Frederic William Henry Myers.

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A. Wife.

118. But does no one tell wife what to write ? If so, who? A. Spirit.

119. Whose spirit? A. Wife's brain.

120. But how does wife's brain know [Masonic] secrets ? A. Wife's spirit
unconsciously guides.

121. But how does wife's spirit know things it has never been told ? A. No
external influence.

122. But by what internal influence does it know [Masonic] secrets ? A.
You cannot know.

March \$th. 132. Who, then, makes the impressions upon her ? A. Many
strange things.

133- What sort of strange things ? A. Things beyond your knowledge.

134. Do, then, things beyond our knowledge make impressions upon wife?
A. Influences which no man understands or knows.

136. Are these influences which we cannot understand external to wife ? A.
External invisible.

137. Does a spirit, or do spirits, exercise those influences ? A. No, never
(written very large and emphatically).

138. Then from whom, or from whence, do the external influences come ?
A. Yes ; you will never know.

139. What do you mean by writing " yes" in the last answer ? A. That I
really meant never.

March iqth. 142. By what means are [Masonic] secrets conveyed to wife's
brain? A. What you call mesmeric influence.

144. What do you mean by " what you call " ? What do -you call it? A.

145. By whom, or by what, is the electro-biologic force set in motion? A.
I told you you could not know more than you did.

146. Can wife answer a question the reply to which I do not know ? A. Why
do you try to make me say what I won't ?


147. Simply because I desire knowledge. Why will not you tell ? A. Wife
could tell if some one else, with a very strong will, in the room knew.

March 26th. 1 79. Can you foresee the future ? A. No.

April loth. 190. Why are you not always .... influenced by what I
think ? A. Wife knows sometimes what you think.

191. How does wife know it? A. When her brain is excited and has not
been much tried before.

192. But by what means are my thoughts conveyed to her brain? A.

193. What is electro-biology ? A. No one knows.

194. But do not you know? A. No. Wife does not know.

195. What makes you always call her " wife " ? A. You always think of wife.

196. But I never call her " wife." Why do you ? A. I am nothing with-
out wife.

200. That is no answer. Why do you call her so ? A. Because she is all
a wife.

My object in quoting this large number of questions and replies has not been
merely to show the instantaneous and unfailing transmission of thought from
questioner to operator ; but, more especially, to call attention to a remarkable
characteristic of the answers given. These answers, consistent and invariable
in their tenor from first to last, did not correspond "with the opinions or expecta-
tions of either myself or my wife. . . . For such answers as those numbered 14,
2 7> I 37> J 44> ! 9 2 an d r 94 we were both of us totally unprepared; and I may
add that, so far as we were prepossessed by any opinions whatever, these replies
were distinctly opposed to such opinions. In a word, it is simply impossible that
these replies should have been either suggested or composed by the conscious
intelligence of either of us.

One isolated but very interesting experiment deserves to be recorded here.
I had a young man reading with me as a private pupil at this time. On Feb-
ruary 1 2th he returned from his vacation ; and, on being told of our experiments,
expressed his incredulity very strongly. I offered any proof that he liked to
insist upon, only stipulating that I should see the question asked. Accordingly,
Mrs. Newnham took her accustomed chair in my study, while we went out into
the hall, and shut the door behind us. He then wrote down on a piece of paper :
87. What is the Christian name of my eldest sister?

We at once returned to the study, and found the answer already waiting for
us: A. Mina.

(This name was the family abbreviation of Wilhelmina : and I should add
that it was unknown to myself.) . . .

We soon found that my wife was perfectly unable to follow the motions of
the planchette. Often she only touched it with a single ringer ; but even with
all her fingers resting on the board she never had the slightest idea of what words
were being traced out. This is important to remember, in view of the fact that
five or six questions were often asked consecutively without her being told of
the subject that was being pursued. (Rule 2.)

It struck me that it would be a good thing to take advantage of this pecu-
liarity on her part, to ask questions upon subjects that it was impossible for
her to know anything about. ... I had taken a deep interest in Masonic
archaeology, and I now questioned planchette on some subjects connected


February i^th. 92. What is the English of the Great Word of the R.A. ?
(After an interruption, of which I shall speak hereafter, one great word of the
Degree, but not the one I meant, was written, very slowly and clearly.)

