WITH the Spurgeon series completed in April 1929, the next few months were relatively quiet. Only four masses were recorded: the 'strut', the 'voice box' and two unorganized plasms. During the summer, group attendance was irregular. Nevertheless Walter often hinted that he was busy 'storing material' for important work he planned when regular meetings resumed in September.
So it was. At the first September meeting, Walter-Mary M. reviewed sťance rules and procedures and outlined a strict diet for Mary M., a diet which was to be as simple as possible for the eight-hour period prior to each sitting. Each medium was given a special name: "Ewan" (formerly called "the boy"); Susan Marshall - "Mercedes" (already referred to); "Mary M." became "Dawn", all three were to be identified solely by these names henceforth at the
sťances. Apart from whatever importance Walter and his co-workers attached to this practice, he claimed that the use of a special name helped to induce trance by offsetting the sense of personal alertness which comes when one's own name is mentioned; and that it broke down such of the medium's own inhibitions as might be expected to interfere with onset and depth of the trance.
|Plate 18: The
miniature "W.E.G." face of September 22, 1929.
On September 6, 1929, the exposure signal was rehearsed and T.C. took trial photographs to ensure that the equipment was in good working order. On September 15, Walter announced his intention to produce a mass, as these progress notes
"Walter-Dawn: 'Good evening. I see you are all here. I have to give you final instructions. I will give three knocks with the medium's hand on the table, three knocks like this (knocks three times) and another like this (knocks once). Three, and then I will rest. I won't count. You fire on the fourth. All be in your places with nice shining faces. Have the medium's arms and throat sponged, also underneath the arms.'
T.G.H.: 'What about the last teleplasm, Walter?' (Photographed on September 6, but not shown here.)
Walter-Dawn: 'I brought that from her throat. Did you not see the mark on the throat? The portion on her cheeks I took from her eyes ... We are not wasting a particle of energy tonight. Everything is being trimmed for the next time. Ask Dawn not to have anything to eat from breakfast on. A glass of milk and a biscuit is all I want her to take.'
Mercedes is under control of 'Lucy'. She is allowed by Walter to describe a man standing in front who is to be 'given' (in teleplasm, presumably). He is described as having high cheek-bones, blue piercing eyes, nice nose, broad forehead.
Walter-Dawn: 'His initials are 'W.E.G.'"...
The description and the initials meant nothing to the group, but there was a decided air of expectancy on September 22. Early in that sitting Walter stated that his work would be accomplished as he had planned, adding that the group "had obeyed orders for once!" As the time came for the exposure to be made, he spoke through Dawn, saying that there was a crowd and that he had asked them to stand back.
Walter gives the signal, striking the table three times with the medium's right hand (controlled by J.A.H.) and then one stroke as arranged. Flash is fired at 9.50. In a few minutes Walter speaks: 'It's a failure! There was a crowd here. The person I wanted to give you drew back! The person I told you about is here ... '
Mr. Reed and Mr. Whittaker, a guest, accompanied Dr. Hamilton to the dark room and developed a number of plates."
|Plate 18a: Enlargement
of the "W.E.G." face of September 22, 1929.
|Plate 18b: William
Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of England under Queen Victoria.
Plates 18a and 18b show an imperfect miniature face with unusual teleplasmic modalities. These support Walter's surprising and unexpected opinion of experimental failure. The references made by Lucy and Walter on September 15 to a "W.E.G." who had a "broad forehead, high cheek bones, eyes blue and piercing, nice nose", were obvious clues to the identity of the tiny face, unmistakably a likeness of the English statesman,
W. E. Gladstone(1). Later Walter explained that Stead had invited Gladstone to come and be represented in teleplasm, adding that as he had been in life, so now, Gladstone was still very interested in problems of psychic research.
The peculiar 'monocle' effect surrounding the right eye (Plate 18a) under magnification seems to be a dark-coloured 'ring' marring almost all of the nose and part of the right cheek and eye-brow. The eye itself is unblemished. This peculiar 'ring' formation may be the result of a process of disintegration similar to that seen in the third Spurgeon face. If this is so, then further weight is added to Walter's statement that he considered this W.E.G. experiment to be a failure.
