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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.
MATERIALIZATION, appearance of temporary, more or less organized substances in various degrees of solidification and possessing human physical characteristics: limbs, faces, eyes, heads, full figures, shaped for a temporary existence out of ectoplasm by an unknown agency.
According to Geley's Clairvoyance and Materialization this "is no longer the marvelous and quasi-miraculous affair described and commented on in early spiritualistic works."
"I shall not waste time says Prof. Richet in Thirty Years of Psychical Research in stating the absurdities, almost the impossibilities, from a psycho-physiological point of view, of this phenomenon. A living being, or living matter, formed under our eyes, which has its proper warmth, apparently a circulation of blood, and a physiological respiration which has also a kind of psychic personality having a will distinct from the will of the medium, in a word, a new human being! This is surely the climax of marvels I Nevertheless, it is a fact."
He suggests that "materialization is a mechanical projection; we already know the projection of light, of heat and of electricity; it is not a very long step to think that a projection of mechanical energy may be possible. The remarkable demonstrations of Einstein show how close mechanical or luminous energy are to one another."
"I have also, like Geley, Schrenck Notzing, and Mme. Bisson, been able to see the first lineaments of materializations as they were formed. A kind of liquid or pasty jelly emerges from the mouth or the breast of Marthe which organizes itself by degrees, acquiring the shape of a face or a limb. Under very good conditions of visibility, I have seen this paste spread on my knees, and slowly take form so as to show the rudiment of the radius, the cuvitus, or metacarpal bone whose increasing pressure I could feel on my knee."
The Marthe of Prof. Richet's account is identical with Eva C. Geley relates his experiences with her: "I have very often seen complete representations of a face, a hand, or a finger. In the most perfect instances the materialized organ has all the appearance and the biological properties of a living organ. I have seen admirably modeled fingers with nails; I have seen complete hands with their bones and joints; I have seen a living head and felt the skull under thick hair; I have seen well-formed and living faces-human faces. In many instances these representations have grown under my own eyes from the beginning to the end of the phenomena. The forms show some degree of self-movement, and this is physiological as well as anatomical. The materialized organs are not inert, but biologically alive. A well-materialized hand has the functional capacities of a normal hand; I have at different times been touched or grasped by its fingers. Well-constituted organs, with all the appearances of life, are often replaced by incomplete formations. Relief is often wanting, and the forms are flat. I have sometimes seen a hand or a face appear flat and then take to three dimensions, either completely or partially, as I looked. When the forms are incomplete they are often smaller than natural size-miniatures."
On June 13, 1913, the ectoplasm emerged from the medium's mouth with a materialized finger at the end. M. Bourbon took hold of the finger as it came from Eva's mouth and verified the bone in it. The tulle which covered the medium's head showed no hole.
From Thought-forms to Full Grown Phantoms.
Many of the photographs taken of Eva C's materializations suggest the evolution of thought-forms. Prof. Daumer contends that ectoplasmic forms are neither bodies, nor souls. He offers the name: eidolon (shape). A number of Eva C's phantom forms were such shapes and resembled pictures she had seen, caricatures of Wilson and Poincare and they often had folds as if a paper had been uncreased to be photographed. Prof. Richet remarks that the supposition of fraud would presume extreme stupidity on Eva's part as she knew that photographs would be taken, moreover that there is no ground to suppose that a materialization must be analogous to a human body and must be three dimensional. "The materialization of a plaster bust is not easier to understand than that of a lithographic drawing; and the formation of an image is not less extraordinary than that of a living human head."
Professor Daumer's speculation is strangely contrasted by Dr. Glen Hamilton's report (Psychic Science, January, 1933) on the building and photographing of a three-dimensional ectoplasmic ship in the Winnipeg circle. "John King" and "Walter" were responsible for the experiment. Coming through the mediums Mary M. and X. they carried on a dialogue feigning that they were aboard John King's pirate ship and amongst a crew of piratical ruffians. It was hinted that this play-acting had a psychological purpose: the recovery of past memories and the creation of the thought image of a sailing ship. Eventually the ship was built, but owing to some indecision in giving the signal to take a flash photograph, it" came into port badly damaged." Dr. Glen Hamilton remarks:
"No matter how great we may conceive the unknown powers of the human organism to be, we cannot conceive of it giving rise to an objective mass showing purposive mechanistic construction such as that disclosed in the ship teleplasm of June 4th (1930). We are forced to conclude that the supernormal personalities in this case (by some means as yet unknown to us) so manipulated or otherwise influenced the primary materializing substance after it had left the body of the medium, or was otherwise brought into its objective state, as to cause it to represent the idea which they, the unseen directors, had in view, namely the idea of a sailing ship."
Generally the appearance of images instead of forms may have something to do with the quantity of available power. It is suggestive that Geley often observed strange, incomplete forms, imitations or simulacra of organs. "There are simulacra of fingers, having only their general shape, without warmth, without suppleness, and without joints. There are simulacra of faces like masks, or as if cut out of paper, tufts of hair sticking to them, and undefinable forms." In explanation Geley expressly says: "They are often the products of weak power using still weaker means of execution; it does what it can, and rarely succeeds, because its activity, diverted from its usual course, no longer has the certainty of action which normal biologic impulse gives to a physiological act." He compares them to the strange formations called dermoid cysts, in which are found hair, teeth, divers organs, viscera and even more or less complete foetal forms. The supernormal physiology, like normal physiology, has its finished products and its abortions, monstrosities and dermoid cysts.
The essential thing is that "the formations materialized in mediumistic seances arise from the same biological process as normal birth. They are neither more nor less miraculous or supernormal; they are equally so. The same ideoplastic miracle makes the hands, the face, the viscera, the tissues, and the entire organism of the fetus at the expense of the material body, or the hands, the face, or the entire organs of a materialization. This singular analogy between normal and so-called supernormal physiology extends even to details; the ectoplasm is linked to the medium by a channel of nourishment, a true umbilical cord, comparable to that which joins the embryo to the maternal body. In certain cases the materialized forms appear in an ovoid of substance. ... I have also seen, on several occasions, a hand presented wrapped in a membrane closely resembling the placental membrane. The impression produced, both as to sight and touch, was precisely that of a hand presentation in childbirth, when the amnion is unbroken. Another analogy with childbirth is that of pain. The moans and movements of the entranced medium remind one strangely of a woman in travail."
To the legitimate objection why is one biological process regular and the other exceptional, Geley returned the answer that "normal physiology is the product of organic activity such as evolution has made it. The creative and directive idea normally works in a given sense, that of the evolution of the species, and conforms to the manner of that evolution. Supernormal physiology, on the other hand, is the product of ideoplastic activity directed in a divergent manner by an abnormal effort of the directive idea."
Geley certainly shows a greater understanding of all the complexities of the phenomena than Baron Schrenck Notzing when the latter categorically concludes that "a continuation of the materialization of organic parts beyond the field of vision of the observers is non-existent." It has been suggested that the Baron's interest in anatomy was instrumental in the immature formations, just as Dr. Crawford's experiments in engineering training may have contributed to the evolution of cantilever functions. Similarly, the appearances resembling internal organs in Margery's mediumship may have had something to do with Dr. Crandon's work as a surgeon.
In a higher degree of development we find that the ectoplasmic shapes tend to conform to the bodily pattern of the medium. "I have seen, with my natural vision"-stated the Rev. J. B. Ferguson- "the arms, bust and, on two occasions, the entire person of Ira E. Davenport duplicated at a distance of from two to five feet from where he was seated fast bound to his seat. I have seen, also, a full-formed figure of a person, which was not that of any of the company present. In certain conditions, not yet clearly understood, the hands, arms and clothing of the Brothers Davenport and Mr. Fay are duplicated alike to the sight and the touch. In other cases, hands which are visible and tangible, and which have all the characteristics of living human hands, as well as arms, and entire bodies, are presented, which are not theirs or those of anyone present."
Crookes was satisfied that Katie King was independent from Florence Cook. Yet, on certain occasions he noted a striking resemblance between phantom and medium. There is a highly curious account in the history of Mme. d'Esperance which seems to suggest that a total exchange is within the bounds of possibility. Under the auspices of Alexander Aksakof and Matthews Fidler, savants from different parts of Europe were holding a series of sittings with Mme. d'Esperance in Sweden. A crucial test was asked and the medium bravely stated to "Walter," the spirit control, that she would take the responsibility. So writes Mme. d'Esperance:
"A very uncomfortable feeling pervaded the circle but it afterwards gave place to one of curiosity. My senses became keenly alert, the cobwebby sensation, before described, grew horribly intense, and a peculiar feeling of emptiness, which I had previously had, became so strong that my heart seemed as though swinging loosely in an empty space, and resounding like a bell with each stroke. The air seemed to be full of singing, buzzing sounds that pressed on my ears, but through it I could hear the breathing of the sitters outside the curtains. The movements made in the air seemed to sway me backwards and forwards. A fly alighting on my hand caused a pain like that of a toothache to shoot up my arm. I felt faint, almost dying. At last the arranged-for signal was given, that all was ready. The curtains were thrown open, and a materialized form stood fully revealed beside me. The lens of the camera was uncovered, the plate exposed, the magnesium light flashed. Then the curtains fell together. I remember the feeling of relief and thinking: Now I can give way. It is possible that I did faint. I do not know. But I was aroused by the sound of a voice saying in my ear: She is not here, she is gone. It was one of the family who spoke and the terror in the boy's voice roused me effectually. I wanted to reassure him, and asked for water, and wondered at the same time whose voice was it that made the request. It was like my own but seemed to come from the air or from another person. The water was brought and drunk, but though I felt refreshed the act seemed to be performed by, that other person who had spoken. Then I was left alone ... Now comes the strangest part of this strange experiment. The photographic plate was carefully developed and a print made, which revealed a most astonishing fact. The materialized form, well in focus, was clad in white, flowing garments. The hair was hanging loosely over the shoulders, which, like the arms, were without covering. The figure might have been that of a stranger, but the features were unmistakably mine. Never has a photograph shown a better likeness. On a chair beside it and a little behind, was a figure clad in my dress, the black bands on the wrist, and the tape round the waist showing themselves clearly and intact ' but the face was that of a stranger, who seemed to be regarding the proceedings with great complacency and satisfaction. Needless to say, we looked at this extraordinary photograph with something like petrifaction. We were utterly at a loss to understand its meaning, and no explanation was forthcoming, except a rueful remark from "Walter," who when questioned replied that "Things did get considerably mixed up."
In Light, December 19, 1903, L. Gilbertson remarks: "My own theory of the strange head is that the manifesting spirit was driven out of the materialized form by Madame's sub-self, which had gained an abnormal excess of power through the weak condition of her normal organism. Finding itself ousted, the visitor took refuge with Madame's other part, and proceeded to operate on it in the way generally known as "transfiguration." Succeeding in this operation, it is not difficult to believe, as Madame says, that it "seemed to be regarding the proceedings with great complacency and satisfaction."
If the health of the medium is weak or the power, for any other reason, low, materialization usually does not progress beyond the stage of resemblance to the medium. It is a staggering phenomenon in itself and it vindicates Prof. Morselli's psycho-dynamic theory (Psycologia e Spiritismo, 1907) according to which the ectoplasmic substance is the result of a kind of human radio-activity and the directive idea seems to have its origin in the medium's subconscious mind. But Morselli also adds that the medium's subconscious mind may establish telepathic communication with the sitter's subconscious mind and may shape the ectoplasmic forms into conformance to their thoughts and desires. Or it may be conceived that the medium transmits her psychodynamic forces to the spectator and he, by a sort of catalytic action, objectifies his own emotional complexes. The second part of the hypothesis is a farfetched assumption. The first is borne out by many observations. St. Augustin believed that the angels make themselves visible by the agency of elements taken from the air. We know better. The human body plays the paramount part. The influence of the human mind, however, is noticeable up to a certain stage only. The phantom shapes do not keep for long the physiognomy, gestures and voice of the medium and disclose, after the transitory period, an apparent independence. Their body has temperature, blood circulation, exhales carbonic acid and behaves in every way as an unrelated entity.
"I took a flask of baryta water," writes Prof. Richet of his experiments with Bien Boa in the Villa Carmen, "to see if his breath would show carbon dioxide. The experiments succeeded. I did not lose sight of the flask from the moment when I put it into the hands of Bien Boa, who seemed to float in the air on the left of the curtain at a height greater than Marthe could have been if standing up. While he blew into the tube the bubbling could be heard."
According to Epes Sargent a spirit has been known to cut its finger with a knife, then borrow a handkerchief to wind around the wound, and at the end of the sitting, to return the handkerchief marked with blood.
The materialized form may be physically more perfect than the medium. Crookes found that the lungs of Katie King were sounder at a time when Miss Cook was undergoing medical treatment for bronchitis. Katie also proved her distinct individuality by changing the color of her face to chocolate and jet black. She did it repeatedly because she was told that she resembled the medium too much.
The will of the phantom apparently has metamorphic powers over the temporary body. Epes Sargent writes in Proof Palpable of Immortality that a feminine spirit, who manifested herself at Moravia in Mrs. Andrews' seances, was, on one occasion, known to produce in rapid succession, facsimiles of her personal appearance at six different periods of her earth-life, ranging from childhood to old age.
"I think," says Oxley of a materialized spirit, Lily, that she, did not appear twice in exactly the same form; but I always recognized her and never confused her with other apparitions."
The phantoms of Mrs. Etta Roberts often transformed themselves into the forms of other persons in view of the sitters.
According to E. A. Brackett's experience the sitter's will has an influence over the phantom shapes as well. In his seances with Mrs ~ H. B. Fay he found that by the exercise of his will he could cause the materialized forms to recede. If this is so it should be expected that the will-power of the medium wields a dominant influence. There is some reason to suppose that ectoplasm has a tendency to return to the medium's body and that the invisible operators have to be constantly on guard against this propensity. As long as the medium is passive the tendency is not difficult to overcome, but as soon as his will is active or a sudden emotion sweeps over him the operators become powerless and the reversal of the creative process speedily sets in. For the exercise of the medium's will-power or a show of emotion, however, there is but little opportunity, as most of the materialization mediums pass into trance before the phenomena begin. D. D. Home, Mme. d'Esperance, Kate Fox, Mrs. Hollis, Mrs. Andrews, Mrs. Mellon, Eglinton, Mrs. Thompson, Miss Florence Cook and Kluski, in the first stage of their mediumship, have given most of their materialization seances in a conscious state. Their subjective experiences should be instructive.
Interdependence of Phantom and Medium
"I feel," said Mrs. Mellon, as though I were that form, and yet I know I am not and that I am still seated on my chair. It is a kind of double consciousness, a far-away feeling, hard to define. At one moment I am hot, and the next moment cold. I sometimes have a choking, fainting, sinking sensation when the form is out."
Describing an early materialization seance of Mrs. Thompson, Mr. F. W. Thurstan says: "All this while Mrs. T. was in full consciousness, but she kept exclaiming that she felt "all hollow" and another thing she noticed that whenever "Clare's" fingers touched anyone she distinctly felt a pricking sensation in her body, very similar to her experiences when she had been placed once on an insulating stool and charged with electricity and persons had touched her to make sparks come from her."
This community of sensations between the medium and the phantom has important bearings. The interaction between the two bodies is constant. The blending of the two organisms may be manifest in the lines of paraffin moulds. Miss Florence Cook once had a dark stain on a covered part of her body after an ink mark had been made on the face of Katie, while the medium was shut up in the cabinet. Mme. d'Esperance, who never touched tobacco, suffered from nicotine poisoning if her sitters smoked during the ectoplasmic process. W. Reichel observed that the phantoms of Miller smelled of tobacco and even of food and wine if the medium had liberally partaken of them before the seance. When the materialized child of Florence Marryat filled her mouth with sugar-plums she nearly choked the medium. Mahedi, the Egyptian phantom of Monck, discovered a dish of baked apples in the room. "I got him to eat some" writes the Archdeacon. "Our medium was at this time six or seven feet away from the materialized form and had not chosen to take any of the fruit, averring that he could taste the apple the Egyptian was eating. Wondering how this could be, I, with my right hand, gave our abnormal friend another baked apple to eat, holding this very bit of paper in my left hand out-stretched towards the medium, when from his lips fell the chewed skin and core of the apple eaten by "The Mahedi" --and here it is before me now after all these years in this screwed up bit of paper for any scientist to analyse." The Archdeacon repeated the same experiments many times "but never could I see the transit from the mouth of the psychic form at my right hand of what was masticated, or swallowed, of wine from a measured glass pouring in exact measure again from the mouth or dropping from the lips of the medium six or seven feet at my left into these carefully kept papers."
In a similar account about Monck in The Spiritualist, December 4th, 1877, the story is told of a materialized spirit who drank water. What he swallowed was instantly ejected from the medium's mouth. No such reaction was observed in the case of George Sprigg's materialized phantom "Zion," who drank water and ate biscuits in Melbourne.
The sensitivity of ectoplasm is well known. It must be handled with caution and protected from light. Geley observed that the shock of sudden light is proportional to the duration of the light and not to its intensity. The magnesium flash hurts the medium less than the rays of a pocket lamp. If the ectoplasm has solidified, the danger of injuring the medium is less. But it is a danger, nevertheless. The medium may suffer agonies if the phantom meets with a misadventure, but the injury may not necessarily react on the corresponding part of his body. A phantom hand may be pierced through with a knife, the medium will shriek with pain, yet his hands may bear no trace of the wound. Dr. F. L. Willis had an experience of this kind in his mediumship. However, seance room atrocities seldom go beyond the stage of spirit grabbing. It is probably that the danger attending such attempts is somewhat exaggerated. In 1876 and 1877 it was for the first time suggested that the medium and the materialized form are in an unstable equilibrium and that whether the union is effected in the hands of the spirit grabber or inside the cabinet depended on the relative proportion of energy in the two forms at the time of the seizure. When Florence Marryat was conducted into the cabinet by a materialized spirit of Miss Showers, she was told: "You see that Rosie is half her usual size and weight. I have borrowed the other half from her, which, combined with contributions from the sitters, goes to make up the body in which I show myself to you. If you increase the action of the vital half to such a degree, that the two halves did not reunite, you would kill her. You see that I can detach certain particles from her organism for my own use, and when I dematerialize, I restore these particles to her, and she becomes once more her normal size. You only hurry the re-union by violently detaining me, so as to injure her."
In an earlier account given to Mr. Luxmoore by Katie King, the danger is graphically but less scientifically pictured. On the question: when you disappear where is it to? she answered: "Into the medium, giving her back all the vitality which I took from her. When I have got very much from her, if anyone of you were to take her suddenly round the waist and try to carry her you might kill her on the spot; she might suffocate. I can go in and out of her readily, but understand, I am not her-not her double; they talk a deal of rubbish about doubles; I am myself all the time."
The experience of Archdeacon Colley with Mahedi appears to conform to the above theories. This phantom was a giant. His physical strength was so enormous that he could lift the Archdeacon from his chair to the level of his shoulders apparently without effort. He reminded the Archdeacon of a mummy of gigantic proportions he once saw in some museum. On his first visit through F. W. Monck, the Mahedi wore a kind of "metal skull cap, with an emblem in front which trembled and quivered and glistened, overhanging the brow. I was allowed to feel it, but there was little resistance to my fingers, and it seemed to melt away like a snowflake under my touch, and to grow apparently solid again the moment after. For once (February 18, 1878) by daylight, it was arranged, as a most dangerous experiment, that I should grasp the white-attired Egyptian and try to keep him from getting back to invisibility through the body of the medium. I was, by an invisible force, levitated, as it seemed instantly some eighteen or twenty feet from my drawing room door right up to where the medium stood, whom, strangely and suddenly, wearing white muslin over his black coat, I found in my arms just as I had held The Mahedi. The materialized form had gone, and the psychic clothing that he evolved with him from the left side of my friend must also have gone the same way with the speed of thought back to invisibility through the medium. But whence its substituted drapers' stuff now on the body of our friend not wearing it an instant before? "
It is difficult to find a corroboration of this experience in the literature of spiritualism. It has happened far more often that the spirit dissolved in the grabber's hand. Mr. Volckman had this experience with Katie King. Mostly, however, when the light was switched on, the spirit was found to be identical with the medium. Cases of transfiguration in a state of deep trance may offer an excuse, but generally it is a safe assumption that a successful grabbing of the medium in the spirit's guise, establishes a prima facie case for fraud. The question which usually complicates the case is of the drapery which is visible in the dark and may serve for purposes of transfiguration. This drapery has often disappeared when the light was switched on. But often it was found and turned out to be very material and enduring.
