Curt J. Ducasse

C. J. Ducasse

(1881-1969), French-born, highly respected Professor of Philosophy at Brown University. Awardee of the Carus Lectures prize (American Philosophical Association). Contributed to the "Journal Information for Philosophy and Phenomenological Research", "Causation", "Immortality" (Edited by Paul Edwards), "Philosophical Dimensions of Parapsychology" (edited by James M. O. Wheatley). Ex-student of Josiah Royce. Pursued a career in philosophy but retained a strong interest in logic - so much so that he took the initiative to create the Association for Symbolic Logic with its Journal of symbolic logic. Among his many important papers on survival are "How the Case of The Search for Bridey Murphy Stands Today" Journal of the ASPR 54: 3-22, and "What Would Constitute Conclusive Evidence of Survival After Death?" Journal of the SPR 41: 401-406. His books included "A Critical Examination of the Belief in Life After Death", "Paranormal Phenomena, Science and Life After Death" (Monograph), "A Philosophical Scrutiny of Religion", "Nature, Mind, And Death", "Truth, Knowledge and Causation", "Philosophy As a Science: Its Matter and Its Method" and "Philosophy of Art".

A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life After Death - Part 4

Chapter 18: Additional Occurrences Relevant to the Question of Survival

1. Communications, purportedly from the deceased, through automatists | 2. Communications through automatists from fictitious and from still living persons | 3. Mrs. Sidgwick's interpretation of the Piper communications | 4. Cross-correspondences

 - Curt J. Ducasse -

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          EXCEPT, PERHAPS, for a very few cases of "possession" that may be as clear-cut as appeared to be that of the "Watseka Wonder" described in the preceding chapter, the most impressive sort of empirical evidence of survival is that provided by certain of the communications which are received through mediums or automatists, and which purport to emanate from particular deceased persons. Such communications, and the alternative interpretation or interpretations to which they may be open, are what we shall consider in the present chapter.

1. Communications, purportedly from the deceased, through automatists

The externally observable facts in the case of communications, purportedly from the surviving spirits of the deceased, are that a person, either in a state of trance or in the waking state, gives out various statements automatically, that is, not consciously and intentionally as in ordinary expression. Such persons are therefore perhaps best referred to as automatists, but actually more often as mediums.

The statements may be spelled out letter by letter - a pointer, on which the hand of the automatist rests, moving to the appropriate letters printed on a board (the "ouija" board) without conscious guidance by the automatist, who may the while be looking elsewhere and carrying on a conversation with the persons present. Or the letters may be indicated in some other way, as by paranormal raps or by movements of a table on which the hands rest, when the alphabet is recited and the proper letter reached. Or again, the communications may be written automatically by the hand of the automatist while his or her attention is otherwise engaged; or the statements may be spoken either by the vocal organs of the entranced medium, or at times, in some mysterious way by a voice that seems not to employ the medium's vocal organs and is then termed the "independent voice". But whichever one of these various means is used, the appearances are that the automatist's own intelligence and will do not participate in the framing of the statements made, and that a quite different personality originates them. The handwriting or the voice, and the locutions, the tricks of speech, and the stock of information manifested, are notably different in the best cases from those of the automatist in her normal state. Indeed, they are often typical of, and usually purport to emanate from, some particular deceased friend or relative of the "sitter," i.e., of the person who is sitting with the medium at the time.

The process of communication sometimes appears to be direct, and sometimes indirect. In the latter case, the intelligence directly in command of the automatist's organs of expression purports to be that of some discarnate person more expert than others at the difficult task of using them. This intelligence, which generally remains the same at many sittings, is known as the medium's "control." Sometimes it utters through the medium's organs statements which it purportedly hears being made by the sitter's deceased friend. On the other hand, when the latter appears to be directly in command of the medium's organs, the "control" appears to function as a helper and supervisor of the communicator's attempt to express himself through those organs; for example, by preventing other discarnate spirits that also desire to use the medium from interfering with the communication going on.