The most arresting feature is the fact that the medium's eyes are wide open, although she was in a very deep trance at that point. Dr. Hamilton regarded this condition as being extremely important, for he
"It will be noted that the medium's eyes are widely open and directed upward to the left. I draw attention to this fact for the reason that we have here excellent proof of the exceptionally deep nature of the medium's trance condition. The fact that the medium, on regaining consciousness at the end of the sitting, appeared to be wholly unaware that the flash had been fired, indicates that her visual sense must have been effectively blocked. I have now observed many hundreds of trance conditions, but I have never before seen a medium's normal personality so isolated from its sense reactions. Anaesthesia of the skin is commonly present, but what amounts to anaesthesia of so obtrusive a sense as that of vision, shows that the trance state must have been extraordinarily
The second decidedly unusual feature is the medium's comical appearance created by an apparently deliberate arrangement of the various strange-looking plasms. Why this bizarre effect? When asked about this, Walter's answer was simple and logical. Since Dawn was wearing a 'party dress', she, must also have 'all the trimmings' - the
earring, the bow, the cap, and the
beads(3)! Whether we choose to accept or to reject this trifling explanation, such an objective and positive demonstration of humour compels us to admit that behind all these strange happenings there is indeed the enigma of a directing intelligence.
Three of the four teleplasms are of a good size. The head mass, viewed from several camera angles and heights, appeared to be unconnected with the other three. It curves to fit the cranium, and extends laterally across the head from one temple to the other. It is about seven inches long, three and one-half inches wide. It is curiously fenestrated, with three fairly evenly spaced openings. The filaments imply that these openings are the result of a splitting and spreading of the head mass by manipulation. Or these connecting strands may be the result of an imperfect technique. Schrenck-Notzing and Crandon have also reported similar cap-like formations.
The smaller mass hanging down from the medium's right car tip, in reality had been brought down from behind the ear, as shown in the stereo view (not given here). Its moulded surface and outline suggest deliberate manipulation to resemble a pendant earring.
The small plasm emerging from the right nostril may well indicate one of the plasm's exit points. It does not show pronounced compaction into strands, although it does have some alignment or grain. It has enough consistency to stand away from the lip and to throw a corresponding shadow beneath.
Most remarkable is the large mass, shaped like a bow, in the centre the tiny face. The firm outlines of the bow and the long loop are doubtless due to increase in fibre density along the mass's edges, with a corresponding decrease in density in the central parts, which display many irregular tears where the substance had become over-attenuated.
Earlier we had suggested that plasms of low fibre density, having indefinite outlines, were less suitable for accurate delineation.
(See Plate 2.) In this case, however, where the intention obviously was to represent a bow, one surmises that an uncompacted material had been deliberately chosen, because apparently it lent itself more readily to manipulation into this type of imitative
A week after the W.E.G. manifestation, two unorganized plasms were recorded, one portion at the medium's mouth, the other mid-chest. While a study of these two masses added nothing to the still slender knowledge of plasm morphology, and for that reason are not shown here, the experiment was of value in that it marked a decided advance in Ewan's development as a deep-trance medium., for the first time Ewan, rather than Dawn, gave the signal for firing the flash. Early in the
sťance Walter-Dawn had said that there would be no 'picture'. A few moments later he added that Ewan would give the signal. Ewan quickly became deeply entranced and repeated the usual signal several times. But Dr. Hamilton had taken the words 'no picture' to mean 'no mass', and so did not expose any film. When Walter-Dawn asked why there had been no exposure, T.G.'s reply indicated a misunderstanding. Walter-Dawn then explained that 'no picture' had meant that there would not be a 'face' in the plasm. With matters now made clear, Ewan once more gave the signal, and an exposure was made. Urged on by Walter-Dawn, Ewan described the mass as it would appear on the developed plate; "one on the left side of Dawn's face, the other on her left breast". Walter-Dawn added that the teleplasm on the left side of Dawn's face had long droplets hanging down, which he claimed were the remnants of a teleplasmic cord connecting Ewan's left hand with Dawn. The developed plate confirmed the joint description.
