TO show that some apparent clairvoyance, whether it be due to hyperaesthesia or telepathy or something else, is really possible, I take an instructive little experiment recorded by Mrs. Verrall in Proceedings, vol. xi., page
192-which she tried in November 189o with her daughter, who was then a child aged 71 years. Other instances will be mentioned later on-see, for instance, p. 178.
of Objects by Telepathy or Hyperaesthesia
H., Aged 7/12 Years
Mrs. Verrall reports as follows:
In November 1890, I tried the following experiment with H. I drew a diagram, which I placed on H.'s forehead, while her eyes were shut, and asked her to describe it. To make the performance more like a game, I went on to ask what colour it was, and what she could see through it. We tried four experiments, three on the afternoon of November 16th, and one at 6.15 on November 30th, with the following results:-
Object drawn - A triangle.
Result - H. drew a triangle with her finger in the air. Right.
Object drawn - A triangle with apex cut off.
Result. - H. described and drew an irregular figure, which did not seem to satisfy her, then said it was like an oval dish. Wrong.
drawn. - A square.
Result. - H said: "It's like a window with no cross bars," and drew a four-sided rectangular figure in the air. Right.
Object drawn - A square divided into 4 squares by a vertical and a horizontal line.
Result. - H. said: "It's a diamond". "What else?" said I, meaning what colour, etc. "It's got a line across it, and another across that. [Right.] The colour is pale blue."
When I gave her the diagram, she turned it angle-wise and said,
"Oh yes, that's right, and the colour was not far wrong." As the diagram was drawn in ink on white paper, I did not understand, and asked what she meant. She said, "Why, it's all blue, bluish white inside, and even the ink is blue." The diagram had been dried with blotting paper and was not a very deep black, but I could see nothing blue. Ten minutes afterwards she picked up the paper again and commented on the fact that it was blue, the lines dark bright blue, and the inside pale blue. I burnt the diagram and discontinued the game after observing this persistence of a self-suggested hallucination.
We had previously tried experiments which seemed to show that the child could feel the diagram. She could almost always tell whether the right or wrong side of a playing card were placed on her forehead. I was quite unable to distinguish the two sides. I am more inclined to attribute her successes (3
out of 4) to hyperaesthesia than to telepathy.
I will now quote a case which is rather a striking example of the fact that the intelligence operative through unconscious or subliminal processes is superior to that of the normal intelligence of the persons concerned; so that just as people occasionally seem able to become cognisant of facts or events by means ordinarily Closed to them, - a phenomenon which appears akin to the water-dowsing faculty, and to the "homing" instincts of animals, - so sometimes they can write poetry or solve problems beyond their normal capacity.
Here, for instance, is the case of the solution of a mathematical problem by automatic writing - with the pencil not held in the hand but attached to the heart-shaped piece of board called a "planchette." It is quoted from the record which I communicated at the time to the journal of the Society for Psychical Research, vol.
Case of Automatic Intelligence
One feature of interest is that both the witnesses are exceptionally competent. The account was written by an old pupil of my own at Bedford College in the seventies-one of the ablest students there, - Miss C. M. Pole, daughter of the late Dr. Pole, F.R.S., the well - known Engineer, Musician, and writer on card-games. Miss Pole is now Mrs. Garrett Smith, living at Magdeburg, and writes as follows:-
In the early part of 1885 I was staying at - in the house of Mrs. Q., and I and her daughter, Miss Q., B.A., Lond., used to amuse ourselves in writing with a Planchette. We had several Planchettes (I think four), but we could only get response from one of them, which belonged to Miss Q. In the house with us were some eight or nine others. . . . but for no other pair would the Planchette act. The same one had formerly given good results with Miss Q. and another friend, but I have never written with a Planchette before or since. We got all sorts of nonsense out of it, sometimes long doggerel rhymes with several verses. Sometimes we asked for prophecies, but I do not remember ever getting one which came true, and my impression is that generally when we asked for a prophecy the thing went off in a straight line-running off the table if we did not take our hands off. It often did this, refusing to write at all, and towards the end of my stay there I believe it was always so; we could get no answer from it. I believe we often asked Planchette who the guiding spirit was; but I only once remember getting a definite connected answer. Then it wrote that his name was "Jim", and that he had been a Senior Wrangler. After other questions we asked it to write the equation to its own curve [in other words, to express mathematically the outline of the heart-shaped board]. Planchette wrote something like this quite distinctly -
(The curl backwards always denoted that the answer was finished.) We repeated the question several times, but each time the answer was the same, sometimes more, sometimes less distinct. We unconscious of any influence a sin 0 interpreted it as r = a sin 0/0. . . . I knew just enough to be able to draw the curve represented by the equation. In my first try I made a mistake and believed the curve to be quite a different one, but afterwards I drew [something like] the following [rough sketch] - a double never-ending spiral (but see p. 103):-
We checked our result by taking the equation to the Mathematical Master at the Boys' College, who drew the same (sort of) curve for us, but we did not tell him where we got the equation from.
