Dr. T. Glen Hamilton

Intention and Survival
Publisher: MacMillian
Published: 1942
Pages: 216

Chapter 4: Unorganised and Imitative Teleplasms

 - T. Glen Hamilton -

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Section 1

          THE unorganized and imitative masses were broadly representative of the various modes which the undifferentiated teleplasms took. The first we examine is that of February 3, 1929, the thirteenth mass to have been photographed in the Mary M. experiments. The abridged notes of W. E. Hobbs contain the pertinent details:

"At 9.24 T.G.H. opens the cameras (six in all). At 9.33 Walter-Mary M.: 'Good evening, friends. We are going to depart from our usual procedure a little. How would you like to fire your shot when no one was thinking of it? I want you to catch me unawares. I want you to nudge your neighbours and they will pass it on.'

T.G.H.: 'We might get nothing.'

Walter-Mary M.: 'You might cast a net into the sea and get nothing. But will you try the experiment?'

T.G.H.: 'I will do it.'

At 9.42 Walter speaks again and promises that we will get something. T.G.H. arranges that he will signal his left-hand neighbour by a double squeeze of the hand and will take the picture three seconds later. Flash fired at 9.43. Walter asks for pencil and paper. At 9.59 something is drawn by the hand of the entranced Mary M. At 10.00 Walter speaks and says that he has tried to show on the paper what he has put on the medium's face.

Following the sitting, it was found that the diagram drawn by the control showed a semi-circular form with an indentation at the upper right."

Walter's invitation to Dr. Hamilton to take a photograph when he pleased, and his statement that a teleplasm would be registered, indicated unmistakably that in some way he was aware of the existence of the substance shown in Plate 2. When it was compared with the drawing done during the sťance, the latter was found to be a crude but recognizable sketch of the plasmic mass.

Plate 2: The unorganised, compacted teleplasm of February 3, 1929.

Displaying the whiteness characteristic of most teleplasms, the mass' texture appears fluffy and wool-like, suggesting that the fibres were not aligned into strands. The indefiniteness of the margins implied that either the material had a low internal cohesion, or that it had not compacted sufficiently to give the contours a firm appearance. This second opinion may be the more likely one, since among the total of fifty-five recorded plasms, this was the only example of a non-compacted amorphous type. This opinion is supported by the significant fact that Walter found it unnecessary to arrange for a precise time for firing the flash.

In the stereo view the plasm stands well out from the medium's face, particularly in front of the left cheek bone and left eye; it appears to extend about one inch forward of the bridge of the nose. Considering that the material probably externalized through the medium's mouth or nose, or both, this separated position implies low adhesion to the skin. The implication that non-compacted or amorphous types have low skin adhesion will be worth recalling when we consider later the relation between the differentiated face miniatures and their surrounding manipulated teleplasm.

Section 2

Plate 3 and Plate 3a: Two different views of the imitatively manipulated teleplasm of March 10, 1929.

Morphologically somewhat akin to the mass of February 3, the form photographed on March 19, 1929, displays imitative qualities fairly clearly. Here the plasm stands well out from the medium's face, except at the left corner of the mouth, which may be a point of support. Appearing more compacted than the earlier example, the material here still shows a rather fine-grained surface, doubtless due to the absence of definite strands.

The roughly oval central portion is surrounded by what seem to be three manipulated surfaces, one extending upward to the left, one downward to the left, and a third to the right. The general arrangement of the central portion suggests an attempt at manipulation suggesting the formation of a simulacrum of a face. (See Plate 3) Although facial contours are inexact and poorly defined, the wings of the substance, thrown back and away from the central oval, may well have imitative significance. They suggest a parallel to the manipulative operations on the teleplasmic material which surrounds the miniature faces, which will be discussed later.