In case of full materialization the weight of the medium's body proportionately decreases (See Ectoplasm). In exceptional cases strange means appear to have been adopted to keep the phantom in sufficient solidity.
Col. Olcott, in his experiments with Miss Compton, shut the medium up in a small cabinet, passed threads through the bored holes of her ears and fastened them to the back of her chair. When a phantom appeared from the cabinet, Olcott asked it to stand on a weighing platform. Twice it was weighed, the records being 77 and 59 lbs. Olcott then left the phantom outside and went into the cabinet. The medium was gone. Stepping out he again weighed the apparition. The weight this time was 52 Ibs. The spirit then reentered the cabinet from which other spirits emerged. Finally, Olcott went inside with a lamp and found the medium just as he had left her at the beginning of the seance with every thread unbroken and every seal undisturbed. After the return of consciousness she was weighed. Her weight was 121 Ibs.
Some Early Explanations and Early History
According to the explanation of the controls the phenomena of materialization are not produced by a single spirit. John King, in a seance with Cecil Husk, pictured to Florence Marryat the concerted work as follows: "When the controls have collected the matter with which I work---some from everybody in the circle, mostly from the medium's brain - I mould with it a plastic mask, somewhat like warm wax in feel, but transparent as gelatine, into the rough likeness of a face. I place this plastic substance over the spirit features and mould it to them. If the spirit will have the patience to stand still I can generally make an excellent likeness of what they were in earth life, but most of them are in such haste to manifest that they render my task very difficult. That is why very often a spirit appears to his friends and 'they cannot recognize any likeness."
The solidity of the materialized form greatly varies. Some mediums only produce vaporous and unsubstantial phantoms. They are called etherealizations. Apparently, the exertion of force is not dependent on solidity. An instructive instance is told in Judge Edmond's Spirit Manifestations: "I felt on one of my arms what seemed to be the grip of an iron hand. I felt distinctly the thumb and fingers, the palm of the hand, and the ball of the thumb, and it held me fast by a power which I struggled to escape from in vain. With my other hand I felt all round where the pressure was, and satisfied myself that it was no earthly hand that was thus holding me fast, nor indeed could it be, for I was as powerless in that grip as a fly would be in the grasp of my hand."
The word materialization was first used in 1873 in America in place of spirit-forms. Hands and arms were seen in the Davenport seances in the earliest days of modern spiritualism. According to Epes Sargent's The Scientific Basis of Spiritualism "as far back as 1850, a full spirit form would not infrequently appear." D. D. Home produced many good manifestations. Professor Mapes was the first scientist who discoursed on the means by which the semblance of such temporary organisms could be produced in accordance with the kinetic theory of gases, with a minimum employment .of actual material particles, provided a sufficiently intense energy of motion were imparted to them.
Complete forms were often seen with Mrs. Andrews of Moravia about 1860. Shortly after Katie Fox gave proof of the same power in the Livermore seances. Dr. John F. Gray of New York testified: "Mr. Livermore's recitals of the seances in which I participated are faithfully and most accurately stated, leaving not a shade of doubt in my mind as to the truth and accuracy of his accounts of those at which I was not a witness. I saw with him the philosopher Franklin, in a living, tangible, physical form, several times; and, on as many different occasions, I also witnessed the production of lights, odor s, and sounds; and also the formation of flowers, cloth-textures, etc., and their disintegration and dispersion."
In America Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Maud Lord, Mrs. Jennie Lord Webb, Bastian and Taylor, in England Mrs. Guppy, Herne and Williams, Miss Cook and Miss Showers were the next materializing mediums. The two extremes were well represented by D. D. Home and Miss Cook. Home's phantoms were mostly transparent. Katie King was flesh and blood.
Eyes and Hands, but Whose?
The evolution from ectoplasmic vapor to full phantoms with all the attributes of life is a fascinating subject.
"From the curtain of the cabinet now and then slowly advancing towards one or another of those controlling, came Things, black and unformed, which seemed nearly always to withdraw without having touched." (Barzini, Mondo dei Misteri).
A record published in the Report of the Dialectical Society narrates the metamorphosis of a psychic light into an eye: "Mr. Lindsay said there was a large bright eye in the center of the table, from whence other eyes appeared to emanate and approach and retreat." Eyes, winking humorously were frequently seen in Margery's seances in Boston.
F. W. Pawlowski, Professor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Michigan, writes on his experiences with Franek Kluski in the Journal, A.S.P.R., "Bright bluish stars appear and begin to move high above the table, near the ceiling. When they approached me at a distance of about sixteen inches I recognized to my great astonishment that they were human eyes looking at me. Within a few seconds such a pair of eyes develops into a complete human head, and with a hand moving a luminous palm illuminating it clearly. The hand will move around the head as if to show itself more clearly to the onlooker, the eyes looking at one intensely and the face smiling most pleasantly. I have seen a number of such heads, sometimes two at a time, moving through the air like drifting toy balloons from one sitter to another. On several occasions the apparitions appeared just behind my back, and I was aware of them from the sound of their breathing, which I could hear distinctly before they were noticed by the sitters opposite to me. When I turned around I found their faces just about a foot from me, either smiling or looking intently at me. Some of these were breathing violently as if after a strenuous run, and in these cases I felt their breath on my face. Once I listened to the heartbeat of an apparition. They conducted themselves as callers at a party. The expression of curiosity in their eyes is most appealing. I have seen a similar look only in the eyes of children at the age of the awakening of their intelligence. On one occasion I saw two of them flying high above our heads in the high room, illuminating each other with the plaques and performing fancy evolutions. It was really a beautiful sight, something like an aerial ballet."
Crookes testified that the phantom hand "is not always a mere form, but sometimes appears perfectly life-like and graceful, the fingers moving and the flesh apparently as human as that of any in the room. At the wrist, or arm, it becomes hazy and fades off into a luminous cloud." To the touch the hand sometimes appears icy cold and dead, at other times warm and lifelike. He has seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope, break a sprig off and carry it to a lady, he has seen a finger and thumb to pick the petals from a flower in Home's button-hole and lay them in front of several persons sitting near him. Phantom hands playing the keys of an accordion floating in the air were of frequent occurrence.
William Howitt, S. Carter Hall and Mrs. Britten once saw in the full light of the day in the drawing room of Mr. Hall, with Home's feet and hands in full view the whole time, twenty pairs of hands form and remain visible for about an hour. They were active and unattached, but otherwise could not be distinguished from ordinary human hands.
"One evening," writes Dr. Ashburner of his experiences with Foster, "I witnessed the presence of nine hands floating over the dining table."
Signor G. Damiani testified before the Dialectical Committee of having seen, at a seance of the Davenport Brothers in London in 1868 "five pink transparent hands ranged perpendicularly behind the door. Subsequently I placed my hand in the small window of the cabinet, when I felt each of my five digits tightly grasped by a distinct hand; while my own was thus held down, five or six other hands protruded from the hole above my wrist. On withdrawing my hand from the aperture, an arm came out therefrom-an arm of such enormous proportions that had it been composed of flesh and bone, it would, I verily believe, have turned the scale (being weighed) against the whole corporeal substance of the smaller Davenport."
A silver-colored, self-luminous hand, which began at the elbow and was seen in the process of formation is described in the report of a seance with D. D. Home in the Hartford Times, March, 18, 1853. The question was spelled out whether the sitters would like to see the hand of a colored person. "In a moment there appeared a rather dull looking, grey hand, somewhat shadowy, and not quite so clearly defined as the first, but it was unmistakably there, and its grey hue could be clearly seen."
Eusapia Paladino did not produce compact, full size materializations. She was famous for her "third arm" which issued from her shoulders and receded into it. This arm was often seen independently and well materialized. The "counterpartal arms" of Stainton Moses, extending generally from the shoulder, straight out, and above the true arms, presented a similar phenomenon. They simply retracted into the medium, or vanished if an attempt was made to grasp them.
Describing John King's materialized hand Professor Richet says: "I held it firmly and counted twentynine seconds, during all which time I had leisure to observe both of Eusapia's hands on the table, to ask Mme. Curie if she was sure of her control, to call Courtier's attention, and also to feel, press and identify a real hand through the curtain. After twenty-nine seconds I said: "I want something more, I want uno anello (a ring) on this hand." At once the hand made me feel a ring: I said "adesso uno braceletto" and on the wrist I felt the two ends as of a woman's bracelet that closes by a hinge. I then asked that this hand should melt in mine, but the hand disengaged itself by a strong effort, and I felt nothing further."
Sitting with Eusapia Paladino, Professor Bottazzi four times saw an enormous black fist come out from behind the left curtain, which remained motionless, and advance toward the head of Mme. W.
Dr. Eugene Crowell writes in The Identity of Primitive Christianity with Modern Spiritualism: "At Moravia, at one time, I saw an arm projected from the aperture of the cabinet, which with the hand, was fully three and a half feet in length. It remained in view, in free motion, for a time sufficient for all to observe and remark upon it. Its enormous length and size startled all present." (p. 417.)
Despite such startling testimonies the inference that telekinetic effects are produced by materialized hands should not be drawn hastily, Dr. Ochorowicz noticed an alternative character about these manifestations. A well-materialized hand when clearly visible is mechanically inactive. Mechanical effects are generally produced by invisible hands. The same holds good for chemical, luminous and acoustic effects.
Phantoms of Fame and Name
The best records of full form materialisations have been furnished by "familiar" spirits: Katie King, who attended Florence Cook for three years; Yolande, who appeared in Mme. d'Esperance's seances for' a similar period;. Estella, who manifested in the Livermore sittings for five years and Bertha, a niece of E. A. Brackett who appeared to him through different mediums for two years. The materialized spirits seldom come in numbers and their range of activity is limited. The marvelous stories of C. V. Miller's mediumship, which was powerful enough to make twelve materialized figures appear at once, rest mostly on the testimony of' W. Reichel. Corroboration, by a repetition of the occurrence, is also wanting of the peripatetic ghosts of' George Spriggs who walked about the house and in the garden, and of the open-air materialisations of Eglinton, in which the spirits walked away to a distance of 66 feet from the medium. Yolande's case is unique in a queer respect: her body was so carnally feminine that she was assaulted by a man who took her for a real woman. This resulted in a profound injury, and almost mortal illness, to the medium.
Crookes was the first modern scientist who delved into the study of materialisations. Katie King offered him every opportunity for investigation. She even allowed Crookes to enter the cabinet where, armed with a phosphorus lamp, he saw both the medium and Katie at the same time. In D. D. Home's mediumship Crookes did not see many fully materialized figures. "In the dusk of the evening," he writes, "during a seance with Mr. Home at my house, the curtains of a window about eight feet from Mr. Home were seen to move. A dark, shadowy, semi-transparent form, like that of a man, was seen by all present standing near the window, waving the curtain with his hand. As we looked, the form faded away and the curtains ceased to move."
A phantom form ' semi-transparent, through which the sitters could be seen all the time, holding an accordion in his hand and playing continuously, is described by Mrs. Crookes as seen in the presence of her husband, the Rev. Moses, and Serjeant Cox in a Home seance. "As the figure approached I felt an intense cold, and as it was giving me the accordion I could not help screaming. The figure seemed to sink into the floor, leaving only the head and shoulders visible, still playing the accordion, which was then about a foot off the floor."
Description of a more solid case is given by Lord Adare: "Her form gradually became apparent to us; she moved close to Home and kissed him. She stood beside him against the window intercepting the light as a solid body, and appeared fully as material as Home himself, no one could have told which was the mortal body and which was the spirit. It was too dark, however to distinguish features. I could see that she had her full face turned towards us, and that either her hair was parted in the middle, and flowed down over her shoulders or that she had on what appeared to be a veil."
The next systematic investigation attaches itself to Prof. Richet's name. "At the Villa Carmen I saw a fully organized form rise from the floor. At first it was, only a white, opaque spot like a handkerchief lying on the ground before the curtain, then this handkerchief quickly assumed the form of a human head level with the floor, and a few moments later it rose up in a straight line and became a small man enveloped in a kind of white burnous, who took two or three halting steps in front of the curtain and then sank to the floor and disappeared as if through a trap-door. But there was no trap-door."
Bien Boa, the phantom, possessed all the attributes of life. "It walks, speaks, moves and breathes like: a human being. Its body is resistant, and has a certain muscular strength. It is neither a lay figure nor a doll, nor an image reflected by a mirror; it is as a living being; it is as a living man; and there are reasons for resolutely setting aside every other supposition than one or other of these two hypotheses: either that of a phantom having the attributes of life; or that of a living person playing the part of a phantom."
In another note Prof. Richet says: "At certain moments it was obliged to lean and bend, because of the great height which it had assumed. Then suddenly, his head sank, sank right down to the ground, and disappeared. He did this three times in succession. In trying to compare this phenomenon to something, I can find nothing better than the figure in a jack-in-the-box, which comes out all of a sudden."
Hands that Melt Like Snow
The miracle of the birth of human organs or of complete bodies is twofold as it is followed by an equally mysterious dissolution of the temporary organization. This phenomenon has been observed under very dramatic circumstances. There can be no question of delusion when a spirit hand is tightly held and melts away in the sitter's grasp. Testimonies of this occurrence are numerous: Frank L. Burr, editor of the Hartford Times, in a letter to Mrs. Home, published in D. D. Home: His Life and Mission, adds the following particulars to his account of March 14, 1855, of one of Home's last seances before his departure to England: "Turning this 'Strange hand palm towards me, I pushed my right forefinger entirely through the palm, till it came out an inch or more, visibly, from the back of the hand. In other words, I pushed my finger clean through that mysterious hand. When I withdrew it, the place closed up, much as a piece of putty would close under the circumstances, leaving a visible mark or scar, where the wound was, but not a hole. While I was still looking at it the hand vanished, quick as a lightning flash."
Crookes writes, also of Home I have retained -one of these hands in my own, firmly resolved not to let it escape. There was no struggle or effort to get loose, but it gradually seemed to resolve itself into vapor, and faded in that manner from my grasp." He observed that the hands and fingers do not always appear to be solid and lifelike. Sometimes they present the appearance of a nebulous cloud partly condensed into the form of a hand. This is not equally visible to all present. Only when fully formed does it become visible to all present."
H. D. Jencken read in his paper before the Dialectical Society: "I have once been enabled to submit a spirit hand to pressure. The temperature was, as far as I could judge, the same as that of the room, and the spirit hand felt soft, velvety, dissolving slowly under the greatest amount of pressure to which I could submit it."
Katie's wrist was once seized in anger by Mr. G. H. Tapp of Dalston whom Katie struck on the chest for a joke she resented. As Tapp described it, it" crumpled up in my grasp like a piece of paper, or thin cardboard, -my fingers meeting through it."
John King was seen by Florence Marryat to "hold a slate so that both hands were visible, and then let one hand dematerialize till it was no larger than a doll's, whilst the other remained the normal size."
Prof. Bottazzi of the University of Naples writes "I saw and felt at one and the same time a human hand natural in color, I felt with mine the fingers and the back of a strong, warm, rough hand. I gripped it and it vanished from my grasp, not becoming smaller, but melting, dematerializing, dissolving."
Col. Rochas writes in the Annales des Sciences Psychiques (1908, XVIII., p. 280) of a seance in which M. Montorguiel seized a materialized hand and called for a light. The hand melted and "all of us thought we saw a luminous trail from his hand to F.'s body."
Dr. Hereward Carrington, the keenest fraud-hunter among psychical researchers, writes: "I myself have observed materializations under perfect conditions of control, and have had the temporary hand melt within my own, as I held it firmly grasped. This hand was a perfectly formed, physiological structure, warm, lifelike and having all the attributes of a human hand yet both the medium's hands were securely held by two controllers, and visible in red light. Let me repeat, this hand was not pulled away, but somehow melted in my grasp as I held it."
Dramatic Exit of Spirit Visitants
The dissolution of a full phantom is very dramatic. Katie King agreed to demonstrate it on herself. Florence Marryat gives the following account, in There is no Death: "She (Katie King) took up her station against the drawing room wall, with her arms extended as if she were crucified. Then three gas-burners were turned on to their full extent in a room about sixteen feet square. The effect upon Katie King was marvelous. She looked like herself for the space of a second only, then she began gradually to melt away. I can compare the dematerialization of her form to nothing but a wax doll melting before a hot fire. First the features became blurred and indistinct; they seemed to run into each other. The eyes sunk in the sockets, the nose disappeared, the frontal bone fell in. Next the limbs appeared to give way under her, and she sank lower and lower on the carpet, like a crumbling edifice. At last there was nothing but her head left above the ground-then a heap of white drapery only, which disappeared with a whisk, as if a hand had pulled it after her-and we were left staring by the light of three gas burners at the spot on which Katie King had stood."
Sometimes the dissolution is unexpected. The power wanes and the form cannot be held together. In a seance with Mrs. H. B. Fay a deceased sister appeared to Florence Marryat. Suddenly she "appeared to faint. Her eyes closed, her head fell back on my shoulder, and before I had time to realize what was going to happen, she had passed through the arm that supported her, and sunk down through the floor. The sensation of her weight was still making my arm tingle, but Emily was gone, clean gone."
Honto, the Indian spirit squaw of the Eddy Brothers, smoked a pipe. The light from the burning tobacco enabled Col. Olcott to see distinctly her copper-colored cheek, the bridge of her nose and the white of her eye. She remained out too long. Darting back she collapsed into a shapeless heap before the curtains, only one hand being distinguishable. In half a minute she appeared again.
The process of dissolution varies. Robert Dale Owen has seen a form fade out from head downwards. William Oxley saw Yolande melting away from the feet upwards until only the head appeared above the floor, and then this grew less and less until a white spot only remained, which, continuing for a moment or two, disappeared." Her materialization, as a rule, occupied ten to fifteen minutes. Her disappearance took place in two to five minutes while the disappearance of the drapery lasted from one half to two minutes.
At one of Mrs. Mellon's seances in Sydney a form, after walking about, lay down on the platform, stretched out the limbs in the presence of all and each member of the body separately dematerialized.
Most often the figures collapse and disappear through the floor. The phantoms of Virginia Roberts, however, as Florence Marryat testifies, if they were strong enough to leave the cabinet, invariably disappeared by floating upwards through the ceiling. "Their mode of doing this was most graceful. They would first clasp their hands behind their heads, and lean backwards; then their feet were lifted off the ground, and they were borne upward in a recumbent position."
The phantoms of Carlo Mirabelli, the South American medium, similarly raise themselves and float in the air before full dissolution which begins from the feet upwards.
When matter passes through matter or when apports are brought into the seance room, the process of dematerialization may be identical. At least, this is strongly suggested by the following account given by Mme. d'Esperance in Shadow Land: "A lady brought a brilliantly colored Persian silk scarf. Yolande took a great delight in it. She could not be induced to part with it. When she had disappeared and the seance closed, the scarf also vanished. The next time she was asked what she had done with it. "Yolande seemed a little nonplussed at the question, but in an instant she made a few movements with her hands in the air and over her shoulders, and the scarf was there, draped as she had arranged it on the previous evening. She never trusted this scarf out of her hands. When sometimes she herself gradually dissolved into mist under the scrutiny of twenty pairs of eyes, the shawl was left lying on the floor and we would say "At last she has forgotten it." But no, the shawl itself would gradually vanish in the same manner as its wearer and no search which we might afterwards make ever discovered its whereabouts. Yet Yolande assured us gleefully that we failed to see it only because we were blind, for the shawl never left the room. This seemed to amuse her and she was never tired of mystifying us by making things invisible to our eyes."
The story of spirit drapery
The drapery in which materialized phantoms are enveloped goes a long way towards helping us to understand how apparitions, observed independent of seance conditions, appear clothed. This was always considered as one of the greatest puzzles of ghost lore. The communications received through mediums did not throw too much light on the subject.
"When the soul leaves the body," we read in one of Julia's letters, "it is at the first moment quite unclothed, as at birth. When the thought of nakedness crosses the spirit's mind, there comes the clothing which you need. The idea with us is creative. We think and the thing is. I do not remember putting on any garments. "
Caroline D. Larsen, in My Travels in the Spirit World, similarly says: "From every spirit emanates a strong aura, a pseudo-phosphoric light. This aura is completely controlled by the mind. Out of this substance is moulded the vesture of the body."
"On one occasion," writes Sylvan J. Muldoon of a conscious projection of his astral body, "I noticed the clothing forming itself out of the emanation surrounding my astral body, when only a few feet out of coincidence, and the clothing was exactly like that covering my physical body. On another occasion I awakened and found myself moving along at the intermediate speed. A very dense aura surrounded me---so dense, in fact, that I could scarcely see my own body. It remained so until the phantom came to a stop, when I was dressed in the typical ghost-like garb."
