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spirit's thought with the man's as sometimes becoming indescribably close
and intimate. When we have compared the inspirations of a man's own
"genius " to subliminal uprushes, or emptions from a volcano, we might
better compare the combination of spiritual and human thought to one
of those cases where crystals of two totally different substances have
developed within the space bounded by the same planes; and, intergrown
as they are and interpenetrant, still testify by the optical characters of
their minutest parts that here is no congeries of fragments, but two
crystals made inextricably one.

(b) Motor Automatism Spiritually Controlled ; Possession. I have
spoken of the difficulty of proving or tracing spiritual influence so long
as its manifestations are purely intra-cerebral, are confined to infusing into
the mind of the sensitive ideas which he cannot distinguish from his

But, as we know, there are various methods by which the authorship
of certain ideas can be claimed by the inspiring intelligence. A distinctive
mark can be affixed to them by the mode of their promulgation by
giving them expression concurrently with the expression of the sensitive's
normal thoughts, or even while the sensitive's ordinary personality is
plunged in trance. In the one case there may be automatic writing while
the sensitive is reading or talking on other matters. In the other case
there may be " trance-utterances " replies to questions, or long addresses,
given while the medium is unaware of what is going on around him, and
of the words which issue from his lips. In each case, of course, the proof
of spirit-influence depends not merely on the manner of the message, but
on the facts which it contains, or on the supernormal phenomena with
which it is in other ways associated. There is no need here to re-discuss
these automatisms at length. They form, as the reader will see, a large
part of Mr. Moses" phenomena, and almost the whole of those discussed
in Mrs. Piper's case ; and indeed in their various forms they supply the
bulk of the evidence to the very existence of spirit control, which physical
movements by themselves could never demonstrate.

One addition to previous descriptions, however, must be made, if we
are to realise the extent to which these automatisms may be carried.
The control may be pushed beyond the point at which our analyses of
evidence generally stop. Consider, for instance, the scene (948 A),
where Mr. Moses is entranced by the spirit of a suicide. Here we
have evidential writing and utterance, agitated words uttered in a


trance, rude drawings made. But we have also more than this. We
have an apparent possession ; a temporary occupation of the medium's
whole personality by the spirit which is finding utterance through him.
This possession is not, indeed, a matter of evidence in the same sense
that messages containing facts unknown to the writer may be evidence
of external control. Yet we can hardly dissociate the two parts of the
phenomenon ; and if in such a case as this we believe that the message
really came from the suicide, we shall "probably feel also that the distress,
the agitation, the bewilderment, which did not leave the medium for
many hours, were due also to the influence or possession of the same
unhappy soul.

The possibility of being thus dominated by some unwelcome spirit
was naturally regarded by Mr. Moses with fear and dislike. His guides
admitted it as a real, but not as an alarming, danger. Such spiritual
infections, they said in effect, take root only in a congenial soil. The
healthy spirit can repel their attack, much as the healthy organism
destroys the germs which are perpetually seeking lodgment within it.

(c) Extension of Will-power into the Spiritual World ; Prayer. The
next heading in the scheme of subliminally guided faculty for which
we are now seeking parallels under spirit-control includes will-power
extended beyond the organism, and affecting telepathically other incarnate
minds. The parallel to this would be some influence exerted by in-
carnate men upon disembodied spirits. The exercise of such an in-
fluence must necessarily be almost impossible to prove ; nor is it at first
easy to imagine in what way it could plausibly be represented as taking
place. At this point in our argument, however, we have become familiar
with conceptions which, when looked at from both sides, do apparently
imply some reciprocal action between spirits and incarnate men. But
what further I have to say of prayer has been said in the final chapter of
this book. And as to the last heading in my " Scheme of Vital Faculty,"
namely, "Modifications of Spiritual Personality," the reader who
studies its projected headings will see at once how needful their dis-
cussion will some day be, and how far we are as yet from being able to
undertake it. That must be the task of a later age. My own discussion,
already so highly speculative, could hardly be pressed further without
overstepping the limits of all legitimate speculation.

