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FRAUD, the greatest element of danger in psychical research, is now fairly well understood and guarded against. From the time of the Hydesville phenomena hardly any medium has been able to escape accusations of cheating and more or less compromising exposures. No attempt was neglected to prove the false maxim that because some mediums were caught in fraud genuine phenomena do not exist. "Wigs do not prove that there are no genuine heads of hair, sets of false teeth that there are no natural sets" -said Hellenbach. Brofferio rightly added: "I know that coffee is also made with chicory, with acorns and with dried figs. I know very well that it is not a sufficient guarantee to buy it unground, for an importing grocer has assured me that even the coffee beans are manufactured out of coffee grounds, and so skilfully that I could not distinguish them from the real. Yet, since I have sometimes drunk true coffee-not even continental blockade could cure me of the illusion that some places, as Mocha and Porto Rico exist."
The very fact that no exposure could stop the progress of spiritualism suggests that those who cheated and were caught attempted to imitate something which was genuinely observable but was temporarily, or totally beyond their own powers.
The ways and means of fraudulent production of phenomena has a literature of its own. Carrington aptly stated "the ingenuity of some of these methods is simply amazing, and in some respects the race between fraudulent mediums and psychical investigators has resembled that between burglars and police-to see which could outwit the other. It may be said, however, that these trick methods are now well known. To take one simple example, it may be pointed out that Mr. David O. Abbot's book Behind the Scenes with the Mediums and my own Psychical Phenomena of Spiritualism have between them explained more than a hundred different methods of fraudulent slatewriting."
With the development of the science of imposition systems of more and more efficient controls were evolved. Wooden sleeves and pants were tied on the Davenport Brothers in Bangor, U.S.A., Politi was brought before the psychical research society of Milan in a woollen sack, Mme. d'Esperance, Miss Wood and Miss Fairlamb were meshed in nets like fish to prevent masquerading during their seances of materialization, Miss Florence Cook was closed (into an electric circuit, Bailey was shut in a cage with mosquito netting in Australia, Eusapia Paladino was tied by Prof. Morselli to the couch with a thick, broad band of surgical tape the kind used in asylums to fasten down maniacs, and Rudi Schneider was under a formidable triple control in the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. From the simple method of holding the medium (one of the most efficient methods of control, by the way) to the electric indicators and infra red cameras of modern psychical research laboratories (like in the Institut Metapsychique) a long line of evolution might be traced to the point where fraud is now reduced to a negligible factor. One may safely say that to operate fraudulently under the conditions thus imposed would be a far greater marvel than the genuine phenomenon itself. This, of course, only applies to physical phenomena. As regards mental phenomena the control is more laborious and fraught with many psychological difficulties. There is no doubt, however, that persevering examination into an imposture inevitably leads to the discovery of the source of deception or delusion. It is a fact that in case of many mediums, like Mrs. Piper or Eva C., the utmost perseverance failed to furnish normal explanation. But wherever imposture was at hand far less severe tests than those to which genuine phenomena have been submitted sufficed to demonstrate the fraud. "I do not think," says Richet, "that any instance can be quoted of a medium behaving fraudulently for two years without being detected in flagrante delicto."
Myers divided the seance room phenomena in 1894, from the viewpoint of deception, into three classes:
1. The first and by far the largest class consists of tricks whose mechanism is perfectly well known as well known as the way in which the ordinary avowed conjurer produces the rabbit from the hat. These tricks, indeed, are generally on a lower level than those of the conjurer at a fair; but in spite of repeated exposures they serve, when dished up with the appropriate "patter," to deceive the great mass of wonder seekers bent on the supernatural.
2. The second class consists of phenomena somewhat similar to those of the first class, but not at present reproducible by ordinary conjurers. If these are genuine, then we may call the first class "imitations of them." If they are fraudulent, they indicate that here and there a so-called "medium" has professional secrets of his own.
3. The third class consists of a few rarely attested phenomena of which Home's fire-tests are an example, which are not only not completely imitated, but are not imitated with any kind of plausibility, by even the most accomplished conjurers. Here we have to assume either genuine phenomena, or some kind of hallucination induced in the observers in some readily imitable way.
It should be mentioned in this connection that though magicians often attempt to imitate the phenomena of Spiritualism the mediums are not known to have attempted to produce in the seance room the alleged miracles of conjuring, for instance, the Indian rope trick, but are always consistent to abide by phenomena of their own.
In the past charges of fraud often resulted from a lack of sufficient knowledge or unsuspected possibilities. Mumler, the first spirit photographer, was promptly accused of trickery when, instead of the spirit of the dead, the double of the living appeared on his plate. The famous third limbs or pseudopods of Eusapia were first put down to the operation of her hands. Ectoplasm was proved in the experiments of Dr. Crawford able to carry minute particles of fresh paint and deposit them on objects or on the medium's body. Richet admits that "there is a quasi-identity between the medium and ectoplasm, so that when an attempt is made to seize the latter a limb of the medium may be grasped; though I make a definite and formal protest against this frequent defense of doubtful phenomena by the spiritualists. More frequently the ectoplasm is independent of the medium, indeed, perhaps it is always so."
The resemblance of the materialized phantom to the medium has been a frequent source of accusation throughout the history of materializations. As a preliminary stage to the appearance of true phantoms it is very often witnessed. Conan Doyle suggested that the medium's double may serve as a pattern on which the temporary new body is built up. But he carried the suggestion too far. In pointing out that in certain exceptional cases so much ectoplasm is taken from the medium that hardly anything more is left behind than an invisible simulacrum., he conjectured that when the materialized figure is seized it may not dematerialize into the simulacrum but absorb the residue of the medium. Such explanation opens the gates of fraud wide and makes it practically impossible to bring in evidence in case of brazen fraud. It is a fact, however, that the problem is more complicated than it appears to be. Transfiguration is an accepted phenomenon and if the medium, in a state of trance, walks out of the cabinet and is grabbed in the course of personating an alien entity through adequate corporeal changes, wrought mainly by the adaptation of ectoplasm, the case, for the skeptic, is clinched. The stumbling blocks are too numerous to be dogmatically handled. Nearly all materializing mediums have been from time to time exposed by spirit grabbing. Ectoplasm was often seen to disappear, but quite often the medium was found in undergarment and without shoes, so that conscious or unconscious masquerade appeared to be incontestable.
The problem of conscious and unconscious fraud is in itself very complex. Many mediums are hysterics and when they feel their mediumistic power ebbing they cannot resist the temptation of supplementing it by artifice. Some in an extreme state of suggestibility may obey the secret urging of a hostile person. At least, this was the defense of Eusapia Paladino in an instance in Genoa before Lombroso. "When it is understood," writes Ochorowitz, "that the medium is but a mirror for reflecting and directing the nervous energies of the sitters to an ideo-plastic purpose, it will not be found surprising that suggestion should play an important part. With controllers imbued with the notion of fraud the medium will be dominated by the suggestion of fraud." Eusapia suffered so much during the production of physical phenomena that if she was not carefully watched, time and again she followed the line of least resistance and produced the desired physical movement by normal means. Geley saw himself forced to declare that "when a medium tricks the experimenters are responsible." Carrington's advice in case of genuine mediums who resort to trickery is "to say nothing but to let the medium see by one's manner that one is displeased and the phenomena evidently not convincing. If she perceives that such attempts are useless, she will settle down, pass into a trance, and genuine phenomena will be obtained."
"One may lay it down as a principle," writes Flammarion in his Mysterious Psychic Forces "that all professional mediums cheat. But they do not always cheat; and they possess real, undeniable psychic powers. Their case is nearly that of the hysterical folk under observation at the Salpetriere or elsewhere. I have seen some of them outwit with their profound craft not only Dr. Charcot, but especially Dr. Luys and all the physicians who were making a study of their cases. But because hysterics deceive and simulate it would be a gross error to conclude that hysteria does not exist."
Unconscious fraud is facilitated by the anaesthetic condition which was observed by Prof. William James in automatic writing and which may involve the medium's hands and arms to a considerable agree. At least, Professor Hyslop found this as an explanation when, with the medium's consent, he made several flashlight photographs of the production of physical phenomena. The medium was dumbfounded when the pictures were shown to her. They showed plainly that she produced every manifestation.
The unconscious impulse to cheat is sometimes quite beyond control. Mrs. Laura I. Finch, the editor of the Annals of Psychic Science, confessed that once, during a materialization seance, she felt a nearly overmastering impulse to roll up her sleeve in the cabinet and pass her arm out between the curtains.
This impulse was known at an early age. Andrew Jackson Davis adduced it as a partial explanation of the Stratford Poltergeist phenomena. The testimonial given to Henry Gordon by the Springfield Harmonial Circle in January, 1851, attempts to find an explanation when saying: "It may be stated, however, as a circumstance which seems to have been the cause of some misapprehension, that the individual referred to is highly susceptible to the magnetic power of the spirits, and that under the influence of an impression which he is unable to resist, he occasionally endeavours to perform the very action which he perceives to be in the mind of the spirit."
Here one may refer to Professor Haraldur Neilsson, of Iceland, who quotes a case in the July, 1925, Psychic Science, in which a perfectly senseless fraud was committed by one of the circle and a spirit afterwards admitted that it was done by its agency and instigation.
A state of dissociated consciousness, prompting to automatic preparations for fraud, previous to the seance, also demands consideration as a possibility. It may take the form of "post hypnotic promise" which Frank Podmore suggested in saying that in trance the medium may undertake to apport flowers in the next seance and then, in the waking state, he may buy and secret them about his person without conscious knowledge. Tissier, in his Les Reves, Paris, 1890, narrates the case of a man who repeatedly committed thefts in the daytime under the effect of a dream in the night before.
For the sake of contrast it is interesting to note the words of Edison: "There are more frauds in modern science than anywhere else. Take a whole pile of them that I can name and you will find uncertainty, if not imposition, in half of what they state as scientific truth. They have time and again set down experiments as done by them, curious, out-of-the-way experiments that they never did, and upon which they have founded so-called scientific truths. I have been thrown off my track often by them and for months at a time. Try the experiment yourself and you will find the result altogether different. "
GUIDING SPIRITS, or guardian angels, their alleged existence escapes experimental verification. According to seance room communications everyone has guiding spirits and they are nearly always relations of their charges. They have risen to a high spiritual level in the Beyond. The Daimon of Socrates who forewarned him of dangers is the best known historical claim of the existence of guiding spirits. In Theages Plato makes Socrates say:
"By the favor of the Gods I have, since my childhood, been attended by a semi-divine being whose voice, from time to time, dissuades me from some undertaking, but never directs me what I am to do."