The power to form spirit-clothes may not be technically understood but it is shown to be a fact by observations in materialization seances. There, indeed, the formation of spirit drapery is in a way preliminary to the building up of the body. It appears to serve the purpose of covering up imperfections or vacant spots in the temporary organism, besides which it protects the ectoplasmic substance from the effects of light, of human gaze and also satisfies the requirements of modesty. Once while Yolande, who was often seen together with Mme. d'Esperance outside the cabinet, was talking to a sitter "the top part of her white drapery fell off and revealed her form. I noticed," writes Oxley, "that the form was imperfect, as the bust was undeveloped and the waist uncontracted which was a test that the form was not a lay figure."
The drapery is usually white in color, sometimes of a dazzling whiteness but may also be of greyish appearance; it is often luminous and so material that it is always the last to disappear when the curtain is rung down on the seance. The reason apparently is that the substance of the drapery, though its texture is different and much finer, is-as pointed out by Lombroso-withdrawn from the medium's clothes to be moulded by the invisible operators in a fashion similar to ectoplasm into all kinds of patterns. The rare instances in which the medium's body, during the process of materialization, entirely vanished, point to this conclusion. It is not the body alone which disappears, but the dress as well.
Kluski noticed that the curtains and carpets of his apartment where his astounding materialization phenomena were produced had been seriously worn out in an inexplicable manner. The observation was made at the British College of Psychic Science that the lining of the underarms of the medium's jacket exclusively used for seance purposes and apparently subjected to no rough wear had to be renewed frequently. The wife of John Lewis, of Wales, who had to repair the garment said that the wear on this was much harder than on garments worn in his occupation of a coal miner. The coloring matter in the garment is apparently of no consequence as the spirit drapery remains white, even if the original dress was black.
How is this substance extracted? The following graphic descriptions furnish little explanation: In a seance with Eglinton on September 9, 1877, Dr. Nichols saw the materialized form Joey "make, in the presence of three other persons, twenty yards of white drapery which certainly never saw a Manchester loom. The matter of which it was formed was visibly gathered from the atmosphere and later melted into invisible air. I have seen at least a hundred yards so manufactured."
Katherine Bates writes in Seen and Unseen: "I stood close over her (the phantom) holding out my own dress, and as she rubbed her hands to and fro a sort of white lace or net came from them, like a foam, and lay upon my gown which I was holding up towards her. I touched this material and held it in my hands. It had substance but was light as gossamer, and quite unlike any stuff I ever saw in a shop."
Mr. F. W. Thurstan says, in a record of a seance with Mrs. Thompson in 1897, when she produced physical phenomena, "a soft, gauzy, scented white drapery was flung over my head and seen by the others on my side of the room."
The spirit niece of E. A. Brackett, in seances with Mrs. H. B. Fay, made yards and yards of spirit drapery by rubbing her hands together with bare arms. Once she made a seamless robe on Mr. Brackett and dematerialized it instantaneously.
William Harrison, editor of The Spiritualist, says in an account of a seance with Miss Cook: "She (Katie King) threw out about a yard of white fabric ' but kept hold of it by the other end, saying: ' Look ' this is spirit drapery.' I said ' Drop it into the passage Katie, and let us see it melt away; or let us cut a piece off.' She replied: ' I can't; but look here.' She then drew back her hand, which was above the top of the curtain, and as the spirit drapery touched the curtain, it passed right through, just as if there were no resistance whatever. I think at first there was friction between the two fabrics and they rustled against each other, but that when she said ' Look here ' some quality which made the drapery common matter was withdrawn from it, and at once it passed through the common matter of the curtain, without experiencing any resistance."
Katie King often allowed her sitters to touch her drapery. Sometimes she cut as many as a dozen pieces from the lower part of her skirt and made presents of them to different observers. The holes were immediately made good. Crookes examined the skirt inch by inch and found no hole, no marks or seam of any kind.
These pieces of drapery mostly melted into thin air, however carefully they were guarded, but sometimes they were rendered enduring. But in the latter cases and in instances of careless operation it happened that the medium's dress suffered. Katie King said in explanation that nothing material about her could be made to last without taking away some of the medium's vitality and weakening her.
A specimen of Katie's drapery was taken by Miss Douglas to Messrs. Howell and James's, London, with the request to match it. They said that they could not, and that they believed it to be of Chinese manufacture.
At a seance in Christiania with Mme. d'Esperance, a sitter abstracted a piece of drapery which clothed one of the spirit forms. Later Mme. d'Esperance discovered that a large square piece of material was missing from her skirt, partly cut, partly torn. The abstracted piece was found to be of the same shape as the missing part, but several times larger, wad white in color, the texture fine and thin as gossamer. In the light of this experience Mme. d'Esperance understand a similar happening, in England. Ninia, the child control, was asked for a piece of her abundant clothing. She complied but unwillingly. . After the seance Mme. d'Esperance found a hole in her new dress.
Katie Brink, the spirit of Mrs. Compton, c3it a piece of her dress for Col. Richard Cross, of Montreal, but on the condition that he would buy a new dress for the medium, for a corresponding hole would appear on her skirt. - The cut piece was fine, gossamer like material. The medium's dress black alpaca, and much coarser. The cut piece fitted the hole in the medium's dress.
According to the recollection of Vout Peters (Light, April 7, 1931) two or three times the spirit Marie has given a piece of white drapery to the sitters. The next morning Mrs. Corner found that a hole had been cut in the middle of her black skirt. Subsequently Marie was able to prevent making a hole in the medium's skirt when cutting off the "ectoplasm." Sometimes this material disappeared the next day, at other times it remained, and it may be that certain pieces are still in existence. At the Circle of Light, in Cardiff, in a sitting with George Spriggs, a piece of rich crimson silk was cut from a girdle worn by a spirit. It began to fade after a few days, but being taken back into the seance room it was manipulated by one of the spirits and restored at once to its original luster.
Stainton Moses was once given a piece of spirit drapery sweetened by "spirit musk." He sent it to Mrs. Speer. The scent on the letter was fresh and pungent seventeen years after.
Part of the-available power is always consumed by the creation of this spirit drapery. Sometimes before its appearance recourse is made to the portieres of the cabinet, the spirit forms wrapping in themselves before thrusting out a hand or head. In some instances, for economical reasons, the operators accepted ready made cloth brought in for them to wear. John King was photographed in such borrowed garments. There are stories that for similar reasons wearing apparel may be apported. This, however, carries to uncertain grounds where fraud may easily flourish and find ready excuse. Mrs. Cook, Florence's mother, is said to have once caught Katie King wearing a dress of her daughter. Katie confessed that she borrowed it because the power was weak. She gave an undertaking that she would never do this again as the medium might be compromised. In other cases yards of muslin and grenadine were apported expressly for draping purposes and left in the seance room. Such accounts must needs be accepted with strong reservations.
We find traces of spirit cloth in mediumistic plastics. The hand, or face is often enveloped in drapery before the putty is impressed or a paraffin cast made.
Souvenir locks of hair, materialized jewels and flowers.
Similarly to pieces of drapery, materialized phantoms often gave locks of hair for souvenirs. Katie King did it very often. Once in the cabinet she cut off a lock of her own hair and a lock of the medium's and gave them to Florence Marryat. One was almost black, soft and silky, the other a coarse golden red. On another occasion she asked Florence Marryat to cut her hair with a pair of scissors as fast as she could. "So I cut off curl after curl, and as fast as they fell to the ground the hair grew again upon her head." The severed hair vanished.
In some instances these souvenirs did not disappear. Crookes in a later writing speaks of a lock of Katie as still before him. Similarly the lock which Prof. Richet cut from the head of an Egyptian beauty remained. Prof. Richet says: "I have kept this lock, it is very fine, silky and undyed. Microscopical examination shows it to be real hair; and I am informed that a wig of the same would cost a thousand francs. Marthe's hair is very dark and she wears her hair rather short."
It would appear from this that the materialized product is finer in quality than the natural one.
The materialized phantoms often wear ornaments. Admiral Moore, in his seances with J. B. Jonson, of Detroit, found these ornaments yielding to the touch. In other instances they were solid.
"Abd-u-lah," the one-armed spirit of Eglinton, appeared bedecked with diamonds, emeralds and rubies. The materialization of precious stones is thus described by Mrs. Nichols in the October 26, 1877, Spiritualist: "For some time he moved his hands as if gathering something from the atmosphere, just as when he makes muslin. After some minutes he dropped on the table a massive diamond ring. He said: "Now you may all take the ring, and you may put it on, and hold it while you count twelve." Miss M. took it and held it under the gaslight. It was a heavy gold ring with a diamond that appeared much like one worn by a friend of mine worth £1,000. Joey said the value of this was 900 guineas. Mr. W. examined it as we had done. He now made, as it seemed, and as he said, from the atmosphere two diamonds, very clear and beautiful, about the size of half a large pea. He gave them into our hands on a piece of paper. We examined them as we had the others. He laid the ring and the diamonds on the table before him, and there next appeared a wonderful cluster of rubies, set with a large ruby about half an inch in diameter in the center. These we all handled as we had the others. Last there came a cross, about four inches in length, having twenty magnificent diamonds set in it; this we held in our hands, and examined as closely as we liked. He told us that the market value of the gems was £25,000. He remarked: "I could make Willie the richest man in the world, but it would not be the best thing, and might be the worst." He now took the jewels in front of him and seemed to dissipate them, as one might melt hailstones in heat until they entirely disappeared."
Stainton Moses was told by Magus, one of his controls, that he would deliver him a topaz, the material counterpart of his spiritual jewel which would enable him to see scenes in the spheres on looking into it. The jewel was found in his bedroom. Stainton Moses was much exercised over it. He believed it to be an apport, taken without the consent of the owner. He never received any definite information as to its origin. It cannot be traced how long the stone, which was set in a ring, remained in his possession.
Gems and pearls were frequently brought to the circle of Stainton Moses. His theory was that they were made by spirits because he could see them falling before they reached the table while others could not see them until they had fallen, and because an emerald had flaws in it and therefore could not have been cut or be an imitation.
Flower materializations are comparatively more frequent. There is a remarkable instance in Mme. d'Esperance's mediumship. On June 28, 1890, at a seance in St. Petersburg, in the presence of Aksakof and Prof. Boutlerof, a golden lily, seven feet high, appeared in the seance room. It was kept for a week, during which time it was six times photographed. After a week it dissolved and disappeared.
In the record of the Livermore seances with Katie Fox, under date February 22, 1862, we find: "Appearance of flowers. Cloudy. Atmosphere damp. Conditions unfavorable. At the expiration of half an hour a bright light rose to the surface of the table, of the usual cylindrical form, covered with gossamer. Held directly over this was a sprig of roses about six inches in length, containing two half-blown white roses, and a bud with leaves. The, flowers, leaves and stem were perfect. They were placed at my nose and smelled as though freshly gathered; but the perfume in this instance was weak and delicate. We took them in our fingers and I carefully examined the stem and flowers. The request was made as before to "be very careful." I noticed an adhesive, viscous feeling which was explained as being the result of a damp, impure atmosphere. These flowers were held near and over the light, which seemed to feed and give them substance in the same manner as the hand. By raps we were told to "Notice and see them dissolve." The sprig was placed over the light, the flowers dropped, and in less than one minute, melted as though made of wax, their substance seeming to spread as they disappeared. By raps "See them come again." A faint light immediately shot across the cylinder, grew into a stem; and in about the same time required for its dissolution, the stem, and the roses had grown into created perfection. This was several times repeated, and was truly wonderful."
F. W. Thurstan, M.A., made the significant observation with Mrs. Thompson (Light, March 15, 1901) that when a pineapple was to be materialized the smell and notion of it was all day in "her head." He believed that ideas of shapes, actions and words that are required to be brought into objectivity at a seance are made by unseen operators to be running in the medium's head often for days beforehand.
In experiments with T. Lynn at the British College for Psychic Science objects were photographed in the course of materialization. They showed flecks and masses of a luminous material, possessing string-like roots. These light masses floated over a harp lying upon the table and were visible to all present. A finger-like projection extended from a mass of this luminosity, and extended itself towards the harp as if to play upon it. As the photo plates were developed a bone ring was seen to depend from the medium's nose, and an object similar to the top of an infant's nursing bottle appeared to hang from his lips by a cord. The medium's features also seemed somewhat altered. At a second sitting a two-pronged fish-hook, and also a small ring materialized. The photo plates of this materialization showed that some remarkable rounded object proceeded from the region of the medium's solar plexus, which had often appeared in previous photographs, and from this a root, or string, seemed to extend to the object materializing, apparently attached thereto. In this case, the root was twisted in a remarkable manner.
Similar observations have been reported by Prof. Karl Blacher, of Riga University, with the apport medium BX. (Zeitschrift fur Parapsychologie, June, 1933). In trance, and under control, nails, screws or pieces of iron would be visibly drawn out of his chest, his armpits or arms, as could be clearly observed by means of luminous screens. On one occasion a length of wire over a yard long was drawn from the man's bared chest; at another time Prof. Blacher himself caught hold of an end that was protruding from the same spot and drew forth a long leather strap. At another sitting the medium produced a heavy slab of metal from his chest; and from his left arm a piece of wrought steel weighing over 3 lbs.
There is a curious meeting, point between apports and materialization here to which sufficient attention has not been devoted yet. The complexity of the problem is further demonstrated by the story of Lajos Pap, the, Budapest apport medium (Light, July 14, 1933) that previou's to his first apport of a frog, for two ' days he heard continual croaking. It seemed to him to come from his stomach, and he kept on asking people if they heard nothing. Similarly he heard the chirping of apported grasshoppers a long time before
their arrival; and, preliminary to the apport of a large packet of needles, he felt pricking sensations over the back of his hand.
Still Greater Marvels.
On May 25, 1921, Mme. Bisson observed the materialization on Eva's hand of a naked female eight inches high, with a beautiful body, long fair hair, brilliantly white skin. It vanished and returned several times and either her hair was differently arranged or her height grew less. The little figure performed various gymnastic exercises and finally stood on Mme. Bisson's extended hand. The materialization of small heads, of the size of a walnut in a glass of water is the peculiar feature of Mme. Ignath's mediumship. "Nona," the control, asserts these heads to be plastic thought-forms.
Describing a visit to an unnamed materializing medium, Mrs. Leonard writes in her My Life in Two Worlds: "My husband was sitting with his feet and knees rather wide apart. His gaze suddenly was diverted from the materialized spirit to a kind of glow near his feet. Looking down he saw a tiny man and woman, between 12 and 18 inches high, standing between his knees. They were holding hands and looking up into my husband's face, as if they were thinking 'What on earth is that?' They seemed to be interested, if not more so, in him, and the details of his appearance, as he was in theirs. He was too astonished to call anybody's attention to the tiny people, who were dressed in bright green, like the pictures of elves and fairies, and who wore little pointed caps. A slight glow surrounded them, or emanated from them, he wasn't sure which, but it was strong enough for him to see their little faces and forms clearly. After a moment or two they disappeared, apparently melting into the floor."
In a sitting with Countess Castelwitch in Lisbon, a communicator, who called himself M. Furtado, husband of Mme. Furtado, present, rapped out through the table that he would not allow himself to be photographed because he had forgotten what his face was like. At the next seance he said: "I have no face, but I will make one." The photographic plate revealed a tall phantom clothed in white, having a death head instead of a face.
A similar but more gruesome instance is described in the reports of the Academia de Estudo Psychicos Cesar Lombroso, of Sao Paolo, on the mediumship of Carlo Mirabelli. "The third sitting followed immediately while the medium was still in a state of exhaustion. A skull inside the closet began to beat against the doors. They opened and the skull floated into the air. Soon the bones of a skeleton appeared one after another from neck to feet. The medium is in a delirium, beats himself and emits a bad smell like that of a cadaver. The skeleton begins to walk, stumble and walk again. It walks round the room while Dr. de Souza touches it. He feels hard, wet, bones. The others touch it. Then the skeleton disappears slowly until the skull alone remains which finally falls on a table. The medium was bound throughout the performance. It lasted 22 counted minutes in bright sunlight.
Alfred Vout Peters claims to have seen, in a seance with Cecil Husk, the materialization of a living friend of his who was at the time asleep in his home. Horace Leaf writes (Light, Jan. 29, 1932) of the undoubted materialization of the head, shoulders and arm of a relative of his living 400 miles away. A conversation was carried on for several minutes on matters thoroughly appropriate, then bidding him goodbye, the head vanished.
Indeed, one is tempted to speculate whether it would not be possible to build up, through a process of dematerialization and materialization a living organism on altered lines. Perhaps some of the miraculous cures in which organic parts of the body had been restored will find an explanation in the future along such speculative lines.
Of the mysterious Mahedi whose characteristics were recorded by Archdeacon Colley some unique feats deserve mentioning. He could not speak English. By signs the Archdeacon Colley made him understand that he wanted him to write. He looked puzzled at the lead pencil. When he was shown how to use it he held it as he would hold a stylus and began to write quickly from the right to the left in unknown oriental characters, being "in a most peculiar way under the control of 'Samuel'"--one spirit controlling another spirit-the medium having nothing whatever to do with the matter, he being at the time his own normal fully awake natural self some seventeen feet away at the other end of the room talking to a lady." Archdeacon Colley had samples of "Samuel's" handwriting, obtained direct, moreover he knew that Samuel was in control "for while the Egyptian, left to himself, could not speak any more than he could write it, yet now, with 'Samuel' in him to operate the vocal organs, he could speak real good idiomatic English- Samuel" speaking through him. The voice was Samuel's while the lips that moved were The Mahedi's. But "Samuel"and"The Mahedi" were both the outcome of the medium and the connection between our normal friend, and materialized friend, and friend in control was, as the telescopic lengthening out of a multiple personality to the power of three very remarkable. It was something like what I had before seen and publicly reported relating to the evolution of a spirit form from another spirit form, which first form, as usual, extruded from the medium, so that (December 7, 1877) there stood in line our normal friend (entranced) and next to him the Egyptian thence derived, and from the Egyptian, in turn, the extruded personality of "Lily," all at the same time-the three in a row ranked together yet separate and distinct entities."
After all these marvels Archdeacon Colley's description of the reabsorption of a phantom into the medium's side in plain view appears to lose its wild improbability. Of a seance held on September 25, 1877, the notes having been made on the same evening, Archdeacon Colley says: "As I brought my sweet companion close up to him, the gossamer filament again came into view; its attenuated and vanishing point being, as before, towards the heart. Greatly wondering, yet keen to observe, did I notice how, by means of this vapory cord, the psychic figure was sucked back into the body of the medium. For like a waterspout at sea-funnel-shaped or sand column such as I have seen in Egypt-horizontal instead of vertical, the vital power of our medium appeared to absorb and draw in the spirit-form, but at my desire, so gradually that I was enabled quite leisurely thus closely to watch the process. For leaning against, and holding my friend with my left arm at his back and my left ear and cheek at his breast, his heart beating in an alarming way, I saw him receive back the lovely birth of the invisible spheres into his robust corporeal person. And as I gazed on the sweet face of the disintegrating spirit, within three or four inches of its features, 1 again marked the fair lineaments, eyes, hair and delicate complexion, and kissed the dainty hand as in process of absorption it dissolved and was drawn through the texture and substance of his black coat into our friend's bosom."
The Archdeacon once spoke to a materialized phantom before her extrusion was accomplished, and he saw recognition in her eyes and heard her whisper, during the psychic parturition "so glad to see you." On one occasion a minister friend of Dr. Monck materialized; by common consent the medium was carefully awakened. "Dazed for a moment, and then most astonished, our aroused friend looked enquiringly at the materialized spirit form, and jumping up from the sofa on which we had placed him he excitedly rushed forward to his one-time fellow-student, shouting "Why, it is Sam" and then there was handshaking and brotherly greetings between the two. When both friends were about to speak at once there was a momentary impasse and neither seemed able to articulate; the medium's breath appearing to be needed by Samuel when he essayed to speak, while the materialized form was also checked in his utterance when the medium began to speak."