Section 3

In marked contrast to the two examples given above, were the circumstances and properties of the plasm of March 24, 1929, as this extract from the sťance records indicates:

"Mary M. seated in the cabinet with Dr. J.A.H. on her right, and W. B. Cooper on her left. At 9.30 she passes into trance. Walter-Mary M. asks that one of the ladies pass her hand over the face, neck and underarms of the medium. Miss Turner does so. She declares that there is nothing. At 9.45 Walter-Mary M. asks if anyone else wishes to examine the medium. T.G.H. does so. He declares that there is nothing on the face, neck, or under the arms of the medium. During these examination's the medium's hands are held by J.A.H. and W.B.C. J.A.H. now raises his left hand, still grasping Mary M.'s right hand, and with the back of his hand he feels her face and neck. He declares that he finds nothing attached. At 9.50 Walter-Mary M. asks the controllers not to release the medium's hands. At 9.55 Walter-Mary M. asks sharply: 'Ready?'

T.G.H.: 'Yes.'

Walter-Mary M. tells T.G.H. he is to give his own signal. T.G.H. arranges that he will squeeze the hand of the sitter to his left, this to be passed on quickly so that those seated in front of the cameras will know when to crouch down below the line of the cameras' lenses.

Flash fired at 9.57.

Walter-Mary M. asks if a second flash can be taken. T.G.H. replies that he can be ready in about six seconds. He opens the remaining cameras. Walter-Mary M. says that he is ready. The medium's voice sounds thick and muffled, as if her mouth were full.

Second exposure at 9.59.

After a few moments Walter-Mary M. says that there is a small piece of teleplasm on the second exposure, so small that we will scarcely notice it. He adds that he could not 'hold' the teleplasm, that the time of waiting was too long. He humorously remarks that he would not like to hang by the neck for 'Ham's' (T.G.) six seconds. He says that he could 'hold' it (the teleplasm) all night if the light did not strike it. 'As soon as the light strikes it, it diminishes.' He adds that a good picture was obtained on the first exposure - of teleplasm, but no form. Sitting closed at 10.28. At once Dr. Hamilton and Mr. Hobbs developed a number of plates which were then shown to the group."

Plate 4: Two views of the unorganised, compacted teleplasm of March 24, 1929.

Walter's careful and deliberate arrangements to ensure that the region of the medium's head was free of any material a few moments before the exposure, his insistence that her hands be closely held, his request for a second flash, were positive indications of his intention to have a photograph taken. His statements after the flashes that the first exposure had caught a large formless mass of teleplasm, and that the second exposure would show a very small piece located at her mouth, indicate unquestionably that it was his intention to produce a teleplasm which could be photographed for the record. Plate 4 and Plate 4a confirm these statements.

In contrast to the soft uncompacted appearance of the masses seen in Plates 2 and 3, the mass in Plate 4 has distinct general outlines, creases and tears. One can see thick rounded strands with blunt terminal points. This mass appears to have a fairly uniform thinness. It rises to the hairline at the left temple, and even though the medium's head is tilted back, the plasm's proximity to the skin suggests that it gains some support by adhesion.

Plate 4a (lower right): Inset showing residual mass after elapsed time of two minutes.

The second photograph, taken two minutes later, offers a possible clue to the immediate fate of the teleplasm after it has been exposed to the brilliant white flashlight. It seems to have receded into the medium's mouth. This is a reasonable assumption based on the secretary's observation that the medium's voice sounded thick and muffled when the 'control' called for the second exposure.

These examples represent extremes in plasmic appearance, and as samples of imitative manipulation are perhaps the most cumbersome. In Plate 3 the alignment of the fibres into strands is not complete enough to give a clean-cut cleavage surface when the strands are supernormally split apart. On the other hand, in Plate 4 the material appears to be over-compacted, and inter-fibral cohesion seems to be too great to permit effective moulding.