Xenophon in the Apology for Socrates quotes him:
"This prophetic voice has been heard by me throughout my life; it is certainly more trustworthy than omens from the flight or the entrails of birds; I call it a God or a daimon. I have told my friends the warnings I have received, and up to now the voice has never been wrong."
As an instance of the Daimon's clairvoyance, F. W. H. Myers quotes in Human Personality:
"As the philosopher was in conversation with Eutyphron, he suddenly stopped and warned his friends to turn into another street. They would not listen; but misfortune overtook them-they met a drove of swine that jostled them and threw them down."
"Few facts in history possess such documentary evidence as the Daimon.."' concluded Dr. Lelut of the Institut de France (Du Demon de Socrate, 1836).
Edward Everett Hale in James Russell Lowell and His Friends writes of Josiah Quincy, 2nd (1772-1884), an American statesman:
"It is interesting to know, what I did not know till after his death, that this gallant leader of men believed that he was directed in important crises, by his own ' Daimon,' quite as Socrates believed. In the choice of his wife, which proved indeed to have been made in heaven, he knew he was so led. And in after life, he ascribed some measures of importance and success to his prompt obedience to the wise Daimon's directions."
Julian Hawthorne, the novelist writes of his mother, the wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Hawthorne and His Circle:
"My mother always affirmed that she was conscious of her mother's presence with her on momentous occasions during the remainder of her life, that is, following her mother's death."
Torquato Tasso, according to Hoole's Life of Tasso, ended his career by believing that he had a familiar spirit with whom he conversed, and from whom he learnt things which he had never read or heard of, and that indeed were unknown to other persons.
HALLUCINATION, "Percepts which lack, but which can only by a distinct reflection be recognized as lacking, the objective basis which they suggest." (Phantasms of the Living). If the sensory perception coincides with an objective occurrence or counterpart the hallucination is called veridical, truth-telling. Such is, according to the materialistic conception, the phantasm of the dying. If the apparition is seen by several people at the same time the case is collective veridical hallucination.
In the years following the foundation of the S.P.R. the hallucination theory of psychic phenomena was in great vogue. If no other explanation were available the man who had a supernormal experience was told that he was hallucinated, and if several people testified to the same occurrence, that the hallucination of one was communicated to the other. Says Sir William Crookes, in Researches into Spiritualism: "The supposition that there is a sort of mania or delusion which suddenly attacks a whole roomful of intelligent persons who are quite sane elsewhere, and that they all concur, to the minutest particulars, in the details of the occurrences of which they suppose themselves to be witnesses, seems to my mind more incredible than even the facts which they attest."
At present such an authority as Professor Richet cuts hallucination completely out of his discussion of metapsychical phenomena. He believes that the term should be reserved to describe a morbid state when a mental image is exteriorized without any exterior reality. "It is extremely rare," he says, "that a person who is neither ill, nor drunk, nor hypnotized should, in the waking state, have an auditory, visual or tactile illusion of things that in no way exist. The opinion of alienists that hallucination is the chief sign of mental derangement, and the infallible characteristic of insanity seems to me well grounded. With certain exceptions (for every rule there are exceptions) a normal healthy individual when fully awake does not have hallucinations. If he sees apparitions these correspond to some external reality or other. In the absence of any external reality there are no hallucinations but those of the insane and of alcoholics."
If Prof. Richet is right, the following case of Sir John Heschel is not so clear after all. He had been watching with some anxiety the demolition of a familiar building. On the following day at evening, but in good light, he passed the spot where it had stood. "Great was my amazement to see it," he wrote, "as if still standing, projected against the dull sky. I walked on, and the perspective of the form and disposition of the parts appeared to change as they would have done if real."
From simple apparition to the theory of "local hallucination" to explain haunting is a very far cry. Edmund Gurney suggested that a person thinking of a given place which is at the time actually experienced in sense perception by some other persons, may obtain thereby to such a community of consciousness with the other persons as to be able, under some unknown circumstances, to impart into the consciousness of a second person, in the guise of hallucination, a thought existing in his own.
Of course, the testimony of registering-apparatus and photographs will rule out the hallucination theory at once. It is no longer a subject of dispute that in the seance room supernormal phenomena indeed occur. In haunted houses the position is more complicated as the phenomena there do not lend themselves to experimental reproduction. Moreover, for apparitions one is generally not prepared. Nevertheless, if objects are displaced the theory of hallucination becomes at once untenable. As Andrew Lang writes in Cock Lane and Common Sense: "Hallucinations cannot draw curtains, or open doors, or pick up books, or tuck in bedclothes or cause thumps."
The hallucinations of the mentally deranged, of the sick, drunk, or drugged do not compare with psychical experiences. They are not veridical, or telepathic, and not collective.
In the Census of Hallucination (Proc. 1894) the committee excluded, so far as possible, all pathological subjects. Mr. J. G. Piddington (Proc. Vol. XIX) in testing this census for cases that would show the same nature as hallucinations arising from visceral diseases came to the conclusion that there was not a single case in the census report which falls into line with the visceral type.
On the other hand, hypnotic hallucinations offer ground for thought. The hypnotized subject may see apparitions if so suggested and may not see ordinary men who are in the same room. But he may hear the noises which they make, see the movement of objects which they touch and may be frightened by what appears to him to be poltergeist phenomena. And if the suggestion is post-hypnotic he may see a phantom shape on a signal or at the prescribed time.
The visions seen by some people on the verge of sleep were called "hypnogogic hallucinations" by Myers. The after-images on waking from sleep he named "hypnopompic hallucinations." A comprehensive study of both classes of phenomena was published by G. E. Leaning in Proc. Vol. XXXV, 1926.
The difference between hallucination and illusion is that there is an objective basis for the illusion, which is falsely interpreted. In hallucination, though more than one sense may be affected, there is no external basis for the perception.
HOME, DANIEL DUNGLAS (1833-1886), the greatest physical medium in the history of modern spiritualism. There was a certain mystery about his parentage. According to his own footnote in Incidents of My Life his father was a natural son of Alexander, the tenth Earl of Home. Through his mother he was descended from a Highland family in which the traditional gift of second sight had been preserved. He was a sensitive, delicate child of a highly nervous temperament and of such weak health that he was not expected to live. Adopted by Mrs. McNeill Cook, a childless aunt, he passed his infancy at Portobello, Scotland, his youth in America in Greeneville, Conn., and Troy, N.Y. It was noticed that he had keen powers of observation and a prodigious memory. He saw his first vision at the age of 13. His schoolfellow, Edwin, died in Greeneville and appeared to him in a bright cloud at night in Troy, thus keeping a childish promise with which they had bound themselves that he who should die first should appear to the other. The second vision came four years later. It announced the death of his mother to the hour.
From that time onwards his thoughts turned more and more to the life beyond. One night he heard loud, unaccountable blows. Next morning a volley of raps. His aunt, remembering the Rochester rappings that were then two years old, believed him to be possessed of the devil and called in turn for a Congregationalist, a Baptist and a Wesleyan minister for exorcism. This, being unsuccessful, she turned him out of doors. Thenceforward, though he never asked or received direct payment, Home appears to have been living on the hospitality of friends attracted by his curious gift. The intelligence behind the raps was soon discovered. The first scientist to investigate the phenomena and the communications thus received was Prof. George Bush, a distinguished theologian and Oriental scholar of New York. The celebrated American poet, Bryant and Prof. Wells of the University of Harvard, testified in a written statement to the reality of the phenomena. Prof. Hare and Prof. Mapes, both famous chemists, and judge Edmonds of the United States Supreme Court owed much of their conversion to spiritualism to the young man of frail health whose fame now began to spread. The first levitation of Home occurred in the South Manchester house of Ward Cheney, an eminent
American manufacturer. Strains of music were heard when no instrument was near. Nobody understood at that time the part which the physical organism plays in the production of the phenomena. The claims made on Home were very heavy, the drain of nervous energy excessive. His intended medical studies had to be broken off owing to illness and a trip to Europe being advised, Home, in April, 1855, landed in England.
He first stayed at Cox's Hotel in Jermyn Street, London, and was later the guest of Mr. J. S. Rymer, an Ealing solicitor. While in America his name was spelt Hume, he was known now as Home. According to Mme. Home's biography the name was always Home but it was pronounced Hoom. The conversion of many of the later leaders of the spiritualist movement in England was due to Home's phenomena. No sooner had they attracted public attention when Home found himself in the midst of a Press warfare. Among the first who asked Home to attend a seance was Lord Brougham. He came with Sir David Brewster. Home was proud of the deep impression he produced upon these two distinguished men and wrote about it to a friend in America. The letter was published in America and found its way to the London Press whereupon Sir David Brewster at once disclaimed all belief in spiritualism and set down the phenomena to imposture. As this, however, contradicted his statements in private, these statements also found their way into the Press and have, to a considerable degree, discredited his attitude, the more so as Lord Brougham preserved silence and Sir David Brewster did not even attempt to refer to his testimony. More harm was done to Home's reputation by Robert Browning's poem, Mr. Sludge, the Medium, which was generally taken to refer to Home, as Browning, together with his wife, who accepted spiritualism, attended seances with Home. Yet he never claimed in public to have caught Home at trickery and in private admitted that imposture was out of the question.
Other famous men of the day, as Lord Lytton and Thackeray, never spoke of their experiences in public. Thackeray was very incredulous. He made Home's acquaintance in America when he lectured there. Both there and in London he availed himself of every opportunity of control. He admitted to have found a genuine mystery and warmly endorsed Robert Bell's anonymous article "Stranger than Fiction" published in the Cornhill Magazine which he then edited. The account of Robert Bell of a seance with Home started with a quotation of Dr. Treviranus to Coleridge: "I have seen what I would not have believed on your testimony, and what I cannot therefore, expect you to believe upon mine." Thackeray was bitterly attacked for the publication of the article and it was said that the Cornhill Magazine lost considerably in circulation as a consequence.