C. V. Miller, the San Francisco materialization medium, as a rule did not pass into trance, took the phantoms that issued from the cabinet by the hand and introduced them to his sitters. His amazing seances have been duplicated by Dr. R. H. Moore, of San Diego, California. According to the account of N. Meade Layne, A.B., A.M., in Psychic Research, June, 1931, he is a well-known gentleman past seventy years of age, does not go into trance and accompanies the forms which issue from behind a curtain within a few steps into the circle. The forms are never fully materialized, as a rule they are invisible below the bust, though the ectoplasmic drapery sometimes trails nearly to the floor. "At a recent seance one of the forms, while conversing with the person at my side, advanced to within about eighteen inches of my face. Dr. Moore then, after telling us what he was about to do, struck the head of the form lightly with his open hand to show the degree of materialization. The movement and the sound were plainly perceived. He then passed his arm through the form at the solar plexus." (Psychic Research, July, 1930).
There is but one thing to make the record of all these miracles complete: the materialization of forms other than human. There are abundant experiences to prove that even this is a possibility. We owe the strangest observations in this field to three Polish mediums: Kluski, Guzyk and Burgik.
Guzyk materialized dogs and other strange animals, Kluski, a large bird of prey, small beasts, a lion and an apeman. The year 1919 abounded with animal materialization in the Kluski seances. "The bird was photographed, and before the exposure a whirring, like the stretching of a huge bird's wings, could be heard, accompanied by slight blasts of wind, as if a large fan were being used ... Hirkill (an Afghan) materialized ... Accompanying him always was a rapacious beast, the size of a very big dog, of a tawny color, with slender neck, mouth full of large teeth, eyes which glowed in the darkness like a cat's, and which reminded the company of a maneless lion. It was occasionally wild in its behavior, especially if persons were afraid of it, and neither the human nor the animal apparition was much welcomed by the sitters ... The lion, as we may call him, liked to lick the sitters with a moist and prickly tongue, and gave forth the odor of a great feline, and even after the seance the sitters, and especially the medium, were impregnated with this acrid scent as if they had made a long stay in a menagerie among wild beasts" (Psychic Science, April, 1926.)
According to Prof. Pawlowski's account (journal A.S.P.R., Sept., 1925) the bird was a hawk or a buzzard. It "flew round, beating his wings against the walls and ceiling, and when he finally settled on the shoulder of the medium he was photographed with a magnesium flash, as the camera was accidently focussed on the medium before, and was ready."
The anthropoidal ape showed itself first in July, 1919. Geley writes in Clairvoyance and Materialization: "This being which we have termed Pithecanthropus has shown itself several times at our seances. One of us, at the seance of November 20, 1920, felt its large shaggy head press hard on his right shoulder and against his cheek. The head was covered with thick, coarse hair. A smell came from it like that of a deer or a wet dog. When one of the sitters put out his hand the pithecanthrope seized it and licked it slowly three times. Its tongue was large and soft. At other times we all felt our legs touched by what seemed to be frolicsome dogs." According to Col. Norbert Ocholowicz's book on Kluski ".this ape was of such great strength that it could easily move a heavy bookcase filled with books through the room, carry a sofa over the heads of the sitters, or lift the heaviest persons with their chairs into the air to the height of a tall person. Though the ape's behavior sometimes caused fear, and indicated a low level of intelligence, it was never malignant. Indeed it often expressed goodwill, gentleness and readiness to obey ... After a long stay a strong animal smell was noticed. It was seen for the last time at the seance of December 26, 1922, in the same form as in 1919 and making the same sounds of smacking and scratching." Mrs. Hewat McKenzie, from whose article the above quotation is taken, also writes of a small animal, reminding the sitters of the ' weasel,' so often sensed at Guzyk seances. "It used to run quickly over the table on to the sitters' shoulders, stopping every moment and smelling their hands and faces with a small, cold nose; sometimes, as if frightened, it jumped from the table and rambled through the whole room, turning over small objects, and shuffling papers lying on the table and writing desk. It appeared at six or seven seances, and was last seen in June, 1923."
Of Burgik Prof. Richet writes in Thirty Years of Psychical Research: "In the last seance that I had with him the phenomena were very marked. I had his left hand and M. de Gielski his right. He was quite motionless, and none of the experimenters moved at all. My trouser leg was strongly pulled and a strange, ill-defined form that seemed to have paws like those of a dog or small monkey climbed on my knee. I could feel its weight very light and something like the muzzle of an animal (?) touched my cheek. It was moist and made a grunting noise like a thirsty dog."
Dogs were materialized by Mrs. Wriedt. Lieut. Col. E. R. Johnson writes in Light, November 11, 1922, of a seance with Mrs. Wriedt: "It was quite common to meet one's departed dogs. I had one of these, a very small terrier, placed on my knees. It remained there for about a minute, and both its weight and form were all recognized. It was not taken away but seemed gradually to evaporate or melt. Two others, a large retriever and a medium-sized terrier, came very often, and all three barked with their direct voices in tones suitable to their sizes and breeds. Other sitters saw, heard and were touched by them. Those three had died in India some thirty years previously."
A dog which Haxby materialized ran about the room. The appearance and pranks of an unseen but palpable pet dog in a seance with Politi on June 18th, 1900, is described, by General Ballatore in Vesillo Spiritista. It ran about the room, jumped on the knees of one of the sitters, Major Bennati, and put its paws round its mistress's neck, besides performing several other little tricks it had been taught in life.
Wyllie, the psychic photographer, has on record the psychic picture of a dog.
The flight of birds was often heard in seances with D. D. Home and recently, with the Marquis Scotto Centurione. A tame flying squirrel was materialized by Honto, the Indian squaw, in the seances of the Eddy Brothers. Another Indian girl "brought in a robin perched on her finger, which hopped and chirped as naturally as life." (Olcott, People from the Other World).
Two triangular areas of light, with curved angles like butterfly wings, audibly flitting and flapping were noticed in the February 24, 1924, seance of Margery. The flying creature, claimed to be Walter's tame bat, "Susie," performed strange antics. The wings would hover over the roses on the table, pick up one, approach a sitter and hit him over the head with it. "Susie" pulled the hair of the sitters, pecked at their faces, flapped her wings in their eyes. Another large, beetle-like area of light which scrambled about the table with a deal of flapping was called by Walter his "Nincompoop." Peculiar motions were also performed by a patch of light, said to be a tame bear, over a curtain pole. Clicking and whizzing it toboganned down the pole and climbed back again. Walter was so fond of poking fun at the expense of the sitters that beyond his assertions that he paraded his actual live stock nothing definite could be established about these curious animated batches of light.
"Materialization of both beasts and birds sometimes appeared," writes Gambier Bolton, in Ghosts in Solid Form, London, 1919, "during our experiments, the largest and most startling being that of a seal which appeared on one occasion when Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley was present. We suddenly heard a remarkable voice calling out some absurd remarks in loud tones, finishing off with a shrill whistle. "Why, that must be our old parrot," said the lady of the house." He lived in this room for many years, and would constantly repeat those very words." A small wild animal from India which had been dead for three years or more, and had never been seen or heard of by the Sensitive, and was known to only one sitter, suddenly ran out from the spot where the Sensitive was sitting, breathing heavily and in a state of deep trance, the little creature uttering exactly the same cry which it had always used as a sign of pleasure during its earth life. It had shown itself altogether on about ten different occasions, staying in the room for more than two minutes at a time, and then disappearing as suddenly as it had arrived upon the scene. But on this occasion the lady who had owned it during its life called it to her by its pet name, and then it proceeded to climb slowly up on to her lap. Resting there quietly for about half a minute it then attempted to return, but in doing so caught one of its legs in the lace with which the lady's skirt was covered. It struggled violently, and at last got itself free, but not until it had torn the lace for nearly three inches. At the conclusion of the experiment a medical man reported that there were five green-colored hairs hanging in the torn lace, which had evidently become detached from the little animal's legs during its struggles. The lady at once identified the color and the texture of the hairs, and this was confirmed by the other sitter-himself a naturalist-who had frequently seen and handled the animal during its earth life. The five hairs were carefully collected, placed in tissue paper, and then shut up in a light-tight and damp-proof box. After a few days they commenced to dwindle in size, and finally disappeared entirely."
The story of a materialized seal is told in detail in Light, April 22, 1900, on the basis of Gambier Bolton's account before the London Spiritualist Alliance in a discussion. It reads: Being well-known as a zoologist connected with the Zoological Society, he on one occasion received a note from an auctioneer asking if he would call to see a large seal which had been sent from abroad. "The poor thing is suffering; come round and see what you can do"-wrote the seal's temporary owner, and being deeply interested in the welfare of animals of all kinds, Mr. Bolton at once obeyed the mandate. He saw the seal: the poor creature had been harpooned, and was lying in a languishing state in a large basket. He saw at once that it could not live, but wishing to do what he could to prolong its life, he at once dispatched it to the Zoological Gardens. Later in the day he called to see how it was faring, and found that it had been put into the seal tank. On visiting the tank the seal rose from the water and gave him a long look, which as he humorously suggested, seemed to indicate that the animal recognized him and entertained some sentiments of gratitude for its treatment. It died that night, and ten days later Mr. Bolton was at a seance at which Mr. Craddock was the medium. A number of people of social and scientific repute wore present. Suddenly someone called out from the cabinet: "Take this great brute away, it is suffocating me." It was the seal! It came slowly from the cabinet, flopping and dragging itself along after the fashion of seals, which (unlike sea-lions) cannot walk. It stayed close to Mr. Bolton for ' some moments, and then returned to the cabinet and disappeared. "There is no doubt in my mind," said Mr. Bolton, "that it was the identical seal."
To a question as to the modus vivendi of animal materializations Gambier Bolton obtained the following answer from the spirit controls:
"Their actions are altogether independent of us. Whilst we are busily engaged in conducting our experiments with human entities who wish to materialize in your midst, the animals get into the room in some way which we do not understand, and which we cannot prevent; obtain, from somewhere, sufficient matter with which to build up temporary bodies; coining just when they choose; roaming about the room just as they please; and disappearing just when it suits them, and not before; and we have no power to prevent this so long as the affection existing between them and their late owners is so strong as it was in the instances which have come under our notice."
In contradiction to this information Col. Norbert Ocholowicz makes it a point that at the Kluski seances the animal apparitions were seen to be in charge of human apparitions. The only animal which seemed to be able to act independently of a keeper was the pithecanthropus. Generally the -animal and human apparitions were not active at the same moment. When the animal was fully materialized and active the keeper was passive and kept in the background, and vice versa ... The testimony of clairvoyants also goes to prove that when animal apparitions are seen the necessary link is furnished by a friend of the sitter.
In conclusion one May safely quote an ancient account: At the trial of the Chelmsford witches in 1645 Matthew Hopkins, the witch-finder, John Sterne and six others, testified that on the previous night they had sat up in the room where the accused was confined to watch for the appearance of her imps which the accused promised and that they indeed saw them: five or six, entering the room in the shape of cats, dogs and other animals. John Sterne was so convinced of the truth of what he saw that he wrote a pamphlet about his experience.
Bibliography: Mme. Bisson: Les Phenomenes dits de Materializations, Paris, 1917; Baron Schrenck Notzing: Phenomena of Materializations, London, 1920; Gustave Geley: From the Unconscious to the Conscious, 1920, Clairvoyance and Materialization, 1927; E. A. Brackett: Materialized Apparitions, Boston, 1886; Gambier Bolton: Ghosts in Solid Form, London 1919; Col. Olcott: People from the Other World, Hartford, Conn., 1875; Epes Sargent: Proof Palpable of Immortality, Boston, * 1876; Anon: Revelations of a Spirit Medium, Confessions of a Medium, 1882; A. Lunt: Mysteries of the Seance; David P. Abbott: Behind the Scenes with Mediums, 1907; Dr. Hereward Carrington: The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, 1908; T. R. Hazard: Eleven Days in Moravia; Anon: Life of James Riley Horace Leaf: Materializations; Archdeacon Colley Sermons on Spiritualism, 1907; G. Delanne: Les Apparitions Materializees, Paris, 1911; Dr. Wolfe: Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism, 1875; Allen Putnam: Biography of Mrs. Conant, 1873; Flashes of Light from the Spirit Land, 1872.
MATTER passing through matter, as a seance-room phenomenon is well known and has been frequently recorded. It is involved in the marvel of apports and transportation of the human body and its observation under test conditions would help towards the recognition of these greater phenomena. Unfortunately it seldom occurs under strict laboratory conditions. Prof. Hare's notes of the passing of two small balls of platinum into two hermetically sealed glass tubes have been forgotten. The human element is too strong and in most of the cases on record the body of the medium plays some as yet not clearly understood part in the performance.
It should be first mentioned that interpenetration as such is not generally admitted. D. D. Home stoutly denied it and his controls declared that fissures or cracks are necessary to permit the passage of a solid body through another. Crookes says in Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism: "After several phenomena had occurred, the conversation turned upon some circumstances which seemed only explicable on the assumption that matter had actually passed through a solid substance. Thereupon a message was given by means of the alphabet: "It is impossible for matter to pass through matter, but we will show you what we can do." We waited in silence. Presently a luminous appearance was seen hovering over the bouquet of flowers, and then, in full view of all present, a piece of china-grass 15 inches long, which formed the center ornament of the bouquet, slowly rose from the other flowers, and then descended to the table in front of the vase between it and Mr. Home. It did not stop on reaching the table, but went straight through it and we all watched it till it had entirely passed through. Immediately on the disappearance of the grass, my wife, who was sitting near Mr. Home, saw a hand come up from under the table between them, holding the piece of grass. It tapped her on the shoulder two or three times with a sound audible to all, then laid the grass on the floor and disappeared. Only two persons saw the hand, but all in the room saw the piece of grass moving about as I have described. During the time this was taking place Mr. Home's hands were seen by all to be quietly resting on the table in front of him. The place where the grass disappeared was 18 inches from his hands. The table was a telescope dining table, opening with a screw; there was no leaf in it, and the junction of the two sides formed a narrow crack down the middle. The grass had passed through this chink, which I measured and found to be barely one eighth of an inch wide. The stem of the piece of grass was far too thick to enable me to force it through this crack without injuring it, yet we had all seen it pass through quietly and smoothly; and on examination it did not show the slightest signs of pressure or abrasion."
There is ground to suppose, however, that D. D. Home's controls were somewhat orthodox. Otherwise we would have to discredit most of the evidence. To mention some: Flammarion describes the passing of a book through a curtain in a seance with Eusapia Paladino on November 21, 1898. The book was held up by M. Jules Bois before the curtain at about the height of a man, 24 inches from each side of the edge. It was seized by an invisible hand and Mme. Flammarion who observed the rear of the curtain, suddenly saw it coming through, upheld in the air, Without hands or arms, for a space of one or two seconds. Then she saw it fall down. She cried out: "Oh, the book, it has just passed through the curtain "
There is some similarity between this observation of Flammarion and an account of Mrs, Speer, dated October 17, 1874: "Before meeting Mr. Stainton Moses had taken three rings from his hands and threaded them on to his watch chain; his watch was on one end of the chain and a small pocket barometer on the other; both of these articles he placed in side pockets of his waistcoat, the rings hanging midway *on his chain in full sight of the circle. We suddenly saw a pillar of light advance from a corner of the room, stand between me and Dr. S. then pass through the table to Mr. S. M. In a moment the figure flashed back again between us and threw something hard down upon the table. We passed our hands over the table, and found the rings had been removed from the medium's chain without his knowledge."
Mr. F. Fusedale, testifying before the Dialectical Society, submitted an account of spirit manifestations in his own house and wrote: "The children and my wife would see the things they (the spirits) took (in particular a brooch of my wife's) appear to pass through solid substances, such as the wall or the doors, when they were taken from them; and they would take things out of the children's hands, as if in play, and hide them, and then after a little time return them again."
In a seance with the Italian medium, Carancini, a dinner-plate, covered with soot and out of the medium's reach was placed in a padlocked wooden box which was in the hand of one of the sitters.
In experiments with Mrs.. Thayer, Robert Cooper found a Japanese silk handkerchief which belonged to one of the sitters and flowers which came from nowhere in the locked box which he brought to the seance and the key of which he retained (Light, March 15, 1902).
"During my sixteen years of experiments, investigation into the question of the existence of this psychic force," writes Gambier Bolton, "the apparent penetration of matter by matter had been such a common occurrence at our experimental meetings, that unless this happens to take place in connection with some unusually large and ponderous object that is suddenly brought into our midst, or removed from the place in which we are holding our meetings, I take but very little notice of it."
One of the occasions which he found worth while to notice came in a seance with Cecil Husk. A light table was placed in the middle of the circle and was securely fastened by heavy baize curtains round the four sides, pinning the bottom of the curtain to the floor boards with drawing pins. The table was first heard rocking and tapping the floor boards and in less than three minutes it had apparently passed through the curtain and was found in its old place, 21 feet distant from the curtain.
After having been accused of fraud Mrs. Etta Roberts, the American medium, in a test seance on September 3,1891, was enclosed into a wire cage out of which many phantom forms issued. Finally Mrs. Roberts herself stepped out through the padlocked and sealed door without breaking the fastenings. The same feat was witnessed by Dr. Paul Gibier, Director of the Bacteriological Institute of New York with Mrs. Carrie M. Sawyer (Mrs. Salmon) in his own laboratory on three occasions. The trellis of the cage was found burning hot by several sitters.
Knot-tying. Flying Coats.
Knots tied in an endless cord was the first phenomenon Professor Zöllner witnessed in his experiments with Henry Slade. He made a loop of strong cord by tying the ends together. The ends projected beyond the knot and were sealed down to a piece of paper. In the seance room he hung the loop around his neck until the moment of experiment arrived. Then he took it off, placed the sealed knots on the table, placed his thumbs on each side of the knot and dropped the loop over the edge of the table on his knees. Slade kept his hands in sight and touched Zöllner's hands above the table. A few minutes later four symmetrical single knots were found on the cord.
In his further experiments separate loops of leather were tied together and two wooden rings, one of oak the other of alder wood, were removed from a sealed loop of catgut and passed around the leg of a table. A snail shell which Prof. Zöllner placed on the table under a larger one dropped with a clatter on the slate held under the table surface. It was so hot that Zollner nearly let it drop. A coin from a closed box on the table passed on in daylight to the slate underneath the top. Zöllner, placing two sheets of paper prepared with lamp-black between two slates in frames, closed the slates, bound them firmly together and, keeping it on his knees all the time, asked Slade to have an impression made inside the slates. He felt a strong pressure opened the slates and found the impression of a human foot.
Prof. Zöllner's knot-tying experiment was repeated by Dr. Nichols with Eglinton in the presence of six observers. He cut four yards of common brown twine from a fresh ball, tied the two ends together with a single knot, then passed each end through a hole in one of his visiting cards, tied another square knot and firmly sealed this knot to the card. Sitting around a small table in daylight, the sealed card upon the center of the table, the loop hanging down upon the floor, a minute after five single knots were tied upon the string about a foot apart.
The release of the medium from strong bonds without disturbing the knots or seals belongs to this order of phenomena. The Davenport Brothers were the most famous demonstrators of this psychic feat, but its possibility has been proved to many an investigator, among them to Crookes in his experiments with Mrs. Corner, the former Florence Cook.
A kindred demonstration, in which the Davenport Brothers were the greatest, was the removal and donning of coats while the medium's hands were held. In a letter to The Daily News Dion Boucicault, the famous English actor and author, spoke of a seance at his house on October 11, 1864, in which, by striking a light, they actually witnessed the coat of Mr. Fay, the fellow-medium of the Davenport Brothers, flying off. "It was seen quitting him, plucked off him upwards. It flew up to the chandelier, where it hung for a moment and then fell to the ground. Mr. Fay was seen meanwhile bound hand and foot as before."
Robert Cooper writes in Spiritual Experiences: The coat of Mr. Fay has, scores of times, been taken from his back in my presence, and Mr. Fay at the time might be seen sitting like a statue with his hands securely tied behind -him and the knots sealed. I have seen coats of various descriptions, from a large overcoat to a light paletot, put on in the place of his own in a moment of time, his hands remaining securely tied and the seal unbroken. I have known the coat that has been placed on Mr. Fay so small that it could only with difficulty be got off him. I have known a coat that was first placed on Mr. Fay transferred in a moment to the back of Ira Davenport, whose hands, like Mr. Fay's, were tied behind him, and the most curious part of the proceedings was that it was put on inside out. I have also known the waistcoat of Ira Davenport taken from under his coat, all buttoned up, with his watch and guard just as he wore it."
The same feat was witnessed in 1886 in Washington by Alfred Russel Wallace in a seance with Pierre L. 0. A. Keeler.
Lombroso recorded a similar instance with Eusapia Paladino. An overcoat was placed on a chair beyond the reach of the medium whose hands and feet had been continuously controlled. Several objects from an inside pocket of the overcoat had been brought and laid on a phosphorescent cardboard on the table. All at once the medium began to complain of something about her neck and binding her tight. On light being produced it was found that she had the overcoat on, her arms being slipped into it, one in each sleeve.
