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42 1

Ewig Weibliche, but that the bulk of the communications were in French and
produced by " Irktomar."

In addition to some dialectical variations which appear to be Provencal
(e.g. Irktomar n'a pas lou terns, Pour vous faire des coumplimens), he produced
an extraordinary jargon which he called " Romaunce " and ascribed to the time
of " Roland " and of " Charlemagne."

Afterwards it was found to be old Norman French, and mostly quoted from
the Chanson de Roland of the twelfth century, as will appear from the following
comparison :


1. Carles li reis, nostre emperere

Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en
Espaigne. (C. de R. 1-2.)

2. Ne reverrunt lor mires ne lor

Ne eels de France ki as porz les
atcndent. (C. de R. 1402-3.) a

3. Jo vus ai mult servit. (C. de
R. 3492.)

4. P asset li jurz si turnet a la
vespre'e. (C. de R. 3560.)


(isttime.) Car[l]es li reis magnes
empere [re] set anz ut plein estet en

(2nd time.) Carles li reis magnes
empere [re] set anz lufans estet en

2. Ne reverrunt nzperes ne parenz
ne Charlemagne, ki as porz les atent.

3. Jo vous ai mult bun servit.

4. Sfenfuit li jourz de bleneut la

F. does not know old French at all, and cannot remember to have ever read
or heard any, but, being strongly inclined towards the unconscious self theory,
suggests that the passages produced may have been quoted in some magazine
article, and thus met his eye. 2 In any case, however, these quotations throw
an interesting light on the mode of thinking of the intelligence that dictated
them. It will be seen that they are evidently quoted from memory, and by no
means accurate. And in No. i the first version was nearer the original than
the second ; but, as quoted, the words " ut plein " made no sense, and hence
" lutans," a word which does not, I believe, occur in the Roland, was substi-
tuted for them to complete the sense. That is to say, the second version is no
mere reproduction of an impression in the memory, but has been subjected to
a process of emendation which by us would be held to imply the action of
conscious thought. Yet during this time F.'s conscious mind was entirely void
of any knowledge of the dialect, and a fortiori could not possibly have corrected
what appeared to him quite meaningless. . . .

Lastly, planchette volunteered the information that " Carles fu carles il
caux " (Charles was Charles the Bald), which is certainly wrong, and as cer-
tainly could not be derived from the Roland or any similar poem, while it is
nevertheless linguistically correct. It must, therefore, I think, be admitted
that the intelligence which produced it must have possessed a considerable

1 Two lines have since been found which are almost identical with the planchette
writing, viz.: " Ne reverrunt lor peres ne lor parenz, Ne Charle Magne ki as porz les
atent." (C. de R. 1420-21.)

2 Neither had Mr. F. C. S. Schiller read any old French.



amount of what we should call conscious knowledge of old French, and such as
F. certainly does not possess.

To sum up then I will only say that the matter of the various communica-
tions (i.e. excluding the card and alphabet experiments, &c.) does not seem to
me to afford absolute proof that the knowledge displayed could not possibly
have been latent in the writer's mind, while at the same time this is extremely
improbable in a large number of cases. Moreover, both the matter and the
manner of the communications display powers beyond any at present recog-
nised as normal. (Signed) F. C. S. SCHILLER.

January 22nd, 1887.

832 B. Other cases of imaginary personalities are to be found in
the accounts of possession which have come down to us from the
" Ages of Faith." I take as an example the autobiography of Sceur
Jeanne des Anges. 1 Soeur Jeanne was the Superior of the Ursulines
of Loudun, about 1630-1665, and was one of the most ardent
admirers, afterwards one of the fiercest enemies, of the unfortunate
Urbain Grandier, who was burnt alive in 1634, on the charge of having
bewitched the Ursuline nuns. Her manuscript autobiography has fallen
into the hands of editors of a type which she can hardly have fore-
seen, Drs. Gabriel Legue' and Gilles de la Tourette. These physicians
have carefully analysed the symptoms which she narrates, and have shown
that her affliction may be classed as a well-developed case of hystero-
epilepsy, of the kind now so often described by the Salpetriere school.