In the early autumn of 1855 Home went to Florence to visit Mr. and Mrs. Trollope. His name and fame soon spread there, too. Rumours arose among the peasants that he was a necromancer, who administered the sacraments of the Church to toads in order to raise the dead by spells and incantations. This may explain the attempt which was made against his life .on December 5, 1855. A man lay in wait for him late at night and struck him three times with a dagger. Home had a narrow escape. The would-be murderer was never arrested but Home was warned the following month by Signor Landucci, Minister of the Interior to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, of his sinister reputation among the populace. About this time he was told by the spirits that his power would leave him for a year. In this state of seclusion from supernormal contact, Catholic influences found an easy inroad into his religious ideas. He became a convert to Catholicism and decided to enter a monastery. He was received by Pius IX and treated with favor. Home, however, soon faltered and left Italy for Paris, where, exactly to a day from the announced suspension, his powers returned. The news reached the French Court and Napoleon III summoned him to the Tuilleries.
The story of the seance was not made public. The curiosity of the Press was aroused, as the first seance was followed by many others. There is an account, however, in Home's autobiography according to which Napoleon followed every manifestation with keen and skeptical attention and satisfied himself by the closest scrutiny that neither deception nor delusion was possible. His and the Empress' unspoken thoughts were replied to and the Empress was touched by a materialized hand in which, from a defect in one of the fingers, she recognized that of her late father. The second seance was still more forceful. The room was shaken, heavy tables were lifted and glued down to the floor by an alteration of their weight. At the third seance a phantom hand appeared above the table, lifted a pencil and wrote the single word "Napoleon" in the autograph of Napoleon I. As Prince Murat related later to Home, the Duke de Morny told the Emperor that he felt it a duty to contradict the report that the Emperor believed in spiritualism. The Emperor replied "Quite right, but you may add when you speak on the subject again that there is a difference between believing a thing and having proof of it, and that I am certain of what I have seen." When, soon after these seances, Home left Paris for America, rumours were rife that his departure was compulsory. The truth was that the Empress had offered to take Home's sister under her protection and educate her at her expense and Home went to America to bring her over. On his return he was speedily summoned to Fontainebleau where the King of Bavaria was another interested party to the seance. Home was in great power at the time and so much sought after that the Union Club, where the jeunesse doree congregated, offered him 50,000 francs for a single seance. Home refused. A book, privately printed in France, records the strange experiences which high society had at this time with Home's mediumship.
Earlier, in Italy, Home was introduced to the King of Naples. The German Emperor and the Queen of Holland soon joined the ranks of the curious who were besieging Home with requests for seances. While enjoying the benevolence of crowned heads and the highest members of the aristocracy Home had to wage a desperate struggle against the scandal-mongers. Fantastic stories began to circulate as soon as he left Paris and while he was regaining his shattered health in Italy it was rumoured that he was in the prison of Mazas. Henri Delange, the author, on receiving a letter from the unsuspecting Home from Rome, was instrumental in laying the calumny in Le Nord.
In Rome, in the Spring of 1858, Home was introduced to Count Koucheleff-Besborodka and his wife. Not many days after he became engaged to Mlle. Alexandrina de Kroll, the' Count's sister-in-law. The wedding took place in St. Petersburg. It was a great society affair. Count Alexis Tolstoy, the poet, and Count Bobrinsky, one of the Chamberlains of the Emperor acted as groomsmen, Alexander Dumas, the guest of Count Koucheleff-Besborodka, was one of the witnesses. Dumas was disappointed when Emperor Alexander II sent a request to Home to present himself at Peterhoff but then consoled himself with the grandiose remark: "There are many crowned heads in Europe but there is only one Alexander Dumas." Many of Dumas' fantastic stories about spirits entering into inanimate objects, derive their source from Home's mediumship. In Russia, as well as in many other countries, queer rumours circulated as regards Home's mysterious powers. It was said that he had a great number of cats to sleep with him, and by this means his body became so charged with electricity that he could produce raps at pleasure (!) In Paris the favorite story was that he carried a trained monkey in his pocket to twitch dresses and shake hands during the seances(!) From chloroforming and magnetising the sitters, to the magic lantern, and secret police to obtain information for the sittings, every sort of explanation was attempted while none of them could vie in ingenuity with this of an old woman in America: "Lor, sirs, it's easy enough, he only rubs himself all over with a gold pencil first."
From the marriage a son was born to Home. Shortly after he returned to England. Friends tried to bring about a meeting between him and Faraday, the famous electrician, the proponent of the involuntary muscular action theory to explain table movement whose stubborn attitude to face certain facts was strongly criticized #by A. R. Wallace and Professor De Morgan. Faraday, as the Morning Star reported, was not satisfied with demanding an open and complete examination, but wished Home to acknowledge that the phenomena, however produced, were ridiculous and contemptible. Thereafter, the idea of giving him a sitting was abandoned. More satisfaction was derived by Home from his experiences with Dr. Ashburner, one of the Royal physicians and Dr. John Elliotson, F.R.S., sometime president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, a character-study of whom, as Dr. Goodenough, was drawn by Thackeray in Pendennis and to whom the work was dedicated. When Dr. Ashburner became a believer in' spiritualism Dr. Elliotson, who was one of the hardest materialists, became estranged from him and publicly attacked him for his folly. A few years later, however, in Dieppe, Home and Elliotson met, the result was a seance, a strict investigation and the complete conversion of Dr. Elliotson. On his return to London he hastened to seek reconciliation with Dr. Ashburner and publicly declared that he was satisfied of the reality of the phenomena and that they were tending to revolutionise his thoughts and feelings on almost every subject.
Another headstrong dogmatist whose belief was radically changed through Home's phenomena was Robert Chambers, co-author, with Leitch Ritchie, of the anonymous Vestiges of Creation which startled the public by its outspoken skepticism. He attended the seance of which Robert Bell wrote in the Cornhill Magazine. But he was too afraid of his reputation to make a public statement, though he received startling evidences of continued personal identity from his father and daughter. Nevertheless, he undertook to write anonymously the preface to Home's autobiography in 1862. Eight years later, during the Lyon-Home trial, he abandoned his attitude of reserve and gave an affidavit in Home's favor.
For a time during the years of 1859-60 Home gave frequent joint seances with the American medium, J. R. M. Squire, one of the editors of the Boston Banner of Light. Squire was introduced to London society under Home's auspices and later in the year he was presented at Court.
Home's wife died in July, 1862. Six months later his book Incidents in My Life was published. It attracted widespread notice in the Press. The Morning Herald remarked: "We must note also the strangeness of the fact that Mr. Home has never been detected, if indeed he is an impostor."
The book sold very well. A second edition was published in a very few months. This, however, did not relieve the pecuniary difficulties Home began to feel. Relatives disputed his right of inheritance to the fortune of his wife and looking about for a means of livelihood he decided to develop his keen artistic perceptions. He hoped to become a sculptor and went to Rome to study. The Papal Government, however, did not forgive the breaking of his promise to enter a monastery. In January, 1864, he was summoned before the chief of the Roman police and ordered, on the ground of sorcery, to quit Rome within three days. Home claimed the protection of the English Consul and the order of expulsion was suspended on his promising that, during his stay in Rome, he would have no seance and would avoid, as much as possible, all conversations upon spiritualism. As, however, the manifestations were beyond his control, he was soon ordered to quit the Papal territory. He left for Naples where he was received by Prince Humbert, and returned in April to London to demand diplomatic representations on the subject of his expulsion. There was a debate in the House of Commons, but no representation was resolved upon.
Soon after, Home made another trip to America and there became filled with hope that he might achieve success as a reader. He had undoubted talents as a stage reciter. His public rendering of Henry Howard Brownell's poems was very well received, and on returning to Europe he started on this new career with a lecture on spiritualism in London. His health, however, would not stand the strain. Friends came to the rescue with the post of residential secretary at the foundation of the Spiritual Athenaeum, a kind of headquarters for London spiritualists. With the advent of Mrs. Lyon's adoption proposal Home resigned and soon afterwards the institution expired. Mrs. Lyon was a wealthy widow. She took a fancy to Home and proposed to adopt him if he added her name to his own, in which case she was prepared to settle a handsome fortune upon him. Home assented and changed his name to Home-Lyon. Mrs. Lyon transferred £60,000 to Home's account and drew up a will in his favor. Later she repented her action and sued him for the recovery of her money on the basis that she was influenced by spirit communications coming through Home from her late husband. Home, when on the point of leaving for Germany, was arrested. He was liberated the following day on depositing in the Court of Chancery the deeds of gift relating to the £60,000. In spite of weighty testimony against Mrs. Lyon's credibility, the court put the onus of proof on the defendant and refused to accept it, denouncing the belief in spiritualism as "mischievous nonsense, well calculated on the one hand to delude the vain, the weak, the foolish, and the superstitious, and on the other to assist the projects of the needy and of the adventurer." Though in the judgment Vice- Chancellor Gifford branded the plaintiffs "misstatements so perversely untrue that they have embarrassed the Court to a great degree" Home did not appeal, as public sentiment and the Press were against him when, in May 1868, the judgment was delivered. While the suit was in progress an attempt was made against his life. He parried the blow of the assassin's stiletto with his hand which was pierced. The fantastic stories that were then and later on circulated are best illustrated by a reminiscence in the New York World on the report of his death, that Mrs. Lyon had a false left hand and Home actually made her believe that by mediumistic power he could create life in the artificial limb.
Of the years 1867-69 we have important records of Home's phenomena in Lord Adare's Experiences with D. D. Home in Spiritualism. The book was printed for private circulation and contains the account of eighty seances. In 1869 an important event took place. The Dialectical Society appointed a committee for the investigation of spiritualistic phenomena. The committee before which Home appeared had some of the most incredulous members of the society on its list, among others Mr. Bradlaugh and Dr. Edmunds. Four seances were held, but owing to Home's illness the manifestations did not extend beyond slight raps and movements of the table. The committee reported that nothing material had occurred, but added that "during the inquiry Mr. Home afforded every facility for examination."
The most important phase in the history of D. D. Home's mediumship began when Sir William Crookes entered the arena. His investigations commenced in May, 1871, and were highly acclaimed by the Press. His verdict as regards the occurrence of the phenomena was in the affirmative.
Previous to this investigation other important events had taken place in the life of D. D. Home. He gained the lawsuit for his deceased wife's fortune, became engaged to an aristocratic lady of wealth and gave several seances in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. During a lecture on spiritualism he referred to some particulars of a seance held in the presence of a distinguished professor of the University of St. Petersburg. At the end of the lecture Prof. Boutlerof rose from his place and announced that he was the investigator to whom Home had referred. This dramatic scene was followed by an investigation of a committee of five from the University. The result was negative, as Home's powers were then, owing to recurring illness, at an ebb.
