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Title: Adventurings in the Psychical
Author: Bruce, H. Addington (Henry Addington), 1874-1959
Language: English
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  ADVENTURINGS IN THE PSYCHICAL



  OTHER BOOKS BY THE SAME AUTHOR


  PSYCHOLOGICAL

  Scientific Mental Healing
  Historic Ghosts and Ghost Hunters
  The Riddle of Personality


  HISTORICAL

  Woman in the Making of America
  Daniel Boone and the Wilderness Road
  The Romance of American Expansion



  Adventurings in the
  Psychical

  BY
  H. ADDINGTON BRUCE

  BOSTON
  LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY
  1914



  _Copyright, 1914_,
  BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

  _All rights reserved_

  Published, April, 1914

  THE COLONIAL PRESS
  C. H. SIMONDS & CO., BOSTON, U. S. A.



PREFACE


The present volume is somewhat in the nature of a sequel to "The Riddle
of Personality," published six years ago. In that book I reviewed the
results of modern psychological research in the realm of the abnormal
and the seemingly supernormal, with the special purpose of making clear
their bearings on the problem of the nature and possibilities of man.
Having this special purpose in mind, it was inadvisable to attempt any
topical and detailed treatment of the phenomena made the subject of
scientific investigation. Such a method of treatment, no matter how it
might have added to the interest of the book, would inevitably have
obscured its message to the reader.

Now, however, I have undertaken this very thing, in the hope both of
reinforcing the view of personality set forth in the earlier work, and
of contributing something towards a wider knowledge of the progress
science is making in the naturalization of the supernatural, to borrow
Mr. Frank Podmore's happy phrase. Especially have I tried to bring out
the exceedingly practical character of many of the discoveries made by
those scientists who, despite the often contemptuous criticism of their
colleagues, have valiantly persisted in their adventurings in the
psychical. The world has undoubtedly been the gainer, and richly the
gainer, by their labors; and it surely is well worth while to survey
in some detail the field they have explored and the results of their
explorations.

  H. ADDINGTON BRUCE.

  CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS,
  February, 1914.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                 PAGE
          PREFACE                            v

       I. GHOSTS AND THEIR MEANING           1

      II. WHY I BELIEVE IN TELEPATHY        58

     III. CLAIRVOYANCE AND CRYSTAL-GAZING  102

      IV. AUTOMATIC SPEAKING AND WRITING   134

       V. POLTERGEISTS AND MEDIUMS         171

      VI. THE SUBCONSCIOUS                 201

     VII. DISSOCIATION AND DISEASE         230

    VIII. THE SINGULAR CASE OF BCA         265

      IX. THE LARGER SELF                  290

          INDEX                            315



ADVENTURINGS IN THE PSYCHICAL



CHAPTER I

GHOSTS AND THEIR MEANING


A witty Frenchwoman was once asked if she believed in ghosts.

"No, not at all," was her reply. "But I am terribly afraid of them."

Most people feel precisely this way about ghosts, though few are candid
enough to acknowledge it. In broad daylight, or when seated before
a cheery fire among a group of congenial friends, it is easy to be
skeptical, and to regard ghosts as mere products of imagination,
superstition, credulity, hysteria, or indigestion. But it is notorious
that even the most skeptical are liable to creepy sensations and
sometimes outright panic if they experience "uncanny" sights or sounds
in the darkness of the night, or in lonely, uninhabited places.
Churchyards have never been popular resorts of those who go for a stroll
in the cool of the evening. And let a house once get the reputation of
being "haunted," it is next to impossible to find tenants for it.

Yet this almost universal attitude is entirely and fundamentally wrong.
There is no reason for being afraid of ghosts, and there are many
reasons for believing in them.

I do not, of course, mean to say that all ghosts are real ghosts. There
are plenty of bogus ghosts, and there always will be, as long as men eat
and drink too much, play practical jokes on one another, and allow their
houses to become run down and infested by rats and mice.

A single rat, scampering at midnight over the loose planks of an
old attic, has often been quite sufficient to produce a counterfeit
"poltergeist," or troublesome ghost, of a highly impressive character.
So, too, a pillow-slip swaying from a clothesline is apt to seem most
ghostly to a gentleman returning home from a late supper. Ghosts, like
much else in this amazing world of ours, have to be pretty sharply
scrutinized.

And the point is that, after centuries of contemptuous neglect, they
have at last been made the subject of investigation by men and women
competent for the task--persons trained in the cautious methods of
scientific inquiry, and insisting upon the strictest evidential
standards, but devoid of prejudice or prepossession. Their researches
are still in progress, but they have already demonstrated that amid a
multitude of sham ghosts there are perfectly authentic apparitions,
displaying credentials too convincing to be denied.

What is still more important, the labors of these scientific
ghostologists--especially of those enrolled in the famous English
Society for Psychical Research--have also resulted in throwing much
light on the nature, origin, and habits of real ghosts.

Usually, it seems, a genuine ghost is seen or heard but once or twice,
and then, having accomplished its purpose, it departs to return no more.
But there are plenty of well-attested cases in which a ghost attaches
itself to a house or family, and keeps up its haunting for years,
sometimes for centuries.

Take, for example, an experience that befell Miss Goodrich-Freer, at
the time a most active member of the Society for Psychical Research, in
Hampton Court Palace. This old building is unquestionably one of the
most famous of all haunted houses. It dates back to the time of the
first Tudors, and according to tradition is haunted by several ghosts,
notably the ghosts of Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third queen; Catharine
Howard, whose spirit is said to go shrieking along the gallery where she
vainly begged brutal King Henry to spare her life; and Sybil Penn, King
Edward VI's foster-mother. Twice of late years the Howard ghost--or
something that passed for it--has been heard, once by Lady Eastlake, and
once by Mrs. Cavendish Boyle. The latter was sleeping in an apartment
next to the haunted gallery--which has long been unoccupied and used
only as a storeroom for old pictures--when she was suddenly awakened by
a loud and most unearthly shriek proceeding from that quarter, followed
immediately by perfect silence. Lady Eastlake's experience was exactly
similar.

Both ladies, of course, may have heard a real shriek, possibly coming
from some nightmare-tormented occupant of the palace. But no explanation
of this sort is adequate in the case of Miss Goodrich-Freer, who passed
a night at Hampton Court for the sole purpose of ascertaining whether or
not there was any foundation for its ghostly legends.

The room she selected for her vigil was one especially reputed to be
haunted, and opened into a second room, the door between the two,
however, being blocked by a heavy piece of furniture. Thus the only
means of entrance into her room was by a door from the corridor, and
this she locked and bolted. After which, feeling confident that nothing
but a real ghost could get in to trouble her, she settled down to
read an essay on "Shall We Degrade Our Standard of Value?" a subject
manifestly free from matters likely to occasion nervousness.

In fact, the essay was so dull that by half past one Miss
Goodrich-Freer, not able to keep awake longer, undressed, dropped into
bed, and was almost instantly asleep. Several hours later she was
aroused by a noise as of some one opening the furniture-barricaded door.
At this she put out her hand to reach a match-box which she knew was
lying on a table at the head of the bed.

"I did not reach the matches," she reports. "It seemed to me that a
detaining hand was laid on mine. I withdrew it quickly and gazed around
into the darkness. Some minutes passed in blackness and silence. I had
the sensation of a presence in the room, and finally, mindful of the
tradition that a ghost should be spoken to, I said gently: 'Is any one
there? Can I do anything for you?' I remembered that the last person who
entertained the ghost had said: 'Go away, I don't want you,' and I hoped
that my visitor would admire my better manners and be responsive.
However, there was no answer, no sound of any kind."

Now Miss Goodrich-Freer left the bed and felt all around the room in the
dark, until satisfied that she was alone. The corridor door was still
locked and bolted; the piece of furniture against the inner door was
in place. So she returned to bed. Almost at once a soft light began to
glow with increasing brightness. It seemed to radiate from a central
point, which gradually took form and became a tall, slender woman,
moving slowly across the room. At the foot of the bed she stopped, so
that the amazed observer had time to examine her profile and general
appearance.

"Her face," Miss Goodrich-Freer says, "was insipidly pretty, that of a
woman from thirty to thirty-five years of age, her figure slight, her
dress of a soft, dark material, having a full skirt and broad sash or
soft waistband tied high up almost under her arms, a crossed or draped
handkerchief over the shoulders and sleeves which I noticed fitted very
tight below the elbow. In spite of all this definiteness I was conscious
that the figure was unsubstantial, and felt quite guilty of absurdity
in asking once more: 'Will you let me help you? Can I be of any use to
you?'

"My voice sounded preternaturally loud, but I felt no surprise at
noticing that it produced no effect upon my visitor. She stood still for
perhaps two minutes, though it is very difficult to estimate time on
such occasions. Then she raised her hands, which were long and white,
and held them before her as she sank upon her knees and slowly buried
her face in the palms in an attitude of prayer--when quite suddenly the
light went out, and I was alone in the darkness.

"I felt that the scene was ended, the curtain drawn, and had no
hesitation in lighting the candle at my side.... The clock struck four."

Again investigation showed that the corridor door was locked and
bolted as she had left it, and the inner door still firmly barricaded.
Consequently, skeptical though she had been when she arrived at Hampton
Court Palace, Miss Goodrich-Freer in leaving it entertained no doubt
that she had witnessed a genuine psychical manifestation.

The same conclusion was forced upon two ladies, Miss Elizabeth Morison
and Miss Frances Lamont, in connection with a visit paid by them to
another famous haunted house, the Petit Trianon at Versailles, the
favorite summer home of that unfortunate queen Marie Antoinette, whose
ghost, as well as the ghosts of her attendants, has long been alleged to
be visible at times in and around it. Miss Morison and Miss Lamont had
been sightseeing in the royal palace, but tiring of this had set off, in
the early afternoon, to walk to the Trianon. Neither of them knew just
where it was located, but taking the general direction indicated on
Baedeker's map, they finally came to a broad drive, which, had they only
known it, would have led them directly to their destination. As it was,
they crossed the drive and went up a narrow lane through a thick wood to
a point where three paths diverged. Here they began to have a series
of experiences which, comparatively insignificant in themselves, had a
sequel so amazing that it would be incredible were it not that the
veracity of both ladies has been established beyond question.[1]

      [1] In a prefatory note to the book, "An Adventure," in which
      these ladies detail their experience, their publishers,
      Messrs. Macmillan and Company, of London, guarantee "that the
      authors have put down what happened to them as faithfully and
      accurately as was in their power." Their good faith is also
      vouched for by a reviewer in _The Spectator_.

Ahead of them, on the middle path, they saw two men clad in curious,
old-fashioned costumes of long, greenish coats, knee breeches, and
small, three-cornered hats. Taking them for gardeners, they asked to be
shown the way, and were told to go straight ahead. This brought them to
a little clearing that had in it a light garden kiosk, circular and like
a bandstand, near which a man was seated. As they approached, he turned
his head and stared at them, and his expression was so repellent that
they felt greatly frightened. The next instant, coming from they knew
not where, and breathless as if from running, a second man appeared, and
speaking in French of a peculiar accent, ordered them brusquely to turn
to the right, saying that the Trianon lay in that direction. Just as
they reached it, they were again intercepted, this time by a young
man who stepped out of a rear door, banged it behind him, and with a
somewhat insolent air guided them to the main entrance of the palace.

While they were hurrying thither, Miss Morison noticed a lady, seated
below a terrace, holding out a paper as though reading at arm's length.
She glanced up as they passed, and Miss Morison, observing with surprise
the peculiar cut of her gown, saw that she had a pretty "though not
young" face.

"I looked straight at her," she adds in the published statement she has
made regarding their adventure, "but some indescribable feeling made me
turn away, disturbed at her being there."

Afterwards this "indescribable feeling" was accounted for when Miss
Morison identified in a rare portrait of Marie Antoinette the lady she
had seen seated below the terrace!

Still more remarkable, subsequent visits to the Trianon brought to both
ladies the startling knowledge that the actual surroundings of the
place and the place itself differ vastly from what they saw that summer
afternoon. The woods they entered are not there, and have not been there
in the memory of man; the paths they trod have long been effaced; there
is no kiosk, nor does anybody living, except Miss Morison and Miss
Lamont, remember having seen one in the Trianon grounds; on the very
spot where Miss Morison saw the lady in the peculiar dress a large bush
is growing; and the rear door, out of which stepped the young man who
guided them around to the front, opens from an old chapel that has been
in a ruinous condition for many years, the door itself being "bolted,
barred, and cobwebbed," and unused since the time of Marie Antoinette.

On the other hand, their personal researches in the archives of France
have brought to light so many confirmatory facts that both Miss Morison
and Miss Lamont are firmly persuaded that the Trianon, its environment,
and its people were once exactly as they appeared to them; and that in
very truth they saw the place as it looked, not at the time they first
visited it, but in the closing years of the French Monarchy, more than
a century before.

That historic German ghost, the White Lady of the Hohenzollerns,
would likewise seem to have more than a legendary basis. Her mission,
apparently, is to announce the death of some member of the Hohenzollern
family, and her most frequent haunting-place is the royal palace at
Berlin. She was seen as early as 1628, and since the time of Frederick
the Great her appearance has been regularly chronicled on the eve of the
death of the King of Prussia.

For the matter of that, there are not a few families whose ancestral
homes, according to tradition, are haunted by death-announcing ghosts.
This is particularly the case with certain distinguished British
families. Two white owls perching on the roof of the family mansion
are taken as a sure omen of death in the Arundel of Wardour family.
The Yorkshire Middletons, a Catholic family, are said to be warned
of approaching death by the apparition of a Benedictine nun. Equally
noteworthy as a spectral messenger of tragedy is the so-called Drummer
of Cortachy Castle, a Scottish ghost that haunts the ancient stronghold
of the Ogilvys, Earls of Airlie, but is in evidence only when an Ogilvy
is about to die.

The story goes that, hundreds of years ago, when the Scots were little
better than barbarians, a Highland chieftain sent a drummer to Cortachy
Castle with a message that was not at all to the liking of the Ogilvy
of that time. As an appropriate token of his displeasure, he seized the
luckless drummer, stuffed him into his drum--he must have been a very
small drummer, and have carried a very big drum--and hurled him from the
topmost battlements of the castle, breaking his neck.

Just before he was tossed off, the drummer threatened to make a ghost
of himself, and haunt the Ogilvys forevermore. He has been, it would
seem, as good as his word. Every once in a while ghostly drumming is
heard at Cortachy Castle, and always the death of an Ogilvy follows.
An especially impressive account of one instance of this peculiar
and most unpleasant haunting has been left by a Miss Dalrymple, who
happened to be a guest at Cortachy during Christmas week of 1844.

It was her first visit to the Castle, and she was entirely unaware of
the existence of the family ghost. On the evening of her arrival, while
dressing for dinner, she was startled by hearing under her window music
like the muffled beating of a drum. She looked out, but could see
nothing, and presently the drumming died away. For the time she thought
no more of it, but at dinner she turned to her host, the Earl of Airlie,
and asked:

"My lord, who is your drummer?"

His lordship made no reply, Lady Airlie became exceedingly pale, and
several of the company, all of whom had heard the question, looked
embarrassed. Realizing that she had made a slip of some sort, Miss
Dalrymple quickly changed the subject, but after dinner, naturally
feeling somewhat curious, she brought it up with one of the younger
members of the family, and was answered:

"What! Have you never heard of the Drummer of Cortachy?"

"No," said she. "Who in the world is he?"

"Why, he is a person who goes about playing his drum whenever there is
a death impending in our family. The last time he was heard was shortly
before the death of the late countess, the earl's first wife, and that
is why Lady Airlie turned so pale when you mentioned it."

The next night Miss Dalrymple heard the drumming again, and, falling
into a panic when she learned that nobody else had heard it, hurriedly
left Cortachy Castle. But the drumming was not for her. True to
tradition, the drummer was concerned only with announcing the death of
an Ogilvy, one of whom, the Lady Airlie who had been so disturbed by
Miss Dalrymple's question, died soon afterward while on a visit to
Brighton.

Five years later the drumming was once more heard, this time by an
Englishman who had been invited to spend a few days with the Earl of
Airlie's oldest son, Lord Ogilvy, at a shooting box near Cortachy.
Crossing a gloomy moor, in company with an old Highlander, the
Englishman suddenly stopped, and, with a look of amazement, exclaimed:

"What can a band be doing in this lonely place? Has Lord Ogilvy brought
a band with him?"

The Highlander glanced at him strangely.

"I hear naething," he said.

"Why, yes, can't you hear it? A band playing in the distance--or at any
rate, somebody playing a drum."

"An' is it a drum ye hear?" cried the Highlander. "Then 'tis something
no canny."

In another moment the lighted windows of the shooting box came into
view, and the Englishman hastened forward, fully expecting to have the
mystery solved. But he found no musicians--only a scene of considerable
confusion. Lord Ogilvy, it appeared, had just started for London,
summoned by news that his father was dangerously ill.

And the very next day, as the Englishman's Highlander guide was not at
all surprised to learn, the Earl of Airlie died.

Of all family ghosts, however, none is so strongly substantiated by
documentary[2] evidence as the Knocking Ghost of the Basil Woodds, an
old English family. This ghost began operations about the time of the
Stuart Restoration, and it is alleged has ever since continued to
announce, by three or more loud knocks, the approaching death of a Basil
Woodd. First-hand and thoroughly trustworthy accounts are extant of its
activity in quite recent times.

      [2] The documents in this case are published in the
      _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_, vol. xi,
      pp. 538-542.

December 15, 1893, Mr. Charles H. L. Woodd died at Hampstead, England,
after a brief illness. The night before he died the Knocking Ghost was
heard by two persons, at Hampstead by his daughter, and in London by
his son, the Reverend Trevor Basil Woodd. Both have made statements
describing their singular experiences.

"On Thursday evening, December 14, 1893, after church," says the
Reverend Mr. Woodd, "I was sitting before my fire. I knew my father
was ill, and had a presentiment that he was dangerously ill, though if
I had known this I should have remained at Hampstead, where I had been
that day. As I sat, I distinctly heard three knocks, perhaps more,
like the sound of some one emptying a tobacco pipe upon the bars of my
fire grate.

"Thinking it might be a warning, I did not go to bed for an hour,
fearing I would be sent for. At one A. M. I was awakened by a ringing of
the front door-bell and knocking. It was my father's butler, who told
me the doctor had sent for me, as my father was very ill. I said to my
housekeeper:

"'I must go. I feel sure that my father is dying, because I heard the
Woodd knocks, as I sat in my chair before going to bed.'

"On my arrival my first question was: 'Is he still alive?' for I
believed he must have passed away at the time of the knocking. He died
at eight-forty-five next morning."

Mr. Woodd's housekeeper corroborates this statement. As to the knocking
heard at Hampstead, the daughter, Mrs. Winifred Dumbell, testifies:

"On December 14, 1893, Thursday morning, hearing my father, Mr. Charles
Woodd, was not well, I left Epsom, where I had been staying, for
Hampstead, and found my father in bed and very weak, but I was in no
way anxious about him, as I did not suppose him to be seriously ill. At
eleven o'clock at night, being tired and finding I could not assist my
mother or the nurse, I lay down in an adjoining room, leaving the door
wide open, and fell asleep.