Our present interest lies in the personalities which she gives to the
demons whom she supposes to possess her, who are in reality mere
objectifications of different series of hysterical attacks.

Just as the automatic writer has a group of soi-disant guides or " con-
trols," who take it in turns to direct his hand, and each of whom main-
tains a specific character of his own, even so does Soeur Jeanne describe
Asmodeus, Leviathan, Behemoth, Isacaaron, Balaam, Gresil, and Aman,
whose diverse presence she apparently recognised mainly by the special
train of undesirable emotion which each inspired, but partly also by their
words and writings. A facsimile of a letter of Asmodeus is given by the
learned editors, but the writing does not perceptibly differ from Soeur
Jeanne's own script.

And Dr. Gilles de la Tourette informs me that there are letters, also in
Soeur Jeanne's own handwriting, which profess to come from the other
demons too such letters being habitually written by the Sister during the
process of exorcism, which usually brought on a hystero-epileptic attack.
The substance of the letters reflected, no doubt, the foulness and malig-
nity of the Sister's own mind ; but, nevertheless, the modern hysteriolo-
gists who have discussed the whole affair do not suppose that the Sister
consciously simulated the writing or speech of devils through herself. Her

1 Bibliothtqiie Diabolique( Collection Bourneville). Paris : Aux Bureaux du Progres
Mtdical, 1886.


diabolic script and utterance were probably (though not certainly) purely
automatic. 1

It must be remembered that Sceur Jeanne was perfectly sane during
these years of possession, sane at least in the sense that she governed her
community, plotted savagely against her enemies, and made religious
capital out of her real or fictitious stigmata ; but that, nevertheless, there
is no doubt whatever that she believed in these possessing demons, who,
as I say, were in reality the incarnations of hystero-epileptic attacks.

Now, I certainly do not mean to trace any moral analogy between
these distressing products of Soeur Jeanne's imagination and the " guides "
of the planchette-writer which, as I have said, so far as I have seen, are
almost always harmless, generally even sermonising entities. So far as my
experience goes I do not see that planchette-writing has any connec-
tion with disease of mind or body, or any tendency to evil of any kind,
except in a few cases of great credulity on , the writer's part, a credulity
which it is to be hoped is now becoming somewhat less common.
Rather is Soeur Jeanne's case parallel in another way ; as showing the
tendency of the individuality to split itself up into various co-ordinate and
alternating trains of personality,- each of which may seem for a time to be
dominant and obsessing, while yet the habitual sense of the ordinary self
may persist through all these invasions.

843 A. Some early experiments in thought-transference through table-
tilting were published by Professor Richet in the Revue Philosophique
for December 1884. A critical discussion of these by Gurney appeared
in the Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ii. pp. 239-64, and a briefer report in
Phantasms of the Living, vol. i. pp. 72-81. I quote from the latter
a description of the method used :

The place of a planchette was taken by a table, and M. Richet prefaces his
account by a succinct statement of the orthodox view as to " table-turning."
Rejecting altogether the three theories which attribute the phenomena to
wholesale fraud, to spirits, and to an unknown force, he regards the gyrations
and oscillations of stance-tables as due wholly to the unconscious muscular
contractions of the sitters. It thus occurred to him to employ a table as an
indicator of the movements that might be produced by "mental suggestion."
The plan of the experiments was as follows. Three persons (C, D, and E),
took their seats in a semi-circle, at a little table on which their hands rested.
One of these three was always a " medium " a term used by M. Richet to
denote a person liable to exhibit intelligent movements in which consciousness
and will apparently take no part. Attached to the table was a simple electrical
apparatus, the effect of which was to ring a bell whenever the current was
broken by the tilting of the table. Behind the backs of the sitters at the table
was another table, on which was a large alphabet, completely screened from
the view of C, D, and E, even had they turned round and endeavoured to see
it. In front of this alphabet sat A, whose duty was to follow the letters slowly
and steadily with a pen, returning at once to the beginning as soon as he