That it is sometimes by no means easy to account for the content, the language, and the mannerisms of the communications otherwise than by the supposition that they really emanate from the surviving spirits of the deceased will now be made evident by citation, even if only in summary form, of communications received by the late Professor J. H. Hyslop, purportedly from his deceased father, through the famous Boston medium, Mrs. Leonore Piper, who was studied by men of science probably for more years, and more systematically and minutely, than any other mental medium.

The first of them to study her was Professor William James. He published a first report about her in 1886. In 1887, Dr. Richard Hodgson, who was secretary of the American Society for Psychical Research and was an experienced and highly critical investigator, undertook and carried on for eighteen years an intensive study of her mediumship. In the course of time, Mrs. Piper made three trips to England, where she was studied by Sir Oliver Lodge, F. W. H. Myers, Henry Sidgwick, and other distinguished investigators.

Professor Hyslop was one of the many persons who had sittings with Mrs. Piper during the years in which Dr. Hodgson was supervising the exercise of her mediumship. In 1901, Hyslop published a long and lucid, circumspect, and detailed report of his sittings with her(1). For lack of space here, reference will be made only to the communications he received that purported to establish the identity and survival of his father, who, it should be mentioned, had been in no way a public character but had lived a very ordinary and retired life on his farm.

(1) Proc. S. P. R, Vol. XVI:1-649,1901.

A word must be said first as to the physical manner in which the communications were being delivered by Mrs. Piper at that period of her mediumship. She sat in a chair before a table on which were two pillows. After a few minutes, she would go into a trance and lean forward. Her left hand, palm upward, was then placed on the pillow, her right cheek resting on the palm, so that she was facing left. Her right arm was then placed on another table to the right, on which there was a writing pad. A pencil was then put in her hand, which then began to write.

The communications so received purported to come from several of Professor Hyslop's dead relatives, and in particular from his father. Their content included a statement of Professor Hyslop's name, James; of his father's name, and of the names of three others of his father's children. Also, references to a number of particular conversations the father had had with Professor Hyslop, to many special incidents and facts, and to family matters. Examples would be that the father had trouble with his left eye, that he had a mark near his left ear, that he used to wear a thin coat or dressing gown mornings and that at one time he wore a black skull cap at night; that he used to have one round and one square bottle on his desk and carried a brown-handled penknife with which he used to pare his nails; that he had a horse called Tom; that he used to write with quill pens which he trimmed himself; and so on. A number of these facts were unknown to Professor Hyslop, but were found to be true after inquiry. The communications also contained favorite pieces of advice, which the father had been in the habit of uttering, and these worded in ways characteristic of his modes of speech.

The communications that purported to come from other dead relatives, and indeed those given by Mrs. Piper to scores and scores of other sitters over the years, were similarly of facts or incidents too trivial to have become matters of public knowledge, or indeed to have been ascertainable by a stranger without elaborate inquiries, if at all. Facts of this kind are therefore all the more significant as prima facie evidences of identity. It is interesting to note in this connection that if one had a brother in another city, with whom one was able to communicate only through a third party - and this a person in a rather dopy state and if the brother doubted the identity of the sender of the messages, then trivial and intimate facts such as those cited - some of them preferably known only to one's brother and oneself would be the very kind one would naturally mention to establish one's identity.

The question now arises, however, whether the imparting of such facts by a medium is explicable on some other hypothesis than that of communication with the deceased. Two other explanations - one normal and the other paranormal - suggest themselves. The first is, of course, that the medium obtained antecedently in some perfectly normal manner the information communicated. One of the reasons why I chose Mrs. Piper's mediumship as example is that in her case this explanation is completely ruled out by the rigorous and elaborate precautions which were taken to exclude that possibility. For one thing, Dr. Hodgson had both Mrs. Piper and her husband watched for weeks by detectives, to find out whether they went about making inquiries concerning the relatives and family history of persons they might have expected to come for sittings. Nothing in the slightest degree suspicious was ever found. Moreover, sitters were always introduced by Dr. Hodgson under assumed names. Sometimes, they did not come into the room until after Mrs. Piper was in trance, and then remained behind her where she could not have seen them even if her eyes had been open. On her trips to England, Mrs. Piper stayed in Myer's house or in that of Sir Oliver Lodge, and the few letters she received were examined and most of them read, with her permission, by Myers, Lodge, or Sidgwick. Many of the facts she gave out could not have been learned even by a skilled detective; and to learn such others as could have been so learned would have required a vast expenditure of time and money, which Mrs. Piper did not have. William James summed up the case against the fraud explanation in the statement that "not only has there not been one single suspicious circumstance remarked" during the many years in which she and her mode of life were under close observation, "but not one suggestion has ever been made from any quarter which might tend to explain how the medium, living the apparent life she leads could possibly collect information about so many sitters by natural means(2). Thus, because we do not merely believe but positively know that the information she gave was not obtained by her in any of the normal manners, there is in her case no escape from the fact that it had some paranormal source.