926 B. The following are references to the chief accounts of tele-
kinetic phenomena in the Proceedings S.P.R. :

" On some Physical Phenomena, commonly called Spiritualistic, wit-
nessed by the Author," by Professor W. F. Barrett (vol. iv. p. 25).

"Notes of Stances with D. D. Home," by William Crookes (vol. vi.
p. 98).

"On Alleged Movements of Objects, without contact, occurring not in
the presence of a paid Medium," by F. W; H. Myers (vol. vii. p. 146, and
P- 383).


"The Experiences of W. Stainton Moses," by F. W. H. Myers (vol. ix.
p. 245, and vol. xi. p. 24).

" Poltergeists," by Frank Podmore (vol. xii. p. 45).

"The Fire Walk," by Andrew Lang (vol. xv. p. 2). This gives
instances of an alleged capacity on the part of certain persons under
certain circumstances of resistance to the normal effects of fire on the
human organism. The phenomenon, if genuine, is not exactly tele-
kinetic, but may rather be regarded as an extended form of motor auto-
matism. Some mediums, especially D. D. Home, are said to have had
the same power.

Other works dealing with telekinetic phenomena to which I may refer
the reader are :

Report on Spiritualism of the Committee of the London Dialectical
Society (London: Longmans, Green, Reader & Dyer, 1871).

Les Tables Tournantes, par le Comte Ag. de Gasparin (Paris : Cal-
mann LeVy ; 4th edition, 1889). A pamphlet describing some of de Gas-
parin's experiments was published by Professor Thury under the title
of Les Tables Tournantes, considerees an point de vue de la question de
physique generate qui s'y rattache (Geneva, 1885). This is now out of
print and rare. It contains various cases of movements obtained without
contact, by seemingly careful observers.

Experimental Investigation of the Spirit Manifestations, by Robert
Hare, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Chemistry in the University of Penn-
sylvania (New York, 1855).

Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism, by William Crookes ;
reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of Science (London: J. Burns,


Animismus und Spiritismus, von Alexander N. Aksakoff. 2 vols.
(Leipzig: Oswald Mutze, 1890.) An account of this book, which deals
chiefly with the theoretical side of the subject, in opposition to the views of
von Hartmann, was given in a review by the present writer in Proceedings
S.P.R., vol. vi. p. 665.

The Precursors of Spiritism for the last 250 years, by A. N. Aksakoff
(hi Russian, St. Petersburg, 1895); reviewed by Dr. Walter Leaf in
Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xii. p. 319.

The Scientific Investigation of Physical Phenomena with Mediums, by
M. M. Petrovo-Solovovo (in Russian, St. Petersburg, 1900); reviewed by
Dr. Walter Leaf in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xv. p. 416.

For the physical phenomena connected with D. D. Home, see the
references given in 938 A.

For the so-called " Reichenbach " phenomena, see the brief discussion
given in vol. i., 541 D.

927 A. From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ix. p. 119. In the follow-
ing case the phenomena described were various, but consisted mainly of
automatic writing and speech. Some of the writings evinced a knowledge


greater than the automatist possessed. Especially two lines from Homer
were correctly written in response to a request for some Greek, although
the writer was certainly quite ignorant even of the Greek alphabet. Some
indications of identity were also given.

Certain physical phenomena (the most important of which occurred
in my informant's absence) were interpolated, as it were, at random among
the intellectual phenomena, and carried with them no clear indication of
their source ; except that they occurred only in the presence of the sitter
here styled Mr. Andrew.

For my introduction to Mr. O. (as I shall call him) , the narrator of
these incidents, I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Andrew Lang. I
first heard Mr. O.'s narrative from himself by word of mouth on November
2Oth, 1889, while the events were still fresh in his memory. I regard him
as an excellent witness. The delay in producing the evidence has been
partly caused by Mr. O.'s persistent but unavailing efforts to induce
the survivors among his fellow-sitters to add their testimony to his own.
I have reason to believe that their refusal is in no way due to any dis-
agreement with Mr. O.'s account, but mainly to scruples of a quasi-religious
nature. Such scruples have repeatedly baulked our inquiries ; but I hope
that they may gradually die out among our informants, as the inno-
cence and the importance of experiments of this kind come to be better
understood. In Mr. O.'s own case there are, I think, amply sufficient
reasons why his anonymity should be preserved. His brother in defer-
ence to whose serious wish during dangerous illness the sittings were
undertaken is now dead.