What is of paramount interest was the simultaneous control of the two mediums, Ewan and Dawn, by Walter. This new type of control foreshadowed more of such intricacies in later
On September 29, 1929, Walter-Dawn made yet another statement of intention to produce one more face form for photography, after which he stated he would plan for new work. On October 6, 1929, Walter-Ewan referred to the coming phenomenon as being "in the building stage". Both Walter-Dawn, and Lucy-Mercedes hinted that this new mass would soon be ready to be recorded.
Circumstances no one could have foreseen abruptly altered these plans. On October 20, without Walter's consent, one of the sitters impulsively and prematurely examined Dawn's face. There was an immediate and very angry outburst from
"Perhaps you will think it strange, but you will get no picture tonight! No one is to touch or move the medium unless I give orders! And before I give a picture there will be evidence that there is nothing on her face! I have never given a picture yet that I haven't called for an examination of the face, neck and
arms... I know very well that you want everything to be above board, and it shall be so, but you must leave it to me to do it in my way and not yours! Never, never again will I tell you! Examine her before she comes into the
sťance room, but never in the room without my permission! Never! Never! Strip her naked, but don't touch her in this room! I have asked that her clothes be removed and her body washed. The person who removes her garments should examine her - every part of her body - but let there be no examination of her in this room without my permission! I will never tell you again! Never! Good night!"
|Plate 19: The mass of
October 20, 1929.
This outburst implies that the almost ready plasm had been badly damaged by the premature examination. Yet Walter's indignation had distinct evidential value, for it underlined his insistence that rigorous preparatory and precautionary techniques be applied to his medium. In spite of his reprimand this
sťance was not totally unproductive. There were other positive results. A secondary Dawn-control, claiming to be a discarnate Red Indian named 'Black Hawk', spoke through Dawn and unexpectedly called for an
"T.G.H.: 'From whom are you getting your instructions?'
"Black Hawk-Dawn: 'From Pale Face (Walter). He is working.
There is some ectoplasm that once made into a form, has to be removed whether you take a picture or not.'
"T.G.H.: 'You mean you cannot break it down and return it to the body?'
"B.H.-Dawn: 'It is a piece of waste matter. A mass was coming out of her mouth and hanging over the left side. It is in a very rude state, thick in one part and ragged in another. It is just a mass that had to be removed and brought outside.'
Flash fired at 10.05."
The damaged plasm, its extrusion as "waste material" described by Black Hawk, was confirmed by the image on the developed plate. This event demonstrated an abrupt change in intentional
Despite this setback, work progressed, and a very successful experiment was achieved on October 27, 1929. The usual group was present, with Miss E. McTavish as secretary.
Miss Ada Turner escorted Dawn to a dressing-room where she helped her to disrobe, sponged and inspected her, and re-dressed her in the
sťance garments. The
sťance began at 9.00 p.m. At 9.29 Walter asked Dr. J.A.H. and W.B.C. to examine the medium. Both declared that they found nothing connected with or lying on her head, neck face, breasts and underarms. Such precautionary measures, plus the fact that both Ewan and Mercedes were in trance, indicated that the promised phenomenon was imminent. At 9.32 an exposure was made. In the glare of the flashlight several group members stated that they had seen the outlines of a white mass near the medium's face, although they had not been able to make out any details. Almost at once came a description of the plasm, this time through Ewan. Conversation was carried on between T.G.H. and
two entranced mediums. This indicated that Walter was likely exercising a simultaneous dual
"X (a nameless trance personality) causes Ewan to stand in front of Dawn at the request of Walter-Dawn.
"Walter-Dawn: 'All right, steady, steady! You are all right!'
"X-Ewan: 'Yes, Walter. I am ready. I am ready!'
"Walter-Ewan: 'Yes, I know you are. What have you to say for yourself?'
"X-Ewan: 'I do trust you, Walter. I do trust you.'
"Walter-Dawn: 'What is your name? What does 'Ewan' mean?'
"X-Ewan: 'One who conquers, one who wins.'
"Walter-Dawn: 'I can't hold two! ... I can't hold two! Steady! Steady! Take him to his scat now ... gently! Now you can question him. Let there be no laughing ... Remember!'
