being tested in the same manner as we test the affairs of everyday life. But here evidence of that kind fails us. whose generous emotions of courage. with imperfect though continuous communication between them. Indulging in a little liberty of speculation. sometimes as active collaborator. That state was accompanied by a sensation of contact with some Power or Being external to the percipient and greater than he. though it is not Zion. in flagrant defiance of accepted moral principles. There is then nothing at variance with what we observe in everyday life in the notion of a survival which is at once personal and interpersonal. have some connection with the experiences. some trifling and sonic far otherwise. Zoar. Zoar is indeed no continuing city. the problem of survival is only part. The purpose there was to consider subconscious activity as it shows itself in contexts not involving paranormal powers of the mediumistic type. to start with. his poem would have received from the religious world the acclamation that centuries have bestowed on the Divina Commedia? Up to this point the argument has been kept within the limits of the natural order. of a normal kind. They have gained power and been preserved from collapse through the support of decent people. though an . There is. by Tennyson That Which Is. conscious and subconscious. Beauty. where inspiration reached its peak. whose philosophies were very different. Some idea however of that road may perhaps he gained from the direction that the road already travelled has taken. have had none the less a long run. in the psychical sense. whose attributes are Light. notwithstanding such subconscious links between the two as may to a greater or less extent maintain continuity and check misunderstanding. may not be so far from it after all. In place of this state of division the argument founded on the evidence set out in previous chapters offers an integrated intelligence. which is not here to the point. As seen from Pisgah. of love and friendship. by Shelley the One. Benediction and Love. hold of supreme importance. it lies on the border of the Promised Land (Deut. drawing vigour from the friends still in the body with whom it was. as mere amanuensis. If so. "Within what framework is the interpersonal element effective.political systems which. as a preparation for understanding the role of the subconscious in mediumship. unfamiliar indeed to most people. sister to the Eternal Wisdom. It is obvious that the experiences set out in Chapter VII. Its existence is at this stage both personal and interpersonal. called by Milton Urania. Consciousness played a part that varied. Is it certain that if Dante had been born in the nineteenth century instead of the thirteenth and had recorded his vision in the twentieth. leaving aside the question of literary merit. a personality divided for the convenience of bodily life into two parts. 3). quite the contrary. but from it the further read cannot be discerned by natural sight. must restrict itself to evidence falling within that order. in which the previous subconscious has absorbed whatever of consciousness served more than the immediate needs of the body. the humbler ones and the more exalted alike. The examples there quoted showed that inspiration was always the product of subconscious activity of exceptional force but. Every enquiry into the natural order. the experience of contact with the Power is the culmination of the experience of contact with the soul of a dead man. To return to the natural order. as Myers put it. described in the following chapters. So much for speculation. in verse of equal magnificence. but. I would say that there is a very close connection between the more elaborate forms of trance mediumship and automatism described in Chapters XIIXV and the inspiration of the poets. and their living friends. and is. and able without let or hindrance to join with other integrated intelligences in furtherance of whatever activities they all. as it did in Chapter VII when some of the aspects of creative imagination came to be discussed. And it may be significant that both for Shelley and Tennyson. psychical research included. a group of the dead man's friends still living on earth. Harmonious association for a common end does not among the living mean the extinction of differences of opinion or divergencies of personal character. Between this personality and other personalities similarly divided communication is for both of them mainly on the conscious level. If it were asked. Zoar then. united by "the telepathic law". the only evidence cited to support it consisting of facts. or a group of kindred discarnate intelligences?" the answer would be that both the interpersonal and the personal elements are most effective when the two groups interpenetrate in the way of which the various groups concerned with the automatic writings discussed in the three preceding chapters are a complex example. Its limitations may in fact commend it in quarters that would reject a more detailed plan of the Promised Land with every fenced city accurately sited. loyalty and comradeship they have successfully exploited. and is intermittent and liable to misconstruction.
