Frederic William Henry Myers.

Human personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) online

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never appearing to notice anything, as though engaged in deep meditation.



751 B] TO CHAPTER VII 399

On August 1 7th, 1900, Miss Scott wrote to say that she had recently
seen the apparition twice, the most recent occasion having been " only
last night." She describes it as follows :



July ztfh, 1900. I am writing to let you know the dates that I have again
seen the apparition. . . . On the evening of July 24th I was standing speaking
to a friend, exactly upon the part known as the property of that " mysterious he."
I had forgotten the very existence of our supernatural neighbour, and while we
conversed upon indifferent subjects, I inadvertently glanced carelessly down
the expanse beyond, when I perceived the tall black figure walking on in
advance with his back towards us. How he came to be there I had not the
faintest idea, not having remarked his advent. I made no comment to my
companion, but, wishing her a hasty adieu, hurried away as quickly as possible
to try and make up upon him, but he instantly vanished there was no one to
be seen either high or low. It was just eight o'clock in the evening, as I heard
the hour chime in the village almost at the same time. He was dressed in the
same way, namely, all in black, and was only proceeding about twenty yards
away. . . .

My second illustration of last night, August i6th, 1900, can tell you some-
thing more definite than the previous one, for I certainly believe the man to be
a clergyman of the ancient school, but why this " Father of the Church "
frequents that road is an unexplained mystery. On this occasion the outline of
his head and shoulders were completely visible all black, with a wide white
muffler-looking thing wound round his throat; his hair seems light, face clean-
shaven and very pale, but he was not quite near enough for the features to
become clearly defined ; the hat looked like an ordinary clerical wide-awake,
only the crown seemed much higher than those used in the present day. The
lower part of his body [was] overshadowed, as he was advancing towards me
up the incline, while I was on the level above.

There was a man with a pony and trap cutting grass by the roadside
within a few feet of where I saw the apparition appear, who had his back to
the worker ; yet the most wonderful part of it all is that when I questioned the
man he declared he had seen "no one." "But," I said, "he was close beside
you." He still declared he saw "no person there," so I let the matter end,
though I expect that he, like the whole village, knows well the reputation of
the road, for he looked slightly nervous and remarked, " It was not a safe place
to come down alone. ..." M. W. SCOTT.

In the above case it will be seen that there is no evidence whatever
for the identity of the apparition ; the whole force of the case rests on the
repetition of the appearance, and its being seen independently by several
different persons. A good many other cases of the same general type
have appeared in the Proceedings and Journal S.P.R. I may refer as an
example to that recorded by Mr. and Mrs. Dauntesey in the Journal,
vol. vii. p. 329. Another very complete and typical instance of what is
commonly called " haunting," consisting of unexplained noises, generally
heard by all within earshot and continued at intervals through a series of
years, in the course of which various visual phantasms were seen by
different people, was the Willington Mill case, an account of which was
given by Mr. Procter in the Journal, vol. v. pp. 331-352.



[811 A



APPENDICES

TO

CHAPTER VIII

811 A. The following is a typical case of automatic drawing, recorded
at a time when the subject of automatism was almost unknown, not
only to the educated layman but also to psychologists and physiologists.
I quote the account from Spirit Drawings : a Personal Narrative, by
W. M. Wilkinson. Second edition (1864), pp. 9-11.

In August, 1856, a heavy and sudden affliction came upon us, in the
removal of a dear boy our second son into the spiritual world. He had
passed about eleven years in this world of ours, and was taken from us in the
midst of the rudest health, to commence his spirit-life under the loving care of
his Heavenly Father.

Some weeks afterwards his brother, then about twelve years old, went on a
short visit to Reading, and whilst there, amused himself as boys of his age are
used to do. One morning he had a piece of paper before him, and a pencil in
his hand, with which he was about to draw some child's picture ; when
gradually he found his hand filling with some feeling before unknown to him,
and then it began to move involuntarily upon the paper, and to form letters,
words, and sentences. The feeling he described as of a pleasing kind, entirely
new to him, and as if some power was within him apart from his own mind,
and making use of his hand. The handwriting was different to his own, and
the subject-matter of the writing was unknown to him till he read it with
curiosity as it was being written.