"In a short time I was suddenly awakened by a loud rapping as if at
the door. I jumped up and ran into the passage, thinking my mother had
called me. I listened at the door of my father's room, but no one was
moving. I lay down again and instantly fell asleep, when exactly the
same thing occurred. I did not actually sleep again, and cannot say
whether any sound made me get up the third time, but I went in search of
the doctor and gathered that he was anxious about my father, who was
getting much weaker. We were all aroused, and about eight o'clock A. M.
my father died.

"I did not connect this rapping with the Woodd warning, as all was
so sudden and unexpected, but on mentioning it at breakfast the next
morning to my brother, the Reverend Trevor Basil Woodd, he told me he
also heard a similar warning in his rooms at Vauxhall Bridge Road about
the same time."

To mention only one other of the many instances that might be cited, the
Knocking Ghost was again heard on June 3, 1895, just twenty-four hours
before the death of Mr. Thomas Basil Woodd at Hampstead. Again, too, it
was heard by more than one person and in more than one place, by Mr.
Woodd's daughters, Fanny and Kate, and by his niece, Miss Ethel G.
Woodd, who was at the time visiting friends in Yorkshire, and at first
mistook the Knocking Ghost for somebody hammering nails into the wall of
the next room. Oddly enough, this was also the way it sounded to Fanny
Woodd, in London, as appears from the following statement signed by
her:

"On June 3, 1895, at ten-thirty P. M., Fanny Woodd, staying with Mrs.
Stoney, 83 Wharton Road, West Kensington, heard knocks, apparently from
next door, as of nails being hammered in and pictures hung, which seemed
so unlikely at that hour of night that the next morning she mentioned it
to Mrs. Stoney, whose bedroom was just below hers, asking if she had
heard it or could account for it."

But Mrs. Stoney had heard nothing, and the next-door neighbor, Mrs.
Harriet Taylor, rather tartly declared that: "There has been no putting
up of pictures or knocking of any sort in this house for quite two
years. We are also early risers, and are always in bed and asleep by
ten P. M." That same day Miss Woodd rejoined her father and sister in
Hampstead, and was astonished to hear that the latter had been awakened
about half past ten the previous night by loud knockings against the
window shutters.

A few hours more and the mystery was solved by the startlingly sudden
death of Mr. Woodd, from an attack of apoplexy. The Knocking Ghost of
the Basil Woodds had lived up to its reputation.

The giving of death warnings is by no means confined to family ghosts,
as may be sufficiently indicated by relating an incident that happened
in Canada some years ago, and that has always impressed me as one of
the best ghost stories I have ever heard. It was told me by an actor in
the strange little drama, and knowing as I do the persons concerned, I
have not the slightest hesitation in vouching for its authenticity,
incredible though the reader may be inclined to regard it.

In this instance the ghost was seen by a clergyman, the Reverend John
Langtry, who afterward became a prominent dignitary of the English
Church in Canada. His home was in Toronto, but on the occasion of the
ghostly visitation he was at the house of a Mr. and Mrs. Ruttan, who
lived with their only child, a young girl, in a small town some fifty or
sixty miles north of Toronto. Mr. Ruttan was another Church of England
clergyman, and was a warm friend of Doctor Langtry's. This time,
however, the latter had journeyed to see him simply on a matter of
diocesan business, and was anxious to complete it and get back to
Toronto.

To his disappointment he found that Mr. Ruttan had been called out of
town, and would not be home until a late hour, possibly not until the
following day. On the chance that he might return earlier than expected,
Doctor Langtry accepted Mrs. Ruttan's invitation to spend the evening
with her.

As they were chatting together--she being so seated that her back was
toward the door leading from the parlor, whereas Doctor Langtry's
position gave him a full view of the hall--she noticed that all at once
he stopped in the middle of a sentence, leaned forward, and stared
fixedly into the hall. She instantly turned her head, and followed the
direction of his gaze, but could see nothing.

"What is the matter, Doctor Langtry?" she asked. "What are you looking
at?"

"Nothing, nothing," he muttered, recovering himself with an effort. "I
fancied for a moment--"

He paused, then changed the conversation. But Mrs. Ruttan--from whom I
got the story--saw that from time to time he glanced furtively into the
hall, and finally half rose from his seat, his face white, his limbs
trembling.

"Doctor Langtry!" was her startled exclamation. "Are you ill? Whatever
is the matter?"

"Oh," he said shortly, "it is only a momentary faintness. I shall be
all right presently. The fatigue of the journey must have unstrung me.
I will trouble you to get me a glass of water, and then I think I will
return to the hotel."

He drank the water, and rose to go. But when near the front door, he
turned to Mrs. Ruttan, and said:

"I don't believe I have asked after your daughter. I trust she is well?"

"She is quite well, thank you. I put her to bed just before you came
in."

With his hand on the knob of the door, Doctor Langtry again paused
irresolutely.

"If it's not too much trouble," he asked, "I wish you would go up-stairs
and make sure she is all right now."

Wondering at his request and at his manner, Mrs. Ruttan complied, and
presently returned to report that the child was sleeping peacefully.
Doctor Langtry bowed with an air of obvious relief, bade her good night,
and left the house. But next day, after he had transacted his business,
and was about to start for Toronto, he said to Mr. Ruttan, who had
accompanied him to the train:

"Ruttan, if your little girl should happen to fall ill while away from
home, go to her at once, and take Mrs. Ruttan with you, even if you have
no reason to feel that the illness is serious."

Mr. Ruttan laughed.

"Of course we would go to her. You may be sure of that. But why--"

"Ask me no questions," said Doctor Langtry, "but bear my request in mind
if the occasion should arise."

Within a very short time the child, visiting an aunt in a near-by town,
was taken ill, failed rapidly, and died almost before her parents, who
had been hastily telegraphed for, could reach her bedside. Doctor
Langtry's warning immediately recurred to them, and they wrote him,
beseeching an explanation.

"The reason I was anxious about your little girl," he then told them,
"was because the night I was sitting with Mrs. Ruttan I saw an angel
enter the hall, pass up the stairs, and return, carrying the child in
its arms."

But the kind of ghost most frequently seen is that which appears not
before but immediately after, or coincidental with, a death. Its purpose
is not to give warning of impending tragedy, but to convey the news of
a tragedy already consummated. There are thousands of instances of this
sort, so well authenticated as to compel credence. Not long ago an
interesting case was reported to me by a gentleman living in Burlington,
Vermont, the nephew of the lady--a Mrs. Hazard of Newport, Rhode
Island--who saw the ghost.

She was ill at the time, and under the care of a trained nurse. One
afternoon, her physician having allowed her to sit up for a couple of
hours, she was seated in a chair by the side of her bed, when the nurse
noticed her open wide her eyes and turn her head as if following the
movements of some one. Then she heard her say, in a tone of surprise:

"Hello! Hello! There he goes! There he goes!"

As far as the nurse could see, nobody was in the room with them. But,
not wishing to alarm her patient, she merely asked:

"Who is it, Mrs. Hazard?"

"Chet Keech. But he doesn't see me. And now he's gone."

Later in the day the nurse mentioned the incident to Mrs. Hazard's
daughter, asking her if she knew anybody by the name of Chet Keech.

"Why, certainly I do," was the reply. "He is my cousin, and lives in
Danielson, Connecticut."

That day Chet Keech had died at Danielson, as a letter informed the
Hazards next morning.

Consider also this statement[3] by the Reverend C. C. McKechnie, a
Scotch clergyman:

      [3] First published in the _Proceedings of the Society for
      Psychical Research_, vol. x, p. 240.

"I was about ten years of age at the time, and had for several years
been living with my grandfather, who was an elder in the Kirk of
Scotland and in good circumstances. He was very much attached to me and
often expressed his intention of having me educated for a minister in
the Kirk. Suddenly, however, he was seized with an illness which in a
couple of days proved mortal.

"At the time of his death, and without my having any apprehension of
his end, I happened to be at my father's house, about a mile off. I was
leaning in a listless sort of way against the kitchen table, looking
upward at the ceiling and thinking of nothing in particular, when my
grandfather's face appeared to grow out of the ceiling, at first dim and
indistinct, but becoming more and more complete until it seemed in every
respect as full and perfect as I had ever seen it.

"It looked down upon me, as I thought, with a wonderful expression
of tenderness and affection. Then it disappeared, not suddenly but
gradually, its features fading and becoming dim and indistinct, until
I saw nothing but the bare ceiling. I spoke at the time of what I saw
to my mother, but she made no account of it, thinking, probably, it
was nothing more than a boyish vagary. But in about fifteen or twenty
minutes after seeing the vision, a boy came running breathless to my
father's with the news that my grandfather had just died."

Even more remarkable was the experience of an Illinois physician, Doctor
J. S. W. Entwistle, a resident of one of the Chicago suburbs. Hurrying
one morning to catch a train Doctor Entwistle saw approaching him an
acquaintance, once well-to-do, who had ruined himself by drink. Glancing
at him as they met, the physician noticed that his clothing was torn and
his face bruised, and that there was a cut under one eye. He noticed,
too, that the other kept looking steadily at him with a "woe-begone,
God-forsaken expression." Had he not been in such a hurry, he would have
stopped and spoken to him, but as it was he passed him with a nod.

At the station Doctor Entwistle met his brother-in-law, and said, while
the train was drawing in:

"Oh, by the way, I just saw Charlie M., and he was a sight. He must have
been on a terrible tear."

"I wonder what he's doing in town, anyway?" commented the
brother-in-law.

"I suppose he was going to see his wife."

"Not a bit of it. She won't have him around."

Then the subject was dropped, and nothing more was said about it until
after they had reached Chicago. Both men, as it happened, had business
at the Grand Pacific Hotel and went directly there from the train. They
were met by a mutual friend, who had a copy of the Chicago _Tribune_ in
his hand.

"Hello," he greeted them. "Did you know that Charlie M. is dead? Here is
a notice in the paper, stating that his body is at the morgue. He was
killed in a saloon fight. The paper hasn't got the name quite right, but
from the description it's Charlie, sure enough."

"But he can't be dead," said Doctor Entwistle, aghast, "for it was only
a few minutes ago that I met him on the street in Englewood."

Nevertheless, it turned out that Charlie M. _was_ dead, and that his
body had been taken to the morgue several hours before Doctor Entwistle
thought he saw him in the Chicago suburb. Moreover, on inquiry it was
learned that the clothes worn by him when he was killed and the marks on
his face "tallied in every particular with the description given by the
doctor."

Quite a similar experience occurred to Mr. Harry E. Reeves when he was
choirmaster at St. Luke's Church in San Francisco. On a Friday, about
three in the afternoon, Mr. Reeves was in an up-stairs room at his home.
He had been working on some music. Wishing to rest for a few minutes,
he threw himself on a lounge, but almost immediately an unaccountable
impulse led him to get up again and open the door of his room.

Standing at the head of the stairs he saw Edwin Russell, a member of
his choir and a well-known San Francisco real estate broker. Mr.
Russell had promised to call on him the following day to look over the
music for Sunday, and Mr. Reeves's first thought was that he had come
a day earlier than intended. He advanced to greet him, when, to his
amazement and horror, the figure on the stairs turned as though to
descend, and then faded into nothingness.

"My God!" gasped Reeves, and fell forward.

A door below was hastily opened, and two women and a man ran to his aid.
The women were his sister and niece, the man was a Mr. Sprague. They
found Mr. Reeves seated on the stairs, his face white and covered with
perspiration, his body trembling.

"Uncle Harry!" cried the niece. "What in the world is the matter?"

Mr. Reeves was in such a panic that he could hardly speak, but he
managed to reply:

"I have seen a ghost!"

"Whose ghost?" inquired Mr. Sprague, with a skeptical smile.

"The ghost of Edwin Russell."

Instantly the smile left Mr. Sprague's face.

"That's strange," said he, "that's very strange. For, as these ladies
will tell you, I came to consult with you regarding the music for Mr.
Russell's funeral. He had a stroke of apoplexy this morning, and died
a few hours ago."[4]

      [4] Detailed reports of this case are published in the
      _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. viii, pp. 214-218.

Sometimes ghosts of this type present themselves in such a way as to
leave no doubt as to the fact and manner of the death of the person
seen. As striking a case in point as has come to my knowledge is
afforded by the singular experience of an old friend of mine, Edward
Jackson, son of the late General Jackson, of Bideford, England.

Born in India, Jackson was from his boyhood of a roving and adventurous
disposition. He went in for all forms of athletics, more particularly
boxing, cricket, and polo, and before he left India was one of the best
known and most popular men in the younger sporting set.

He was still in his early twenties when he came to the United States,
drifting West to go on a ranch in Wyoming. Tiring of this, though not
of his fondness for adventure, he found work in a Lake Superior mine,
where his quickly demonstrated ability to take care of himself in a
rough-and-tumble encounter won him the position of superintendent over
a gang of men whom it had hitherto been most difficult to superintend.

As superintendent he was privileged to live by himself in a small,
two-room cabin, somewhat neater and more comfortable than the ordinary
sleeping-shacks. It was in this cabin that he saw the ghost.

"I had returned from the mine one evening, thoroughly tired out," he
said, in telling me the story, "and sat down to rest for a few minutes
before an open fire. While I was sitting there, half dozing, I felt a
cold current of air, and looked up, thinking that somebody had thrown
the door open.

"The door was not open, but standing between me and it was the figure of
a young man whom I instantly recognized as a boyhood chum in India. He
was dressed in polo costume--we had often played the game together--but
for a moment I forgot all about the incongruity between his dress and
the rough, outlandish place in which I then saw him. I jumped up,
exclaiming:

"'By Jove, Jack, I'm glad to see you. When did you get here? And how--'

"I stopped. He had been standing with his profile toward me. Now he
turned, facing me, and I saw that he was ghastly white, with a deep cut
over one eye. Without a word he walked past me, gazing at me solemnly,
and disappeared in the inner room.

"I don't think I am a coward, but I confess that for a moment I felt
faint. Recovering, and believing that somebody must be playing me a
trick, I made a dash after him.

"There was no one there--and no way in which anybody could have got out
unknown to me.

"That night I wrote to my father, telling him what had happened. In his
reply he informed me that my friend had been killed the same day that I
saw him in my cabin on the shore of Lake Superior. He had been playing
polo in far-away India, had been thrown from his horse, and had struck
on his head, sustaining a wound similar to that I had seen in my
vision."

Of a somewhat different order, and at once recalling to mind the
adventure of Miss Morison and Miss Lamont at the Petit Trianon, is an
instance reported by an Englishwoman whose name must be withheld, for
reasons that will become obvious. With her husband she had recently
moved into a fine old mansion surrounded by a splendid park, with a
broad stretch of lawn between the trees and the house. The place had
for many years been the home of a family of ancient lineage.

One night, shortly after eleven o'clock, when Mrs. M., as I shall call
her, had gone to her bedroom, she thought she heard a moaning sound,
and some one sobbing as though in great distress. Mr. M. was away from
home, the servants slept in another part of the house, and she was
quite alone except for a friend who had come to keep her company
during her husband's absence, and to whom she had said good night a
few minutes before. But being a courageous woman, she resolved to make
an investigation and soon located the sound as coming from outdoors.
Tiptoeing over to a window on the staircase landing, she raised the
blind and cautiously peered out.

Below, on the lawn, in the pale glow of the moon, she saw an amazing
scene. A middle-aged man, stern of face and wearing a general's uniform,
was standing menacingly over a young girl, who, with hands clasped
in anguish, was on her knees before him. At the sight of his hard,
unrelenting expression, Mrs. M.'s one thought was not of fear for
herself but pity for the unfortunate girl.

"So much did I feel for her," she said, in narrating the affair, "that
without a moment's hesitation I ran down the staircase to the door
opening upon the lawn to beg her to come in and tell me her sorrow."

When she reached the door, the figures of the soldier and the girl were
still plainly visible on the lawn, and in precisely the same attitude.
But at the sound of her voice they disappeared.

"They did not vanish instantly," Mrs. M. explained, "but more like a
dissolving view--that is, gradually. And I did not leave the door until
they had gone."

Months afterwards, when calling with her husband at a neighboring house,
she noticed on the wall the portrait of a distinguished-looking man in
a military uniform. At once she recognized it.

"That," she told her husband, in an undertone, "is a picture of the
officer I saw on the lawn."

Aloud she asked: "Whose portrait is that?"

"Why," replied her host, "it is a portrait of my uncle, General Sir
X. Y. He was born and died in the house you now occupy. But why do you
ask?"

When she had told the story, her host commented:

"What you say is most singular. For it is an unhappy fact that Sir
X. Y.'s youngest daughter, a beautiful girl, brought disgrace upon
the family, was disowned and driven from home by her father, and died
broken-hearted."[5]

      [5] Mrs. M.'s detailed account of this experience, with a
      corroboratory statement by Mr. M., is published in the
      _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. viii, pp. 178-179.

Not all ghosts, it is pleasant to know, bring notification of impending
or already consummated tragedy. Many seem to exist solely for the
purpose of giving a warning of trouble which may be averted by taking
proper precautions, and sometimes they are a direct means of preventing
disaster. Thus, a guest at a Back Bay hotel in Boston was hurrying
along a dimly lighted corridor to catch an elevator she thought she saw
waiting for her, when unexpectedly the form of a man appeared at the
entrance to the elevator. She was almost upon him, and stopped short in
order to avoid a collision. At once he disappeared, and she then saw
that although the door in the elevator shaft was wide open, the car was
at the bottom of the shaft, into which she certainly would have fallen
had not the phantasmal figure checked her onward rush.

Or take this instance, reported by Lady Eardley:

"One day I went to my bathroom, locked the door, undressed, and was just
about to get into the bath, when I heard a voice say:

"'Unlock the door!'

"I was startled and looked around, but of course no one was there. I had
stepped into the bath when I heard the voice twice more, saying:

"'Unlock the door!'

"On this I jumped out and did unlock the door, and then stepped into the
bath again. As I got in I fainted away and fell down flat in the water.
Fortunately, as I fell, I was just able to catch at a bell handle, which
was attached to the wall above the tub. My pull brought the maid, who
found me, she said, lying with my head under water. She picked me up and
carried me out. If the door had been locked I would certainly have been
drowned."

Still more impressive is an experience in the life of an Englishwoman
named Mrs. Jean Gwynne Bettany. Her statement is corroborated by her
father and mother.[6]

      [6] See "Phantasms of the Living," vol. i, pp. 194-195.

"On one occasion," she says, "I was walking in a country lane. I was
reading geometry as I walked along, a subject little likely to produce
fancies or morbid phenomena of any kind, when, in a moment, I saw a
bedroom in my house known as the 'White Room,' and upon the floor lay
my mother, to all appearance dead. The vision must have remained some
minutes, during which time my real surroundings appeared to pale and die
out; but as the vision faded, actual surroundings came back, at first
dimly, and then clearly.