Ring Experiments and Chair Threading
Ring experiments and chair-threading were witnessed numbers of times. It would be obviously entirely fraud-proof if two continuous iron rings were linked. In October, 1872, the Religio-Philosophical Yournal of Chicago claimed to have witnessed this demonstration. The editor wrote: "We had the pleasure of attending a seance at which Capt. Winslow was the medium.
The manifestations were very fine. One remarkable feat is the union of two solid iron rings, leaving them thus interlinked, and yet the metal perfectly sound."
In the majority of cases, however, this plain test was always shirked for the far less convincing demonstration of placing an iron ring on the sitter's arm after the clasping of the hands or for placing the ring which was too small to pass through the hand on the medium's wrist. Cecil Husk wore such a ring until his death. The S.P.R. investigated it and claimed that the ring could be forced off if the medium were chloroformed. The statement of Dr. George Wyld, a physician of Edinburgh, that the ring was specially made to his order and secretly marked by him, and that he held the medium's hand tight while the ring was taken from him in the dark was left unconsidered.
A similar wrought-iron ring was passed on to the ankle of F. F. Craddock. It was very tight and caused him great discomfort and actual pain until it was filed off by a friendly blacksmith. Hearing of this occurrence Gambier Bolton procured two welded iron rings and visiting Craddock he fastened his hands behind his back with strong tape, then led him to a chair and fastened both arms, above the elbows, to the back of the chair with strong tapes and double knots. "Placing the two rings at his feet, I turned to the gas pendant hanging over our heads and lowered it somewhat, and before I had time to turn round again I heard the well-known ring of two pieces of iron being brought into sharp contact with each other, and walking up to him I found both rings on his wrist. To make sure that my eyes were not deceiving me, I pulled them strongly, struck one with the other, and found that they really were on his wrists; and I then carefully examined the tapes and found them not only secure, but so tight that his hands were swollen as a result of the tightness with which I had tied them. I stepped backwards, keeping my eyes on him, when suddenly with a crash both rings fell at my feet. To have withdrawn his hands and arms and replaced them in that time was a physical impossibility. On attempting to untie the tapes I found that I had pulled the knots so tightly that it was only after cutting them with a finely pointed pair of scissors, that I was able to release his hands once more, his wrists being marked for some time with a deep red line as the result."
Dr. L. Th. Chazarain, in his pamphlet, Scientific Proofs of the Survival of the Soul, writes of his experience in meetings organized in Paris by Dr. Puel, director of the Revue des Sciences Psychiques: "I took the ring which had been laid on the table and passed it round her right wrist. Immediately afterwards I took hold of the corresponding band, and waited, holding it firmly between my own* At the end of eight or ten minutes she uttered a cry, like a cry of pain or fright, and at the same instant she woke and the ring was seen on the ground." M. August Reveillac observing the same effect found the fallen ring, when picked up, almost burning hot.
Col. Danskin in How and Why I Became a Spiritualist, describes a seance in Baltimore in which a secretly marked iron ring, seven inches smaller than the circumference of the medium's head, was repeatedly placed around the medium's neck. From the January 11, 1868, Banner of Light he reproduces the following testimony, signed by 32 names: "We, the undersigned, hereby testify that we have attended the social meetings referred to; and that a solid iron ring, seven inches less in size than the young man's head was actually and unmistakably placed around his neck. There was as the advertisement claims, no possibility of fraud or deception, because the ring was freely submitted to the examination of the audience, both before and while on the neck of the young man."
The medium was a 19-year-old boy. Danskin further writes: "Once, when only three persons were present-the medium, a friend and myself-we sat together in the dark room. I held the left hand of the medium, my friend held his right hand, our other hands being joined; and while thus sitting, the ring, which I had thrown some distance from us on the floor, suddenly came round my arm. I had never loosened my hold upon the medium, yet that solid iron ring, by an invisible power, was made to clasp my arm."
Charles Williams often demonstrated the ring test. A. Smedley describes instances with a ring which he secretly marked. (Some Reminiscences, an Account of Startling Spiritual Manifestations, 1890). An interesting case is the following: Col. Lean mentally asked John King to fetch the half-hoop diamond ring from Florence Marryat's, his wife's, finger and place it on his. The ring, writes Florence Marryat "was worn between my wedding ring and a heavy gold snake ring and I was holding the hand of my neighbor all the time and yet the ring was abstracted from between the other two and transferred to Colonel Lean's finger without my being aware of the circumstance."
In experiments with Frau Vollhardt in Berlin two highly skeptical members of the Medical Society for Psychic Research, holding the hands of the medium at either side, found-after one of the crises of the medium-two unbroken wooden rings about their arms.
Robert Cooper, in a seance with the Eddy Brothers, experienced an electric shock at his elbow and found two iron rings on his arm which was held by the medium (Light, March 15, 1902).
Count Solovovo Petrovo took a marked ring to a seance with the Russian medium, Sambor, on November 15, 1894. The ring was placed on M. Vassilief's arm when he was holding the medium's hands. (Rebus, No. 47, 1894). In seances with the same medium at the Spiritist Club, St. Petersburg, Dr. Pogorelski suddenly felt a blow on his right arm (close to the shoulder) and felt a chair passed on to his right arm. He held Sambor's hands by interlacing the fingers so that "it was impossible for our hands to become separated, even for a hundredth part of a second, without my feeling it." The experiment was repeated with another sitter whose hand was tied to Sambor's by means of a nearly ten yards long linen ribbon on the ends of which seals were placed.
John S. Farmer, Eglinton's biographer, writes in his Twixt Two Worlds that in June, 1879, at Mrs. Gregory's house "in the presence of Mr. Eglinton and a non-professional medium, two chairs were threaded at the same moment of time upon the arms of two sitters, each of whom was then holding the hand of the medium. Mr. Serjeant Cox was holding the hand of Mr. Eglinton and the back of the chair passed through his arm, giving him the sensation of a blow against the elbow when it did so. When a light was struck the chair was seen hanging on Mr. Serjeant Cox's arm and his hand was still grasping that of Mr. Eglinton. An immediate examination of the chair showed that the back of it was in good condition, with none of the woodwork loose or broken."
Epes Sargent quotes, in Planchette or the Despair of Science, many testimonies of similar occurrences with Charles Read of Buffalo and other mediums. Gambier Bolton writes of his experience with Cecil Husk as follows: "With Mrs. Cecil Husk, on half a dozen occasions, in my own room and using my own chairs, I have held both hands of another experimenter with my two hands, about fifteen inches from the top of the back of one of the chairs, when with a sudden snap the back of the chair has passed over our wrists and has been seen by twelve to sixteen other observers hanging from our arms, in gas light, my hands never for an instant releasing those of my fellow experimenters."
The latest and, be it noted, faultlessly documented experiments in the demonstration of the passage of matter through matter have been carried out in June and July, 1932, in the Margery circle in Boston. The phenomena, as reported by William H. Button in Journal A.S.P.R., Aug.-Sept., 1932, consisted of the removal of a variety of objects from locked or scaled boxes and the introduction of various objects into such boxes. They were undertaken to confirm some of the results of the Zöllner experiments and have been strikingly successful.
MOSES, WILLIAM STAINTON, (1839-92) remarkable English medium and religious teacher. His father was headmaster of the Grammar School of Donnington, near Lincoln. In 1852 the family moved to Bedford to give young Moses the advantage of an education at Bedford College. In his schooldays he occasionally walked in his sleep, and on one occasion in this state he went down to the sitting room and wrote an essay on a subject which had worried him on the previous evening, and then returned to bed without waking. It was the best essay of the class. No other incidents of a psychic nature of his early years is recorded. He gained a scholarship at Exeter College, Oxford. Owing to a breakdown in his health he interrupted his studies, traveled for some time and spent six months in a monastery on Mount Athos. When he recovered his health he returned to Oxford, took his degree of M.A. and was ordained as a Minister of the Church of England by Bishop Wilberforce. He began his ministry at Kirk Maughold, near Ramsey, in the Isle of Man, at the age of 24. He gained the esteem and love of his parishioners. On the occasion of an outbreak of small-pox he helped to nurse and bury a man whose malady was so violent that it was very difficult to find anybody to approach him. His literary activity for Punch and the Saturday Review began at this time. After four years he exchanged his curacy with that of St. George's, Douglas, Isle of Man. In 1869 he fell seriously ill. He called in for medical aid Dr. Stanhope Templeman Speer. As a convalescent he spent some time in his house. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. In 1870 he took a curacy somewhere in Dorsetshire. Illness again interfered with his parish work and he never took it up again. For seven years he was the tutor of Dr. Speer's son. In 1871 he was offered a mastership in University College School, London. This office he filled until 1889 when failing health made him resign. He lived for three more years, suffered greatly from gout, influenza and nervous prostration. According to Frank Podmore he also fell a victim to the drink habit. He died in September, 1892.
The period of his life between 1872 and 1881 is marked by an inflow of transcendental powers and a consequent religious revolution which completely demolished his narrow orthodoxy and dogmatism. He distrusted spiritualism and considered all its phenomena spurious. Of Lord Adare's book on D. D. Home he said that it was the dreariest twaddle he ever came across. Dale Owen's Debatable Land made a deeper impression. On Mrs. Speer's persuasion he agreed to have a closer look into the matter and attended his first seance with Miss Lottie Fowler on April 2, 1872. After much nonsense he received a striking description of the spirit presence of a friend who died in the North of England. Williams was the next medium he went to see. A seance with Home and sittings in many private circles followed. In about six months he became convinced of the existence of discarnate spirits and of their power to communicate. Soon he showed signs of great psychic powers himself. In 1872, five months after his introduction to Spiritualism, he had his first experience of levitation. The physical phenomena continued with gradually lessening frequency until 1881.
They were of extremely varied nature. The power was often so enormous that it kept the room in constant
vibration. Serjeant Cox describes in his What am I? the swaying and rocking in daylight of an old-fashioned, six-feet-wide and nine-feet-long mahogany table which required the strength of two strong men to be moved an inch. The presence of Stainton Moses was responsible for the table's extraordinary behavior. When he and Stainton Moses held their hands over it it lifted first on one then on the other side.
When Stainton Moses was levitated for the third time he was thrown on to the table, and from that position on to an adjacent sofa. In spite of the considerable distance and the magnitude of the force he was in no way hurt.
Objects left in Stainton Moses' bedroom were often found arranged in the shape of a cross.
Apports were frequent phenomena. They were usually objects from a different part of the house, invariably small, coming mysteriously through closed doors or walls and thrown upon the table from a direction mostly over Stainton Moses' head. Sometimes their origin was unknown. Ivory crosses, corals, pearls, precious stones, the latter expressly for Stainton Moses, were also brought from unknown sources.
Psychic lights of greatly varying shapes and intensity were frequently observed. They were most striking when the medium was in trance. They were not always equally seen by all the sitters, never lit up their surroundings and could pass through solid objects, for instance, rise from the floor through the table top.
Scents were produced in abundance, the most common being musk, verbena, new mown hay, and one unfamiliar odor , which was told to be spirit scent. Sometimes breezes heavy with perfumes swept around the circle.
Without any musical instruments in the room a great variety of musical sounds contributed to his sitters' entertainment. There were many instances of direct writing, demonstration of the passage of matter through matter, of direct voice and of materializations which, however, did not progress beyond luminous hands or columns of light vaguely suggesting human forms.
The habitual circle of Stainton Moses was very small. Dr. and Mrs. Stanhope Speer and frequently Mr. F. W. Percival were generally the only witnesses of the phenomena. Serjeant Cox, W. H. Harrison, Dr. Thompson, Mrs. Garratt, Miss Birkett and Sir William Crookes were occasional sitters. As a rule, the invisible communicators strongly resented the introduction of strangers. The physical phenomena in themselves were of secondary importance. They were produced in evidence of the supernormal power of the communicators to convince Moses and the sitters of their claims.
"That they were not produced fraudulently by Dr. Speer or other sitters,"' writes Myers in Proc. Vol. IX., "I regard as proved both by moral considerations and by the fact that they were constantly reported as occurring when Mr. Moses was alone. That Mr. Moses should have himself fraudulently produced them I regard as both morally and physically incredible. That he should have prepared and produced them in a state of trance I regard both as physically incredible and also as entirely inconsistent with the tenor both of his own reports and those of his friends. I therefore regard the reported phenomena as having actually occurred in a genuinely supernormal manner."
The character and integrity of William Stainton Moses was so high that Andrew Lang was forced to warn the advocates of fraud that "the choice is between
a moral and physical miracle." Frank Podmore is almost the only critic who preferred to believe in a moral miracle rather than in a physical one.
The famous automatic scripts of Stainton Moses are known from his books Spirit Teachings and Spirit Identity and from full seance accounts which he commenced to publish 'in Light in 1892. The scripts began in 1872 and lasted until 1883, gradually dying out from 1877. They fill 24 notebooks. Except the third which was lost later, they have been preserved by the London Spiritualist Alliance where both the originals and typed copies are accessible to students. They are completed by four books of records of physical phenomena and three books of retrospect and summary. In his will Moses entrusted the manuscripts to two friends: C. C. Massey and Alaric A. Watts. They handed them to Myers who published an exhaustive analysis in Proc. Vol. IX and XI.
The automatic messages were almost wholly written by Mr. Moses' own hand, while he was in a normal waking state. They are interspersed with a few words of direct writing. The tone of the spirits towards him is habitually courteous and respectful. But occasionally they have some criticism which pierces to the quick. This explains why he was unwilling to allow the inspection of his books during his lifetime. Indeed, there are indications that there may have been a still more private book into which very intimate messages were entered. This book must have been destroyed.
The scripts are in the form of a dialogue. The identity of the communicators was not revealed by Moses in his lifetime. Neither did Myers disclose it. They were made public in a comparatively recent book The Controls of Stainton Moses, by A. W. Trethewy, B.A. Considering the illustrious biblical and historical names which the communicators bore, Stainton Moses' reluctance was wise. He would have met with scorn. Moreover, for a long time, he himself was skeptical, indeed, at first shocked and was often reproved for suspicion and want of faith in the scripts. He was the charge of an organized band of 49 spirits. Their leader called himself Imperator. For some time he manifested through an amanuensis only, later wrote himself, signing his name with a cross. He spoke directly for the first time on December 19, 1892, but appeared to Moses' clairvoyant vision at an early stage. He claimed to have influenced the medium's career during the whole of his lifetime and said that in turn he was directed by Preceptor in the background. Preceptor himself communed with Jesus. The identity of the communicators was only gradually disclosed and Stainton Moses was much exercised as to whether the personalities of the band were symbolical or real. They asserted that a missionary effort to uplift the human race was being made in the spirit realms and as Stainton Moses had the rarest mediumistic gifts and his personality furnished extraordinary opportunity he was selected as the channel of these communications. Like Imperator and Preceptor every member of the Band had an assumed name at first. The Biblical characters were eight in number. They were, as revealed later: Malachias (Imperator), Efijah (Preceptor), Haggai (The Prophet), Daniel (Vates), Ezekiel, St. John the Baptist (Theologus). The ancient philosophers and sages number fourteen. They were Solon, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Athenodorus (Doctor), Hippolytus (Rector), Plotinus (Prudens), Alexander Achillini (Philosophus), Algazzali or Ghazali (Mentor), Kabbila, Chom, Said, Roophal, Magus.
It was not until Book XIV of the communications was written that Stainton Moses became satisfied of the identity of his controls. In his introduction to Spirit Teachings he wrote: "The name of God was always written in capitals, and slowly and, as it seemed, reverentially. The subject matter was always of a pure and elevated character, much of it being of personal application, intended for my own guidance and direction. I may say that throughout the whole of these written communications, extending in unbroken continuity to the year 1880, there is no flippant message, no attempt at jest, no vulgarity or incongruity, no false or misleading statement, so far as I know or could discover; nothing incompatible with the avowed object, again and again repeated, of instruction, enlightenment and guidance by spirits fitted for the task, judged as I should wish to be judged myself, they were what they pretended to be. Their words were words of sincerity and of sober, serious purpose."
Later, when the phenomena lost strength he was again assailed by doubts and showed hesitation. It is obviously impossible to prove the identity of ancient spirits. Imperator's answer to this objection was that statements incapable of proof should be accepted as true on the ground that others which could be tested had been verified. For such evidential purposes many modern spirits were admitted for communication. In several cases satisfactory proofs of identity were obtained. Imperator's statement was therefore logical. It should also be noted that each of the communicators had his distinctive way of announcing his presence. If, in the case of modern spirits, the handwriting did not agree with the characters employed while on earth, in direct scripts the communication showed the same features as the one which was automatically received.
As to the contents of the communications, Stainton Moses was well aware of the possible role which his own mind might play. He wrote: "It is an interesting subject for speculation whether my own thoughts entered into the subject matter of the communications. I took extraordinary pains to prevent any such admixture. At first the writing was slow, and it was necessary for me to follow it with my eye, but even then the thoughts were not my thoughts. Very soon the messages assumed a character of which I had no doubt whatever that the thought was opposed to my own. But I cultivated the power of occupying my mind with other things during the time that the writing was going on, and was able to read an abstruse book and follow out a line of close reasoning while the message was written with unbroken regularity. Messages so written extended over many pages, and in their course there is no correction, no fault in composition and often a sustained vigor and beauty of style."
These precautions do not exclude the free working possibility of the subconscious mind. This possibility is borne out by posthumous messages emanating from Stainton Moses and fairly well establishing his identity, according to which he made mistakes in the scripts on certain points.
The life and activity of Stainton Moses left a deep impression on spiritualism. He took a leading part in several organizations. From 1884 until his death he was president of the London Spiritualist Alliance. The phenomena reported in his mediumship served as a partial inducement for the foundation of the S.P.R. He was on its council. Owing to the treatment which Eglinton received he resigned his membership and censured the S.P.R. for its unduly critical attitude. He edited Light, contributed many articles on spiritualism to Human Nature and other periodicals and published, under the pen name of "M.A. Oxon" the following books: Spirit Identity, 1879; Psychography, 1882; Spirit Teachings, 1883; and Higher Aspects of Spiritualism, 1880.
MOVEMENT with contact, which is insufficient to explain it (parakinesis), or movement without obvious, perceptible or normal contact (telekinesis) is the most frequent seance room phenomenon and is, in its apparent simplicity, one of the widest import as behind the displacement of objects and various other mechanical effects an invisible intelligent entity manifests, performs complicated operations and exercises a directive influence over mysteriously generated and frequently tremendous forces.
Shaking of the House.
Molecular vibrations display the phenomenon in its initial stage when the table, under the hand of the sitters, begins to tremble, shake, jerk as signs of animation. This vibratory motion is not always restricted to the table. It may spread over the whole room.
P. P. Alexander, in Spiritualism: A Narrative with a Discussion, writes of a seance with D. D. Home in Edinburgh: "The first hint or foreshine we had of the phenomena came in the form of certain tremors which began to pervade the apartment. These were of a somewhat peculiar kind; and they gradually increased till they became of considerable violence, not only did the floor tremble, but the chair of each person, as distinct from it, was felt to rock and---as we Scots say-dirl under him."
In a similar record Lord Adare says We soon felt violent vibration of the floor, chairs and table---so violent that the glass pendants of the chandelier struck together, and the windows and doors shook and rattled in their frames not only in our room but also in the next."
The Journal of George Fox, the Quaker preacher, discloses this note: "At Mansfield, where was a great meeting, I was moved to pray, and the Lord's power was so great that the house seemed to be shaken. When I had done, some of the professors said, it was now as in the days of the Apostles, when the house was shaken where they were."
The levitation of Lacy (Warnings, Part II., p. 64) made the chamber shake. The Rev. Maurice Davies in the Daily Telegraph and Dr. Gully in the Morning Star, described the trembling of the floor during Home's levitation as an effect reminding of an earthquake. Felicia Scatcherd wrote of a seance with Mrs. Wriedt in Light, August 3, 1912: "We all felt the floor, walls and windows vibrating. I have twice experienced earthquake shocks in the Ionian Islands. The sensation was similar."
The Wesley family, during physical manifestations, heard vast grumblings and clattering of doors and shutters. In the case of Mary Jobson "a rumbling noise was heard like thunder, the tenants downstairs thought that the house was coming down." An excess of power held the room in which Stainton Moses sat in seance in constant vibration.