I cannot say whether the Planchette we used was really exactly the shape of the outside curve; I should rather fancy that with the heart shape the resemblance ended. I am quite sure that I had never seen the curve before, and therefore the production of the equation could not have been an act of unconscious memory on my part. Also I most certainly did not know enough mathematics to know how to form an equation which would represent such a curve, or to know even of what type the equation must be. But I had come across such equations and drawn the curves represented by them;- for instance, afterwards I found In my notebook the spiral r 0 = 1/2 (3.142) a, and the cardioid r = a (1 + cos 0). We had used no textbook, and in the full notes of the lectures I had attended, these were the two curves I found most similar to Planchette's. If my brain produced the equation written by Planchette, it must have been that I unconsciously formed an equation like some I had seen before, which by a curious coincidence chanced to represent a heart-shaped curve. I know that we were both quite unconscious of any influence we may have exercised on the
CECILIA GARRETT SMITH
Magdeburg, November 1903
I (0. L.) made inquiries about Miss Q, and found that she was well known to friends of mine, and was a serious and responsible and trustworthy person, so I wrote some further questions to her, and received the following reply :-
March 23rd, 1904
. . . As far as Miss Pole and I were concerned, it was quite bona-fide, and was not open to any suspicion of practical joking or setting traps for each other. It is true that when we wrote planchette, it was never with any serious motive, such as with the object of testing the unconscious mind, or for any scientific purpose, but merely for the fun of the thing. We used to ask it to prophesy future events, and to make up poetry, and all purely for amusement, after the manner of schoolgirls. Nevertheless, all that was written was quite in good faith.
The equation written did not come within the mathematical knowledge I then possessed, which was limited to the mathematics necessary for the London B.A. Pass Degree. I knew of course that every curve could be represented by an equation, and I was familiar with polar co-ordinates in which the equation was written. But the only equations I could then identify were those of the conic sections. Miss Pole had read some elementary Differential, and knew more than I did, but my impression is that her knowledge was not sufficient to enable her to trace curves.
Certainly neither of us perceived from the appearance of the equation that the reply was the correct one, but that I think would have been too much to expect, even if our knowledge had been much higher than it was.
I did not know sufficient at that time to attempt to plot the curve. I believe Miss Pole did attempt it, but if so, her attempts were unsuccessful. We were not satisfied that the equation did represent a curve like the outline of the planchette till we had asked our mathematical master to trace it for us. (This was done without telling him any of the facts of the case.)
I do not remember that we ever closely compared the curve he drew in tracing the equation with the actual planchette in question. We did not take the matter very seriously, and were quite content when we saw that the solution was at all events approximately true.
On now tracing the curve represented by the equation, I am inclined to think that it very closely resembles the shape of the actual planchette used, from my memory of it. (The planchette is no longer in existence.)
To this I (0. L.) add that the equation which would naturally occur to any one is the cardioid r = a (1 + cos 0) : and if this equation had been written by planchette there would have been nothing specially remarkable; for although not then in Mrs. Garrett Smith's mind, she had undoubtedly known it as a student.
The equation written by Planchette is not a familiar one and certainly would not be likely to occur to her, nor would it have occurred to me. The sketch given does not profess to be an exact representation of the curve corresponding to the equation written by the planchette, but only represents her recollection of its general character.
Mr. J. W. Sharpe, of Bournemouth, has been good enough to draw out an accurate graph of the curve, and here is his drawing on a reduced scale.
It is to be remembered that the equation r = a(sin0/0), was given by Planchette, as representing mathematically the shape of its own outline or boundary; the intelligence controlling its movements being represented as that of a Senior Wrangler.
With regard to his drawing, Mr. Sharpe observes that the curve does not consist of two sets of spirals, as at first depicted roughly, but of two sets of loops, all passing through the cusp and touching one another there, and all contained within the outer heart-shaped boundary. The loops meet only at the cusp, and there is an infinite number of them. They decrease in area without limit, ultimately sinking into the point of the cusp.
The equation very well represents the ordinary form of a planchette. But if it had accidentally been reversed into r=a(o/sin0) the curve would have been entirely different and entirely unlike any planchette outline.
Mr. Sharpe thinks it very unlikely that either of the automatises had ever seen an accurate graph of the equation given in their writing. It is of course much more difficult to invent an equation to fit a given curve (which was the feat performed by the writing in this case) than, when the equation is given, to draw the curve represented by it.
of Unseen Reading
In illustration of supernormal power of a still more excessive kind I quote from the automatic writings of Mr. Stainton Moses - well known as a master for many years in University College School, London-who for a great part of this period used to write automatically in the early morning in solitude. A great number of these writings have been published and are well known to all students of the subject; but the following incident is of a surprising character and is an example, though an exceptionally strong one, of the power of reading letters, etc., possessed in some degree by one or two of the "controls" of Mrs. Piper and of many another medium in history.