Section 4

Somewhere between these two extremes lies the material of the teleplasm obtained on January 5, 1930. At the time this mass was obtained, Walter claimed to be working on the production of a form which he planned to place on a chair beside the medium. (See Chapter 10) Although this project had begun early in November 1929, it had shown no visible results by the year's end. The tedious nature of the sittings had made the group restless and despondent. Apparently aware of this dejected emotional climate, on December 29, 1929, Walter-Mary M. said:

"I will try to give you a picture at your next sitting. Have your cameras ready. I am going to give you something funny. It will be a small picture. I can't give you the other teleplasm until we have those special sittings. It's a small picture just to keep you in a good humour. I'm ready. I'll get it for you. I've just thought of it."

At the next sitting, January 5, 1930, Walter-Mary M. asked for the usual inspection of the medium. Dr. J. A. Hamilton was in his usual place, controlling Mary M. right hand. He later wrote and signed this statement:

"With my left hand guided by the right hand of the medium, I passed my left hand heavily over the right side of her head, her right ear, her forehead, eyes, nose, upper and lower lips, chin and breast, but could feel nothing on the surfaces examined."

This statement agrees with Mr. Hobbs' progress notes:

"Mr. Cooper seated on Mary M.'s left, controlling her left hand. He reports there is nothing on her face (9.42). J.A.H. reports that there is nothing on her face, neck or arms. At 9.43 Mary M. is is heard 'hissing like a steam engine'. Her hands, still held, are pounding the table. She stands and shuffles in time to the music. The group sings. L.H. reports that Ewan is twisting about and appears to be experiencing discomfort.

Walter-Mary M. (medium is seated): 'Ready?' (9.46).

T.G.H.: 'I'm ready.'

Walter-Mary M.: 'Keep ready. Keep your eyes on the medium's face when you flash your light.'

Walter-Mary M. arranges for the signal, which is to be three knocks on the table with the medium's hand, and fire on the fourth knock. At. 9.50 there are one, two, three, knocks, four, and a flash. T.G.H. closes the camera shutters.

At 9.52 Mary M. appears distressed and Walter says: 'Sing!

Walter-Mary M.: 'I wonder if you will be satisfied' (10.26).

T.G.H.: 'Are you?'

Walter-Mary M.: 'No.'

T.G.H.: 'What did you give us?'

Walter-Mary M.: 'What I gave you.'

T.G.M.: 'It is funny?'

Walter-Mary M.: 'Kind of. It is something you couldn't do with-out. I gave you what he is clapping with' (indicating Ewan who is clapping his hands).

T.G.H.: 'It is a riddle.'"

When the plates were developed and prints made, the answer to the riddle was plain: pictured in teleplasm was the simulacrum of a hand.

Plate 5: The hand simulacrum of January 5, 1930.

Evidence of intentional activity is good. While no mass had been photographed for over a month, and none had been expected, Walter stated at the sitting that he would produce a mass. He gave his reason-to provide a stimulating break in the long rather dull routine of what seemed to be unproductive sťances. The experiment was carried out in the customary way-inspection of the medium by the two controllers, and careful arrangements for the signal to make the exposure. Following that, Walter showed full awareness of Ewan's movements, and by inference ('what he is clapping with') indicated the type of mass which had extruded and been photographed. The developed plate underlined the validity of Walter's statements.

The hand simulacrum seen in Plate 5 shows a firm, well-moulded structure denoting good internal stability. The material's surface carries convex ruffles at the wrist. There are indications of layers at the tip of the index finger, suggesting that the finished appearance had been achieved by the spreading of a final layer which likely proceeded from the centre of the mass to its extremities. Along the left side of the hand and below the upper layer the contour is rough.

Under magnification this roughness appears to be due to a number of distinct fibres which come from within the material, suggesting that the interior of the mass may be composed of a tightly woven fibrous network.

Section 5

Two other hand simulcra were recorded, one in May 1931, the other in April 1932. This second experiment was particularly successful, as two exposures were made, the first showing the teleplasm emerging from the medium's mouth, the second, a few moments later, showing the fully formed simulacrum.

