Book: "Raymond or Life and Death"

Author: Sir Oliver Lodge FRS

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- (Part 2) Chapter 21 - Supernormal Portion -

A Few Isolated Incidences


         THERE are a number of incidents which might be reported, some of them of characteristic quality, and a few of them of the nature of good tests. The first of these reported here is decidedly important.

1. Simultaneous Sittings in London and Edgbaston

Special 'Honolulu' Test Episode

Lionel and Norah, going through London on the way to Eastbourne, on Friday, 26 May 1916, arranged to have a sitting with Mrs. Leonard about noon. They held one from 11-55 to 1.30, and a portion of their record is transcribed below.

At noon it seems suddenly to have occurred to Alec in Birmingham to try for a correspondence test; so he motored up from his office, extracted some sisters from the Lady Mayoress's Depot, where they were making surgical bandages, and took them to Mariemont for a brief table sitting. It lasted about ten minutes, between 12.00 and 12.20 p.m. And the test which he then and there suggested was to ask Raymond to get Feda in London to say the word "Honolulu." This task, I am told, was vigorously accepted and acquiesced in. A record of this short sitting Alec wrote on a letter-card to me, which I received at 7 p.m. the same evening at Mariemont: the first I had heard of - the experiment. The postmark is "I P.M. 26 My 16," and the card runs thus:-

"Mariemont, Friday, 26 May, 12.29 P.M.

"Honor ' Rosalynde, and Alec sitting in drawing-room at table. Knowing Lionel and Norah having Feda sitting in London simultaneously. Asked Raymond to give our love to Norah and Lionel and to try and get Feda to say Honolulu. Norah and Lionel know nothing of this, as it was arranged by A. M. L. after 12 O'clock to-day.

(Signed) ALEC M. LODGE
HONOR G. Lodge

It is endorsed on the back in pencil, "Posted at B'ham General P.O. 12-43 p.m."; and, in ink, "Received by me 7 P.M.- OJL Opened and read and filed at once."

The sitters in London knew nothing of the contemporaneous attempt; and nothing was told them, either then or later. Noticing nothing odd in their sitting, which they had not considered a particularly good one, they made no report till after both had returned from Eastbourne a week later.

The notes by that time had been written out, and were given me to read to the family. As I read, I came on a passage near the end, and, like the few others who were in the secret, was pleased to find that the word "Honolulu" had been successfully got through. The subject of music appeared to have been rather forced in by Raymond, in order to get Feda to mention an otherwise disconnected and meaningless word; the time when this was managed being, I estimate, about 1.00, or 1.15. But of course it was not noted as of any interest at the time.

Here follow the London Notes. I will quote portions of the sitting only, so as not to take up too much space:

Sitting of Lionel and Norah with Mrs. Leonard in London, Friday, 26 May 1916, beginning 11:55 a.m.

Extracts from Report by L.L.

After referring to Raymond's married sister and her husband, Feda suddenly ejaculated:

How is Alec?

L. L.- Oh, all right.

He just wanted to know how he was, and send his love to him. He does not always see who is at the table; he feels some more than others.(1)

(1) It is noteworthy, in connexion with these remarks, that Honor and Alec were sitting for a short time at Mariemont just about now. - OJL.

He says you (to Norah) sat at the table and Lionel.

He felt you (Norah) more than any one else at the table.

[This is unlikely. He seems to be thinking that it is Honor.]

Feda feels that if you started off very easily, you would be able to see him. Develop a normal. [clairvoyance probably].

Raymond says, go slowly, develop just with time, go slowly. Even the table helps a little.

He can really get through now in his own words. When he is there, he now knows what he has got through.

The Indians have got through their hanky-panky. [We thought that this meant playing with the table in a way beyond his control.]

He says that Lily is here. (Feda, sotto voce.Where is she?)

She looks very beautiful, and has lilies; she will help too, and give you power.

Sit quietly once or twice a week, hold your hands, the right over the left, so, for ten minutes, then sit quiet-only patience. He could wait till doomsday.

He says, Wait and see; he is laughing!

He has seen Curly (P-203). L- L.-IS Curly there now?

No, see her when we wants to. That's the one that wriggles and goes . . . (here Feda made a sound like a dog panting, with her tongue out-quite a good imitation).

Raymond has met another boy like Paul, a boy called Ralph. He likes him. There is what you call a set. People meet there who are interested in the same things. Ralph is a very decent sort of chap.(1)

(1) This is the first mention of a Ralph-presumably the one whose people, not known to us personally, had had excellent table sittings with Mrs. Leonard. See Chapter XII - O.J. L.

(To Norah).- You could play. N. M. L.- Play what?

Not a game, a music. N. M. L.- I am afraid I can't, Raymond.

(Feda, sotto voce.-She can't do that.)

He wanted to know whether you could play Hulu - Honolulu.

