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CABINET, curtain enclosed space in which mediums claim to condense the psychic energy which is necessary for seance-room manifestations. Dr. Hereward Carrington points out an analogy: less expenditure of energy is required to charge a small electric conductor to a given voltage than a large one. So it may be with the cabinet "which acts as a sort of storage battery, retaining the energy and liberating it in bundles of quanta during the seance." In which connection a quotation from Allen Putnam's Bible Marvel Workers may be apt: "The ark of the covenant was constructed expressly for use as a spirit battery, or an instrument through which to give forth the commands of the Lord. The special care taken to have the ark and all its appurtenances charged with the auras or magnetisms of a selected class of workmen, becomes very interesting in these days when much wonder is expressed at the customary stickling of spirits and mediums for right conditions. Biblical history furnishes precedent for great particularity, when constructing a cabinet for manifestations."
The cabinet is usually of very simple construction. It need not be more than a curtain thrown across a corner of the room. The Davenport Brothers employed a special one. It had three doors. The middle door had a curtained opening on the top. Through this opening phantom hands were immediately thrust out after the doors were shut on the mediums tied within to their seats. The curtains of the cabinet are, as a rule, dark. But Maxwell points out that they need not be. He obtained just as good results with plain white sheets as with dark curtains. Some mediums sit within the cabinet, some outside, and others entirely dispense with it. There were famous mediums., i.e., Home, Stainton Moses, who never used one.
CHANNELER OR MEDIUM, "a person in the presence of whom psychical phenomena can be observed" (Maxwell); "one whose constituent elements, mental, dynamic and material, are capable of being momentarily decentralized" (Geley); an intermediary for communication between the material and spirit world. In view of this definition F. W. H. Myers called the word medium "a barbarous and question-begging term" as many mediumistic communications are nothing but subconscious revelation and suggested the use of the word "automatist." By others the word "psychic" was proposed, while Prof. P. Janet in L'Automatisme Psychologique terms them les individus suggestibles: persons controlled by an idea or suggestion either self-originated or coming from without, it may be from the unseen.
Lombroso maintained that there was a close relationship between the phenomena of mediumship and hysteria. Professor Richet voices a warning in saying: "Unless we assign an unwarrantable extension to this morbid state it does not seem favorable to the phenomena." He believes that "mediums are more or less neuropaths, liable to headaches, insomnia and dyspepsia. The facility with which their consciousness suffers dissociation indicates a certain mental instability and their responsibility while in a state of trance is diminished."
The same opinion, slightly more circumstantially, was expressed by Podmore in saying: "Physiologically speaking, the medium is a person of unstable nervous equilibrium, in whom the control normally exercised by the higher brain centers is liable, on slight provocation, to be abrogated, leaving the organism, as in dream or somnambulism to the guidance of impulses which in a state of unimpaired consciousness would have been suppressed before they could have resulted in action."
Maxwell advises caution. He admits that a certain impressionability, or nervous instability, is a favorable condition for the effervescence of mediumnity. But he stresses that the term, nervous instability, is not meant in an ill sense. ' His best experiments were made with people who were not in any way hysterical; neurasthenics generally give no result whatever. Nor does instability mean want of equilibrium. Many mediums he has known had extremely well balanced minds from the mental and nervous point of view. Their nervous system was even superior to the average. It is a state such as appears in nervous hypertension. The mediums are perhaps precursors, possessing faculties which are abnormal today, but which may become normal tomorrow.
"There are four chief types of temperament," writes Dr. Charles Lancelin, "nervous, bilious, lymphatic and sanguine. Of these, the nervous temperament is the best suited for psychic experiments of all kinds; the bilious is the most receptive; the sanguine is liable to hallucinations, both subjective and objective; while the lymphatic is the least suitable of all, from every point of view. Of course, one's temperament is usually a compound of all of these, which are rarely found in their ideal state; but the predominantly nervous temperament is the one best suited for this test."
What Mediumship is Not and What it Is.
Agreement is now nearly general that mediumship is not pathological. It is not a development of certain abnormal states like hysteria. As Myers remarks, the confusion which is noticeable on the point is the result of the observation that supernormal phenomena use the same channels for manifestation as the abnormal phenomena. The abnormal phenomena are degenerative, the phenomena of mediumship are developmental, they show the promise of powers as yet unknown whereas the abnormal phenomena, like hysteria or epilepsy, show the degeneration of powers already acquired.
Prof. Flournoy, after his exhaustive study of the mediumship of Mlle. Helen Smith came to the same conclusion. He said: "It is far from being demonstrated that mediumship is a pathological phenomenon. It is abnormal, no doubt, in the sense of being rare, exceptional; but rarity is not morbidity. The few years during which these phenomena have been seriously and scientifically studied have not been enough to allow us to pronounce on their true nature. It is interesting to note that in the countries where these studies have been pushed the furthest, in England and America, the dominant view among the savants who have gone deepest into the matter is not at all unfavorable to mediumship; and that, far from regarding it as a special case of hysteria, they see in it a faculty superior, advantageous and healthy, but that hysteria is a form of degeneracy, a pathological parody, a morbid caricature."
Dr. Guiseppe Venzano is similarly emphatic:
Mediumship only represents a temporary deviation from the normal psychic state, and absolutely excludes the idea of morbidity; it is even proved that the slightest alteration of a pathological nature is sufficient to diminish or arrest the mediumistic powers."
Indeed, as Prof. Flournoy discovered, the conditions for the successful exercise of mediumistic powers are the same as for the voluntary exercise of any other power, a state of good health, nervous equilibrium, calm, absence of care, good humor, sympathetic surrounding, etc.
Outwardly there is no sign to disclose mediumistic powers. Dr. J. Maxwell observed tiny spots in the iris of the eyes of all mediums he came in contact with. They have generally been black round marks, bearing a vague resemblance to a cat's head, a bird's head, cat's paws, etc. Sometimes letters appear to be traced on the iris. He knew a medium in whose left eye the letter M. was very clearly and distinctly marked. Nevertheless he does not affirm that there is any connection between these iris spots and the mediumistic faculties. His observations, which yet await confirmation, recall middle-age assertions about tell-tale spots in the eyes of sorcerers.
In most cases mediumship can be traced as a hereditary gift. If the heredity is not direct it is to be found in ancestors or collaterals and, according to Geley, it is conditioned by a tendency to decentralisation of the constituent psychological factors of the medium. Mother Shipton (1488-1561), who was famous for her gifts of clairvoyance and prophecy, is said in the Encyclopaedia Britannica to have been the daughter of a witch. An ancestress of the Eddy Brothers was sentenced to the pyre in Harlem. The Fox Sisters had visionary forebears. Home was a descendant on the mother's side, of a Scotch Highland family. Kluski inherited his gifts from his father.
In the absence of heredity, physical defects or a serious illness may be the potential cause of mediumistic development. It is, as Conan Doyle puts it, as if the bodily weakness caused what may be described as a dislocation of the soul, so that it is more detached and capable of independent action. Eusapia Paladino had a peculiar depression of her parietal bone caused by an accident in childhood, Mrs. Piper's mediumship developed after two internal operations, and Imperator, in an automatic script of Stainton Moses, said: "The tempering effect of a bodily illness has been in all your life an engine of great power with us." In the case of Mary Jobson, Mollie Fancher, the Watseka Wonder and Vincent Turvey prolonged physical agony was the price of psychic gifts.
There is a modern contention that everyone is a potential medium. "Mediumship," writes Dennis Bradley in, The Wisdom of the Gods, "even in the most advanced and powerful stage extant, is relatively a mere incoherent fluttering towards the knowledge we may gain in the future. In fifty years from now the few great mediums of today will be relegated to the position of the man who first risked the drop from the first parachute."
Such prophecies are perhaps too enthusiastic, for we cannot point out a single mediumistic manifestation which has not been recorded in ages past in similar, or even more marvelous volume, than at present. Nor is it likely that the development of the gift would simply depend on willingness to experiment. According to an automatic script of Moses "the mediumistic peculiarity is one of the spirit solely, and not of body. The gift is perpetuated even after the death of the earth body. Those who on earth have been mediums retain the gift and use it with us. They are the most frequent visitors to your world."
Mediumship is a delicate gift. Its voluntary development requires great care and understanding. According to Barbara McKenzie (Light, March 18th, 1932), who had many years of unparalleled experience at the British College of Psychic Science, the production and ripening of physical gifts "involves a lengthy period of homely, warm, appreciative incubation ... which is found at its best in a family or in a very intimate home circle, in which a continuity of conditions and a warm personal and even reverent interest is assured." Even after the attainment of a settled psychic constitution "the transplantation of the medium from the home circle to public work, or to a colder scientific group, is attended with risk to the gift, and by far the best way, when it is possible, is for the scientist to join the home group as Dr. Crawford did and try to stiffen up conditions there ... It would seem that the imposition of so-called test conditions, of open discussion, of reports and publication of these, and the mixed mental conditions of sitters holding divers views as against the homogeneity of the home circle, awakens the mentality and egotistic nature of the medium to an excessive degree, and endangers the necessary passivity, with the result that phenomena which had been pure and regular become mixed and irregular."
As great an authority as Sir Oliver Lodge states that the medium should be treated "as a delicate piece of apparatus wherewith we are making an investigation. The medium is an instrument whose ways and idiosyncrasies must be learnt, and to a certain extent humored, just as one studies and humors the ways of some much less delicate piece of physical apparatus turned out by a skilled instrument maker.."
There is a great difference between Oriental and Occidental methods of development. The Yoga system is the most conspicuous among the Oriental methods. It is highly complicated. Dr. Hereward Carrington's Higher Psychical Development presents the system in a simple and lucid way.
Age, race, sex and influence on health and mental powers.
Inherited mediumship usually appears spontaneously and early in life, like artistic gifts. The five-months-old son of Mrs. Kate Fox-Jencken wrote automatically. Raps occurred on his pillow and on the iron railing of his bedstead almost every day. The seven-months-old infant of Mrs. Margaret Cooper gave communications through raps. Aksakof in Animisme et Spiritisme records many instances of infantile mediumship. The child Alward moved tables that were too heavy for her normal strength. The nephew of Seymour wrote automatically when nine days old.
In Bonnemere's Les Canisards and in Figuier's Histoire du Merveilleux many cases are quoted of
Canisard babies of 14-15 months of age and of infants who preached in French in the purest diction. During the persecution of the Huguenots these babes were confined to prison in numbers as they fell into ecstasy and the psychic contagion spread to Catholic children as well.
Nationality has no influence. The fact that three Polish mediums of Warsaw specialized in animal materializations points to a contagion of ideas, or a spirit of emulation, resulting in a special development.
Sex appears to have a mysterious relationship. The percentage of female mediums is greater than males. The mediumship of Eva C. and Willie Schneider was accompanied by abnormal sex phenomena. The age of puberty has a peculiar significance. In old chronicles pure children are mentioned as the best subjects for crystal reading. The power of seeing fairies was lost after puberty by the subjects of Conan Doyle. Poltergeist cases mostly occur in the presence of young girls and boys between the age of 12-16. Dr. Hereward Carrington read a paper on the sexual aspect of mediumship before the First International Congress for Psychical Research in Copenhagen in 1921 and pointed out the possibility that the sexual energies which are blossoming into maturity within the body may, instead of taking their normal course, be somehow turned into another channel and externalized beyond the limits of the body, producing the manifestations in question. He conjectured: "There may be a definite connection between sex and psychical phenomena; and this seems to be borne out by three or four analogies. First, recent physiological researches as to the activities of the ductless glands and particularly the sex glands which have shown the enormous influence which these glands have upon the physical and even upon the psychic life. Second, the observation made in the cases of Kathleen Goligher and Eva C. which show that the plasma which is materialized, frequently issues from the genitals. Third, the clinical observations of Lombroso, Morselli and others upon Eusapia Paladino, which brought to light many recognized, sexual stigmata. Fourth, the teachings and practices of the Yogis India, who have written at great length upon the connection between sexual energies and the higher, ecstatic states, and of the conversion of the former into the latter, just as we find instances of 'sublimation' in modem Freudian psychoanalysis, and connection between sex and religion, here in the West.
In his book, The Story of Psychic Science, Dr. Carrington adds: "These speculations have, I believe, been amply verified by certain recent investigations, wherein it has been shown that (in the case of a celebrated European medium) the production of a physical phenomenon of exceptional violence has been coincidental with a true orgasm. From many accounts it seems probable that the same was frequently true in the case of Eusapia Paladino, and was doubtless the case with other mediums also." He also points out that there is said to be a very close connection between the sexual energies and the mysterious "Kundalini," aroused and brought into activity by Yoga practices.
After prolonged exercise of mediumship intemperance often sets in. The reason is a craving for stimulants following the exhaustion and depletion felt after the seance. Many mediums have been known who succumbed to the craving and died of delirium tremens.
The health of the medium otherwise remains unaffected. Recovery is always very quick and unless too many sittings produce an excessive drain on the vitality of the medium the results, in many respects, may prove more beneficial than harmful. The spirit guides supply constant Medical advice, take care of his health to a greater extent than he himself could, and even give treatment in case of illness. D. D. Home lived much longer with his weak lungs than could have been normally expected, and many mediums have attained an age of over 80 years in, spite of frail health. The withdrawal of mediumship is often evidence of care for the health of the medium. Of course, the lapse may come for entirely different reasons. But recuperative rest was given as an explanation when the Imperator group announced on May 24, 1911, that Mrs. Piper's trance mediumship would be temporarily withdrawn. The withdrawal lasted until August 8th, 1915. In the case of the Marquis Centurione Scotto it was similarly announced on November 9, 1927: "He will fall ill if he continues thus. His nerves are shattered. By superior will his mediumistic faculty will be taken from him for a time." Another time his mediumship was suspended to allow him to read, study and acquire more belief in the Spiritistic explanation which the Marquis did not quite accept. Similar experiences befell Stainton Moses, who revolted against his spirit guides when they tried to convince him, a Minister of the Anglican Church, that religion is eternal, whereas religious dogmas are but fleeting. His mediumship was temporarily removed. The powerful mediumship of D. D. Home also lapsed from time to time. As he suffered from a tubercular diathesis this appears to have been the reason.
For the communicator the medium is but a delicate machine. He is often referred to as such, sometimes in amusing terms. "White Hawk," the Red Indian control of Mrs. Barkell, an English professional clairvoyant medium, calls her "my coat."