"On several occasions," writes Gambier Bolton in Psychic Force, "when sitting in my own room with Mr. Cecil Husk, the whole place, floor, walls, and ceiling, have commenced to tremble and vibrate strongly, table and chairs all responding, and glass, china and pictures swaying to and fro, some of the lighter articles eventually falling over; the motion being similar to that experienced when the screw of a steamer, during a gale of wind, and owing to the pitching of the vessel, comes nearly or quite to the surface of the water, and "races"; or like the tremble of the earthquake which, as I know by experience, when once felt is never forgotten again. So decided was this tremble and vibration that several of the experimenters present not only stated that it made them feel very ill, but their appearance proved to anyone used to ocean travel, that this was not an exaggeration."
Movement of Objects
However, the average telekinetic phenomenon is less impressive. The curtain sways and bulges out, the table moves, slides or rotates, weights are lifted, small objects stir, jump into the air and drop slowly or heavily. They do not follow straight lines but move in curves as if under the influence of an intelligent mechanical force. Their speed is sometimes alarming. They may come within an inch of one's face. Then they suddenly stop. There is no fumbling, no exploration, no accidental collision. If one puts out his hand in the dark for the reception of an object it neatly drops into his palm. The sitters may change seats or posture, yet the objects will seek them out perfectly. The invisible manipulator which is behind the phenomena has cat's eyes. A table may incline at a considerable angle, yet the objects may remain unmoved on the leaf or they may glide up the slope, a switch may be thrown, gas or electricity turned off, the flame of a candle depressed, cords and handkerchiefs knotted, bonds untied. There is every evidence of the operation of invisible hands. Their presence is often felt in touches and quite frequently they are seen in operation.
Lord Adare had seen, in a seance with Home, a hand stretch over the jet of gas. At the same moment eight jets of gas went out in the house.
Carrington writes of the Naples seances with Eusapia
In one of our seances, a white hand appeared, remained visible to all, and untied both Eusapia's hands and one of her feet."
"Once a gentleman seated to the left of Eusapia had his cigar case extracted from his pocket, placed on the table in full view of all of us, opened, a cigar extracted, and placed between his teeth."
Sir William Crookes in his Researches gives a good description of the average type of telekinetic phenomena: "The instances in which heavy bodies, such as tables, chairs, sofas, etc., have been moved, when the medium was not touching them are very numerous. I will briefly mention a few of the most striking. My own chair has been twisted partly around, whilst my feet were off the floor. A chair was seen by all present to move slowly up to the table from a far corner, when all were watching it; on another occasion an armchair moved to where we were sitting, and then moved slowly back again (a distance of about three feet) at my request. On three successive evenings, a small table moved slowly across the room, under conditions which I had specially pre-arranged, so as to answer any objection which might be raised to the evidence. I have had several repetitions of the experiment considered by the Committee of the Dialectical Society to be conclusive, viz., the movement of a heavy table in full light, the chairs turned with their backs to the table, about a foot off, and each person kneeling on his chair, with hands resting over the backs of the chairs, but not touching the table. On one occasion this took place when I was moving about so as to see how everyone was placed."
Dr. J. Ochorowitz recorded some very curious telekinetic phenomena in his experiments with Mlle. Stanislawa Tomczyk. In good light, before a commission composed of physicians, physiologists and engineers, the medium placed her hands at a small distance on either side of an object. Between her extended fingers the object would rise into the air and float without apparent support. In fact, there was a support, a thread-like, non-material line of force of which Dr. Ochorowitz says: "I have felt this thread in my hand, on my face, on my hair. When the medium, separates her hands the thread gets thinner and disappears; it gives the same sensation as a spider's web. If it is cut with scissors its continuity is immediately restored. It seems to be formed of points; it can be photographed and it is then seen to be much thinner than an ordinary thread. It starts from the fingers. Needless to remark that the hands of the medium were very carefully examined before every experiment."
When these photographs were thrown enlarged upon a screen the psychic structure became invisible. There were swellings and nodes along it, like the waves in a vibrating cord. A whole number of filaments surrounded like a net a ball which Mlle. Tomczyk lifted.
With Eusapia Paladino a marked synchronism was noticed between her movements and that of the objects. She could attract and remove pieces of furniture, cause them to rise in the air or drop to the floor by a corresponding motion of her hands. However, this was an exceptional phenomenon of her seances. Usually the mediums cannot account for the movement of objects as they do not know in advance what is going to happen.
In Poltergeist cases and in cases of apparition, spontaneous telekinetic phenomena are witnessed. Maxwell obtained good phenomena with non-professional mediums in public restaurants in daylight.. Miss Cleio made pictures swing out on the wall in the rooms of the Hellenic S.P.R. in full light before dozens of invited guests.
The effect of these telekinetic manifestations is often a very complicated one. Pistols were fired in the dark seances of the Davenport Brothers against a minute mark which was always hit with marvelous precision. The same phenomenon was witnessed earlier in the Koon's loghouse, under the control of John King.
In the presence of the Davenport Brothers a billiard room at Milwaukee was darkened. After a few moments the balls were heard to roll and click against each other, as if propelled by expert players. The cues moved, the game appeared to be regularly played, and it was marked and counted.
There are several instances on record in which typewriters were faultlessly operated in the dark seance room. In the seances of the Bangs Sisters once the typewriter was held in the hands of the sitters above the table and was heard in rapid motion. The operators also inserted the paper, addressed the envelope and sealed them. Blavatsky's Posthumous Memoirs is claimed to have been produced by this technical means.
The machine, according to J. M. Wade's introduction, wrote nine sheets per hour. Of a sitting with Franek Kluski on November 23, 1919, the Polish S.P.R. records: "The typewriter on the table, fully illuminated by the red light, began to write. The sitters remarked that it wrote very quickly, the keys being depressed as if by a skilful, typist. There was no one near the machine. The persons holding Mr. Kluski's hands noticed that they twitched during the writing."
In Prof. Tullio Castellani's record of a sitting on July .6, 1927, in Millesimo Castle, we find a description of the following artistic exhibition: "After a little while we heard in perfect rhythm with the music, a dance of two drumsticks upon the floor. Then the rhythm of the drumsticks was heard in the air. On being questioned Cristo d'Angelo described it as the dance of a celebrated American negro upon the ground and in the air. The same phenomena occurred later in the presence of Bozzano, and has been described by him. I think, however, it is useful to emphasize so that the reader may form some idea of how these phenomena took place, and the effect which this dance produced on me also, habituated though I am to spiritistic phenomenology. The dance took place upon the rug but the resonance was like that of wooden drumsticks which were dancing in the void. There was observable all the weight of a normal man (lancing with vigor. Thus in the dark, by only the slight spectral light of the phosphorescence from the trumpet one is reminded of a danse macabre."
Many are the mediums in whose presence musical instruments were played by invisible hands. (See: Music). Other forms of artistic expression through telekinetic movements are on record in independent painting and drawing. In Volume XVI of Stainton Moses' automatic scripts there is a description of the carving of two cameo heads by Mentor and Magus. Magus produced his own likeness. Mentor's artistic efforts are thus narrated under the date August 27, 1875: "A long message was rapped out by Catherine. She said they had brought a shell and were going to cut a cameo. A light was struck, then Dr. and Mrs. S. saw a shell in the middle of the table. Then Mentor came and Imperator. After he left light was called for and in the center of the table was a cameo and a quantity of debris of shell. Noises had been heard as of picking, and I saw a hand. The shell is more clearly cut than the first, and shows a head laurel-crowned. It is polished inside and shows plain marks of the graving tool."
According to a letter from the unpublished correspondence of Stainton Moses, Light (May 3rd, 1902) Owasso, one of Slade's controls, extracted, without actual pain a bad tooth of his suffering medium. A reader of Light related, in the following issue, a similar incident, in the presence of several witnesses, in the history of Miss Wood.
The Question of Scientific Verification
Levitation of a table in the full blaze of sunshine was witnessed by Prof. Richet in front of his Chateau de Carqueiranne with Eusapia Paladino. Ochorowitz, with Mlle. Tomczyk, saw a garden chair raised in full light.
An ancient instance of table levitation is described in Samuel Brent's Judischer agestreifter Schlangen Balg, OEtlingen, 1610 and in Zalman Zebi's reply Judischer Theriak, Affenhauser, 1615. Zebi admits the levitation but he argues that it was not due to magic as "beautiful hymns are sung during the production of the phenomena and no devil is able to approach us when we think of the Lord."
Count Gasparin, Baron Guldenstubbe, Prof. Marc Thury, Prof. Hare and Prof. Mapes were the first investigators of table turning. Prof. Hare devised special scientific instruments. Sir William Crookes repeated his experiments and improved upon them. Experiments with an electric bell in a locked and sealed box were successfully carried out with the mediumship of Eglinton by the research committee of the British National Association of Spiritualists in January, 1878. The bell sounded twice and the armature was depressed with so much force that a spring was strained and an electromagnet disarranged. Zollner's famous knottying experiments on an endless cord were successfully repeated with Eglinton by Dr. Nichols in his own house. The fraud-proof trick table of Harry Price was lifted by Margery in London. The telekinetoscope and the shadow apparatus of the same researcher established the genuine powers of Stella C. in the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. The first demand which the Scientific American Committee submitted to Walter, Margery's control, at the time of this well-known investigation was to produce movements inside a closed and scaled space. For this purpose first a sealed glass jar with a brass hook projecting down into the bottle was used and Walter was set the task of opening the snap of the hook and hanging upon it the wooden, brass or cord rings also enclosed into the jar. Two days later the cord ring was found on the hook. A day after its examination by Prof. Comstock the ring was found off.
Another experiment with fine scales under a celluloid cover produced very satisfactory results. With one of the pans weighted, the other empty, Walter held the scales in balance and sent up the weighted pan. This dynamic feat was achieved in good visibility.
Similar results were achieved with a bell box, being physically operated first by the depression of a key or throwing a switch, and later, the instrument being revised, by the depression of the contact boards. Held in the lap of Dr. Prince, Research Officer of the American Society for Psychic Research, the instrument was operated in daylight.
In later years the voice-cut-out-machine of Dr. Richardson established the independence of Walter's voice beyond the shadow of doubt. Modern psychical research laboratories may boast of a number of other instruments which detect or prevent the slightest movement in the seance room and afford opportunities for observation under the strictest scientific conditions.
Display of Strength
Occasionally the power which accumulates for telekinetic phenomena is so much that astounding feats of strength are exhibited.
At Warsaw, in Dr. Ochorowitz's experiments, a dynamometer marked a force three times as great as Eusapia's and in excess of that of the strongest man present.
In Mme. d'Esperance's mediumship it is recorded by herself as an interesting incident that in Breslau in the house of Professor Friese, the strongest man in Silesia, a veritable Hercules, vainly tried to prevent the movements of the table.
"A violent crack was suddenly heard," records Prof. Zollner, as in, the discharging of a large battery of Leyden jars. On turning, with some alarm, in the direction of the sound, the before-mentioned screen fell apart in two pieces. The wooden screws, half an inch thick, were tom from above and below, without any visible contact of Slade with the screen. The parts broken were at least five feet removed from Slade, who had his back to the screen; but even if he had intended to tear it down by a cleverly devised sideward motion, it would have been necessary to fasten it on the opposite side."
Prof. Zöllner estimated that the strength of two horses was necessary to achieve this effect. He mentions that one of his colleagues seriously suggested that Slade carried dynamite about him, concealed it in the furniture in a clever fashion and exploded it with a match.
In a sitting with Countess Castelwitch in Lisbon, which Prof. Feijao attended, a small table, strengthened with sheet-iron was rent into 200 pieces. The fragments were found piled up in a corner of the room.
It is said in the record of a seance with Eusapia under the supervision of Prof. P. Foa, Dr. A. Herdlitzka, Dr. C. Foa and Dr. A. Aggazotti: "Dr. Arullani asked that the hand behind the curtain should grasp his. The medium replied in her own voice: ' First I am going to break the table, then I will give you a grasp of the hand.' This declaration was followed by three fresh, complete levitations of the table, which fell back heavily on the floor. All those who were on the left of the medium could observe, by a very good red light, the various movements of the table. The table bent down and passed behind the curtain, followed by one of us (Dr. C. Foa) who saw it turn over and rest on one of its two short sides, whilst one of the legs came off violently as if under the action of some force pressing upon it. At this moment the table came violently out of the cabinet, and continued to break up under the eyes of everyone present. At first its different parts were torn off, then the boards themselves went to pieces. Two legs, which still remained united by a thin slip of wood, floated above us and placed themselves on the seance table."
The astronomer Porro reported from his seance with Eusapia Paladino in 1891: "Next a formidable blow, like the stroke of the fist of an athlete is struck in the middle of the table. The blows are now redoubled and are so terrific that it seems as if they would split the table. A single one of these fist blows, planted in the back, would suffice to break the vertebral column."
Stainton Moses records in one instance sledgehammer blows and says: "The noise was distinctly audible in the room below and gave one the idea that the table would be broken to pieces. In vain we withdrew from the table, hoping to diminish the power. The heavy blows increased in intensity, and the whole room shook with their force."
From the Livermore seance notes with Katie Fox, February 15, 1862: "I asked for a manifestation of power; and we at once received the following message: ' Listen, and hear it come through the air; hands off the table.' Immediately a terrific metallic shock was produced, as though a heavy chain in a bag swung by a strong man had been struck with his whole power upon the table, jarring the whole house. This was repeated three times, with decreasing force."
In slate writing experiments with Slade the' slates were often pulverised. Paul Gibier writes in Le Spiritisme: "At ten different trials the slate held by Slade under the table was broken into several pieces. These slates were framed in very hard wood. We endeavored to break them in the same way by striking them against the table, but never succeeded even in cracking them."
Writing of a visit to a Shaker village with the mediums Miss King and H. B. Champion, The Rev. J. B. Ferguson
says of the latter: "Although a man of most delicate physical organization, he was, to my knowledge, without food for ten days, and during that time seemed to possess the strength of three men, when under direct spiritual influence; but when not he was as feeble as an infant, and needed all the care I had promised."
Lifting of Heavy Tables and Pianos
There is a frequent display of great force in the lifting of heavy tables or pianos.
Sir William Crookes saw, on five separate occasions, a heavy dining table rise between a few inches and one and a half feet off the floor under special circumstances which rendered trickery impossible.
D. D. Home testified before the Dialectical Committee: "I have seen a table lifted into the air with eight men standing on it, when there were only two or three other persons in the room. I have seen the window open and shut at a distance of seven or eight feet, and curtains drawn aside and, in some cases, objects carried over our heads. In the house of Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall a table went up so high in the air that we could not touch it."
At a supper party in the house of Henry Dunphy of the Morning Post, at which thirty persons, including Miss Florence Cook, participated, the heavy dining table, with everything upon it, rose, in full light, bodily into the air, until the feet of the table were level with the knees of those sitting round it; the dishes, plates and glasses swaying about in a perilous manner, without, however, coming to any permanent harm." (Gambier Bolton, Psychic Force).
Robert Dale Owen saw in Paris in broad daylight in the dining room of a French nobleman, the dinner table seating seven persons, with fruit and wine on it, rise and settle down, while all the guests stood around without touching it.
Florence Marryat writes in her There is No Death that after her first seance with Florence Cook the whole dinner table around which perhaps thirty people were sitting, with everything upon it, rose bodily in the air, to a level with their knees, and the dishes and glasses swayed about in a perilous manner, without, however, coming to any permanent harm."
In another seance with Katie Cook a piano was carried over the heads of the sitters. One of the ladies became nervous, broke the chain of hands, whereupon the piano dropped on the floor, the two carved legs were broken off and the sounding board smashed in.
The levitation of two pianos, in the presence of an eleven-years-old child, was described as early as 1855 in. Prof. Thury's Les Tables Tournantes. The phenomenon was witnessed by President Lincoln in Mrs. Laurie's house.
Mr. Jencken, the husband of Kate Fox, said in a paper read before the London Dialectical Society: "As regards the lifting of heavy bodies, I can myself testify I have seen the semi-grand at my house raised horizontally eighteen inches off the ground and kept suspended in space two or three minutes."
The Master of Lindsay, before the same body, said I was next to him (Home). I had one hand on his chair and the other on the piano, and while he played both his chair and the piano rose about three inches and then settled down again."
Dr. Ashburner recorded the following personal experience: "Mr. Foster, who is possessed of a fine voice, was accompanying himself while he sang. Both feet were on the pedals, when the pianoforte rose into the air and was gracefully swung in the air from side to side for at least five or six minutes. During this time the castors were about at the height of a foot from the carpet."
"As Mr. Home and myself were entering the drawing room lighted with gas," writes Serjeant Cox in What am I? "a very heavy armchair that was standing by the fire, thirteen feet from us, was flung from its place through the whole length of the room and fell at our feet. No other person was in the room and we were crossing the threshold of the door."
M. Arthur Levy writes in a report on Eusapia Paladino, November 16, 1898: "just as if she was defying some monster, she turns, with inflamed looks, toward an enormous divan, which thereupon marches up to us. She looks at it with a Satanic smile. Finally she blows upon the divan, which goes immediately back to its place."
In phenomena of apport, human transportation and frequently in the passage of matter through matter there is an intermediate stage in which the objects in question or the human body disappears. Sometimes nothing further than disappearance and subsequent reappearance is accomplished. Whether this is done by a great increase in the vibratory rate of the objects handled or by dematerialization is a matter of speculation. Instances to demonstrate the phenomenon are in abundance.
A small table from underneath a larger one disappeared in a seance of * Prof. Zöllner with Henry Slade. They searched the room without result. Five minutes later it was discovered floating in the air upside down. It dropped and struck Zöllner on the head. The vanishing and reappearance of a book was similarly observed. It struck Zöllner on the ear in its descent. Transcendental Physics).
The records of Stainton Moses, dated November 27, 1892, state: "As Dr. S. and I were pacing up and down the room a whole shower of Grimauve lozenges (the remainder of the packet out of which the cross had been made on Friday last) was violently thrown on to my head, whence they spread over the floor round about where we were standing. There were thirteen or fourteen of them, and that number, together with the nine used in making the cross, would just about make up the two ounce packet which I had. I had looked in every conceivable place for these lozenges (which were missing after the cross was made) but could find them nowhere."
"Lily," the guide of Katie Cook, asked Florence Marryat whether she could take away her fur coat which the authoress put on her shoulders. She was given permission under the stipulation that she returned it when Florence Marryat would have to go home. "Lily" asked for the gas to be turned up. The fur coat was no more in the room. During the later course of the seance the coat was flung, apparently from the ceiling and fell right over the owner's head. Apparently the coat had gone through an ordeal for, though it was quite new, now all the fur was coming out and an army of moths could not have damaged it more than Lily's trick.
Mrs. Leonard, in My Life in Two Worlds, tells of a control, Joey, a famous clown in earth life, who as a proof of his power made things of her husband disappear in daylight in the house and reappear days later in exactly the same place. Yolande, Mme. d'Esperance's control, often performed similar feats.
In Eleonore Zugun's presence objects vanished for an indeterminate period. Countess Wassilko has coined the vivid phrase "holes in the world" to describe the effect.
The disappearance involves no injury. In experiments with T. Lynn at the British College of Psychic Science watches frequently vanished from sight without showing harm or stoppage on their reappearance. With Frau Silbert it was noticed that she knew intuitively a few minutes beforehand what articles would appear as if the "cloud of invisibility" which surrounds the objects had been of ectoplasmic nature.
The objects which vanish are not necessarily solids. The invisible operators have the same power over liquids. Lord Adare recorded that brandy was invisibly withdrawn from a glass which Home held above his head. When Lord Adare held his hands above the glass the liquor fell over and through his fingers into the glass, dropping from the air above him. Home explained that the spirit making the experiment is obliged to form a material substance to retain the fluid.
Dr. Eugene Crowell, author of The Identity of Primitive Christianity with Modern Spiritualism, took a small vial filled with pure water to a seance with Dr. Slade to have it magnetized. He writes: "We were seated in a well-lighted room, the rays of the sun falling upon the floor, and no one present but us. Twice the medium said he saw a spirit hand grasping the vial, and I supposed the spirits were magnetising it and kept my eyes directing towards it, but I saw nothing, when suddenly at the same instance we both saw a flash of light apparently proceeding from the vial and the latter disappeared. I immediately arose and inspected every part of the room which from the beginning had been closed, under the table, chairs and sofa, but the vial was not found. Then resuming my seat and questions, in about fifteen minutes, while the two hands of the medium were clasping mine upon the table, I felt something fall into my lap, and looking down I observed the vial rolling off my knees on to the floor. Upon my taking it up we both remarked that the water had acquired a slightly purple tinge, but otherwise its appearance was unchanged."