In 1872 Home published the second series of his Incidents in My Life, including the principal affidavits in the Lyon law-suit, and in 1873 he brought out his Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism. - His opinions on -fraudulent mediumship and his protest against holding seances in the dark were bitterly resented by other mediums. They said, with some justification, that he had little experience of the powers of others. Mrs. Jencken, the former Miss Kate Fox, was the only medium with whom he was friendly. On a few occasions he sat jointly with William Stainton Moses. After the first such sitting on December 22, 1872, Moses wrote in his notebook: "Mr. D. D. Home is a striking-looking man. His head is a good one. He shaves his face with the exception of a moustache, and his hair is bushy and curly. He gives me the impression of an honest, good person whose intellect is not of high order. I had some talk with him, and the impression that I have formed of his intellectual ability is not high. He resolutely refuses to believe in anything that he has not seen for himself. For ' instance, he refuses to believe in the passage of matter through matter, and when pressed concludes the argument by saying "I have never seen it." He has seen the ring test, but oddly enough, does not see how it bears on the question. He accepts the theory of the return in rare instances of the departed, but believes with me that most of the manifestations proceed from a low order of spirits who hover near the earth sphere. He does not believe in Mrs. Guppy's passage through matter, nor in her honesty. He thinks that regular manifestations are not' possible. Consequently he disbelieves in public mediums generally. He said he was thankful to know that his mantle had fallen on me, and urged me to prosecute the inquiry and defend the faith. He is a thoroughly good, honest, weak and very vain man, with little intellect, and no ability to argue, or defend his faith."
Whether it was owing to failing health, or the influence of his aristocratic wife, he slowly broke with nearly all of his friends and spent most of his time on the Continent. In 1876 his death was falsely reported in the French Press. In declining health he lived for ten more years and died on June 21, 1886. His grave is at St. Germain, Paris, and his tombstone is inscribed "To another discerning of Spirits." In the Canongate of Edinburgh there is a fountain erected to his memory. It is not known who erected it nor why it was placed opposite the Canongate Parish Church.
Excepting apports and direct voice, Home produced every known physical phenomenon. In an undeveloped state he possessed the latter power, too. Faint whisperings were sometimes heard in his seances, but of single words only. He was mostly in a normal state during the phenomena but went into trance during the fire test, elongations, and occasionally during levitations.
In the spirit teachings delivered through Home's mouth by his control we find manifest absurdities. The control, criticizing the slight knowledge of scientists says that the sun is covered with a beautiful vegetation and full of organic life. When Lord Adare asks: "Is not the sun hot?" he answers "No, the sun is cold; the heat is produced and transmitted to the earth by the rays of light passing through various atmospheres."
Lord Adare, as Earl of Dunraven, gives Home, in the 1925 edition of Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home, the following character: "He had the defects of an emotional character, with vanity highly developed (perhaps wisely to enable him to hold his own against the ridicule and obloquy that was then poured out upon spiritualism and everyone connected with it). He was liable to fits of great depression and to nervous crises difficult at first to understand; but he was withal of a simple, kindly, humorous, lovable disposition that appealed to me. He never took money for seances failed as often as not. He was proud of his gift but not happy in it. He could not control it and it placed him sometimes in very unpleasant positions. I think he would have been pleased to have been relieved of it, but I believe he was subject to these manifestations as long as he lived."
Sir William Crookes summed up his opinion as follows: "During the whole of my knowledge of D. D. Home, extending for several years, I never once saw the slightest occurrence that would make me suspicious that he was attempting to play tricks. He was scrupulously sensitive on this point, and never felt hurt at anyone taking precautions against deception. To those who knew him Home was one of the most lovable of men and his perfect genuineness and uprightness were beyond suspicion."
Frank Podmore, a most skeptical psychical researcher, says of Home in his Modern Spiritualism: "A remarkable testimony to Home's ability whether as medium or simply as conjurer, is the position which he succeeded in maintaining in society at this time (1861) and indeed throughout his later life, and the respectful treatment accorded to him by many leading organs of the Press. No money was ever taken by him as the price of a sitting; and he seemed to have had the entree to some of the most aristocratic circles in Europe. He was welcomed in the houses of our own and of foreign nobility, was a frequent guest at the Tuilleries, and had been received by the King of Prussia and the Czar. So strong, indeed, was his position that he was able to compel an ample apology from a gentleman who had publicly expressed doubts of his mediumistic performance (Capt. Noble in the Sussex Advertiser of March 23, 1864) and to publish a violent and spiteful attack upon Browning on the occasion of the publication of Sludge (Spiritual Magazine, 1864, p. 315). His expulsion from Rome in 1864 on the charge of sorcery gave to Home for the time an international importance."
He further stated: "Home was never publicly exposed as an impostor; there is no evidence of any weight that he was even privately detected in trickery."
Between the publication of his Modern Spiritualism and The Newer Spiritualism in 1910 he nevertheless succeeded in unearthing a single piece of "evidence" of imposture in a letter from Mr. Merrifield, dated August, 1855, and printed in the Journal S.P.R. 1903 in which the writer claims to have noticed that the medium's body or shoulder sank or rose in concordance with the movements of a spirit hand and to have seen afterwards "the whole connection between the medium's shoulder and arm and the spirit hand dressed out on the end of his own." This slender and remote clue was sufficient for Podmore to talk of Home as a practiced conjurer who dictated his own conditions in the experiments and produced his feats by trickery. The only admission Podmore makes is this final conclusion: "We don't quite see how some of the things were done and we leave the subject with an almost painful sense of bewilderment."
Special books on D. D. Home, besides his own two volumes: Mme. Home: D. D. Home, His Life and Mission, 1877, and The Gift of D. D. Home, 1890; Dr. J. Garth Wilkinson: Evenings with Mr. Home and the Spirits, 1855; J. C. Chevalier: Experiences in Spiritualism or the Adjuration of Spirits, by a late member of Mr. Home's Spiritual Athaeneum, 1867; J. Snaith Rymer: Spirit Manifestations, 1857; Lord Adare: Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home, 1869; Patrick Alexander: Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion, 1871; Edward W. Cox: Spiritualism Answered by Science, 1871. The Home Life of Sir David Brewster, 1869, by Mrs. Gordon; Fitzgerald Molloy's The Romance of Royalty, 1904, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning-Letters to her Sister, London, 1929, contain further interesting accounts.
HYPERAESTHESIA, superacuity of the normal senses. It is frequently noticed with hysterics. They may feel a piece of wire on their hands as heavy as a bar of iron. In its phenomenal appearance hyperaesthesia is often difficult to distinguish from telepathy or clairvoyance. Theoretically the dividing line is that hyperaesthesia is a peripheral perception. Telepathy or clairvoyance is a central perception which does not reach us through the end organs. In practice it is difficult to decide whether the perception takes place through the end organs or not. Prof. Gilbert Murray conducted telepathic experiments by placing himself in a different room from the sensitive and having a sentence spoken to him in a very low voice. The sensitive in the other room reproduced the sentence. The English S.P.R. considered this a case of telepathy. Richet considers it exceptional auditory hyperaesthesia. Similarly the sudden movements which save people from failing masonry in the street may be due to a subconscious hearing of an almost inaudible sound as a consequence of which an urgent impulse is sent up to the motor centers. Boirac recorded interesting cases of tactile and visual hyperaesthesia. His subject read with his finger tips in complete darkness. Being bandaged, his back turned to Boirac, but holding his elbow he could also read if Boirac passed his own finger-tips along the lines of a newspaper. It did not make the least difference if Boirac closed his eyes. Another subject could tell the time from a watch wrapped up in a handkerchief. Mme. M., before the Medical Society of Tamboff, could tell the colors of thirty flasks wrapped in paper and placed under a thick cloth. One cannot help feeling that the theory of retinal superacuity is, in such cases, pushed too far. A further complication in the way of explanation is that Mme. Tamboff could taste by the sense of touch. Braid, in some hypnotic patients, found the olfactory sense so acute that by the smell of a glove they could unhesitatingly and unerringly detect its owner in a large company. It is very questionable whether auditory hyperaesthesia could explain the astounding phonic imitations he observed: patients repeating accurately what was spoken in any language, or singing correctly in any language which they had never heard before. "A patient of mine who, when awake, knew not the grammar even of her own language, and who had very little knowledge of music, was enabled to follow Mlle. Jenny Lind correctly in songs in different languages, giving both words and music so correctly and simultaneously with jenny Lind, that two parties in the room could not for some time imagine that there were two voices, so perfectly did they accord, both in musical tone and vocal pronunciation of Swiss, German and Italian songs."
HYPNOTISM, "an empirical development of sleep (Myers); a peculiar state of consciousness, artificially induced, which liberates subconscious powers in the subject, puts him en rapport with the hypnotiser, makes him accept and meticulously execute any of his suggestions, whether hypnotic or post-hypnotic, which do not conflict with deeper instincts of self-preservation and morality, and produces strange physiological effects as anaesthesia and the remarkable control over organic processes of the body. Ordinary sleep is unstable and irresponsive, waking is easy and questions are unheeded. In hypnotic sleep the waking, stimuli are strongly resisted, the sleeper hears and answers. Its stages have been variously defined, mostly as a result of individual practice.
The three classical states of hypnotism are thus described by Dr. Paul Joire:
1. Lethargy, the state of complete relaxation with variable amount of anaesthesia, with neuro-muscular excitation as its fundamental characteristic. In this state the subject has the eyes closed and is generally only slightly open to suggestion.
2. Catalepsy, the eyes are open, the subject is as though petrified in the position which he occupies. Anaesthesia is complete, and there is no sign of intelligence. Immobility is characteristic of this state.
3. Somnambulism. The condition of the eyes varies, the subject appears to sleep. Simple contact or stroking along any limb is sufficient to render that limb rigid. Suggestibility is the main characteristic of this state. The somnambulistic state presents three degrees:
(i) Waking somnambulism, slight passivity with diminution of the will and augmentation of suggestibility.
(ii) The second personality begins to take the place of the normal one. Torpor of consciousness and memory. Sensibility decreases.
(iii) Complete anaesthesia. Disappearance of consciousness and memory. Inclination to peculiar muscular rigidity.