The following script was obtained by Mr. Stainton Moses while he was sitting in Dr. Speer's library and discoursing with various supposed communicators through his writing hand:-
See Proceedings, S.P.R., vol. xi., p. 106
S. M. Can you read?
"No, friend, I cannot, but Zachary Gray can, and Rector. I am not able to materialise or to command the elements."
S M. Are either of those spirits here?
"I will bring one by and by. I will send . . . Rector is here?"
S. M. I am told you can read. Is that so? Can you read a book?
(Handwriting changed.) "Yes, friend, with difficulty." M. Will you write for me the last line of the first book of the
"Wait - Omnibus errantem terris A fluctibus aestas." [This was right.]
S.M. Quite so. But I might have known it. Can you go the bookcase, take the last book but one on the second shelf, and read me the last paragraph of the ninetyfourth page? I have not seen it, and do not even know its name.
(With a little delay the following writing came.]
"I will curtly prove by a short historical narrative, that Popery is a novelty, and has gradually arisen or grown up since the primitive and pure time of Christianity, not only since the apostolic age, but even since the lamentable union of Kirk and state by Constantine."
(The book on examination proved to be a queer one called "Roger's Antipopopriestian, an attempt to liberate and purify Christianity from Popery, Politikirkality, and Priestrule." The extract given above was accurate, but the word "narrative" substituted for "account.")
S.M. How came I to pitch upon so appropriate a sentence?
"I know not, my friend. It was done by coincidence. The word was changed in error. I knew it when it was done, but would not change."
S M. How do you read? You wrote more slowly, and by fits and starts.
"I wrote what I remembered and then went for more. It is a special effort to read, and useful only as a test. Your friend was right last night; we can read, but only when conditions are very good. We will read once again, and write, and then impress you of the book:
"Pope is the last great writer of that school of poetry, the poetry of the intellect, or of the intellect mingled with the fancy" That is truly written. Go and take the eleventh book on the same shelf. [I took a book called Poetry, Romance, and Rhetoric.] It will open at the page for you. Take it and read, and recognise our power and the permission which the great and good God give us, to show you of our power over matter. To Him be glory. Amen."
(The book opened at page 145, and there was the quotation perfectly true. I had not seen the book before: certainly had no idea of its contents. S. M.) (These books were in Dr. Speer's library:- F. W. H. M.)
To this Mr. Myers pertinently appends the note:- is plain that a power such as this, of acquiring and reproducing fresh knowledge, interposes much difficulty in the way of identifying any alleged spirit by means of his knowledge of the facts of his earth life.
To illustrate the fact that extra or supernormal lucidity is possible in dreams, a multitude of instances might be quoted from the publications of the Society for Psychical Research. Almost at random I quote two, -the first a short one of which the contemporary record is reported on by a critical and sceptical member of the Society, Mr. Thos. Barkworth, in the journal of the Society for December 1895.
G. 249. Dream.
The following is a case that was noted at the time, before it was known to be veridical. It was received by Mr. Barkworth, who writes concerning it:-
"WEST HATCH, CHIGWELL, ESSEX, August 24th, (1895)
"It has been often made a subject of reproach by persons who distrust the S.P.R. that the evidence we obtain is seldom, if ever, supported by written records demonstrably made before the dream or the hallucination had been verified by subsequently ascertained facts. Indeed, a Mr. Taylor Innes, writing in the
Nineteenth Century some years ago, went so far, if I remember rightly, as to assert that no such case could be produced up to the time he wrote. It must certainly be admitted that in provokingly numerous instances it is found that the alleged letter or diary has been destroyed.
"The following experience of the Rev. E. K. Elliott, Rector of Worthing, who was formerly in the navy, and who made the entry in his diary as quoted when he was cruising in the Atlantic out of reach of post or telegraph, will therefore be found of interest. The diary is still in his possession.
Extract from diary written out in Atlantic, January 14th, 1847
"Dreamt last night I received a letter from my uncle, H. E. dated January 3rd, in which news of my dear brother's death was given. It greatly struck me.
"My brother had been ill in Switzerland, but the last news I received on leaving England was that he was better.
"The "January 3rd" was very black, as if intended to catch my eye. On my return to England I found, as I quite expected, a letter awaiting me saying my brother had died on the above date.
Worthing "E. K. ELLIOTT"
The second case I quote is a much longer and more elaborate one, and we owe its receipt to Dr. Hodgson while in America.
There are many partially similar records of people becoming aware of an accident in which some near relative was injured or killed: and it is noteworthy that the emotion caused by injury seems as likely to convey such an impression as anything pertaining to death itself; but the point of the following narrative is that a complete stranger became impressed with facts which were happening at a distance, without the slightest personal interest in any one concerned - so that it seems to make in favour of a general clairvoyant faculty rather than for any spiritistic explanation. The prefix P. 224 is merely a classificatory reference number.
