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960 A. From Dr. Hodgson's Report in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii.
PP- 335~6.

I pass on now to consider briefly the results obtained from some other
communicators, and begin with the case of the lady whom I have called
Madame Elisa Manners. Other names are substituted for the real ones.
She was known to G. P., and her first appearance was to her sister,
Madame Frederica, on May I7th, 1892 (Report, p. 471). She had died the
previous summer. The cause of her death was designated by Phinuit, who
also described correctly, purporting to repeat what she was telling him, some
incidents which had occurred at her death-bed. The sitter inquired about
a watch which had belonged to Madame Elisa, but the statements made
at this sitting, and to myself at subsequent sittings, did not lead to its recovery.
Some Italian was written by request, the lady being as familiar with Italian
as with English, but only two or three common words were decipherable.
The first names of sitter and communicator were given, and the last name was
both written and afterwards given by G. P. to Phinuit. Some of the writing
was of a personal character, and some about the watch, and G. P. stated
correctly, inter alia, that the sitter's mother was present (in " spirit ") with the
communicator, and that he himself did not know her. The real names are
very uncommon. The Italian for " It is well. Patience," was whispered at the
end of the sitting as though by direct control of the voice by Madame Elisa.
Both the sitter and her sister were well known to me, and also to the Howards,
and Madame Elisa made several personal communications in the course of the
sittings recorded in Appendix I. (see Report, pp. 417-19, 423), where further
attempts, only partially successful, were made to write Italian clearly, and also
to speak it, but not much was said.

She communicated by writing later to three or four other friends or rela-
tives, always in a strongly personal way, and very clearly. In her statements
to one very personal friend, at sittings when I was present, she showed on
several occasions an intimate private knowledge of her sister and her sister's
family in connection with events that were occurring, and also of other relatives
to whom she was deeply attached. She also had several " written talks " with
myself alone, referred to incidents with which we were both familiar when



962 A] TO CHAPTER IX 621

guests at the same house in another part of the country, and appreciated
properly other references which I made myself. It always seemed like the
woman I knew.

As I have mentioned elsewhere (Report, pp. 293, 332), the intelligence
communicating by writing is not conscious of the act of writing. The chief
difficulty apparently in getting another language written by the hand is that
strange words tend to be written phonetically unless they are thought out
slowly letter by letter. The writing is usually much more legible now than
it was during the period of the records from which I am quoting, when there
was frequently much difficulty in deciphering even the simplest English
words. It was therefore not surprising that so little of the " Italian" written
by Madame Elisa was decipherable.

962 A. From Dr. Hodgson's report in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii.

pp. 384-5.

There are various references in the records given in Appendix IV. to the
twin children of Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Thaw. One of these, Margaret, died a
year before their first sitting at the age of six months, and the other, Ruthie,
died three months before their first sitting at the age of fifteen months. The
communications concerning these children were given almost entirely by
Phinuit, who had, however, some difficulty with the names. At the first sitting
several attempts were made before the name Margaret was given clearly.
Trouble with teeth was mentioned in connection with the children, apparently
as the first impression on the appearance of Margaret, but not actually specified
as Margaret's. Margaret was teething when she died. Phinuit also said that
one of the children wanted baby's beads. Margaret used to play with a neck-
lace of beads belonging to her older sister living. And referring to Margaret,
Phinuit said that she had some flowers in her hand, that " she liked them and
took them with her." Mrs. Thaw had placed three little flowers in Margaret's
hand after her death. Phinuit got much more in connection with Kuthie,
whose first appearance seemed to be accompanied by a recurrence of associa-
tions connected with the trouble that caused her death, dysentery and sore
throat. Phinuit indicated the locality and the distress, and Ruthie's dislike of
" the powder." Bismuth was given through the entire illness of two weeks and
was always given with trouble. Phinuit spoke of Ruthie as having light golden
hair, afterwards adding curly; correct but called her a boy. The living
Ruthie was very generally mistaken for a boy, but not, of course, by the Thaws.
Yet Phinuit had much difficulty in getting the name, and failed to get nearer
than Ethie, and the sitters told him it began with R. Phinuit said that
she had not learned to talk, but later on he got the name Ruth-ie correctly.
He remarked that she only said papa and mamma. Other words that the
living Ruthie said were given in later sittings. Phinuit described her as
wanting to see the stars. For two or three months before her death Ruthie
was fond of pointing at the stars through the window. At the beginning
of the sitting Phinuit said she put her hand on Dr. Thaw's head, and
afterwards described her as wanting to pat his face, actions which were
characteristic of the living Ruthie towards Dr. Thaw. Similarly she wanted
to hear the tick tick (watch) in connection with her uncle Aleck, and
was he who chiefly used to hold the watch for her to hear it. And another
characteristic action was reproduced in connection with Mr. Melvin W. ;