This sťance, April 27, 1932, is particularly important, for it demonstrated for the first time the co-operation which functioned through the group mediumship. Three mediums-Mary M., Mercedes, and Ewan, were entranced simultaneously. Here is the pertinent extract from Dr. Bruce Chown's notes:

"Walter-Ewan: 'I will tell you when to get ready.'

T.G.H.: 'I am ready' (10.16).

Walter-Ewan: 'When Mary M. gives you the signal you will know what to do.'

T.G.H.: 'All right.'

Walter-Ewan: 'Can you control Mary M.'s left hand, friend?'

W.B.C.: 'Yes. I have her left hand.'

Walter-Ewan: 'Put Mary M.'s hands in Mercedes' and keep your hand lightly on both.' (This to W.B.C. at 10.45)

Lucy-Mercedes: 'Are you ready? One, two, three, fire!' (10.48).

T.G.H. and Reed adjust their cameras for a second flash. They report at 10.53 that they are ready. Lucy-Mercedes gives the order as before for the second flash."

Plate 6: The emerging hand simulacrum of April 27, 1932. Dawn, Mercedes, Ewan (head on table) all deeply entranced. W. B. Cooper at M.'s left.
Plate 6a: Fully formed hand simulacrum of April 27, 1932, after an elapsed time of 9 minutes.
Plate 6b: Side view showing interwoven fibres and firm compaction.

Through the secondary mediums Mercedes and Ewan, intention had been demonstrated again in regard to a phenomenon which had manifested on the main medium Mary M. As Walter-Mary M. had done on earlier occasions, now it was Walter-Ewan who voiced concern for adequate manual control. While Walter-Ewan's statement that Mary M. would give the signal for the flash had not been fulfilled, it is all the more remarkable that Mercedes-Lucy was successful in giving the signal for both flashes.

Plate 6 shows a ball-shaped material emerging from the medium's mouth. The second exposure (Plates 6a and 6b) shows that the teleplasm had unfolded until it had extended outward at an angle of about twenty degrees to the horizontal. The terminal portion is about twelve inches from the mouth, and lies on Mary M.'s wrist. Under magnification this mass shows many interwoven fibres. This suggests tight compaction, which may account for the clear-cut edges of the fingers. In sharp contrast to this tight compaction is a portion of the material at the edge of the mass, about six inches from the medium's mouth. Here a break in the firm edge shows a network of open fibres. This section dips down slightly, suggesting a break in the firm compaction, and suggesting also that firm fibre compaction is doubtless partially responsible for the mass' rigidity.

Section 6

The final example in this group is the 'black and white' teleplasm. On April 7, 1929, Walter-Mary M. unexpectedly said:

"Say, you wouldn't by any chance take a flashlight now, would you? You know, if I were you, I'd take a flash and see what came of it."

Without saying anything, Dr. Hamilton made an exposure shortly after receiving this hint. In a moment Walter spoke:

"No, don't take any more tonight. You were too long about it. You got only half of what you might have had."

Dr. Hamilton protested that he could hardly tell when Walter was "bluffing". Came the reply: 

"Take a chance! I've given you a little black and white. If you had taken it when I first gave you the hint, it would have been twice as large."

As Walter had said, the mass is black and white, the only example of this type in all the Hamilton photographs.

Plate 7: The black and white mass of April 7, 1929..

The upper dark portion is seen standing clear of the medium's quite short hair. The lower part of the black plasm shows soft contours, and under magnification the fibres are short. Apart from the colour, the black material resembles that of the amorphous teleplasm discussed in Section I of this chapter.

The white plasm displays a coarse texture not unlike that of the plasm discussed in Section II. Three points offer evidence that the strands are due to fibre compaction. There are three web- or net-like formations, one in front of the medium's chin, one within the lower loop, one between the upper portion of that loop and the stem connecting it with the medium's mouth. This third one is clearly seen due to the contrast provided by the medium's black gown. One may well infer that a network of fibres provides support to the lowest curled loop.

The definite line of demarcation between the dark and the white portions suggests that the two parts may be entirely separate, and that they may have quite different sources, and that they may consist of different substances.



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