"T.G.H.: 'Did you give a picture?'
"X-Ewan: 'Yes. It is a good one.'
"T.G.H.: 'What is it like?'
"X-Ewan: 'All over her.'
"T.G.H.: 'Over her face and neck? Is there a face in it? More than one?'
"X-Ewan: 'Yes, yes, yes. I know the name. There are faces in it. Three faces and you will recognize them. You will certainly recognize them. If you don't I won't do anything more. The group now is much better. The boy (Ewan) is much better. Last week I had only three-quarters of him, but I have nearly got him now . . . Faces all over her ... right across...
"T.G.H.: 'Tell me which part.'
|Plate 20: The face-bearing
teleplasm of October 27, 1929.
"X-Ewan: 'Between the mouth right across the chin, and the faces all over. I have used the facial nerves. I don't use the skeleton. I cannot. I don't know enough about it to do that. I believe somebody could, but not me. I might injure her. I wouldn't do that ... This boy is better with the group as they are. He didn't know I was there at all. I fooled him all right! This is a great advance in itself. You don't realize that! It is an advance that I am controlling two, two, two! Do you get that? It is interesting ... never before ... I have always had to break with the one, and that left the danger here. It's all right in some places, but not here. This is an advance for me, but not for you. Just leave the boy as he is; take no notice of him at all. He is all right. I am going to leave
These last words underline Walter's claim that he had been successful in exercising some type of dual control simultaneously over Ewan and Dawn.
Walter-Dawn showed the usual caution by having J.A.H. and W.B.C. examine the medium's face. Such preparation made just before an exposure stands as indirect evidence establishing intention. On the other hand, Ewan's less than accurate description of the mass did weaken the value of the evidence. Plate 20a shows two, not three, faces, one at the left side of the mouth, one on the right side of the chin. Walter claimed that the faces would be recognized; and for some time, it was thought that the upper face was that of the Red Indian control, Black Hawk. On November 3, 1929, Black Hawk himself clarified the
|Plate 20a: Enlargement
of face-bearing teleplasm of October 27, 1929.
|Plate 21: Composite
- Raymond in life for comparison with plasmic face of October 27,
"Black-Hawk-Dawn: 'I don't wish you to be under any misunderstanding as to that picture. It is not I."
"T.G.H.: 'Who is it?'
"Black Hawk-Dawn: 'That is a boy who lived a long way from here and I was with him when he had that picture taken. He is a great friend of mine. He was a soldier. His name was Raymond Lodge (spoken forcefully). Send it across the water and wait for a reply. Both of them were soldiers and passed away within a short time of each other. They will both be recognized. The young boy I don't know but I do know Raymond Lodge, the one at the top of the picture. One was a private soldier and one was an officer. I love that boy ... He would love to come into your group but he has a great work to do elsewhere ... I only talk when I am permitted. We are a silent people ... My friends, I love you all. Good night.'"
Dr. Hamilton obtained a copy of Sir Oliver Lodge's book Raymond, and in it found an excellent picture of Raymond. When the teleplasmic miniature was placed beside it, the identity was evident at once, on a firm basis of comparison.
Plate 21 is a composite, made by Dr. Hamilton so that the reader may judge for himself. As one studies the two likenesses, one sees that both faces reveal the same well-marked brows, the same eyes with their serious expression, the same nose, the same chin. Yet there are subtle differences. The teleplasmic eyes look more directly forward than do the eyes photographed in life. The highlights of the miniature face show greater contrasts. One also finds the subtle contrast of youth and maturity. Raymond the soldier was a young man of twenty-six; the plasmic face is that of a man who appears to have reached the maturity of middle years. In our opinion such differences add impressive internal evidence supporting the super normal origin of the face.
There was an interesting sequel to this identification.
On November 12, 1929, Dr. Hamilton had written to Sir Oliver Lodge, enclosing prints of the Raymond plasm, as well as one print of a mass obtained on November 25, 1928, containing five miniature faces, one of which was said to be a 'friend' and another Raymond's grandfather. A few days later found Dr. Hamilton in New York where he addressed the New York Section, A.S.P.R. on November 25. Present at that meeting was John O'Neill, science reporter of the newspaper
Brooklyn Eagle. He at once cabled Sir Oliver regarding the authenticity of the Raymond plasm. Sir Oliver cabled a reply, and the next day wrote to Dr.