97. Is the word truly genuine, or is it a made-up one ? A. Tried to tell :

98. By whom was the word first used ? A. Too hard work for wife.
February \%th. 112. What is the translation of the Great Triple Word?

A. (The first syllable of the word in question was written correctly, and then
it proceeded.) The end unknown. Three languages. Greece. Egypt. Syriac.

113. What part of the word is Greek? A. Meaning unknown.

1 14. When was the word first invented ? A. Told all I know.

115. Who are you that know? (Answer scrawled and illegible.)

116. Please repeat same answer legibly ? A. Manifestation triune person.

(Here follow questions 117-22, as above.)

March i$th. 125, 126. What are the three languages of which the Great
R.A. Word is composed? A. Answered all I could before.

127. You said one part of the word was Greek. Which is it? A. Greek, I

128. Which syllable do you think is Greek ? A. The last.

129. What is the English translation of it ? A. Can't explain it.

130. If the last syllable be Greek, which is Egyptian, as you said? A. I
cannot tell you more than you know.

131. But why, then, do you say that that syllable is Greek which 7 think
Egyptian ? A. Wife can't always receive impressions.

(Here follow 132-39, as above.)

March 26th. 1 66. Of what language is the first syllable of the Great Triple
R.A. Word ? A. Don't know.

167. Yes, you do. What are the three languages of which the word is com-
posed ? A. Greek, Egypt, Syriac first syllable (correctly given), rest unknown.

168. Write the syllable which is Syriac. A. (First syllable correctly written.)

169. Write the syllable which is Egyptian. A. Second.

170. Can you not write the syllable itself? A. Third Greek.

174. Write down the word itself. A. (First three and last two letters were
written correctly, but four incorrect letters, partly borrowed from another word
of the same degree, came in the middle.)

176. Why do you write a word of which I know nothing? A. Wife tried
hard to tell the word, but could not quite catch it.

177. Catch it from whom ? A. Not quite sure.

1 78. Not quite sure of what ? A. I know nothing. Wife doesn't quite know.
182. Write out the prayer used at the advancement of a Mark Master Mason.

A. Almighty Ruler of the Universe and Architect of all worlds, we beseech
Thee to accept this, our brother, whom we have this day received into our most
honourable Company of Mark Master Masons. Grant him to be a worthy
member of our brotherhood ; and may he be in his own person a perfect mirror
of all Masonic virtues. Grant that all our doings may be to Thy honour and
glory, and to the welfare of all mankind.

This prayer was written off instantaneously and very rapidly. It is a very
remarkable production indeed. For the benefit of those who are not members
of the craft, I may say that no prayer in the slightest degree resembling it is
made use of in the Ritual of any Masonic degree ; and yet it contains more


than one strictly accurate technicality connected with the degree of Mark
Mason. My wife has never seen any Masonic prayers, whether in " Carlile,"
or any other real or spurious Ritual of the Masonic Order.

Here, then, assuredly, was a formula composed by some intelligence totally
distinct from the conscious intelligence of either of the persons engaged in the

I proceeded to inquire as follows :

183. I do not know this prayer. Where is it to be found ? A. Old American


184. Where can I get one ? A. Most likely none in England.

185. Can you not write the prayer that I make use of in my own Lodge?
A. No, I don't know it.

In these last answers we see a new moral element introduced. There is
evasion, or subterfuge, of a more or less ingenious kind ; and totally foreign
to the whole character and natural disposition of the operator. A similar
attempt at deliberate invention, rather than plead guilty to total ignorance,
is contained in the following answers:

May ^th. 255. In what Masonic degree was the Triple Word first used?
A. Wife does not know.

256. Cannot you tell her ? A. How can wife know what no one else does ?

257. Does no one, then, know the answer to this ? A. No one knows now.

258. What do you mean by "now"? Did any one once know? A. The
last one who knew died at least twenty years ago.

259. What was his name? A. In America ; don't know name.

And again, May 2ist. 280. Can you write the Triple R.A. Word to-night?
A. Abracadabra.

281. Wrong word. Try again. A. Wife can't write secret words.

282. Then why did you profess to write it the other day ? A. I only wrote
what wife knew.

283. But if she knows it why do you not write it to-night ? A. You told her.

284. What did I tell her? A. One day when your influence over her was
very strong.

(N.. The answer to 284 is a case of "arrested" reply; i.e. it is a con-
tinuation of the reply to 283, without reference to question 284 at all.)