622 APPENDICES [963 A

Phinuit said she wanted him to wave the hand in a certain way to Mr.
W., and the living Ruthie waved her hand in that way to Mr. W., and
to him only. Reference was also made to her picture, and Mrs. Thaw was
painting a picture of Ruthie when she was taken ill. In later sittings Phinuit
described her as saying other words, baby, pretty, Bettie, and pussie, with the
accent used by Ruthie when living. These were the only words besides the
papa and mamma mentioned before, used by Ruthie when living. The first
time Mrs. Thaw wore fur at a sitting, the hand stroked it, and Phinuit whispered
" pussie " as Ruthie living used to do. But Ruthie had whispered " pussie " at
a previous sitting. Two or three times there seemed to be a direct control of
the voice by Ruthie who took the place of Phinuit (Report, pp. 564, 576, 578).
The first time she whispered pttee and pssee (pretty and pussie) and the second
t\m&pttee only, the words being many times repeated. This second occasion
was connected with rather a striking incident. Mrs. Piper was visiting the
Thaws in New York, and they took her up the river Hudson to their country
house and had a sitting on the afternoon of the day of their arrival. I was
taking notes, sitting slightly to one side and partly behind Mrs. Piper, while Dr.
and Mrs. Thaw were sitting in front of her, with their heads somewhat bowed.
Phinuit apparently " left " and his place was taken by Ruthie, who began
whispering pttee pttee. The hand rose and turned somewhat diagonally and
extended the forefinger and pointed towards a picture on the far side of the
room. The Thaws did not see this action until I drew their attention to it,
when they looked up, and followed the direction of the pointing. The hand
then trembled and sank. Dr. Thaw noted : " During the last month of
Ruthie's life it was a regular morning custom to bring her to the room in
which this sitting was held our bedroom and she would always point, as
hand did in sitting, with one finger (unusual with a baby) and say ' pt-tee,
pt-tee,' just as in sitting. This little incident had not been in either sitter's
conscious mind since baby's death six months before. Mrs. Piper had never
been in that room until the actual time of sitting. Many other pictures in the
room, two of which Mrs. Piper's hand could have pointed at more easily
than the particular one always noticed by the baby."

963 A. I now cite a few instances of prophecies given through Mrs.
Piper.

(a) The following account is from Miss W.'s report (made from con-
temporary notes) of sittings with Mrs. Piper, Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii.
P- 34-

In the spring of 1888, an acquaintance, S., was suffering torturing disease.
There was no hope of relief, and only distant prospect of release. A consulta-
tion of physicians predicted continued physical suffering and probably mental
decay, continuing perhaps through a series of years. S.'s daughter, worn with
anxiety and care, was in danger of breaking in health. " How can I get her
away for a little rest?" I asked Dr. Phinuit, May 24, 1888. " She will not
leave her father," was his reply, " but his suffering is not for long. The doctors
are wrong about that. There will be a change soon, and he will pass out of the
body before the summer is over." His death occurred in June 1888.

E. G. W.

(b) The next incident is from Mr. " M. N.'s " account of Mrs. Piper in



%3A] TO CHAPTER IX 623

Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii. p. 120, which was corroborated by Mrs.
"M. N."

April & [1889.].

. . . About end March of last year I made her a visit (having been in the
habit of doing so, since early in February, about once a fortnight). She told
me that a death of a near relative of mine would occur in about six weeks,
from which I should realise some pecuniary advantages. I naturally thought
of my father, who was advanced in years, and whose description Mrs. Piper
had given me very accurately some week or two previously. She had not
spoken of him as my father, but merely as a person nearly connected with
me. I asked her at that sitting whether this person was the one who would
die, but she declined to state anything more clearly to me. My wife, to whom
I was then engaged, went to see Mrs. Piper a few days afterwards, and she
told her (my wife) that my father would die in a few weeks.