"I could not doubt that what I had seen was real, so, instead of going
home, I went at once to the house of our medical man, and he immediately
set out with me, on the way putting questions I could not answer, as my
mother was to all appearance well when I left home.

"I led the doctor straight to the 'White Room,' where we found my mother
actually lying as in my vision. This was true even to minute details.
She had been seized suddenly by an attack at the heart, and would soon
have breathed her last but for the doctor's timely advent."

Mrs. Bettany's father, Mr. S. G. Gwynne, adds:

"I distinctly remember being surprised by seeing my daughter, in company
with the family doctor, outside the door of my residence; and I asked:
'Who is ill?' She replied: 'Mamma.' She led the way at once to the
'White Room,' where we found my wife lying in a swoon on the floor. It
was when I asked when she had been taken ill that I found it must have
been after my daughter had left the house. None of the servants in the
house knew anything of the sudden illness, which our doctor assured me
would have been fatal had he not arrived when he did."

In this last case, it should be noted the ghost seen was an apparition
not of a dead person, but of a living one. This is most important, from
the point of view of gaining insight into the nature and characteristics
of ghosts.

The investigators who, a matter of twenty-five or thirty years ago,
began for the first time to inquire into the subject in a scientific
way, early made the interesting discovery that phantasms of the living
are seen quite as frequently as phantasms of the dead. Besides which, it
was found that ghosts could be produced experimentally--that by a mere
act of willing, one person could make another, sometimes miles distant,
see a ghost. Many successful experiments of the kind, supported by ample
corroborative evidence, are now on record. For example:

Mr. B. F. Sinclair, at the time a resident of Lakewood, New Jersey, had
occasion to go to New York to be absent several days. His wife was not
feeling well when he left home, and he was greatly worried about her.

"That night," to continue the narrative[7] in his own words, "before
I went to bed, I thought I would try to find out, if possible, her
condition. I had undressed, and was sitting on the edge of the bed, when
I covered my face with my hands and willed myself in Lakewood at home,
to see if I could see her. After a little, I seemed to be standing in
her room before the bed, and saw her lying there, looking much better.
I felt satisfied she was better, and so spent the week more comfortably
regarding her condition.

      [7] I quote from Mr. Sinclair's report to the Society for
      Psychical Research, and published by him in its _Journal_,
      vol. vii, p. 99.

"On Saturday I went home. When she saw me, she remarked:

"'I thought something had surely happened to you. I saw you standing in
front of the bed the night you left, as plain as could be, and I have
been worrying about you ever since.'

"After explaining my effort to find out her condition, everything became
clear to her. She had seen me when I was trying to see her. I thought at
the time I was going to see her and make her see me."

In at least one instance another experimenter, a German savant named
Wesermann, performed the seemingly impossible feat of creating, by a
simple act of volition, a ghost not of himself but of a person who was
dead.

Herr Wesermann had been greatly troubled by the conduct of a friend,
a young officer in the German army, and in the hope of reforming him,
"willed" one evening that at eleven o'clock that night he should see
in a dream an apparition of a lady in whom he had once been greatly
interested, but who had been dead five years.

It chanced that at eleven o'clock, instead of being in bed and
asleep, Herr Wesermann's friend was chatting with a brother officer.
Nevertheless, the apparition came to him at the hour appointed, and
was seen, not only by him, but by his companion also.

The door of his chamber seemed to open, and the ghost of his dead
sweetheart walked in, "dressed in white, with black kerchief and bared
head." Both officers started to their feet, and watched with bulging
eyes while the ghost bowed gravely to them, turned, and without a word
disappeared.

They followed instantly, rushing into the corridor, but saw only the
sentry, who solemnly assured them that nobody but themselves had
entered or left the room.[8]

      [8] Herr Wesermann's experiments were reported by him in the
      _Archiv für den Thierischen Magnetismus_, vol. vi, pp. 136-139.

Facts like these naturally raised in the minds of many of the
investigators a belief that quite possibly ghosts could be explained
without resorting to the alternative of dogmatically denying their
reality or regarding them as supernatural beings. This belief was
strengthened by other facts brought to light in the course of
experiments to determine the actuality of telepathy, or thought
transference as it used to be called.

It was discovered that, under certain favoring conditions, thoughts
could indeed be transmitted from mind to mind without passing through
the ordinary known channels of communication; and furthermore that
thoughts thus transmitted were often apprehended, not as mere ideas,
but in the form of auditory or visual hallucinations.

Thus, if it were a question of "telepathing" the idea of a certain
playing card, say the three of diamonds, the recipient, instead
of simply getting the thought, "three of diamonds," might hear an
hallucinatory voice saying to him, "three of diamonds," or might see
three diamond-shaped objects floating before his eyes, the "ghosts" of
three diamonds, so to speak.

Of even greater significance was the discovery that it frequently
happened also that instead of getting the message which the experimenter
had consciously attempted to send, the recipient would get other ideas
merely latent in the experimenter's mind--ideas connected with his
environment, something he had been doing, etc. Or the recipient might
get the right message several hours after the experiment had been
made--receiving it, for example, in a dream.

The obvious conclusion was that telepathy must be a function not of a
person's ordinary consciousness, but of what psychologists call the
subconsciousness, thus accounting for the difficulty of invariably
obtaining satisfactory results in telepathic experiments.

In the light of these discoveries, then, the belief has been gaining
ground that ghosts--real ghosts--are at most nothing but mental
images impressed upon one mind by another through the subtle power of
telepathy, and apprehended in the form of hallucinations of the various
senses, just as any ordinary telepathic message may be apprehended.

A person is stricken with a mortal illness, is fatally injured, or is
passing through some other great crisis likely to terminate in death.
Consciously or subconsciously, he thinks of loved ones far away, and is
seized with a longing to get into touch with them once more, if only to
notify them of the catastrophe threatening him.

Across the intervening space, by what mechanism we as yet do not
know, his thought wings its way to them, finds lodgment in their
subconsciousness, and thence, when favoring conditions arise--as in
some moment of mental relaxation--is projected into their consciousness
before, at the time of, or after the sender's death, and is seen,
or heard, it may be, as a Phantom Drummer, a Knocking Ghost, or the
phantasmal image of the sender himself.

If, however, conditions are such as to prevent the message from emerging
from the recipient's subconsciousness into his field of conscious
vision, it may, on occasion, as telepathic experiments have proved,
be retransmitted to a third party, and by him be apprehended; as, for
example, the Drummer of Cortachy, in the two instances cited above, was
heard not by members of the Ogilvy family, but by comparative strangers.

More than this, evidence has been accumulating to make it certain
that in most cases not even telepathy is involved in the creation
of ghosts, but that they are merely products of the seer's own
subconsciousness. This was first clearly indicated by the results
of an interesting "census of hallucinations," originated some years
ago at the International Congress of Psychology, and simultaneously
carried on--principally by members of the Society for Psychical
Research--in the United States, England, France, Germany, and other
countries. To thousands of persons the question was put:

"Have you ever, when believing yourself to be completely awake, had
a vivid impression of seeing or being touched by a living being or
inanimate object, or of hearing a voice, which impression, so far as
you could discover, was not due to any external physical cause?"

Of the 27,339 replies received to this question[9] no fewer than 3,266
were in the affirmative. Many of those replying narrated true "ghost
stories" similar to the ones given above; many testified to apparitions
not of dead persons but of living friends; and in addition to this, the
replies of many others brought out the interesting fact that there often
were "ghosts" of inanimate objects--of hats and chairs and tables as
well as of human beings.

      [9] The detailed report of the results of this census will
      be found in the _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
      Research_, vol. x, pp. 25-422.

One respondent, Mrs. Savile Lumley, testified that, in broad daylight
and while taking a calisthenic lesson, she and another young woman
"distinctly saw a chair over which we felt we must fall, and called out
to each other to avoid it. But no chair was there."

The Reverend G. Lyon Turner, professor of philosophy at the Lancashire
Independent College, Manchester, England, woke up one morning to find
the ceiling of his room adorned with a huge chandelier of some ten arms,
and the jets shining brightly through the ground-glass globes at the end
of each arm. He knew that when he went to bed no chandelier had been
there, and naturally feared that something was the matter with his
eyesight.

"I moved my head," he said, "to see whether the phantom moved, too. But
no, it remained fixed; and the objects behind and beyond it became more
or less completely visible as I moved, exactly as would have been the
case had it been a real chandelier. So I woke my wife, but she saw
nothing."

Even more bizarre was the phantasm that appeared to another Englishman.
Here is his own account of it:

"I had just gone to bed, and was--at least, this was my impression at
the time--quite awake. The door of my room was ajar, and there was a
light in the passage which half-illumined my room. Suddenly I became
aware of a series of slight taps on the passage outside. These taps
were not sufficiently loud for a human footstep; on the other hand, the
volume of their sound was greater than that made by a walking-stick.
I fully remember sitting up in bed and beholding two top-boots trot
rapidly across the room and vanish into the opposite wall. The illusion
was astonishingly vivid, and I can recall the details to this day. I
have never had a waking dream since, and have never experienced ambulant
top-boots except on this occasion."

Whence the origin of these odd apparitions? The reply of modern science
is that they were nothing more than the weird externalization of ideas
latent in the minds of those perceiving them. Indeed, in the case of
Mr. Turner there is absolute proof that this was the case, for that
gentleman afterwards identified the phantom chandelier with one familiar
to him as hanging from the ceiling of the college chapel in which he
daily said prayers. Furthermore, there is proof--of which an abundance
will be given in subsequent chapters--that often the ideas thus
externalized relate to things once seen or heard but long since
forgotten; it may be to things seen or heard in a wholly unconscious,
or, rather, subconscious, way. And as with ideas of things, so with
ideas of persons.

In this connection, as illuminating vividly the problem of ghosts, may
well be given an experience narrated to me by Doctor Morton Prince, the
eminent Boston psychopathologist, or medical psychologist.

A patient of his came to him one morning in a condition of extreme
nervousness, declaring that the previous night she had seen a ghost.
"I woke up," said she, "and saw at the foot of my bed a young woman,
who gradually faded away." She maintained that at no time had she seen
anybody resembling the apparition, but in the minute description she
gave, Doctor Prince at once recognized a relative of his, with whom he
remembered he had been talking in the hall when the patient last visited
him. Saying nothing to her he quietly assembled a few photographs, and,
before she departed, asked her to look them over.

"Why," she said, picking one up, "here is my ghost!"

"Yes," was Doctor Prince's reply, "and you saw your ghost in this house
when you were here only a few days ago. I was talking to her as you
came in."

"But," objected the patient, "I certainly did not see her, for I noticed
somebody was with you, and I purposely turned away as I passed, lest I
should seem rude."

"All the same," said Doctor Prince, "you saw her without being conscious
of it--saw her, as it were, out of the corner of your eye. One fleeting
glance would be enough to give you the memory image that you mistook for
a ghost."

Undoubtedly Doctor Prince was right, and undoubtedly this dual law of
subconscious perception and memory is enough to account for some of the
most impressive ghosts cited in this chapter. Even the strange haunting
of the Petit Trianon, as experienced by Miss Morison and Miss Lamont,
may be said to find its explanation here.

It is true that both Miss Morison and Miss Lamont profess to have known
little about the history of the Petit Trianon previous to their visit
to Versailles. But their detailed report of the haunting contains
statements showing that, subconsciously at any rate, they must have
possessed considerable knowledge of the place. Miss Morison admits that
she had, as a girl, great enthusiasm for Marie Antoinette, and had read
not a little about her, including an article descriptive of her summer
home; while Miss Lamont is a teacher of French history, and accordingly
must have had rather more knowledge than the average person regarding
the life story of Queen Marie. Besides which, and most significant,
there was published, just before they went to Versailles, an illustrated
magazine article picturing a historical fête in the gardens of the Petit
Trianon, with some account of its history.

It is worth noting, too, that the two ladies were not haunted in exactly
the same way, each of them seeing certain people and scenes that were
not visible to the other. On the theory of a supernatural manifestation
this would be hard to explain, but the difficulty vanishes if we
recognize that the subconscious knowledge of the Trianon possessed by
each must necessarily have differed.

The problem remains to account for the fact, as distinct from the facts,
of the haunting. Why should Miss Morison and Miss Lamont, among all
the thousands of visitors to the Petit Trianon, alone have had such an
experience? To this, assuredly, there is no answer if one is going
to stick to the old-fashioned notion of ghosts and attribute to them
objective reality. But the answer is very simple on the modern
scientific hypothesis.

Miss Morison and Miss Lamont, the psychologist would say, were haunted
for the reason that, being of exceptionally romantic, impressionable
temperaments, the ideas associated in their minds with the Petit
Trianon, appealed to them with such "suggestive" force as to plunge them
for the time being into a state of "psychical dissociation," during
which their subconsciousness obtained complete control over the upper
consciousness, and flooded them with its latent memories of all that
they had ever read or heard about the place and its historic residents.
In other words, they were as two persons "dreaming awake."

The same explanation would obviously apply to the ghostly vision seen
on the lawn by Mrs. M. Nor do we need to go beyond the hypothesis of
subconscious perception to account for the experiences of Lady Eardley
and the guest at the Boston hotel. In the latter case it is necessary to
assume nothing more than that the lady who saw the apparition at the
elevator entrance perceived her danger without being aware of it, and
subconsciously developed the hallucination that enabled her to avoid it.

As to the Eardley case, it is a well-established medical fact that some
diseases, in their initial stages, cause organic changes too slight
to be noticed by the sufferer's upper consciousness, but plainly
perceptible to his subconsciousness which, through symbolical dreams or
hallucinations, sometimes seeks to convey to the upper consciousness a
warning that all is not well.

I myself have had such an experience. A number of years ago, beginning
in the summer, I was troubled by a recurrent nightmare in which,
although the details were not always the same, the central incident
never varied. Always the nightmare ended with a phantom cat clawing
viciously at my throat. I did not then know as much about dreams as I do
now, so, beyond thinking vaguely that "it must mean something," I paid
no attention to this repeated nightmare.

At the end of six months I had an attack of grippe, necessitating
treatment by a throat specialist, who speedily discovered in my throat a
growth of which I consciously had had no knowledge. With its removal the
recurrent dream of the cat instantly ceased to trouble me.

Lady Eardley's case was, doubtless, quite similar, the only difference
being that the subconscious warning was conveyed to her upper
consciousness, not in dream, but as an auditory hallucination. And, in
the somewhat parallel case of the ghost seen by Doctor Langtry, it seems
a safe assumption that if the frightened clergyman had advised the
child's father to place her under medical care at once, the subsequent
fatality might have been averted.

In the Langtry case, however, there must have been operative also a
telepathic factor. And since the telepathic explanation of ghosts
is still the subject of much controversy, it will be well, before
proceeding farther, to state exactly what is known to-day regarding
telepathy.



CHAPTER II

WHY I BELIEVE IN TELEPATHY


Some years ago, when living near New York, I had a curious dream that
made a deep impression on me. In this dream I seemed to be at a club
or hotel, when a messenger boy entered and announced that I was wanted
up-stairs. There I found in a large room a family with whom I had been
intimate in my boyhood in Canada. I had heard nothing of them for years,
and naturally was delighted to see them. But I was struck with the
absence of one of the sons, Archie, who, as a youngster of about my own
age, had been one of my closest friends.

To my inquiry as to why he was not with them, I was told: "He's gone,"
a statement which, despite its vagueness, seemed in the dream a wholly
adequate and satisfactory reply. When I awoke, however, with the dream
details vividly in mind, I had a strong feeling that, as I said to my
wife: "Something serious must have happened to Archie Tisdale." The
sequel proved that this feeling was amply justified.

For it developed that, at about the time of my dream, he had died from
an illness of which I knew nothing until, prompted by the dream, I made
inquiries about him.

Again, many years earlier, whiling away the time one summer evening in a
green lane that led to the shore of a beautiful Canadian lake, I had an
experience which similarly gave me food for thought. I had been leaning
on a rail fence, taking in the glories of the fading sunset. It was one
of those evenings and one of those scenes of which poets delight to
sing, and as I gazed across the lake at the changing hues on the distant
hills, slowly turning from blue to gray as the twilight deepened, I gave
myself up to the pleasurable day-dreaming so common in the romantic age
of youth.

Suddenly I was roused by hearing my name called, in a tone so faint,
albeit perfectly audible, that for a moment I could fancy the call came
from beyond the lake. The next instant, however, I realized that it was
what, with my larger psychological knowledge of to-day, I should term
wholly subjective, coming from within me rather than from without; and
at the same time I distinctly got the impression that it was connected
in some way with accident or illness befalling a young lady in whom I
was then much interested--the young lady, in fact, who afterwards became
my wife.

It was in vain that I sought to dismiss this impression as a mere freak
of the imagination. So insistent did it at last become that I returned
to the house and hastily scribbled a note, stating what I had heard--or,
rather, thought I had heard--and expressing the hope that all was well.

My letter had to go to a distant city, and it was therefore several days
before an answer could arrive. I well remember how, in the interval, I
fretted and worried. But by return mail a reassuring reply reached me.
Only, most strangely, the writer added that late in the afternoon of the
day on which I heard the hallucinatory call, she had been overcome by
heat, and was for some hours thought to be in a serious condition.

Once again I heard the same weird inward calling of my name--this time
at eleven o'clock on the night of a Fourth of July celebration, when I
was lounging in a hammock on the bank of the Niagara River, watching the
last of the fireworks on the American side. I was quite alone, as the
friends with whom I was staying had retired an hour or more before; and,
for that matter, it was not their custom to address me by my first name.
Yet I heard myself called, faintly but distinctly, and seemingly from
across the water, precisely as in my previous experience.

As in that experience, also, I instinctively associated the calling with
my absent sweetheart, and wrote to her at once. Two days later, our
letters crossing, I received word that on the night of the Fourth she
had taken an overdose of headache powder, with consequences that might
have been serious had not medical assistance been promptly obtained.

But even more singular than any of the foregoing is a happening
connected with an accident that occurred to my wife while she was still
a mere schoolgirl.

With a party of young people she had gone on an outing to a Maine lake
resort, and in the dusk of a pleasant evening started for a drive in an
old-fashioned hay-wagon. There was no thought of danger, and the drive
was thoroughly enjoyed by all until, coming down a long and rather steep
hill, the breeching broke, and the horses ran away. At a sharp turn
in the road, half-way down the hill, the drive came to a sudden and
disastrous end with the overturning of the wagon.

A number of its occupants were seriously hurt, my wife, with great
presence of mind, saving herself by jumping clear of the wagon just as
it began to go over. Even so, she did not escape uninjured, her face
being badly cut.

Now comes the curious part of the affair. Early the next morning a
telegram from her mother in Boston was handed to her. It read: "Are you
hurt or ill? Wire at once. Am writing." The letter which followed gave
the amazing information that the previous night--that is, the night of
the accident--the mother had had an unusually vivid dream in which she
saw her daughter driving in a carriage, thrown out of the carriage, and
badly cut about the face. So realistic was the dream that on waking it
frightened her, and led to the sending of the telegram.