26th November, 1929
My dear Sir,
I thank you kindly for sending me prints of the curious photographs taken in your laboratory by means of an extensive battery of cameras. You certainly deserve to get results from the trouble and expense you must have incurred.
I have seen the Spurgeon reproduction as published previously and was struck with it.
The Raymond likeness you now send is quite a reasonably good one, and seems in accordance with Walter's testimony. It is, as you say, not the same photograph, but represents a face very like it. The supposed grandfather I do not recognize nor do I know who the friend is supposed to be. The weak point is that Raymond has never told me that he is making an attempt to get through in this way. If he does hereafter it would add to the value of the evidence.
I have had a cable from the Brooklyn Eagle as follows:
"IS HAMILTON ECTOPLASMIC PICTURE THAT OF RAYMOND AND AUTHENTIC. CABLE REPLY. BROOKLYN EAGLE. O'NEILL."
I hesitated to reply to a newspaper, but as you do not seem averse from publicity I thought it best to send a non-committal answer as follows:
"RAYMOND LIKENESS PROBABLE. AUTHENTICITY UNKNOWN. LODGE."
Second-hand testimony at a distance of three thousand miles concerning authenticity would be absurd.
I thank you for all the material sent, and will not return the photographs unless you wish to receive them back. In some stereoscopic photographs taken in France by Professor Richet the ectoplasm stood out in the room. This is not so in your case; it is flat against the medium's face.
With renewed thanks and congratulations on your energy, I am Yours faithfully,
Enlargement of lower face miniature of Plate 20a for comparison with
photograph of "J.B.".
The identity of the second face was never established to our complete satisfaction. In 1931 my parents recalled the persistent efforts of a trance control, "J.B.", who years earlier had given a fair amount of evidential material. "J.B.", a young English man living in Manitoba, had joined one of the Winnipeg regiments in World War I, and had been killed in France. Dr. Hamilton was able to get photos of this young man. One of these is shown in Plate 22. Lacking more positive statements of identity from the trance controls, one cannot regard as conclusive the resemblance between the tiny plasmic face and that of
(1) William Ewart Gladstone, British statesman, and at one time a Prime Minister of England during the reign of Queen Victoria. In his lifetime Gladstone had been deeply interested in psychical research; and is reported to have stated publicly that he considered the study of such phenomena to be of the utmost importance to humanity. Walter claimed that it was at W. T. Stead's invitation that Gladstone's likeness came to be represented in teleplasm; and that Gladstone was still deeply interested in the problems and the work of psychical
Many times Walter also stated that he was merely the technician working for a group which included W. T. Stead, R. L. Stevenson, Sir William Crookes, and others; and that these unseen operators planned and co-operated as closely as possible with Dr. Hamilton and his
(2) Psychic Science, Vol. IX, No. 2, p. 91 (July 1930). Back
(3) Dawn was not wearing a string of beads when she entered the
sťance room. She was not wearing such a string of beads when she came out of the
sťance room at the conclusion of the sitting. Neither Dawn nor any of the sitters recognized the necklace when shown the photograph. We have no way of explaining the appearance and disappearance of such a necklace. We can only offer Walter's words that the beads were placed around the medium's neck, and later removed, by supernormal means.
All we can do is to accept as genuine this example of the phenomenon known as an "apport". This is not the only instance of such a phenomenon in the Hamilton work. Early in 1928 a large centre bead was removed from a necklace, without the string being broken. On August 2, 1929, a fresh flower mysteriously appeared in the locked
sťance room during a sitting. On August 4, 1929, several drops of perfume, of a strong and unfamiliar fragrance, fell on to the back of Dr. Hamilton's hand. The fragrance was still ascertainable after a lapse of several hours.
Similar instances of various kinds of apports have been reported by other investigators - Dr. Crandon of Boston, Dr. Hans Gerloff of Copenhagen, indicating that apport phenomena have as sound a factual basis as telekinesis or