then a materialistic view of the universe is untenable. in Father Knox's phrase. the process is nonphysical. If. if he takes up the study of psychical research. the results call for interpretation with the help of specialised knowledge that they do not possess. he he Archbishop or President of the Royal Society. More vital still is the significance of telepathy with regard to human relations. social and political. He will not go far wrong if he reads what the SPR has published on any branch of the subject. Individual clergymen of various denominations have. need be apprehensive lest. that it should be psychical research that he studies and not the various substitutes that sometimes pass under that name. they too often become uncritical enthusiasts for the type of phenomena where fraud has been most rampant. Public interest tended to concentrate on the exchange of incivilities between Bishops and Professors. in philosophy. that the scientist seems to me usually to fail. Perhaps if both sides paid rather more attention to these facts than. but there was more at issue than that. When they show any interest in psychical research. first. and Frederic Myers began to collect in 1874. This is a matter that concerns everyone. The Society was founded in 1882 round a nucleus of friends whom Henry Sidgwick. for instance. The important bearing of these problems on biology has more than once been emphasised by Sir Alistair Hardy. as most psychical researchers hold and as has been argued in this book. but not so far a stable entente. In this controversy psychical research. national and international. scholarship and public affairs. séanceroom materialisations for instance. as giving a fuller meaning to the saying that we are all members one of another. other arguments against materialism. a substantial approach might be made to a full and durable agreement. and there are problems connected with it in the solution of which his training would be of immense help.important part. they have either of them done. or where. as some few of them do. of the subject matter with which psychical research has to deal. his reaction will probably be that of the rustic on first seeing a giraffe. and. second. whether the specially close link between man and man that research in telepathy has shown can be assigned to some physical process at present unidentified or. It is as to the first condition. and extending his reading to the work of other societies in other countries that conform to the standards the SPR established nearly eighty years ago. with a few honourable exceptions. No one therefore. A divine who should. two things are essential. An uneasy truce has supervened. Psychical research grew up in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. has never been directly concerned. There are other parts less obscure that should arouse less acute emotion. of course. taking both the pros and the cons. are so direct or conclusive. Two years before that Sidgwick had written to Myers: "I sometimes feel with somewhat of a profound hope and enthusiasm that the function of the English mind with its uncompromising matteroffactness will be to put the final question to the Universe with a solid. which has consistently eschewed dogmatism. but it has accumulated a very large body of fact bearing on the points at issue. make "the credibility of the Bible depend on the edibility of Jonah" would arouse as little enthusiasm among his colleagues as would a physicist who asserted that the universe consisted of nothing but ether and atoms. If the latter view of telepathy is correct. the necessity for an open mind. but none founded on verifiable facts of the natural order that. as in "psychic healing". "There baint no such animile". but the religious world especially. made valuable contributions to the work of the SPR. Yet much of the varied evidence for telepathy results from the use of quantitative methods that should appeal specially to him. however eminent. The SPR has numbered amongst its active members in this and other countries a list of men and women distinguished in various branches of science. Among the sciences psychical research is a comparative newcomer. Nor of course will he be invited to accept any doctrine contrary to his existing state of belief. That is true. it should be recognised. he takes any notice of telepathy. he will be thrust into contact with intelligences inferior to those with which he habitually associates. It is therefore extraordinary that the clergy as a whole should hold aloof from research into a matter that would seem of vital concern to them and to the view of life they expound. that would be no discredit to any society that specialised in any of these subjects. passionate determination to be answered which must come to something. the first President. no long period of time when the novelty and . Both parties have readjusted their fronts." It will soon be eighty years since the Society was formed. There are. If however he is to profit from his studies. when "the conflict between Religion and Science" raged furiously. on the present evidence. that he should take them up with an open mind. and the same may be true as to other branches of science.
and the absence of support from any of the professions. the fewness of the active workers though now recruited from many countries besides England. and only they. but with none that on a long view is more vital. are committed. a thing which could not be done until after the complete exploration of human personality. the lack of close connection with established academic enquiry. None of these workers would be so bold as to assert that the "final question" had been put to the Universe. The world is faced with problems of more immediate urgency. passionate determination to be answered" in face of all their difficulties had made it possible to form some idea what shape that question must take. . to which they. They might however well claim that their "solid. the scantiness of the material resources with which they have had to work.obscurity of the subject is taken into account.
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