The mediums who are conscious during the production of the phenomena suffer more than those in trance. The extrication of power from their organism is a veritable trial for nerve and flesh. The phenomena in themselves are often equivalent to putting the body on the rack. This was known from ancient days. Jamblichus said on Divination: "Often at the moment of inspiration, or when the afflatus has subsided, a fiery appearance is seen, the entering or departing power. Those who are skilled in this wisdom, can tell by the character of this glory the rank of the divinity who has seized for the time the reins of the mystic's soul, and guides it as he will. Sometimes the body of the man is violently agitated, sometimes it is rigid and motionless. In some instances sweet music is heard, in others discordant and fearful sounds. The person of the subject has been known to dilate and tower to a superhuman height, in other cases it has been lifted into the air. Frequently not merely the ordinary exercise of reason, but sensation and animal life would appear to have been suspended; and the subject of the afflatus has not felt the application of fire, has been pierced with spits, cut with knives and has not been sensible of pain."
The disagreeable result of physical phenomena, however, soon vanishes. A quarter of an hour's rest may be quite sufficient to dispel the effect. Many books have been published in the effort to show that mediumship leads to nervous derangement and insanity. Statistical investigations undertaken by spiritualists, however, have proved that the percentage of spiritualists in the asylums is very small. Dr. Eugen Crowell examined the reports of 42 institutions. He found out of a total of 32,313 male patients, 215 were clergymen. The total number of male and female spiritualists was 45. He estimated that the proportion of insane clergymen is one to every 159 inmates, while the proportion of insane spiritualists is 1 to every 711.
Curiously enough mediumship, if suppressed, will manifest in symptoms of disease. Dr. C. D. Isenberg of Hamburg writes of a case in Light, April 11, 1931, in which a patient of his suffered from sleeplessness and peculiar spasmodic attacks which generally occurred at night. The spasms seized the whole body; even the tongue was affected, blocking the throat and nearly suffocating her. When the patient mentioned that in her youth she tried table tilting, the doctor thought of the possibility that the mediumistic energy might block his patient's organism. A sitting was tried. The lady fell into trance and afterwards slept well for a few days. When the sleeplessness became worse again the sitting was repeated and the results proved to be so beneficial that the chloral hydrate treatment previously employed was discontinued.
"She also tells us," writes Flammarion of Eusapia Paladino, that when she has been a long time without holding a seance she is in a state of irritation, and feels the need of freeing herself of the psychic fluid which saturates her."
As regards a deleterious influence on the mind "I myself have not found," writes Mrs. Osborne Leonard in My Life in Two Worlds, "that the development of psychic awareness detracts in any way from other so-called normal studies. I am a more successful gardener than I used to be, I am a much better cook; in many quite ordinary but extremely useful directions, I know I have improved; my health and nerves are under better control, therefore they are more to be relied upon than they ever were before I developed what many people think of as an abnormal or extraordinary power."
Dangers and Duration of Mediumship. Educational Benefits.
Dangers, nevertheless, do exist but of another kind. According to Carrington there is a true "terror of the dark" and that there are "principalities and powers with which, in our ignorance we toy, without knowing or realizing the frightful consequence which may result from this tampering with the unseen world. For that reason he argues that a few men of well-balanced minds should be created lifelong investigators in this field, they should be looked upon as recognized authorities and their work accepted upon these problems just as any other physicist is accepted on a problem in physics."
Stainton Moses said: "I do not think it would be reasonable to say that it is wise and well for everyone to become acquainted with mediumship in his own proper person. It would not be honest in me to disguise the fact that he who meddles with this subject does so at his peril. I do not say that peril is anything that should always be avoided. In some cases it is not, but I do say that the development of mediumship is sometimes a very questionable benefit, as in others it is a very decided blessing."
The peril alluded to is the liability to the intrusion and control of undesirable spirits. As Stainton Moses further says: "In developing mediumship one has to consider a question involving three serious points. Can you get into relation with a spirit who is wise enough and strong enough to protect and good enough for you to trust? If you do not you are exposed to that recurrent danger which the old occultists used to describe as the struggle with the dweller on the threshold. It is true that everybody who crosses the threshold of this occult knowledge does unquestionably come into a new and strange land in which, if he has no guide, he is apt to lose his way."
The nervous, equilibrium of the medium during the seance may be easily disturbed. "During the physical manifestations," 15 writes Hudson Tuttle, "I was in semi-trance, intensely sensitive and impressible. The least word, a jarring question, even when the intention was commendable, grated and rasped. Words convey an imperfect idea of this condition. It can only be compared with that physical state when a nerve is exposed."
Yet as regards the moral responsibility of the medium Hudson Tuttle is emphatic in saying: "A medium cannot be controlled to do anything against his determined will, and the plea that he is compelled by spirits is no excuse for wrong-doing. The medium, like anyone else, knows right from wrong, and if the controlling spirit urges towards the wrong, yielding is as reprehensible as it would be to the promptings of passion or the appetite."
The duration of mediumship, discounting periodical lapses, is always uncertain. The mediumship of Swedenborg developed at the age of 55 and lasted until his death. Stainton Moses maintained his powers for eleven years only. The daughter of Dr. Segard, a friend of Prof. Richet, showed remarkable telekinetic phenomena at the age of 12 for three days. No such experience befell her for a quarter of a century afterwards.
The question of the medium's intelligence has nothing to do with the psychic powers. But it may greatly influence the power of the communicators to convey clear ideas. The most stolid mediums may exhibit an extraordinary intelligence in trance. If their brain is educated the manifestation becomes still more marvelous. The question naturally arises whether in the long run spirit influence imparts an education to rustic minds. The Rev. J. B. Ferguson answered the problem in the affirmative. "Supramundane influence," he records, "in the unfolding and education of mind has been a common and most interesting experience since my own attention was called to this subject. In the case of Mr. H. B. Champion we have a very remarkable instance. This gentleman, now distinguished for his comprehensiveness of thought on all subjects connected with mental and moral philosophy, and for unrivalled force and beauty of expression, was, to my personal knowledge, educated entirely under these influences. He was not educated even in ordinary branches, such as the orthography of his native tongue; was never at school but a few months in life. That which was at first the gift of a supermundane power is now his own; and unless his history were known he would be considered, as he often is, as a man of the highest accomplishments." The Rev. J. B. Ferguson testified similarly regarding George W. Harrison, another medium, educated by the power and concludes: "These gentlemen are today highly educated men. They speak and write our language with great precision and accuracy. They converse with men of the first attainments on all questions that engage cultivated thought. They are sought by men distinguished as professors in various departments of science; and where their history is not known, as it is to myself and to others, they are recognized at once as men of very high order of culture."
Such education undoubtedly depends on the quality of the spiritual influence which a medium attracts. The case of Andrew Jackson Davis and of Hudson Tuttle bear out the truth of the Rev. J. B. Ferguson's testimony and prove that "men could matriculate at universities unknown to the physical senses." On the other hand, John King, the somewhat rustic control of Eusapia Paladino could not impart much education to his medium in a lifetime and she is always referred to as an illiterate, uneducated woman.
Classification-the Source of Power
The classification of mediums is diverse. They fall, in general, into two main groups.: physical and mental mediums. The dividing line is not stable as, in the aspect of motor and sensory automatism, physical phenomena are always present. Physical mediumship as a rule means that there is no intellectual content behind the phenomena. The distinction is useful as the co-existence of intellectual and physical phenomena is indeed rare. These gifts either alternate or develop along lines of specification. Mrs. Piper produces no physical phenomena. Mrs. Leonard but very few. Kluski is a universal medium. Home was mostly famous for his telekinetic manifestations. His trance phenomena* were not studied at all. The extreme skepticism of the age in which he lived threw away the chance of invaluable experiments. William Stainton Moses was in a somewhat reversed position. His powerful physical manifestations occurred in a small circle of friends. He was not subject to scientific experiments as regards these phenomena but they were recorded and a still more valuable record, affording wonderful opportunity for study, was left behind in automatic scripts of his trance phenomena.
Very young mediums usually have all the potentialities of mediumship. But once the specification has taken place it has a barring effect. Miss Wood could never obtain psychic photography. Mrs. Wriedt was unable to become a slate writer. Mrs. Wilkinson could draw and paint automatically, she could play the piano in trance but she could not produce automatic scripts. The organism itself may set certain limits. The controls of Stainton Moses produced a variety of peculiar musical sounds. But never more than a single note. They explained that the medium's organism was peculiarly unmusical.
Mediums who receive remuneration for their services are termed professional. In a way Samuel seems to have been the first professional medium as Saul paid him the fourth part of a shekel of silver for the recovery of his father's lost asses through his seership. In the history of modem spiritualism professional mediums were slow to appear on the scene. In America in 1853 the Spiritual Telegraph hardly contained advertisements other than those of medical clairvoyants. In England, in the first ten years of spiritualism, Mrs. Marshall was alone in the professional field.
As a rule most mediums require assistance for the production of their phenomena. The sitters of the circle are often drained of power. According to Maxwell, Eusapia Paladino could quickly discern people from whom she could easily draw the force she needed. "In the course of my first experiments with this medium, I found out this vampirism to my cost. One evening, at the close of a sitting at l'Agnelas, she was raised from the floor and carried on to the table with her chair. I was not seated beside her, but, without releasing her neighbors' hands she caught hold of mine while the phenomena was happening. I had cramp in the stomach-I cannot better define my sensation-and was almost overcome by exhaustion."
Dr. Kerner states that the Seeress of Prevorst ate little and confessed that she was nourished by the substance of her visitors, especially of those related to her by the ties of blood, their constitution being more sympathetic with her own. Visitors who passed some minutes near her often noticed upon retiring that they were weakened.
Some mediums draw more of the sitters' vitality than others. These mediums become less exhausted and consequently can sit more often. Mrs. Etta Wriedt, the direct voice medium, always left her sitters weak. Vice-Admiral Moore complained that he hardly could use his legs after a sitting.
In one instance in Mme. d'Esperance's mediumship the draw on the sitter proved fatal. The phantom was grabbed, and an old lady, the mother of the spirit grabber, who apparently contributed most of the ectoplasm, was so seriously injured that, after much suffering, she died from the consequences. (Light, Nov. 21, 1903).
If the sitters of the circle are mediumistic themselves the phenomena will increase in strength. Perhaps the strongest mediumistic circle ever recorded was the family of Jonathan Koons, of Ohio. From the seven-months-old infant to the 18 years-old Nahum, the eldest of the family, all the children were mediumistic, making, with the parents, a total of ten mediums. The same curious power was manifest in the family of John Tipple, who had a similar spirit house at a distance of 2 or 3 miles from that of Koons'. Ten children formed his spirit battery.
In the years of 1859-60 D. D. Home often gave joint seances with the American medium and editor, J. R. M. Squire. Later he sometimes sat with Mrs. Jencken and Stainton Moses. Herne and Williams joined partnership in 1871, Bastian sat with Taylor, Miss Wood with Miss Fairlamb, and the Davenport Brothers presented a combination of three mediums. The spirit photographer Hope always sat with Mrs. Buxton. Catherine Berry was known as a developing medium. According to a note signed by the editor of Human Nature, published in her Experiences in Spiritualism, "after sitting with Mrs. Berry a medium has more power to cause the phenomena at any other circle he may have to attend. Messrs. Herne and Williams have been known to visit this lady for the purpose of getting a supply of power when they had a special seance to give. Mrs. Berry is, therefore, successful in developing mediums, and has conferred the spirit voice manifestation, as well as other gifts, upon several mediums. In a public meeting, a speaker or trance medium is benefited by having Mrs. Berry sitting near him. These facts have not been arrived at hastily, but after years of patient investigation."
Automatic writers often join forces. Mr. Bligh Bond and the automatists with whom he received the Glastonbury scripts, presented a case of dual mediumship. Similarly the Oscar Wilde scripts were produced' through the mediumship of Mrs. Travers Smith and Mr. V. On the other hand, mediums may antagonize each other and nullify the power. Florence Cook always objected on this ground to sitting with her sister Katie.
Harm may come to the medium through the careless disregard of the conditions by the sitters, but sometimes also from the part of the invisible operators. An evil operator may take possession of the medium's body or a well-meaning control may commit a mistake just as an experimenting scientist might. . Several instances of such blunders are recorded in Stainton Moses' scripts. Thus under the heading April 18, 1874, we read: "Prophet's light and two of Chom's, W.B.C. appeared again and touched my finger, the result being that the skin was broken and the joint swollen up. The pain gradually ceased, but the mark still remains after 48 hours."
Once an apported bronze candle-stick struck a painful blow on Moses' head. On July 26, 1874, urgent, excited messages were rapped out urging the sitters to look at the medium. A light was struck and he was discovered to have fallen down by the bookcase, doubled up in a most awkward position, and in a profound trance. So much power was drawn from his body that his legs could not support him and his hands could not hold anything when consciousness was restored.
Things often happen against the will of the medium, quite frequently against the will of the sitter. Mme. d'Esperance said that she always entered the seance room "with a feeling of anxiety mixed with wonder if I should ever come out again. As a rule I always felt that I was placing my life in the hands of the persons about to assist, and that they were even more ignorant of danger than myself." Stainton Moses was very religious, but often found in his automatic scripts statements expressing atheistic and Satanic sentiments. In the seances of Eusapia Paladino the spirits often broke the promises of the medium and shattered photographic plates or blocks of paraffin which bore complete imprints. Mediumship often, develops from Poltergeist phenomena: from a ferocious persecution to make the sensitive a medium against his will.
The sitters' mentality appears to have an influence.
It is of no use to disguise or try to explain away the fact, writes Miss Goodrich Freer in Essays in Psychical Research "that, whatever may be the special mechanism which goes to make a 'sensitive,' the machinery will never work at its best under the observation of those avowedly skeptical or even critical." On the other hand, "The Davenports and Mr. Fay never fail," says a statement of the Rev. J. B. Ferguson, "and their extraordinary powers seem at times even to increase with opposition; and in the degree in which timid or inconsiderate friends tremble for their success, and obstinate opponents seek their defeat, they rise to the occasion and give more powerful and triumphant evidences of truth."