It is very likely that the depth of hypnotic sleep may infinitely vary. Distinct trains of memory may correspond to each stage, presenting alternating personalities of a shallow type. The means to induce the hypnotic state differ. In many cases simple suggestion will do, even from a distance; in others passes and the close proximity of the hypnotiser will be necessary. Some subjects feel the old mesmerizer's influence, some do not. The implicit obedience to suggestion has great therapeutical and psychological significance. Bad habits may be improved, phobias, manias, criminal propensities, diseases cured, inhibitions removed, pain banished, the ordinary working of defective senses restored, the ordinary senses vivified, an increased intelligence and ability in professional pursuits result and new senses of perception developed. Subconscious calculation discloses flashes of mathematical genius and the rapport once established the possibility is open for the development of supernormal faculties. The subject may see clairvoyantly, give psychometric descriptions, see into the future, read the past, make spiritual excursions to distant places, hear and see events occurring there and give correct medical diagnoses. Dr. Osty believes that the number of hypnotizable subjects is getting less and less and, as a proof of his contention, refers in the Revue Metapsychique, November-December, 1930, to the similar experiences of Dr. Berillon, Prof. Richet and M. Emile Magnin.
The nature of the hypnotic trance is unknown. Its relation to the mediumistic trance is of absorbing interest. The first essential difference is that the mediumistic trance is voluntary and self-induced, though hypnotism, for the purpose of relieving the medium from the attendant physiological suffering, is sometimes employed to bring it about. Dr. Ochorowitz saved Mlle. Tomczyk much exhaustion by hypnotizing her. Mme. Bisson similarly facilitated the materialization phenomena of Eva C. Kathleen Goligher was hypnotized by Dr. Crawford, the Didier Brothers were always accompanied by a magnetiser and the mediumship of Andrew Jackson Davis was initiated by hypnotic clairvoyance. Generally, if the hypnotized subject is a medium, he exhibits faculties of a far more transcendental character than ordinary subjects. Ordinary faculties of clairvoyance will progress to traveling clairvoyance and it is very likely that many of the wonderful phenomena of early mesmerizers was due to the fact that their subjects, unknown to them, were mediums.
The hypnotized subject has great powers of personation. But he does not claim, unless so suggested, communication with the dead. In the mediumistic trance such suggestion does not work. Those whose appearance is yearned for often do not communicate at all, many strangers come and go and all the controls exhibit a distinct personality far surpassing in variety the imitative efforts of any hypnotized subject. If they were subjective creations of the medium's mind they would not exhibit those special peculiarities by which the sitters establish their identity with their departed friends. The hypnotic self is sincere and does not exhibit such diabolic cunning as the personation of hundreds of individuals and the acquisition of facts deeply buried in the subconscious or totally unknown to the sitters.
The hypnotic personality has an uncanny sense of time. The spirit controls, on the other hand, are very vague and uncertain on this point. Their messages are not exactly located in time, and are sometimes borne out by past or near future happenings.
Professor William James made many attempts to see whether Mrs. Piper's medium-trance had any community of nature with ordinary hypnotic trance. The first two attempts to hypnotize her failed but after the fifth attempt she had become a pretty good hypnotic subject "as far as muscular phenomena and automatic imitations of speech and gesture go; but I could not affect her consciousness, or otherwise get her beyond this point. Her condition in this semi-hypnosis is very different from her medium-trance. The latter is characterized by great muscular unrest, even her ears moving vigorously in a way impossible to her in her waking state, but in hypnosis her muscular relaxation and weakness are extreme. She often makes several efforts to speak before her voice becomes audible; and to get a strong contraction of the hand, for example, express manipulation and suggestion must be practiced. Her pupils contract in the medium-trance. Suggestions to the control that he should make her recollect after the medium-trance what she had been saying were accepted, but had no result. In the hypnotic trance such a suggestion will often make the patient remember all that has happened."
IDENTITY of spirit communicators is a comparatively recent problem. In olden times every spirit voice was considered the voice of God or of the devil. The prophets communed with God. Mediums commune with spirits. God could not be asked to prove his identity, the spirits have to. But John the Apostle said: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
It has been generally admitted that in Mrs. Piper's seances over and again far better evidence of identity has been adduced than any ordinary telephonic conversation with someone living could adduce. However, the opponents of the spirit hypothesis argued that "in the latter case we know that an intelligent operator is present, we do not have to prove that. But in the former case we have to prove the very existence of the intelligent operator; hence the standard of evidence must be far higher."
What kind of evidence can stand the supreme test? Aksakof, the well-known Russian spiritualist, said in despair: "Absolute proof of spirit identity is impossible to obtain; we must be content with relative proof." The critical spirit of Richet echoes the same opinion: "Subjective metapsychics will always be radically incapable of proving survival."
According to Sir Oliver Lodge the question of identity in spirit communication can be established (1) by gradually accumulated internal evidence, based on pertinacious and careful record; (2) by cross correspondences or the reception of unintelligible parts of one consistent and coherent message, through different mediums; (3) by information or criteria specially characteristic of the supposed communicating intelligence, and if possible, in some sense new to the world.
Ingenious efforts to furnish proof have been variously made in sealed letter tests, book tests, newspaper tests and cross references. The human element of the problem is well illustrated by an amusing experiment of Sir Oliver Lodge as told by Dennis Bradley in The Wisdom of the Gods. Lodge has twelve children, who sat around him at the table. "Now, let's play a game," he said. "You will pretend that I am dead, and you cross-examine me as to whether I am your father or not. Ask me all the questions that you think would prove it." For an hour they asked him about things in his past life and theirs and he couldn't remember one of the things they could remember. So, at the end, he said "That proves it's not me. I'm not your father."
The communicator is mostly in the background. He acts as a prompter in the theatre. The automatic script or trance speech delivered through the medium seldom represents his own hand or his own voice. The medium's organism acts like a freshly painted sieve, it tints whatever it lets through. Besides, communication is an art itself and has its own inherent difficulties. (See: Communication). Direct voice seances, materialization in good light, life-like personation of the departed or the transfiguration of the medium which afford more dramatic evidence with less opportunity for self-deception are comparatively rare.
With ancient names or historic personalities the problem of establishing the identity of the communicator is almost hopeless. Impersonation is of frequent occurrence. Imperator says in a script of Stainton Moses: "There is much insanity among lower spirits. The assumption of, great names, when it is not the work of conscious deceivers, is the product of insanity. The spirit imagines itself to be some great one, fancies how he would act, and so projects his imaginings on the sphere of the medium's consciousness." If the informations that are claimed as proofs of identity as regards famous personages are verifiable it cannot be proved that they were inaccessible to the medium's subconsciousness or to his powers of clairvoyance. It should also be borne in mind that Rector, one of Stainton Moses' controls, had the power of reading books. This opens up a storehouse of pertinent information for so-called deceiving spirits. (See: Communication).
Theoretically, therefore, the difficulties are almost insurmountable. Practically, the human element, the complexity of life, often provides very strong assumptions in favor of identity.
One of the earliest cases of complete identity proof is registered by the Rev. J. B. Ferguson in his Spirit Communion. O. F. Parker died on August 5, 1854, at St. Louis. On the following day at Maryville, Kentucky, Mrs. Ferguson was controlled by his spirit. Part of the communication was: "My books I ordered to be sold to defray my funeral expenses; but it was not done. I am afraid, too, that there will be some flaw picked in my life policy, and if so I wish you to order my books to be sold to pay my debts, and if they fail, do not fail then from any delicacy of feeling to write to my mother, and she will have all properly settled. The policy is now in the hands of Mr. Hitchcock." The Rev. Ferguson states that until the communication the only account they had of his cousin's decease was a short telegram. As every detail was found correct he considered the evidence of identity overwhelming.
C. H. Foster was visited in 1874 in San Francisco by the Hon. Charles E. de Long, a perfect stranger to him. He said he had a message for "Ida" and asked the visitor if this name meant anything to him. It was his wife. Foster asked him to bring her and when she came he wrote automatically the following: "To my daughter Ida. Ten years ago I entrusted a large sum to Thomas Madden to invest for me in certain lands. After my death he failed to account for the investment to my executors. The money was invested and 1,250 acres of land were bought, and one half of this land now belongs to you. I paid Madden on account of my share of the purchase 650 dollars. He must be made to make a settlement. Your father, Vineyard."
The story proved to be true. Madden admitted the commission and made restitution.
A very often-quoted case in Spiritualistic literature is the case of the steam-roller suicide. The notes of Stainton Moses are as follows: "February 20, 1874. Dr. and Mrs. Speer and I dined with Mrs. Gregory, to meet the Baron du Potet, the celebrated magnetist and spiritualist. Mr. Percival was of the party. During dinner I was conscious of a strange influence in the room and mentioned the fact. The Baron had previously magnetized me very strongly, and had rendered me more than usually clairvoyant. He also recognized a spirit in the room, but thought it was the spirit of a living person. After dinner, when we got upstairs, I felt an uncontrollable inclination to write, and I asked the Baron to lay his hand upon my arm. It began to move very soon and I fell into a deep trance. As far as I can gather from the witnesses, the hand then wrote out "I killed myself today." This was preceded by a very rude drawing, and then "Under steam-roller, Baker Street, medium passed," (i.e. W.S.M.) was written. At the same time I spoke in the trance and rose and apparently motioned something away, saying "Blood" several times. This was repeated and the spirit asked for prayer. Mrs. G. said a few words of prayer, and I came out of the trance at last, feeling very unwell. On the following day Dr. Speer and I walked down Baker Street and asked the policeman on duty if any accident had occurred there. He told us that a man had been killed by the steam-roller at 9 a.m. and that he himself had helped to carry the body to Marylebone Workhouse."
The only flaw in this case is that the Pall Mall Gazette published a short account of the suicide the same evening and this may have been subconsciously seen by the medium. The name was not known, nor was it disclosed in Moses' experience.
Isaac Funk, the New York editor, handed a letter to Mrs. Piper containing the word "mother." Mrs. Piper gave the Christian name of Mr. Funk's mother, told him that she was walking on only one leg and asked: "Don't you remember that needle?" She hurt herself by thrusting a needle into her foot. Mrs. Piper also described a grandson, Chester, of whom Funk knew nothing. On inquiry, however, he found out that a grandson of this name died twenty years previously.