Obviously the question arises: Were these four strange experiences
representative merely of extraordinary chance coincidences, or were they
indicative of the action of some direct means of communication from mind
to mind by other than the ordinary recognized channels of communication?

Personally I am satisfied that chance alone will not suffice to account
for them, and that they are veritable instances of the workings of a
faculty latent in all mankind and operable in accordance with a true,
if as yet little understood, law of nature--call it telepathy, thought
transference, or what you will.

And in saying this, I am well aware that, even if my belief is in
agreement with that entertained by many eminent men of science--such
as Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crookes, Camille Flammarion, Charles
Richet, Theodore Flournoy, Henri Morselli, Professor W. F. Barrett and
the late William James--it is contrary to the opinion held by the
great majority of scientists at the present day. Their view, to put
it briefly, is that there is no such thing as telepathy; that chance
coincidence, deliberate or unconscious falsification, and errors of
memory are sufficient to explain most instances of alleged telepathic
communication; and that the remainder are reducible to the operation
of more or less familiar principles in the psychology of the
subconscious--notably the law of hyperæsthesia, or unusual extension
of the senses of sight, hearing, smell, etc.

I am perfectly willing to admit that much which passes as telepathy may
be thus reducible. For example, I am seated writing at the desk in my
study. Unexpectedly there flashes into my mind an idea concerning a
person of whom I have not thought for weeks or months. The next instant
the doorbell rings, and presently the maid informs me that the very
person of whom I have that moment been thinking has entered the house.

This is a not infrequent experience, as most of my readers will
concede. So frequent is it that it is absurd to attempt to account for
it on the hypothesis of chance coincidence. But neither would it be
always safe to raise the theory of telepathy. For it might well happen
that while I was seated intent on my work, with the study windows
closed, my ear nevertheless caught the sound of footsteps coming down
the street, or on my porch; that I subconsciously recognized in them my
friend's walk, and that I consequently, though without knowing why,
thought of him at that precise moment. This is assuredly a possible
explanation--though I am far from conceding that in all such cases it
is the only explanation properly applicable.

So, likewise, one must be constantly on guard against over-readily
accepting as evidences of telepathic action the feats of "mind reading"
often undertaken by way of parlor amusement. Stage "mind reading" by
professional entertainers may be safely left out of the reckoning, as
undoubtedly based on methods of conscious trickery and deceit. But in a
private gathering, where there can be no question of confederates and
deliberate signaling, surprising results are sometimes obtained in
the finding of hidden objects, etc. On the surface this would seem
explicable only on a telepathic basis, yet in reality it is commonly
brought about by "muscle reading" rather than by true "mind reading."

Experiment has shown that the effort to concentrate thought on a given
matter--a name or an object--tends to produce some form of muscular
activity, either subconscious whispering of the name thought of, or
subconscious movement in the direction of the object. If, as is the
rule, the spectators are supposed to keep their minds fixed intently on
the name or object they have selected for the "test," some of them are
apt to give these involuntary muscular hints, which the performer will
accept and act upon, it may be without being clearly conscious of the
source of his information.

Still it must be added that experiments in the "willing game" have
been carried out under conditions and with results indicating that
occasionally, at all events, successes are achieved without any such
subconscious guidance. Not so very long ago some interesting and most
striking experiments of this sort were described to me by Professor
J. H. Hyslop.

"The subject of my experiments," said he, "was a young woman of good
family, who was credited with having exceptional ability in divining the
thoughts and wishes of others. It was arranged that I should investigate
her powers, and accordingly for a period of some weeks I had frequent
sittings with her, in the presence of a few interested and trustworthy
friends.

"The plan followed in every experiment was this: The young woman having
left the room, I mentally selected some more or less complicated action
for her to perform upon her return. I then wrote down on a slip of paper
what I wished her to do, showed it to the others, and concealed it in
a book, which did not leave my hand until after the completion of the
experiment. From first to last not a word was spoken by any one, so as
to guard against any possible hyperæsthesia of hearing on her part.

"The young woman was then called back, and almost invariably proceeded
to execute the commands mentally given her. She did this so promptly
that I cannot conceive how she could possibly have got any unconscious
hints from those present, and conscious signaling was out of the
question.

"For instance, I once wrote on my paper an order for her to pick out of
a vase a bunch of keys I had hidden there, cross the room with the keys,
and place them on the mantel-piece. She entered, stood for but a moment
with her eyes closed, and then, swiftly passing to the vase, which was
on the floor, picked up the keys, turned, and deposited them on the
mantel-piece as I had mentally suggested. It was all done so quickly and
spontaneously that to my mind it afforded strong evidential proof of
true thought transference.

"She was not always successful, but some of her failures were quite
as instructive as her successes. On three occasions she executed, not
the commands I had written on the paper, but commands I had thought of
writing but for one reason or another had abandoned. No one in the room
excepting myself knew of these previous intentions, so she could have
derived her knowledge of them from the involuntary movements of no one
excepting me; and if it had actually been a matter of subconscious
guidance, it is obvious that my muscular indications would have related
not to the abandoned commands but to the commands I actually wished her
to carry out.

"All things considered, my experiments with this young woman satisfy
me that the hypothesis of subconscious guidance is not always properly
applicable, even when the 'mind reader' is in a position to see or hear
the persons testing him."

Assuming, however, for the sake of argument, that Professor Hyslop's
conclusion is erroneous, and that the involuntary movement theory does
always suffice as an explanatory hypothesis when experimenter and
subject are in the same rooms, it becomes manifestly and hopelessly
inadequate when applied to explain the transmission of ideas between
persons a considerable distance apart. Yet what I consider abundant
proof has been experimentally obtained that such transmission may, and
sometimes does, take place--occasionally in most dramatic form.

Take, for example, the experience of a French lady, Mme. Clarence
de Vaux-Royer, who, feeling uneasy one day about a friend who was
then living in the United States, thought she would cable to him.
Unfortunately it was Sunday, and her maid found the cable office closed.
Mme. de Vaux-Royer then decided to attempt a telepathic experiment, and,
knowing that her friend was mourning the death of his mother and of a
favorite sister, decided to try and impress him with an idea that they
were near him and would comfort him in any trial he might be undergoing.
She told her maid of her intention, and asked the maid to note the date,
so as to be able to give corroborative evidence if the experiment
succeeded.

This was on November 7. Ten days later the American mail brought to Mme.
de Vaux-Royer a letter from her absent friend, who, after referring to
some matters of wholly private interest, stated:

"Last night (the 7th), while I was praying, I saw, hovering above my
head, some gold circles, which gradually floated away until I could no
longer see them. At the same time I seemed to hear some one calling
to me: 'Mother! Mother! Sister Minnie!' Then the circles floated back,
approaching until they almost touched my head. Oh, how much comfort I
felt! How they inspired me with sentiments of goodness and happiness!"

From this it is manifestly only a step to the experimental production of
telepathic phantasms of the human form, as in the two instances given in
the previous chapter (the Wesermann and Sinclair experiments), and in
numerous other instances, of which one or two additional may well be
narrated here. In one, a Harvard professor, an acquaintance of Professor
James, on whose authority I quote the story, having heard of the
possibility of telepathic hallucinations, determined one evening that
he would try to make an apparition of himself appear to a friend, a
young lady who lived half a mile from his home. He did not mention his
intention to her or to anybody else. The next day he received a letter,
in which she said:

"Last night about ten o'clock I was in the dining-room at supper with B.
Suddenly I thought I saw you looking in through the crack of the door
at the end of the room, toward which I was looking. I said to B.: 'There
is Blank, looking through the crack of the door!' B., whose back was
toward the door, said: 'He can't be there. He would come right in.'
However, I got up and looked in the other room, but there was nobody
there. Now, what were you doing last night, at that time?"

At that precise moment, as he told Professor James, "Blank" had been at
home, sitting alone in his room, and trying "whether I could project my
astral body to the presence of A."

Possibly had the young lady been alone, and not actively engaged, she
might have had a more definite view of the phantasm of her absent
friend, for experience has shown that solitude and quiet are favoring
conditions for the perception of telepathic apparitions. In nearly every
instance reported to the Society for Psychical Research the percipient
of the phantasm is alone and in a more or less passive, quiescent
frame of mind. Such a condition usually obtains immediately before or
immediately after sleep, and it is then that experimental apparitions
are seen most plainly. Though occasionally they are vividly experienced
when the percipient is in a state of the most active consciousness,
as in the following case, reported by the agent--that is, the person
sending the telepathic message--and confirmed by the percipient, an
English clergyman now dead, the Reverend W. Stainton Moses.

"One evening," runs the agent's account, "I resolved to try to appear
to Z., at some miles distance. I did not inform him beforehand of the
intended experiment; but retired to rest shortly before midnight with
thoughts intently fixed on Z., with whose rooms and surroundings,
however, I was quite unacquainted. I soon fell asleep, and awoke next
morning unconscious of anything having taken place. On seeing Z. a few
days afterward, I inquired:

"'Did anything happen at your rooms on Saturday night?'

"'Yes,' replied he, 'a great deal happened. I had been sitting over
the fire with M., smoking and chatting. About twelve-thirty he rose to
leave, and I let him out myself. I returned to the fire to finish my
pipe, when I saw you sitting in the chair just vacated by him.

"'I looked intently at you, and then took up a newspaper to assure
myself I was not dreaming, but on laying it down I saw you still there.
While I gazed without speaking, you faded away.'"

Of course in the case of all single experiments like these,[10] the
skeptically inclined might plausibly fall back on the theory of chance
coincidence. But it is impossible seriously to entertain this hypothesis
in cases where experiments in the telepathic transmission of ideas have
been carried on repeatedly and with an astonishing measure of success.

      [10] Accounts of other experiments of the same type will be
      found in my book, "The Riddle of Personality," pp. 140-142.

To mention only the most notable experiments of this systematic kind,
I would call attention to the results obtained by two sets of English
investigators, the first comprising two ladies named Clarissa Miles and
Hermione Ramsden, the second two gentlemen, F. R. Burt and F. L. Usher.
As I see it, indeed, the Miles-Ramsden and Burt-Usher experiments have
the additional interest that they not only make clear some of the
fundamental laws of genuine thought transference, but also show just
why it is that we can never hope to obtain such absolute control of the
telepathic process as to be able to send mental messages from one to
another with the same ease and certainty as we now send ordinary
telegrams and marconigrams.

This inability of control has long been a stock objection against belief
in telepathy, especially among the scientifically trained. "Not until
we can repeat at will, and with invariable success, the experiment
of direct transference of thought, will we accept telepathy as
established," say these scientific skeptics. "We know that if, in our
chemical and physical laboratories, we bring such and such elements
together, such and such action will always follow. We must be able to do
as much with telepathy before we will accept it." But the Miles-Ramsden
and Burt-Usher experiments show that there are excellent reasons for
affirming that telepathy is a fact, and that nevertheless its processes
cannot be governed with the certitude possible in the case of chemical
and physical processes. There are factors involved which elude, and must
always elude, the directive control of the experimenter.

In the experiments by the Misses Miles and Ramsden it was arranged that,
at a stated hour of a stated evening in each week, Miss Ramsden--who
acted throughout as the percipient, or receiver of the telepathic
messages--was to remain for a few minutes in a condition of complete
passivity, and immediately afterwards was to note on a post-card
whatever ideas came into her mind during that time. The post-card was
then to be mailed to Miss Miles, who, for her part, was to think of Miss
Ramsden at intervals during the day agreed on, and in the evening was to
make a post-card entry--to be mailed to her friend forthwith--of the
idea or ideas she had tried to convey to her telepathically. Thus, in
the event of achieving any degree of success, they would have a perfect
documentary record to substantiate their claims.

As to the distance separating them, it ranged from a few score to
several hundred miles. They made, in fact, three distinct series of
experiments, with about a year's interval between each series. During
the first they were at their homes, Miss Miles in London, Miss Ramsden
in Buckinghamshire. During the second, Miss Ramsden was in Inverness, in
northern Scotland, and Miss Miles visiting friends in various parts of
England. The third series was carried on while Miss Miles was making a
tour of the beautiful Ardennes region of France and Belgium, Miss
Ramsden at the same time being again in the Scottish Highlands.

Thus there was a progressive increase in the distance between them for
each series, but this seems to have made no difference in the result.
In each, as the attested record shows, Miss Ramsden succeeded in
getting, completely or in part, no fewer than two out of every five of
the messages her co-experimenter tried to "telepath" to her. Such a
proportion is clearly too high to be explained away on the theory of
chance coincidence, and this theory is rendered still more untenable
by the attendant circumstances which the record reveals.

On one occasion Miss Miles, who is an artist, had been busy in the
afternoon painting a model's hands. She thought of this when evening
came, and determined to endeavor to impress Miss Ramsden with the idea
"hands". In her post-card, written at seven o'clock the same evening,
Miss Ramsden stated that of several ideas which had come into her mind
at the experiment-hour the "most vivid" was "a little black hand, quite
small, much smaller than a child's, well formed, and the fingers
straight. This was the chief thing.

Similarly, having noticed at a meeting in London a curious pair of
spectacles worn by a gentleman seated near her, Miss Miles, on returning
home in the early evening, wrote down the word "spectacles," with the
idea of "telepathing" it to Miss Ramsden. The latter's post-card entry
for that evening noted that "spectacles" was "the only idea that came to
me after waiting a long time."

Again, while on a sketching expedition to an English village, Miss Miles
was much amused by an adventure with a large white pig. She selected
this pig as the subject of her next telepathic communication, the result
of which Miss Ramsden, writing as almost always on the night of the
experiment, thus reported:

"You were out of doors rather late, a cold, raw evening, near a railway
station; there was a pig with a long snout, and some village children.
It was getting dark."

On the other hand, in several instances Miss Ramsden's impressions
contained much which Miss Miles had not consciously sought to convey to
her. And this brings us to what is unquestionably the most important
feature of the experiments.

As was said, about two out of every five messages were correctly
received, in whole or in part. But it frequently happened in the case
of the seeming failures, that while Miss Ramsden did not get the ideas
which Miss Miles was endeavoring to send to her, she did get ideas
relating to people, things and events much in Miss Miles's mind at that
moment, or which had been more or less in her mind during the day of the
experiment.

To illustrate, Miss Miles once tried to make Miss Ramsden think of
"pussies, or cats." What Miss Ramsden did think of was "a manuscript,
pinned by a patent fastener in one corner." And, oddly enough, Miss
Miles had spent a good part of that afternoon reading to a friend from
a manuscript "fastened together," as the friend has testified, "with a
patent fastener." Similarly, during Miss Miles's visit to the English
village above mentioned, Miss Ramsden's report for one experiment ran:

"First I saw dimly a house, but I think that you wish me to see a little
girl with brown hair down her back, tied with a ribbon in the usual way.
She is sitting at a table with her back turned and seems very busy
indeed. I think she is cutting out scraps with a pair of scissors. She
has on a white pinafore, and I should guess her age to be between eight
and twelve."

Miss Miles had not been trying to make Miss Ramsden think of anything of
the sort. But the description fitted perfectly her landlady's little
daughter, of whom the mother, Mrs. Laura Lovegrove, says:

"I have a little girl aged eleven, with brown hair, tied with a ribbon
in the usual way. She wears a pinafore, and, being ill, often amuses
herself cutting out scraps."

Another time, when the hour for the experiment arrived, Miss Miles
forgot all about it, being busy writing letters to some friends. In
particular she was absorbed in framing an answer to an important letter
from a Polish artist, written in a peculiar script. Miss Ramsden's
report for that evening was:

"I felt that you were not thinking of me, but were reading a letter in a
sort of half-German writing. The letters have very long tails to them.
Is there any truth in that?"[11]

      [11] The experiments of the Misses Miles and Ramsden are
      reported in detail in the _Proceedings of the Society for
      Psychical Research_, vol. xxi, and in the _Journal of the
      Society for Psychical Research_, vol. viii. The report of the
      Burt-Usher experiments appears in the _Annales des Sciences
      Psychiques_, January and February, 1910.

Significant also is the fact that precisely the same sort of thing
occurred in the more recent experiments between Mr. Burt and Mr. Usher,
who, like Miss Miles and Miss Ramsden, conducted their investigations
in a careful, methodical, conscientious way, and over a long period of
time.

Mr. Usher, like Miss Miles, invariably acted as the sender of the
telepathic communications, while Mr. Burt was the percipient. From first
to last the latter remained in London, while Mr. Usher was part of the
time in Bristol, more than one hundred miles from London, and part of
the time in the Austrian city of Prague, a thousand miles away. On each
experiment-evening it was Mr. Usher's practice, at the hour previously
agreed upon, to sit alone in a dimly lighted room, draw some design on a
piece of paper, and remain for fifteen minutes thinking intently of the
design and "willing" to transmit it to Mr. Burt, who, at the same hour,
would be seated in a darkened room in London, noting the images that
passed before his mind's eye, and, at the expiration of fifteen minutes,
setting down on paper the one or two that had seemed to him most vivid.

Nearly fifty experiments were thus made, with results defying any
explanation by the theory of chance coincidence. And, as in the
Miles-Ramsden experiments--for the matter of that, as also in Professor
Hyslop's experiments--it at times happened that when Mr. Burt totally
failed to draw a design corresponding with that which Mr. Usher had
drawn, Mr. Burt's design did correspond with images demonstrably in Mr.
Usher's mind at or immediately before the moment of the experiment.

Thus, one evening in Prague Mr. Usher tried to make Mr. Burt get the
impression of an oblong composed of numerous small dots. Instead Mr.
Burt saw and designed a peculiar plume-like ornamentation, which Mr.
Usher instantly recognized as a picture of part of the unusual carving
on the table at which he had been seated. On another occasion--the
eighteenth experiment--Mr. Usher sought to transmit a crude design
of a flower in a pot. What Mr. Burt actually drew was an excellent
representation of a lighted cigarette with the smoke curling away from
it.

"And," says Mr. Usher, "the evening that he drew this was the first
evening I had smoked a cigarette while experimenting with him."

Such incidents, with those cited in connection with the experiments of
Professor Hyslop and the Misses Miles and Ramsden, in my opinion go to
show exactly why it is that one cannot hope to obtain unfailing control
over the process of telepathy. For they indicate that at bottom genuine
thought transference depends not so much on conscious _willing_ as on
subconscious _feeling_. It is not necessarily the things about which
one thinks most strongly, but rather things which are tinged with some
emotional coloring, that are most likely to become subjects of
telepathic communication.

And these experiments further indicate that, on the receiver's part
also, the mechanism involved in the transmission of telepathic messages
belongs rather to the subconscious than to the conscious portion of the
mind. In order to allow the emergence of the transmitted ideas into the
field of conscious knowledge, there seems to be always necessary some
form of psychical "dissociation"--as in a trance, dream, reverie, or
moment of absentmindedness. Such states of dissociation are not always
easy to bring about voluntarily; and when they are brought about,
whether voluntarily or involuntarily, it by no means follows that ideas
received telepathically will forthwith and rapidly rise above the
threshold of consciousness.