I will add that the intimacy among the members of the circle was such
that I cannot doubt that Mr. O. heard, without delay, from his brother and
others, of the physical phenomena which had occurred during his own
absence from the circle. Mr. O. writes in 1890 :

In the winter of '88-9 I began, along with a few intimate friends, to investi-
gate the phenomena commonly called Spiritualistic. None of the company was
at all anxious for any specific communication from another sphere, but partly
for the gratification of an invalid brother, and partly for the sake of satisfying
ourselves as to the possibility of some things we had read, we attempted a
sitting. The results far exceeded our expectation. We were favoured with
phenomena somewhat startling to novices in the art phenomena styled in
Scotland uncanny but their interesting nature soon overcame our natural
diffidence, and before the end of the winter we were on quite familiar terms
with our unsubstantial vistants.

As a rule the circle consisted of two of my brothers, two personal friends,
and myself, though occasionally we admitted other members of the family, and
once or twice an acquaintance. We were not Spiritualists, nor had we any
desire to be known as such ; all we did was done solely by way of experiment
and amusement. The opportunity was the best possible; we had all our
sittings in our own home, the circle was confined to personal friends in whom
we had full confidence, so that there was neither motive nor opportunity for



deception. We usually met twice a week when my invalid brother was able
for company, but during the winter months relapses of his illness caused inter-
ruptions ; and indeed, I often thought the excitement of our sittings did not
affect him beneficially.

Our sittings were all in the dark. Our medium was, in most cases, Mr.

Andrew, though we had also a less efficient medium in the case of Mr. S .

The performances of the latter were mostly of a somnambulistic kind, and do
not call for special notice.

With Andrew, however, phenomena assumed quite another aspect. He
would play charming music on the violin, or produce beautiful pencil sketches
of city and rural scenes. Sometimes the locus of these scenes was named,
oftener not, but they were invariably unknown to any member of the com-

For a time I failed to see anything very unaccountable in Andrew's trance
productions. I knew him to be an accomplished violinist and a fairly good
sketcher, and I naturally put everything down to an unconscious exercise of
his own skill. One little thing did perplex me, namely, the very different styles
of handwriting he seemed to accomplish with equal facility.

I mentioned an invalid brother. He suffered from a heart affection known
as presystolic murmur. At one sitting we consulted a medical man, who
called himself Dr. Snobinski of Russia. This gentleman not only prescribed
for my brother, but also furnished us with a diagram of the human heart, and
put a special mark to indicate the valve diseased in my brother's case. How
this diagram was actually drawn by a person ignorant of human physiology,
and how the diseased valve was shown and explained by one ignorant of path-
ology, was more than I could account for.

On another occasion another doctor, calling himself Arnold, confirmed the
diagnosis of Dr. Snobinski, and rated my brother for having neglected to follow
the regimen recommended by the famous Russian. On this occasion, during
examination of the chest, when the patient chanced to laugh, the doctor [in the
person of Mr. Andrew] suddenly gave him a mild box on the ear with his open
palm. This, I understood, was to rebuke his laughter, which, as is well known,
is a dangerous luxury to one suffering from valvular disease.

At times we were entertained by a negro, who gave us no little fun. His
effort to speak English was most amusing, and presented just those difficulties
which perplex the negro in this more matter-of-fact sphere.

These phenomena had led me to perplexing thoughts, and, though unable
to explain them on purely psychological grounds, I was slow to admit that the
medium was not also the cause of the effects he produced. I had so far
accounted for the music and the sketches ; the varieties of the handwriting were
a little puzzling, the diagram and the prescription a little more so, but I was
still inclined to suspend judgment till I should acquire more facts. With a
view to this, I one evening interrogated: "Where are you?" Answer: "In
the sphere next the earth." " Could you tell anything of the future ? " Answer :
" We are as ignorant of the future as you are." This I thought was at least
honest, and very probable, but too general to be of service to me in arriving at
any decision. I resolved to put what seemed to me a searching test. None
of the others knew Latin or Greek, so I asked an answer in Latin. This was
readily given, but so badly spelt that I failed to fully translate it. Not yet
satisfied, I asked any quotation from a Greek author so that by comparison