P. 224. Dream.
The following case has some resemblance to Mrs. Storie's experience, of which an account was published in Phantasms of the Living, vol. i. P. 370, except that the person whose fate was represented in the dream was in the case here printed entirely unknown to the dreamer. The account is written by Mr. H. W. Wack, Attorney, and comes to us through the American Branch of the Society.
"COURT HOUSE ST. PAUL, MINN., February 10th, 1892
"I believe I have had a remarkable experience. About midnight on the 29th day of December, headsore and fatigued, I left my study where I had been poring over uninspiring law text, and climbing to my chamber door, fell into bed for the night.
"Nothing unusual had transpired in my affairs that day, and yet, when I gave myself to rest, my brain buzzed on with a myriad fancies. I lay an hour, awake, and blinking like an over-fed owl. The weird intonation of an old kitchen clock fell upon my ears but faintly, as it donged the hour of two. The sound of the clock chime had hardly died when I became conscious (of) my position in a passenger coach on the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railroad. I was journeying to Duluth, Minnesota, from St. Paul, in which latter place I had gone to sleep I was aware that I bad been on the train about four hours and that I was somewhere near the town of Shell Lake, viz., distant from St. Paul about eighty miles, I had often been over the road, and as I peered through the coach window, I recognised, in the moonlit scene, features of country and habitation I had seen before. We were plunging on, almost heedlessly as it seemed, when I fancied I heard and was startled from my reverie by a piercing shriek, which was protracted into a piteous moaning and gasping, as if some human creature were suffering some hideous torture.
"Then I felt the train grind heavily to an awkward stop. There was a sudden commotion fore and aft. Trainmen with lanterns hurried through m car and joined employes near the engine. I could see the lights flash here and there, beside and beneath the cars; brakemen moved along the wheels in groups, the pipe voice of the conductor and the awe-stricken cry of the black porter infused a livening sense to a scene which I did not readily understand. Instinctively I concluded that an accident had happened, or perhaps that a break to the train had occasioned this sudden uprising of trainmen. A minute later I was out upon the roadbed. The brusque and busy search and the disturbed manner of the attendants did not propitiate elaborate inquiry from a curious passenger, so I was appeased to be told, in very ugly snappish English, that if I bad eyes I might see for myself that some one got killed, I reckon. Everybody moved and acted in a spirit of stealth, and each, it appeared, expected a horrible "find". The trucks were being examined from the rear of the train forward. Blood splotches were discovered on nearly all the bearings under the entire train. When the gang reached one of the forward cars, all lights were cast upon on a truck which was literally scrambled with what appeared to be brains - human brains, evidently, for among the clots were small tufts of human hair. This truck, particularly, must have ground over the bulk of a human body. Every fixture between the wheels was smeared with the crimson ooze of some crushed victim. But where was the body, or at least its members? The trucks were covered only with a pulp of mangled remnants. The search for what appeared of the killed was extended 500 yards back of the train and all about the right-of-way with no more satisfactory result than to occasionally find a bloodstained tie.
"All hands boarded the train; many declaring that it was an unusual mishap on a railroad which left such uncertain trace of its victim. Again I felt the train thundering on through the burnt pine wastes of northern Minnesota. As I reclined there in my berth, I reflected upon the experience of the night, and often befuddled my sleepy head in an effort to understand how a train, pushing along at the rate of thirty miles an hour, could so grind and triturate a vital bulk, staining only trucks behind the engine, unless the killed at the fatal time were upon the truck or huddled closely by it. I concluded, therefore that the body being destroyed under the train had been concealed near the bespattered fixtures of the car. I had read of death to tramps stealing rides by hiding themselves under or between cars, and finally I dismissed meditation-assured that another unfortunate itinerant had been crushed out of existence. Horrible! I shuddered and awoke-relieved to comprehend it all a dream.
"Now the fact that the foregoing is an accurate statement of a dream experienced by me is not a matter for marvel. Taken alone, there is nothing remarkable in the time at which this vision blackened my sleep. The spell was upon me between two and three o'clock in the morning - of that I am certain. I am positive of the time, because, when I awoke, I heard the clock distinctly, as it struck three.
"On the morrow, I, - who usually forget an ordinary dream long before breakfast - recounted to the family the details of the night's distraction. From my hearers there followed only the ordinary comments of how ghastly and how shocking the story was as told and how strange the nature of the accident
- that no parts of the body had been found. The latter circumstance was, to me also, quite an unusual feature of railroad casualty.
"The evening following the night of the dream (December 30th), at 5 o'clock, I returned to my home, stepped into my study, and, as I am in the habit of doing, I glanced at a page of the
St. Paul Dispatch, a daily evening newspaper. It had been casually folded by a previous reader, so that in picking it up flatly, the article which first fixed my attention read:
"'Fate of a tramp. Horrible death experienced by an unknown man on the Omaha Road. His remains scattered for miles along the track by the merciless wheels.