For, as recent psychological experiment and observation have shown, in
dissociated states the tendency is for the emergence chiefly of ideas
which, through their emotional associations, are of deep personal
significance--as when we dream of persons or things associated
with events that once affected us profoundly. Every one of us has
subconscious reminiscences of this sort, and with these personal
subconscious reminiscences any ideas which have been transmitted
telepathically have of necessity to compete for emergence. They may
get through or they may not; whether they will get through apparently
depends in large measure on the degree of their own emotional intensity.

Hence it is that that scientist is doomed to perpetual unbelief who
boasts that he will never place credence in telepathy until he can
play with it as he plays with the chemicals in his test tubes. One
cannot handle feelings as one can handle a chemical compound, nor can
one manipulate at will the subconscious as though it were a physical
substance. Hence, too, the case for telepathy must always rest
less on experimental evidence--strong though the Miles-Ramsden and
Burt-Usher experiments demonstrate that this sometimes is--than on
well-authenticated instances of spontaneous occurrence, which have
been recorded in ever-increasing volume since systematic investigation
of the subject was first undertaken a scant quarter of a century ago.

In such instances, the records further show, one of the commonest forms
in which the telepathic message is received is that of an auditory
hallucination, as in the "voice" heard by me on the shore of the
Canadian lake and on the bank of Niagara River. When there is connected
with the sending of the message some supreme crisis in the career of
the sender--the crisis, it may be, of the moment of death--the auditory
hallucination is sometimes of such a nature as to make its dire meaning
almost self-evident. In this respect I know of nothing more striking
than a strange case reported, with ample corroborative evidence, to the
Society for Psychical Research.

The narrator, a well-to-do Englishman, was living at the time in a
country house. It was early spring, and on the night of his telepathic
experience there had been a slight snowfall, just sufficient to make
the ground white. After dinner he spent the evening writing until ten
o'clock, when, to continue the story in his own words:

"I got up and left the room, taking a lamp from the hall table, and
placing it on a small table standing in a recess of the window in the
breakfast-room. The curtains were not drawn across the window. I had
just taken down from the nearest bookcase a volume of 'Macgillivray's
British Birds' for reference, and was in the act of reading the passage,
the book held close to the lamp, and my shoulder touching the window
shutter, and in a position when almost the slightest sound would be
heard, when I distinctly heard the front gate opened and shut again with
a clap, and footsteps advancing at a run up the drive; when opposite the
window the steps changed from sharp and distinct on gravel to dull and
less clear on the grass-slip below the window, and at the same time I
was conscious that some one or something stood close to me outside, only
the thin shutter and a sheet of glass dividing us.

"I could hear the quick, panting, labored breathing of the messenger,
or whatever it was, as if trying to recover breath before speaking.
Had he been attracted by the light through the shutter? Suddenly, like
a gunshot, inside, outside, and all around, there broke out the most
appalling shriek--a prolonged wail of horror, which seemed to freeze
the blood. It was not a single shriek, but more prolonged, commencing
in a high key, and then less and less, wailing away toward the north,
and becoming weaker and weaker as it receded in sobbing pulsations of
intense agony.

"Of my fright and horror I can say nothing--increased tenfold when I
walked into the dining-room and found my wife sitting quietly at her
work close to the window, in the same line and distant only ten or
twelve feet from the corresponding window in the breakfast-room. _She
had heard nothing._ I could see that at once; and from the position in
which she was sitting, I knew she could not have failed to hear any
noise outside and any footsteps on the ground. Perceiving I was alarmed
about something, she asked:

"'What is the matter?'

"'Only some one outside,' I said.

"'Then, why do you not go out and see? You always do when you hear any
unusual noise.'

"'There is something queer and dreadful about this noise,' I replied.
'I dare not face it.'"

Nothing more was heard, and early next morning he made a careful search
in the grounds around the house, but not a footprint was to be seen in
the snow, which had ceased falling long before the occurrence of the
wailing cry. A little later in the day, however, word arrived that at
ten o'clock the previous night one of his tenants, who lived half a mile
distant and with whom he had spent the afternoon, had committed suicide
by drinking prussic acid.

He had gone up to his bedroom, his groom testified at the inquest,
had mixed the poison in a tumbler of water, drank it off, and, with
a terrible scream, fell dead on the floor.

Fortunately, telepathic hallucinations do not usually come with such
intensity or in such an alarming form. Often they are mere vague
impressions that something unpleasant or disastrous is occurring
to a relative or friend, and, as in the case of self-originating
hallucinations like that reported by Lady Eardley, they occasionally
impel to action that averts disaster. It was thus, to give a single
instance, in an experience reported[12] by William Blakeway, a
Staffordshire Englishman:

      [12] In "Phantasms of the Living," vol. ii, pp. 377-378.

"I was in my usual place at chapel one Sunday afternoon, when all at
once I thought I must go home. Seemingly against my will, I took my hat.
When reaching the chapel gates I felt an impulse that I must hasten home
as quick as possible, and I ran with all my might without stopping to
take breath. Meeting a friend who asked why I hurried so, I passed him
almost without notice.

"When I reached home I found the house full of smoke, and my little
boy, three years old, all on fire, alone in the house. I at once tore
the burning clothes from off him, and was just in time to save his life.
It has always been a mystery to me, as no person whispered a word to me,
and no one knew anything about the fire till after I made the alarm at
home, which was more than a quarter of a mile from the chapel."

Here the wholly subconscious nature of the phenomenon, on the
percipient's part at all events, is plainly evident. It is even more
evident in all cases where, as frequently occurs, the telepathic message
is received in a dream like that which was recorded in the opening
paragraphs of this chapter. As is to be expected, too, in telepathic
dreams we often find an element of symbolism. The news of illness, of
accident, of death, or whatever it may be, is not conveyed directly,
but indirectly, amid a mass of more or less relevant details of dream
imagery.

A couple of years ago I received a letter from a lady living in
Brooklyn, describing an experience that admirably illustrates this
point. Her dream, however, was of such an intimate character that the
names of the persons and places must be suppressed. Five years ago, this
lady writes, her daughter became interested in a young man, Mr. V.,
whose suit, however, the mother discouraged. Afterwards her daughter
met, fell in love with, and was happily married to a physician in the
Government service. She soon went abroad with her husband, to a remote
and isolated post. My informant continues:

"We could not hear from them all winter because they were ice-bound, but
my thoughts of them were always most delightful, for their last letters
were bubbling over with happiness, and I was lovingly busy getting
things ready for them.

"Mr. V. had almost passed from my mind, when one morning, in the middle
of June, I arose, took a bath, and, having a half-hour to spare, went
back to bed again, falling into a deep sleep.

"Suddenly Mr. V. appeared to me in one of my lower rooms. It seemed
to be breakfast time, and I invited him to have some. He accepted,
and we sat together for some time, but I do not remember any of our
conversation. Suddenly he arose, faced me, and, looking straight into
my eyes, said emphatically:

"'Now she is mine! Nothing you can do will ever separate us again! This
time she will belong to me!'

"I awoke with a start, much frightened. Then, realizing the situation, I
thanked Heaven she was safely married, and promptly put the dream from
me. This was about eight o'clock. At ten a despatch reached me saying
that my daughter's husband had died, from the result of a boating
accident two weeks before."

Or, when apprehended in dream, the telepathic message may be so
distorted that its true meaning cannot possibly be recognized
immediately. A characteristic case of this kind occurred at the time
of President Lincoln's assassination, though it is only recently that
it was for the first time reported in detail by Mrs. E. H. Hughes,
daughter of the San Francisco architect, S. C. Bugbee. It should be
explained that before removing to California from Massachusetts in
1863, the Bugbees were well acquainted with the Booth family, and
that John Wilkes Booth was an especial favorite of Mrs. Bugbee's. Says
Mrs. Hughes, in her report to the American Institute for Scientific
Research:[13]

      [13] _Journal of the American Society for Psychical
      Research_, vol. iv, pp. 210-217.

"One night my mother woke my father suddenly, saying: 'Oh, Charles! I
have had such a terrible dream! I dreamed that John Wilkes Booth shot
me! It seemed that he sent me seats for a private box in a theater, and
I took some young ladies with me. Between the acts he came to me, and
asked me how I liked the play. I exclaimed, "Why, John Booth! I am
surprised that you could put such a questionable play upon the stage. I
am mortified to think that I have brought young ladies to see it." At
that he raised a pistol, and shot me in the back of the neck. It seems
as if I felt a pain there now.' After a while my mother fell asleep, and
dreamed the same thing a second time.

"The next morning came the terrible news which plunged the nation into
grief and mourning. Almost at the hour of my mother's dream, President
Lincoln was assassinated; shot, in the back of the neck, in a private
box at a theater, by John Wilkes Booth."

On the other hand, there may be no symbolism or distortion, the
dream corresponding so realistically with the event as to make its
significance manifest. To give an illustration, Mrs. Morris Griffith,
an Englishwoman, reports:

"On the night of Saturday, the eleventh of March, I awoke in much alarm,
having seen my eldest son, then at St. Paul de Loanda on the southwest
coast of Africa, looking dreadfully ill and emaciated, and I heard his
voice distinctly calling to me. I was so disturbed I could not sleep
again, but every time I closed my eyes the appearance recurred, and his
voice sounded distinctly, calling me 'Mamma!' I felt greatly depressed
all through the next day, which was Sunday, but I did not mention it to
my husband, as he was an invalid, and I feared to disturb him. Strange
to say, he also suffered from intense low spirits all day, and we were
both unable to take dinner, he rising from the table, saying: 'I don't
care what it costs, I must have the boy back,' alluding to his eldest
son.

"I mentioned my dream and the bad night I had had to two or three
friends, but begged that they would say nothing of it to Mr. Griffith.
The next day a letter arrived, containing some photos of my son, saying
he had had fever, but was better, and hoped immediately to leave for a
much more healthy station. We heard no more till the ninth of May, when
a letter arrived with the news of our son's death from a fresh attack
of fever, on the night of the eleventh of March, and adding that just
before his death he kept calling repeatedly for me."[14]

      [14] "Phantasms of the Living," vol. i, pp. 343-344.

It is only a short transition from such a dream as this to a waking
hallucination in which--as in the cases of experimental occurrence
mentioned above, and those other cases detailed in the preceding
chapter--phantom forms are discerned at the moment when the person seen
is threatened by some danger or is passing through the supreme crisis of
death.

But now, accepting telepathy as an established fact, the problem
remains: How are we to explain it? What is the mechanism by which one
person is able to transmit messages directly and instantaneously to
another person although they may be half the world apart?

To this question, it must frankly be admitted, no positive answer can
as yet be returned. But some extremely plausible hypotheses have been
advanced, not by mere theorists but by eminent men of science, who,
themselves affirming the actuality of telepathy, have given much thought
to the problem of its mode of operation.

Sir William Crookes, for example, calling attention to the marvelous but
undisputed facts of ethereal vibration as evidenced by the phenomena of
wireless telegraphy and the Röntgen rays, urges that here we have quite
possibly an adequate explanation of the mystery of telepathy on a wholly
naturalistic basis--that is to say, a basis which enables us to accept
telepathy without dislocating our entire conception of the physical
universe.

"It seems to me," he suggests, "that in these rays [Röntgen rays] we
may have a possible way of transmitting intelligence which, with a few
reasonable postulates, may supply the key to much that is obscure in
psychical research. Let it be assumed that these rays, or rays of even
higher frequency, can pass into the brain and act on some nervous center
there. Let it be conceived that the brain contains a center which uses
these rays as the vocal chords use sound vibrations (both being under
the command of intelligence), and sends them out, with the velocity
of light, to impinge on the receiving ganglion of another brain. In
this same way the phenomena of telepathy, and the transmission of
intelligence from one sensitive to another through long distances, seem
to come into the domain of law and can be grasped."[15]

      [15] Presidential Address to the Society for Psychical
      Research, January 29, 1897.

This undoubtedly is the explanation that most strongly commends itself
to those scientists who courageously acknowledge their belief in
telepathy. Nor do they see any objection to it in the fact that people
apparently are affected by the telepathic impulse only at certain times.
For the brain of both sender and receiver may conceivably, on the
analogy of wireless telegraphy, be set to transmit and receive
telepathic communications only when attuned to vibrations of a certain
amplitude. There is, however, as Sir William Crookes himself has
recognized, another and really formidable objection to this vibratory
hypothesis.

It is found in the fact that, assuming telepathic messages to be
conveyed by a system of infinitely minute waves in the ether, we
logically have also to assume that these waves would still obey what is
known as the law of inverse squares. By this is meant that, spreading on
every side in ever-expanding waves, they would lose power in proportion
to the square of the distance from their source. Consequently, it would
not only require a tremendous initial energy to project them any great
distance, but the farther they were sent the feebler they would become,
so that in the case of a percipient remote from the agent, either the
telepathic message would not be received at all or at most it would be
received in exceedingly attenuated fashion. Whereas the fact is that,
according to the results of such experimentation as that which I have
described, complete failure often occurs when the experimenters are only
a few yards apart, and brilliant successes are sometimes achieved at
distances of hundreds of miles.

This consideration has led some thinkers--notably Sir Oliver Lodge,
Professor W. F. Barrett, and the late F. W. H. Myers--to abandon
outright all attempt at an explanation on a naturalistic basis, and to
advance instead the view that telepathy is not explicable in physical
terms because it is a wholly psychical process--"a direct and
supersensuous communion of mind with mind." After all, though, as Mr.
Frank Podmore has pointed out, this view rests simply on a negation--our
present inability to conceive a thoroughly satisfactory explanation;
and at any time scientific research may remove that inability, as has
happened again and again in the past in the case of other and seemingly
equally inexplicable phenomena.

Meanwhile, all that we, scientists and laymen alike, need do, is to
remember that inability to explain gives us of itself no warrant to
deny. We must acquaint ourselves with the facts before accepting or
rejecting them. And for myself I can only say that the actuality of
telepathy has to my mind been absolutely proved. With Sir Oliver Lodge:

"I am prepared to confess that the weight of testimony is sufficient
to satisfy my own mind that such things do undoubtedly occur; that the
distance between England and India is no barrier to the sympathetic
communication of intelligence in some way of which we are at present
ignorant; that just as a signaling-key in London causes a telegraphic
instrument to respond instantaneously in Teheran--which is an everyday
occurrence--so the danger or death of a distant child, or brother, or
husband, may be signaled without wire or telegraph clerk, to the heart
of a human being fitted to be the recipient of such a message."



CHAPTER III

CLAIRVOYANCE AND CRYSTAL-GAZING


The word clairvoyance has acquired a decidedly sinister meaning in most
people's minds. It is associated with professional spiritistic mediums,
who lay claim to supernatural powers which they are ready, at a moment's
notice, to exercise for all who are credulous enough to pay the fee they
demand. Newspapers throughout the country daily contain advertisements
of clairvoyants of this type, arrant humbugs, most of them, but often
able, through cunningly acquiring information regarding their "sitters'"
lives and family relationships, to persuade their victims that while
"entranced" they are actually in contact with the "spirit world."
Repeated exposures of their fraudulent methods have not driven them out
of business, but have inspired a widespread and healthy distrust of
their pretensions.

Nevertheless, it would be rash to conclude, as many of us do, that there
is no such thing as genuine clairvoyance, by which is meant the ability
to perceive distant scenes and events as if one were bodily present at
the place of their occurrence. That such a faculty exists, although
usable only on rare occasions, and that there is nothing in the
least supernatural about it, are facts definitely established by the
scientifically trained investigators who have been diligently attacking
this and other psychical problems the past twenty-five years. Their
researches have made it evident that in order to explain genuine
clairvoyant phenomena it is not necessary to postulate the intervention
of "spirits," or the flight through space of the clairvoyant's "astral
body." At most, clairvoyance is simply a special form of telepathy,
differing in degree but not in kind from the phenomena discussed in the
preceding chapter.

There is absolutely no evidence to justify the hypothesis of so-called
"independent clairvoyance," advocated by occultists of every shade of
spiritistic belief, and utilized by unscrupulous tricksters to dazzle
the imagination of their dupes. On the other hand, as I hope to make
convincingly clear, there is plenty of proof that the scenes which
the true clairvoyant perceives, and is frequently able to describe
with graphic detail, are in reality only mental images, visual
hallucinations, developed by the same process that enables any ordinary
telepathic message to be apprehended.

It must be acknowledged, however, that the telepathic connection
is sometimes extremely difficult to trace; as, for example, in the
few indisputable instances, reported by Professor James and other
trustworthy investigators, in which the services of clairvoyants have
been successfully invoked to find the bodies of persons drowned or
otherwise accidentally killed under circumstances seemingly precluding
any one from having knowledge of the place or manner of their death.

A typical case of the kind occurred a few years ago in connection with
the mysterious death of a New Hampshire girl, Miss Bertha Huse, of
Enfield, who was drowned in Mascoma Lake.

For three days after the disappearance of Miss Huse, one hundred and
fifty of her townspeople searched vainly for her. She had last been seen
alive on a long bridge crossing the lake, and it was supposed that she
had fallen from it or had deliberately committed suicide. The waters
were dragged but without result, and failure also attended the efforts
of a professional diver from Boston employed by a sympathetic citizen.

Meantime, in the little town of Lebanon, some miles distant, a Mrs.
Titus fell into a trance, during which she talked to her husband and
described to him a spot in the lake where she said the body of the Huse
girl was lying. So strongly was Mr. Titus impressed by her statements
that, next day, he took her to Enfield, where the diver, following her
instructions, quickly found the body in the place located by her.

Mrs. Titus afterwards gave other, if less sensational, demonstrations of
a similar character; and Professor James, who made a close study of her
case, publicly stated his belief that her experiences form "a decidedly
solid document in favor of the admission of a supernormal faculty of
seership--whatever preciser meaning may later come to be attached to
such a phrase."

There are also on record certain well-attested dreams presenting the
same difficulty of identifying the agent, or sender, of the clairvoyant
vision. A characteristic dream of this sort is reported by Mrs. Alfred
Wedgwood, daughter-in-law of the English savant, Hensleigh Wedgwood.

"I spent the Christmas holidays with my father-in-law in Queen Anne
Street," says Mrs. Wedgwood,[16] "and in the beginning of January I had
a remarkably vivid dream, which I told to him next morning at breakfast.

      [16] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. vii, pp. 47-48.

"I dreamed I went to a strange house, standing at the corner of a
street. When I reached the top of the stairs I noticed a window opposite
with a little colored glass, short muslin blinds running on a brass rod.
The top of the ceiling had a window veiled by colored muslin. There were
two small shrubs on a little table. The drawing-room had a bow window,
with the same blinds; the library had a polished floor, with the same
blinds.

"As I was going to a child's party at a cousin's, whose house I had
never seen, I told my father-in-law I thought that that would prove to
be the house.

"On January tenth I went with my little boy to the party, and, by
mistake, gave the driver a wrong number. When he stopped at number
twenty, I had misgivings about the house, and remarked to the cabman
that it was not a corner house. The servant could not tell me where Mrs.
H. lived, and had not a blue-book. Then I thought of my dream, and, as
a last resource, I walked down the street, looking up for the peculiar
blinds I had observed in my dream. These I met with at number fifty, a
corner house, and, knocking at the door, was relieved to find that it
was the house of which I was in search.

