Book: "Raymond or Life and Death"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

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- (Part 2) Chapter 17 - Supernormal Portion -

First Sitting of Alec with Mrs Leonard


          ON 21 December 1915 Alec had his first sitting with Mrs. Leonard; but he did not manage to go quite anonymously - the medium knew that he was my son. Again there is a good deal of unverifiable matter, which whether absurd or not I prefer not to suppress; my reasons are indicated in Chapters xii and xvi Part II, and xi Part III.

Alec's (A. M. L.'s) Sitting with Mrs. Leonard at her House on Tuesday Afternoon, 21 December 1915, 3.15 to 4.30p.m.

(Medium knows I am Sir Oliver Lodge's son.)

Front room; curtains drawn; dark; small red lamp.

No one else present.

Mrs. Leonard shook hands saying, "Mr. Lodge?"

(Medium begins by rubbing her own hands vigorously.)

Good morning! This is Feda.

Raymond's here. He would have liked A and B.

(Feda, sotto voce.-What you mean, A and B?)

Oh, he would have liked to talk to A and B. [See Note A.] He says: "I wish you could see me, I am so pleased; but you know I am pleased."

He has been trying hard to get to you at home. He thinks he is getting closer, and better able to understand the conditions which govern this way of communicating. He thinks that in a little while he will be able to give actual tests at home. He knows he has got through, but not satisfactorily. He gets so far, and then flounders.

(Feda, sotto voce.- That's what fishes do!)

He says he is feeling splendid. He did not think it was possible to feel so well.

He was waiting here; he knew you were coming, but thought you might not be able to come to-day. [Train half an hour late.]

Did you take notice of what he said about the place he is in?

A. M. L.- Yes. But I find it very difficult to understand. He says, it is such a solid place, I have not got over it yet. It is so wonderfully real.

He spoke about a river to his father; he has not seen the sea yet. He has found water, but doesn't know whether he will find a sea. He is making new discoveries every day. So much is new, although of course not to people who have been here some time.

He went into the library with his grandfather - Grandfather William - and also somebody called Richard, and he says the books there seem to be the same as you read.

Now this is extraordinary: There are books there not yet published on the earth plane. He is told-only told, he does not know if it is correct -that those books will be produced, books like those that are there now; that the matter in them will be impressed on the brain of some man, he supposes an author.

He says that not everybody on his plane is allowed to read those books; they might hurt them-that is, the books not published yet. Father is going to write one-not the one on now, but a fresh one.

Has his father found out who it was, beginning with G, who said he was going to help (meaning help Raymond) for his father's sake? It was not the person he thought it was at the time (p. 204).

It is very difficult to get things through. He wants to keep saying how pleased he is to come. There are hundreds of things he will think of after he is gone.

He has brought Lily, and William-the young one (Feda, sotto voce.- I don't know whether it is right, but he appears to have two brothers.)

[Two brothers as well as a sister died in extreme infancy. He would hardly know that, normally.-OJL]

A.M.L - Feda, will you ask Raymond if he would like me to ask some questions?

Yes, with pleasure, he says.

A.M.L.- A little time ago, Raymond said he was with mother. Mother would like to know if he can say what she was doing when he came? Ask Raymond to think it over, and see if he can remember?

Yes, yes. She'd got some wool and scissors. She had a square piece of stuff - he is showing me this - she was working on the square piece of stuff. He shows me that she was cutting the wool with the scissors.

Another time, she was in bed.

She was in a big chair-dark covered. This refers to the time mentioned first. [Note B.]

A. M. L.- Ask Raymond if he can remember which room she was in?


He can't remember. He can't always see more than a corner of the room-it appears vapourish and shadowy.

He often comes when you're in bed.

He tried to call out loudly: he shouted, 'Alec, Alec!' but he didn't get any answer. That is what puzzles him. He thinks he has shouted, but apparently he has not even manufactured a whisper.

A. M.L.-Feda, will you ask Raymond if he can remember trivial things that happened, as these things often make the best tests?

He says he can now and again.

A.M.L.-The questions that father asked about 'Evinrude,' 'Dartmoor,' and 'Argonauts,' are all trivial, but make good tests, as father knows nothing about them.

Yes, Raymond quite understands. He is just as keen as you are to give those tests.

A.M.L.-Ask Raymond if the word 'Evinrude' in connexion with a holiday trip reminds him of anything?

Yes. (Definitely.)

A.M.L.- And 'Argonauts'?

Yes. (Definitely.)

A.M.L.-And 'Dartmoor'?

Yes. (Definitely.)