(2) Cf. the conclusions of Frank Podmore to the same effect on pp. 71-78 of his "Discussion of the Trance-phenomena of Mrs. Piper," Proc. Soc. for Psychical Research, Vol. XIV:50-78, 1898-9, in which he contrasts the rigor of the precautions against possibility of fraud taken in Mrs. Piper's case with the possibilities of it that existed in certain famous cases of purported clairvoyance.

The paranormal explanation alternative to the hypothesis is that, in the trance condition, Mrs. Piper, or her dissociated, secondary personalities, possess telepathic powers so extensive as to enable her to obtain the information she gives out from the minds of living persons who happen to have it; and this even if at the time it is buried in their subconsciousness, and no matter whether such persons be at the time with Mrs. Piper or anywhere else on earth. Or else that, in trance, Mrs. Piper has powers of retrocognitive clairvoyance so extensive as to enable her to observe the past life on earth of a deceased person.

But even this supposition is not enough, for besides the recondite true items with which the communications abound, there remains to be explained the dramatic form - the spontaneous give-and-take - of the communications. For this, it is necessary to ascribe to Mrs. Piper's trance personality the extraordinary histrionic ability which would be needed to translate instantly the suitable items of telepathically or clairvoyantly acquired information into the form which expression of a memory, or of an association of ideas, or of response to an allusion, etc., would take in animated conversation between two persons who had shared various experiences - many of them trivial in themselves, but because of this all the more evidential of identity. How staggering a task this would be can be appreciated only in extensive perusal of the verbatim records of the conversations between sitter and communicator, and often between two communicators.

Professor Hyslop takes cognizance of the capacity which a hypnotized subject does have for dramatic imitation of a person he is made to imagine himself to be and about whom he knows something; and Hyslop stresses the great difference, evident in the concrete, between this and the dramatic interplay between different personalities, of which numerous instances occur in the Piper sittings. And he points out also that nothing really parallel to the latter is to be found in the relations to one another of the several dissociated personalities in cases such as that of Morton Prince's Miss Beauchamp(3). Hyslop had stressed earlier (p. 90) that if normal explanations fail to account for the phenomena he has recorded, then the only alternative to the supposition that he has actually been communicating with the independent intelligence of his father is "that we have a most extraordinary impersonation of him, involving a combination of telepathic powers and secondary personality with its dramatic play that should as much try our scepticism as the belief in spirits."

(3) Proc. S.P.R, Vol. XVI:269 ff. 1901.

He concludes: "When I look over the whole field of the phenomena and consider the suppositions that must be made to escape spiritism, which not only one aspect of the case but every incidental feature of it strengthens, such as the dramatic interplay of different personalities, the personal traits of the communicator, the emotional tone that was natural to the same, the proper appreciation of a situation or a question, and the unity of consciousness displayed throughout, I see no reason except the suspicions of my neighbours for withholding assent" (p. 293).

Another of Mrs. Piper's communicators, who during a period of her mediumship was also her chief "control," was "George Pelham." Early in 1892, a young lawyer, George Pelham, [pseudonym for Pellew] died in New York as a result of an accident. He was an associate of the American Society for Psychical Research and a friend of Dr. Hodgson's, to whom he had said that, if he died first "and found himself 'still existing,' he would 'make things lively' in the effort to reveal the fact of his continued existence."(4)

(4) Proc. S. P. R. Vol. XIII:295, 1897-8.

