Frederic William Henry Myers.

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

. (page 61 of 89)
Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 61 of 89)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


for the questioner alone.

8. Thought-transference. -The writing occasionally, but not often, tells me
of thoughts in the minds of persons present. One day a lady handed me a
letter, in a handwriting which I did not know. I held the letter in one hand,
and the other hand wrote, " Bright metal and brown earth." The letter was
from a gentleman whom I had never seen, and who committed suicide by
throwing himself on the rails in front of a railway engine. I think that this
message came from thought-transference, as I do not find that merely holding
letters in my hand tells me anything about their writers unless some one is
there who knows the content ; and even then I so seldom succeed that I do
not care to try experiments of this kind.

[Lady Brooke (the Ranee of Sarawak), who was present at the time, has



859A] TO CHAPTER VIII 45 !

given me a written confirmation of this (quite recent) incident, for which I
have not pressed the owner of the letter, on account of the painful nature of
the circumstance. F. W. H. M.]

g. Clairvoyance. I sometimes get messages which perhaps may be called
clairvoyant, telling me, for instance, where lost objects are, or warning me of
some danger at hand. Thus about September 2oth, 1888 [this incident was
written down October 2ist, 1889], my sister M. and I had just finished dressing
for dinner in the dressing-rooms leading from a large bedroom. The maid
had left the room. M. had left her dressing-room, and was standing in the
bedroom, when suddenly she called to me: "Get a bit of paper; there are
some raps." I came in and took an envelope and pencil, and at once the
words came, by raps : " Look to the candle or the house will be on fire." We
saw that it was not the candle in the bedroom, so we went into M.'s dressing-
room, and found that her candle was so close to a cardboard pocket depending
from the looking-glass that it would have been on fire in a moment. It was
already smoking. No servant would have come in for some time. [Mrs. A.
confirms as follows : " I heard of the incident in my daughter's next letter."]

Again, I was descending a dark corkscrew staircase at Longford, in August
or September 1889 [account written October 1889], when I heard a tapping on
the stair. It was persistent, and drew my attention. I looked about with a
candle, and at last saw a gold pencil-case of Lady Radnor's, with which I was
accustomed to write automatically, lying on a dark little landing of the stair. I
did not know that the pencil had been lost.

10. But the most puzzling cases are those where the message professes to
be from some departed person, and tells some true things, but perhaps mixes
up some mistakes with them. . . . But sometimes I do think that the mes-
sage really comes from the person who professes to communicate.

Another frequent writer is a strange person to have come to us, as I knew
nothing about him, and should not have thought that we had anything in
common. That is Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. He or whatever it is that
takes that name has become a sort of family friend. He has a distinct
character of his own, which is not quite what I should have expected in a Lord
Chancellor, for he is full of jokes and very bluff and outspoken. He has given
a number of facts about himself, names of friends, and laws about marriage
that he had made.

One reason which makes me think that the messages come from outside
myself is the feeling which I have sometimes of rivalry or even conflict
between them. When I am writing there will occasionally be sudden changes,
as if some new personality had been able to get hold of the pencil. . . .

Again, if I see figures and then have writing which professes to come from
those figures, it seems to me natural to suppose that it does so come.

I will now give some examples of motor messages, by writing and raps,
given through Miss A. Here, as in the case of Miss A.'s crystal-visions
(see vol. i. 625 C), I am obliged to confine myself mainly to cases cor-
roborated by the few friends who have felt in the messages more than a
merely personal interest. It must, of course, be remembered, in justice
to other friends (who have often carried off messages without even show-
ing them to the writer), that much of what has been thus written has dealt
with very private matters.



452 APPENDICES [859 A

The first message which I shall quote is evidentially interesting, on
account of the mere chance by which its truth was verified. It should be
premised that Miss A. has never been to Blankney, and is not acquainted
with the Chaplin family.

I. Lady Radnor writes under date January i5th, 1893 :

The following case has always struck me as particularly curious.

