Researchers

Hereward Carrington
1880-1958


     DISTINGUISHED BRITISH psychical investigator, author of many important and popular books on psychic subjects. His interest in the subject was aroused at the age of 18 and followed an anti-spiritualist line until Miss X's Essays in Psychical Research shook his pessimism. In the year 1900, at the age of 19, he joined the Society for Psychical Research and has devoted his life to these studies ever since. He soon became known for his intellect and erudition. After Dr. Hodgson died and the new ASPR was established under Professor Hyslop's leadership he became his assistant and worked in this capacity until July 1908.

On behalf of the British SPR, and in company with the Hon Everard Feilding and W. W. Baggally he went to Naples to investigate the phenomena of Eusapia Palladino. His book, Eusapia Paladino and her Phenomena, sums up his experiences as follows:

"My own sittings convinced me finally and conclusively that genuine phenomena do occur, and, that being the case, the question of their interpretation naturally looms before me. I think that not only is the Spiritualistic hypothesis justified as a working theory, but it is, in fact, the only one capable of rationally explaining the facts."

This view was somewhat reconsidered after Eusapia Palladino, on his invitation, visited America in 1909, and was exposed in New York. The official record of the sittings has remained in Hereward Carrington's possession unpublished. In his Personal Experiences in Spiritualism, four years later, he put forward the speculation that the phenomena were essentially of biological origin. This conviction could not be broken down by the many sťances he had with Mrs. Piper.

In 1921 he was the American delegate at the first International Psychical Congress in Copenhagen. In 1924 he sat on the Committee of The Scientific American for the investigation of the phenomena of Spiritualism. He attended many sittings with Margery in Boston and considered her mediumship genuine. But in 1932, following Mr. Dudley's discovery about the identity of the Walter finger-prints with those of a living man (see Crandon) and after having made an investigation in Boston together with Mr. Arthur Goadby and Mrs. Carrington (then Marie Sweet Smith), he became less positive and stated in the Bulletin of the Boston SPR:

"Certainly this throws a cloud over the whole Margery case."

In 1921, with an interested group behind him, he founded the American Psychical Institute and Laboratory. It was in active operation for about two years. In 1933, under his direction and the aid of his wife, it was reorganised and incorporated under the address 20, W. 58th Street, New York.

Carrington admits that the evidence for survival is remarkably strong yet as to the existence of a spiritual world he feels, after nearly 35 years of investigation unprepared to give a final verdict. Summing up his own researches in The Story of Psychic Science, 1930, he says:

"I may say that I have never, in all that time, witnessed any phenomena which have appeared to me undoubtedly spiritistic in character - though I have, of course, seen many unquestionably supernormal phenomena. At the same time, I realise very fully that other very competent investigators have seen and reported manifestations far more striking than any it has been my good fortune to witness: and these findings have duly impressed me. I, therefore, maintain a perfectly open mind upon this question, while continuing my investigations and shall probably continue in this state of mental equilibrium until some striking and convincing phenomena turn the scales in one direction or in the other."

It appears as if the desired striking and convincing phenomena had come Dr. Carrington's way with the visit of Mrs. Eileen Garrett at the American Psychical Institute in 1933. Having subjected her to psychoanalytic "association tests," combined with an electrical recording apparatus to decide whether the communicators are personalities distinct from the medium he came to the conclusion:

"I can now say that our experiments seem to have shown the existence of mental entities independent of the control of the medium, and separate and apart from the conscious or subconscious mind of the medium."

His books: The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism, 1907; The Coming Science, 1908; Eusapia Paladino and Her Phenomena, 1909; Death, its Causes and Phenomena, 1911; Personal Experiences in Spiritualism, 1918; Hindu Magic, 1913; The Problems of Psychical Research, 1914; True Ghost Stories, 1915; Psychical Phenomena and the War, 1918; Modern Psychical Phenomena, 1919; Your Psychic Powers, and How to Develop Them, 1920; Higher Psychical Development, 1920: Spiritualism (With Dr. James Walsh), 1925; The Projection of the Astral Body (with Sylvan J. Muldoon), 1929; The Story of Psychic Science, 1930; Houdini and Conan Doyle (with Bernard M. L. Ernst), 1932; A Primer in Psychical Research, 1933.

Source (with minor modifications): An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).

 

 

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