Some four or five weeks after his death, a communicator purporting to be George Pelham manifested himself at a sitting Mrs. Piper was giving to an old friend of his, John Hart. In the subsequent sittings in which G. P. figured, he was specially requested to identify such friends of his as might be among the sitters; and, out of at least one hundred and fifty persons who then had sittings with Mrs. Piper, G. P. truly recognized thirty former friends; there was no case of false recognition; and he failed in only one case to recognize a person he had known. (This was a young woman whom he had known only when she was a child eight or nine years before.) In each case, "the recognition was clear and full, and accompanied by an appreciation of the relations which subsisted between G. P. living and the sitters." Dr. Hodgson adds: "The continual manifestation of this personality, - so different from Phinuit or other communicators, - with its own reservoir of memories, with its swift appreciation of any reference to friends of G. P., with its 'give-and-take' in little incidental conversations with myself, has helped largely in producing a conviction of the actual presence of the G. P. personality which it would be quite impossible to impart by any mere enumeration of verifiable statements."(5)

(5) Op. cit. p. 328.

In bringing to a close Section 6 of his report, Hodgson states that, although further experiment may lead him to change his view, yet "at the present time I cannot profess to have any doubt but that the chief 'communicators,' to whom I have referred in the foregoing pages, are veritably the personalities that they claim to be, that they have survived the change we call death, and that they have directly communicated with us whom we call living, through Mrs. Piper's entranced organism."(6)

(6) Op. cit. p. 406.

The dramatic spontaneity of some of the communications, and their impressive faithfulness to the manner, thought, and character of the deceased persons from whom they purport to emanate, is testified to similarly in the comments of the Rev. M. A. Bayfield on a communication which purported to come from Dr. A. W. Verrall after his death in 1912. Referring to Verrall's intellectual impatience, Mr. Bayfield writes: "The thing I mean does not readily lend itself to definition, but it was eminently characteristic;" and, after quoting certain passages typical of it in the scripts, he goes on.. "All this is Verrall's manner to the life in animated conversation... When I first read the words quoted above I received a series of little shocks, for the turns of speech are Verrall's, the high-pitched emphasis is his, and I could hear the very tones in which he would have spoken each sentence." In commenting on the question whether "these life-like touches of character" are inserted perhaps "by an ingenious forger (the unprincipled subliminal of some living person) with a purpose, in order to lend convincing vraisemblance to a fictitious impersonation," Mr. Bayfield writes that "nowhere is there any slip which would justify the suspicion that in reality we have to do with a cunningly masquerading 'sub.' Neither the impatience, nor the emphatic utterance, nor the playfulness has anywhere the appearance of being 'put on,' - of being separable from the matter of the scripts ... to me at least it is incredible that even the cleverest could achieve such an unexampled triumph in deceptive impersonation as this would be if the actor is not Verrall himself."(7)

(7) Proc. S.P.R. Vol. XXVII:246-49,1914-15.

2. Communications through automatists from fictitious and from still living persons

Whatever may be the correct explanation of such correct and dramatically verisimilar mediumistic communications as those we have just described, the explanation must in one way or another leave room for the fact that in some instances "communications" have been received from characters out of fiction, such as Adam Bede; that, on one occasion, Prof. G. Stanley Hall had, through Mrs. Piper, communications from a girl, Bessie Beals, who was a purely fictitious niece of his invented by him for the purpose of the experiment; that, in 1853, Victor Hugo in exile in jersey received "communications" from "The Lion of Androcles" and "The Ass of Balaam;" that Dr. S. G. Soal received, through Mrs. Blanche Cooper, communications from, on the one hand, a John Ferguson, who turned out to be a wholly fictitious person, and on the other from a Gordon Davis, whom he had known slightly when both were boys at the same school. Soal had since then talked with him only once, for about half an hour about service matters when both were cadets in the army and met by chance on a railroad platform. Soal later believed him to have been killed in the war; but he was in fact living at the time communications of a number of facts about his life history, past and future, were received by Soal through Mrs. Cooper. "Some of these facts," Soal writes, "were given in the form of verbal statements describing incidents which had happened or which were to happen; other facts such as his vocal characteristics were expressed in a purely physical way," for in this case the personality of the (still living) Gordon Davis appeared to "control" or "possess" the medium; was dramatized and spoke in the first person with the fastidious accent and clear articulation peculiar to Gordon Davis; and apparently believed itself to be a deceased person.(8)

(8) Proc. S.P.R. Vol. XXXV:471-594, 1926. A Report of Some Communications Received through Mrs. Blanche Cooper.