About eight years ago, when Miss A.'s powers had only quite recently shown
themselves, her automatic writing told me that I had two guides, " Estelle " and
" Silvo " spirits who accompanied me and took an interest in my welfare. I
did not think of this at first as a thing which could be either proved or dis-
proved. But one day, when a question was mooted as to whether " spirit
guides " had ever lived on earth, I asked whether mine had done so, and was
told that Estelle had. I asked for her earth-name ; and as we were then getting
answers by raps (through Miss A.'s power) it was rapped out " Loved voices
called me Anne." I asked for the surname. C H A was rapped out. As
my maiden name was Chaplin I at once jumped to the conclusion that that was
the name meant. But the raps said decidedly No, and rapped out Chambers.
I had no associations with this name. I asked if connected with my family ?
" Yes." Any portrait? " Yes." At Blankney ? (my brother's place). " Yes."

Now I had spent much of my childhood at Blankney, and I had been par-
ticularly fond of one picture there, representing a lady whose name I did not
know. It used to hang 'in the morning room, and then on the staircase, and
represented a lady in a red velvet gown with a basket of cherries in her hand.
As a child I used to sit and talk to this picture, and make a friend of the lady
with the cherries.

So when I heard that the picture of my " guide " was at Blankney, I hoped
it might be this lady, and asked, " Is it the lady with the cherries? " " Yes,"
was eagerly rapped out. I at once wrote to my old nurse who was still at
Blankney, and who knew a good deal about the pictures, and asked her to get
the picture examined for any name which might be on it. She got the picture
taken down and carefully examined, but there was no clue. She told me, how-
ever, that she thought she had heard a Mrs. S. a connection of the family, who
knew the pictures better than any one say that the lady with the cherries was
a Miss Taylor. This disheartened me ; but I wrote to a friend at the College
of Heralds to ask whether the name Chambers occurred anywhere in the Chaplin
pedigree. He wrote back that there was no such name in the pedigree.

The same day that I got his letter I happened to meet Mrs. S. (whom I had
not seen for many years) in a shop in London. I knew that she had once made
a catalogue (which I had never seen) of the Blankney pictures ; so I felt that
here was my last chance. I asked her if she knew who the lady with the cher-
ries was. " Oh, that is Lady Exeter," she said, "whose daughter, Lady Betty
Chaplin, married an ancestor of yours." " Do you know what Lady Exeter's
maiden name was ? " " It was Mellish." I now lost all hope, but I just asked :
" Has the name Chambers any association for you ? " " How stupid I am ! "
she exclaimed, " Lady Exeter was a Miss Chambers, of Mellish ! " My friend
at the Heralds' College then looked in the Exeter pedigree, and, sure enough,
the lady with the cherries was Hannah Chambers. H. M. RADNOR.

I was cognisant of all this, and attest the accuracy of the account.

RADNOR.



859A] TO CHAPTER VIII 453

In a later letter Lady Radnor adds :

Personally I had always believed " the lady with the cherries " to be some
one (name unknown) who had married a Chaplin ancestor. There was no
Chaplin pedigree, and it was I who suggested to my brother that he should ask
" York Herald " (Mr. Gatty) to draw one up ; and I therefore applied to Mr.
Gatty as being the only person who would know the names of the families con-
nected by marriage with the Chaplins. I knew that the great-grandmother
was " Lady Betty," ne Cecil : but as in those days pedigrees and family history
did not interest me, I had never and up to the present time never have seen
the Chaplin pedigree. In any case the name Chambers would not appear
in it.

II. The next case is typical of many similar trifling incidents.

January i$th, 1893.

I have several times had reason to think that some intelligence writing
through Miss A. was aware of trifling circumstances happening to myself. A
good instance occurred the other day. I came back from hunting and joined in
a stance, where my so-called " guide " was communicating. I asked, " Well,
have you been with me in my run to-day ? "

" Yes," was the answer, " but you should have gone up the hill instead of
down." "Was Nancy right, then?" "Yes." Now, in point of fact we had
changed foxes that day by going down a hill instead of up, one hound alone,
Nancy, running up hill on what was doubtless the original scent.

RADNOR.

January idth, 1893.

III. The following writing was given at Longford, February 27th, 1890,
avowedly by " Estelle " :

" You ask me whom I see in this habitation. I see so many shades and several
spirits. I see also a good many reflections. Can you tell me if there was a
child died upstairs ? Was there an infant who died rather suddenly? [Why?]
Because I continually see the shadow of an infant upstairs, near to the room
where you dress. [A shadow f] Yes, it is only a shadow. [What do you
mean ?] A shadow is when any one thinks so continually of a person that they
imprint their shadow or memory on the surrounding atmosphere. In fact they
make a form ; and I myself am inclined to think that so-called ghosts, of those
who have been murdered, or who have died suddenly, are more often shadows
than earthbound spirits ; for the reason that they are ever in the thoughts of
the murderer, and so he creates, as it were, their shadow or image ; for it would
be sad if the poor souls suffered, being killed through no fault of their own,
that they should be earthbound; though, remember, they very often are earth-
bound too."