About the middle of May my father died very suddenly in London from
heart failure, when he was recovering from a very slight attack of bronchitis,
and the very day that his doctor had pronounced him out of danger. Previous
to this Mrs. Piper (as Dr. Phinuit) had told me that she would endeavour to
influence my father about certain matters connected with his will before he
died. Two days after I received the cable announcing his death my wife and
I went to see Mrs. Piper, and she [Phinuit] spoke of his presence, and hi*
sudden arrival in the spirit-world, and said that he (Dr. Phinuit) had en-
deavoured to persuade him in those matters while my father was sick. Dr.
Phinuit told me the state of the will, and described the principal executor, and
said that he (the executor) would make a certain disposition in my favour,
subject to the consent of the two other executors, when I got to London,
England. Three weeks afterwards I arrived in London; found the principal
executor to be the man Dr. Phinuit had described. The will went materially
as he had stated. The disposition was made in my favour, and my sister, who
was chiefly at my father's bedside the last three days of his life, told me that
he had repeatedly complained of the presence of an old man at the foot of
his bed, who annoyed him by discussing his private affairs. . . .

["M. N. M ]

(<r) See Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii. pp. 447-449-

At a sitting with Mrs. Piper on March 7, 1892, the death of her uncle
David was foretold to Miss Macleod. Her contemporary note of the
statement was : " David will die soon."

She wrote on March 27, 1893 :

" My uncle David, whose death Mrs. Piper predicted at the sitting
which I had with her on March 7, 1892, died at Chicago on last Tuesday,
the 2ist of March. As far as I know, his health was perfectly good at
the time of the sitting."

(</) From Dr. Hodgson's account of the sittings of Dr. A. B. Thaw wit!
Mrs. Piper, Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiii. p. 352.

Several minor prophecies proved correct ; one important prophecy concern-
ing the success of certain machines was wrong as to rime, as well as
circumstances connected with them ; but another concermng ti
brother, who was never present at a sitting, was right. Tins b



624 APPENDICES [980 A

chronic invalid with asthma. At the sitting of May loth, 1892, Phinuit said
that his kidneys were out of order, and it was discovered for the first time that
he had kidney disease on a careful medical examination made two weeks later.
At the same sitting Phinuit said that he would die " within six months or a
year," and, in reply to the question how, said, " He's going to sleep, and when
he wakes he'll be in the spirit. Heart will stop." On May 22nd, the time was
given as " six months or a little less." He died in sleep, of heart failure, on the
3rd of the following September.

980 A. I cited in 858 A a case, communicated by Dr. Ermacora,
of Padua, of foreknowledge of a letter's arrival on the part of a sensitive
well known to him, Signorina Maria Manzini, the knowledge purporting
to come from her control, "Elvira." An article by Dr. Ermacora in
Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xi. p. 235, records a long series of observations
made by him with the same sensitive, and two other precognitive cases of
hers of which I quote one below are given in vol. xi. pp. 466-476.
Dr. Ermacora was not able to decide whether "Elvira" is a separate
entity, or merely a modification of the medium's own mind. There is,
in fact, much the same perplexity as in the case of Phinuit and Mrs.
Piper.

Whatever Elvira may be, she possesses certain supernormal powers
which for us are perhaps the more instructive in that their scope is some-
what narrowly limited. Among these powers Elvira claims precognition ;
admittedly on what may be termed a puny scale, and dealing with trivial
matters, but nevertheless involving some real knowledge of the coming
course of events, and of the part which human actions, apparently free,
will play therein. The question now before us is whether Elvira's ap-
parent foreknowledge may not be explained as inference from a slightly
wider knowledge of the present, combined with a power of suggestion
exercised not only upon Maria Manzini herself (which on any hypothesis
is obviously probable), but even upon strangers. 1 Dr. Ermacora, as may
be seen from his full report, kept these points in mind ; and his con-
clusion was that Elvira had shown some foreknowledge of events, paltry
indeed in themselves, but yet such as suggestion can hardly be pressed
to cover. (See the incident of sale of pawn-tickets, and others, in Rivista
di Studi Psichici, 1895.) The question will then be, and these trivial
incidents may help us quite as well as more important ones towards
its solution, whether that supernormal knowledge of actually existing
thoughts and things with which Elvira must at any rate be credited (see
858 A) may be enough to suggest by mere forward-looking inference,
itself perhaps supernormally acute, the events foretold in the following
and some similar cases.