Max George Albert Bruckner describes in the July 1, 1931, issue of the Zeitschrift fur Metapsychische Forschung a sitting with Frau Maria Silbert in which a bottle, filled with water and sealed, was transferred from the top of the table under it. On examination it was found that the water had completely disappeared. The seal and the cord remained intact. Not a drop of water was visible on the floor.
Vice-Admiral Moore noticed that the ink in his bottle disappeared in a seance with the Bangs Sisters.
Theories of Explanation
Since the first days of modern spiritualism speculation has been rife as to the mechanical agency by which movement without contact takes place. Animal magnetism was thought to furnish the clue. Many theories were formulated. All of them were more or less similar to the odylo-mesmeric theory of E. C. Rogers. His definition of a medium was "a person in whom the conscious and personal control of the higher brain centers was for the moment in abeyance leaving the organism open to be acted upon by the universal cosmic forces." J. Bovee Dodds came very near the truth in his explanation of rapping as an electro -magnetic discharge from the fingers and toes of the medium." As regards table-tilting he said that "the millions of pores in the table are filled with electromagnetism from human brains, which is inconceivably lighter than the gas that inflates the balloon."
However, the agency of human magnetism or electricity was quickly disproved when no instrument could detect the slightest trace and neither the smallest iron filing nor the tiniest pith ball was attracted by the charged table.
Confederacy, chance, fraud, hallucination, or a composite of these suppositions were wanting in explanatory value. The other extreme that spirits were responsible for the movement explained nothing. It was a comparatively early discovery that the contribution of the spirits is, at the most, a directive influence and that in some mysterious way the bodily organism of the medium plays a dominant role. The spirits themselves described physical mediums to Allan Kardec in the following words: "These persons draw from themselves the fluid necessary to the production of the phenomena and can act without the help of foreign spirits. Thus they are not mediums in the sense attached to this word; but a spirit can assist them and profit by their natural disposition."
The fluid of this early age has been replaced by the ectoplasm of psychical research. The discovery of this substance facilitates the idea of a bridge between telekinesis and ordinary mechanics. W. J. Crawford's cantilever theory represented, the most important attempt in this direction. It essentially means that out of ectoplasmic emanations psychic rods, so strong as to become semi-metallic, are formed, that this extrusion acts as a cantilever, and the phenomena are produced by an intelligent manipulation on the part of unseen operators of these rods. The contention that structures may exist which are invisible, impalpable, yet rigid is a mechanical paradox. Rigidity means the power of resisting deformation under stress. It presupposes a force opposing the effort of deformation. This force apparently is not applied from any direction with which we are acquainted. Is it not possible, asks W. Whateley Smith, that it is applied from the fourth dimension? We do not know. Crawford is strong in facts, but his theories are few. He found that if the object to be levitated was heavy, the psychic structure, beside the medium's body, found support on the floor. He made many exact measurements. He discovered that the objects are usually gripped in a manner resembling suction. He proved the presence of the psychic rods by their pressure on a spring balance and measured their reaction on the medium's body with scales. He noticed that if an object was lifted or glued to the floor the medium's body showed a nearly equivalent' increase or decrease in weight. The difference was distributed among the sitters.
Crawford's experiments were confirmed by others. Dr. Karl Gruber, Professor of Zoology in the Polytechnic School of Munich, reports of experiments with Willy Schneider in 1922: "A rigid body seemed to emanate from the right hip of the medium. At about three quarters of a yard from the floor it traversed the gauze partition, enlarging some of its interstices, and moved objects 80 to 100 centimeters distant from the medium. It seems that the medium has to make a certain effort to cause this fluidic member to traverse the screen. By using luminous bracelets we have verified that during the levitation of a small table a dark stump like that of a member could be distinguished, that it rose up under the table, raised it, and replaced it on the floor and showed itself afresh underneath it."
The advantage of the cantilever theory is its simplicity. For that very reason it only explains an initial stage of telekinetic phenomena. Movements without contact in haunted houses, in poltergeist cases and the levitation of the human body apparently demand a different theory. Prof. Richet is probably right in saying that telekinetic phenomena constitute the first stage of materialization which may be called mechanization. When phantom hands or whole bodies are formed the presence of a separate dynamic organism is suggested. It is created at the expense of the medium and the sitters. By calculation Ochorowitz found that the dynamometric energy which the circle loses corresponds to the average power of a man. If the theory of a separate dynamic organism is accepted we can fit in experiences like Lord Adare's: "Home told me to go into the next room and place outside the window a certain vase of flowers. I did so, putting the vase outside the ledge and shutting the window. Home opened the window of the room in which we were sitting. The flowers were carried through the air from the window of the next room in at our open window. We could all hear the rustling and see the curtains moved by the spirit standing there, who was bringing in the flowers Lindsay saw the spirit distinctly."
Many psychical researchers refused to go thus far. They did not like to narrow down the medium's physical participation in the occurrences. Prof. Flournoy put forward the following theory: "It may be conceived that, as the atom and the molecule are the center of a more or less radiating influence of extension, so the organized individual, isolated cell, or colony of cells, is originally in possession of a sphere of action, where it concentrates at times its efforts more especially on one point, and again on another, ad libitum. Through repetition, habit, selection, heredity and other principles loved by biologists ' certain more constant lines of force would he differentiated in this homogeneous, primordial sphere, and little by little could give birth to motor organs. For example: our four members of flesh and blood, sweeping the space around us, would be but a more economic expedient invented by nature, a machine wrought in the course of better adapted evolution, to obtain at the least expense the same useful effects as this vague, primordial, spherical power. Thus, supplanted or transformed, these powers would thereafter manifest themselves only very exceptionally, in certain states, or with abnormal individuals, as an atavistic reappearance of a mode of acting long ago fallen into disuse, because it is really very imperfect and necessitates, without any advantage, an expenditure of vital energy far greater than the ordinary use of arms and limbs. Perhaps it is the Cosmic power itself, the amoral and stupid ' demiurge,' the Unconsciousness of M. Hartman, which comes directly into play upon contact with a deranged nervous system and realizes its disordered dreams without passing through the regular channels of muscular movements."
Edmund E. Fournier d'Albe wonders if the living principle of the cells which die could not in some way still be attached to us. If so we would be actually living half in this world and half in the next. Could not then telekinesis be explained by a resumed embodiment or materialized activity of the disembodied epidermal cell principles?
"I see nothing inadmissible in the fact," writes Lombroso, "that, with hysterical and hypnotic subjects the excitation of certain centers which become active in proportion as all other centers become paralysed, may cause a transposition of psychical forces, and thus also bring about a transformation into luminous force or into motor force. It is thus conceivable how the force of a medium, which I may nominate as cortical or cerebral, might, for instance, raise a table or pull someone's beard, or strike or caress him, phenomena which frequently occur under these circumstances."
Maxwell verified a correlation between the intensity of the muscular effort and the abnormal movement. The movement sometimes may be provoked by shaking the hand about at a certain distance above the table. Rubbing the feet on the floor, rubbing the hands, the back, the arms, in fact any quick or slightly violent movement appears to liberate this force. The breath appears to exercise a great influence as though in blowing on the object the sitters emitted a quantity of energy. Maxwell has the impression that, within certain limits, the quantity of force liberated varies in direct proportion with the number of experimenters. His observations are thus summed up: "There is a close and positive connection between the movements effectuated by the medium and the sitters, and the displacement of articles of experimentation; there is a relation between these displacements and the muscular contractions of the experimenters; a probable relation, whose precise nature he is unable to state, exists between the will of the experimenters and paranormal movements."
Exteriorization of motricity was postulated in the case of Eusapia Paladino by Morselli, Flournoy, Geley and Carrington. Essentially the same theory was put forward in 1874 by Francis Gerry Fairfield in the form of a nerve aura which surrounds every organic structure, is capable of receiving sensory impressions, acts as a force and assumes any desired shape. The nerve aura, however, involves more than ectoplasm. It suggests the presence of a third factor, a nervous force to which both the medium and the sitters contribute.
During the levitation of a table in the Margery seances on June 23, 1923, the sitters felt cold, tingling sensations in their forearms. Dr. Crandon at the same time observed faint, aurora-like emanations from the region of Margery's fingers. It may be yet discovered that the tremendous force which occasionally operates through the ectoplasmic structures is of purely nervous origin.
Myers suggested, as a correlative to telepathic effect, a telergic action by which he meant the excitation of the motor and sensory centers of the medium by an external mind. He said that in case of possession the external intelligence may directly act upon the body and liberate energies of which we have as yet no knowledge. This theory goes far as the external mind appears to dwell in the spiritual world, though it is of frequent observation that the sitters' thoughts exercise a certain influence upon the phenomena. Barzini writes about his seances with Eusapia Paladino: 'c It was obvious that our conversations were listened to, so as to yield a suggestion in the execution of the strange performance. If we spoke of levitation the table would rise up. If we began to discuss luminous phenomena instantly a light would appear upon the medium's knees.
As soon as we switch into the spiritual world in search of the ultimate agency we have to consider what Hellenbach writes in his Birth and Death: "I am convinced," he says, "that the unseen world has first to learn how to act, so as to make themselves accessible to our senses somewhat in the same way that we have to learn how to swim in water, or communicate with the deaf and dumb."
Experimentation was plainly apparent in the Margery seances. Walter suggested, in explanation of complicated operations with scientific instruments that he makes a psychic double of all our apparatus, working directly on this, and that, automatically or otherwise the results are duplicated on the material prototype. He was always insistent that things be left undisturbed in the seance room as much as possible. He occasionally objected even to cleaning and airing, saying that he has a lot of superphysical apparatus there which gets disturbed if the room is invaded. If his wishes were respected better phenomena were invariably produced.
In the scale experiments of the Scientific American Committee with Margery the photograph of a curious, semi-transparent cylinder, looking as if of glass or celluloid, was obtained with flashlight and a quartz lens. Seven of twelve exposed plates show this cylinder. It is five or six inches long and three or a little less in diameter. It stands on its base. When it was photographed on the scale the pan that carried it was up, when it was photographed upon the platform of the scale the pans balanced. The deduction was that the cylinder acts as a sort of suction pump to keep the lighter pan up. Walter said that if the cylinders had been taken under long exposure they would have looked as though filled with cotton wool.
But even if we admit the possibility that instruments on the other side have to be devised to achieve certain effects, we have not yet come nearer to the understanding of the actual physical operation. The cantilever theory may be but one of the many possible mechanical solutions. There are observations to prove that threads, finer than a spider's, may somewhat in the manner of cobwebs connect the medium with the objects of the room. Mme. d'Esperance often complained of a feeling of cobwebs on her face. Margery and many of her sitters had the same experience. Ectoplasmic threads may be the instruments of telekinetic action in Poltergeist cases. With Mlle. Tomczyk Dr. Ochorowitz photographed a balance which was supernormally depressed by fine hair-like threads. The method must have been similar when Eusapia Paladino genuinely performed the same feat. In fact the thread was seen as, in a seance at the house of Cavalier Peretti in Genoa in 1903, it made a glass of water dance. Slowly and cautiously Cavalier Peretti drew the thick, white thread to himself. It resisted, then it snapped and disappeared with a nervous shock to the medium. Bozzano observed such threads twenty times in the same year, Mme. Bisson detected them with Eva C., Dr. Jorgen Bull, of Oslo, found them instrumental in an invisible state in producing direct writing on wax tablets in the presence of Mme. Lujza LinczeghIgnath. In some of the excellent photographs obtained by Dr. Glen Hamilton with Mary M., of Winnipeg, slight threads can be seen reaching up to a bell fixed high above the curtain which was rung occasionally. A similar attachment of threads to apported objects was observed in the photographs taken by Major Mowbray with the medium T. Lynn. The guide of Frau Ideler explicitly stated, in the experiments conducted by Prof. Blacher of the University of Riga, Zeitschrifit fur Parapsychologie (October, 1931), that she spun threads to accomplish telekinetic movement. In red light and later in blue light these attachments were observable and the medium seemed to pull the threads from the inner side of her hand with her fingertips. The threads seemed to be of a doughy, elastic substance at first thick, then pulled fine, and felt soft and dry. Even while being handled they diminished perceptibly. A piece was secured and subjected at once to microscopic examination in an adjoining room. An enlargement of the microscopic photo shows that it is composed not of one strand but of many fine but not organized threads. In its chemical composition the structure was not that of the known textile fabrics. Curiously, fire has no power over these threads. They make the flame withdraw. But they are conductors of electricity.
The thread-connection with the medium being verified it is easy to understand that the medium subconsciously may feel and could indicate in advance what objects are going to be moved. Dr. Osty established this with Rudi Schneider at the Institut Metapsychique. The experience is also well-known to sitters of Frau Silbert.
MUSIC, as a supernormal phenomenon is most impressive when it is independent of seance room conditions and mediums. In religious revivals and in some experiences around the beds of the dying we find two distinct groups of its occurrence.
During the persecution of the Huguenots in France, the hearing of music from invisible sources became a widespread phenomenon. The Letters of Pastor Jurieu, 1689, refers to dozens of instances with names. The sound of trumpets, as if an army were going to charge, and the singing of psalms, a composition of many voices, and a number of musical instruments were heard day and night at many places. After the church in Orthez was razed to the ground there was hardly a house in Orthez in which people did not hear it ordinarily between eight and nine at night. The Parliament of Pau and the Intendant of Bearn forbade men to go and hear these psalms under a forfeiture of 2,000-5,000 crowns. The scale of the phenomenon was too vast to be attributed to hallucination. They experienced it in all the Cevennes. It was largely under the effect of this supernormal phenomenon that Cavalier, Roland and Marion rose against Louis XIV.
Beriah G. Evans, in his account of the Welsh Revival wrote in the. Daily News, February 9, 1905: "From all parts of the country come reports of mysterious music descending from above, and always in districts where the Revival fire burns brightly."
There are several cases in the Phantasms of the Living in which music was heard around the deathbed. After the death of Mrs. L. (p. 446) three persons in the death chamber heard for several seconds three female voices singing softly, like the sounds of an Aeolian harp. Eliza W. could distinguish the words: "The strife is o'er, the battle done." Mrs. L. who was also present did not hear anything.
Before Mrs. Sewell's little girl died (Vol. II., p. 221) sounds like the music of an Aeolian harp" were heard from a cupboard in the room. "The sounds increased until the room was full of melody, when it seemed slowly to pass down the stairs and ceased. The servant in the kitchen, two storys below, heard the sounds." The sounds were similarly heard for the next two days by several people, except the child, who was passionately fond of music. She died when the music was heard for the third time.
Following the death of her 21-year-old daughter, Mrs. Yates heard the sweetest spiritual music, "such as mortals never sang" (Vol. II., p. 223).
Music was heard around the sick-bed of John Britton, a deaf-mute (Journal S.P.R., Vol. IV., p. 181) who was dangerously ill with rheumatic fever. His face was lighted up and when he had recovered sufficiently to use his hands he explained that he heard "beautiful music."
In the case of an old Puritan, narrated in John Bunyan's Works (Vol. III., p. 653) "when his soul departed from him the music seemed to withdraw, and to go further and further off from the house, and so it went until the sound was quite gone out of hearing."
The Daily Chronicle reported on May 4, 1905, the case of a dying woman of the Salvation Army, "For three or four nights mysterious and sweet music was heard in her room at frequent intervals by relatives and friends, lasting on each occasion about a quarter of an hour. At times the music appeared to proceed from a, distance, and then would gradually grow in strength while the young woman lay unconscious."
There are cases in which the experience may have been subjective. According to a story told by Count de la Resie in the Gazette de France of 1855, Urham's chef d'oeuvre, Audition was supernormally produced. In a narrow glade in the Bois de Boulogne he heard a sound in the air. He beheld a light without form and precision and heard an air and the accompaniment with the accords of an AEolian harp. He fell into a kind of ecstasy and distinctly heard a voice which said to him: "Dear Urham, write down what I have sung." He hurried home and noted down the air with the greatest facility.
Music Through Mediums Without Instruments. As a mediumistic manifestation the production of music without instruments is rare, the telekinetic playing of instruments fairly frequent. The sitters of D. D. Home and Stainton Moses were often delighted by music from an invisible source.
D. D. Home writes in Incidents of My Life: "On going to Boston my power returned, and with it the most impressive manifestation of music without any earthly instrument. At night, when I was asleep my room would be filled as it were with sounds of harmony, and these gradually grew louder till persons in other parts of the house could hear them distinctly; if by any chance I was awakened, the music would instantly cease."
In the second volume of his biography, Home quotes the following well-attested experience at Easter Eve, 1866, in S. C. Hall's home: "First we had simple, sweet, soft music for some minutes; then it became intensely sad; then the tramp, tramp as of a body of men marching mingled with the music, and I exclaimed ' The March to Calvary.' Then three times the taptapping sound of a hammer on a nail (like two metals meeting). A crash, and a burst of wailing which seemed to fill the room, followed; then there came a burst of glorious triumphal music, more grand than any of us had ever listened to, and we exclaimed 'The Resurrection.' It thrilled all our hearts."
To Lord Adare we owe many interesting records of the same phenomenon. "We had not been in bed more than three minutes" he writes of an experience in Norwood, "when both Home and myself simultaneously heard the music: it sounded like a harmonium; sometimes, as if played loudly at a great distance, at other times as if very gently, close by,"
On another occasion "the music became louder and louder, until I distinctly heard the words: "Hallelujah I Praise the Lord God Almighty" "It was no imagination on my part." The music was the same as at Norwood.
The aerial musical sounds sometimes resembled drops of water. According to Home they were produced by the same method as raps.
"Ears" wrote Dr. James H. Gully, in whose house at Malvern, Home was a guest, "never listened to anything more sweet and solemn than these voices and instruments; we heard organ, harp and trumpet, also two voices." (Spiritualist, Vol. III., p. 124).
In the presence of Stainton Moses "drum, harp, fairy bells, trumpet, lyre, tambourine and flapping of wings" were heard (Proceedings, Vol. XI., p. 54). No such instruments were in the room. They were also beard in the open. Mrs. Speer says (Light, January 28, 1893): "September 19, before meeting this evening we heard the fairy bells playing in different parts of the garden, where we were walking; at times they sounded far off seemingly playing at the top of some high elm trees, music and stars mingling together, then they would approach nearer to us, evidently following us into the seance room which opened on to the lawn. After we were seated the music still lingered with us, playing in the corner of the room and over the table, round which we were seated. They played scales and chords by request, with the greatest rapidity and copied notes Dr. Speer made with his voice. After Moses was in trance the music became louder and sounded like brilliant playing on the piano! There was no instrument in the room."
There were similar observations, previous to D. D. Home and Moses, in the case of Mary Jobson, a psychic invasion taking place during a spell of mysterious illness; there are experiences in Dorothy Kerin's The Living Touch; and there are quite modern cases on record as well.
Taps "as on a bell so pure as to bear no vibration, in the most exquisite tones, quite beyond description" were produced by Walter in the Margery seances without any visible instrument. Notes were struck on a "psychic piano," the English Call to Arms was rendered on a "psychic bugle," sounding at a distance and in an open space, the British Reveille was played, an invisible mouth organ and the striking of a "celestial clock" were heard, the latter's character different from any clock known to be in the house or in the neighborhood. (Malcolm Bird: Margery the Medium).
Music Telekinetically Produced.
According to E. W. Capron's history "Mrs. Tamlin was, so far as I have been able to learn, the first medium through whom the guitar or other musical instrument was played, without visible contact, so as to give recognizable tunes. In her presence it was played with all the exactness of an experienced musician, although she is not acquainted with music, or herself able to play on any instrument. The tones varied from loud and vigorous to the most refined touches of the strings that could be imagined."
The playing of a locked piano in a seance with James Sangster was recorded in the Age of Progress, March, 1857.
In the presence of Annie and Jennie Lord, of Maine, both unable to play upon any instrument, a double bass violincello, guitar, drums, accordion, tambourine, bells and various small instruments were played "with the most astonishing skill and power" writes Emma Hardinge in Modern American Spiritualism, "sometimes singly, at others all together, and not unfrequently the strange concert would conclude by placing the young medium, seated in her invalid chair, silently and in a single instant in the center of the table, piling up all the instruments around her."