An early idea in the history of mediumship was the possibility of mechanical communication. The first confused thought of communicating with the spirit world through instruments occurred to John Murray Spear. He arranged copper and zinc batteries in the form of an armour around the medium and expected phenomenal increase of mediumistic powers through the combination of mineral and vital electricity. The dynamistograph, the Vandermeulen Bell Apparatus,. the Reflectograph and Communigraph represent later developments.
The unique case of a mediumistic cat was published by Aurelian Faifofer, Professor of Mathematics at Venice. It occurred in the experience of Dr. Ermacora, of Padua, but he died without publishing it. The medium employed by him said in trance that Macacco (the cat of the medium's house) would be able to write with its paw by drawing it over a paper blackened with smoke; this would be accomplished during the night in a little room in which the animal slept. He advised Dr. Ermacora to make such arrangements that the genuineness of the phenomena could not afterwards be doubted. Dr. Ermacora made a box of two compartments, one above the other, the lower story having a zig-zag course of five passages. The cat entered through a hole in the first course and could only enter the Upper compartment through another hole at the end of the fifth passage. Over this hole a sheet of smoked paper was fixed, the whole box was fastened by two complicated English padlocks and the spirit was asked through the medium to make the imprisoned cat write the word Vittorio. The next morning the box was unlocked and the cat released. On the smoked paper, as if done by a cat's paw the word "Vitt" was found. The size of the paper did not allow it to write more. While the box was examined Macacco jumped on to a chair and shook one of her forepaws, as though she wanted to write. Ermacora made about fifteen of these experiments. Before he arrived at a degree of certainty the cat fell from the roof of a house into the street and was killed.
The Elberfeld horses were suspected of mediumistic powers and Capt. A. H. Trapman in The Dog: Man's Best Friend voices the strange conclusion that "it is easier for the spirits of the dead to communicate with the dog than with man, even when man is represented by the parents and sisters of the departed one."
It appears as if, similarly to electricity, mediumistic power could be generated by induction. In religious revivals a psychic contagion is noticeable. The transference of predictive power is frequent. D. D. Home was the most famous medium for imparting his powers to others. Cases are on record in which he levitated others. Once he imparted the power of elongation to Miss Bertolacci and he bestowed immunity to fire in a number of cases on his sitters. But there was a condition. The sitters had to have faith. "Now if you have sufficient faith let me place this coal in your hand," he said to Miss Douglas on April 3, 1869. Miss Douglas first dreaded the test, then held out her hand. She was not the least burned and said that the red hot coal felt rather cold, like marble. Home took the coal and requested Miss Douglas to touch it; she placed her fingers near it but withdrew them immediately, saying that it burned her.
The spread of modern spiritualism discloses the phenomenon of mediumistic induction. Those who sat with the Fox sisters usually discovered mediumistic abilities in themselves. Mrs. Benedict and Mrs. Tamlin, the two best early mediums, were developed through the gift of Kate Fox. A writer in the New Haven Yournal in October, 1850, refers to knockings and other phenomena in seven different families in Bridgeport, 40 different families in Rochester, in Auburn, in Syracuse, some 200 in Ohio, in New Jersey, and places more distant, as well as in Hartford, Springfield, Charlestown, etc.
The most famous early investigators became mediums. Judge Edmonds, Prof. Hare, William Howitt, confessed to have received the gift. It is little known that in his last years Dr. Hodgson was in direct contact with the Imperator group. Conan Doyle developed automatic writing and direct voice in his family. H. Dennis Bradley received the power of direct voice after his sittings with George Valiantine. The Marquis Centurione Scotto developed through the same instrumentality. Eusapia Paladino could transfer her powers by holding the sitter's hand. She made a stool follow the movements of Carrington's hand. Flammarion noted: "I hold her legs with my left hand, spread out upon them; M. Sardou holds her left hand; she takes my right wrist in her right hand and says to me ' Strike in the direction of M. Sardou.' I do so three or four times. M. Sardou feels upon his body my blows tallying my gesture, with the difference of about a second between my notion and his sensation."
Books on how to develop mediumship: Dr. Hereward Carrington: Your Psychic Powers and How to Develop Them; E. W. Wallis: A Guide to Mediumship, Mediumship Explained; W. J. Colville: Mediumship; Hudson Tuttle: Mediumship and its Laws; Horace Leaf: The Development of Mediumship; I. E. Cooper: Methods of Psychic Development; Swami S. D. Ramayandas: Mediumship, Its Laws and Phenomena; W. H. Bach: Mediumship and its Development; Helen MacGregor and Margaret V. Underhill; The Psychic Faculties and Their Development; Delta Samadhi: The Master Key to Psychic Unfoldment; Alessandro Zymonidas: The Problems of Mediumship.
CLAIRAUDIENCE, clear hearing of voices subconsciously generated and externalized in auditory perception, or of objective voices so much below the normally audible vibratory scale as to be imperceivable by auditory hyperaesthesia. It is a rare mediumistic gift but the phenomena has been known from ancient days. "The prophet that is in Israel telleth the king of Israel the words the king of Syria speaks in his bedchamber" (II. Kings, 6.). Joan of Arc was started on her mission by voices which she alone could hear. The experience was thus described in the age of animal magnetism by one of Dr. G. Billot's somnambulists: "At first, I feel a little breath like a light zephyr, which refreshes and then chills my ear. From that instant I become deaf, and I begin to be aware of a little humming in the ear, like that of a gnat. By giving close attention I then hear a small voice which says to me that which I afterwards repeat."
The biographer of Cowper, the poet, writes that the most important events of Cowper's latter years were audibly announced to him before they occurred." The difficulty where to draw the line between subjective and objective experience is well illustrated by the following narrative of Vincent Turvey in The Beginnings of Seership: "One afternoon a few weeks ago I went to sleep on the sofa; after a time, probably about forty minutes, I became aware that there was an indistinct conversation going on somewhere near me. Knowing that all my people were out and that my house stands detached in its own grounds, I wondered what it meant. Then I realized that I was asleep and was "hearing" clairaudiently, and that those who were conversing were not "spirits," but someone inside me and someone outside me, and yet part of me, because both voices were "Turvey" in language, etc. I caught no sentence, save here and there a word or two such as "understand-no condition-not yet," etc., then I heard the sentence: ' But you had better wake it up now, as there is a man coming to the house in a minute.' I woke and had just enough time to throw off my rug and smooth my hair with my hand, when the front door bell rang."
One of the most interesting records of clairaudient experiences is to be found in Prof. Flournoy's From India to the Planet Mars. Mlle. Helen Smith, the medium of the case, heard voices which she attributed to spirits and clairaudiently repeated messages from the Mars in a Martian language of which she later furnished the translation. Prof. Flournoy contended that all her voices were of subconscious origin. The Martian language showed close affinity with French.
Clairaudience is either spontaneous or experimentally induced. Sea shells are used for the latter purpose. Everybody can hear the murmur of the sea in a shell. The clairaudient medium soon distinguishes other voices, may hear distant friends speaking, may hear part of a conversation he has already heard or will presently hear, and may interpret them as messages from the dead and also from the living. Dr. Arthur Ford, of New York is known as a successful platform clairaudient.
Mrs. Estelle Roberts has the best such reputation in England. Mrs. Marjorie Livingston published several excellent books on esoteric matters which were clairaudiently received.
CLAIRVOYANCE, "a supernormal mode of perception, which results in a visual image being presented to the conscious mind. The perception may be of objects or scenes, or forms distant in space, or in time, past or future." (J. B. McIndoe). To make the definition complete: there is a coincidental truth in the visual perception; in some cases as in dreams, or principally in trance, consciousness is absent, and the forms may not only be distant in space or time, but be altogether on another plane of existence. (Seeing spirits). Professor Richet's cryptesthesia is a larger, Myers' telesthesia is a narrower ' concept than clairvoyance. The former includes clairvoyance, premonitions, monitions, psychometry, dowsing and telepathy, the latter means perception from a distance of objects or conditions through psychic rapport with the place or environment, and also independently of telepathic communication. As substitutes for clairvoyance Henry Holt in America suggested the word "telopsis" and Dr. Heysinger the word "telecognosis" but they again would not very well include death-bed visions and the seeing of spirits.
The clairvoyant experience may be spontaneous or induced by suggestion, as in hypnotism, or autosuggestion as in crystal gazing and other methods of divination. There are four important sub-divisions: X-ray clairvoyance, medical clairvoyance, traveling clairvoyance and platform-clairvoyance. The first is the faculty to see into closed space, boxes, envelopes, rooms, books, etc., the second is the ability to see the inner mechanism of the human body and diagnose disease, the third involves a change of the center of perception: mental journey to a distant scene and give description thereof, the fourth is the seeing of spirits.
The so-called X-Ray clairvoyance is a frequently observed manifestation of the power. There are many cases on record in which sealed letters were read when the contents were totally unknown to the experimenter or were couched in a language of which the -seer was ignorant. The clairvoyant often has to handle the envelope but not necessarily; in pellet reading the pellets may or may not be touched at all, they may even be burnt and the contents be revealed thereafter. Conscious effort, anxiety at demonstration, however, mostly results in failure.
It is stated in the Report of the Experiments on Animal Magnetism, made by a Committee of the Medical Section of the French Royal Academy of Sciences, 1831: "We have seen two somnambulists who distinguished, with their eyes closed, the objects which were placed before them; they mentioned the color and the value of cards, without touching them; they read words traced with the hand, as also some lines of books opened at random. This phenomenon took place even when the eyelids were kept exactly closed with the fingers."
In 1837 the French Academy offered a prize of 3,000 francs for a demonstration of true clairvoyance. One of the claimants of the prize was the 12-years-old daughter of Dr. Pigaire, a physician, whose clairvoyant faculty was admitted by Arago. At the decisive seance the jury rescued itself from the award of the prize by stating that, according to the doctors, normal vision could not be excluded even if the girl's eyes were plastered up and covered with cotton wool and a silk mask.
To quote two modern instances: Edison, experimenting with Reese, wrote in a distant room on a piece of paper: "Is there anything better than hydroxide of nickel for an alkaline electric battery?" Returning to Reese, Reese at once said: "No, there is nothing better than hydroxide of nickel for an alkaline battery." Baron Schrenck Notzing wrote on five pieces of paper the questions: What is my mother's name? When will you go to Germany? Will my book be a success? What is the name of my eldest son? and an intimate question. He mixed the papers and presented them without knowing which contained which question. Reese, barely touching them, answered all the questions.
Experimenting with Ossovietzky in Warsaw, Prof. Richet wrote this phrase: "The sea never appears so great as when it is calm. Its fury lessens it." He folded the paper and put it in an envelope. Ossovietzky kneaded it feverishly and said after ten minutes . "I see much water, much water. You want to attach some idea to the sea. The sea is so great that beside its motion ... I can see no more." Geley wrote on a visiting card, under the table: "Nothing is more moving than the call to prayer by the muezzins." Ossovietzky, feeling the envelope, said: "There is a feeling of prayer, a call, from men who are being killed or wounded ... No, it is not that . . . Nothing gives rise to more emotion than the call to prayer, it is like a call to prayer, to whom? A certain caste of men, Mazzi, madz ... A card. I can see no more."
Sleep walkers furnish evidence of a clairvoyant faculty of vision. The existence of such a faculty may explain strange experiences in dreams like the oft-quoted story of Rev. Henry Bushnell (Sunday at Home, Vol. 1875) of Capt. Youatt, a wealthy man, who in a dream saw a company of emigrants perishing in the mountain snow. He distinguished the faces of the sufferers and gave especial attention to the scenery, a perpendicular white rock cliff struck him particularly; he fell asleep again and the dream was repeated. He described the scenery to a comrade who recognized its features as belonging to the Carson Valley Pass, 150 miles away. A company was collected with blankets, provisions and mules. On arriving they found the company exactly as portrayed in the dream."
That the clairvoyant vision is independent of the normal eyesight and is exercised by the mind without the assistance of the senses, is further shown by a note of Stainton Moses, dated March Ist, 1874: "In the midst of the seance, when perfectly clear of influence, I saw Theophilus and the Prophet. They were as clear and palpable to the eye as human beings would be in a strong light. Placing my hand over my eyes made no difference, but turning away I could see them no longer. This experiment I repeated several times."
Darkness presents no obstruction. Mme. d'Esperance could sketch in the dark, the paper before her appearing just as well illuminated as the spirit face which she sketched.
The nature of the perception is difficult to define. It is not seeing, it is being truly impressed. "In the clairvoyant state" - writes Alfred Vout Peters (Light, Oct. 11, 1913) - "all bodily sensations seem to be merged into one big sense, so that one is able to see, hear, taste, smell, and above all, know. Yet the images stand out clear and strong." In Horace Leaf's experience sometimes they are considerably smaller than life-size, in some cases a few inches in height, though normally proportioned. On the other hand he occasionally sees abnormally large forms, sometimes the face alone covering the entire field of vision. A clairvoyant may give a perfect character delineation of a man seen for the first time in his life. Herinrich Zschokke possessed this gift: "It has happened to me sometimes on my first meeting with strangers, as I listened silently to their discourse, that their former life with many trifling circumstances therewith connected, or frequently some particular scene in that life, has passed quite involuntarily, and as it were dream-like, yet perfectly distinct, before me."
Of medical clairvoyance we find the first allusion in Hippocrates: "The affections suffered by the body the soul sees with shut eyes." In the age of animal magnetism it was widely demonstrated. The investigation committee of the French Academy of Medicine admitted, in 1831, the phenomena of medical clairvoyance. At first the gift was exercised in magnetic sleep. With the coming of Spiritualism the magnetiser disappeared and both medical and ordinary clairvoyance found an outlet in spontaneous trance, or was exercised in the waking state. In the astounding psychic development of Andrew Jackson Davis, medical clairvoyance represented the initial stage. Both in America and in England the first well attested records of this power are attached to the name of servant girls. Mary Jane, the servant of Dr. Larkin of Wrentham, Mass., diagnosed her own state and the diseases of the doctor's patients with remarkable precision in 1844 in a trance. Emma, the handmaid of Dr. Joseph Haddock (for details see Somnolism and Psycheism 1849) showed similar powers. Looking at the heart she called the auricles the ears and the ventricles the meaty part. She distinguished between arterial and veinous blood in the heart, calling one the "light side" and the other the "dark side." Dr. Haddock's experiences found corroboration in the instances quoted by Dr. William Gregory in Letters on Animal Magnetism, 1851, in the accounts of Sir Walter Trevelyan, Dr. Elliotson and in Dr. Herbert Mayo's Letters on the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions. With the unfolding of Spiritualism, medical clairvoyance became one of the lesser wonders. The power to diagnose was soon surpassed by the power to heal. It was thought less and less preposterous to employ mediums professionally for medical purposes. Bessie Williams was a doctor's assistant for some years and psychic diagnosis was further developed by Dr. Kilner's discovery of the human aura and its color changes according to the state of health.