1 Dr. Ermacora once informed me that Elvira had made a prediction involving a
mistake to be made by Maria in cutting out some garments, and then withdrew it, as
not wishing that Maria should thus waste the stuff, and resolving to influence her not to
make the mistake. Elvira herself, therefore, admits that she can influence the so-called
predictions by suggestions of her own.



980A] TO CHAPTER IX 625

Dr. Ermacora writes :

Signorina Maria Manzini, at my request, kept an account of the dreams
which occurred in her ordinary sleep. Some were remembered spontaneously
in the morning and some in her next somnambulic state. In the latter case I
suggested to her that she should remember and record them after waking.

I think the following case was remembered in somnambulism, but this is
of no consequence, because Signorina Maria, following my advice, recorded not
only the date of dreams, but also the date and the hour when she wrote
them down. In any case the present dream was recorded before its fulfil-
ment.

This is what I find in the record of Signorina Maria's dreams :

March rjth, 1804, II P.M.

" Night of March 26th-27th, 1894.

" I dreamt that the door bell rang on the S. Pietro side of the house. 1 I
went to open and found a tall man about forty years old, with greyish
trousers and a darker overcoat He was very polite, and asked if I would
subscribe to the issue of a novel, saying that afterwards I should have a
pair of earrings as a prize. I said no, because I thought it was an impos-
ture."

I did not read the account of this dream till after its realisation, but am
perfectly certain that Signorina Maria told it to me directly, and I also distinctly
recollect that when Signorina Maria related the realisation a few days later, she
said I ought to remember her preceding dream ; and I remember also that I
not only recalled it, but that I looked at once at the record to see if it had been
written down according to rule. I found that it was correct, and that it agreed
with the viva voce story. Besides, though Signorina Maria may not always be
diligent in recording dreams she hardly remembers, she is very careful to put
the exact date, and is therefore quite certain that the dream occurred either in
the night of March a6th-27th, or at most (supposing the case to have been
complicated by a paramnesia which displaced the dream in time) on March
27th, at 9 P.M. ; about which time, as can be seen from my journal of the
somnambulic experiments, Signorina Maria was in somnambulism in my
presence.

On the evening of March 3ist, i.e. four days after the dream, Signorina M.
told me that on that day about 3 P.M. the visit of which she had dreamed had
taken place. Everything coincided; the entrance of the person by the door
towards S. Pietro, his age, his insinuating manners, the colour of his trousers
and overcoat, and the object of his visit.

I called her mother, and asked her to describe the visit with all possible
details; meanwhile I took the following notes: " The person came twice; the
first time about n A.M., when Maria was out. Signora Annetta (her mother)
was alone in the house. The visitor had very pleasant manners, and was about
thirty-five years old (Signorina Maria thought forty). He had a box covered
with black cloth with him, such as is used by commercial travellers,
he came to show them a novelty. In order to get rid of him, Signora Annetta
said that Signorina Maria was 'not at home; he replied that he would return,

i Signorina Maria's house has two doors, one in the Via S. Pietro, and the other

turned towards the river Bacchiglione.
VOL. II.



626 APPENDICES [980 A

and Signora Annetta told him to come at 2 P.M. At 2 P.M. he returned and
rang at the door on the S. Pietro side. Signora Annetta opened to him, and
says that when he entered the room Maria seemed much astonished (Maria
said at once that she was astonished at recognising him). He proposed that
they should subscribe to the issue of a novel ; there were to be prizes when the
issue was finished ; two pictures, or a small organ, or a pair of earrings. In
his box were the organ and an alarum, as samples, and he had with him, but
not in the box, samples of the earrings, of the frames, and two oleographs
between pasteboards.

Luigia Monti and Linda Bigoni were also present. Maria refused the
offers. When they and the man were gone, Maria remarked with surprise
that she had already dreamt of the scene with all its details, i.e. as far as the
man was concerned. Signora Annetta added that from girlhood she also had
frequently dreamed of coming events.