On frequent occasions, whilst on this visit, his hand was similarly moved in
writing; and afterwards he went to stay with some other friends in Bucking-
hamshire, with whom he did not make a trial of this new power ; but on his
return home, after some weeks' absence, we, for about two months, watched,
with deep emotion, the movement of his hand in writing; for sometimes, when
he wished to write, his hand moved in drawing small flowers, such as exist not
here; and sometimes, when he expected to draw a flower, the hand moved
into writing. The movement was, in general, most rapid, and unlike his own
mode of writing or drawing ; and he had no idea of what was being produced,
until it was in process of being done. Often, in the middle of writing a
sentence, a flower or diagram would be drawn, and then suddenly the hand
would go off in writing again.

I have not mentioned the nature, or subject-matter of the words thus
written ; nor is it in this place necessary to do so, further than this, that they
purported to be chiefly communications from his brother, our dear departed



815A] TO CHAPTER VIII 401

child, and were all of a religious character, speaking of his own happy state,
and of the means by which similar happiness is alone to be attained by those
who remained here to fight out their longer battle of life.

A few weeks later the boy's mother, who had never learnt to draw,
found that she possessed the same faculty, and by devoting about an hour
a day to the practice, produced a large series of drawings of flowers,
geometrical forms, and various objects which her family regarded as
symbolical. They often obtained also automatic writing purporting to
come from the dead child and to explain the meaning of the drawings.
The latter developed into architectural sketches and landscapes, and Mrs.
Wilkinson gradually began to paint, as well as draw, automatically. Mr.
Wilkinson also developed the faculty of automatic writing and drawing.

815 A. The following account is extracted from Mr. Andrew Lang's
"The Voices of Jeanne d'Arc " in the Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xi.
pp. 198-212.

Mr. Lang gives evidence taken from the Proces of her trial at Rouen
and other original sources which he mentions. Her own account given
at her trial was that her " voices " were first heard when she was about
thirteen telling her to behave well and go to church, and afterwards
they used to tell her to go into France to her mission. Jeanne kept
objecting that she was a poor girl who could not ride, or lead in war, and
resisted the voices with all her energy.

Turning to the Maid's own evidence in court, we must remember that she
was most averse to speaking at all, that she often asked leave to wait for advice
and permission from her voices before replying, that on one point she con-
stantly declared that, if compelled to speak, she would not speak the truth. This
point was the King's secret. There is absolutely contemporary evidence, from
Alain Chartier, that, before she was accepted, she told Charles something which
filled him with surprise, joy, and belief. (Proch V., 131. Letter of July, 1429.)
The secret was connected with Charles's doubts of his own legitimacy, and
Jeanne at her trial was driven to obscure the truth in a mist of allegory, as,
indeed, she confessed. [The] tale of an angel and a crown was mere allegory.
Jeanne's extreme reluctance to adopt even this loyal and laudable evasion is
the measure of her truthfulness in general. Still, she did say some words
which, as they stand, it is difficult to believe, to explain, or to account for.
She asserted that she knew the Dauphin, on their first meeting, by aid of her
voices. (I. 56.) She declared that the Dauphin himself "multas habuit
revelationes et apparitiones pulchras." In its literal sense, there is no evidence
for this, but rather the reverse. She may mean, " revelations " through herself,
or may refer to some circumstance unknown. " Those of my party saw and
knew that voice," she said, but later would only accept them as witnesses if
they were allowed to come and see her. (I. 57.)

This is the most puzzling point in Jeanne's confession. She had no motive
for telling an untruth, unless she hoped that these remarks would establish the
objectivity of her visions. Of course, one of her strange experiences may have
occurred in the presence of Charles and his court, and she may have believed
that they shared in it.

VOL. n. 2 C



402 APPENDICES [815 A

She said that she heard the voice daily in prison, " and stood in sore need
of it." The voice bade her remain at St. Denis (after the repulse from Paris, in
September 1429), but she was not allowed to remain.

On the next day (the third of the trial) she told Beaupere that she was
fasting since yesterday afternoon. " Yesterday she had heard the voices in the
morning, at vespers, and at the late ringing for Ave Maria, and she heard
them much more frequently than she mentioned." " Yesterday she had been
asleep when the voice aroused her. She sat up and clasped her hands, and
the voice bade her answer boldly. Other words she half heard before she was
quite awake, but failed to understand."