285. Then why does she not write it now ? A. Wife can't understand.

286. Is it my question, or the answer to it, that she can't understand?
A. Don't know.

287. What is the matter with you to-night ? A. You are tired and so is wife.
I will conclude with a very pretty instance of a mistake instantly corrected.

It was on the same evening, May roth; I had to preach on the following Whit-
Monday, on the occasion of laying a foundation stone with Masonic ceremonial,
so I asked :

275. Give me a text for Whit-Monday's sermon. A. If I go not away, the
Comforter will not come to you.

The selection of a subject suitable for Whitsuntide is plainly the first idea
caught by the intelligence ; so I proceeded :

276. That will not do for my subject. I want a text for the Monday's ser-
mon. A. Let brotherly love continue.

850 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. (1893), pp. 61-64.

I had often urged that attempts should be made to imitate Mr. and


Mrs. Newnham's series of experiments in the transference of an unseen
question through an automatist's subliminal self to his pencil ; and I was at
length fortunate enough to find a friend Mr. R. H. Buttemer, of Em-
manuel College, Cambridge, a graduate in honours in Natural Science
willing to make a serious endeavour of this kind. Some perseverance was
required ; but a friend of Mr. Buttemer's, Mr. H. T. Green, having first
been several times lightly hypnotised by Mr. Buttemer, showed during
some months unmistakable power as a percipient. I was cognisant of the
experiments throughout ; although on the only occasion on which I was
myself present Mr. Green's mind was distracted by a theological examina-
tion which he was to pass next day, and his pencil would write little but
names of kings of Israel and Judah. The conditions were throughout good ;
the question being written down out of Mr. Green's sight, and indications
carefully avoided. In the last sitting Mr. Green had his back to all the
other persons present which is, of course, the right plan ; and that sitting
was, as will be seen, the best of all. But considering the nature of the
questions asked, there was, I think, little opportunity for unconscious
indications, even when some of the persons who knew the question were
within sight of Mr. Green. There was never any contact. The selection
of questions and answers given below is a nearly average sample ; those
which are omitted being mainly questions on private affairs, where the
answers were necessarily less definite than numbers or letters, and where
their degree of correctness would need cumbrous explanation. The best
answer is certainly the spelling out of John Bou from the unseen card.

The answers here classed as " irrelevant " were sometimes a reproduc-
tion of thoughts likely to be in the operator's mind (persons like Jeroboam
and Omri frequently turning up) ; and sometimes, I think, represented im-
perfect efforts of the subliminal self to get at the unseen question. In this
and other points these experiments resemble the much more completely
successful Newnham series. There was no apparent reason for the cessation
of Mr. Green's power. He was a healthy man, but had one or two trifling
ailments during the experiments, which seemed to check the faculty for
the time. Mr. Green, Mr. W., and Mr. S. are known to me ; and all, I
think, have pursued the inquiry in a scientific spirit. The frivolous and
roundabout style of the replies is very characteristic of automatic messages
in their earlier stages. I now give Mr. Buttemer's account.


The following series of experiments were conducted at Cambridge, the
operator being Mr. Green, of Emmanuel College. The agents (present during
all the experiments described) were Mr. W. and Mr. Buttemer. The series of
experiments commenced on November i2th, 1892 : prior to this Mr. Green had
made one or two more or less successful attempts at automatic writing, but the
obvious difficulty of avoiding the chance of conscious interference where the
questions put were asked aloud had prevented the following up of these till the
suggestion was made that the questions should be written down and concealed


from the operator. Under these conditions a trial was made on the above
date, time 2 P.M., the questions being known only to the two agents. No one
else was present.

Q. What is number on machine ? (an automatic dice-box, none of the three
having seen the numbers on it). A. Give another.

Q. Who is ill on this staircase? A. Ke pike pike. (A man of that name,
Pike, was ill, as all were aware ; but Mr. Green had not seen the question.)
All then (Mr. Green included) looked at the dice-box, and saw the number
seven on it.

Q. Why would you not answer first question ? A. Seven.

Another question was then correctly answered.

Q. What is the matter with H. T. Green ? Answer referred to previous

Question was put again, still without Mr. Green seeing it. A. A bad cold.

Q. Why cannot (Mr. W.) write with planchette ? A. W , you mean.

There is nothing in good health. Liver is not in good condition.