1 See Dr. Legue's Urbain Grandier et les Possidies dt Loudun. Paris : Baschet.


arrived at the end. At A's side sat B, with a note-book ; his duty was to write
down the letter at which A's pen happened to be pointing whenever the bell
rang. This happened whenever one of the sitters at the table made the simple
movement necessary to tilt it. Under these conditions, A and B are apparently
mere automata. C, D, and E are little more, being unconscious of tilting the
table, which appears to them to tilt itself; but even if they tilted it consciously,
and with a conscious desire to dictate words, they have no means of ascertain-
ing at what letter A's pen is pointing at any particular moment; and they
might tilt for ever without producing more than an endless series of incoherent
letters. Things being arranged thus, a sixth operator, F, stationed himself
apart both from the tilting table and from the alphabet, and concentrated his
thought on some word of his own choosing, which he had not communicated
to the others. The three sitters at the first table engaged in conversation,
sang, or told stories ; but at intervals the table tilted, the bell rang, and B
wrote down the letter which A's pen was opposite to at that moment. Now,
to the astonishment of all concerned, these letters, when arranged in a series,
turned out to produce a more or less close approximation to the word of which
F was thinking.

The general result of which full details are given in the original
articles referred to was that the amount of coincidence between the
letters of the words chosen by F and those tilted out by the table was
considerably greater than would most probably have been produced by
chance. Gurney continues :

[These experiments] seem to exhibit telepathic production of movements
by what is at most an idea, and not a volition, on the agent's part. This,
indeed, is a hypothesis which seems justified even by M. Richet's less excep-
tional results. For we must remember that in a sense A is throughout more
immediately the agent than F; it is what A's mind contributes, not what F's
mind contributes, that produces the tilts at the right moments. 1 But this is
of course through no will of A's; he is ignorant of the required word, and has
absolutely no opportunity of bringing his volition into play. His "agency " is
of a wholly passive sort; and his mind, as it follows the course of his pen, is a
mere conduit-pipe, whereby knowledge of a certain kind obtains access to the
"unconscious intelligence " which evokes the tilts. If, then, the knowledge
manifests itself as impulse, can we avoid the conclusion that in this particular
mode of access in " mental suggestion " or telepathy as such a certain
impulsive quality is involved ? . . .

But of course the relation between F and the "medium" plays also a
necessary part in the result; the impulse to tilt when a particular letter is
reached only takes effect when it falls (so to speak) on ground prepared by

* When A, in pointing, began at the beginning of the alphabet, the sense of time
might conceivably have led to an unconscious judgment as to the point arrived at. This
idea had occurred to M. Richet. It seems, however, an unnecessary multiplication of
:ses ; for we learn from him that in some trials A began at uncertain places, and
that under these conditions coherent words were obtained. The fact that so often the
approximate letter was given, instead of the exact one, might seem at first sight to favour

: hypothesis of unconscious reckoning ; but it will be observed that exactly the same
approximations took place in our own experiment (Phantasms, vol. i. pp. 77-8), where
the alphabet was in the " medium's " sight.


" mental suggestion " from F on a mind in which the word imagined by
him has obtained an unconscious lodgment. The unconscious part of the
percipient's mind would thus be the scene of confluence of two separate tele-
pathic streams, which proceed to combine there in an intelligent way one
proceeding from F's mind, which produces unconscious knowledge of the word,
and the other proceeding from A's mind, which produces an unconscious image
of the successive letters. Another possible supposition would be that F's
thought affects, not the " medium," but A ; or conversely, that A's thought
affects, not the " medium," but F ; that A obtains unconscious knowledge
of the word, or that F obtains unconscious knowledge of the letter, and
so is enabled to communicate an impulse to the " medium " at the right
moment. And we should then have to suppose a secret understanding be-
tween two parts of A's or F's mind, the part which takes account of the letters
of the alphabet, and the part which takes account of the letters of the word
the former being conscious and the latter unconscious, or vice versd, according
as A or F is the party affected.

843 B. A somewhat similar but less complex set of experiments
by Mr. G. M. Smith was given in the Journal S.P.R., vol. v. pp. 318-20,
as follows :


I have for many years been familiar with the usual modus operandi and
results in table-tilting, but I have no sympathy with so-called Spiritualists as
such. Recently, when reading Phantasms of the Living, I was struck with
the experiment in table-tilting recorded there, vol. i. pp. 77-81,* and I made
arrangements with a few friends to meet in my house to experiment in table-
tilting (a thing which none of them had ever seen) with the view of adding
some of the novel features of the case referred to in Phantasms of the Living.