She denied that the voices ever contradicted themselves. On this occasion,
as not having received leave from her voices, she refused to say anything as to
her visions.

At the next meeting she admitted having heard the voices in court, but in
court she could not distinguish the words, owing to the tumult. She had now,
however, leave to speak more fully. The voices were those of St. Catherine
and St. Margaret. They were crowned with fair crowns, as she had said at
Poictiers two years before. Seven years ago (that is, when she was twelve)
she first saw the saints. On the attire of the saints she had not leave to speak.
They were preceded by St. Michael " with the angels of Heaven." " I saw
them as clearly as I see you, and I used to weep when they departed, and
would fain that they should have taken me with them."

As to the famous sword at Fierbois, she averred that she had been in the
church there, on her way to Chinon, that the voices later bade her use a sword
which was hidden under earth, she thinks behind, but possibly in front of the
altar, at Fierbois. A man unknown to her was sent from Tours to fetch the
sword, which after search was found, and she wore it.

Asked whether she had prophesied her wound by an arrow at Orleans, and
her recovery, she said " Yes. ? '

This prediction is singular in that it was recorded before the event. The
record was copied into the registre of Brabant, from a letter written on April
22nd, 1429, by a Flemish diplomatist, De Rotselaer, then at Lyons. 1 De
Rotselaer had the prophecy from an officer of the court of the Dauphin. The
prediction was thus noted on April 22nd, the event occurred on May 7th. On
the fifth day of the trial Jeanne announced that, before seven years were gone,
the English would lose a dearer gage than Orleans ; " this I know by revelation,
and am wroth that it is to be so long deferred." As prophecies go, their loss
of Paris (1436) corresponds very well to the Maid's announcement. Asked, on
March ist, whether her liberation was promised, she said, " Ask me in three
months, and I will tell you." In three months exactly her stainless soul
was free.

She had once disobeyed her voices, when they forbade her to leap from the
tower of Beaurevoir. She leaped, but they forgave her, and told her that
Compiegne (where she was captured on May 23rd, 1430) would be relieved
"before Martinmas." It was relieved on October 26th, after a siege of five
months. She told the touching story of how, at Melun, on April 1430, the
voices had warned her that she would be taken prisoner before midsummer ;
how she had prayed for death, or for tidings as to the day and hour. But no
tidings were given to her, and her old belief, often expressed, that she " should

1 Procts, IV., 425.



815A] TO CHAPTER VIII 403

last but one year or little more," was confirmed. The Due d'Alencon had
heard her say this several times ; for the prophecy at Melun we have only her
own word.

She was now led into the allegory about the Angel (herself) and the Crown
(the coronation at Rheims). This allegory was fatal, but does not bear on her
real belief about her experiences. She averred, returning to genuine con-
fessions, that her voices often came spontaneously; if they did not, she
summoned them by a simple prayer to God. She had seen the angelic figures
moving, invisible save to her, among men. The voices had promised her the
release of Charles d'Orleans, but time had failed her. This was as near a con-
fession of failure as she ever made, till the day of her burning ; if she really
made one then. But here, as always, she had predicted that she would do this
or that if she were sans empeschement. She had no revelation bidding her
attack Paris when she did, and after the day at Melun, she submitted to the
advice of the other captains. By the way, if this be so, not she, but the
captains, displayed the strategy admired by Captain Marin in the Oise cam-
paign of 1430. As to her release, she was only bidden "to bear all cheerfully ;
be not vexed with thy martyrdom, thence shalt thou come at last into the
kingdom of Paradise."

For the rest, Jeanne recanted her so-called recantation, averring that she
was unaware of the contents or full significance of the document. Her voices
recalled her to her duty, for them she went to the stake, and, as I have shown,
if there was a moment of wavering on the day of her doom, her belief in the
objective reality of the phenomena remained firm, and she recovered her faith
in the agony of her death.

Of external evidence as to these experiences, the best is probably that of
d'Aulon, the Maitre d'Hotel of the Maid, and her companion through her
whole career. He and she were reposing in the same room at Orleans, her
hostess being in the chamber (May 1429), and d'Aulon had just fallen asleep,
when the Maid awoke him with a cry. Her voices bade her go against the
English, but in what direction she knew not. In fact, the French leaders had
begun, without her knowledge, an attack on St. Loup, whither she galloped
and took the fort (Proces III. 212). It is, of course, very possible that the din of
onset, which presently became audible, had vaguely reached the senses of the
Maid. Her page confirms d'Aulon's testimony.