In Home's mediumship telekinetic musical feats were particularly well attested. Crookes witnessed it under fraud-proof conditions. The quality of the music was mostly fine. William Howitt had an experience to the contrary. He is quoted in a letter in Incidents of My Life: "A few evenings afterwards, a lady desiring that the "Last Rose of Summer" might be played by a spirit on the accordion, the wish was complied with, but in so wretched a style that the company begged that it might be discontinued. This was done, but soon after, evidently by another spirit, the accordion was carried and suspended over the lady's head, and there, without any visible support or action on the instrument, the air was played through most admirably, in the view and hearing of all."
Lord Adare noted this peculiarity: "The last few notes were drawn out so fine as to be scarcely audible, the last note dying away so gradually that I could not tell when it ceased. I do not think it possible for any human hand to produce a note in that way."
At another time: "Then there were sounds like echoes, so fine as to be scarcely audible.'' (p. 193).
Robert Bell wrote in the Cornhill Magazine, August, 18601 under the title Stranger than Fiction: "The air was wild and full of strange transitions, with a wail of the most pathetic sweetness running through it. The execution was no less remarkable, for its delicacy than its powers. When the notes swelled in some of the bold passages, the sound rolled through the room with an astounding reverberation; then gently subsiding, sank into a strain of divine tenderness." The experience was the same when Bell held the accordion in his own hand, with full light upon it; during the loud and vehement passages it became so difficult to hold, in consequence of the extraordinary power with which it was played from below, that he was obliged to grasp the top with both hands."
In a letter to the Morning Star (October, 1860), Dr. Gully said: "I have heard Blagrove repeated; but it is no libel on that master of the instrument to say that he never did produce such exquisite distant and echo-notes as those which delighted our ears."
Alfred Russel Wallace writes of his first seance in the company of Crookes with D. D. Home in My Life: "As I was the only one of the company who had not witnessed any of the remarkable phenomena that occurred in his presence, I was invited to go under the table while an accordion was playing, held in Home's hand, his other hand being on the table. The room was well lighted and I distinctly saw Home's hand holding the instrument which moved up and down and played a tune without any visible cause. He then said "Now I will take away my hand," which he did; but the instrument went on playing, and I saw a detached hand holding it while Home's two hands were seen above the table by all present."
There were many mediums who followed Home's footsteps with telekinetic music. Slade and Monck often performed the feat. Of Eusapia Paladino, Carrington writes, in ' The Story of Psychic Science: "One of the most remarkable manifestations, however, was the playing of the mandolin, on at least two occasions. The instrument sounded in the cabinet first of all-distinct twangings of the strings being heard, in response to pickings of Eusapia's fingers on the hand of one of her controllers. The mandolin then floated out of the cabinet, on to the seance table, where, in full view of all, nothing touching it, it continued to play for nearly a minute-first one string and then another being played upon. Eusapia was at the time in deep trance, and was found to be cataleptic a few moments later. Her hands were gripping the hands of her controllers so tightly that each finger had to be opened in turn, by the aid of passes and suggestion."
"I have had," writes Dennis Bradley in And After, instruments of an orchestra placed in the center of 'my own study, with luminous paint covering them so that every movement could be seen instantly, and these instruments have been played by unseen forces in perfect harmony. Whilst operatic selections were being played upon the gramophone, they have been supernormally conducted with a luminous baton in a majestic manner."
Musicians Who Were Mediums.
There were musical mediums who achieved fame, often being unable to play in a conscious state. Jesse F. Shepard was the greatest.
Well-known classical composers played through George Aubert, a non-professional medium who was investigated at the Institut General Psychologique in Paris.
At the International Psychical Congress in 1900 Professor Richet introduced Pepito Ariola, a three-and-a-half-years-old Spanish child, who could play classical pieces.
Blind Tom, a negro child of South Georgia, almost an idiot, played with both hands, using the black and the white keys, on the piano when four years of age. When five years old he composed his Rainstorm and said it was what the rain, wind and thunder had said to him. He could play two tunes on the piano at the same time, one with each hand, while he sang a song in a different air. Each tune was set to a different key as dictated by the audience.
In 1903 Count Hamon introduced to London M. de Boyon, a French musical - medium to whose extraordinary gift Victorien Sardou, M. Massenet, M. Emile Waldteufel, M. Felicien Champsaur and Mme. Sarah Bernhardt testified. He had no memory of what he played-with a unique fingering-and he could not play the same thing twice.
NEWSPAPER TESTS, ingenious experiments devised by seance-room communicators to exclude telepathy as an explanation. The Rev. Drayton Thomas in Some Recent Evidence for Survival publishes many remarkable instances as recorded in sittings with Mrs. Osborne Leonard. The method of the communicators was to give in the afternoon names and dates that were to be published in certain columns of next day's Times, or, if so requested, in coming issues of magazines. The information so obtained was immediately posted to the S.P.R. The results when verified were so much the more striking as neither the editor nor the compositor in the offices of The Times could tell at the hour when the communication was made what text would occupy the column mentioned in the next edition.
The following tests were given on February 13, 1920: 1. The first page of the paper, in column two and near the top the name of a minister with whom your father was friendly at Leek. (Perks was found, a name which was verified from an old diary).
2. Lower in this column, say one quarter down, appears his name, your own, your mother's and that of an aunt; all four within the space of two inches. (John and Charles were correctly found, then came the name Emile Souret which presumably suggested Emily and Sarah, his aunt and mother).
3. Near these the word "Grange." (It was not found.)
4. In column one, not quite half-way down, is a name which is your mother's maiden name or one very like it. (The maiden name was Dore, the name found Dorothea).
5. Somewhat above that is named a place where your mother passed some years of her girlhood. (Hants. Correct. Shirley, where she spent her girlhood, being in Hampshire).
6. Close to the foregoing is a name, which suggests an action one might make with the body in jumping. (Cummock, a bad pun: come knock).
7. Towards the bottom of the column one is named a place where you went to school. (Lincolnshire. Correct.)
9. There is a word close by which looks to your father like Cheadle. (Not found).
10. Higher in column one, say two-thirds down, is a name suggesting ammunition. (Found the ecclesiastical title Canon).
11. Between that and the teacher's name is a placename, French, looking like three words hyphened into one. (Braine-leChateau.)
12. About the middle of this page, the middle both down and across, is a mistake in print; it cannot be right. Some wrong letters inserted or something left out, some kind of mistake just there. (The word "page" printed imperfectly: "Paae").
Out of twelve items in this test two entirely failed, the others forecast at 3 p.m. the day previous to the publication of the paper were correct. At 6 p.m. a copy of this test was posted to the S.P.R. Inquiries at The Times revealed the fact that in some cases the particular notices referred to might have already been set up in type at the time of the sitting, in other cases they were probably not set up and in any case their ultimate position on the page could not be normally known until late in the afternoon. By the spirit of his father the following explanation was furnished to the Rev. Drayton Thomas: "These tests have been devised by others in a more advanced sphere than mine, and I have caught their ideas. I am not yet aware exactly how one obtains these tests, and have wondered whether the higher guides exert some influence whereby a suitable advertisement comes into position on the convenient date. I am able to sense what appear to me to be sheets and slips of paper with names and various information upon them. I notice suitable items and, afterwards, visualize a duplicate of the page with these items falling into their places. At first I was unable to do this. It seems to me that it is an ability which throws some light upon foretelling, a visualizing of what is to be, but based upon that which already is. Sometimes I see further detail upon visualizing which I had not sensed from the letters. I think there is an etheric foreshadowing of things about to be done. It would probably be impossible to get anything very far ahead, but only within a certain number of hours, and I cannot say how many. I scarcely think it would be possible to get a test for the day after the morrow, or, even if possible, that it could result in more than a jumble of the morrow's with a few of the day following. I think they should impress people more than book tests. It becomes clear that telepathy cannot explain; you find in the paper that for which you seek, but given in a form which you did not expect and about which you could, in the nature of the case, have known nothing. Two sets of memory are combined to produce them, my memories of long ago, and my memory of what I found this morning about preparations for the Press."
OBSESSION in psychiatry means that the mind of the patient is dominated by fixed ideas to which an abnormal mental condition corresponds. In psychical research, obsession is an invasion of the living by a discarnate spirit, tending to a complete displacement of normal personality for purposes of selfish gratification which is more or less permanent. The difference between mediumship and obsession is not in principle but in purpose, in duration and in effect. Mediumship, or to be more precise, trance possession, does not interfere with the ordinary course of life, does not bring about a demoralizing dissociation or disintegration, it shows consideration for the medium and its length is limited. After a certain time it ceases automatically and the medium's normal self, held in voluntary abeyance for the time being, resumes its sway.
Obsession is always abnormal, it is an accompaniment of a shock, organic lesion, or, in cases of psychics, of low morale and weakening will power, induced by an unstable character and debility of health. Once the existence of spirits is admitted the possibility of obsession cannot be disregarded. Perhaps, a lesser assumption is just as sufficient to point out the possibility.
"If we believe in telepathy" writes Dr. Hyslop in Contact with the Other World, "we believe in a process which makes possible the invasion of a personality by someone at a distance. "It is not at all likely," he says at another place, "that sane and intelligent spirits are the only ones to exert influence from a transcendental world. If they can act on the living there is no reason why others cannot do so as well. The process in either case would be the same; we should have to possess adequate proof that nature puts more restrictions upon ignorance and evil in the next life than in this in order to establish the certainty that mischievous personalities do not or cannot perform nefarious deeds. The objection that such a doctrine makes the world seem evil applies equally to the situation in the present life."
How are we to distinguish obsession from multiple personality? It was explained to Hyslop by the Imperator group of controls that even for the spirits it is sometimes difficult to state how far the subconscious self of the patient is acting under influence and suggestion from spirits or as a secondary personality. Nevertheless Hyslop found a highly satisfactory method to ferret out the truth in cross reference. He writes: "I take the patient to a psychic under conditions that exclude from the psychic all normal knowledge of the situation and see what happens. If the same phenomena that occur in the patient are repeated through the medium; if I am able to establish the identity of the personalities affecting the patient; or if I can obtain indubitably supernormal information connecting the patient with the statements made through the psychic, I have reason to regard the mental phenomena observed in the patient as of external origin. In a number of
cases, persons whose condition would ordinarily be described as due to hysteria, dual, or multiple personality dementia precox, paranoia, or some other form of mental disturbance, showed unmistakable indications of invasion by foreign and discarnate agencies."
This method is a revolutionary discovery. To reach the conviction of the reality of obsession which preceded it a long time was necessary. "Before accepting such a doctrine, says Hyslop in Life After Death, "I fought against it for ten years after I was convinced that survival after death was proved. But several cases forced upon me the consideration of the question. The chief interest in such cases is their revolutionary effect in the field of medicine. . . . It is high time for the medical world to wake up and learn something."
Prof. William James, shortly before his death, surrendered to the same belief. He wrote: "The refusal of modern enlightenment to treat obsession as a hypothesis to be spoken of as even possible, in spite of the massive human tradition based on concrete experience in its favor, has always seemed to me a curious example of the power of fashion in things "scientific." That the demon theory (not necessarily a devil theory) will have its innings again is to my mind absolutely certain. One has to be 'scientific' indeed to be blind and ignorant enough not to suspect any such possibility."
It was the report of the Thompson-Gifford case in the American Proceedings which overcame his resistance to the idea of obsession. The short history of this famous case is this: Mr. F. L. Thompson, a Brooklyn goldsmith, was seized in 1905 with an irresistible impulse to sketch and paint. The style was plainly Robert Swain Gifford's style. This well-known American artist died six months previously but this fact was unknown to Thompson who hardly knew him and, except for a slight taste for sketching in his early years, never showed artistic talents. He had visions of scenes of the neighborhood of Gifford's country house and often had the hallucination that he was Gifford himself. He saw a notice of an exhibition of Gifford's paintings. He went in and heard a voice whisper: "You see what I have done. Can you take up and finish my work?" The desire to paint became stronger. Soon it was so overpowering that he was unable to follow his former occupation. He grew afraid that he was losing his sanity. Two physicians diagnosed the case as paranoia. One of them, without offering to cure it, expressed a desire to watch the progress of the malady. Thompson came to Prof. Hyslop for advice. He took him to three different mediums. They all sensed the influence of Gifford, described his character and life and confirmed the vague possibility which Dr. Hyslop wished to investigate that the case was not the result of mental disorder. As soon as the case was proved as spirit obsession, treatment was comparatively simple. Gifford was reasoned with and persuaded to desist.
The importance of this treatment is apparent. An obsessing spirit if driven out by strengthened willpower of the victim or by psychotherapeutic means, will seek and find another subject, but if it is convinced of the error of his ways the danger is eliminated. A systematic practice of curing obsession through such means was taken up by Dr. and Mrs. Carl Wickland in their Psychopathic Institute of Chicago. The patient was brought to Mrs. Wickland. She went into trance. Her controls influenced the obsessing spirit to step into Mrs. Wickland's body. If the obsessor was unwilling he was forced to do so by means known to the controls.
Dr. Wickland then began to parley with him, explained the position and usually ended in convincing the invader that he did a great wrong to himself by strengthening his ties to the earth. The invader promised to depart and the patient became normal.
Later Dr. Wickland moved to California and founded the National Psychological Institute for the treatment of obsession. His experiences are narrated in his book Thirty Years Among the Dead.
Similar work was done in The Temple of Light in Kansas City in 1910. Hyslop was so much impressed with the importance of this cure that he established a foundation in his will for the work. The headquarters of the James J. Hyslop Foundation for the Treatment of Obsession are in New York. Dr. Titus Bull is its director.
The obsessors are mostly earthbound spirits. They do not necessarily mean harm. All they wish is to enjoy earthly existence once again. But some of them may commit acts of revenge, or do other harm, owing to their ignorance. And if an evil personality gets into control, the obsessed may be driven to criminal, insane acts, just as the trance control will become perfect by practice the obsessor will feel more at home in the victim's organism after repeated possession and will settle as permanently as he can. Certain historic records suggest that obsession may attain an epidemic character. The case of the Ursuline Nuns of Loudon in 1632-34 appears to be such. Several of the nuns of the convent, including the Mother Superior, were seized with violent convulsions, symptoms of catalepsy and demoniac possession. Blasphemies and obscenities were pouring forth from their mouths, confessed to come from the devil. The cure, Urbain Grandier, was accused of grave immoralities, preceding the outbreak. The devils indicated him as the author of their troubles. He was burnt alive in April, 1634.
Obsessions by evil spirits were of frequent occurrence in Edward Irving's congregation in 1831. The bystanders rebuked the evil spirits and bade them to come forth. In one such case, recorded by Baxter, the possessed man when released by the "tongue" fell upon the ground crying for mercy, and lay there foaming and struggling like a bound demoniac.
In February, 1874, Franklin B. Evans was executed in Concord, N.H., for the murder of a twelve-years-old child. In his confession made just before his execution he said that "for some days before the murder I seemed to be attended continually by one who seemed to bear a human form, urging me on to the deed. At length it became fixed in my mind to take her life."
Hudson Tuttle, in Arcana of Spiritualism, describes a suicidal obsession as follows: "While sitting in a circle at the home of the venerable Dr. Underhill, I was for the time in an almost unconscious state, and recognized the presence of several Indian spirits. The roar of the Cayahoga River over the rapids could be heard in the still evening air, and to my sensitive ear was very distinct. Suddenly I was seized with a desire to rush away to the rapids, and throw myself into the river. As I started up someone caught hold of me, and aroused me out of the impressible state I was in, so that I gained control of myself. Had the state been more profound, and had I once started, the end might have been different. The desire remained all the evening."
Sometimes the obsession serves beneficial ends. An excellent instance is The Watseka Wonder, the case of Lurancy Vennum. Her malicious obsessors were forced out by the spirit of Mary Roff who departed from earth life eighteen years previously in the same city. Mary Roff lived in Lurancy Vennum's body, but in the house of her own parents for sixteen weeks and satisfied everybody of her identity. Her long inhabitation somehow made the body safe from malicious invasions and when she finally yielded its control to the returning ego of Lurancy Vennum the girl's health was mentally and physically re-established.
In the famous Beauchamp case, Sally, one of the four chief personalities, marked as B.III. showed evidence of obsession. The case was never treated as such. Sally, however, claimed to be a spirit, wrote automatically, had a will of her own by which she could hypnotize the other personalities, was always conscious and had no perception of time. She was the connecting link between the memories of the other personalities and was a mischievous entity.
She would go out in the country in the last car and leave the first self to walk home. She would put into a box spiders, toads or other animals to frighten the first self when she opened it, and she waged formal war on the fourth personality. An electric shock, like in the Wickland cases, had the effect of bringing about her eclipse but this fact was not sufficiently noted by Dr. Morton Prince.
In the Doris Fischer case Margaret, one of her five personalities, appeared to be a similarly mischievous entity. She would steal so that Doris would be blamed for the theft. She would hide her books at school so that she could not study her lessons. She would scratch the body of the real Doris until it bled, then go out and leave the normal personality to suffer the pain. She would eat the candy that Doris bought for herself. She would jump into a dirty river with clothes on that Doris should suffer from the filth which stuck to her. But she did not claim to be a spirit, she did not write automatically and showed no ignorance of time. It was with difficulty that her history was traced. Dr. Walter F. Prince succeeded in treating Doris Fischer sufficiently by suggestion to bring her from California to Boston. Hyslop took her to Mrs. Chenoweth. Dr. Hodgson came through when Mrs. Chenoweth went into trance and compared the case to that of Sally Beauchamp, remarking that it was "as important as any that Morton Prince ever had.." He knew the Beauchamp case from personal experience. He also communicated that a little Indian was connected with the case. Soon after, Doris developed automatic writing through the planchette. The little Indian personality manifested and gave her name as Minnehaha or Laughing Water. Later Mrs. Chenoweth's control, Starlight, found Minnehaha and in trying to give her name said: "I see, like a waterfall, just like water falling over and whether it is Water Fall or---something like that." Then she remarked: "She laughs after she shows me the water." Still later Minnehaha herself communicated and confessed a number of pranks she played upon the girl.
As a result of his 20 years' study of obsession at the head of the James Hyslop Institute Dr. Titus Bull published in 1932 some startling conclusions. He says:
"An obsessing personality is not composed of the soul, mind and will of one disembodied being, but is, in reality, a composite personality made up of many beings. The pivot obsessor, or the one who first impinges upon the sensorium of the mortal, is generally one with little resistance to the suggestions of others.
He or she, therefore, becomes an easy prey to those who desire to approach a mortal in this way.
". . . Some people, moreover, may be born with tendencies which make it easier for them to become victims of mental alterations later in life. . . There is an influence which can be exerted upon the minds of mortals by ideas embodied in thoughts from their departed ancestors. In other words, some departed ancestors, whenever possible, attempt to mould the lives of those incarnated who are akin... There is a type of mortal whose mind is easily influenced by the stronger minds of the family group. . . The more clannish the family group, the more likely is this to be true on both sides of the veil. It is, however, not to be considered as spirit obsession in the true sense.... The intervention of shock, however, or anything that could upset the nerve balance of a member of such family group, would place him in actual danger of becoming a victim of true spirit obsession. ... The primary obsessor, in this case, would likely be one who claimed the right by ties of blood, who had no desire to do anything but to keep the mortal in line with family ideals."
According to Dr. Bull obsessors "have three major points of impingement; namely, the base of the brain, the region of the solar plexus and at the center governing the reproductive organs. As there are three major points of impingement, it may be assumed that there can be three composite groups, each starting with a pivot entity. What satisfaction is to be gained this way includes the whole gamut of human emotions."
The pivot entities "upon which the mound of entity obsession is built" act as automatic channels for the others. Many of them were victims of obsession before their passing. Others may become obsessors "through the machinations or wiles of others." Not understanding what has happened to them they may be readily influenced to turn to obsession.
Another important point is "the possibility of obsessions passing on to the body of mortal pangs which were part of their own physical life." They retained in their memory the possibility of producing pain and as often they are unable to inhibit the production of it in the obsessed body, it must be beyond their control. "Therefore," states Dr. Bull, "it is a fair assumption to say that often the migratory pains of the living are caused by the memory pangs of the dead." The prime reason of why the production of pain should be beyond control is "the domination of another and more crafty entity who is using the pain-producer for his own purpose ... ."
Books on obsession: Dr. Justinus Kerner: Geschichten Besessener Neurer Zeit, Karlsruhe, 1834; Dr. C. H. Carson: Obsession; Dr. Peebles: Spirit Obsession: The Demonism of the Ages; Dr. Carl Wickland: Thirty Years Among the Dead, 1924; Godfrey Rauper: The Dangers of Spiritualism- The Supreme Problem; Dr. Titus Bull: Analysis of UnusualExperiences in Healing Relative to Diseased Minds and Results of Materialism Foreshadowed, 1932.