March 31 j/, 1894,9.30 P.M. (written in the presence of Annetta and Maria).
It was necessary to prove two things, before the case could be supposed to be
evidential. First, that the visit was real, and not an odd hallucination of the
senses or memory, and secondly, that the man had not made the tour of Padua
offering his merchandise, many days before the dream ; in which case Signorina
Maria might have become aware of it in some way or other, and thus have
originated the dream herself.

In order to clear up the first point, I went on the following day (April ist,
about 6.30) to see Signorina Linda Bigoni, and asked her to tell me all about
the visit at which she had been present. She replied that she had gone to see
Maria the day before, about 2.30, while the man was there, and she confirmed
all the details about the object of his visit, his remarks, the things he had with
him, his politeness, his age, and the colour of his clothes. He had made the
same proposition to her as to Maria. As she had arrived after him, she could
not say by which door he had entered ; but she said he had left before her, and
had gone out by the kitchen door, towards the river. On being questioned,
she replied that she had not seen Signorina Maria since the visit. Before leaving
her, I requested her, if the man should come to her house, or if she should
meet him in the street, to ask him on what day he had come to Padua; which
she promised to do.

The same evening I went back to Signorina Maria, and before telling her
of my talk with Signorina Linda, I questioned her and her mother again.
Signorina Maria said she did not remember by which door the man had
gone out, or rather, she had paid no attention ; but her mother said she was
certain that he had gone out by the kitchen door, because he had seen some
one enter that way, and on leaving had said that as there was a door there
also he would go out by it. The mother did not know, however, whether he
or Signorina Linda B. had left first, but Signorina Maria was sure he had
gone away first, because afterwards she had continued her conversation with
Signorina Linda about their own affairs, and this conversation, begun before
he left, had prevented her noticing by which door he quitted the house.

Both then said they remembered Signorina Linda B.'s coming at about
2.30 while the man was there, and that he had come before 2 and stayed nearly
an hour.

Thus all the testimony is in accordance, and no doubt remains that the
event with all its details really happened.



980A] TO CHAPTER IX 627

On the evening of April i8th, Signorina Maria told me that her friend,
Signorina Linda B., had something to tell me, but in order to keep her promise
she would tell it only to me. Signorina Maria said that Linda B. was coming
to see her on the morrow, when I could meet her.

The following day (April iQth) I went to see Signorina Maria at the time
fixed, and found Linda B. at the house. The latter told me she had met the
man in the street; that he had recognised her and had renewed his offer. She
took advantage of this to ask him when he had arrived in Padua, and he said
he had come on March 2pth, and that he had not visited Padua before for
several years.

This proves that the dream occurred two days before the arrival of the
person implicated, and that consequently it could not have resulted from a
mere sensorial impression of Signorina Maria's.

Of such a type as this gradually evolved, slightly inexact, and
altogether trivial are all the predictions given through Elvira. I do
not think, however, that their triviality affords in itself any clear in-
dication as to their origin. They are the attempts of an intelligence
which, whether embodied or unembodied, is not much above a child's
level, to prove a fact of the highest importance namely, the possibility
of foreseeing future events. In comparison with the value of the result
thus aimed at, the actual incidents by which it may be attained matter
little. It is of greater interest to have a pedlar's visit foretold, if only
that visit could not have been foreseen by any ordinary intelligence, than
to have, say, a death foretold, if we suspect that that more impressive
prophecy may have helped to work its own fulfilment.



INDEX



INDEX



BY Miss E. M. SAMSON



A., Miss, automatic writing of, ii. 160-1, 447-
457 crystal-visions of, i. 237, 588-95,
ii. 210, 262 note, 449; raps in presence
of, ii. 160, 208.

, Miss (Dr. Bramwell's patient), case of,
i. 506-9, 513.

, Miss (Prof. H.'s case), automatic writing
by, ii. 445.

, Miss (Rev. J. Feed's patient), clairvoy-
ance of, i. 558-9.

, Mr., automatic writing by, ii. 122, 416-18.

, Jeanne, case of, i. 460.



Online LibraryFrederic William Henry MyersHuman personality : and its survival of bodily death (Volume 2) → online text (page 83 of 89)