D'Aulon states that when the Maid had any martial adventure in prospect,
she told him that her " counsel " had given her this or that advice. He ques-
tioned her as to the nature of this "counsel." She said "she had three
councillors, of whom one was always with her, a second went and came to her,
and the third was he with whom the others deliberated." D'Aulon " was not
worthy to see this counsel." From the moment when he heard this, d'Aulon
asked no more questions. Dunois also gave some evidence as to the " counsel."
At Loches, when Jeanne was urging the journey to Rheims, Harcourt asked
her, before the King, what the nature (modus) of the council was ; how it com-
municated with her. She replied that when she was met with incredulity, she
went apart and prayed to God. Then she heard a voice say, Fille Dt, va,
va, va,je serai d ton aide, va .' " And when she heard that voice she was right
glad, and would fain be ever in that state." " As she spoke thus, ipsa niiro
modo exsultabat, levando sues oculos ad ccelum" (III., 12). Finally, that
Jeanne maintained her belief to the moment of her death, we learn from the



4 o 4 APPENDICES [817 A

priest, Martin Ladvenu, who was with her to the last (III., 170). There is
no sign anywhere that at the moment of an " experience," the Maid's aspect
seemed unusual, or uncanny, or abnormal, in the eyes of those who were in
her company.

These depositions were given twenty years later (1452-56), and, of course,
allowance must be made for weakness of memory and desire to glorify the
Maid. But there is really nothing of a suspicious character about them. In
fact the "growth of legend" was very slight, and is mainly confined to the
events of the martyrdom, the White Dove, the Name of Christ blazoned in
flame, and so forth. It should also have been mentioned that at the taking of
St. Pierre de Moustier (November 1429), Jeanne, when deserted by her forces,
declared to d'Aulon that she was " not alone, but surrounded by fifty thousand
of her own." The men therefore rallied and stormed the place.

This is the sum of the external evidence as to the phenomena. I have already
indicated what is known as to the mental and physical characteristics of the
Maid. Her extreme temperance should also perhaps be remembered.

As to the contents of the communications to Jeanne, they were certainly
sane, judicious, and heroic. M. Quicherat (Aper$us Nouveaux, p. 61) distin-
guishes three classes of abnormally conveyed knowledge, all on unimpeachable
evidence.

(1) Thought-reading, as in the case of the King's secret ; she repeated to
him the words of a prayer which he had made mentally.

(2) Clairvoyance, as exhibited in the affair of the sword of Fierbois.

(3) Prescience, as in the prophecy of her arrow-wound at Orleans. Accord-
ing to her confessor, Pasquerel, she repeated the prophecy and indicated
the spot in which she would be wounded (under the right shoulder) on the night
of May 6th. But this is later evidence given in the Trial of Rehabilitation.

To these we might add the view, from Vaucouleurs, a hundred leagues
away, of the defeat at Rouvray ; the prophecy that she " would last but a year
or little more;" the prophecy, at Melun, of her capture; the prophecy of the
relief of Compiegne ; and the strange affair of the bon conduit at the battle of
Pathay. 1 For several of these predictions we have only the Maid's word, but,
to be plain, we can scarcely have more unimpeachable testimony.

817 A. From the Proceedings of the American S.P.R., vol. i. p. 397.
Mr. M. writes to Professor Royce as follows :

BOSTON, Nov. \dth, 1886.

Some years ago, perhaps eight or nine, while in a city of Rhode Island on
business, my house being then, as now, in Boston, I received news which was
most unexpected and distressing to me, affecting me so seriously that I retired
to my room at the hotel, a large square room, and threw myself upon my bed,
face downward, remaining there a long time in great mental distress. The
acuteness of the feeling after a time abating, I left the room. I returned next
day to Boston and the day after that received a short letter from the person
whose statement I enclose herewith, and dated at the town in western New
York from which her enclosed letter comes. The note begged me to tell
her without delay what was the matter with me " on Friday at two o'clock,"
the very day and hour when I was affected as I have described.