For traveling clairvoyance we find abundant proofs in old and present-day records. It was freely exercised by the shamans and medicine men of all primitive people. Indeed the conclusion of Sir William Barrett in Psychical Research may be justified that the reputed evidence on behalf of traveling clairvoyance is more widespread and ancient than that for telepathy. A well-authenticated and frequently quoted instance is Swedenborg's vision in 1756 at Gothenburg of a devastating fire in Stockholm. Kant wrote it down in 1758 having obtained the details from the witnesses themselves. This is spontaneous traveling clairvoyance, not purposive, representing rather a psychic invasion by the medium like the experience of Appollonius of Tyana who, during a lecture at Ephesus, suddenly broke off saying that the tyrant Domitian had been killed at Rome. The first instance of something resembling real traveling in magnetic sleep was recorded in a letter written to the Marquis de Puysegur in March, 1785, from Nantes. A young girl followed the movements of her magnetizer when he went into town and described everything that was taking place around him. In Germany some early records are to be found in Dr. Van Ghert's Archive fur den thierischen Magnetismus. The first carefully investigated traveling clairvoyants were the French Alexis and Adolphe Didier, and Adele Maginot. President Seguier, without giving his name, called upon Alexis Didier. He made an imaginary journey in Seguier's room and saw a tiny bell on the table. Seguier denied this. On returning home he found that in his absence the bell had been placed on the table. The Didier Brothers were widely experimented with in England. An account of 14 seances held at Brighton with Alexis Didier is to be found in Dr. Edwin Lee's Animal Magnetism. Adolphe Didier was mainly investigated by H. G. Atkinson, F.G.S. Adele Maginot's striking adventures in traveling clairvoyance were recorded by Alphonse Cahagnet. She not only found for his sitters distant relatives who vanished years ago, but claimed to have actually conversed with them. If such conversation were to be accepted as a fact it could hardly be conceived as more than a waking dream on the part of the object of the search, induced by telepathic impressions from the medium's mind. To decide whether such clairvoyant excursions may be made perceptible to people on the scene, Myers suggested hypnotic experiments, a command to the subject to make his presence felt. The evidence for the possibility of doing it is very slight. One may, however, surmise that the excursions of the traveling clairvoyant may not be entirely safe from perils.
Adele Maginot, "traveling" to a tropical country, asked to be awakened as she was afraid of wild beasts. It is within the bounds of possibility that an actual encounter with a wild beast on the scene would have severely reacted on the clairvoyant's nervous system.
In another instance actual harm was suffered by the medium. A certain M. Lucas de Rembouillet was very anxious about the fate of his brother-in-law. With the mother of the vanished man he visited Adele Maginot. To quote: "That which astonished this good woman, not a little, as well as Mr. Lucas, and the other persons present at the seance, was to see Adele putting her hands before the left side of her face to shelter her from the burning rays of sunshine of that climate, seeming at the same time to be overcome with heat; but what was more marvelous still was the fact that she had a violent sunstroke, which made all the side of her face, from her brow to her shoulder, a bluish red, whilst the other side remained white. This deep color only began to disappear twenty-four hours later. The heat was so violent at this time that you could not keep your hand on her."
Five thousand, miles from Melbourne at sea William Howitt had a vision in which he clearly saw his brother's house, premises and the landscape around. When he landed he was so sure of his bearings that he went cross-country. All was as the vision portrayed.
The following case from an early record has some curious features: Dr. F. magnetised Jane and warned Eglinton that he would send Jane to see what he was doing between eight and ten that evening. Jane said: "I see a very fat man with a wooden leg, he has no brain. He is called Eglinton. He is sitting before a table where there is brandy, but he is not drinking." The fact was that Eglinton made a fat dummy and dressed it into his clothes.
Professor Richet gives in Thirty Years of Psychic Research a dramatic instance of traveling clairvoyance concerning himself. Leonie B. was sent in trance by Pierre Janet after Prof. Richet who had left for Paris. The clairvoyant suddenly declared that Prof. Richet's laboratory was burning. The laboratory indeed was burned down at the time of the vision.
To exercise the faculty, sometimes an object belonging to a distant friend or locality is necessary, but often an index, the name of a friend or a place, is sufficient. The process of locating escapes explanation.
As Myers writes "the clairvoyante will frequently miss her way, and describe houses and scenes adjacent to those desired. Then if she almost literally gets on the scent-if she finds some place which the man whom she is sent to seek has some time traversed she follows up his track with greater ease, apparently recognizing past events in his life as well as present circumstances. The process often reminds one of the dog who, if let loose far from home will find his way homewards vaguely at first, and using we do not quite know what instinct; then if he once gets on the scent will hold it easily across much of confusion and obstacle. "
"The description" - writes E. W. Cox in What Am 1? 1874- "is rarely or never that which should be given of an object then clearly present to the sight. It is more or less wanting in definite outline, like objects seen in a fog, suggesting that the perspective faculty, whatever it may be, is exercised through more or less obstacle. The objects do not preserve their relative proportion of size or color in the impression they make upon the mind of the patient. Whatever the perspective faculty may be it is certainly not so powerful, nor so clear as the sense of sight. Small and unimportant things are often perceived when more prominent objects are unnoticed. Moreover, the faculty seems to be subject to continuous variation during the few minutes of its exercise, as if interrupted frequently by passing clouds"
Cox asks whether the faculty may not be a survival of the mysterious power of orientation so well developed in animals but nearly extinguished in men.
Vincent Turvey writes in The Beginnings of Seership? "In the mental body-traveling the 'I' (the spirit) appears to leave the ' me ' (the body) and to fly through space at a velocity that renders the view of the country passed over very indistinct and blurred. The 'I' appears to be about two miles above the earth, and can only barely distinguish water from land, or forest from city; and only then, if the tracts perceived be fairly large in area. Small rivers or villages would not be distinguishable."
Traveling clairvoyance may take the seer into the future. Robert James Lees' visions of the crimes which Jack the Ripper was going to commit the following day, with an exact description of the locality, belong to this order.
Perhaps traveling clairvoyance could also be exploited for historical research in guiding the medium into the past. Many sensitives claim to be able to go back into past ages in trance, some as far back as the mythical Atlantis or the still older Lemurian civilisation. Accomplishments of this sort, however, are more psychometrical than clairvoyant and defy verification. Many trance communications are to be classed under the heading of traveling clairvoyance if the control is considered the subconscious self of the medium. Sir Oliver Lodge's deceased aunt Anne said that Charley had eaten the bird, the chicken and made himself sick. A subsequent letter from Charley in Manitoba elicited that he shot a prairie hen, he ate most of it and he was ill at the time.
A strange mixture of traveling clairvoyance, clairaudience or control by the subconscious of the living is described in the following letter from Mrs. Thompson to Mr. Piddington of the S.P.R., May 24, 1900: "On Monday, March 7, 1900, about 7.30 in the evening, I happened to be sitting quite alone in the dining-room and thinking of the possibility of my subliminal communicating with that of another person-no one in particular. I was not for one moment unconscious. All at once I felt someone was standing near and quietly opened my eyes, and was very surprised to see -clairvoyantly, of course-Mr. J. G. Piddington. I was very keen to try the experiment, so at once spoke to him aloud. He looked so material and life-like I did not feel in the least alarmed. I commenced: "Please tell me of something I may afterwards verify to prove that I am really speaking to you."
J.G.P.: "I have had a beastly row with ..." (name).
Mrs. Thompson: "What about?" (no answer).
J.G.P.: "He says he did not intend to annoy me, but I said he had been very successful in doing so whether he intended or not."
After saying that he disappeared
According to Mr. Piddington all the details were correct. The quarrel was in correspondence. The final remark was addressed to Mrs. Piddington at breakfast. It is impossible that Mrs. Thompson should have heard of the remark.
A curious form of clairvoyance is what Vincent Turvey describes as phone-voyance, a sort of psychic television in which apparently the telephone wire plays some part but which is nevertheless replete with elements of mystery not encountered with in physical television. (See Phone-Voyance).
Psychical research can offer no explanation for the phenomena of clairvoyance. In Letters on the Truths contained in Popular Superstitions, published in 1849 Dr. Herbert Mayo, Professor of Physiology in King's College and the Royal College of Surgeons, London, suggested an exo-neural action of the mind.
"I hold-he wrote-that the mind of a living person in its most normal state is always, to a certain extent, acting exoneurally or beyond the limits of the bodily person, and in the lucid state this exo-neural apprehension seems to extend to every object and person around." This hypothesis only differs in degree from another, much bolder speculation which Sir William Barrett clothes into these words "It may be that the intelligence operating at a seance is a thought-projection of ourselves-that each one of us has his simulacrum in the unseen. That with the growth of our life and character here, a ghostly image of ourselves is growing up in the invisible world; nor is this inconceivable." This is in essential agreement with part of the spiritistic view, according to which the sense organs of the etheric body come into play or the information is impressed on the seer's mind by the spirits. It is also suggested that in traveling clairvoyance the double travels to the scene. The difficulty of this suggestion is that, in those cases in which the double is temporarily separated, the body is usually left behind unconscious and the memory of the journey is seldom brought back, whereas in traveling clairvoyance the subject describes with living voice what transpires at a distant place. The theosophists speculate on an "astral tube" which the clairvoyants construct for themselves from astral matter to see through.
Vincent Turvey appeared to see through some such agency. "In plain, long distance clairvoyance," he writes, "I appear to see through a tunnel which is cut through all intervening physical objects, such as towns, forests and mountains. This tunnel seems to terminate just inside Mr. Brown's study, for instance, but I can only see what is actually there, and am not able to walk about the house, nor to use any other faculty but that of sight. In fact, it is almost like extended physical sight on a flat earth void of obstacles. (This tunnel also applies to time as well as to space). In mental body-traveling the "I" (the spirit) is actually on the spot and sees and hears and smells and uses all the sense of the "me" (the body) which remains at home; although, if physical force be needed this is as a rule borrowed from a third party."
Theosopists also suggest. that the clairvoyant may see thought-pictures. Mediums themselves are at variance as to how they do it. Bessie Williams (Mrs. Russel-Davies) claimed that clairvoyance is vision by our spirit. W. H. Bach, in Mediumship and its Development contends that both clairvoyance and clairaudience are impressional. The gift is often noticed in children and it may disappear later. Mme. d'Esperance, when a child, continually saw "shadow people" in the house where she lived. Bessie Williams played with spirit children in the garden. Most of the gifted mediums had similar experiences. Alfred Vout Peters experiences a feeling of irritability or excitement before becoming clairvoyant.
Conan Doyle suggested that the special atmosphere of clairvoyants might be the result of ectoplasm emanating from the sensitive's body and enabling the spirit to impress it. In seeing ghosts the cold chill and subsequent fainting may not only be due to terror but to the drain on the body. In The Coming of the Fairies he proposes a vibrational theory. "If we could conceive a race of beings," he writes, "which were constructed in material which threw out shorter or longer vibrations (than ours), they would be invisible unless we could tune -ourselves up or tone them down. It is exactly that power of tuning up and adapting itself to other vibrations which constitutes a clairvoyant and there is nothing scientifically impossible, so far as I can see, in some people seeing that which is invisible to others. If the objects are indeed there, and if the inventive power of the human brain is turned upon the problem, it is likely that some sort of psychic spectacles, inconceivable to us at the moment, will be invented and that we shall all be able to adapt ourselves to the new conditions. If high-tension electricity can be converted by a mechanical contrivance into a lower tension, keyed to other uses, then it is hard to see why something analogous might not occur with the vibrations of ether and other waves of light."
Dr. Daniel Frost Comstock, who was Professor at the Massachusetts Technical Institute, claims to have known a clairvoyant lady with whom he made the discovery that her range of vision extended far past the point in the violet end of the spectrum where most of us cease to get any further retina stimuli. She therefore had an actual ultra-violet vision to a degree greatly beyond anything Dr. Comstock had ever heard of before.
In the experiments of Heymans, Brugmans and Weinberg with the clairvoyant D. Vandam, it was found that by the ingestion of certain substances, now thirty grams of alcohol, now two grammes of bromide, clairvoyance became more intense. The reason, according to Brugmans, is that alcohol lessens the power of inhibition, of reasoning and of attention, increasing thereby the power of the subconscious.
Charles W. Donville-Fife describes in his Among Wild Tribes of the Amazons how clairvoyance can be induced by a drug named yage or peyotl. He was convinced by actual experiments of the strange workings of the drug.
Dr. Norman Jeans, in experiments with himself under various anaesthetics, has found that under the influence of laughing gas (Nitrous oxide) he became clairvoyant and was able to see events happening at various distant places.
Complication of the mechanism of clairvoyance is shown in the instance of the medium Knudsen who, blindfolded, steered a steam-launch around the harbor of Copenhagen. But to do it somebody in the boat had to place his hand on his head. A similar feat was demonstrated by Gaston Overien, a Frenchman, in August, 1928. With his face and eyes completely covered by a thick mask he rode twice round the dirt track at White City, London, on a motor cycle and avoided numerous obstacles which had been placed in the way after he had been blindfolded. Of other strange uses of the mysterious faculty the discovery of murderers may be mentioned. In Germany they often employ clairvoyants to track down criminals. Many successes are registered. In such cases there is again a blending of clairvoyance and psychometry. It is often difficult to draw the line between the two. Between telepathy and clairvoyance the difference is clear. The latter is independent of any outside mind.
An interesting question: can blind people be made to see clairvoyantly? If they were born blind the brain has no visual education. But if they lose sight later they may see while in hypnotic trance.