Some five earlier cases of communications purporting to emanate from persons who asserted they had died or who were believed to have died, but who were actually living, are cited by Prof. Th. Flournoy in the third chapter of his Spiritism and Psychology(9). The words 'Deceiving Spirits,' which, in quotation marks, he uses as title of that chapter, refer to the fact that Spiritualists are wont to ascribe such spurious communications to mischievous, deceitful spirits. But obviously this explanation would be legitimate only if it had first been independently established that any discarnate spirits at all exist.

(9) Transl. by H. Carrington, pub. Harper & Bros. New York, 1911, pp. 72-90.

3. Mrs. Sidgwick's interpretation of the Piper communications

In an article entitled "Discussion of the Trance Phenomena of Mrs. Piper,"(10) Mrs. Sidgwick, who was one of the keenest minded women of her time in England, takes into consideration what is known both of the pathological dissociations of personality, and of the capacity of subjects in deep hypnotic trance to impersonate anyone whom they have been induced to believe themselves to be. In the light of all this she argues, not specifically against the contention that Mrs. Piper's communications provide some evidence of survival after death, but against the "possession" interpretation of her trance communications; that is, against the supposition that on those occasions the discarnate spirits of George Pelham, of Prof. Hyslop's father, etc., "turn out Mrs. Piper's spirit and themselves take its place in her organism," (p. 35) i.e., possess it for the time being and employ her organs of expression in the same direct manner as that in which each of us normally employs his own vocal organs in oral expression or his own hand in writing.

(10) Proc. Soc. for Psych. Res'ch. Vol. XV:16-38,1900-01.

Mrs. Sidgwick contends that the interpretation most plausible in the light of all the peculiarities of the communications is that the communicating mind is in all cases Mrs. Piper's own (entranced) mind; that in the trance condition, her mind has ,can unusually developed telepathic faculty" (p. 34); that the recondite information her trance mind gives out is obtained by it telepathically from the minds of living persons having it, or possibly from the dead; and that the dramatic form which the presentation of it takes in conversations with the sitter is accounted for most economically, but adequately, if one supposes that the entranced, dreaming Mrs. Piper believes herself at the time to be the deceased person whose memories and personality traits then occupy her mind.

As tending to support this hypothesis against that of direct possession of Mrs. Piper's organism by the discarnate spirit of G. P. or of some other deceased person, Mrs. Sidgwick points out that some sitters are uniformly more successful than others in getting communications whose content is attributable only to some paranormal source - whether this be telepathy from the sitter, or from other living persons, or from the deceased.

This, Mrs. Sidgwick argues, would indicate that the sitter's state of mind, or his particular type of mind, is somehow a factor in the "communication" process; for if the process depended only on the medium and on temporary possession of her entranced organism by a discarnate spirit, there would be no reason why the communications from a given spirit - say, G. P.'s - should, as in fact is the case, be steadily less evidential of some paranormal origin when made to one particular sitter than when made to a particular other.

This conclusion, however, hardly seems to follow; for the supposition that the sitter contributes something - congeniality, readiness to believe, interest in paranormal phenomena, perhaps; or the opposites - is quite compatible with the communicator's being really who he claims to be. It is a matter of common experience that different persons with whom one converses affect one differently and bring out of him different things-one, trivialities; another, exercise perhaps of such unusual powers, or manifestation of such special interests, as he may have.

Anyway, the question we are at present centrally concerned with is whether proof of survival, or at least evidence definitely establishing it as probable, is provided by the paranormal occurrences cited, and more particularly at this point by mediumistic communications, such as Mrs. Piper's, that contain remote details of some particular person's past life and reproduce with high verisimilitude his tone, mannerisms, and distinctive associations of ideas. Hence, if these do prove or establish a positive probability of survival, then the question whether a surviving deceased person communicates with us directly, by taking possession of the entranced Mrs. Piper's organism, or only indirectly by telepathy in the manner suggested by Mrs. Sidgwick, is of but secondary interest, as having to do merely with the technique of the process of communication.