with the original, identity or variation might be satisfactorily apparent. This
resulted in a quotation from the Odyssey, Bk. xi., lines 57-8 :

wr rj\6ts vno 6<f)o
<J>6r)s irt6s fO>v if (yo> irvv vrjl

These lines were beautifully written in cursive characters, and minute even to
the accents. As a student I had read Odyssey XI., but could not have
given the lines from memory, or written them out with correct accents. On
comparing the lines with the Greek text I found them to be without flaw.
My puzzle was now twofold : (i) That I was not able to read the Latin proved
that what was given was not anything I had previously been revolving
in my own mind, but had come from an independent intelligence; (2) The
medium was not acquainted with either Latin or Greek did not know one
from the other. Clearly I must now quit the hypothesis that the medium was
the author of his own message, as not adequate to account for all the facts.

The Greek and the Latin [Mr. O. adds in a later letter] were both obtained
at the same sitting. I asked for the Greek because the Latin was so badly
written that I could not fully make it out. The medium that evening was
Andrew, who, I am fully convinced, could not possibly have any knowledge
that Greek would be asked for and even if he had known, he could not have
given it, since he did not know the Greek when it was given. The controlling
spirit was unknown to any of the company. In reply to my questions he
described himself as a youth of nineteen, according to their reckoning, but was
only twelve years of age when he died. When I asked how he was occupied
he told us he was still at school. This information led me to ask for the Latin
and subsequently for the Greek.

Still more inexplicable was the evidential sign given to a doubting acquaint-
ance. This gentleman requested permission to be present at one of the sittings,
but his general behaviour there indicated that he regarded a sitting as a kind
of farce. He brought with him another gentleman of equally sceptical temper.
The first remark from the medium that evening was, "There are strangers
present to-night." This remark seemed to our friend so commonplace that he
requested evidence of the presence of a spirit. On being asked what evidence
he would like, he jokingly said, " Bring a candle ! " an idea probably suggested
by sitting in the dark. The wish had scarcely been expressed when a candle
was placed on the table before him, with the request that he should immediately
quit the company. The candle was found to be warm, a circumstance explained
by the fact that it had been used in the next room only a few minutes before.
My brother immediately went to the next room and asked for a candle. The
good lady was much surprised to find that while the candlestick was still stand-
ing where she had placed it shortly before, the candle itself was gone. My
brother then showed her the candle which he held in his hand, and this she
identified as the one she had used a few minutes before indeed there could not
be two opinions, as there was only one candle in the house. This was regarded
by the circle as the most wonderful result yet obtained. Here was proof amount-
ing to a demonstration that a material object had been passed through matter ;
the candle had been brought from one room to another, though both doors
(there were two doors in the room in which the sittings were held) were locked
before the sitting was commenced.

This candle incident I give on the testimony of the others, as I myself was

927 B] TO CHAPTER IX 559

not present that evening, a circumstance which I afterwards regretted. Person-
ally I have not seen a case of matter through matter.

During that winter we obtained many interesting phenomena. The
spirits (?) would strike any note we asked on a violin or harmonium which
stood by. The notes requested would sound forth distinctly, though no visible
hand was near ; and this was done both in the dark and in the light, though
more often in the dark.

One evening a visitant addressed one of my brothers as an old schoolfellow,
and in proof of his identity he reminded my brother of a poem they had once
learnt together as boys, namely, one by " Surfaceman " ( Alexander Anderson),
entitled " The blood on the wheel" My brother perfectly recollected the exercise,
and had no doubt as to the identity of the speaker. The wonderful thing here
was that the medium had become acquainted with my brother later in life and
had no knowledge of his schooldays.