On September Qth last Mrs. Smith (my wife), three young men, and myself
sat down with the palms of our hands on a small deal table in my house. In
a few minutes the table commenced to tilt. What follows is copied from a
note written immediately after the experiment and read over to all present
at the sitting. I asked the questions, and in doing so, merely for conveni-
ence, used the language and phraseology peculiar among Spiritualists on such

Q. Will the influence which is controlling this table please tilt it once
when " No " is meant and twice when "Yes" is meant? A. Yes (two tilts or
raps). Q. Is it a spirit that is controlling this table? A. Yes. Q. Is it
the spirit of a friend of any one at the table ? A. Yes.

After a few more such questions and answers Q. Will you please rap
(tilt) the table when the letters of the alphabet are pointed to which spell out
your name? A. Yes.

I then asked Mrs. Smith to withdraw from the table and sit in a corner of the
room about six feet from the table, and to take a small book with the alphabet
in it, and commencing to point at " A" to move slowly towards the end and
back to "A" again, and so on, observing at what letters the table tilted.
Although she was visible to all at the table, yet she was so placed that no one
could form any idea of what letters were being pointed to. These preparations,
which only took about a minute, being finished, we then continued.

1 The reference is to the experiments by Professor Richet, just quoted.


Almost at once the table commenced to tilt at irregular short intervals, and
when it had tilted seven or eight times, I, being anxious to know whether any-
thing coherent was being spelled out, asked Mrs. Smith what were the results,
and she answered that the table had tilted at the letters H-o-w-e-y J-a. The
name of a young man a few years deceased, and known by name at any rate
to all at the table, was at once recognised, his name being James Howey. I
then asked: Q. Is it the spirit of James Howey? A. Yes. Q. Have you
met your mother since she passed out ? A. Yes. Q. Is she with you now ?
A. Yes. Q. Does she wish to communicate? A. Yes. Q. With any one
at the table ? A. No. Q. With any of her family ? A. Yes. Q. With
Miss Howey ? A. Yes. Q. Will she rap (tilt) the table when the letters of
the alphabet are pointed to which spell out her communication ? A. Yes.
The table commenced to tilt again as before, but it was not interrupted, and
when it had stopped I asked what had been spelled out, and Mrs. Smith
replied : " Good and faithful " had been spelled. Q. Do you mean that Miss
Howey is good and faithful? A. No. Q. Do you mean it as an injunction
to her to be good and faithful ? A. Yes. Q. Do you wish to communicate
further ? A. Yes. Proceeding as before, the table at once commenced tilting,
and when it had ceased Mrs. Smith said it had spelled out : " Mind father, and
be sure of that." The experiment here ended, and the striking aptness of the
latter communications was much spoken of by the sitters.

I should not have thought this worth writing out, but for the fact that Mrs.
Smith, while pointing out the letters, sat away from the table and in such a
position that no one at the table could form the faintest idea of what letters
were being pointed to. These circumstances remove the case from the ordinary
run of table-tilting experiments.

Of course I was aware of the imperfection of the arrangements, but they
could not be improved at the time, and I at once arranged for a further and
more testing experiment for the evening of September I3th. For this occasion
I secured the assistance of two more young men, one of whom I intended
should write down the letters rapped or tilted out, and the other to witness that
such was done correctly. I also arranged for the sitters at the table to be in the
room, and those with the alphabet just outside the door (which was almost shut)
of such room. But I regret to say that, though the table tilted quite briskly, and
though we made several changes of persons from the table to the alphabet,
and tried for about an hour, yet there could not be found the least trace of
coherence or intelligibility in the series of letters taken down as rapped out,
although we tried them by inversion, anagrammatically, and by substituting
neighbouring letters, as is done in the case referred to in Phantasms of the
Living. I have not further experimented in this way.