Well, can't you try to? He is rolling with laughter [meaning that he's pleased about something].

He knows who he is speaking to, but he can't give the name.

[Here he seems to know that it is Norah and not Honor.]

L. L - Should I tell him?


He says something about a yacht; he means a test he sent through about a yacht. Confounded Argonauts! (1)

(1) This is too late to be of any use, but 'Yacht' appears to be the sort of
answer they had wanted to 'Argonauts'! - O.J. L.

He is going. Fondest love to them at Mariemont.

The sitting continued for a short time longer, ending at 1.30 p.m., but the present report may end here.

Note on the 'Honolulu' Episode by O.J.L.

In my judgment there were signs that the simultaneous holding of two sittings, one with Honor and Alec in Edgbaston, and one with Lionel and Norah in London, introduced a little harmless confusion; there was a tendency in London to confuse Norah with Honor, and Alec was mentioned in London in perhaps an unnecessary way. I do not press this, however, but I do press the 'Honolulu' episode - 

(i) because it establishes a reality about the home sittings, 

(ii) because it so entirely eliminates anything of the nature of collusion, conscious or unconscious, 

(iii) because the whole circumstances of the test make it an exceedingly good one. 

What it does not exclude is telepathy. In fact it may be said to suggest telepathy. Yes, it suggests distinctly one variety of what, I think, is often called telepathy - a process sometimes conducted, I suspect, by an unrecognised emissary or messenger between agent and percipient. It was exactly like an experiment conducted for thought transference at a distance. For at Edgbaston was a party of three sitting round a table and thinking for a few seconds of the word 'Honolulu'; while in London was a party of two simultaneously sitting with a medium and recording what was said. And in their record the word 'Honolulu' occurs. Telepathy, however - of whatever kind-is not a normal explanation; and I venture to say that there is no normal explanation, since in my judgment chance is out of the question. The subject of music was forced in by the communicator, in order to bring in the word; it did not occur naturally; and even if the subject of music had arisen, there was no sort of reason for referring to that particular song. The chief thing that the episode establishes, to my mind, and a thing that was worth establishing, is the genuine character of the simple domestic sittings without a medium which are occasionally held by the family circle at Mariemont. For it is through these chiefly that Raymond remains as much a member of the family group as ever.

II Impromtu Mariemont Sitting

Once at Mariemont, I am told, when M.F.A. L. and Honor were touching it, the table moved up to a book in which relics and reminiscences of Raymond had been pasted, and caused it to be opened. In it, among other things, was an enlargement of the snapshot facing page 278, showing him in an old 'Nagant' motor, which had been passed on to him by Alec, stopping outside a certain house in Somersetshire. He was asked what house it was, and was expected to spell the name of the friend who lived there, but instead he spelt the name of the house. The record by M.F.A. L., with some unimportant omissions' is here reproduced - merely, however, as another example of a private sitting without a medium.

Impromptu Table Sitting at Mariemont, Tuesday, 25 April 1916

(Report by M.F.A. L.)

I had been thinking of Raymond all day, and wanting to thank him for what he did yesterday for [a friend]. Honor had agreed that we might do it some time, but when I mentioned it about 10.50p.m., she did not want to sit then - she thought it too late. We were then in the library.

Honor, sitting on the Chesterfield, said, "I wonder if any table would be equally good for Raymond?" - placing her hands on the middle-sized table of the nest of three. It at once began to stir, and she asked me to place mine on the other side to steady it.

I asked if it was Raymond, and it decidedly said YES.

I then thanked him with much feeling for what he had done for [two separate families] lately. I told him how much he had comforted them, and how splendidly he was doing; that there were quite a number of people he had helped now. We discussed a few others that needed help.

Then I think we asked him if he knew what room we were in - Yes. And after knocking me a good deal, and making a noise which seemed to please him against my eyeglasses, he managed, by laying the table down, to get one foot on to the Chesterfield and raise the table up on it; and there it stayed, and rocked about for a long time answering questions-I thought it would make a hole in the cover.

I don't quite remember how it got down, but it did, and then edged itself up to the other larger table, which had been given me by Alec, Noel, and Raymond, after they had broken a basket table I used to use there-it was brought in with a paper, "To Mother from the culprits."

(This was a year or two ago.) Well, he got it tip to this table, and fidgeted about with the foot of the smaller table on which we had our hands, until he rested it on a ledge and tried to raise it up. But the way he did this most successfully was when he got the ledge of our small table onto a corner of the other and then raised it off the ground level. This he did several times. I took one hand off, leaving one hand on the top, and Honor's two hands lying on the top, no part of them being over the edge, and I measured the height the legs were off the ground. The first time it was the width of three fingers, and the next time four fingers.

Honor told him this was very clever.

I then tried to press it down, but could not-a curious feeling, like pressing on a cushion of air.