1 IV -i 37, 372- Here the authority is Monstrelet, a Burgundian.



817B] TO CHAPTER VIII 405

This lady was a somewhat familiar acquaintance and friend, but I had not
heard from her for many months previous to this note and I do not know
that any thought of her had come into my mind for a long time. I should
still further add that the news which had so distressed me had not the slightest
connection with her.

I wrote at once, stating that she was right as to her impression (she said in
her letter that she was sure I was in very great trouble at the time mentioned)
and expressed my surprise at the whole affair. . . . (Signed) M.

The accompanying statement from N., who is a physician by profession
and writes from New York State, is as follows :

[Postmarked, Aug. i6M, 1886.]

In the convalescence from a malarial fever during which great hyperaesthesia
of brain had obtained, but no hallucinations or false perceptions, I was sitting
alone in my room looking out of the window. My thoughts were of indifferent
trivialities; after a time my mind seemed to become absolutely vacant; my
eyes felt fixed, the air seemed to grow white. I could see objects about me,
but it was a terrible effort of will to perceive anything. I then felt great and
painful sense as of sympathy with some one suffering, who or where I did not
know. After a little time I knew with whom, but how I knew I cannot tell ;
for it seemed some time after this knowledge of personality that I saw distinctly
in my brain, not before my eyes, a large square room, evidently in a hotel, and
saw the person of whom I had been conscious, lying face downward on the bed
in the throes of mental and physical anguish. I felt rather than heard sobs
and grieving, and felt conscious of the nature of the grief subjectively ; its
objective cause was not transmitted to me. Extreme exhaustion followed the
experience, which lasted forty minutes intensely and then very slowly wore
away. Let me note : (i) I had not thought of the person for some time and
there was no reminder in the room ; (2) the experience was remembered with
more vividness than that seen in the normal way, while the contrary is true
of dreams ; (3) the natural order of perception was reversed ; i.e. the emotion
came first, the sense of a personality second, the vision or perception of the
person third. . . . (Signed) N.

Mr. M. was unfortunately not able to find the letters that passed
between him and his friend at the time.

817 B. From the Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. p. 33.

In this case the conscious desire of the agent seems to have been the
predetermining cause of the percipient's impression.

The percipient, Mrs. Hadselle, writes to Dr. Hodgson as follows :

28 BRADFORD STREET, PITTSFIELD, MASS., May 28M, 1888.
Less that two years ago a curious thing happened to me. I had been in
Wash. Co., N.Y., giving half a dozen readings, and was on my way to Williams-
town, where I had spent a part of the summer, and where much of my worldly
goods, in the shape of wearing apparel, was safely stowed in my room at the
" Mansion House." With ticket purchased, I was serenely seated in the car,
box, bundle, and bag beside me, the conductor's " All aboard " was at that
instant in my ears, when I sprang to my feet with the force of an inward com-



4 o6 APPENDICES [817 C

mand, " Change your ticket and go to Elizabeth (N.J.)- Change your ticket

and go to Elizabeth. Change your " Here a gentleman in the opposite

seat an utter stranger rose and said: " Madam, have you forgotten some-
thing, can I help you ? " I said : " Do you think the train will wait for me to
change my ticket ? " For there appeared to be no alternative. As I spoke I
moved towards the platform ; he followed, and seeing that the office was but a
few steps distant said: " Go, I'll see that you are not left." I did go, and in a
moment more was on my way to Elizabeth, though I had not before even thought
of such a thing. Next morning, on reaching my friend's house, she threw her
arms about me and sobbed out : " Oh, I have wanted you so." Then she led
me to a room where an only and beloved sister lay in life's last battle. In an
hour it was ended.

My poor grief-stricken friend declared then declares now that my sudden
change of purpose was a direct answer to her repeated though unspoken de-
mand for my presence. And who shall say it was not? I wish to add that
while I had learned by letter of the sister's illness of a chronic disorder, I did
not suppose her case hopeless; indeed, from the fact that no tidings had
reached me lately, was hoping that she was on the road to recovery, and had I
been questioned concerning her that loth of November 1886, should have re-
plied confidently, " She will without doubt last through the winter." My friend,
by the way, is, much more than I, a believer in psychical phenomena.



Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 54 of 89)