"On going up-stairs, the room and windows corresponded with what I had
seen in my dream, and the same little shrubs in their pots were standing
on the landing. The window in which I had seen the colored glass was
hidden by the blind being down, but I learned on inquiry that it was
really there."

In this case the dream, though devoid of any dramatic feature, served a
useful purpose, as did a much more spectacular dream occurring to Doctor
A. K. Young, an Irish magistrate and land-owner.[17] In his dream he
suddenly found himself standing at the gate of a friend's park, many
miles from home. Near by were a group of persons, one a woman with a
basket on her arm, the rest men, four of whom were tenants of his own,
while the others were unknown to him. Some of the strangers seemed to
be making a murderous attack on one of his tenants, and he ran to his
rescue.

      [17] The evidence relating to this dream will be found in
      "Phantasms of the Living," vol. i, pp. 381-383.

"I struck violently at the man on my left," he says, "and then with
greater violence at the man to my right. Finding to my surprise that I
did not knock either of them down, I struck again and again, with all
the violence of a man frenzied at the sight of my poor friend's murder.
To my great amazement, I saw that my arms, although visible to my eye,
were without substance; and the bodies of the men I struck at and my own
came close together after each blow through the shadowy arms I struck
with. My blows were delivered with more extreme violence than I think
I ever exerted; but I became painfully convinced of my incompetency.
I have no consciousness of what happened, after this feeling of
unsubstantiality came upon me."

Next morning Doctor Young awoke feeling stiff and sore, and his wife
informed him that he had greatly alarmed her during the night by
striking out "as if fighting for his life." He then told her of his
curious dream, and asked her to remember the names of the actors in it
recognized by him. The following day he received a letter from his land
agent stating that the tenant whom he had dreamed he saw attacked had
been found unconscious, and apparently dying, at the very spot where
Doctor Young had in his dream tried to defend him; and that there was
no clue to his assailants.

That night Doctor Young started for the scene of the tragedy, and
immediately upon his arrival applied to the local magistrate for
warrants for the arrest of the three men whom, besides the injured
tenant, he had recognized in the vision. All three, when arrested and
questioned separately, told the same story, confirming the details of
the dream, even to the incident of the presence of the woman with the
basket. They had said nothing about the affair because they were afraid
it would make trouble for them, but they denied any complicity in it,
asserting that while walking home with them between eleven and twelve
at night, the tenant--who, by the way, ultimately recovered--had been
attacked by a couple of strangers, whose companions had prevented them
from interfering to protect him.

According to Mrs. Young, it was between eleven and twelve o'clock on the
night of the fight that her sleeping husband had frightened her by his
violent actions.

Here the telepathic impulse causing the clairvoyant dream may have
come either from the injured tenant himself or from one of the three
spectators known to Doctor Young. The difficulty is to conceive an
adequate reason for any of them thinking of him, even subconsciously.
But, granting for argument's sake the possibility of independent
clairvoyance, the still more thorny question at once arises why his
"astral body" should have chosen to journey to that precise spot at
that precise moment.

The obstacles in the way of such a conception as independent
clairvoyance are too serious to be overcome. Nor is it necessary
to resort to it, in view of the fact that in the vast majority of
clairvoyant cases it is possible to establish definitely the telepathic
association.

Here, by way of illustration, is a typical case, fully as impressive as
Doctor Young's, but leaving no doubt as to its origin. It was reported
to the Society for Psychical Research by Mrs. Hilda West, daughter of
Sir John Crowe, who was at the time British consul general for Norway.

"My father and brother," runs Mrs. West's narrative, "were on a journey
during the winter. I was expecting them home, without knowing the exact
day of their return. I had gone to bed at the usual time, about eleven
P. M. Some time in the night I had a vivid dream, which made a great
impression on me.

"I dreamed I was looking out of a window, when I saw father driving in
a Spids sledge, followed in another by my brother. They had to pass a
cross-road, on which another traveler was driving very fast, also in a
sledge with one horse. Father seemed to drive on without observing the
other fellow, who would, without fail, have driven over father if he had
not made his horse rear, so that I saw my father drive under the hoofs
of the horse. Every moment I expected the horse would fall down and
crush him. I cried out 'Father! Father!' and woke in a great fright.

"The next morning my father and brother returned. I said to them: 'I am
so glad to see you arrive quite safely, as I had such a dreadful dream
about you last night.' My brother said: 'You could not have been in
greater fright about him than I was.' And then he related to me what had
happened, which tallied exactly with my dream. My brother in his fright,
when he saw the feet of the horse over father's head, called out: 'Oh,
father! Father!'"

Compare with this the very similar instance of clairvoyance in a waking
or semi-waking state, experienced by Mrs. Helen Avery Robinson, of
Anchorage, Kentucky, and communicated by her, with a corroborative
letter from her son, to Professor Hyslop:

"My son and a friend had driven across the country to dine and spend the
evening with friends. The rest of the household had retired for the
night. I was awakened by the telephone, and looked at the clock, finding
it eleven-thirty. I knew my son would soon be in, and thought of a
window down-stairs, which I felt might not have been locked, and I
determined to remain awake and ask my son to make sure it was secure.

"As I lay waiting and listening for him, I suddenly saw their vehicle, a
light break-cart, turn over, my son jump out, land on his feet, run to
the struggling horse's head, his friend hold on to the lines, and in a
moment it was gone and I knew all was right and felt no disturbance.

"I met my son as he came in, and spoke of the window. He said: 'We
tipped over, mother.' I replied: 'Yes, I know it. I saw you.' And
described what I saw, which he said was just as it happened. I did not
see them before they started out, as his friend called for him with his
horse and vehicle, so I did not know in what style they went."

It should be added that the spot where the cart was overturned was so
far from the Robinson house that, even had it been broad daylight, Mrs.
Robinson could not possibly have witnessed the accident from her
bedroom.

In the same way a young man named Frederic Marks, in Wallingford,
Connecticut, clairvoyantly--and most dramatically--beheld an accident
occurring to his brother, Charles, on Oneida Lake, in New York State,
hundreds of miles from Wallingford.[18] Charles Marks and a friend,
Arthur Bloom, had gone for a sail on the lake, were caught in a storm,
and almost wrecked through the giving way of their boom. Charles,
however, springing into the bow, managed to make the boom fast again,
and they succeeded in running to shore.

      [18] The evidence relating to this case is published in the
      _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. vii, pp. 359-364.

It was when their danger was greatest that they were seen clairvoyantly
by Frederic Marks, who, it being a rainy afternoon in Wallingford, was
lounging in his room.

"I do not think I fell asleep," he testifies, "nor did I seem fully
awake. But all at once I seemed to be facing a severe storm of wind and
rain. As I looked into the storm a small boat with a sail came, driven
helplessly along through a seething, boiling mass of water. Two young
men were in it, one trying to steer and control the boat, the other
apparently trying to dip out water and work on the sail.

"One of the two, in a moment of greatest peril, tried to tear down the
sail from its mast. The face of my brother came clearly into view, with
an expression on it that remains with me now. The boat righted and sped
on. I saw a low shore that it was driving toward. The boat grew fainter
as it neared the shore, and consciousness came back to me, and, whatever
it was, whether a dream or a vision, passed away."

Fortunately, young Marks did not keep his singular experience to
himself, but hastened down-stairs and told his employer--a Mr. Bristol,
with whom he was living--of what he had seen. He was laughed at, of
course, and assured that it was "only a dream." But three or four days
afterward a letter arrived from Charles Marks, bringing unexpected
verification of his brother's story.

Even more detailed, in point of clairvoyant perception of a distant
scene, is the strange dream of a physician, Doctor C. Golinski, of
Krementchug, Russia. It was Doctor Golinski's custom to take a nap
during the day, and one afternoon he lay down on a sofa as usual, about
half-past three. While asleep, he says:[19]

      [19] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. vii, pp. 39-41.

"I dreamed that the doorbell rang, and that I had the usual rather
disagreeable sensation that I must get up and go to some sick person.
Then I found myself transported directly into a little room with dark
hangings. To the right of the door leading into the room is a chest of
drawers, and on this I see a little paraffin lamp of a special pattern.
To the left of the door I see a bed, on which lies a woman suffering
from severe hemorrhage. I do not know how I come to know that she has
a hemorrhage, but I know it. I examine her, but rather to satisfy my
conscience than for any other reason, as I know beforehand how things
are, although no one speaks to me. Afterward I dream vaguely of medical
assistance which I give, and then I awake."

It was then half-past four. About ten minutes later the doorbell rang,
and Doctor Golinski was summoned to a patient. His surprise may be
imagined when he found that he was ushered into the identical room of
his dream. So astonished was he that he immediately approached the bed
on which his patient was lying, and said to her:

"You are suffering from a hemorrhage."

"Yes," was her reply, in a tone of great astonishment. "But how do you
know it?"

She then told him, in answer to his questions, that the hemorrhage had
set in about one o'clock, but had not been severe enough to alarm her
until between three and four; and that it was not until nearly half-past
four that she had decided to send for him.

Nearly every instance of spontaneous clairvoyance that is sufficiently
authenticated to compel credence, resembles these cases, and the
similarity between them and cases of ordinary telepathic hallucination,
as described in the chapter on telepathy, is too striking, it seems to
me, to leave any doubt regarding their true nature. The only points of
difference are that there is a greater amount of detail in clairvoyant
visions, and that the percipient often experiences a sensation of
being actually present at the scene beheld. But this latter fact is
easily comprehensible when we remember that the same sensation of
"otherplaceness" is often experienced in dreams that have no clairvoyant
significance, and experienced with an equal feeling of reality,
dissipated only when the dreamer awakes. As to the greater amount of
detail, it is only necessary to assume that in clairvoyant cases the
telepathic action is intensified by some favoring condition in the
percipient's mind, just as some non-clairvoyant dreams are more detailed
and vivid than others.

Besides which, the telepathic basis of clairvoyance has been
experimentally demonstrated. One of the investigators for the Society
for Psychical Research, Mr. G. A. Smith, once hypnotized a lady and
requested her to "look into" the business office of a friend of his and
tell him what she saw there. Much to his surprise she immediately began
to describe the office with great exactness, although he was positive
she had never visited it.

It then occurred to him that possibly she was acquiring her knowledge of
it by telepathy from his own mind, and to test this theory he thought of
an imaginary umbrella, which he pictured to himself as lying open on his
friend's writing table. In a minute or so, the clairvoyant uttered a cry
of astonishment, and exclaimed:

"Why, how strange! There's a large umbrella open on the table!"

Usually, however, experiments like this fail, the entranced clairvoyant
being able to discriminate between the thoughts which correspond to
reality and those which are wholly imaginary. But that the process
involved in clairvoyance is unquestionably telepathic has been otherwise
proved by the fact that when conditions are imposed on clairvoyants
absolutely excluding the possibility of thought transference from one
mind to another, they are conspicuously unsuccessful in their efforts to
obtain results. If, as often happens, they are able to describe distant
places which they have never seen but with which other persons are
necessarily familiar, they are nevertheless unable to state, for
example, the number on a bank note, chosen at random from among others
and placed in their hands in a sealed box without anybody previously
ascertaining just what the number is.

Such a test, if successful, would be decisive proof of independent
clairvoyance; but I have yet to learn of any clairvoyant who has been
able to meet it, although the effort has been frequently made. It should
be pointed out that, in order to give it evidential value, there must
not be the slightest possibility of any one even glancing at the bank
note before it is put into the sealed box; for, as has already been
said, it is now known that the eye is far keener than we usually
realize, and that the merest glance may often put us in possession of
facts which, sinking into the memory, may afterward emerge to astonish
and perhaps mystify us. Once they were lodged in the mind, a clairvoyant
could, of course, obtain these facts from us telepathically, and thus
achieve a seeming success even in the bank note or some similar test.

Indeed, this power of subconscious perception is of itself sufficient
to explain many undoubtedly genuine instances of clairvoyance. There
is obviously no need to go beyond it to account for such a clairvoyant
dream as the following, reported by a lady who has declined to allow
her name to be published:

"A number of years ago I was invited to visit a friend who lived at a
large and beautiful country seat on the Hudson. Shortly after my arrival
I started, with a number of other guests, to make a tour of the very
extensive grounds. We walked for an hour or more, and thoroughly
explored the place. Upon my return to the house, I discovered that I had
lost a gold cuff-stud, which I valued for association's sake. I merely
remembered that I wore it when we started out, and did not think of or
notice it again until my return, when it was missing. As it was quite
dark, it seemed useless to search for it, especially as it was the
season of autumn and the ground was covered with dead leaves.

"That night I dreamed that I saw a withered grapevine clinging to a
wall, and with a pile of dead leaves at its base. Underneath the leaves,
in my dream, I distinctly saw my stud gleaming. The following morning I
asked the friends with whom I had been walking the previous afternoon
if they remembered seeing any such wall and vine, as I did not. They
replied that they could not recall anything answering the description. I
did not tell them why I asked, as I felt somewhat ashamed of the dream;
but, during the morning, I made some excuse to go out on the grounds
alone. I walked hither and thither, and, after a long time, I suddenly
came upon the wall and vine exactly as they looked in my dream.

"I had not the slightest recollection of seeing them, or passing by them
on the previous day. The dead leaves at the base were lying heaped up,
as in my dream. I approached cautiously, feeling rather uncomfortable
and decidedly silly, and pushed them aside. I had scattered a large
number of the leaves when a gleam of gold struck my eye, and there lay
the stud, exactly as in my dream."[20]

      [20] _Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical
      Research_, vol. i, pp. 361-362.

Akin to this is an exceptionally interesting case that was reported to
me by a young lady attending college at Greeley, Colorado. Her father,
it appears, had sent her a check, which for a day or two she delayed
cashing. Then, being without money, she looked for it in the place where
she supposed she had put it, but, to her dismay, discovered that it was
not there. A thorough search of her room failed to bring it to light,
and, as it was not a personal check of her father's, she was greatly
worried, thinking that it might be impossible to duplicate it.

A couple of nights later she had a curious dream in which she saw
herself standing in front of a bookcase in the college library. On a
certain shelf were five books, one bound in blue, another in yellow,
and between them three with a white binding. She took down one of the
white-covered volumes, opened it idly, and in the middle of the book
found her check.

Next morning she awoke with no memory of the dream, nor did she recall
it when, later in the day, she visited the college library and came
across this identical placing of books. It recurred to her only when she
glanced into one of the white-covered volumes. Feeling rather "foolish,"
and also not a little apprehensive, she took down a second volume of the
same set, opened it, and there, sure enough, was the missing check!

She then remembered that the book in which it was found had been in
her room for some hours the day she received her father's letter. What
happened, I have no doubt, was that she absentmindedly slipped the
check into the book, and then, so far as her upper consciousness was
concerned, forgot all about it. But subconsciously she would remember
and subconsciously would be reminded of it the day before the dream
when, in the college library, she happened to see the same book again,
without, perchance, any conscious knowledge of seeing it. That night, in
sleep, her mind busied itself once more with the problem of the missing
check, this time to good purpose.

Very similar is a dream for which I am indebted to Mr. Andrew Lang, who
got it from the dreamer, an English lawyer. This gentleman had sat up
late to write letters, and about half-past twelve went out to post them.
On his return he missed a check for a large amount received by him
during the day. He searched everywhere in vain, went to bed, and soon
fell asleep. Then he dreamed that he saw the check curled around an area
railing not far from his own door. Waking, he was so impressed that,
although it was not yet daylight, he got up, dressed, walked out of the
house, and found the check at the spot indicated by his dream.

In another case a Californian, visiting in Sullivan County, New York,
lost a gold ring given him by his sister. That night he dreamed he saw
it lying in the sand beneath a swing, in which he had been sitting in
the afternoon. It was actually there, as he ascertained by looking
next day. Similarly, a clerk in a customs house recovered a valuable
document, the loss of which would have cost him his position. And the
wife of a clergyman, the Reverend W. F. Brand, of Emmorton, Maryland,
had revealed to her in a dream the hiding-place of a sum of money which,
six months before, she had put away at her husband's request, but had
afterward accidentally slipped into a bundle of shawls.

Decidedly, we not only see more than we are aware of, but we also
remember more and for a far longer time than is usually supposed.

Which brings me to another point of great importance to the student of
clairvoyance and other psychical problems, and also, as will appear
in a later chapter, of tremendous significance in affairs of everyday
life. The tenacity of memory is such that nothing one sees is really
forgotten. It merely slips, as it were, into some subterranean region
of the mind, whence, days and months and even years afterward, it may
be recalled. Of this we have incontrovertible proof in the phenomena
of crystal-gazing, a species of clairvoyance in which, by gazing into
a crystal or a glass of water, or any small body with a reflecting
surface, it is sometimes possible to perceive hallucinatory pictures
of people and places situated far beyond the gazer's normal field of
vision, and occasionally depicting events occurring at the moment they
are seen in the crystal.

Occultists, as will readily be understood, set great store by
crystal-gazing, finding in it positive proof of spirit action. But again
it is unnecessary, even in the most extraordinary instances recorded,
to adopt any other explanatory hypothesis than that of telepathy, and
in most cases the source of the visions can be traced directly to
latent memories in the gazer's own mind.

This has been beautifully demonstrated by Miss Goodrich-Freer, a lady
who developed the faculty of crystal-gazing for the express purpose of
studying and analyzing its hallucinatory images. Not everybody, I should
perhaps say, can attain the degree of mental passivity requisite to
seeing pictures in the crystal, but fortunately for the cause of
scientific progress, Miss Goodrich-Freer was eminently successful.

With the aid of her crystal, Miss Goodrich-Freer has frequently recalled
dates and other information which she had forgotten and wished to
remember; and on at least one occasion, under exceptionally peculiar
circumstances, she was enabled to supply an address which was of no
special interest to her, but was of special interest to a relative. Here
is her own account of the episode:[21]

      [21] In the _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
      Research_, vol. viii, p. 489.

"A relative of mine was talking one day with a caller in the room next
to that in which I was reading, and beyond wishing that they were
_farther_, I paid no attention to anything they said, and certainly
could have declared positively that I did not hear a word. Next day I
saw in a polished mahogany table, '1, Earl's Square, Notting Hill.' I
had no idea whose this address might be; but some days later my relative
remarked: 'H. (the caller aforesaid) has left Kensington. She told me
her address the other day, but I did not write it down.' It occurred to
me to ask: 'Was it, 1, Earl's Square?' And this turned out to be the
case."

On another occasion, she says in the long report she has made on the
subject to the Society for Psychical Research, she saw in the crystal
the picture of a dark-colored wall, covered with white jessamine. She
had been taking a walk that morning through the streets of London, and
she thought that perhaps the crystal image represented some spot she had
passed in her walk, though this seemed unlikely, both because she could
not remember having seen such a wall, and because jessamine-covered
walls are by no means common in London streets. But the next day she
retraced her steps, and presently came to the identical scene of her
crystal vision, the sight of it bringing the immediate recollection that
at the moment she passed this spot the day before she had been engaged
in absorbing conversation with a friend, and her attention was wholly
preoccupied. The fact, however, of its reproduction in the crystal made
it evident that, by the subtle power of subconscious perception she had
obtained a perfect mental image of it.