" 'Duluth, December 30. - Every truck on the incoming Omaha train from St. Paul this morning was splashed with blood. Trainmen did not know there had been an accident till they arrived here, but think some unfortunate man must have been stealing a ride between St. Paul and this city. Trainmen on a later train state that a man's leg was found by them at Spooner, and that for two miles this side the tracks were scattered with pieces of flesh and bone. There is no possible means of identification.'
"Here was an evident verification of all that transpired in my mind between two and three o'clock on the previous night.
I reflected, and the more I pondered the faster I became convinced that I had been in some mysterious form, spirit or element, witness of the tragedy reported in the columns of the pressthat my vision was perfect as to, general details, and the impression complete and exact to time, place, and circumstance, The next morning I scanned the pages of the
Pioneer Press of December 31st, and read the following paragraph:-
" 'Unknown man killed, Shell Lake, vis. Special telegram, December 30th - Fragments of the body of an unknown man were picked up on the railroad track today. Portions of the same body were also found on over 100 miles of the railroad. He is supposed to have been killed by the night train, but just where is not known.'
"With this came the conviction to me that, living and asleep, 100 miles from the place of the killing, I had been subjected to the phantom-sight of an actual occurrence on the Omaha railroad, as vivid and in truth as I have stated it above.
"I have not written this account because Mark Twain and other authors have published in current magazines their ex. periences in what is termed Mental Telepathy or Mental Telegraphy. On the contrary, having read a number of those articles, I have hesitated to utter, as authentic, what I now believe to be a material and striking evidence of the extent, the caprice, and the possibilities of this occult phenomenon.
In reply to Dr. Hodgson's inquiries, Mr. Wack wrote:
"ST. PAUL, February 20th, 1892
"MY DEAR SIR, - Replying to your valued favour of the 15th inst., I will say that you
are right in understanding that my account of the dream submitted to your Society is a true narrative.
"I reaffirm every word of it, and give you my solemn assurance that, as I have stated, I informed the family and friends of the dream and its details, before I had the first suspicion that the public press ever had contained or ever would contain a report of such an actual occurrence.
"If desirable I will make affidavit as to the truth of the substance of the narrative in your hands.
"I enclose a few corroborative letters, the signatures to which I procured yesterday, February 19th. If these serve you well and good.
The following were the corroborative letters enclosed:-
(I) "ST. PAUL, February 20th, 1892
"GENTLEMEN, - Referring to an account of a dream submitted to you by Mr. Harry Wack of this city which I have read, I beg leave to add the following facts corroborative of the narrative.
"After careful consideration of the article, I find that the story of the dream on December 29th-30th is in substance identical with that which was related by Mr. Wack at breakfast on the morning of December 30th, 1891 On that occasion Mr. Wack stated that he had been agitated the previous night by a dream of unusual features, and then, at the request of those present, he recited what now appears in his -article, which I have just perused for the first time. On the evening of December 30th, 1891, when Mr Wack discovered the newspaper item, he again mentioned the dream and called my attention to the newspaper item, and several of the family discussed the matter. On the morning of December 31st, another newspaper clipping bearing on the same matter was debated by the family.
"Aside from the unusual features and hideousness of the dream, there was nothing to startle us, until the newspaper accounts developed the affair in a mysterious sense. The first version of the dream was given in the morning of December 30th. The first newspaper dispatch appeared and was discovered in the evening of the same day. This I know of my own knowledge, being present on each occasion.
MRS. MARGARET B. MACDONALD
(2) "ST. PAUL, MINN, February 20th, 1892
"GENTLEMEN, - I have read the letter of Mrs. Macdonald, with whom
I visited on December 29th, 30th, 31st, and days following, and with your permission I will say that I also was present at breakfast when Mr. Wack mentioned the dream, and at dinner (6 p.m.) when Mr. Wack called our attention to the newspaper item, which he then declared was a positive verification of the dream he experienced the night before. I have read the account of the dream, and I believe it to be precisely as I understood it from Mr. Wack's account given on the morning of December 30th, 1891.
"ROSE B. HAMILTON"
(3) "ST. PAUL, February 20th, 1892
"GENTLEMEN, - Having read the foregoing letters of Mrs. Macdonald and Miss Rose B. Hamilton, and being familiar with the facts and incidents therein set forth, I would add my endorsement to them as being in strict accord with the truth.
"Mr. Wack stated his dream as he has written of it in the article which I understand he has submitted to you, on the morning of December 30th, 1891. He came upon and drew our attention to the newspaper articles in the evening of December 30th, and on the morning of December 31st, 1891. It was these newspaper dispatches which made the dream interesting, and thereafter it was freely discussed.