COMMUNICATIONS between this world and the next is claimed to have been established in innumerable instances and in a variety of ways. A human organism called a medium or channeler is generally made use of. The mechanical instruments so far invented, with the exception of the ouija board are not well known and are, to many, too controversial to find general acceptance. But the future may lie in this direction. Indeed N. B. Wolfe, in Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism records a prediction that the year 1932 would witness (which it did not) the construction of the first successful instrument for spirit communications. By the exclusion of the human element such an instrument could relegate communication with the other world into the domain of pure physics. Yet it is doubtful that an instrument will ever prove as receptive as the human body which is the finest mechanism after all. It is being used as a machine and the clearness and reliability of the communication is directly dependent upon whether, in the hands of the unseen operators it will function as a mere automaton, as if personal will and consciousness had been obliterated. This is clearly the case in motor-automatism and still holds good, though with some complications, in sensory automatism, the other outstanding form of such manifestations.
Motor-automatism is witnessed in the movement, under the hand, of the table, ouija board, planchette, coin, tumbler or pendulum inside an alphabetical circle, in the striking of the pendulum against a glass, in raps when a nervous explosion appears to explain the phenomenon, in automatic writing and in trance speaking. A more uncommon form is reported in Vol. IX. Proceedings, p. 184: "The head nodded once for "Yes," twice for "No," three times for a strong affirmation. These movements were sometimes sudden and violent enough to cause something like pain." Mme. X., the subject of the case, was later impelled to trace letters in the air with her hand. A still stranger manifestation of motor-automatism is to be found in those stigmatic instances in which communications appear in raised letters on the surface of the skin. Even the motor effects of the divining rod may be employed as a means of communication. Professor E. Garnett of the Transvaal University College is quoted in Stanley de Brath's book, The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, as writing: "During the past few months my son has discovered that in reply to definite question, the rod (divining rod) behaves as planchette. The method he adopts is as follows: The rod is held at forehead level, almost vertical. Questions are asked in usual tone and pitch of voice. For Yes the rod moves forward and downward. For No the rod moves backward and downward."
The tilting of the table, or gentle tapping by a table leg, according to the alphabet, is the crudest form of communication. The ouija board and other alphabetical arrangements represent a simplification of the process; raps are more effective and they also eliminate the medium's subconscious effect to a greater degree but, they are rarer. The planchette is half way to automatic writing and trance speaking is motor automatism at its best.
Sensory automatism is witnessed in the delivery of clairvoyant, clairaudient, telepathic messages or in the perception of symbolic visions. The clairvoyant messages may be presented pictorially to the medium's mind or externalized in a crystal ball or other shining surfaces, the clairaudient messages may be heard in seashells or by inner audition. Many instances of message-bearing symbolic visions were recorded by E. Bozzano in the Archives des Sciences Psychiques. One instance will suffice: a mother saw flying in a deserted plain a little bird whose wings presently fell off. Soon after the vision her son died. A roll, with the written message, is presented to the spiritual vision of Mrs. Sadako Takahashi, the Japanese medium. The mystic depth of such pictographic processes is well illustrated by the case of a lady acquaintance of Lombroso who one evening before going to bed saw the image of a foot. She had been promised by another lady to get notification if she was suddenly called away on a journey. According to Lombroso this was the unconscious method of notification. The case is, however, extreme and the explanation too far-fetched.
In a third and further developed stage of communications both motor and sensory automatism are dispensed with and by the operation of a mysterious psychic force the messages come through in apparent independence. This is when the table moves without being touched, when percussive sounds are heard which cannot be traced to the medium's organism, when signals are given by flashes of Psychic lights (suggestive of the flashing of the jewels in the Urim and Thummim, according to Josephus) when words are spelt out by the intelligent movement of objects and answers are given in direct voice or in direct writing. There is an instance on record in Lord Adare's experience with D. D. Home when the hands of a clock that was not going were used to finish a sentence by ticking and striking. In another seance with D. D. Home a message to Countess Panigai was communicated through the distinct movements of her dress. Sir William Crookes recorded the following observations with the same medium: "One of the most amazing things I have seen was the levitation of a glass water-bottle and tumbler. The two objects remained suspended above the table, and by tapping against each other answered ' yes ' to questions. They remained suspended about six to eight inches above the table for about five minutes, moving in front of each person and answering questions."
Another note of Sir William Crookes is still more interesting: "During a seance with Mr. Home a small lath moved across the table to me in the light and delivered a message to me by tapping my hand; I repeating the alphabet and the lath tapping me at the right letters. The other end of the lath was resting on. the table, some distance from Mr. Home's hands.
"The taps were so sharp and clear and the lath was evidently so well under control of the invisible power which was governing its movements, that I said "Can the intelligence governing the motion of this lath change the character of the movements, and give me a telegraphic message through the Morse alphabet by taps on my hand. Immediately I said this the character of the taps changed and the message was continued in the way I had requested. The letters were given too rapidly for me to do more than catch a word here and there and consequently I lost the message; but I heard sufficient to convince me that there was a good Morse operator at the other end of the line, wherever it might be."
The strangest cases of communication have taken place through a series of apports. General Drayson, in seances with Mrs. Maggs, of Portsmouth, often claimed to have exchanged gifts with circles in another hemisphere.
Similarly, in a letter to Crookes, Baron Seymour Kirkup, writing from Florence on April 4th, 1872, relates that on a certain occasion he asked Annina Carboni, a spirit, to take a letter to her sister, Teresa, still in the earth life and residing at Leghorn. Paolina Carboni, another sister, was the medium. Teresa was asked to note the arrival of the letter and to write an immediate answer. It was found that, including the waiting for the answer, the spirit made two journeys of sixty miles each in one hour and fifteen minutes. (For a third, but very dubious case of apport-communication see Eglinton).
The Play of the subconscious-Deceiving Spirits.
The questions that present themselves to the inquiring mind are numerous. The paramount one is: are the communications to be accepted at their face value as emanating from spirits? Cannot they be explained by the subconscious powers of the medium, of the sitters or others living? That suggestion may play an important part in the shaping of the contents was first observed and exploited for purposes of derision by G. H. Lewes, in 1853. He described a sitting for raps with Mrs. Hayden and related that by carefully emphasised hesitation at the appropriate letters he had had a conversation with one of the Eumenides, and that he further induced the table to confess, in reply to his mental question, that Mrs. Hayden was an impostor and that the ghost of Hamlet's father had seventeen noses.
Allan Kardec, in The Book o Mediums, writes of an instance in which the medium evoked Tartuffe. He showed himself in all his classical peculiarities. When the medium asked: "How is it that you are here, seeing that you never had any real existence," he obtained the answer that "I am the spirit of an actor who used to play the part of Tartuffe." But no such fencing was possible in the following case which was also recorded by Kardec: "A gentleman. had in his garden a nest of little birds. This nest, having disappeared one day, he became uneasy as to the fate of his little pets. As he was a medium he went into his library and invoked the mother of the birds to get some news of them. "Be quite easy," she replied to him, "my young ones are safe and sound. The house cat knocked down the nest in jumping upon the garden wall; you will find them in the grass at the foot of the wall." The gentleman hurried to the garden and found the little nestlings, full of life, at the spot indicated."
Highly improbable communications come sometimes even through mediums of an established reputation. In a sitting with Mrs. Piper in 1899 Moses, the lawgiver communicated, delivered prophecies and a good deal of twaddle.
Then there are plenty of communications attributed to deceiving spirits, of a thoroughly puzzling character. Professor Flournoy, in Spiritism and Psychology, records instances in which mediumistic conversations have been carried on for days with the spirits of friends who announced their sudden death. It was found afterwards that they were in flourishing health and had no idea of the painful sensation they produced.
The case of M. Til is specially interesting. In automatic writing the message came through that "Edward (his son) has taken some cigarettes from the box of his employer. The latter has perceived this and in his resentment has addressed him a letter advising him to replace them very soon. But already he and his friend Bertrand have written in clever fashion a disgraceful reply." Mr. Til ran to the chief of his son's bureau who, however, gave him a good account concerning the young man. While Til listened his finger wrote the phrase: "I am wounded to the core at the duplicity of this man." The employer arrived soon afterwards. His decisive word reassured the poor father. The spirit at last began to write I have deceived you, Michael, forgive me."
According to Flournoy's ingenious analysis the following two factors play the capital role in the genesis of deceiving messages: First, the existence of latent emotional complexes in the marginal regions of consciousness, and second, their capacity for representing foreign personalities. Although very different in nature, these two factors complement each other in a marvelous manner and constitute the principal elements in the reconstruction of the deceased.
Sometimes, however, the lying communication appears to have little to do with the sitter's emotional complex and discloses a spirit of pure mischief. Such an amusing instance is recorded in the report of the London Dialectical Committee. Signor G. Damiani testified as follows: "You will remember that for a period of two years it was supposed that Dr. Livingstone was dead. I went to a seance at Mrs. Marshall's and I asked: "Is the spirit of Dr. Livingstone here?" A spirit answered: "Yes. I am Dr. Livingstone." I then asked him how he had been killed and he related all the particulars. He said that a native had crept up behind him and given him a blow of a club on the back of the head and killed him outright at once. I asked what happened then and the spirit said that the savages boiled his body and ate it. I said "That was horrible, you must have been greatly horrified by your body being boiled and eaten." He said "No, I was not horrified at it, for we must all be eaten." Well, as you may imagine I was greatly struck by this. I wrote out an account of Livingstone's death and of his body being boiled and eaten and I enclosed it in a paper and gave it to a gentleman with injunctions that he should keep it and only open it when I should tell him, on the discovery of the fact of the doctor's fate."
It was known at an early age that communications allegedly coming from the spirits cannot be too trusted. Swedenborg says in his spiritual diary: "When spirits begin to speak with man he must beware lest he believe them in any thing; for they say almost anything. Things are fabricated by them and they lie. If man then listens and believes, they press on and deceive and seduce in divers ways."
To some extent the character of an established control may be responsible for untrustworthy communications. Mrs. Travers Smith (Mrs. Dowden) observed that the controls seem to have a private circle of acquaintances to draw from. These acquaintances always choose to come through the same control and are generally as trustworthy as the keeper of the unseen barrier. When the control was seeking a communicator she often noticed that quite foolish and irrelevant little messages were spelt out as if spirits of the poltergeist type had been playing with the ouija board.
Communications which are traceable to an extraneous mind are sometimes followed by others in which the subconscious element is overwhelming. Mrs. Travers Smith describes a case in which description of a haunted castle was given. She wanted to stop the communication as one of no interest when her guest interrupted and said that he was very much interested as the story which came through was the plot of his new play.
Generally the communications are earnest and their tone is moral and religious. In discussing the various angles presented by the contents of mediumistic communications Myers concluded: "The high moral quality of these automatic communications is a phenomenon worth consideration. I must indeed confess myself unable to explain why it is that beneath frequent incoherence, frequent commonplaces, frequent pomposity of these messages, there should always be a substratum of better sense, of truer Catholicity than is usually to be heard, except from the leading minds of the generation. The almost universally high tone of genuinely automatic utterances, whether claimed as spirit communications or proceeding obviously from the automatist himself, has not, I think, been sufficiently noticed or adequately explained."
The Personal Character-Difficulties and Complications of Communications.
The great question in all communications which originate in the subconscious is why should they take on the form of personal character? The nearest answer to the question is Professor William James' theory that "all consciousness tends to personal form." He believed that genuine communications are extremely rare and that the information occasionally imparted by supernormal means is immediately seized upon by the subconscious mind and presented in a dramatized and elaborated form. His supposition is borne out by the observations of Dr. Frederik von Eeden with Mrs. Thompson. The sum total of his findings was that after the genuine information has ceased the role of any spirit is easily and imperceptibly taken up by the medium.
What is the mechanism of communication? In the trance mediumship of Mrs. Piper the controls took pains to give an explanation. It is thus summarized by Dr. Hodgson: "We all have bodies composed of luminiferous ether enclosed in our flesh and blood bodies. The relation of Mrs. Piper's ethereal body to the ethereal world, in which communicators claim to dwell is such that a special store of energy is accumulated in connection with her organism, and this appears to them as "light." Mrs. Piper's ethereal body is removed by them and her ordinary body appears as a shell filled with this "light." Several communicators may be in contact with this light at the same time. There are two chief masses of it in her case, one connected with the head, the other in connection with the right arm and hand. Latterly, that in connection with the hand has been brighter than that in connection with the head. If the communicator gets into contact with the light and thinks his thoughts, they tend to be reproduced by movements in Mrs. Piper's organism. Very few can produce vocal effects, even when in contact with the light of the head, but practically all can produce writing movements when in contact with the light of the hand. Upon the amount and brightness of this light, caeteris paribus, the communications depend. When Mrs. Piper is in ill health the light is feebler and the communications tend to be less coherent. It also gets used up during a sitting and when it gets dim there is a tendency to incoherence even in otherwise clear communicators. In all cases coming into contact with this light tends to produce bewilderment, and if the contact is continued too long or the light becomes very dim the consciousness of the communicator tends to lapse completely."
To obtain communications from two different intelligences at the same time, one writing and the other speaking was nothing unusual in Mrs. Piper's mediumship. Attempts have even been made for the use of the left hand by a third intelligence for simultaneous communication. Dr. Hodgson reported that at a sitting where a lady was engaged in a profoundly personal conversation with Phinuit concerning her relations "the hand was seized very quietly and, as it were, surreptitiously, and wrote a very personal communication to myself purporting to come from a deceased friend of mine and having no relation whatsoever to the sitter; precisely as if a caller should enter a room where two strangers to him were conversing, but a friend of his is also present and whispers a special message into the car of the friend without disturbing the conversation." The attempt to write with the left hand was successfully made on March 18th, 1895, in a sitting with Miss Edmunds. Her deceased sister wrote with one hand and G.P. with the other, while Phinuit was talking, all simultaneously on different subjects. Very little however, was written with the left hand. The difficulty appeared to lie chiefly in the deficiencies of the left hand as a writing machine. Dr. Hodgson, from various observations, came to the conclusion that the hand consciousness is not conscious of writing and that the thoughts that pass through the communicator's mind tend to be reproduced in writing by some part of the writing mechanism of Mrs. Piper's organism. To quote from Hodgson's report: the dramatic activity of the hand is very remarkable it is full of intelligence and can be described as more like an intelligent person than a hand."
In the respect of multiple communications Mrs. Piper's case is not unique. Dr. Underhill, in his story of the mediumship of Abby Warner, quotes affidavits and his own experience that Abby Warner often gave at her circles three separate communications at once, one with her right, another with her left hand and a third one through rapping. Robert Dale Owen testifies to the same versatility of Kate Fox. Crookes confirms this in the following statement: "I have been with Miss Fox," writes Crookes, "when she has been writing a message automatically to one person present, whilst a message to another person on another subject was being given alphabetically by means of raps and the whole time she was conversing freely with a third person on a subject totally different from either."