He had by this time turned us right round, so that Honor was sitting where I had been before, and I was sitting or sometimes standing in her place. Then we were turned round again, and he seemed to want to knock the other table again; he went at it in a curious way. I had with one hand to remove a glass on it which I thought he would upset. He continued to edge against it, until he reached a book lying on it. This he knocked with such intention, that Honor asked him if he wanted it opened.


[This was a scrap-book in which I collect anything about him-photographs, old and new; poems made about him, or sent to me in consolation; and it has his name outside, drawn on in large letters.- M.F.A. L.]

So I opened it, and showed him the photograph of himself seated in the 'Nagant.' [A motor-car which Alec had practically given him not long before the war, and with which he was delighted.]

Honor asked if he could see it, and he said YES, and seemed pleased.

She asked if he could tell her what house it was standing in front of, and he spelt out


[This was pretty good, as the name of the Jacques's house is 'St. Germains.']

(Honor had forgotten the name till he began, and expected him to say Jacques's.)

We told him he had got it, but that his spelling wasn't quite as good as it had been.

Honor talked to him then about the 'Nagant' and the 'Gabrielle Horn,' all of which seemed to delight him.

We then showed him some other photographs, and the one of his dog, and asked him to spell its name, which he did without mistake


He couldn't see the little photograph of the goats, as it was too small. But he saw himself in uniform-the one taken by Rosalynde and enlarged-and he seemed to like seeing that.

We talked a lot to him. I asked if he remembered his journey with me out to Italy, and the Pullman car, etc. At this he knocked very affectionately against me.

We then thought it was time for us all to go to bed. But he said No. So we went on telling him family news. He listened with interest and appreciative knocks, and he then tried his balancing trick again, sometimes with success, but often failing to get the leg right. But he did it again in the end. We tried to say good night, it being then nearly one o'clock, but he didn't seem to want to go.

We said au revoir, and told him we would see him again soon.

III. Episode of 'Mr. Jackson'

A striking incident is reported in one of my 'Feda' sittings - that On 3 March 1916-shortly after the death of our peacock, which went by the comic name of 'Mr. Jackson,' his wives being Matilda Jackson and Janet. He was a pet of M. F. A. L.'s, and had recently met with a tragic end. It was decided to have him stuffed, and one of the last things I had seen before leaving Mariemont was a wooden pedestal on which it was proposed to put him.

When I asked Feda if Raymond remembered Mr. Jackson, he spoke of him humorously, greatly to Feda's puzzlement, who said at last that he was mixing him up with a bird, about whom I had previously inquired; because he said, 'Fine bird, put him on a pedestal!

If this was not telepathy from me, it seems to show a curious knowledge of what is going on at his home, for the bird had not been dead a week, and if he were alive there would be no sense in saying, 'put him on a pedestal.' Feda evidently understood it, or tried to understand it, as meaning that some man, a Mr. Jackson, was metaphorically put on a pedestal by the family.

The fact, however, that Mr. Jackson was at once known by Raymond to be a bird is itself evidential, for there was nothing in the way I asked the question to make Feda or anyone think he was not a man. Indeed, that is precisely why she got rather bewildered. See Chapter XXI.

IV. Episode of the Photographs

It is unnecessary to call attention to the importance of the photograph incident, which is fully narrated in Chapter IV; but he spoke later of another photograph, in which be said was included his friend Case. It is mentioned near the end of Chapter IV. That photograph we also obtained from Gale & Polden, and it is true that Case is in it as well as Raymond, whereas he was not in the former group; but this one is entirely different from the other, for they are both in a back row standing up, and in a quite open place. If this had been sent to us at first, instead of the right one, we should have considered the description quite wrong. As it is, the main photograph episode constitutes one of the best pieces of evidence that has been given.


Remarks by O.J.L. in Concluding Part II

The number of more or less convincing proofs which we have obtained is by this time very great. Some of them appeal more to one person, some to another; but taking them all together. every possible ground of suspicion or doubt seems to the family to be now removed. And it is legitimate to say, further, that partly through Raymond's activity a certain amount of help of the same kind has been afforded to other families. Incidentally it has been difficult to avoid brief reference to a few early instances of this, in that part of the record now published. For the most part, however, these and a great number of other things are omitted; and I ought perhaps to apologise for the quantity which I have thought proper to include. Some home critics think that it would have been wiser to omit a great deal more, so as to lighten the book. But one can only act in accordance with one's own judgment; and the book, if it is to achieve what it aims at, cannot be a light one. So, instead of ending it here, I propose to add a quantity of more didactic material - expressing my own views on the subject of Life and Death - the result of many years of thought and many kinds of experience. 

Some people may prefer the details in Part II; but others who have not the patience to read Part II may tolerate the more general considerations adduced in Part III the "Life and Death" portion - which can be read without any reference to Raymond or to Parts I and II.



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