Similarly, while busied one day with household accounts, she opened the
drawer of her writing table to get her bank-book, and her hand came
in contact with her crystal. Welcoming the suggestion of a change in
occupation, she took it up, and began to gaze into it. But, she says:

"Figures were still uppermost, and the crystal had nothing more
attractive to show me than the combination seven-six-nine-four.
Dismissing this as probably the number of the cab I had driven in that
day, or a chance grouping of the figures with which I had been occupied,
I laid aside the crystal and took up my bank-book, which I certainly had
not seen for some months, and found, to my surprise, that the number
on the cover was 7694. Had I wished to recall the figures, I should,
without doubt, have failed, and could not even have guessed at the
number of digits or the value of the first figure."

It is not surprising to find Miss Goodrich-Freer adding:

"Certainly, one result of crystal-gazing is to teach one to abjure the
verb 'to forget' in all its moods and tenses."

Still it is possible that in the act of opening the drawer, she caught a
glimpse, without realizing it, of the number on the bank-book. There are
many cases, though, in her experience and in the experience of other
crystal-gazers, proving absolutely that latent memories dating back even
to childhood may be thus recalled; and similar evidence is forthcoming
from hallucinations experienced without the aid of a crystal. A
"psychic" with whom Professor Hyslop has often experimented, and whose
home is in Brooklyn, used to have a recurrent visual hallucination of a
bright blue sky overhead, a garden with a high fence, and a peculiar
chain pump in the garden, situated at the back of the house.

Some time later she left Brooklyn to pay a visit to her girlhood home in
Ohio, where she met a lady who invited her to tea. After tea they went
into the garden, and there, to her amazement, she saw the high fence
and the chain pump of her hallucination. She felt quite sure that she
had never been in the place until that day, and it looked very much
as though she had been given a supernatural revelation of it. But the
mystery was solved on her return to Brooklyn.

Telling her mother of her odd experience, she asked if she thought there
was any possibility she could have visited that particular house and
garden in her younger days.

"Why, yes," was the unexpected reply. "When you were a little girl, two
or three years old, I often took you to it."

But not all crystal visions may thus be attributed to the emergence of
subconscious perceptions or the recrudescence of forgotten memories.
There are some in which the telepathic action of mind upon mind is
clearly manifested, and in which the crystal seems to serve as a
mechanical aid, enabling the percipient to become aware of the
telepathic message. In no case, however, as I have already said, is it
necessary to go beyond telepathy to find an adequate explanation.

The same applies to the still more singular phenomena to which we shall
turn next--the phenomena of automatic speaking and writing, regarded
by many as affording incontrovertible proof of the validity of the
spiritistic belief that the dead can and do communicate with the
living.



CHAPTER IV

AUTOMATIC SPEAKING AND WRITING


There is a widespread belief that spiritism--or spiritualism, as it is
more commonly known--is on the wane, and will soon be relegated to the
limbo of extinct religions. But the facts indicate otherwise. At a
conservative estimate, there are to-day, in the United States alone, no
fewer than 75,000 avowed spiritists, in more or less regular attendance
at the meetings of nearly 450 spiritist societies, and possessing church
property valued at $2,000,000; and more than 1,500,000 believers who,
without openly identifying themselves with any society, accept the
ministrations of 1,500 public and 10,000 private mediums. Spiritism has
even "followed the flag" into the Philippines, séances being held at
Manila and elsewhere.

This certainly is a remarkable showing for a moribund religion, and
what makes it more remarkable is the fact that spiritism, from its very
beginnings sixty years ago, has been permeated with fraud. Its founders,
the Fox sisters, daughters of a New York farmer, were naughty little
girls who amused themselves by making strange noises which superstitious
persons interpreted as communications from the dead. This proving
profitable to the sisters Fox, the business of producing "spirit
knockings" spread from town to town, and forthwith modern spiritism was
born. Since then its record has been a long and dismal catalogue of
swindles exposed by skeptical investigators. Scarcely a month passes
without a story of some sensational exposé; yet, disproving all
predictions to the contrary, spiritism continues to expand, constantly
welcoming new recruits to its ranks.

Several reasons account for its amazing progress under what would appear
to be the most adverse conditions imaginable. One is the innate tendency
of many people to dabble with the occult and mysterious. Another is the
appeal spiritism makes to the most sacred emotions of humanity. Its
central doctrine is that it is possible for the dead to communicate
with their surviving relatives and friends, through the mediumship of
"psychics" gifted with extraordinary powers. Thus the hope is raised
that messages of good cheer may be received from loved ones who have
passed to the great Beyond--that their voices may be heard, their faces
seen, and their hands clasped by those from whom death has separated
them.

To the spiritistic séance, consequently, go grief-stricken men and
women, skeptical perhaps, but fervently hopeful that their skepticism
will be overcome. To borrow Professor James's striking phrase, they are
already deeply imbued with "the will to believe," and are in no mood
for close observation of what happens in the séance room. Usually, to
speak plainly, they are utterly lacking in the qualities that make a
scientific investigator. The sense of their loss is all-absorbing, and
in this state of mind it is easy for any trickster who poses as a medium
to delude them into fancying that they have actually been in touch with
the dead.

But the main reason why spiritism has survived repeated exposés, and
persists as a force to be reckoned with in the religious life of to-day,
is the fact that it is by no means altogether synonymous with swindling.
There are certain phenomena, particularly so-called automatic speaking
and writing, which it is out of the question to attribute invariably to
trickery and deceit. While one need have no hesitation in dismissing
as fraudulent[22] all "physical" mediums--that is to say, mediums
whose stock in trade is the production of such phenomena as the
"materialization" of spirit forms and faces, the levitation and flinging
about of furniture, and the striking of the "sitters" by unseen
hands--the case of the automatists, or "psychical" mediums, is decidedly
different.

      [22] Of course, strictly speaking, the term "fraudulent"
      should not be applied to those mediums who are the victims of
      a peculiar form of hysteria. This is discussed in detail in
      the next chapter.

These are mediums who, after passing into a peculiar condition of
trance, and occasionally while seemingly in their usual waking state,
appear to be controlled by some outside intelligence, and, when so
controlled, utter or write information which it is hard, if not
impossible, to believe they could have obtained by any ordinary means.
To be sure, there is a host of spurious automatists, against whom one
cannot be too watchfully on guard. Some of these are out and out cheats,
as brazen as the most rascally materializers. Some depend for their
success on guessing and on inferences shrewdly drawn from hints
unconsciously dropped by their patrons. Quite a number, however,
undoubtedly seem to exercise a gift not possessed--or, at all events,
not utilized--by everyday men and women.

One Sunday evening, in the late nineties, I visited the spiritist church
on Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, of which the late Ira Moore Corliss was
then pastor. In his day Mr. Corliss was probably the most prominent
medium in Brooklyn, a city where spiritism has always flourished. He was
an obviously religious-minded man, and one who sincerely believed that
it was his mission to act as an intermediary between this world and the
next. That evening the usual order of services in spiritist churches
was followed--a prayer, some hymn singing, a sermon, or "inspirational
discourse," and, lastly, the giving of "test messages," in which the
medium passed rapidly up and down the aisles, pausing here and there to
deliver oral communications alleged to come from the world of spirits.

Seated next to me was an elderly gentleman of dignified appearance, who
watched the proceedings with a quiet smile of contempt. It was evident
that this was the first time he had ever seen anything of the kind, and
that he was both amused and disgusted. Suddenly Mr. Corliss, halting
directly in front of him, said, in the quick, nervous way common to him
when under "spirit control":

"I have a message for you, sir."

"For me?" repeated the elderly gentleman, incredulously.

"Yes, sir, for you. There is a spirit here that wants to thank you for
your kindly thought of him to-day. It is the spirit of a rather tall
man, heavily built, clean-shaven, with bright, tender eyes. He says his
name is Henry Ward Beecher."

The smile faded from the other's face. He bent forward, listening
intently.

"Go on," he said.

"This spirit," continued the medium, "says that he is glad to know you
have not forgotten him. He says that he was with you this afternoon,
when you went to the cemetery and took this flower from his grave."

With a dramatic gesture Mr. Corliss drew from the lapel of his
astonished auditor's coat a sprig of geranium, and held it up so that
all could see it.

"Am I not right?" he demanded.

"You are. Quite right."

Afterward I joined the elderly gentleman on the sidewalk, and plied him
with questions. I found him greatly mystified.

"This is too much for me," said he. "I am a stranger to Brooklyn, and
had never attended a spiritualist meeting until to-night. I only dropped
in out of curiosity. But it is true that this afternoon I visited the
cemetery where Henry Ward Beecher is buried, and picked this flower from
near his grave, as a memento of my visit. Mr. Beecher was a very good
friend to me in my younger days. How the medium could know these facts
I cannot imagine. I had told nobody of my trip to the cemetery, and I am
positive that no one saw me pick the flower."

On another occasion I took an artist friend to the first séance he ever
attended. The medium was a psychic of the Corliss type, an automatist
who delivered his "spirit messages" by word of mouth. There were
perhaps a dozen other sitters present. To one of these, a thin, gaunt,
haggard-looking young woman, the entranced medium announced the presence
of "a spirit named Wagner." It was none other, it appeared, than the
spirit of the great musician, who promised he would aid her with her
musical compositions. A smile of infinite content transformed her
careworn features, as she leaned over and whispered to my friend:

"The spirit of Liszt is already helping me. With Wagner's aid I cannot
fail."

One could not smile in face of the story of boundless faith and pitiful
struggle these few words told. And with the next sitter pathos rose to
positive tragedy.

"There is the spirit of a man here, whose name is Frederick," the
medium declared, "and he comes to you, madam. Take my hand."

Slowly a woman, dressed in deep mourning, stood up and extended her
hand. Intensity was written in every line of her face.

"There were two Fredericks," she said. "Which is it?"

"It is the Frederick--it is the Frederick, who, while on earth, did
this."

And he struck her sharply on the arm. Tears filled her eyes.

"I understand," she murmured, "I understand. What does he say?"

All this was interesting, but not convincing. For aught we could tell to
the contrary, the medium had familiarized himself with the life stories
of these women, who doubtless were regular attendants at his séances.
But now he passed to the friend by my side.

"A message for you, sir," said he, "from the spirit of a
military-looking man. Yes, he says that when he was in this sphere he
was a commander of soldiers, a general. This is what he looks like."

He launched into a long description, which I could see was making a
profound impression on my friend.

"Has he anything particular to say to me?" he asked.

"He says that you must on no account decline the offer that has been
made to you to go West--that you will never regret going."

Less than two hours earlier my companion had told me of a commission
unexpectedly tendered him, involving a long sojourn in California. At
the medium's words he turned pale, and glanced around as though half
expecting to see a ghost standing behind his chair.

When the séance had come to an end, and we were walking home together,
he solemnly assured me that the medium had accurately described a dead
friend, an army officer of the rank of general, whose advice, had he
been alive, he would have sought with regard to his projected journey to
California.

Again, there is an interesting case reported from New England by the
Reverend Willis M. Cleaveland. Among Mr. Cleaveland's parishioners was
a young woman, Miss Edith Wright, who developed mediumistic abilities,
being controlled at times by what purported to be a discarnate spirit.
Dreading notoriety, Miss Wright gave very few séances, and then only
to her closest friends or to sitters with whom her friends were well
acquainted, and in whose discretion they could place reliance.

One of these was Mr. Cleaveland, who, being interested in psychical
research, undertook to obtain, if possible, proof of the identity of
the supposed communicating spirit. If you really are a spirit, he said
in effect, you ought to be able to give us some facts about yourself,
something about your history while you were on earth, with data that
will enable us to obtain confirmation of what you say. The "control"
readily conceded the reasonableness of this, and in the course of
several séances made twenty-six personal statements, of which the most
significant were:

That her name was Amelia B. Norton.

That she had been the daughter of an orthodox clergyman, of the "water
type."

That she had lived near the Kennebec River, in the State of Maine.

That when writing letters it had been her custom to sign herself by the
initials N. N., meaning Nellie Norton.

That she had died in middle life.

That when quite young she had had a love affair with a Mr. L. C. Brown,
who was still living and engaged in business in Boston, at an address
which the "spirit" gave.

As goes without saying, Mr. Cleaveland at once wrote to Mr. Brown, and
in a few days received a reply from him, in which he said:

"I was out in the town of Sharon very recently, and called on an elderly
gentleman who was a manufacturer there when I resided there as a boy in
my teens. To my surprise, as we were reviving old recollections of fifty
years ago, he spoke of a Miss Norton that he said I was sweet on at that
time.

"The facts of the case are that Mary B. Norton, who always signed
herself Nellie B. Norton, came there, a young miss about my age. We
were, I guess, ardent lovers, but in the course of two years I left the
town and she did, and I knew very little of her for a few years after
that. I think it was about five years later that on my way home from the
White Mountains I stopped off at her home in Maine, which was beside a
large river. I feel sure this was the Kennebec River. Her father was an
orthodox minister, but I do not understand the meaning of the 'water
type.' I think some two years later she was residing in Fairhaven and
sent me some papers that contained letters written by Mary B. Norton,
but from that time--some over forty years--I have not seen her. I heard
that she died some years ago, and think she must have been about fifty
years of age."

Later Mr. Brown wrote again, saying that on second thought he was not
certain that her name might not have been Amelia instead of Mary, as he
had always known her "only as Nellie B."[23]

      [23] This case is reported in detail in the _Proceedings of
      the American Society for Psychical Research_, vol. ii, pp.
      119-138.

It is to the constant occurrence of incidents like these that the
vitality of spiritism is mainly due. To many people it seems impossible
to account for such detailed and abundantly corroborated proofs of
personal identity on any hypothesis short of actual spirit control. Yet
in the last analysis, when viewed in the sober light of latter-day
scientific knowledge of the workings of the human mind, it will be found
that they do not afford the conclusive demonstration of the validity of
the spiritistic doctrine which on the surface they appear to yield. For
there is always the possibility--amounting, I feel warranted in saying,
to certainty--that what they really indicate is not communication with
the dead, but thought transference between living minds.

In fact the telepathic connection between the mind of the medium and
the mind of the sitter is often most obvious. Take the three cases
just cited, and which are typical of mediumistic communications. The
statements made by the medium Corliss to the friend of Henry Ward
Beecher were statements relating to an incident fresh in the latter's
memory, and therefore easily obtainable by the telepathic process,
which, there is reason to believe, is exceptionally at the command of
genuine psychics. Likewise, my artist friend was much occupied mentally
with the problems involved in the California offer, and was doubtless
thinking of it, consciously or subconsciously, at the time the medium
invoked the "spirit" of the army officer whose advice my friend would
have sought had that officer still been in the flesh. All the medium had
to do was to tap telepathically my friend's subconsciousness and extract
from it every detail of the "revelation" so sensationally made to him in
the séance room.

Slightly different, however, is the case of Miss Edith Wright. Here
the facts thought to emanate from the dead Amelia B. Norton were facts
concerning which Miss Wright's sitter, the Reverend Mr. Cleaveland, was
ignorant. But it is most significant that, continuing his researches,
Mr. Cleaveland made the discovery that Miss Norton's old sweetheart, Mr.
Brown, had had at least one sitting with Miss Wright. Mr. Brown denied
that he had ever said anything about Miss Norton in Miss Wright's
presence; but his memory may have played him false, and, in any event,
she could have got from him by telepathy the data with which she
afterward astonished both him and Mr. Cleaveland. Let me remind the
reader that among the few definitely ascertained laws of telepathy
is the fact that it is possible for telepathic messages to lie long
latent in the recipient's mind before emerging above the threshold of
consciousness.

This is of even greater significance in connection with the rarer, but
still quite numerous, instances in which the mediumistic communications
offered as evidence of spirit identity refer to incidents not known by
the medium or by the sitter or by any previous sitter. These, spiritists
insist, are absolutely inexplicable on the telepathic basis. I can make
their position clearer by citing an illustrative case taken from the
experience of that greatest of automatists, the New England medium, Mrs.
Leonora E. Piper, whose remarkable mediumistic faculty was first made
known to the scientific world by Professor James thirty years ago, and
who has since been repeatedly investigated by leading members of the
Society for Psychical Research. Detectives have been employed to dog her
footsteps, open her mail, watch her every move. But not once have they
detected her in fraudulent practices; and, on the other hand, she has
given such convincing proof of the genuineness of her power that some of
the most skeptical among her investigators have ended by accepting at
face value her "messages from the dead."

On one occasion, while she was being investigated in England by a
committee of experts, that famous English psychical researcher, Sir
Oliver Lodge, placed in her hands, while she was entranced, a gold watch
once the property of an uncle of his who had died some twenty years
before. It was now owned by another uncle, a twin brother of the dead
man.

"I was told almost immediately," says Sir Oliver, "that it had belonged
to one of my uncles--one that had been very fond of Uncle Robert, the
name of the survivor--that the watch was now in the possession of this
same Uncle Robert, with whom its late owner was anxious to communicate.
After some difficulty and many wrong attempts, Doctor Phinuit--a
'spirit' alleged to be controlling Mrs. Piper--caught the name Jerry,
short for Jeremiah, and said emphatically, as if impersonating him:
'This is my watch, and Robert is my brother, and I am here. Uncle Jerry,
my watch.'

"All this at the first sitting on the very morning the watch had arrived
by post, no one but myself and a shorthand clerk, who happened to have
been introduced for the first time at this sitting by me, and whose
antecedents were well known to me, being present.

"Having thus ostensibly got into communication through some means or
other with what purported to be Uncle Jerry, whom I had indeed known
slightly in his later years of blindness, but of whose early life I knew
nothing, I pointed out to him that to make Uncle Robert aware of his
presence it would be well to recall trivial details of their boyhood,
all of which I would faithfully report.

"He quite caught the idea, and proceeded during several successive
sittings ostensibly to instruct Doctor Phinuit to mention a number
of little things such as would enable his brother to recognize him.
References to his blindness, illness, and main facts of his life were
comparatively useless from my point of view; but these details of
boyhood, two-thirds of a century ago, were utterly and entirely out of
my ken.

"'Uncle Jerry' recalled episodes such as swimming the creek when they
were boys together, and running some risk of getting drowned; killing a
cat in Smith's field; the possession of a small rifle, and of a long,
peculiar skin, like a snakeskin, which he thought was now in the
possession of Uncle Robert.

"All these facts have been more or less completely verified. But the
interesting thing is that his twin brother, from whom I got the watch
and with whom I was thus in correspondence, could not remember them all.
He recollected something about swimming the creek, though he himself
had merely looked on. He had a distinct recollection of having had the
snakeskin, and of the box in which it was kept, though he did not know
where it was then. But he altogether denied killing the cat, and could
not recall Smith's field.