In simultaneous communication (one discarnate through two different mediums at ' the same time) interesting experiments have been initiated by Miss E. B. Gibbes (Psychic Science, July, 1931). An entity who claimed to be the discarnate Myers, successfully sent messages through Miss Cummins and Mrs. Dowden, and Miss Cummins and Mrs. Leonard. He explained that he did it by a process similar to the physiological division of attention, which, however, owing to the constitution of the psychic web taking the place of the material brain almost amounts to having another self in function with a pull in two directions and a consequent weakening in the power of communication.
Confusion and Incoherence.
The incoherency of some of the messages and the difficulties of communication in general present a very complex problem. Dr. Hodgson, on the basis of his experiences with Mrs. Piper, arrived at the following conclusions: "If, indeed, each one of us is a spirit that survives the death of the fleshly organism, there are certain suppositions that I think we may not unreasonably make concerning the ability of the discarnate spirit to communicate with those yet incarnate. Even under the best conditions for communication which I am supposing for the nonce to be possible, it may well be that the aptitude for communicating clearly may be as rare as the gifts that make a great artist, or a great mathematician, or a great philosopher. Again, it may well be that, owing to the change connected with death itself, the spirit may at first be much confused, and such confusion may last for a long time; and even after the spirit has become accustomed to its new environment, it is not an unreasonable supposition that if it came into some such relation to another living human organism as it once maintained with its own former organism it would find itself confused by that relation. The state might be like that of awaking from a prolonged period of unconsciousness into strange surroundings. If my own ordinary body could be preserved in its present state, and I could absent myself from it for some days or months or years, and continue my existence under another set of conditions altogether, and if I could then return to my own body, it might well be that I should be very confused and incoherent at first in my manifestation by means of a human body. I might be troubled with various forms of aphasia and agraphia, might be particularly liable to failures of inhibition, might find the conditions oppressive and exhausting, and my state of mind would probably be of an automatic and dream-like character. Now the communications through Mrs. Piper's trance exhibit precisely the kind of confusion and incoherence which it seems to me we have some reason a priori to expect if they are actually what they claim to be."
Myers pointed out the resemblance of such communications to the fugitive and unstable communications between different strata of personality of which embodied minds offer an example. He suggested that multiple personality may hold good for the unembodied as well.
The explanations of Pelham, the control of Mrs. Piper, are very instructive: "In trance the ethereal body of the psychic parts from the physical body just as it does in dreams and then we take possession of it for the purpose of communication. Your conversation reaches us as if by telephone from a distant station. Our forces fail us in the heavy atmosphere of the world, especially at the end of the seance" . . . "If I often blunder it is because I am making use of an organism which does not fit me well" ... "When clear communications are wanted you must not stun them with questions. In order to reveal themselves to you the spirits put themselves in an environment that discommodes them a good deal. They are like persons who have received a blow on the head and are in a state of semi-delirium. They must be calmed, encouraged, assured that their idea will immediately be of great importance. To put ourselves into communication with you we must penetrate into your sphere and we sometimes become careless and forgetful as you are. That is the reason why we make mistakes and are incoherent. I am as intelligent as I ever was, but the difficulties of communicating with you are great. In order to speak with you it is necessary for me to re-enter the body and there dream: Hence you must pardon my errors and the lacunae in my speech and memory."
A message recorded to have come from W. T. Stead in Julia's Bureau on June 2nd, 1912, is to similar effect: "When I see now for myself the extraordinary difficulties in getting messages through from this side, I marvel not that we got so little in all our searchings when I was with you but that we got as much as we did. For it is you, your conditions which make the barrier."
Mrs. Piper's controls could not hold on long in the body of the medium and often got confused through the eagerness of the interrogator. The spirit of Robert Hyslop said to his son: "You interrupt me, I ought to go now for my power is failing me and I don't know what I am doing." Another time he said "James, I am getting weaker, wait for me, I am coming back." This experience was common with all the communicators. Free, easy chatter, safe from concentration on tests is conducive to better communications. Prof. Hyslop, in his sixteenth sitting with Mrs. Piper, when he adopted the methods of the Spiritualists, obtained more identity proofs than in all the previous fifteen sittings.
The first attempts in getting through are usually fraught with greater difficulties. By a curious process of inversion the recent dead reproduces the symptoms of his last bodily illness in the body of the medium without conscious effort and causes her great discomfort. At the same time the communicator relapses into the mental state he was in at the time of dying. Prof. Hyslop writes on this point: "The mental confusion relevant to the death of my father was apparent in his first attempt to communicate through Mrs. Piper, and when I recalled this period of his dying experience, this confusion was repeated in a remarkable manner, with several evidential features in the messages. Twice an uncle lost the sense of personal identity to communicate. His communications were in fact so confused that it was two years before he became at all clear in his efforts. He had died as a result of a sudden accident. Once my father, after mentioning the illness of my living sister and her name, lost his personal identity long enough to confuse incidents relating to himself and his earthly life with those that applied to my sister and not to himself."
Further, Prof. Hyslop says "We may well suppose it possible that this coming back produces an effect similar to the amnesia which so often accompanies a shock or sudden interference with the normal stream of consciousness. The effect seems to be the same as that of certain kinds of dissociation which are now being studied by the student of abnormal psychology, and this is the disturbance of memory which makes it difficult or impossible to recall in one mental state the events which have been experienced in another."
The extent to which the medium is affected by the psychic state of the communicator at the moment of death is well illustrated by the description of Emma Hardinge of her famous prediction of the loss of the steamer Pacific. "That evening, just as my mother and myself were about to retire for the night, a sudden and unusual chill crept over me, and an irresistible impression possessed my mind that a spirit had come into our presence. A sensation as if water was streaming over me accompanied the icy chilliness I experienced and a feeling of indescribable terror possessed my whole being. I begged my mother to light up every lamp we had at hand; then to open the door that the proximity of people in the house outside our room might aid to dissipate the horror that seemed to pervade the very air. At last, at my mother's suggestion, I consented to sit at the table, with the alphabet we had provided turned from me and towards her, so that she could follow the involuntary movements of my finger, which some power seemed to guide in pointing out the letters. In this way was rapidly spelt out: "Philip Smith: Ship Pacific." To my horror I distinctly felt an icy cold hand lay hold of my arm; then distinctly and visibly to my mother's eyes, something pulled my hair, which was hanging in long curls; all the while the coldness of the air increasing so painfully that the apartment seemed pervaded by Arctic breezes. After a while my own convulsed hand was moved tremblingly but very rapidly to spell out: "My dear Emma, I have come to tell you I am dead. The ship Pacific is lost and all on board have perished; she and her crew will never be heard from any more, just as the medium may prove hypersensitive to the thoughts of the sitters when in trance, so it appears that thought impressions of the spirits congregating around the "light" may have a garbling influence on the message of the control. This possibility was strongly borne out by the attitude of George Pelham who many times asked the waiting sitters to withdraw until he was through with his first messages. The assumption was that at the same time the spirits on the other side also left and saved him much confusion. Hyslop noted several instances in which the communication came unintentionally through.
The communication of names that have no special meaning is usually difficult for the controls when the messages are sent by telepathic or pictorial impressions. There is often a bad confusion in the letters. Sometimes, however, another process is employed, presenting the names to the mind of the medium in a written form when there is no difficulty in reading both names and addresses.
Prof. Hyslop also believed that the nature of the communicator's mind may present another difficulty in clear communication. If, for instance, the communicator was a good visualizer and the medium a poor one, the pictorial messages which he impresses on the medium may come through very imperfectly.
Hyslop has made statistical calculations regarding the more important communications through Mrs. Piper in 15 sittings. They were 205 in number, of these 152 were found to be true, 16 false and 37 indecisive. In regard to 927 matters of detail alluded to in these communications, 717 were true, 43 false and 167 undecided.
According to Dr. Hodgson three kinds of confusion need to be distinguished in the Piper communications: (1) the confusion in the "spirit," whether he is communicating or not, due primarily to his mental or bodily conditions when living, (2) the confusion in the "spirit" produced by the conditions into which he comes when in the act of communicating, (3) the confusion in the result due to the failure of complete control over the writing (or other) mechanism of the medium.
The ability to communicate varies. It may be a power which is considered on the other side mediumistic and dwelling only in a few spirits to an unusual degree.
Dr. Hodgson found that the best communicators were children recently deceased and from the adults those who died in the prime of a healthy life, like Pelham; who only complained that the dreams of the medium got in his way. It appears, however, that as the spirit advances the difficulties of communication increase. Pelham himself said: "I am getting farther away from you each time. I am going on. It is too bad in one sense, but it is all right for me." Dr. Hodgson, after his death by heart failure, became one of the most impressive communicators. Myers was the nearest to approach him.
In his first report on Mrs. Piper, Sir Oliver Lodge stated that when "Dr. Phinuit" vacates his place for another communicator "the speeches are more commonplace, and so to say "cheaper" than what one would suppose likely from the person himself. It can, of course, be suggested that the necessity of working through the brain of a person not exceptionally educated may easily be supposed capable of dulling the edge of refinement and of rendering messages on abstruse subjects impossible." Phinuit himself used to say that after "entering the medium" he only remembered the messages entrusted to him for a few minutes and then became confused. Apparently he was not able to depart at once and kept on repeating incoherent statements.
Considering that in messages from the living the agents do not appear to exercise control over the contents any more than thoughts in dream are controlled, it is a legitimate supposition that, in some cases, the dead may not be more conscious of sending a message than the living. Again, the communicator may be perfectly conscious of the message, yet uncertain of its receipt. In a script of Mrs. Holland, the deceased Myers purporting to communicate, we read: "Does any of this reach you, reach anyone, or am I only wailing as the wind wails wordless and unheeded?" (Proc. S.P.R., Vol. XXI, p. 233).
A contrast to the difficulties usually experienced by spirits in establishing communication is the case of an unintentional communication quoted in the Biography of Mrs. Conant. A spirit seemed to have been seized by some psychic vortex and found himself in involuntary control.
The triviality of messages is now an almost age-old objection which hardly can be considered seriously any more. The first thing every Spiritualist learns is that death effects no change. He who was known to speak trash while in this life will not be different. But triviality has another aspect. Trivial incidents from the past life of the departed will carry the best proof of identity. The inability to convey a true picture of the life beyond is to be expected as our language may not be adaptable to express the thoughts and ideas of a new plane of existence. It may also require considerable time until the newly arrived spirit rises to a sufficient degree of understanding of the new environment. Recent emigrants often paint glowing pictures of America to their European relatives. For want of real understanding the descriptions are mostly erroneous. Trivial communications may be followed by ones of scientific import. The Rev. Charles L. Tweedale reports an astronomical information in Light, April 18th, 1931. It was "Look for sunspot, 75 degrees." Cloudy weather prevented observation for two days. The Rev. Tweedale had not examined the sun for three weeks previously, the apparatus was locked, the key in his pocket, nor had he received any information concerning that sunspot. Yet it was found as indicated.
A good instance of a warning communication was received by Mr. Britton, the writer, with D. D. Home at Greenfield. After unusually loud raps the message was spelt out for Mr. Britton: "You are wanted at home, your child is very ill. Go at once, or you will be too late." He took his handbag. In the street he heard the whistle of the engine of the last train. Running as hard as he could he just gripped the last carriage as it moved. On arriving home he found the facts as stated.
Communication from the dead may come in dreams. One of the oldest instances is given by Cicero in De Divinatione. Two friends went to Megare, one lodged at an inn, the other at a private house. The latter, in his dream, heard his comrade call him for assistance against an assassin. He awoke, then went to sleep again. The friend appeared and told him that he had been killed and thrown into a wagon by the innkeeper and that manure had been thrown over his body. In the morning he found the story true in every detail.
Communicating with the spirits through raps is commonly dated from the time of the Rochester phenomena. Four months after the Hydesville outbreak Isaac Post, a Quaker, revived David Fox's idea of asking the spirits to rap at the corresponding letter of the alphabet.. However, the Hydesville discovery was not a new one. We find it described in a chronicle, Rudolf of Fulda, which dates from 858 A.D. Long before 1848 the spiritualistic interpretation was accepted by many for the phenomena of magnetic trance. The Shakers experienced a special influx of spirit manifestation between 1837-44. (Elder C. Blinn: Spiritualism Among the Shakers.) The Rochester rappings and the physical phenomena which followed only served as a confirmation of the existence of another world. At first it was peopled by non-human spirits. Kelly, John Dee's medium, did not see human spirits in the famous shew stone. The appearance of John King in the Koon log house signifies the transition stage between non-human and human communicators. At first he was semi-divine, one of the "most ancient angels" and claimed kingly attributes. Later he confessed to have been Morgan, the pirate king. Out of the ruler of a primeval Adamic race a more humble entity slowly evolved who, in manifesting through mediums succeeding Jonathan Koons, laid no more claim to royal prerogatives.
Four entities, calling themselves the fairies, announced their presence by raps through Meurice, Maxwell's non-professional medium. They gave their names as Miriam, Yolande, Liliane and Brigitte. The communications, however, were of rather prankish nature and the fairies, in this case too, soon gave place to spirits of the dead. Quite recently it has become a well-established fact that there is yet another group of communicators: the spirits of the living. For this see Control.
CONTROL, (1)-state of possession of the medium by an invisible operator, (2)-the operator on the other side in charge of seance proceedings. This operator is also called "guide," and generally the term implies enduring attendance by a distinct and continuous personality to use the entranced medium's body, to deliver direct or relayed messages to sitters, to keep order among those who rush to the "light," as the medium is referred to on the other side, to keep away undeveloped or evil spirits and occasionally to surrender his place, for direct communication to others. The body of the medium is an instrument which requires considerable practice in efficient handling. The control is a communication expert who watches over the fluency of the proceedings, often steps in if he vacated his place to explain confusion and repeats unintelligible expressions. The easygoing, conversational aspect of the seances is largely due to his presence.
The human qualities of controls.