849 A. I quote below part of Mr. Newnham's account of his experi-
ments in thought-transference through automatic writing, the whole of
which is given in the Proceedings S.P.R., vol. iii. pp. 8-23.

It was in January 1871 that I was first led to think of making an attempt
to investigate the alleged phenomena of planchette-writing. Having procured
an instrument, I consulted carefully with my wife, as to forming a code of
conditions which we would agree to bind ourselves rigidly to observe, in case
she was found capable of writing.


I copy from my note-book the following preliminary statement and con-
ditions agreed upon, which were put down in writing before any experiment had
been made :

" Being desirous of investigating accurately the phenomena of planchette,
myself and my wife have agreed to carry out a series of systematic experiments
in order to ascertain the conditions under which the instrument is able to work.
To this end the following rules are strictly observed :

1. The question to be asked is written down before the planchette is set

in motion. This question, as a rule, is never known to the operator.

2. Whenever an evasive or other answer is returned, necessitating one or

more new questions to be put before a clear answer can be obtained,
the operator is not to be made aware of any of these questions, or
even of the general subject to which they allude, until the final answer
has been obtained.

3. In all cases where the operator has asked the question, or is aware of its

terms or general tenor, the question will be distinguished by pre-
fixing an asterisk, and leaving a space between it and the marginal
line. [None of these questions are quoted here.]

4. Where no operator is mentioned, my wife is always meant.

5. Where no questioner is mentioned, myself is always meant."
Although not provided for in writing (as our mutual bona fides was, of

course, taken for granted), I may add that my wife always sat at a small low
table, in a low chair, leaning backwards. I sat about eight feet distant, at a
rather high table, and with my back towards her while writing down the
questions. It was absolutely impossible that any gesture, or play of features,
on my part, could have been visible or intelligible to her. As a rule, she kept
her eyes shut ; but never became in the slightest degree hypnotic, or even
naturally drowsy.

Under these conditions we carried on experiments for about eight months,
and I have 309 questions and answers recorded in my note-book, spread over
this time. 1 But the experiments were found very exhaustive of nerve-power,
and as my wife's health was delicate, and the fact of thought-transmission had
been abundantly proved, we thought it best to abandon the pursuit.

I now proceed to give a sample of some of these questions and answers.
The numbers prefixed are those in my note-book.

I may mention that the planchette began to move instantly with my wife.
The answer was often half written before I had completed the question.

On first finding that it would write easily, I asked three simple questions
which were known to the operator ; then three others, unknown to her, relating
to my own private concerns. All six having been instantly answered in a
manner to show complete intelligence, I proceeded to ask

7. Write down the lowest temperature here this winter. A. 8.

Now, this reply at once arrested my interest. The actual lowest tempera-
ture had been 7.6 so that 8 was the nearest whole degree ; but my wife said at
once that, if she had been asked the question, she would have written 7, and
not 8; as she had forgotten the decimal, but remembered my having said that
the temperature had been down to 7 something.

I simply quote this, as a good instance, at the very outset, of perfect trans-

1 The remainder of the 385 questions and answers in this book belong to a different
series, where the question was known to the operator.

42 8 APPENDICES [849 A

mission of thought, coupled with a perfectly independent reply ; the answer being
correct in itself, but different from the impression on the conscious intelligence
of both parties.

Naturally our first desire was to see if we could obtain any information
concerning the nature of the intelligence which was operating through the
planchette, and of the method by which it produced the written results. We
repeated questions on this subject again and again; and I will copy down the
principal questions and answers in the connection.

January -zgth. 13. Is it the operator's brain, or some external force, that
moves the planchette? Answer " brain " or " force." A. Will.

14. Is it the will of a living person, or of an immaterial spirit, distinct from
that person ? Answer " person " or " spirit." A. Wife.

15. Give first the wife's Christian name; then my favourite name for her.
(This was accurately done.)

27. What is your own name ? A. Only you.

28. We are not quite sure of the meaning of the answer. Explain. A.

Failing to get more than this, at the outset, we returned to the same thought
after question 114; when, having been closely pressed on another subject, we
received the curt reply" Told all I know."

February i8M. 117. Who are you that writes, and has told all you know ?

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