of Greek at Oxford University, born on January 2nd, 1866, President of the
SPR for 1915-16, is famous in psychical research for his experiments in thought-transference which
Mrs. Sidgwick in
Proceedings Vol. XXXIV, 1924, considers
it "perhaps the most important ever brought to the notice of the society."
In an interview for
the Sunday Express in the summer of 1929 he declared that he discovered his thought-reading faculty by accident. Playing guessing games with his children, one person going out of the room, the others deciding the subject he was to guess and writing it
down - he found, to his surprise, that in some intangible way an impression would be conveyed to him and he would actually know what the children were thinking. On the insistence of his wife he commenced experimenting with grown ups and though by temperament and training he was intensely sceptical, in the interest of truth he admitted before the public that he was able to read thoughts. He believes with
William James that there exists the "stream of consciousness, with a vivid centre and dim edges." In moments of inattentiveness, subconscious impressions register themselves and afterwards form a sort of dim memory. This may account for certain phases of clairvoyance.
But William James' "dim edges" idea should be further extended. He suspects that around our perceptions is a fringe of still more delicate sensing apparatus. The "feelers" of this apparatus are constantly registering contacts with their surroundings but the impressions are too weak to enter the field of normal consciousness. This fringe of consciousness is the key to telepathy. Prof.
did not believe in communication with the dead.
Source (with minor modifications):
An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).