A.M.L.-Well, don't answer the questions now, but if father asks them again, see if you can remember anything.

(While Alec was speaking, Feda was getting a message simultaneously:-)

He says something burst.

[This is excellent for Dartmoor, but I knew it.A. M. L.] [Note C.]

A.M.L. - Tell Raymond I am quite sure he gets things through occasionally, but that I think often the meaning comes through altered, and very often appears to be affected by the sitter. It appears to me that they usually get what they expect.

Raymond says, "I only wish they did!" But in a way you are right. He is never able to give all he wishes. Sometimes only a word, which often must appear quite disconnected. Often the word does not come from his mind; he has no trace of it. Raymond says, for this reason it is a good thing to try, more, to come and give something definite at home. When you sit at the table, he feels sure that what he wants to say is influenced by some one at the table. Some one is helping him, some one at the table is guessing at the words. He often starts a word, but somebody finishes it.

He asked father to let you come and not say who you were; he says it would have been a bit of fun.

A.M.L.-Ask Raymond if be can remember any characteristic things we used to talk about among ourselves ?

Yes. He says you used to talk about cars.

(Feda, sotto voce.-What you mean? Everybody talks about cars!)

And singing. He used to fancy he could sing. He didn't sing hymns. On Thursday nights he has to sing hymns, but they are not in his line.

[On Thursday nights I am told that a circle holds sittings for developing the direct voice at Mrs.Leonard's, and that they sing hymns. Paul and Raymond have been said to join in. Cf. near end of Chapter XVI, p. 201

A.M. L.-What used he to sing?

Hello-Hullalo-sounds like Hullulu-Hullulo. Something about 'Hottentot'; but he is going back a long way, he thinks. [See note in Appendix about this statement.]

(Feda, sotto voce.-An orange lady?)

He says something about an orange lady.

(Feda, sotto voce.-Not what sold oranges?)

No, of course not. He says a song extolling the virtues and beauties of an orange lady.

[Song: "My Orange Girl." Excellent. The last song he
bought. - A.M.L.]

And a funny song which starts 'MA,' but Feda can't see any more-like somebody's name. Also something about 'Irish eyes.' [See Note Do]

(Feda, sotto voce.-Are they really songs?)

Very much so.

(A number of unimportant incidents were now mentioned.)

He says it is somebody's birthday in January.

A.M.L - It is

(Feda, sotto voce. - What's a beano? Whose birthday?)

He won't say whose birthday. He says, He knows (meaning A.).

[Raymond's own birthday, 25 Jan., was understood.]

(More family talk.)

Yes, he says he is going now. He says the power is getting thin.

A. M. L.- Wish him good luck from me, Feda.

Love to all of them.

My love to you, old chap.

Just before I go: Don't ever any of you regret my going. I believe I have got more to do than I could have ever done on the earth plane. It is only a case of waiting, and just meeting every one of you as you come across to him. He is going now. He says Willie too-young Willie. [His deceased brother.]

(Feda, sotto voce.-Yes, what? Proclivities?) Oh, he is only joking.

He says: Not Willie of the weary proplic-propensities - that's it.

He is joking. just as many jokes here as ever before. Even when singing hymns. When he and Paul are singing, they do a funny dance with their arms. (Showing a sort of cake-walk moving arms up and down.)

(Feda.- It's a silly dance, anyway.)

Good-bye, and good luck.

[Characteristic; see, for instance, a letter of his on page 41 above. I happen to have just seen another letter, to Brodie, which concludes: "Well, good- bye, Brodie, and good luck." - OJL

Yes, he is going. Yes. He is gone now, yes.

Do you want to say anything to Feda?

A.M.L.-Yes, thank you very much for all your help. The messages are sometimes difficult, but it is most important to try and give exactly what you hear, and nothing more, whether you understand it or not.

Feda understands. She only say exactly what she hear, even though it is double-Dutch. Don't forget to give my love to them all.

A.M. L.-Good-bye, Feda. (Shakes hands.)

Medium comes-to in about two or three minutes.

(Signed) A.M. L.

21 December 1915

[All written out fair same evening. Part on way home, and part after arriving, without disturbance from seeing anybody.]