Q. Whose liver is not right? A. i. (Irrelevant.) ii. Nobody particularly.

Q. (By Mr. Buttemer.) Where am I going this afternoon? After waiting
some time the answer was written rapidly. A. Away, away, away.

Mr. Green knew where I was going, but did not write a more definite
answer automatically.

Eight questions were put in all, of which four were answered immediately
and correctly, and two after a sentence referring to the previous question had
been written. The first and third were not answered, the answer to the first
being unknown to the agents, while at the third Mr. Green's subliminal con-
sciousness appeared to seize the opportunity of showing its just-acquired know-
ledge of the first. [When two answers are given, the operator was simply told
to write again, after the first irrelevant answer, without being shown the
question ; except where otherwise stated.]

At the next sitting, on the I4th November, Messrs. W., S., and Buttemer
were present, while Mr. Green operated planchette, as before. Six questions
[the answers to which were known to the agents] were put in the same way,
two being answered directly and unmistakably, while one was answered after
some irrelevant writing, two incorrectly, and the last was not answered, the
operator appearing tired.

November loth. Agents and percipient as before. 4 P.M.

The questions were put in the same way.

Q. Who is J. O. F. M. ? (The initials being given in the question, we
wished the name to be written.) A. i. Man. Dean. (Rather illegible.) ii.
Murray. (Right. Dean of Emmanuel.)

Q. Who is G. R. S. ? (Only S. knew who was meant.) A. Not S .

(Here S. told the other agents the name Smith.) Mr. Green wrote "Sleep,"
and became drowsy. He was spoken to, to rouse him, and the question was

Q. Why did you become drowsy and write " Sleep " ? A. H. T. Green
(pause) cannot help himself.

Q. Why? A. He is tired, he is tired, he is tired. (Written very fast.)

January -$\st, 1893. 4 P.M. Agents as before, with the addition of Mrs. H.
and Miss B.

VOL. n. ^ E


Q. How many cups of tea did Miss B. have ? A. i. Cannot be ascertained.
ii. It was in all two 2 2 2. (Correct.)

(When a second answer was waited for, care was taken that the writer
should glean no idea of the question in the interval.)

Q. What engraving is on the wall over the piano? (It was one of the
Queen soon after her marriage.) A. i. You may perceive it was so. (Ap-
parently referring to previous question.) ii. It is a girl, the daughter of a man.

Q. Who was playing the piano when the ladies came in ? A. i. The clock
hath stricken five. (The clock struck just as Mr. Green began to write.) ii.
Mr. S. (This was correct.)

Q. What was it ? A. i. The one that was asked first, ii. Something, iii.
Explain yourself more clearly.

Q. What was S. playing when we came in ? A. i. The original one of all.
ii. All I can say is " La Cigale." (Correct.)

Two more questions were answered correctly, and then the writer began
writing on a subject in his mind at the time, and four more questions that were
put received no direct answers.

February i8//fc. 8 P.M. Mrs. H., Miss B., Mr. and Miss M. present, in
addition to Mr. Green, and Messrs. S., W., and Buttemer.

Mr. Green, as usual, operated planchette, and on this occasion sat with his
back to all the other persons present.

Q. (from Mr. M.) What was I doing this afternoon? A. i. the sun

(all else illegible), ii. Enjoying the fresh air of heaven.

Q. What was Mr. Rogers doing in Cambridge? A. i. (Irrelevant, or pos-
sibly connected vaguely with the question.) ii. Ask another, but Mr. Rogers
came up on important business connected with the Lodge. (Correct.)

Q. Where has Mrs. M. gone ? A. i. (Irrelevant.) ii. Far, far away, but
more next time. iii. Her mother has gone to oh, what a happy place is
London ! iv. All change here for Bletchley. (Mrs. M. had possibly passed
this station on her journey.)

Q. Who has won the Association Match to-day? A. i. (Illegible.) ii. Oh,
ye simple ones, how long will ye love simplicity? Why, Oxford, of course.
[This fact was known to some persons in the room, but not to Mr. Green.]

One of the company then suggested the attempt to get the name on a visiting
card transmitted, and the question was written, " Write name on card." Mr.
Green did not know that this experiment was about to be tried, and the card
was picked from a pile at random. The name was John B. Bourne. A sen-
tence was written by Mr. Green, which proved to be, " Think of one letter at a
time and then see what will happen." We did so. A. i. J for Jerusalem, O
for Omri, H for Honey, and N for Nothing, ii. B for Benjamin, O for Olive,
U for Unicorn. (The remaining letters were given incorrectly.)