The manner in which such expert-service is acquired is not quite clear. It may not be a fortuitous occurrence as the attendance of mediums is considered on the other side as a kind of missionary work, or an opportunity for experimental research. It is certain that moral qualities ' have a large interplay. If the medium's mind and purpose is clean, if he prays for guidance or if he asks good spirit friends to guide him, it appears as if his request were granted. The process, however, is essentially human on the other side. There may be a struggle for the post and an established control may be replaced by another, as witnessed in the case of Mrs. Piper. George Pelham, shortly after his death, obtained joint control with Phinuit whom the Imperator group later entirely suppressed. The struggle for the actual control is often conveyed to the medium by very broken communications and very spasmodic and violent movements of the hand or of the traveller of the ouija board. The character and' limitation of the controls also bear the human stamp. They may have a large experience in life in the Beyond yet, in answer to questions, it often occurs that they confess to a lack of knowledge and reply that they will inquire from another who knows. They are patient and ready to produce the phenomena to the sitters' satisfaction. But they do not take orders, expect courteous treatment, appreciation for what they do and have their own caprices. Mostly they bring along a religious atmosphere but not all of them are of saintly disposition. Walter, the control of Margery, cursed freely if something displeased him and sent cantankerous objectors to the devil. In his righteous indignation against Houdini he accused him of cheating, swore terribly, called down curses on his head and used the most fearful, unprintable language. Eyen, Mrs. Travers Smith's (Mrs. Dowden) Egyptian control, who claimed to have been a priest of Isis in the reign of Rameses II, also cursed and swore in verse against a member of the circle who drove him out by hypnotic suggestion given to the medium. Peter, another control of Mrs. Travers Smith, was similar to Walter in the respect that he attached himself to the circle to satisfy his own curiosity and conduct psychical experiments from the other side. He was excellent in devising tests but otherwise his character left little to desire.
The power of constant controls is usually greater than of other incidental communicators, and often appears to be specific. "I have only power for voices," said Cristo d'Angelo, when he was requested to be the control at the Rossi sittings. This is a curious parallelism with similar limitation of the mediums and supports the theory that the control, in relation to other spirits, is just as psychic as the medium in relation to the sitters. For instance, in Cristo d'Angelo's case, some spirits, if too weak to reach the sitter on their own voice vibrations came through that of the control which resulted in a blending of accent and occasional predomination of the timbre of the control. The controls often have helpers, other spirits who prepare difficult physical phenomena while a message is being delivered. These helpers sometimes assist in the control as well, the coherence of the messages thereby becoming greatly increased. As regards experiments proposed by the sitters or voluntarily undertaken, they often declare that they are uncertain of the result. Many instances of blunders are recorded in the scripts of Stainton Moses. Once heavy volumes of phosphoric smoke were produced, greatly scaring the medium as he felt himself enveloped in fire. It was explained afterwards that an accident happened during the production of the psychic lights. Once the perfume producing experiment miscarried and the sitters were driven out of the room by unbearable stench. Sometimes harm came to the medium from the control's negligence or careless overdraft of power. Occasionally they fail even in their quality of doorkeepers and undesirable, malignant elements invade the seance room. In such cases they immediately order the closing of the sitting. When the medium awakens from trance the control goes out. He cannot communicate any more. But he may be watchful and desirous of sending a message. Mrs. Piper occasionally received such messages through her own entranced daughters.
The presence of the control is made known by various means. The voice in direct speaking, the character of the handwriting or the sensation experienced in automatic writing, the peculiar style of rapping or tilting of the table, mannerism in general discloses his identity. Physiological observations may also furnish proof. Taking a careful record with John Tichnor, of New York, Conan Doyle found his pulse beat 100 when controlled by Colonel Lee, 118 when under the control of Black Hawk and 82 when normal.
A curious case of two controls conversing audibly, each using his own medium, was witnessed in the Margery seances when another medium, Miss Scott, also fell into trance. Walter, in charge of the seance from the other side, instructed the spirit of Mrs. Scott, mother of the medium, how to proceed, when to start and stop talking.
The picturesque element.
The existence of the controls while on earth is a complex problem. They mostly claim a distant and inconspicuous life which defies verification. D. D. Home's control always spoke in plural and never gave his name. Stainton Moses was attended by an organized band of controls: Biblical characters, philosophers, sages and historic personalities. The Biblical characters called themselves: Imperator (Malachias), Preceptor (Elijah), The Prophet (Haggai), Vates (Daniel), Ezekiel, Theophilus (St. John the Baptist), Theosophus (St. John the Apostle), Theologus (St. John the Divine). The philosophers and sages: Solon, Plato, Aristotle,
Seneca, Athenodorus (Doctor), Hippolytus (Rector), Plotinus (Prudens), Alexander Achillini (Philosophus), Algazzali or Ghazali (Mentor), Kabbila, Chom, Said, Roophal and Magus. Stainton Moses was torn by doubts for a long time as to their identity and finally stated that "judging as I should wish to be judged myself they were what they pretended to be." Imperator is one of the remotest spirit controls. But he is antedated by nearly a thousand years by Lady Nona, the guide of "Rosemary," who claims to have lived in Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Black Hawk, Evan Powell's control, insisted that a book had been published about him in America. In 1932 the book was found. It was printed in 1834 in Boston.
There are many instances in which the same control has manifested through different mediums. They have particular favors for one medium at a time and on his death or loss cif power pass on to another. John King, who claimed to have been Sir Henry Owen Morgan, the buccaneer king, first appeared in the Davenport seances and is still performing his duties, whilst Katie King, his daughter, appeared to have passed on to a higher sphere after her farewell from Florence Cook, making, however, an unexpected return at Dr. Glen Hamilton's circle in 1932. Their apparent motive is to do good, to be of service and to work out their salvation thereby.
American Indians figure as controls in a surprising number of cases. They bear romantic or plain Indian names, for instance: North Star (Mrs. Leonard), Red Cloud (Mrs. Roberts), White Eagle (Mrs. Cook), White Feather (Sloan), Greyfeather (J. B. Jonson), Grey Wolf (Miss Hazel Ridley), Bright Eyes (Mrs. Pepper), Red Crow (F. F. Craddock), Black Hawk (Evan Powell), Black Foot (John Myers), Red jacket (Dr. C. T. Buffum and Mrs. Emily French), Old John and Big Bear (Dr. Charles B. Kenney), Hawk Chief and Kokum (Valiantine), Moonstone (Vout Peters), Tecumseh (W. H. Powell), Segaske (Dr. Hooper). Other exotic nationalities are also met with. Tien-Sen-Tie (J. J. Morse) was a Chinaman. Eyen (Mrs. Travers Smith) an Egyptian, Morambo (Mrs. Wallis) a Kaffir; Feda of Mrs. Leonard is an Indian native, Dr. Hooper is attended by a fakir, Mrs. Brittain by a Senegalese child, Mrs. Garrett has an Arab control, while Jones' Medicine Man is a Zulu. Nevertheless, the Red Indians preponderate. On spirit photographs they appear in scalp-locks and tribal robes. Their chief organizer is said to have been John King, but previous to the appearance of the romantic buccaneer King we find the first Indian controls in the Shaker communities in America. They came collectively as a tribe. A knock was heard at the door and when the spirits were invited they possessed everyone. Indian shouts re-echoed in the house, the obsessed spoke Indian among themselves and danced Indian dances. They did not deliver any teaching. On the contrary the Shakers came to the conclusion that they had to teach them and proselytize them. This was the beginning of what is known to the present day spiritualist as a "rescue circle." The visits continued from 1837 to 1844. When they left they informed their teachers that presently they would return, would pervade the world and enter palaces and cottages. The promise seems to have been kept. But generally the Indian controls restrict their activity to physical manifestations.
E. W. Wallis writes in Mediumship Explained: "Many Indian spirits become true and faithful friends. They act as protectors ------ doorkeepers' so to speak to their mediums. They do the hard work of development in the circle and prevent the intrusion of undesirable spirits. Sometimes they are boisterous and exuberant in their operations and manifestations and while we do not share the prejudices which are expressed against them we think it is wise to exercise a restraining influence over their demonstrations. They generally possess strong healing power and frequently put their mediums through a course of calisthenic exercises which, although beneficial to the health of the medium and, in the presence of a few friends, may pass without adverse comment, would probably cause criticism if performed in a public assembly."
Children furnish another interesting group of controls. The best known names are: Feda (Mrs. Osborne Leonard), Nelly (Mrs. Thompson), Dewdrop (Bessie Williams), Sunshine (Mrs. Meurig Morris), Little Stasia (Mlle. Tomezyk), Ninia and Yolande (Mme. d'Esperance), Belle (Mrs. Annie Brittain), Bell (Mrs. F. M. Perriman), Harmony (Mrs. Sussannah Harris,) Snow Drop (Mrs. Maud Lord Drake) and Pocka (Miss Wood).
Before Swedenborg the human element was missing from spirit intercourse. Paracelsus communed with elemental creatures, the spirits seen in Dr. Dee's shew stone were not identified with men and somnambules believed themselves to be possessed by the devil or by the Lord. The first controls in the sense of guiding spirits appear in Dr. G. P. Billot's experiments in France about 1820. The spirits possessing his mediums claimed to be their guardian angels. Some controls claim to be pure spirits (never incarnated) even in our days. Such is Little Stasia, of Mlle. Tomczyk and Nona of Mme Ignath.
Control by the Living
There are many cases on record in which the messages delivered by the medium were proved to have emanated from the living. This brings in the large question whether the living can act as controls. It was found that the messages from the living often came without their knowledge. In some cases at the time they were in a normal state, in most cases they were asleep. By analogy the latter occurrence would suggest that occasionally the spirit entity who communicates may also be unconscious of doing so, may be dreaming and his dreams may be drawn through the medium. The repeated statements of Mrs. Piper's controls that they have to enter a dream state to communicate have a curious bearing on this idea.
In France, Allan Kardec, in America, judge Edmonds was the first to state that spirit communications may emanate from the living. In his Spiritual Tracts (October 24, 1857) judge Edmonds writes:
"One day while I was at West Roxbury there came to me through Laura (his daughter) as a medium, the spirit of one with whom I had once been well acquainted, but from whom I had been separated some fifteen years. His was a very peculiar character-one unlike that of any other man whom I ever knew, and so strongly marked that it was not easy to mistake his identity. I had not seen him for several years; he was not at all in my mind at the time, and he was unknown to the medium. Yet he identified himself unmistakably, not only by his peculiar characteristics, but by referring to matters known only to him and me. I took it for granted he was dead, and was surprised afterwards to learn that he was not. He is yet living . . . I have known since then many similar manifestations so that I can no longer doubt the fact that at times our communications are from the spirits of the living as well as the dead."
Several interesting cases have been recorded by E. K. Bates in Seen and Unseen, Miss M. Monteith in The Fringe of Immortality, by Aksakof in Animisme et Spiritisme and Florence Marryat in There is No Death.
In one instance the spirit of Florence Marryat had been summoned while she was asleep at home in bed. In the experiences of the authoress the spirits of the living invariably beg to be sent back again or permitted to go as if they were chained by the will of the medium. Among her own mediumistic gifts she claimed the power to summon the spirits of the living.
According to early clairvoyants the only perceptible difference to be observed between the spirits of the living and the dead is that a delicate line of light appears to proceed from the apparition, apparently uniting it with the distant physical body. Some modern clairvoyants claim to have discovered another distinction. The spirit incarnate appears lifeless, dead, statue-like, whereas the discarnate one is intensely alive.
Catherine Berry wrote in Experiences in Spiritualism
"The table presently began rolling in a most extraordinary manner, so that we could scarcely keep it down. We asked what was the matter and it spelled out ' We have buoyed the cable and shall be home in three days.' We did not know what this meant. Someone suggested that we should ask the name which it gave. A gentleman then present at once said 'Are you Alfred? ' Answer 'Yes.' ' Then you are on board the Great Eastern? ' Yes.' ' Then you are all safe? ' ' Yes.' At this time, I should say, the vessel had not been heard of for ten days or a fortnight; and exactly at the end of three days the vessel arrived. This spirit ' Alfred ' was in the flesh at the time and is now; and though he has been questioned he has no knowledge of the circumstance or of having desired to send us such a communication."
The story of a communication by raps from a living man is told in the Revue Spirite, January, 1911, by Mrs. Bardelia, a medium, as it occurred under the observation of Dr. Gustave Le Bon and vouched for by the editor. It happened in 1908 in St. Petersburg. The manager of the hotel where the medium was staying asked for the favor of a seance. He was eager to get a message from his father who had recently passed out. "Nor was he satisfied when, with the aid of the alphabet, the first raps spelled out a name quite different from the one he expected. The family name shortly followed, and he exclaimed: "Why, that is the name of my best friend; but he is certainly not dead, for I just lately heard from him from a hotel in Moscow, where he is employed." As much surprised as Mr. R., I sought-writes the medium-for further information, when we obtained this strange message: "I am not dead, but in a state of coma; I shall die tonight." "Are you at your hotel? "-asked Mr. R. "No, at the hospital," was the reply. The raps ceased. Mr. R., still skeptical, announced his intention of telephoning at once to Moscow for the purpose of verifying the truth of the message. About an hour later he returned, very pale and greatly excited. The hotel where he had telephoned asking to speak with his friend had answered that, delirious and dying, the gentleman inquired about had been removed to the hospital that morning and it was not expected that he would live the night through, thus verifying the message."
T. L. Nichols wrote in Supramundane Facts in the Life of Rev. Jesse Babcock Ferguson: "During the residence of Mr. Ferguson in New Orleans Mr. Champion (a medium) left Nashville by steamboat to join him. The river was low; the boat was detained by grounding on sandbars, until Mr. Ferguson became anxious for the safety of his friend. While in this state of mind he called upon a gentleman of New Orleans whose wife happened to be a medium. She knew nothing of Mr. Ferguson or of Mr. Champion, or of the anxiety of the former respecting the latter; but, sitting at a table she wrote a letter to Mr. Ferguson dated on the steamboat on which Mr. Champion was expected, at a place twenty-four hours' distance up the Mississippi, stating that the writer was well and expected to arrive in New Orleans the following day. The letter was signed H. B. Champion, and was apparently in his handwriting and contained several of his peculiarities. The next day the boat arrived and Mr. Champion confirmed the message, of which, however, he had no consciousness, except that at or about the hour it was written he was thinking of Mr. Ferguson and had a strong desire to relieve his anxiety."
Mrs. J. H. Conant, the medium, could manifest through other mediums while her body was in trance and under spirit control.