Mr. H. W. Smith, an Associate Member of the American Branch, writes to Dr. Hodgson in connection with the case:-
"OFFICE OF SMITH & AUSTRIAN, COMMISSION
"290, E., 6th STREET, PRODUCE EXCHANGE,
"ST. PAUL, MINN., April 14th, 1892
"MY DEAR SIR, - It has been impossible for me to accept Mr. Wack's invitation to meet at his house the witnesses he cited in his communication to you. I have already written you of my preliminary interview with Mr. Wack, and it confirms in my own mind the high opinion which I previously held of him through our acquaintanceship, extending over a series of years. There is no reasonable doubt in my mind that the statement he makes is substantially correct, at least as respects any and all allegations of fact. Of course the application of these facts to an unknown force is a matter upon which I cannot speak."
"HERBERT W. SMITH"
Instances like this are by no means solitary, and whatever view we take of them we have to include them in the roll of facts demanding explanation - an explanation which may not be readily forthcoming. It may be presumed that as far as they go they make against the spiritistic hypothesis in any simple or direct form; and that is why in a book like this it is necessary to emphasise them.
Meanwhile, all we are sure of is that information is obtained by some mediums which is entirely beyond their conscious knowledge, and occasionally beyond the conscious knowledge of everyone present. But as to how this lucidity is attained we are as yet in the dark; though we must ultimately proceed to consider the possibility that it is by some sort of actual communication from other intelligences, akin to the conveyance of information in the accustomed and ordinary human way, by rumour, by conversation, and by the press.
Incidents that seem to point to some form of supernormal communication are exemplified in the experiments of Dr. van Eeden of Bussum, in Holland, with Mrs. Thompson at Hampstead, lady who is referred to more particularly in Section IV of this book. (See his paper on sittings with Mrs. Thompson in Proceedings, S.P.R., vol. xvii., especially pp. 86-7 and 11:2-115'. Dr. van Eeden, having cultivated the power of controlling his own dreams, so as to be able to dream of performing actions which he had planned while awake, arranged with Mrs. Thompson that he would occasionally call "Nelly" (her "control") in his dreams after returning to Holland, and that if she heard him calling she should tell Mr. Piddington, who was in charge of the sittings, at his next sitting. On three occasions, in January and February 1900, some success was obtained in these experiments; that is, "Nelly" stated that she had heard Dr. van Eeden calling, and had "been to see him"; the dates she gave were approximately, though not exactly, the same as those recorded in his diary of dreams; but on each occasion she gave details, which were afterwards verified, as to his circumstances at the time. On a fourth occasion (April 19th, 1900), when "Nelly" stated that she had been to see Dr. van Eeden, he had no dream of her at the time, but she gave a description of his condition which corresponded with what it had been during the early part of the same month.
A case of a somewhat similar kind is the one recorded in Dr. Hodgson's report on Mrs. Piper (Proceedings, Vol. viii., P. 120), where Mr. M. N. in America relates that Mrs. Piper's control, "Dr. Phinuit," had said that he would visit Mr. N.'s dying father in England about certain matters connected with his will, and where later on it was reported by those attending the dying father that he had complained of the presence of an obtrusive old man. (This case is quoted below, see page 116.)
of the Dying
The extra lucidity of the dying is a thing so often asserted that it has become almost a commonplace; and sometimes, as in the case of children, it would seem to eclipse mere imagination - as for instance, when a dying child welcomes, and appears to be welcomed by, its deceased mother. But these visions and auditions, which are unmistakably common, are usually of things beyond our ordinary cognisance, so that for the most part they have to be relegated to the category of the unverifiable. Occasionally, however, we have records of a kind of clairvoyant faculty whereby terrestrial occurrences also are perceived by persons who in health had no such power; and these are worthy of attention, especially those which are reciprocal, producing an impression at both ends of a terrestrial line, as if the telepathic and less material mode of communication had in their case already begun.
The extant descriptions of dying utterances are very much like the utterances in the waking stages of Mrs. Piper's trance, to be subsequently mentioned - and these do not appear to be random or meaningless sayings, but do really correspond to some kind of reality, since in them the appearance of strangers is frequently described correctly and messages are transmitted which have a definite meaning. Moreover, the look of ecstasy on Mrs. Piper's face at a certain stage of the waking process is manifestly similar to that seen on the faces of some dying people; and both describe the subjective visions as of something more beautiful and attractive than those of earth.
Whether the dying really have greater telepathic power as agents, which is what is assumed in the ordinary telepathic explanation of Phantasms of the Living, is doubtful, but that they sometimes have greater sensibility as percipients seems likely; and sometimes the event which they are describing is likewise apprehended by another person at a distance, - thus appearing to demonstrate reciprocal telepathic influence. There is a small group of cases illustrative of the reciprocal clairvoyance of the dying, - I can only quote an illustrative case or two from the few which are well evidenced, i.e., which come up to the standard of the Society for Psychical Research in this matter - but I omit the authentication in quoting them, and I also abbreviate, as I only here wish to indicate the kind of thing.