Dr. Joseph Vezzano established the identity of a materialized form in a seance given by Eusapia Paladino and described it in the Annals of Psychic Science (Vol. VI, p. 164, September, 1907) as follows: "In spite of the dimness of the light I could distinctly see Mme. Paladino and my fellow sitters. Suddenly I perceived that behind me was a form, fairly tall, which was leaning its head on my left shoulder and sobbing violently, so that those present could hear the sobs. It kissed me repeatedly. I clearly perceived the outline of the face, which touched my own, and I felt the very fine and abundant hair in contact with my left cheek, so that I could be quite sure that it was a woman. The table then began to move, and typtology gave the name of a close family connection who was known to none present except myself. She had died some time before and on account of incompatibility of temperament there had been serious disagreements with her. I was so far from expecting this typtological response that I at first thought this was a case of coincidence of name, but while I was mentally forming this reflection I felt a mouth, with warm breath, touch my left ear and whisper in a low voice in Genoese dialect, a succession of sentences, the murmur of which was audible to the sitters. These sentences were broken by bursts of weeping and their gist was repeatedly to implore pardon for injuries done to me, with a fullness of detail connected with family affairs which could only be known to the person in question. The phenomenon seemed so real that I felt compelled to reply to the excuses offered me with expressions of affection and to ask pardon in my turn if any resentment of the wrongs referred to had been excessive. But I had scarcely uttered the first syllables when two hands, with exquisite delicacy, applied themselves to my lips and prevented my continuing. The form than said to me: ' Thank you,' embraced me, kissed me, and disappeared."
According to Prof. Flournoy the case was nothing else than the objectification of the emotional complex existing within the subconscious mind of M. Vezzano. There is food for thought, even for those who incline to differ, in his following remark: "The invasion or subjugation of the organism of the medium by a psychic complex belonging to a strange individual is not more easy to explain if that individuality be a spirit of the dead than if it is or belongs to one of the sitters in flesh and blood. And in this equally difficult question there is no reason to attribute to the discarnate or to the spirit world phenomena which can as readily be explained by the phenomena of our empirical world."
The Pearl Tie-Pin Case of Sir William Barrett is often quoted. Through Mrs. Travers Smith, the daughter of Prof. Edward Dowden, Mrs. C. obtained a message spelt out on the ouija board: "Tell mother to give my pearl tie-pin to the girl I was going to marry." The message came from a cousin of Mrs. C., an officer who was killed a month previously. The name and address of the girl was also given. The letter written to the address came back and the whole message was thought fictitious. Six months later, however, it was discovered that the officer had been engaged to the very lady. The War Office sent back his effects and it was found that he put the lady's name in his will as his next-of-kin. A pearl tie-pin was also found in his effects.
Ernesto Bozzano recorded that in a sitting held on July 23, 1928, with the Marquise Centurione Scotto in Millesimo Castle, a voice addressed him as follows: "0 Ernesto Bozzano, 0 my dear, my dear, I sought you in London, I sought you in Genoa, at last I find you." He immediately recognized the voice, a strong Southern accent as that of Eusapia Paladino. "This, her first manifestation was a great revelation to me from the point of view of personal identification of the communicating spirit; because, without the faintest shadow of doubt, I recognized the person who was speaking to me the moment she pronounced my name. In life she had her own particular way of enunciating my surname, for she pronounced the two z's in an inimitable manner. Not only so, for when she spoke to me in life, she never called me simply by my surname, but invariably added my Christian name, though she never used the word Mr. These small but most important idiosyncrasies of language are really what constitute the best demonstration of the real presence of the agency which affirms that it is actually present. I must add that she spoke with the identical timbre of voice which she had in life and with the very marked accent of her Italianized Neapolitan dialect."
Many visions of deceased soldiers were recorded by clairvoyants during the war. Mrs. E. A. Cannock, of London, described at a Spiritualist meeting a novel and convincing method, employed by the fallen soldiers to make their identity known. In her vision they advanced in single file up the aisle, led by a young lieutenant. Each man bore on his chest a large placard with his name and the place where he lived inscribed. Mrs. Cannock read the names and the place. The audience identified them one after the other. After recognition the spirit form faded and made way for the next one.
INSPIRATION, a psychic state in which one becomes susceptible to creative spiritual influence or, to a varying degree, unwittingly lends oneself as an instrument for through-flowing ideas. Schiller "wondered where his thoughts came from; they frequently flowed through him independent of the action of his own mind." Mozart said: "When all goes well with me, when I am in a carriage, or walking, or when I cannot sleep at night, the thoughts come streaming in upon me most fluently; whence or how is more than I can tell." Beethoven stated: "Inspiration is for me that mysterious state in which the entire world seems to form a vast harmony, when every sentiment, every thought reechoes within me, when all the forces of nature become instruments for me, when my whole body shivers and my hair stands on end." Lord Beaconsfield admitted: "I often feel that there is only a step from intense mental concentration to madness. I should hardly be able to describe what I feel at the moment when my sensations are so strangely acute and intense. Every object seems to be animated. I feel that my senses are wild and extravagant. I am no longer sure of my own existence and often look back to see my name written there and thus be assured of my existence."
The two satellites of Mars were discovered in 1877 by Professor Halle. One hundred and seventy-five years before, Jonathan Swift wrote in Gulliver's Travels of the astronomers of Laputa: "They have discovered two small stars, or satellites, which revolve round Mars. The inner one is three diameters distant from the center of the planet, the outer one five diameters; the first makes its revolution in ten hours, the second in twenty hours and a half." These figures, taken at the time as a proof of Swift's ignorance of astronomy, show a striking agreement with the findings of Professor Halle.
W. M. Thackeray wrote in one of his Roundabout papers (Cornhill Magazine, August, 1862): "I have been surprised at the observations made by some of my characters. It seems as if an occult power was moving the pen. The personage does or says something and I ask: 'How did he come to think of that? ' "
The writing of Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) was done in "periods of hysterical trance." He saw things that were not, and heard things that were not (Nina H. Kennard: Lafcadio Hearn, his Life and Work.)
Of the inception of the chapter: "The Death of Uncle Tom" in Uncle Tom's Cabin we read in the biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe: "It seemed to her as though what she wrote was blown through her mind as with the rushing of a mighty wind."
Hasdeu, the great Romanian writer was made a convinced spiritualist by messages which he automatically obtained from his deceased daughter. His father was a distinguished linguist and had in mind a standard dictionary of the Romanian language. He himself was a historian. When half through his History of the Romanian People he suddenly plunged into the compilation of a vast dictionary. He felt that he was forced to do so. It is difficult to explain this case by ordinary psychological processes, as in a seance, which he was attending, the medium who could not speak Russian, passed into trance and wrote messages from his father in Russian which urged him to complete the work.
Edgar Wallace wrote in the Daily Express, June 4th, 1928: "Are we wildly absurd in supposing that human thought has an indestructible substance, and that men leave behind them, when their bodies are dead, a wealth of mind that finds employment in a new host? I personally do not think we are. I am perfectly satisfied in my mind that I have received an immense amount of help from the so-called "dead." I have succeeded far beyond the point my natural talents justified. And so have you-and you. I believe that my mind is furnished with oddments of intellectual equipment that have been acquired I know not how."
Sitting with W. T. Stead and Miss Goodrich-Freer, David Anderson, the medium, went into trance and gave the name of the hero, and some incidents of his life, of a story which Miss Goodrich-Freer wrote but which was never published. The spirits asserted that the story had been impressed on her mind from the spirit side. A similar occurrence is recorded in Travers Smith's Voices from the Void.
Hannen Swaffer interviewed a number of distinguished artists and writers on the method by which their work is produced. The majority of the statements, recorded in a book, Adventures with Inspiration, attributes the creative afflatus to a supernormal source.
INTUITION, that sense of faculty in the human mind by which man knows (or may know) facts of which he would otherwise not be cognizant-facts which might not be apparent to him through process of reason or so-called scientific ' proof. (Walter Weston).
This definition makes no allowance for supernormal information communicated in some form through the subconscious into the conscious mind. It is at this point that intuition becomes a problem of psychical research. various colors makes little difference. Cold light, devoid of actinic rays is the least injurious. "I have had many opportunities," wrote Sir William Crookes, "of testing the action of light of different sources and colors, such as sunlight, diffused daylight, moonlight, gas, lamp and candle light, electric light from a vacuum tube, homogeneous yellow light, etc. The interfering rays appear to be those at the extreme end of the spectrum." He found moonlight ideal. Sulphide of zinc or calcium screens have been also tried. They have the disadvantage that their illumination is poor, unless they are extremely large and the intensity of their phosphorescence rapidly diminishes. Geley experimented with biologic light. It did not affect the phenomena. However, the cultures of photogenic microbes are very unstable. In Brazil luminous insects were tried with success.
We know that light has marked physical, chemical and electric properties, that many of the lower forms of life are destroyed by ultra-violet rays, that vegetable growth takes place mainly at night, that the function of chlorophyl seems to be the protection of delicate tissues against light, that life itself begins in darkness, the objection therefore does not appear to be quite reasonable that genuine mediums should be able to produce their manifestations in good light. Some of the powerful ones were always able to do so. D. D. Home seldom sat in darkness. Eusapia Paladino once levitated a table in blazing sunshine and Maxwell is probably right in saying that the action of light is not such as to constitute an insurmountable obstacle to the production of telekinetic movements.
Whenever the phenomena are intense in obscurity we ought to be able to obtain weaker ones of the same kind in light, yet Maxwell himself points out that the table appears to play the role of condenser for the accumulated nervous energy. May it not be that light acts as certain rays of cathodic origin which discharge the electricised condensers placed in their vicinity?
In Psychic Research, January, 1930, a curious accident is recorded which may bear out Maxwell's speculation. According to a communication by Mr. Irving Gaertner of St. Louis, Mo., in a sitting with Eveling Burnside and Myrtle Larsen in Camp Chesterfield, Indiana, a ray of light, owing to the turning of a switch outside, penetrated through a crack between the lower edge of the door and the floor into the seance room. "Agonised groans were heard (presumably from the entranced medium, Mrs. Larsen) and one of the two trumpets which had been levitated for the voice immediately fell at the feet of Mr. Nelson. At the same moment, Mrs. Nelson received an electric shock which formed a blister on one of her fingers resembling one which would be produced by a burning of the skin. All the sitters testified to having felt the electric shock both in the region of the solar plexus, the back and the forehead." Mrs. Larsen was discovered prostrate on the floor, her heart did not beat, the body was rigid. It took considerable effort to restore her to consciousness. Mrs. Burnside, the other medium, suffered from the shock for several days after the sitting. Frederick Bligh Bond, editor of Psychic Research, offers a speculation different from Maxwell's idea for the understanding of the electric shock. He asks: "Is it the light, qua light, which in this case causes the violent disturbance of conditions, or is it light as an avenue of conductivity, linking the psychic circuit to the current on the wires of the lamp in the hall?"