But the facts cited in Section 2 would by themselves be enough to show that the content and form of mediumistic communications, even when as impressive as some of those of Mrs. Piper or of Mrs. Blanche Cooper, do not necessarily proceed from discarnate spirits. The question thus forces itself upon us whether some other explanation is available, that would account at once for the communications from fictitious persons; for the correct and dramatically verisimilar communications purportedly from deceased persons who, however, are in fact still living; and also for the similarly impressive communications that likewise purport to emanate from deceased persons, but where those persons had in fact died.

About the only hypothesis in sight that might do all this and that would be other than that of communications from excarnate spirits deceitful or truthful, is the hypothesis of telepathy from the subconscious minds of living persons who have or have had the information manifested in the communications; or/and the hypothesis of clairvoyance by the medium, giving her access to existing facts or records containing the information. For of course the correctness, or not, of the information communicated can be testified to, if at all, only by some still living person's memory or by some still existing facts or documents.

Before inquiring into the adequacy of this hypothesis, however, we shall have to consider the cases of so-called "Cross-correspondences;" for they are the ones most difficult to account for in terms of only that hypothesis. At the same time, they are the ones that provide the strongest evidence of "true" survival.

4. Cross-correspondences

It is unfortunately not possible to give an intelligible concrete presentation of any of the cases of cross-correspondence in the space available here, nor without presupposing special knowledge of Greek and Latin classics by the reader; for the scripts of the automatists involved in the cross-correspondences, and the analyses of them, run to hundreds of pages; their significance turns on references or allusions to recondite points in those classics; and their evidential force can be fully appreciated only after long and careful study of the scripts and of the circumstances under which each individually was produced.

The best that can be done here is therefore only to state in general terms what is meant by the term "cross-correspondences," how the experiment they constitute originated, and who were respectively the automatists, the investigators, and the purported communicators concerned in it.

Cross-correspondences are correspondences between the scripts of different automatists isolated from one another at least to the extent of being kept in ignorance of the contents of one another's scripts. Sometimes, one of the automatists is ignorant of the other's existence. For example, Mrs. Verrall, on Oct. 25, 1901, was asked by Mr. Piddington to try to obtain in her scripts a word to be reproduced in the script of another automatist, Mrs. Archdale, of whom Mrs. Verrall had never heard before. She was told that the supposed "control" of Mrs. Archdale was the latter's deceased son, Stewart. Then Mrs. Verrall remembered that, in a script of hers of Sept. 18, 1901, i.e., over a month before she had come to know of Mrs. Archdale's existence, the name Stewart, had occurred together with two other names. These turned out to be ones closely connected with the deceased boy. Similarly definite correspondences were found between some of Mrs. Verrall's scripts in England in the summer of 1905 and those of another automatist, at the time in India, Mrs. Holland, of whose name Mrs. Verrall was then ignorant, and whose acquaintance she did not make until November 1905(11). Other automatists besides Mrs. Verrall (lecturer in Classics at Newnham College and wife of Dr. A. W. Verall, Cambridge University classicist) and Mrs. Holland (pseudonym of a sister of Rudyard Kipling,) were Miss Helen Verrall, Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Forbes (pseudonym), Mrs. Willett (pseudonym), and Mrs. Piper.

(11) Proc. S.P.R. Vol. XX:205-6,1906.

The investigators in the series of cross-correspondences were Mr. J. G. Piddington, the Hon. Gerald Wm. Balfour (who later became Lord Balfour), Sir Oliver Lodge, Mr. Frank Podmore, Mrs. Sidgwick, and Miss Alice Johnson, Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research. Dr. Richard Hodgson, in charge of Mrs. Piper's sittings in Boston up to the time of his death in 1905, also participated. And, to some extent, Mrs. Verrall functioned not only as automatist but also as investigator.