Of the scientific value of these results I was not aware till I had the pleasure
of meeting yourself, and if we had met some months earlier I should certainly
have preserved the legible results of our sittings. They were destroyed in
ignorance of their scientific worth, and chiefly because associated with a
departed brother whose early death we still lament. Though our sittings are
long past their results still dwell with me in all but their first freshness. Cir-
cumstances conspired to break up our little company. Of our circle of five two
have since married, one has left the district, and another has departed this life.
The death of our most spirited member was the end of our meetings.

927 B. The experiences described in connection with Miss White and
Miss Lottie Fowler (both of whom are now dead) seem analogous to ex-
periences with Mrs. Piper. The case of Miss White comes from America,
and is specially interesting both in the apparent fulfilment of the promise
made by the alleged discarnate spirit control to appear to the narrator's
sick wife, and in the apparent knowledge shown of the immediate approach
of death.

From Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii. p. 227.

January 2&tA, 1891.

About eleven years ago I was much distressed owing to the illness of my
wife, who suffered from cancer in the stomach. I heard about a medium, Miss
Susie Nickerson White, who was said to have given some remarkable tests, and
I called on her as a stranger and requested a sitting. My wife's sister pur-
ported to "control," giving her name, Maria, and mentioning facts about my
family which were correct. She also called my wife by her name, Eliza Anne,
described her sickness, and said that she would pass over, but not for some
months. I said, " What do you call this ? Is it psychology, or mesmerism, or
what?" Maria said, " I knew you were going to ask that; I saw it in your
mind." I said, " Do you get all the things out of my mind ?" She replied,
" No. I'll tell you some things that are not in your mind. Within three days
Eliza Anne will say that she has seen me and mother, too, if I can get mother
to come along." (My wife's mother had died about forty-five years previously,
and my wife's sister had been dead from six to eight years. )

I kept these circumstances to myself, but within three days the nurse who was
in attendance upon my wife came running to me and said that my wife was
worse, and was going out of her mind; that she had called upon Maria and


mother, and had sprung out of bed and ran towards the door crying, " Stop,
Maria ! Stop, mother ! Don't go yet ! "

I soon consulted Miss White again, and Maria again purported to control.
My wife had been unable for some days to retain any food in her stomach,
could not keep even water or milk, and was very weak and also unable to sleep.

Maria told me to give her some hot, very strong coffee, with plenty of cream
and sugar and some cream toast. This prescription amazed me, but it was
prepared. My wife ate and drank with relish, and slept soundly afterwards.
She lived upon this food for some days, but gradually became unable even
to take this.

I consulted Miss White again, and Maria told me to get some limes, and
to give my wife some pure juice of the lime several times a day ; she said that
this would give her an appetite and enable her to retain food. The pre-
scription was a success ; but gradually my wife failed, and I consulted Miss
White again, and asked Maria how long my wife would continue to suffer. She
said she could not tell exactly when she would pass away, but would give me a
warning " The next time she says she has seen me, don't leave her afterwards."

Some days later, as I was relieving the nurse about three or four in the
morning, the nurse said, " Mammie " (meaning my wife) " says she has seen
Maria again." In a few minutes my wife said, " I must go." And she expired.

[Formerly Mary A. Dockerty, the nurse.]

[I have had long interviews with Mr. Paige. He seems to be a shrewd and
careful witness. RICHARD HODGSON.]

927 C. Concerning Miss Lottie Fowler, I quote accounts of two
incidents, one recorded by Mr. W. Stainton Moses and the other by Mr.
C. C. Massey. Mr. Moses' account is given in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xi.
p. 78, as follows :

Perhaps one of the most striking cases I can present is the first experience
that occurred to me. (See Spirit Identity, pp. 124-126, Appendix V.) :

I inquired where I could see for myself these new phenomena, and was in-
formed that Miss Lottie Fowler [a well-known professional medium] was about
to hold a stance that very evening (April 2nd, 1872), at 15 Southampton Row.
I went, and was greatly astonished at what I saw and heard. I need not take
up time by detailing the occurrences of the first part of the sitting ; most
Spiritualists are familiar with the usual routine of Miss Fowler's stances.
Much hazy nonsense was talked, and many vague statements made, which
seemed to me to be of no use whatever as tests of spirit identity. I was rapidly
becoming nauseated. I craved for something more clear, something on which

Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 74 of 89)