The dangers of the shock from the slightest unexpected light ray are indicated in an interesting manner in J. Hewat McKenzie's report on Miss Ada Besinnet's mediumship in Psychic Science, April, 1922. The smallest red spark burning was sufficient to prevent the medium from going into trance. "Upon another occasion, when drawing the electric plug from the wall socket, behind a piece of furniture, and about 8 feet from the medium, the small spark, about 1/16 inch long, which usually accompanies the withdrawal of a plug of this kind when the power is on, was sufficient to create such a psychic shock that the medium immediately fell forward on the table in a cataleptic state."
That psychic structures may objectively exist beyond the range of our optical capacity was demonstrated by quartz lens photography. The quartz lens transmits ultra violet rays, i.e., it makes, on the photographic plate, things of which our eyes are not cognizant, visible to us. Mrs. J. H. McKenzie and Major Mowbray conducted important experiments in this field with the mediums J. Lynn and Lewis. The quartz lens not only disclosed fluorescing lights, vibrating, spinning substances, and psychic rods, but also the dematerialization of the medium's hand when added force had to be borrowed.
Similar results were achieved by Dr. Daniel Frost Comstock in seances with Margery in Boston. Several of his exposed plates showed curious, indefinable white patches one of which was fairly recognizable as a human face, though it could not be identified. The most important advance in this field of research was registered at the Institut Metapsychique in Paris with the mediumship of Rudi Schneider in 1931.
KARDEC, ALLAN (1804-1869), the Father of Spiritism in France. His real name was Hypolyte Leon Denizard Rivail. His pseudonym originated in mediumistic communications. Both Allan and Kardec were said to have been his names in previous incarnations. The story of his first investigations into spirit manifestations is somewhat obscure. Le Livre des Esprits (The Spirits' Book), which expounded a new theory of human life and destiny, was published in 1856. According to an article by Alexander Aksakof in The Spiritualist in 1875 the book is based on trance communications received through Mlle. Celina Bequet, a professional somnambulist who, for family reasons, took the name of Celina Japhet and, controlled by her grandfather, M. Hahnemann and Mesmer, gave under this name medical advice. Her mesmerist, M. Roustan, believed in the plurality of existences. This may or may not have had an influence. The fact is that in her automatic scripts the spirits communicated the doctrine of reincarnation. In 1856 Rivail was introduced to the circle by Victorien Sardou. He was entrusted with the scripts, correlated the material by a number of questions and published it without mentioning the name of the medium. It is difficult to say how far Aksakof's informations cover the truth. He obtained them in the course of a personal interview with Celina Japhet in Paris. It was she who revealed that the name Allan was borne in a previous incarnation by Rivail. Kardec was revealed by Rose, another medium by whose help he formed a circle of his own.
In 1857 Le Livre des Esprits was issued in a revised form and later attained to more than twenty editions. It has become the recognized textbook of spiritistic philosophy in France. This philosophy is distinct from spiritualism as it is built on the main tenet that spiritual progress is effected by a series of compulsory reincarnations. Allan Kardec became so dogmatic on this point that he always disparaged physical mediumship the objective phenomena of which did not bear out his doctrine and encouraged automatic -writing where the danger of contradiction, owing to the psychological influence of preconceived ideas, was less. As a consequence experimental psychic research remained twenty years behind in France.
The few French physical mediums were never mentioned by La Revue Spirite, the monthly magazine which Allan Kardec founded. Nor did the Society of Psychologic Studies, of which he was the president, devote attention to them. Camile Bredif, a very good physical medium, only acquired celebrity in St. Petersbourg and Allan Kardec ignored the important mediumship of D. D. Home after he declared himself against reincarnation. In 1864 he published Le Livre des Mediums. In it the unpublished portion of the Japhet scripts are said to have been liberally used. His next books were: The Gospel as Explained by Spirits, 1864, Heaven and Hell, 1865, Genesis, 1867, Experimental Spiritism and Spiritualist Philosophy.
In England Miss Anna Blackwell was the most prominent exponent of the philosophy of Allan Kardec. She translated his books into English. In 1881 a three volume work was published in London on the esoteric side of the Gospels under the title The Four Gospels. This book, with the publication of which Miss Blackwell was associated, was described as a further development of Allan Kardec's religious philosophy.
LUMINOUS PHENOMENA are of frequent occurrence in physical mediumship. On rare occasions they are witnessed in apparent independence of mediumistic conditions. The chronicles of religious revivals are full of instances of transcendental light.
Of the great Irish revival in 1859 and of the Welsh Revival in 1904 we have fairly recent accounts. Mr. Jones of Peckham, editor of the Spiritual Magazine (1877, vol. 18) quotes a leading official belonging to the Corporation of London: "Having heard that fire had descended on several of the great Irish assemblies during the Revivals, I, when in Ireland, made inquiry and conversed with those who had witnessed it. During the open-air meetings, when some 600-1,000 people were present, a kind of cloud of fire approached in the air, hovered and dipped over the people, rose and floated on some distance, again hovered on that which was found afterwards to be another revival meeting, and so it continued. The light was very bright and was seen by all, producing awe."
Of the Welsh Revival an interesting account was published by Beriah G. Evans in the Daily News on February 9, 1905. The lights he saw appeared for the first time on the night when Mrs. Jones commenced her public mission at Egryn. The first light "resembled a brilliant star emitting sparklets. All saw this. The next two were as clearly subjective, being seen only by Mrs. Jones and me, though the five of us walked abreast. Three bars of clear white light crossed the road in front, from right to left, climbing up the stone wall to the left. A blood-red light, about a foot from the ground in the middle of the roadway at the head of the village street was the next manifestation." The Daily Mirror correspondent confirms Evans. He saw the subjective, at another time the objective light. A third confirmation was published in the July (1905) Review of Reviews, by the Rev. Llewellyn Morgan.
These lights seem to be the result of an outpouring of combined psychic forces which religious ecstasy generates. It is a well-known fact that religious enthusiasm and ecstasy in general is often accompanied by luminous phenomena. Christ was the light of the world. The saints and martyrs spoke of an interior illumination. St. Ignatius Loyola was seen surrounded by a brilliant light while he prayed, his body shone with light when he was levitated and St. Columba was said to have been continually enveloped in a dazzling, golden light. William James quotes many interesting instances in Varieties of Religious Experience. The cosmic consciousness of Maurice Bucke was heralded by an influx of dazzling light. Mrs. Piper's body was described by the communicators as an empty shell filled with light. "A medium, "said Phinuit "is for us a lighthouse, while you, non-mediums are as though you did not exist. But every little while we see you as if you were in dark apartments lighted by a kind of little windows which are the mediums." This light or flame-according to communications obtained by Mrs. Hester Travers Smith-appears to be pale "a clear white fire "-which seems to grow more vivid as the medium gets into better touch with the spirit world.
Spectral lights may also have a psychic origin. The Fire of St. Bernardo was studied in 1895 in Quargnento by Prof. Garzino. It was a mass of light which wandered every night from the church to the cemetery and returned after midnight. A similar light was observed at Berbenno di Valtellina. The light passed through trees without burning them. The phenomenon is not amenable to chemical laws. The main difficulty which such lights present is the absence of human organism to which their origin could be traced. But such an absence is also noted in uninhabited haunted houses where the human link is strongly emphasized.
Leaving the deeper mystery aside, a general survey of the cases that will follow justifies the comparatively simple conclusion that psychic lights are the result of a chemical operation on the human body and disclose a close analogy to the organic lights observable in nature. The ways and means of this operation are unknown to our physiology but appear to be an easy process to the intelligences that continually claim to stand behind the phenomena.
The Psychic Lights of D. D. Home and Stainton Moses.
"Under the strictest test conditions," writes Sir William Crookes- in Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism "I have seen a solid luminous body, the size and nearly the shape of a turkey's egg float noiselessly about the room, at one time higher than anyone present could reach on tiptoe, and then gently descending to the floor. It was visible for more than ten minutes, and before it faded away it struck the table three times with a sound like that of a hard solid body. During this time the medium was lying back, apparently insensible, in an easy chair."
"I have seen luminous points of light darting about and settling on the heads of different persons; I have had questions answered by the flashing of a bright light a desired number of times in front of my face. I have had an alphabetic communication given me by luminous flashes occurring before me in the air, whilst my hand was moving about am ' ongst them. In the light, I have seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope on a side table, break a sprig off and carry the sprig to a lady."
Lord Adare writes in Experiments in Spiritualism with D. D. Home: "We all then observed a light, resembling a little star, near the chimney piece, moving to and fro; it then disappeared. Mr. Home said: "Ask them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, if this is the work of God." I repeated the words very earnestly; the light shone out, making three little flashes, each one about a foot higher above the floor than the preceding." (p. 209).
The color of the lights was sometimes blue, yellow or rose. They did not light up their surroundings. Special effort was necessary to produce an effect of illumination. When Ada Menken's spirit tried to make her form visible "the surface of the wall to Home's right became illuminated three or four times; the light apparently radiating from a bright spot in the center. Across the portion of the wall thus illuminated we repeatedly saw a dark shadow pass." (p. 238.)
Lord Adare has seen the extended hand of Home become quite luminous. On another occasion his clothes commenced to shine. Once the top of his head glowed with light as if a halo surrounded it. The tongues or jets of flame described by the Master of Lindsay and Capt. Charles Wynne as issuing from Home's head probably refer to this experience. The Master of Lindsay and many other witnesses often saw luminous crosses in and out of doors in Home's presence. They were variously globular, columnar, or star-shaped. Reading a paper before the Dialectical Society the Master of Lindsay said: "I saw on my knee a flame of fire about nine inches high. I passed my hand through it, but it burnt on, above and below. Home turned in his bed and I looked at him, and saw that his eyes were glowing with light. It had a most disagreeable appearance. The flame which had been flitting about me now left me, and crossed the room about four feet from the ground, and reached the curtains of Home's bed. These proved no obstruction; for the light went right through them, settled on his head and then went out."