Q. How many of the Society's books are here ? (There were two volumes
of Proceedings on the table.) A. i. (Irrelevant.) ii. The answer is 100-98.

Q. What is 2X3? Two irrelevant answers were given, possibly owing to a
slight disturbance in the room. The third answer was " When that noise has
ceased and S. has finished knocking the lamp over I say 6."

A trial shortly after this, February igth, gave no results, and the power of
automatic writing appears to have entirely left Mr. Green for the present.

851 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. pp. 44-48.

The following account, dated Thornes House, Wakefield, January


3Oth, 1893, is signed by Lady Mabel Howard; her husband, Mr. Henry
Howard, of Greystoke Castle, Westmoreland, attesting the facts which lie
within his cognisance. Some corroborations, and some comments of my
own, are added in brackets.

i . I began to write automatically every npw and then when a young girl,
as some relations of mine were in the habit of doing so. I do not, however,
remember any of the messages until I was eighteen, when one day a girl friend
asked me as a joke, " Who wished to marry her ? " My pencil wrote two
initials which had no meaning for me. The girl was very angry, as though the
writing implied that she was fated to marry this man. She told me nothing;
but some years afterwards a man with these initials told me that he had wished
to marry this lady at just that time. [The transference of an idea latent in the
agent's mind to the exclusion of the idea which he wishes to have transferred
is, of course, a frequent phenomenon in these experiments.]

2. Some time after my marriage (1885) there was a burglary at Netherby
Hall, in Cumberland, a few valuable jewels being stolen. The robbers were
caught three or four days later, but the jewels were not found. Next Sunday
[apparently November ist, 1885, see below], I was asked by some friends to
write where the jewels were. I wrote, "In the river, under the bridge at
Tebay." This was very unlikely, and had never been suggested, so far as I
know, by any one. Every one laughed at this ; but the jewels were found there 4
[The Hon. Mrs. C. J. Cropper, of Tolson Hall, Kendal, corroborates as follows,
in February 1893: "We were staying at Greystoke just after the capture of
the Netherby burglars, and some questions about the burglary were answered
by Lady Mabel's pencil. I am absolutely certain that in answer to the question
' Where are the jewels ? ' the pencil wrote ' In the river.' I think that in answer
to a further question it added ' Under the bridge,' but I am not so certain of
this. I am perfectly certain that it went on to say that the fourth man, who
never was caught, was then 'in Carlisle,' and that it also gave his name. (The
fourth man was some time after suspected to have been a local man. M. H.)
My husband, who was also present, is quite sure about the words ' under the
bridge.' EDITH E. CROPPER."]

[From the Carlisle Express and Examiner, October 3ist, 1885, it appears
that two of the burglars were captured at Tebay Station. The guard saw them
conceal themselves in a truck, and telegraphed in advance for assistance. The
third man escaped, but seems to have crept back to the train, for he was sub-
sequently caught at Lancaster, as he was quickly making for a London train.
It was not in the least known where the jewels were (a fourth man having got
away), and the finding of the first jewel near Tebay Station, close to the water
side (reported in same paper November 7th), was accidental. This discovery,
of course, caused search to be made in the river, where the jewels were found
"near the railway bridge," more than a month later. (Same paper, December
I9th.) There can, I think, be no doubt that the writing was on November ist.
Lady Mabel Howard, writing from Lyulph's Tower, Penrith, May 5th, 1893,
is quite certain of this : " It was immediately after the men were caught, and
before any jewel at all was found. This all will assert the Bullers, Croppers,
my brother and husband for all five of us were local people, and looking out
for every fresh detail about it, and only the capture had taken place when the
pencil wrote."]

43 6 APPENDICES [851 A

3. On the same night I wrote that my sister would be engaged to be
married in September 1887. At the end of September 1887 she became
engaged to a gentleman of whom there had been no idea at the time. [It is, of
course, conceivable that the prediction, known to this lady, may have influenced
the date of the event.]

4. At nearly the same date some connections of mine who had let a house,
the lease of which was expiring, were expecting to hear whether any damage
had been done, but did not speak of any particular possibility. I wrote that

Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 58 of 89)