The writer of the following account is Colonel B., a well-known Irish gentleman. He explains that his wife engaged to sing with her daughters a Miss X., who was training as a public singer but who ultimately did not come out in that capacity, having married a Mr. Z.
Six or seven years afterwards Mrs. B., who was dying, in the presence of her husband spoke of voices she heard, singing, saying that she had heard them several times that day, and that there was one voice among them which she knew, but could not remember whose voice it was.
"Suddenly she stopped and said, pointing over my head, says Colonel B., " 'Why, there she is in the corner of the room it is Julia X. she is coming on; she is leaning over you; she has her hands up she is praying; do look; she is going.' I turned but could see nothing. Mrs. B. then said, 'She is gone.' All these things [the hearing of singing and the vision of the singer] I imagined to be the phantasies of a dying person.
"Two days afterwards, taking up the Times newspaper, I saw recorded the death of Julia Z., wife of Mr. Z. I was so astounded that in a day or so after the funeral I went up to and asked Mr. X. if Mrs. Z., his daughter, was dead. He said, 'Yes poor thing, she died of puerperal fever. On the day she died she began singing in the morning, and sang and sang until she died.' "
The case next quoted is a curious incident connected with a deceased child, obtained in one of the bereaved mother's sittings with Mrs. Piper in America, at a time when Phinuit was in control.
It is the concluding portion of a long and striking series of communications, extremely characteristic of identity, which are quoted both in Human Personality, Vol. ii. 245-7, and in Proc. S.P.R., vol. xiii. pp. 386-9. The mother's testimony is thus reported:-
The remarks made at her second sitting suggest that "the little book" in the child's mind was not this one. 'Kakie wants the little bit of a book mamma read by her bedside, with the pretty bright things hanging from it - mamma put it in her hands - the last thing she remembers." Mrs. Sutton states that this was a little prayer book with a cross and other symbols in silver attached to ribbons for marking the places, and that it was sent to her by a friend after Kakie had ceased to know any one except perhaps for a passing moment. Mrs. Sutton read it when Kakie seemed unconscious, and
after Kakies's death placed it in her hands to prevent the blood settling in the nails. She adds later that Mrs. Piper's hands, when the book was asked for at the sitting, were put into the same position as
There is also evidence of reciprocity of an unusual kind in connection with the Piper case; for "Phinuit" has been described as perceived by a dying person at a distance, in correspondence with the assertion of Phinuit that he would go and talk to this same person about unfair clauses in his will.
The account of this curious episode is from an American gentleman who had had a good deal of experience in Piper sittings, and who does not want his name disclosed. Of three examples of what he calls predictions, thus obtained, I select this one, as it illustrates the kind of reciprocal experience of which I am now speaking. The account is corroborated by Mrs. "M. N."
April 5th, 1889
. . . About the end of March of last year I made [Mrs. Piper] a visit (having been in the habit of doing so, since early in February, about once a fortnight). [As Phinuit] told me that the death of a near relative of mine would occur in about six weeks, from which I should realise some pecuniary advantages, I naturally thought of my father, who was advanced in years, and whose description Mrs. Piper had given me very accurately some week or two previously. She had not spoken of him as my father, but merely as a person nearly connected with me. I asked her at that sitting whether this person was the one who would die, but she declined to state anything more clearly to me. MY wife, to whom I was then engaged, went to see Mrs. Piper a few days afterwards, and she told her (my wife) that my father would die in a few weeks.
About the middle of May my father died very suddenly in London from heart failure, when he was recovering from a very slight attack of bronchitis, and the very day that his doctor had pronounced him out of danger. Previous to this Mrs. piper (as Dr. Phinuit) had told me that she would endeavour to influence my father about certain matters connected with his will before he died. Two days after I received the cable announcing his death, my wife and I went to see Mrs. Piper, and she (Phinuit) spoke of his presence, and his sudden arrival in the spirit-world and said that he (Dr. Phinuit) had endeavoured to persuade him in those matters while my father was sick. Dr. Phinuit told me the state of the will, and described the principal executor and said that he (the executor) would make a certain disposition in my favour, subject to the consent of the two other executors when I got to London, England. Three weeks afterwards I arrived in London; found the principal executor to be the man Phinuit had described. The will went materially as he had stated. The disposition was made in my favour; and my sister, who was chiefly at my father's bedside the last three days of his life, told me that he had repeatedly complained of the presence of an old man at the foot of his bed, who annoyed him by discussing his private affairs . . ..
A similar illustration of reciprocity occurred in the case of the lady called "Elisa Mannors," whose near relatives and friends concerned in the communications were known also to Mr. Myers.