Notes by OJL on the AML Record

This seems to have been a good average sitting; it contains a few sufficiently characteristic remarks, but not much evidential. What is said about songs in it, however, is rather specially good. In further explanation, a few notes, embodying more particular information obtained by me from the family when reading the sitting over to them, may now be added:


The 'A and B' manifestly mean his brothers Alec and Brodie; and there was a natural reason for bracketing them together, inasmuch as they constitute the firm Lodge Brothers, with which Raymond was already to a large extent, and hoped to be still more closely, associated. But there may have been a minor point in it, since between Alec and Brodie long ago, at their joint preparatory school, there was a sort of joke, of which Raymond was aware, about problems given in algebra and arithmetic books: where, for instance, A buys so many dozen at some price, and B buys some at another price; the question being to compare their profits. Or where A does a piece of work in so many days, and B does something else. It is usually not at all obvious, without working out, which gets the better of it, A or B; and Alec seems to have recognised, in the manner of saying A and B, some reference to old family chaff on this subject.


The reference to a square piece of stuff, cut with scissors, suggests to his mother, not the wool-work which she is doing like everybody else for soldiers, but the cutting of a circular piece out of a Raymond blanket that came back with his kit, for the purpose of covering a round four-legged table which was subsequently used for sittings, in order to keep it clean without its having to be dusted or otherwise touched by servants. It is not distinct enough to be evidential, however.


About Dartmoor, "he says something burst." Incidents referred to in a
previous sitting, when I was there alone, were the running downhill, clapping
on brake, and swirling round corners (P. 156) ; but all this was associated
with, and partly caused by, the bursting of the silencer in the night after the hilly country had been reached. And it was the fearful noise subsequent to the bursting of the silencer that the boys had expected him to remember.


The best evidential thing, however, is on P. 212-a reference to a song of his called "My Orange Girl." If the name of the song merely had been given, though good enough, it would not have been quite so good, because the name of a song is common property. But the particular mode of describing it, in such a way as to puzzle Feda, namely, "an orange lady," making her think rather of a market woman, is characteristic of Raymond especially the sentence about "extolling her virtues and beauties," which is not at all appropriate to Feda, and is exactly like Raymond. So is "Willie of the weary proclivities."

The song "Irish Eyes" was also, I find, quite correct. It seems to have been a comparatively recent song, which he had sung several times.

Again, the song described thus by Feda:

"A funny song which starts MA. But Feda can't see any more-like somebody's name."

I find that the letters M A were pronounced separately-not as a word. To me the MA had suggested one of those nigger songs about 'Ma Honey'- the kind of song which may have been indicated by the word 'Hottentot' above. But, at a later table sitting at Mariemont, he was asked what song he meant by the letters M A, and then he spelt out clearly the name 'Maggie.' This song was apparently unknown to those at the table, but was recognised by Norah, who was in the room, though not at the table, as a still more recent song of Raymond's, about "Maggie Magee." (See Appendix also.)

Appendix to Sitting of 21 December 1915 (Written 3 1/2 Month's Later)

(Dictated by OJL., 12 April 1916.)

Last night the family were singing over some songs, and came across one which is obviously the one referred to in the above sitting of A. M. L. with Mrs. Leonard, held nearly four months ago, of which a portion ran thus (just before the reference to Orange Girl)

"A.M.L.- What used he to sing?

Hello-Hullalo-sounds like Hullulu,-Hullulo. Something about 'Hottentot'; but he is going, back a long way, he thinks."

References to other songs known to the family followed, but this reference to an unknown song was vaguely remembered by the family as a puzzle; and it existed in A. M. L.'s mind as "a song about 'Honolulu,'" - this being apparently the residual impression produced by the 'Hullulu' in combination with 'Hottentot'; but no Honolulu song was known.

A forgotten and overlooked song has now (11 April 1916) turned up, which is marked in pencil "R. L. 3.3.4.," i.e. 3 March 1904, which corresponds to his "going back a long way" - to a time, in fact, when he was only fifteen. It is called, "My Southern Maid"; and although no word about 'Honolulu' occurs in the printed version, one of theverses has been altered in Raymond's writing in pencil; and that alteration is the following absurd introduction, to a noisy chorus:

"Any little flower from a tulip to a rose, If you'll be Mrs. John James Brown Of Hon-o-lu-la-lu-la town."

Until these words were sung last night, nobody seems to have remembered the song "My Southern Maid," and there appears to be no reason for associating it with the word 'Honolulu' or any similar sound, so far as public knowledge was concerned, or apart from Raymond's alterations.

Alec calls attention to the fact that, in answer to his question about songs, no songs were mentioned which were not actually Raymond's songs; and that those which were mentioned were not those he was expecting. Furthermore, that if he had thought of these songs he would have thought of them by their ordinary titles, such as "My Orange Girl" and "My Southern Maid"; though the latter he had forgotten altogether.

(A sort of disconnected sequel to this song episode occurred some months later, as reported in Chapter XXIII.)



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