A letter to the Dialectical Society narrates a further experience of his as follows: "At Mr. Jencken's house I saw a crystal ball, placed on Mr. Home's head, emit flashes of colored light, following the order of the spectrum. The crystal was spherical, so that it could not have given prismatic colors. After this it changed and we all saw a view of the sea, as if we were looking down at it from the top of a high cliff. It seemed to be the evening as the sun was setting like a globe of fire, lighting up a broad path over the little waves. The moon was faintly visible in the south, and as the sun set, her power increased. We saw also a few stars; and suddenly the whole thing vanished, like shutting the slide of a magic lantern; and the crystal was dead. This whole appearance lasted about ten minutes."
Many similar observations were recorded in the mediumship of Stainton Moses. Dr. Stanhope Templeman Speer observed that the light could be renewed when it grew dim, by making passes over it with the hand. The light had a nucleus and an envelope of drapery. It seemed to be more easily and fully developed if he rubbed his hands together or on his coat. The drapery passed over the back of his hand several times. It was perfectly tangible. These large globes of light could knock distinct blows on the table. A hand was more or less distinctly generated in their nucleus.
These globular lights ceased after a time. The drain on Moses' vital strength was too great. They were supplanted by a round disc of light which had a dark side, generally turned towards the medium, while the light side gave answers to questions by flashes. On rarer occasions the light was a tall column, about half an inch or rather more in width, and six or seven feet high. The light was of bright golden hue and did not illuminate objects in the neighborhood. For a minute a cross developed at its top, and rays seemed to dart from it. Round Moses' head was a halo, perceptible by natural vision and another cluster of light of an oblong shape at the foot of the tall column. It moved up and the big, luminous cross gradually traveled near the wall until it had passed over an are of 90 degrees. Solid objects afforded no obstacles to one's view of the lights. If they appeared under a mahogany table they could be seen from above just as well as if the top of the table had been composed of glass. Sometimes as many as thirty lights were seen flashing about like comets in the room. The big lights were usually more stationary than the smaller ones, which darted swiftly about the room.
Accidents in Light Production
The chemical operation for the production of these lights miscarried on April 14, 1874. "Suddenly there arose from below me, apparently under the table, or near the floor, right under my nose, a cloud of luminous smoke, just like phosphorus. It fumed up in great clouds, until I seemed to be on fire, and rushed from the room in a panic. I was very frightened and could not tell what was happening. I rushed to the door and opened it, and so to the front door. My hands seemed to be ablaze and I left their impress on the door and handles. It blazed for a while after I had touched it, but soon went out, and no smell or trace remained. I have seen my own hands covered with a lambent flame; but nothing like this I ever saw. There seemed to be no end of the smoke. It smelt phosphoric, but the smell evaporated as soon as I got out of the room into the air. I was fairly frightened, and was reminded of what I had read about a manifestation given to Mr. Peebles similar to the burning bush. I have omitted to say that the lights were preceded by very sharp detonations on my chair, so that we could watch for their coming by hearing the noises. They shot up very rapidly from the floor." Next day "Imperator said that the phosphoric smoke was caused by an abortive attempt on the part of Chom to make a light. There were, he said, ducts leading from our bodies to the dark space beneath the table, and into this space these ducts conveyed the substance extracted for the purpose of making the light. The phosphoric substance was enclosed in an envelope which was materialized. It was the collapse of this envelope that caused the escape of the phosphoric smoke and the smell. This substance was the vital principle, and was drawn from the spine and nerve centers principally, and from all the sitters, except those who were of no use or were deterrent."
Another miscarriage of psychic light was recorded by W. H. Harrison of a seance of Messrs. Herne and Williams as follows: "The name of the spirit was then written rapidly in large phosphorescent letters in the air near Mr. Williams. In the same rapid manner the spirits next began writing "God Bless -" when there was a snap, like an electrical discharge, and a flash of light which lit up the whole room." At the end of the sitting a slight smell of phosphorus was perceptible.
The strong smell of ozone which Geley recorded in later years during luminous phenomena is probably identical with the phosphorus of these failures.
The following description is from the Livermore records of seances with Kate Fox: "A spherical ovoid of light rises from the floor as high as our foreheads and places itself on the table in front of us. At my request the light immediately became so bright as to light up that part of the room. We saw perfectly the form of a woman holding the light in her outstretched hand."
Dr. Nichols, in whose house William Eglinton gave a series of sittings in Malvern, writes of "masses of light of a globular form, flattened globes, shining all through the mass, which was enveloped in folds of gauzy drapery. "Joey" brushed the folds aside with his finger to show us the shining substance. It was as if a gem-a turquoise or a pearl-three inches across, had become incandescent, full of light, so as to illuminate about a yard round. This light also we saw come and go. 'Joey' allowed his larger light to go almost dark, and then revived it to its former brilliancy. I need hardly say that all the chemists of Europe could not, under these conditions, produce such phenomena, if indeed they could under any."
John King always brought a lamp when he materialized. Once in a seance with Williams the lamp was placed in the hands of A. Smedley. He says in his Some Reminiscences: "To my great surprise it was like a lump of solid, warm flesh, exactly similar to my own." Others observed that the lamp was often covered with lace-like drapery. It is not a surprising fact as the appearance of psychic lights usually heralds materialisations. A disc of light may transform itself into a face, a star into a human eye. To the touch, the light is sometimes hard, sometimes sticky.
In a seance with Franek Kluski on May 15, 1921, Dr. Geley recorded: "A moment later, magnificent luminous phenomena; a hand moved slowly about before the sitters. It held in the palm, by a particular bending of the fingers, a body resembling a piece of luminous ice. The whole hand appeared luminous and transparent. One could see the flesh color. It was admirable."
In another seance on April 12, 1922, "A large luminous trail like a nebulous comet, and about half a metre long, formed behind Kluski about a metre above his head and seemingly about the same distance behind him. This nebula was constituted of tiny bright grains broadcast, among which there were some specially bright points. This nebula oscillated quickly from right to left and left to right, and rose and fell. It lasted about a minute, disappeared and reappeared several times. After the sitting I found that the medium, who had been naked for an hour, was very warm. He was perspiring on the back and armpits he was much exhausted."
Prof. Pawlowski recorded, with the same medium, the appearance of a completely luminous figure of an old man. It made the impression of a light column. It illuminated all of the sitters and even the more distant objects in the room. His hands and the region of the heart were much more strongly luminous than the rest of the body.
Baron Schrenck Notzing writes in his Materialization Phenomena: "On December 15, 1921, we saw a complete phantom appear in the doorway of the bedroom. It projected flashes which lit it up. This was repeated ten times. Dematerialization could be observed by the same light. The phantom became smaller, diminished and melted away. Dr. Auer could see from time to time objects behind the phantom through its substance by the light of these flashes."
Admiral Moore has seen tongues of spirit light issue from the body of Ada Bessinet. They were about one third of an inch broad at one end and tapered away for a length of about one and a half inches to nothing.
In a seance with Indride Indridason, Prof. Haraldur Nielsson counted one evening more than 60 tongues of light of different colors. "I could not help thinking of the manifestations described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles," he writes in Light, Oct. 25, 1919, "especially as a very strong wind arose before the lights appeared. Later on the whole wall behind the medium became a glow of light."
An unusual type of psychic light was shown by the Medium Erto in seances at the Metapsychical Institute of Paris on the genuineness of which serious doubt was thrown afterwards. Flashes like electric sparks proceeded from the lower part of Erto's body, lighting up the floor and sometimes the walls of the room; luminous white rays up to 8 metres in length, luminous spheres from the size of a walnut to an orange in white, reddish or bluish color, zig-zag flashes and rocket-like lights. They were cold lights, devoid of actinic rays. Before each seance Erto was completely stripped and medically examined in all cavities, mouth, ears, rectum and even urethra. Erto demanded absolute darkness and did not permit hand control. Geley found out that the phenomena were imitable by the use of ferro-cerium, and that the medium seems to have used this trick. Erto's phenomena were not entirely unique. Frau Silbert occasionally produces somewhat similar psychic flashes. But her mediumistic reputation is far above Erto's.
In the Boston seances of Margery a glowing light was located on Margery's left shoulder. On touch no
luminosity was rubbed off and it continued to be seen through a black sock though with decreased frequency and brilliance. On examination the medium's left shoulder strap was found to be luminous. There was a less distinct brightness on her chest and luminous patches on her right shoulder which soon faded out. The luminous shoulder strap being brought into the seance room, a sudden growth of its intensity was noticed. During a minute examination a whisper in Walter's enunciation said "goodnight." At approximately the same time the light of the shoulder strap faded out and was not seen thereafter, except for one minute luminous point which seemed more persistent than the rest. At another time Carrington, holding the left hand of Margery, noticed at the end of the sitting that his hand was faintly luminous.
Prof. Richet attempted to imitate psychic lights by a neon tube six feet long and one inch in diameter. By rubbing he induced a frictional electric charge which made a brilliant glow in the neon at the point of the tube where the hand had the contact. It looked like a realistic psychic phenomenon in the dark.
Prof. Dubois collected a number of examples to prove in exceptional, yet normal conditions, that the human organism is capable of creating light. A woman suffering from cancer of the breast, under treatment in an English hospital, showed luminosity of the sore, sufficiently strong to be recognized at several paces distant, and bright enough to enable watch hands to be read at night a few inches away. The discharge from it was also very luminous. Bilious, nervous, red-haired, and more often alcoholic subjects have shown phosphorescent wounds.
Geley concludes that organic light and ectoplasmic light are rigorously analogous. They have the same properties; they are cold light, giving off neither calorific nor chemical radiations. Both are nearly inactinic and have considerable powers of penetration into opaque bodies. They impress photographic plates through cardboard, wood and even metal. Geley holds it likely that analysis of ectoplasmic secretion will reveal the two constituents-luciferin and luciferase-discovered in the normal luminous secretion by Professor Dubois.
Dr. Ochorowicz in his researches into the radiography of etheric hands found it a curious and significant fact that when an etheric hand radiates light it does not, and apparently cannot, materialize at the same time; by the act of materializing it loses its luminosity. This may be true. There are, however, experiences on record which caution against generalisation.