On the morning after the death of her uncle, called F. in the report, she described an incident in connection with the appearance of herself to her uncle on his death-bed. Dr. Hodgson's account of this is in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii. P. 378, as follows:
The notice of his [F.'s] death was in a Boston morning paper, and I happened to see it on my way to the sitting. The first writing of the sitting came from Madame Elisa, without my expecting it. She wrote clearly and strongly, explaining that F. was there with her, but unable to speak directly, and that she wished to give an account of how she had helped F. to reach her. She said that she had been present at his deathbed, and had spoken to him, and she repeated what she had said, an unusual form of expression, and indicated that he had heard and recognised her. This was confirmed in detail in the only way possible at the time, by a very intimate friend of Madame Elisa and myself, and also of the nearest surviving relative of F, I showed my friend the account of the sitting; and to this friend, a day or two later, the relative, who was present at the death-bed, stated spontaneously that F. when dying saw Madame Elisa who was speaking to him, and he repeated what she was saying. The expression so repeated which the relative quoted to my friend, was that which I had received from Madame Elisa through Mrs. Piper's trance, when the death-bed incident was, of course, entirely unknown to me.
of Foreign Languages
Instances in which foreign languages unknown to the medium are written or spoken are comparatively rare.
At a sitting in 1892, when Madame Elisa Mannors was "communicating," some Italian was written by request, the lady being as familiar with Italian as with English, but only two or three common words were decipherable. The first names of sitter and communicator were given, and the last name was both written and afterwards given by G.P. to Phinuit. Some of the writing was of a personal character, and some about the watch [concerning which inquiry had been made]; and G.P. stated correctly, inter alia, that the sitter's mother was present (in "spirit") with the communicator, and that he himself did not know her. The real names are very uncommon. The Italian for "It is well, Patience," was whispered at the end of the sitting as though by direct control of the voice of Madame Elisa
Further attempts were made to speak and write Italian, but not much was said, and the writing was not very legible. Concerning this Dr. Hodgson remarks:-
"As I have mentioned elsewhere (Report, pp. 293, 332), the intelligence communicating by writing is not conscious of the act of writing. The chief difficulty apparently in getting another language written by the hand is that strange words tend to be written phonetically unless they are thought out slowly letter by letter. The writing is usually much more legible now then it was during the period of the records from which I am quoting, when there was frequently much difficulty in deciphering even the simplest English words. It was therefore not surprising that, so little of the Italian written by Madame Elisa was decipherable.
This does not appear to be a strong case, but the next one seems to me better:
Dr. Hodgson reports the following case in a sitting which a Mr. Vernon Briggs had with Mrs. Piper
in October LS93 (Proc. S.P.R., xiii. 337; or Hum. Pers. ii. 244).
The communication purported to come from a Honolulu boy named Kalua, who became much attacked to Mr. Briggs during a six months' stay of Mr. Briggs in Honolulu in 18Si, and who followed Mr. Briggs back to Boston under somewhat romantic circumstances in 1883. He was soon sent back to his native island, but again returned to Boston, where he was shot in 1886, in a sailors' Bethel, whether intentionally or not was unknown There was some suspicion against a Swede who was imprisoned, but there was no evidence against him, and he was finally discharged. The Swede said that Kalua had accidentally shot himself with a revolver, and eventually confessed that after the accident he had himself hidden the revolver behind a flue, where, after taking part of the chimney down, it was found. Mr. Briggs had taken a handkerchief belonging to Kalua with him to the sitting. Kalua had been shot through the heart, and there was some confusion apparently about the locality of the suffering, "stomach" and "side" being mentioned, under what appeared to be the direct control of the voice by "Kalua," - and Mr. Briggs asked if it was Kalua. Phinuit then spoke for "Kalria," who said that he did not kill himself, that he had been gambling with the other man who disputed with him and shot him, but did not mean to, and who threw the revolver "into the hot box where the pepples are" (meaning the "furnace" and the "coals"), and hid his purse under the steps where he was killed. "Kalua" also said there was shrubbery near it. The cellar of the house was examined, but no purse was found, and there was no shrubbery in the cellar. "Kalua" tried to write Hawaiian. but the only "ordinary" words deciphered were "lei" (meaning wreaths, which he made daily for Mr. Briggs) which was written clearly and frequently, and an attempt at "alolia" - greeting. Phinuit tried to get the answer to the question where Kalua's father was, but could only succeed in getting "Hiram." But the writing gave the answer ' Hawaiian Islands." In reply to the question which one, the answer in writing was Kawai, but Phinuit said Tawai. The word is spelt Kawai but is pronounced Tawai by the natives of the island itself and in the island where Kalua was born. The natives of the other islands call it Kawai.
Cases in which the lucidity or clairvoyant faculty is not limited to the present, but apparently anticipates the future, are sufficiently important to deserve a separate chapter; for it is manifestly extremely difficult to contemplate such a faculty.