With reference to the above communication I may say that an infant brother
of mine died of convulsions in a nursery which then occupied the part of the
house where the figure of the baby was said to have appeared. I do not see
any way in which Miss A. could have known either of the death of my infant
brother or of the fact that that part of the house had previously been a nursery.

RADNOR.



454 APPENDICES [859 A

VII. The following statement is from the Ranee of Sarawak :

January, 1893.

In September 1892 my maid, who was not known to Miss A., complained
of persistent pain in the neck and arm. She told me afterwards that she had
been afraid of paralysis. I asked Miss A. to let " Semirus " write what was the
matter with her. The maid came into the room. No one said a word as to her
symptoms, but Miss A.'s hand at once wrote in " Semirus' " handwriting: " It
is not paralysis, as you fear ; it is rheumatism ; your bed ought to be moved
from the window," or words to that effect. I went into the maid's room, which
it so happened that I had never seen, as it was in a house which I had only
rented for a short time, and I found in fact that the bed was exposed to a severe
draught. It was placed against the window. I had it moved, and the rheu-
matic pain disappeared. MARGARET BROOKE.

[See another case connected with " Semirus " and reported by Sir
Lawrence Jones, which I give at the end of this Appendix.]

VIII. I give here an incident of which I was myself witness, and which
seems to me typical of a class of communications of which I have already said
something, where information unknown to the automatist is given, on the
soi-disant authority of some departed spirit ; but yet this information, so far
as true, is known to some person present, and when anything which goes
beyond the knowledge of persons present is asked for, the answer goes off into
mere guessing and vagueness. Note also the fact that these messages were
given by a distinct rapping sound in the table. This phenomenon is often
spoken of in spiritist journals as a very common one. For myself I may say
that having sat at tables many hundred times, in readiness to welcome raps if
they appeared, I have frequently heard raps in the presence of paid mediums,
and I have frequently heard creaks of the table in the presence of my own
friends ; but only in the presence of some four or five non-professional and
trustworthy persons have I heard unmistakable raps, answering questions, and
producing upon my mind the conviction that no known agency was concerned
in producing them.

On this occasion the messages given were private enough to need an
alteration in the initials of the friends present. Besides Miss A., a sister,
and myself, there sat at the table Lady B. and the Hon. C. D. A Christian
name was clearly rapped out, which was recognised by Mr. C. D. as that of
his mother, not consciously known to any of the rest of us. Since, however,
the name was in the Peerage, it was of little evidential value. A message then
came as to Mr. C. D.'s efforts on behalf of a friend, for whom he was then
trying to get a post. " What kind of employment shall I get for him ? "
" Island." " What island ? " " Jersey." " Can you mention any one who will
help in this? " " Lang " was rapped out, and then came many confused raps
and the message ceased.

Now Mr. D. was in reality trying privately to get a post in Jersey for his
friend, about whom none of us knew anything. How easy, therefore, it
would be to report this sitting as follows: "Mr. D.'s mother announced her-
self by raps, and gave advice on a private matter."

But now compare the classical case, if I may so term it, of Mr. and Mrs.
Newnham (849 A), and consider how these replies might be explained on



859A] TO CHAPTER VIII 455

the theory of mere thought-transference between living persons. In Mr.
Newnham's case we found that the automatic writing got at the questioner's
ideas gradually and imperfectly, and filled up gaps by random answers made
to look as interesting as possible. So here, in my view, some intelligence
not necessarily other than some part of Miss A.'s subliminal self readily
discerns in Mr. D.'s mind an idea so firmly fixed as his mother's name, and
takes that as an interesting source to which to ascribe the replies. It next
gets easily at the idea of helping the friend ; but the definite name Jersey is
harder to come at, and is preceded by island, a reply which could hardly
have been given save by some one groping for the clearer notion. Then
when the name of some helpful resident in Jersey is asked for Mr. D. him-
self now not knowing any such name an attempt is made to rap out the
name which is in most minds the first which the idea of Jersey would call
up. Senseless as this guess was (for Mr. D. certainly did not expect Mrs.
Langtry to find posts for his friends), it was quite analogous to the random,
dreamlike associations and plays upon words which are characteristic of sub-
liminal messages of all kinds.