Wsevolod Solowiof, a well-known Russian writer, an automatist who usually produced mirror scripts, on one occasion wrote the name "Vera." On inquiry it was elicited that a relative of his was communicating. "Yes; I sleep, but I am here, and I have come to tell you that we shall meet tomorrow in the summer gardens." This came to pass. Moreover, the young girl told her family that she dreamt of visiting her cousin and of having told him of their meeting.
Carrington, in his introduction to Sylvan J. Muldoon's The Projection of the Astral Body, narrates his personal experiments to appear to a certain young lady, an accomplished pianist, with a phenomenal musical memory. "One day," he writes, I asked her if she had ever heard of an old song 'When Sparrows Build,' made famous years ago by Jenny Lind, and a favorite of my childhood days. She stated that she never had. I said that I would get and send her a copy 'some time' as I thought she would like it. That was all that was said about it at the time and no particular importance was attached to it. A couple of nights later I attempted to appear to her, and as usual awoke in the morning without knowing whether my experiment had 'succeeded' or not. A little later I received a telephone call and the young lady in question informed me that I had appeared to her the night before-rather more vividly than usual-and that she had thereupon been seized with the impulse to write automatically-the result being a verse of poetry. That afternoon I called, was told of the experience, was shown the poetry and confess that I received quite a momentary thrill. The poetry consisted of the opening lines of the song 'When Sparrows Build,' absolutely accurate with the exception of one word.'
The Gordon Davis case recorded by Mr. S. G. Soal -in Proceedings P. XCVI, is a well authenticated instance. In a series of seances with Mrs. Blanche Cooper in 1922 a voice came through which Mr. Soal recognized as Mr. Gordon Davis, an acquaintance whom he believed to have fallen in the war. Details about home and family were given in a very convincing manner. Three years later Mr. Soal met Gordon Davis alive. He knew nothing of the communications that purported to come from him. Several similar cases are recorded by W. Leslie Curnow in an excellent study
"Spirits in the Flesh" in Psychic Science, January, 1927.
Shamar, the Hindoo control of Mrs. Travers Smith, specialized in bringing communicators who were living. The name of an intimate friend came through. "He stated that he was not sound asleep and therefore the message would come in jerks, which it did. He said he was sitting before the fire in his drawing-room; no one else was in the room. I asked him to give my sister a message from me; he said, "Sorry, I can't; I shall forget all this when I wake." He then said goodbye and that he could not speak any more as he was getting more wakeful."
Vincent Turvey, in The Beginnings of Seership, quotes many testimonies in proof that he often succeeded in controlling people in a seance circle to whom he announced the experiment. On other occasions he did it without previous announcement. The feat was performed by an act of will-power. His personality and mannerism was strikingly assumed by the medium. Moreover, he was conscious of what he did and remembered his experience. He could hear and see and to achieve physical effects he appeared to draw from the medium's wrist and knees a sort of red sticky matter. Once he lifted a bed with two people in it and spoke to them in direct voice. Physically at the time he did not have the strength to raise a small child. A similar instance is recorded by Sylvan J. Muldoon in The Projection of the Astral Body as his own experience.
Sir Lawrence J. Jones, in his presidential address to the S.P.R. in 1928, dwelt on the mediumship of Miss, K. Wingfield and said: ". . . On four different occasions my youngest girl, aged nine, purported to control during her sleep, speaking with great animation and very characteristically. In the first instance she was at Ripley, some fifteen miles from Wimbledon, where K. was staying. Later at Valescure she was asleep either in the same house or in a neighboring villa. On the first occasion the child was asked, after some conversation "What about the sailor frock?" The answer came: "We went to a shop. Mummie just said, ' You get those things out. That is her tallness.` And they got them; nothing else to be done, no altering-They just sent them home. That's what I like." This was a correct version of what had happened that afternoon. The child had been taken by her mother to London but none of us had been at Wimbledon that day, so K. and the other members of the circle only knew that there was a plan to buy a sailor frock. Here is Herbert's (the guide) comment:
"In many cases a spirit on our side is quite unable to tell if a person is dead, or unconscious, or merely sleeping, if the spirit is outside; for after death for some little time the cord hangs loosely before it is absorbed into the soul-body and often in sleep the slackness of the cord presents the same appearance." This may be compared with the "Beard" case in Journal XXIII, pp. 130-132, where Mr. Beard was described as having quite recently passed over at a sitting held some eight hours before his actual decease."
"Other curious occasions were when K. seemed to stand outside her body and control it from outside just like any other control. At these times she always spoke of her body as a 'me' and her soul as an 'I' ... There is an 'I' here who hasn't got a 'Me,' speaking of my boy who was waiting his turn to control."
Miss Mercy Phillimore tells of a personal occurrence in Light, May 9th, 1931. Sitting with Miss Naomi
Bacon in 1917 a man was described whom she recognized as a living friend. "The moment my mind realized his presence a certain ease seemed to invade the sitting and he took direct control of the medium. The control lasted between five and ten minutes, but before it ended the communicator requested me never to refer to the experience to him in his normal state." The facts communicated were found to be correct. In another sitting a year later the living friend again purported to be present. His communications were evidential.
In a direct voice seance given by William Cartheuser for the A.S.P.R. on October 26th, 1926, a lady acquaintance of Malcolm Bird received evidential communication from her father-in-law by her first husband. He said that he passed on with conditions in chest and lungs and that he tried hard to impress Mrs. X. the night before. He gave a correct description of what she was doing at the particular time. Mrs. X. after the seance found out that the communicator was alive and in great mental distress at the date of the seance. (Psychic Research, 1927, p. 167).
Alfred Vout Peters, the well-known London clairvoyant, had several similar experiences. The first was recorded in Light, September 2nd, 1899. The "Phygia" of the account was Mrs. Laura Finch. She controlled Vout Peters, while she was in Paris in the body and the medium in London on four separate occasions. She promised to do so if she could. "All who know her have been unanimous in declaring it was Phygia's own self speaking; her mannerism was there; things were said of which only she had cognizance, and when tests were agreed upon beforehand in the shape of certain phrases to be uttered they were invariably used." On another occasion it was found that the control who manifested through Vout Peters was alive in Africa.
J. G. Armstrong refers in Light, April 25, 1931, to his own adventures. On one occasion while he was in London his mother who lived in Devonshire, spoke to him through the medium. She was asleep at the time and had the impression, on waking, of having made a long journey. During the Naval Conference in London a naval officer whom he had known many years ago similarly came through and advised him to protest against the reduction of the Navy. He gave facts about his recent service. On inquiry Admiral Armstrong found out that the man is alive and serves in the East. Counting the difference in time, he was likely to have been sleeping at the hour of the communication."
(See Automatic Writing for Felicia Scatcherd's, Rev. Newnham's and W. T. Stead's experiences and Clairvoyance for the Piddington-Thompson case).
Absurd as it may seem, there are some cases on record in which a materialized apparition was discovered to be living. Alfred Vout Peters has seen, in a seance with Cecil Husk, the phantom of a friend materialized who must have been asleep at home at the time. Others had similar experiences with the same medium. Stanley de Brath saw, on four occasions, the materialized face of a lady then in India of whom he had lost track. Afterwards he had a letter from her. A Church of England clergyman saw the materialized face of his brother who was then living in South Africa (Light, 1903. p. 500). In the controversy which ensued a correspondent wrote to Light of the materialization in the United States of General Sherman who not only announced his identity, but also stated that he had just passed on. The General, however, who was at the time on his death-bed, did not pass over till a day or two later.
Dr. John S. King, founder and president of the Canadian Society for Psychical Research, describes in his book Dawn of the Awakened Mind, New York, 19201 how he appeared at a materializing seance in Kansas City on January 25, 1910. He announced his name audibly to Judge Dill and other sitters. On another occasion he appeared at a seance of J. B. Jonson, of Toledo, and touched one of the sitters, a friend. The sitters signed a written declaration affirming his presence and demonstration.
A still more unbelievable account was published by Dr. J. D. Moore in the American periodical Facts. (Vol. VI., March, 1887) under the title "A Medium Appearing in a Materialized Form." The medium was Helen C. Berry. Her body is said to have been in the cabinet in trance, yet her spirit assumed tangible shape about four feet in front of the cabinet, spoke to the doctor and exposed her semi-transparent features under the light.
Some mediums materialize animal phantoms. The question may present itself: is it not possible for animal spirits to control men in trance? The confession of Charles Albert Beare, a self-styled bogus medium of Peckham, London (Daily Express, September 18, 1931) contains this curious passage: "One night at Bermondsey ... I saw a woman supposed to be controlled by an ape. She jumped on chairs, on the table and darted all over the room just like an ape, in fact, she had all the mannerism and characteristics of the ape. It was a horrifying performance, and when the woman came out of the control she had to be revived with water and by people beating her hands. I never heard what the reaction was but there must have been some."
CROSS-CORRESPONDENCE, concordant automatism, a scheme allegedly originated by the spirit of F. W. H. Myers to eliminate the hypothesis of telepathy from communications. That such an idea was in operation in messages received through various mediums about the same time in places as far apart as India, New York, and London was first discovered by Miss Alice Johnson, Research Officer of the S.P.R. In the scripts of Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Forbes, Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. Willett, Mrs. Piper and others she found fragmentary utterances which had no particular point or meaning but were found supplementing each other when selected and put together, giving a coherent idea in each instance. "Thus, in one case," writes Miss Johnson, "Mrs. Forbes' script, purporting to come from her son, Talbot, stated that he must now leave her, since he was looking for a sensitive who wrote automatically, in order that he might obtain corroboration of her own writing. Mrs. Verrall, on the same day, wrote of a fir-tree planted in a garden, and the script was signed with a sword and a suspended bugle. The latter was part of the badge of the regiment to which Talbot Forbes had belonged, and Mrs. Forbes had in her garden some fir-trees, grown from seed sent to her by her son. These facts were unknown to Mrs. Verrall." Miss Johnson's conclusions were: "We have reason to believe that the idea of making a statement in one script complementary of a statement in another had not occurred to Mr. Myers in his lifetime-for there is no reference to it in any of his written utterances on the subject that I have been able to discover. Neither did those who have been investigating automatic script since his death invent this plan, if plan it be. It was not the automatists themselves that detected it, but a student of their scripts; it has every appearance of being an element imported from outside; it suggests an independent invention, an active intelligence constantly at work in the present, not a mere echo or remnant of individualities of the past."
After Prof. A. W. Verrall, the eminent Greek scholar and psychical researcher, passed over, an intricate Greek mosaic and literary puzzle called the Ear * of Dionysius was transmitted as cross correspondence which, in the opinion of the Right Hon. Gerald Balfour, and other competent judges, was one of the most striking evidences of survival yet obtained.
In the S.P.R. Proceedings hundreds of pages are devoted to cross correspondences. They are so ingenious and subtle that their disentanglement requires considerable literary skill and as reading matter they are too heavy. The subject was thoroughly studied by the Verrall family, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Sidgwick and Mr. Piddington. Dr. Van Eeden obtained cross correspondences between his own dreams and the trance utterances of Nelly, Mrs. Thompson's control. Professor Hyslop employed it for researches in cases of obsession. The victim of obsession was either taken to the medium or some object belonging to the obsessed was produced as clue and the medium in trance has given communications from the obsessing spirit or information tending to show whether it was an extraneous entity or a subconscious personality.
Many experiments were made to establish cross-correspondence in thought-transference: to find out each other's thoughts at the same time through the intervening distance. The most recent and most baffling cases of cross correspondences were recorded in the history of Margery's mediumship. They were instigated by her control, Walter, and they have been given simultaneously through Margery in Boston, Valiantine in New York, Dr. Hardwicke at Niagara Falls and Mrs. Sarah Litzelmann of Maine, about 60 miles from Boston. Drawings, geometrical figures, sentences were given in part through each medium, in some cases in Chinese characters. Their reception was immediately verified by telephone or telegraph and the message deciphered by setting the piecemeal communications into a whole. The ingenuity of these cross correspondences is best illustrated by the following instance: A cardboard box was brought into the seance room. It contained slips of paper with certain symbols, and a calendar, the sheets of which could be torn off a sheet at a time, and thus indicate a desired number. Walter declared that he had torn off a sheet and added: "Margery will make up a problem and Valiantine and Hardwicke will each make half the answer." He then closed the box. The sitter in whose charge it was given after the seance did not open it. Margery and the company descended to the library. There Margery passed into a light trance and wrote automatically: "11 x 2-to kick a dead." The box was now opened: they found in it at the left the calendar, the top sheet of which showed the date of 11 th, next to it an X from the enclosed symbols and lastly the torn off sheet which bore the number 2. The internal arrangements of the box, therefore, completely agreed with the part of the cross correspondence Margery wrote. New York was rung up by telephone. Judge Cannon who was in charge of the Valiantine circle reported that they received from Walter the following message: "2-no one stops." Next morning a telegram from Hardwicke from Niagara Falls, announced this fragment "2 horse." The fragments put together show that the problem Walter worked out was this: "11 x 2 = 22. No one stops to kick a dead horse."
CROSS-REFERENCE, simultaneous delivery of spirit messages through different mediums with a request to forward them to the right person. The idea, originated by the communicators, is to disprove the working of the medium's subconscious mind.
The earliest instance of cross reference is registered in Capron's history from February 12th, 1850. The medium was Mrs. Draper. A large company was divided into two groups and sent to different rooms, The spirit of Benjamin Franklin purported to be present and spelt out a message enjoining the company not to move. The same message was then spelt out in the other room with the instruction to go and compare. This method of communication was called spiritual telegraphy and was soon practiced over distances as far apart as New York and Philadelphia, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, New York and Washington.
A deceased sister announced herself to Prof. Hare at Cape May, nearly a hundred miles from Philadelphia. The Professor asked her to go to Philadelphia and request Mrs. Gourlay, a medium, to get her husband, Dr. Gourlay, to go to a certain bank and inquire about a certain bill. On his return Professor Hare found out that Dr. Gourlay had received the message and the bank testified that he came to inquire about the matter of the bill.
Controls have often established their identity by manifesting through different mediums. Cristo d'Angelo and Bert Everett spoke through Valiantine, Marquis Centurione Scotto and Dennis Bradley. Mrs. Leonard was able to hear Feda, her trance control, through Bradley's mediumship and became satisfied of the communicator's identity. (Bradley: The Wisdom of the Gods).