The deceased persons from whom purported to come the communications characterized by cross-correspondences were chiefly F. W. H. Myers, author of the classic Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, who had died in 1901; Edmund Gurney (d. 1888), author, with Myers and Podmore's collaboration, of Phantasms of the Living; Henry Sidgwick (d. 1900), the distinguished Cambridge philosopher and first president of the S.P.R.; and Dr. Richard Hodgson (d. 1905), Secretary of the A. S. P. R. After Dr. Verrall's death in 1912, communications typical of him and of Prof. Butcher were also received.

The correspondences between the scripts had to do in most cases with rather recondite details of the Greek and Latin classics. To identify them or to understand the allusions to them made in the scripts therefore required considerable knowledge of the classics by the investigators. One of these, Mr. J. G. Piddington, who had the requisite scholarly equipment and ingenuity, and who was much interested in the scripts, found that certain of them, besides having a topic in common, complemented one another in a manner analogous to that in which the individually insignificant pieces of a jigsaw puzzle - or to use his own comparison, the cubes of a mosaic - make a meaningful whole when correctly combined. This complementariness is the distinctive feature of the most evidential of the cross-correspondences.

An additional point of the greatest interest is that the scripts contain numerous statements more or less explicitly to the effect that the discarnate Myers, Gurney, and Sidgwick were the devisers of the scheme of giving out, through automatists isolated from one another, communications that would be separately unintelligible but that made sense when put together or, in some of the cases, when a clue to the sense was supplied in the script of yet another automatist. In this way, the possibility of explaining simply as due to telepathy or clairvoyance the similarities of topic between the scripts of two automatists would be ruled out or greatly strained; and in addition proof would automatically be supplied that the communicators, in their discarnate state, were not mere automata and sets of memories, but retained intellectual initiative and ingenuity; that is, that they were still fully living.

An excellent summary of some of the most evidential cases of cross-correspondence, with some extracts from the scripts, is presented in a fair and discerning manner by H. F. Saltmarsh in his little book, Evidence of Personal Survival from Cross Correspondences(12). Briefer accounts of the subject-though more ample than the present one-may be found in G. N. M. Tyrrell's The Personality of Man, chs. 17 and 18, and in his Science and Psychical Phenomena, ch. XVII.(13) It is worth mentioning that Lord Balfour, in his fine "Study of the Psychological Aspects of Mrs. Willett's Mediumship and of the Statements of the Communicators Concerning Process"(14) states that "the bulk of Mrs. Willett's automatic output is too private for publication;" hence that, in his paper, "there must still remain withheld from publicity a good many passages which [he] would willingly have quoted by way of illustration;" and that 'It would be impossible to do justice to the argument in favour of spirit communication on the basis of the Willett phenomena without violating confidences which [he is] bound to respect" (pp. 43, 45).

(12) G. Bell & Sons, London 1938, pp. viii and 159. At the end is a full list of the discussions of the scripts in the Proceedings of the S. P. R.
(13) Respectively, Penguin Books, New York, 1946, No. A165; and Harper & Bros., New York and London, 1938.
(14) Proc. S.P.R. Vol. XLIII:41-318, 1935.

In 1932, Mrs. Sidgwick wrote an account of the history and work of the Society for Psychical Research during its first fifty years of existence. She being at the time President of Honor of the Society, her paper was presented by her brother, Lord Balfour at the jubilee meeting of the Society, July 1, 1932. After he had done so, he added that some of the persons present "may have felt that the note of caution and reserve has possibly been over-emphasized in Mrs. Sidgwick's paper!' Then he went on: "Conclusive proof of survival is notoriously difficult to obtain. But the evidence may be such as to produce belief, even though it fall short of conclusive proof." Lord Balfour then concluded with the words: "I have Mrs. Sidgwick's assurance - an assurance which I am permitted to convey to the meeting - that, upon the evidence before her, she herself is a firm believer both in survival and in the reality of communication between the living and the dead."(16) This belief, he had himself come to share.

(16) Proc. S.P.R. Vol. XLI:16,1932-3.

Certainly, few persons have been both as thoroughly acquainted with the evidence from cross-correspondences for survival and for communication with the deceased, and at the same time as objective and keenly critical, as were Mrs. Sidgwick and Lord Balfour.

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