The next question, again, received an answer which might have been
credited to clairvoyance. Mr. C. D. handed Miss A. a ring (not that I see
reason to suppose that the ring made any difference) and simply said, " Tell
me about my friend now at a hotel in. Paris, with whom this ring is con-
nected." Immediately raps spelt out the sentence, " Case for operation."
A few details of the disease were then given, which corresponded with what
Mr. C. D. knew, and which, where they went beyond his knowledge, admitted
of no proof.

I can hardly myself doubt that this knowledge also came from Mr. C. D.'s
mind, and not (as is usually professed in such cases) from actual inspection of
the patient.

It may, of course, be asked why experiments like this, which, even if they
prove nothing more than thought-transference, do at least seem to prove that
so definitely, are not constantly repeated. The answer is that there are
very few persons with whom they can be repeated ; and that Mr. C. D.'s
personality was in this case probably as essential as Miss A.'s. Mr. D.,
though he cannot by himself obtain raps, has marked power of a psychical
kind, and is in fact the gentleman to whom Miss A. has above alluded as
having been demanded by her guides before she or her family knew any-
thing of him beyond official mentions of his name in the papers. I can myself
vouch for the recurring scrawls, " Bring C. D." " Bring C. D." which puzzled
the A. family some six years ago, when they certainly were not aware of
Mr. D.'s gift (then very slightly developed), and when it had not consciously
occurred to myself that good might result from the collocation of the two
sources of power.

IX. The next case which I shall give is a curious one, as involving (i ) raps,
(2) a crystal-vision, (3) an apparition seen by two persons, viz. Miss A. herself
and Mr. Harry de Windt (brother of the Ranee), well known as a traveller in
Russia. Unfortunately no notes were taken, but I heard of the incident a few
weeks afterwards from Lady Brooke (the Ranee), Mr. C. D., Mrs. A., and
Miss A. (all present at the time), and a letter from Mr. de Windt confirms two
of the main points.

In September 1892, on the occasion of the first meeting of Mr. de Windt



45 6 APPENDICES [859 A

and Miss A., the latter wrote the word Doishowalinksky, which at first
was thought to be a sentence, but turned out to be a name well known to
Mr. de Windt.

On the same day a face appeared near Mr. C. D. which was clearly seen
by Miss A. and Mr. de Windt, and recognised by the latter, as stated in a
letter to me, dated October 5th, 1892 : " I can only tell you that I distinctly
saw the face of an exile I am acquainted with, one Dombrowski, who is
(or was) located at Tomsk, in Western Siberia. A message was also sent me "
[from a Russian source ; but Mr. de Windt explains the inexpedience of print-
ing further particulars of this].

Miss A., on being afterwards shown a photograph of Dombrowski (not,
however, mixed with other photographs, as it should have been), recognised it,
but said that the face as seen by her looked older and more worn ; in which
Mr. de Windt concurred. It is not known whether Dombrowski is dead
or alive.

On the same day Miss A., looking in the crystal, saw a small man with
bright red hair and red face, a big stick, a long petticoat, and a fur cap, walk-
ing in front of a little hut. Mr. de Windt recognised this figure as resembling
a hill-man set to watch an isolated prisoner. These stunted hill-men dye their
hair with red clay.

A few days later (September i5th, 1892) a message was given by raps to
Lady Brooke (the Ranee) : " Tell your brother (Mr. de Windt) that Shiskine
is the man to help him." Neither Miss A. nor Mr. de Windt had ever con-
sciously heard of Shiskine, but in the St. James's Gazette of September 24th
they observed that M. Shiskine had received a certain high appointment, which
explained the message. His appointment had also been mentioned in the
Times of August 31 st. It is, of course, possible that subliminal memory may
externalise itself by raps, as by other means.

X. Among the habitual "controls," " Lord Chancellor Hardwicke " is almost
the only one of sufficient historical mark to admit of our testing the truth of
his statements. He gave a list of the surnames of sixteen of his friends. . . .
Most of the names (though not all) appear in Harris's " Life of Lord Hardwicke " ;
but in several cases there are reasons, not apparent in the Life, which make it
probable that there was more intimacy than the incidental mention in the Life
would imply. The case resembles the biographies of musicians written auto-
matically by Mr. Stainton Moses (see 947). The tone of boisterous humour
which runs through these messages is unlike Miss A., but it must be re-
membered that in the " objectivation of types " so often obtained by hypnotic
suggestion, a part quite alien to the hypnotised subject's character is often
surprisingly well maintained.

In a more recent case connected with the control known as " Semirus,"
through whom medical advice has often been conveyed to Miss A., a
boy's career was saved by the advice thus given. The documents re-
lating to this case were shown to me by Sir Lawrence Jones, who was
personally acquainted with all the circumstances.

The boy was at school, preparing for a profession which involved a
severe medical examination. In May, 1900, about a year before the
examination, a serious physical defect was discovered, and a well-known
medical authority advised that the defect could not be sufficiently



862A] TO CHAPTER VIII 457

remedied to enable the boy to pass. Arrangements had actually been
made for changing his career when it was suggested that his parents, who
were then abroad, should consult " Semirus." They wrote to Miss A.,
with whom they were slightly acquainted, but who had never seen the
boy, and begged her to ask " Semirus " to go to the school distant
about thirty miles from where she was living look at the affected limb,
and give an opinion on the case. " Semirus " insisted that " some really
good surgeon could set it right." A specialist was then consulted, and a
delicate operation was successfully performed. The boy has since passed
his examination without any difficulty.

862 A. The following is another case of planchette-writing communi-
cated by Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood, the operators being himself and
Mrs. R. The account is quoted from the Journal S.P.R., vol. iv. p. 319
(November, 1890).

Extract from Mrs. R.^s Journal.

October loth. [1890,] Friday, at , Mr. Wedgwood and I sitting. The

board moved after a short pause and one preliminary circling.

"David David David dead 143 years."

The butler at this moment announced lunch, and Mr. Wedgwood said to the
spirit, " Will you go on for us afterwards, as we must break off now ? "

" I will try."

During lunch Mr. Wedgwood was reckoning up the date indicated as 1 747,
and conjecturing that the control was perhaps David Hume, who he thought
had died about then. On our beginning again to sit, the following was
volunteered :

" I am not Hume. I have come with [Mrs. V., Mrs. R.'s sister]. I was
attracted to her during her life in America. My work was in that land, and
my earthly toil was cut short early, as hers has been. I died at thirty years
old. I toiled five years, carrying forward the lamp of God's truth as I knew it."

Mr. Wedgwood remarked that he must have been a missionary.

" yes, in Susquehannah and other places."

" Can you give any name besides David ? "

"David Bra David Bra David Brain David Braine David Brain."

Mr. W. : " Do you mean that your name is Braine ? "

" Very nearly right."

Mr. W. : " Try again."

" David Braine. Not quite all the name ; right so far as it goes ... I was
born in 1717."

Mr. W. : " Were you a native of America ? "

" (Illegible) My native land. The Indians knew many things. They heard
me, and my work prospered. In some things they were wise."

Mr. W. : "Are you an American?"

" America I hold to be my country as we consider things. I worked
at " (sentence ends with a line of D.'s).

Here Mr. Wedgwood felt tired, and Miss Hughes proposed that she and I
should go for a walk while he rested. When we came in Air. Wedgwood said
he thought it had come into his head who our control was. He had some
recollection that in the eighteenth century a man named David Brainard was



458 APPENDICES [864 A

missionary to the North American Indians. We sat again, and the following
was written :

" I am glad you know me. I had not power to complete name or give more
details. I knew that secret of the district. It was guarded by the Indians,
and was made known to two independent circles. Neither of them succeeded,
but the day will come that will uncover the gold."

It was suggested that this meant Heavenly truth.

" I spoke of earthly gold."

Mr. Wedgwood said the writing was so faint he thought power was
failing.

" Yes, nearly gone. I wrote during my five years of work. It kept my
heart alive."

Mr. Wedgwood writes :

I could not think at first where I had ever heard of Brainard, but I learn
from my daughter in London that my sister-in-law, who lived with me forty or



Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 61 of 89)