"His memory, however, was decidedly failing him, and he was good enough
to write to another brother, Frank, living in Cornwall, an old sea
captain, and ask if he had any better remembrance of certain facts--of
course not giving any inexplicable reason for asking. The result of this
inquiry was triumphantly to vindicate the existence of Smith's field as
a place near their home, where they used to play in Barking, Essex; and
the killing of a cat by another brother was also recollected; while of
the swimming of the creek, near a mill-race, full details were given,
Frank and Jerry being the heroes of that foolhardy episode."

Sir Oliver Lodge himself appears to believe that he was actually in
communication, through Mrs. Piper, with his dead Uncle Jerry; and by
spiritists generally this is alluded to as a characteristic instance
impossible of explanation on the theory of telepathy between living
minds. But it is pertinent to point out that possibly, in his childhood,
Sir Oliver may have heard his uncles, in some moment of reminiscence,
discussing these very incidents. He would naturally have forgotten the
episode, so far as conscious recollection of it was concerned; but he
would none the less have retained some memory of their conversation in
his subconsciousness, whence Mrs. Piper could have gained knowledge of
it telepathically. And, even had he never heard of the incidents, they
might indeed have been transmitted to him telepathically from the
surviving uncles, and been by him retransmitted to Mrs. Piper.

This last possibility, involving as it does telepathy between more than
two persons, may seem to be far-fetched. But there is plenty of evidence
that telepathy of this sort--known technically as _telepathie à
trois_--is an actuality. I have in mind one particularly interesting
case studied by Mr. Andrew Lang, the brilliant essayist and psychical
researcher. It concerns a crystal-gazer named Miss Angus.

"Again and again," to give Mr. Lang's own words, "Miss Angus, sitting
with man or woman, described acquaintances of theirs but not of hers,
in situations not known to the sitters but proved to be true to fact.
In one instance, Miss Angus described doings, from three weeks to a
fortnight old, of people in India, people whom she had never seen or
heard of, but who were known to her sitter. Her account, given on a
Saturday, was corroborated by a letter from India, which arrived next
day, Sunday. In another case she described--about ten P. M.--what a
lady, not known to her, but the daughter of a matron present, who was
not the sitter, had been doing about four P. M. on the same day. Again,
sitting with a lady, Miss Angus described a singular set of scenes much
in the mind, not of her sitter, but of a very unsympathetic stranger,
who was reading a book at the other end of the room.

"I have tried every hypothesis, normal and not so normal, to account
for these and analogous performances of Miss Angus. There was, in the
Indian and other cases, no physical possibility of collusion; chance
coincidence did not seem adequate; ghosts were out of the question, so
was direct clairvoyance. Nothing remained for the speculative theorizer
but the idea of cross currents of telepathy between Miss Angus, a casual
stranger, the sitters, and people far away, known to the sitters or the
stranger, but unknown to Miss Angus.

"Now," adds Mr. Lang, in a paragraph that every attendant at spiritistic
séances would do well to learn by heart, "suppose that Miss Angus,
instead of dealing with living people by way of crystal-visions, had
dealt by way of voice or automatic handwriting, and had introduced a
dead 'communicator.' Then she would have been on a par with Mrs. Piper,
yet with no aid from the dead."

That automatists "read the mind" of their sitters, or draw upon the
contents of their own subconsciousness in obtaining the facts which
they give out as coming from the spirit world, is further evident from
experiments in automatic writing conducted by several American and
English psychical researchers.[24]

      [24] The extent to which automatists sometimes draw on the
      contents of their own subconsciousness is strikingly
      illustrated by a case investigated by Mr. Lowes Dickinson,
      wherein the medium, an estimable young lady of his
      acquaintance, was seemingly "controlled" by the "spirit" of
      a noblewoman of the Middle Ages, who described the customs,
      manners, and personages of the country in which she claimed
      to have lived, in such minute detail and with such accuracy
      that it seemed certain this was one case at all events in
      which survival had been proved. Ultimately it was discovered
      that every fact given by the alleged spirit was contained in
      a little known historical novel which the medium had read,
      but read only once, when a very small girl. So far as
      conscious recollection went she had forgotten all about this
      book, but subconsciously she had evidently retained a
      marvelously exact memory of it.

But when they are genuine automatists, it would be unjust to accuse
them of conscious deception in attributing their communications to
discarnate spirits. The trance state into which they usually fall is
an abnormal condition, and is not unlike, if not identical with, the
hypnotic state. As will be shown in detail later, one of the distinctive
characteristics of hypnosis is the preternaturally increased
suggestibility of the person hypnotized. He will accept and act upon
the slightest suggestion of the hypnotist, no matter how ridiculous
and absurd the suggestion may be, so long as it is not repugnant to
his moral sense. Moreover, he can be induced to think that he is some
one other than his real self, and will often assume the traits of the
suggested personality with a fidelity that is astounding.

So, likewise, we must believe, with the automatist, who will impersonate
anybody suggested--albeit suggested quite unconsciously--by the
sitters, whether it be the "spirit" of a Greek philosopher, an Indian
chief, or the deceased friend of some one present. Usually he is so
deeply entranced as to have no knowledge of what he is doing, just as
the hypnotized subject remains in ignorance of the actions he carries
out in response to the operator's suggestions. But there is a record
of at least one instance in which the automatist, an amateur psychical
researcher named Charles H. Tout, of Vancouver, clearly recognized that
his various impersonations were suggested to him by the spectators.

Mr. Tout relates that after attending a few séances with some friends he
felt an impulse to play medium himself and assume an alien personality.
Yielding to this impulse, he discovered that, without losing complete
control of his consciousness, he could develop a secondary self that
would impose on the beholders as a discarnate spirit. On one occasion he
thus impersonated the "spirit" of a dead woman, the mother of a friend
present, and his impersonation was accepted as a genuine case of
spirit control. On another, after having given several successful
impersonations, he suddenly felt weak and ill. At this point, he states:

"One of the sitters made the remark, which I remember to have overheard,
'It is father controlling him,' and I then seemed to realize who I was
and whom I was seeking. I began to be distressed in my lungs, and should
have fallen if they had not held me by the hands and let me back gently
upon the floor. I was in a measure still conscious of my actions, though
not of my surroundings, and I have a clear memory of seeing myself in
the character of my dying father lying in the bed and in the room in
which he died. It was a most curious sensation. I saw his shrunken hands
and face, and lived again through his dying moments; only now I was both
myself--in some indistinct sort of way--and my father, with his feelings
and appearance."

All of which Mr. Tout rightly attributes to "the dramatic working out,
by some half-conscious stratum of his personality, of suggestions
made at the time by other members of the circle, or received in prior
experiences of the kind."

Add to this the known facts of telepathic action, and there is no need
of looking further for a comprehensive explanation of the otherwise
perplexing and supernatural-seeming phenomena of psychic automatism.
This applies even to the phenomenon of so-called "cross-correspondence,"
which has been especially stressed the past few years by certain members
of the Society for Psychical Research as affording proof positive of
survival.

With reference to this particular problem, it should in the first place
be said that, in addition to Mrs. Piper, there are a number of other
automatic writers who have been similarly investigated by the
Society for Psychical Research for a long term of years, and whose
trustworthiness has likewise been definitely established. They include a
Mrs. Holland, a Mrs. Forbes, a Mrs. Thompson, Mrs. Verrall, of Newnham
College, Cambridge, England, and Mrs. Verrall's daughter, Miss Helen
Verrall. Through these ladies thousands of alleged "spirit messages"
have been received, including many purporting to come from Edmund
Gurney, Henry Sidgwick, Frederic Myers, and Richard Hodgson, who in
their lifetime were the most active and prominent members of the Society
for Psychical Research. And among the automatic writings supposed to
emanate from them there have been not a few so peculiarly conditioned
as to suggest not only that the "spirits" of the four great psychical
researchers are in touch with their living friends, but that they are
working hard to devise special tests to prove their identity.

To put the matter more concretely, let me cite the case of Mrs. Holland.
This lady is a resident of India. In 1893, having seen in the _Review
of Reviews_ a reference to automatic writing, she experimented in it
herself, and found that she possessed the faculty of penning coherent
sentences without being conscious of what she was writing. She continued
these experiments for ten years, or until 1903, when, after reading
Myers's "Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death," she one
day discovered that her automatic writing was seemingly no longer
spontaneous, but controlled by two outside intelligences that called
themselves "Myers" and "Gurney." Each "control," alternating with the
other, caused her to write long communications, in which there was
mingled with much that seemed unintelligible and nonsensical long
descriptions of unnamed persons and places. Her interest aroused, Mrs.
Holland collected a number of these communications and mailed them to
Miss Alice Johnson, Research Officer of the English Society for
Psychical Research.

Examining them carefully, Miss Johnson discovered, much to her surprise,
that they contained unmistakable references to people and the homes of
people whom Myers and Gurney had known intimately, but of whom, as Miss
Johnson satisfied herself by searching inquiry, Mrs. Holland had no
knowledge. Thus there was an excellent description of Mrs. Verrall, her
husband, Dr. A. W. Verrall, and the Verrall dining-room, in which Myers
had often been entertained. Even the street address of the Verralls was
correctly given. Miss Johnson, as may be imagined, at once wrote, urging
Mrs. Holland to continue her automatic writing, and to forward all her
script to the offices of the Society. This was done, with the result
that much else of a seemingly evidential value was soon obtained. It
was especially noted that, although Mrs. Holland knew nothing of Latin
and Greek, her communications from the Myers control occasionally
contained passages written in both these languages, with which Myers
had been well acquainted.

November 25, 1903, the Gurney control wrote in the automatic script:
"Now there is an experiment I want you to make--Suggest to the P. R.--to
Miss J.--that some one with a trained will--she will have no difficulty
in finding some one of the sort--is to try--for a few minutes--every
morning for at least a month--to convey a thought--a phrase--a
name--anything they like--to your mind." In due course this suggestion
was sent by Mrs. Holland to Miss Johnson, who arranged for a series of
such experiments, with Mrs. Verrall acting as the second medium.

The experiments began in March, 1905, were continued until towards
the end of May, and were resumed for a few weeks in the spring of the
following year. The scheme adopted, however, was not exactly that
suggested by the Gurney control. Instead of simply attempting to convey
some thought to Mrs. Holland's mind, Mrs. Verrall, at Miss Johnson's
suggestion, wrote automatically herself on each day that Mrs. Holland
was to write. Neither medium was to hold the slightest communication
with the other, but both were to forward their automatic scripts to Miss
Johnson as soon as written. In fact, in order to prevent any loophole
for fraud, Miss Johnson throughout the 1905 experiments kept Mrs.
Holland in ignorance of the identity of her fellow-experimenter, who, on
her side, was ignorant of Mrs. Holland's real name--the "Holland" being
a pseudonym. Some exceedingly interesting results were secured.

March 1, 1905, Mrs. Holland's script contained these sentences, "There
are cut flowers in the blue jar--jonquils I think and tulips--growing
tulips near the window. A dull day, but the sky hints at spring, and one
chirping bird is heard above the roar of the traffic." In reply to a
questioning letter from Miss Johnson, Mrs. Verrall wrote:

"On March 1 the only cut flowers in my drawing-room were in two blue
china jars on the mantelpiece; the flowers were large single daffodils.
On the ledge of the window ... were three pots of growing yellow
tulips--the only flowers near any window. The day was dull in the
morning, but about twelve the sun came out and it was warm; it rained
heavily in the afternoon."

There was no "cross-correspondence" in the writings of the two scripts
for this or the next two weeks--the experimenters wrote only once a
week--but in the scripts of the week following Miss Johnson found a
curious coincidence--the presence of notes of music. Only once before
or since, she testifies, have notes of music appeared in the script of
either Mrs. Verrall or Mrs. Holland. In Mrs. Holland's script of that
same date, March 22, there was also a reference to "the ivory gate
through which all good dreams come." Mrs. Verrall, it was learned, on
March 19 or 20, had been reading Virgil's passage in the "Æneid" about
the gates of horn and ivory. She had been reading Dante, too, in the
original Italian, the first time she had read anything in Italian for
months; and, oddly enough, Mrs. Holland's script for March 22 contained
a sentence in Italian.

Later scripts were characterized by even more striking correspondences,
and--which is not without interest--on more than one occasion
the "controls" issued warnings against placing faith in Eusapia
Paladino. For instance, on December 1, 1905, the Myers control wrote
through Mrs. Holland: "There may be raps genuine enough of their
kind--I concede the raps--poltergeist merely--but the luminous
appearances--the sounds of a semi-musical nature--the flower falling
upon the table--trickery--trickery." And the Gurney control added:
"Her feet are very important--Next time can't Miss J. sit with the
sapient feet both touching hers--Let her fix her thoughts on the feet
and prevent the least movement of them."

As American investigators have since discovered, Eusapia's feet are
indeed important.

These first experiments were followed by others, in which, besides Mrs.
Holland and Mrs. Verrall, all four of the other mediums mentioned above
took part, and again suggestive cross-correspondences were secured.
Besides which, having been induced by the results of the Verrall-Holland
experiments to study more closely earlier scripts stored in the
Society's archives, Miss Johnson discovered what seemed to be similar
cross-correspondences that occurred before any experiments of this kind
were undertaken. I can give only one or two illustrations. August 28,
1901, Mrs. Forbes wrote a message purporting to come from her dead son
Talbot, to the effect that he had to leave her in order to control
another "sensitive," and through her obtain corroboration of Mrs.
Forbes's own automatic writing. On the same day Mrs. Verrall wrote in
Latin of a fir tree planted in a garden, and the script was signed with
a sword and a suspended bugle. The latter was part of the badge of the
regiment to which Talbot Forbes had belonged, and Mrs. Forbes had in
her garden some fir trees grown from seed sent to her by her son. These
facts, according to Miss Johnson, were unknown to Mrs. Verrall.

In another case Mrs. Forbes wrote, on November 26 and 27, 1902,
references, absolutely meaningless to herself, to a passage in a book
which Mrs. Verrall had been reading on those days; and the references
also applied appropriately to an obscure sentence in Mrs. Verrall's own
script of November 26.

But undoubtedly the most impressive cross-correspondences were obtained
in a series of experiments extending from November, 1906, to June, 1907,
and involving concordant automatism between Mrs. Holland, in India, and
Mrs. Piper, Mrs. Verrall, and Miss Verrall, in England. A full report
on this series is given in the October, 1908, issue of the Society's
_Proceedings_. The plan followed was to suggest to the controls of
Mrs. Piper--in her case the alleged "spirits" of Myers, Sidgwick, and
Hodgson--that they transmit to one or more of the other automatists some
test word or message. There were many failures, but there were also many
seeming successes.

January 16, 1907, the Myers control promised that it would, as a proof
of its identity, cause Mrs. Holland and Mrs. Verrall to sign a piece of
automatic writing with a triangle drawn within a circle. A circle with a
triangle inside it actually appeared in Mrs. Verrall's script of January
28, while a script from Mrs. Holland exhibited several geometrical
figures, including a circle with a triangle outside it. February 6 the
same control said that it had just been referring, through Mrs. Verrall,
to a "library matter," and investigation showed that half an hour
earlier Mrs. Verrall, writing at her home in Cambridge, had begun a
script in which the word "library" occurred three times--the only time
during the period of the experiments that "library" was mentioned in
her automatic writing or in Mrs. Piper's trance statements. The Myers
control again, on February 11, announced that it had given "hope, star,
and Browning" to Mrs. Verrall, and her script showed that this was
correct. February 12 the Hodgson control declared it had been trying to
impress the word "arrow" on Mrs. Verrall. Her script for the previous
day, when received at the Society's offices in London, proved to be
decorated with a drawing of three arrows.

It is the multiplicity of coincidences like these--and I have given only
the merest fragment of the evidence in hand--that has recently persuaded
many hitherto hesitating psychical researchers, notably Sir Oliver
Lodge, that scientific proof of spirit communication has veritably been
obtained. For myself, I must frankly say, however, that I cannot accept
this view of the case. Fraud, I admit, is out of the question as an
explanatory hypothesis. Nor does it seem possible to explain away the
evidence on the theory of mere chance, guessing, "lucky hits," etc. But
there remains the hypothesis of telepathy between living minds; and,
as it seems to me, there is nothing whatever in the evidence presented
incompatible with the view that the cross-correspondences in question
resulted from direct thought transference between the automatists
themselves.



CHAPTER V

POLTERGEISTS AND MEDIUMS


We have now to consider a very different class of spiritistic
manifestations, the so-called "physical phenomena," which are
historically among the earliest on record, and at the same time are far
more spectacular and sensational than the phenomena produced by the
automatic speakers and writers. They include such weird occurrences as
the appearance in the séance room of ghostly forms alleged to be spirits
"materialized" by the power of the medium; the lifting of the latter
from the floor by an invisible force; the touching, pinching, and
striking of the sitters by unseen hands, and the movement of small
articles of furniture as though alive.

Occasionally, when the medium is particularly gifted, still more
striking happenings take place. Thus, at a séance with Eusapia Paladino,
attended by such eminent scientists as Professors Lombroso, Bianchi,
Tamburini, Vizioli, and Ascensi, men whose veracity is beyond question,
it is recorded by Lombroso[25] that:

      [25] "After Death--What?" pp. 57-58.

"We saw a great curtain, which separated our room from an alcove
adjoining, and which was more than three feet distant from the medium,
suddenly move out toward me, envelop me, and wrap me close. Nor was I
able to free myself from it except with great difficulty.

"A dish of flour had been put in the little alcove room, at a distance
of more than four and a half feet from the medium, who, in her trance,
had thought, or, at any rate, spoken, of sprinkling some of the flour in
our faces. When light was made, it was found that the dish was bottom
side up, with the flour under it. This was dry, to be sure, but
coagulated, like gelatine. This circumstance seems to me doubly
irreconcilable--first, with the laws of chemistry, and, second, with
the power of movement of the medium, who had not only been bound as to
her feet, but had her hands held tight by our hands.

"When the lights had been turned on, and we were all ready to go, a
great wardrobe that stood in the alcove room, about six and a half feet
away from us, was seen advancing slowly towards us. It seemed like a
huge pachyderm that was proceeding in leisurely fashion to attack us."

Other investigators, men of equally high character, report marvels no
less amazing. On one occasion, Eusapia Paladino is credited with having
created an invisible man, a being which the sitters could distinctly
feel, although they could not see it, and which, annoyed by their
inquisitive prodding, finally turned on one of them and bit him in
the thumb. For this we have the authority of Professors Morselli and
Barzini, the latter being the investigator whose thumb was bitten.

Again, two English noblemen, Lords Dunraven and Crawford, affirm that
they several times saw another medium, the late D. D. Home, floating
through the air; once at a height of more than seventy feet above the
ground; and that the same medium, by some "spiritual" agency, was
elongated in full view of them, so that they beheld his stature visibly
increase, to decrease again to normal height only when he came out of
the trance condition.[26]

      [26] A detailed account of Home's performances will be found
      in my book, "Historic Ghosts and Ghost-Hunters," pp. 143-170.

Unfortunately, the "spirits" that perform these uncanny feats have a
strong liking for darkness, a circumstance which has led to wholesale,
and repeatedly substantiated, accusations of fraud. In fact, there is
no other department of spiritism to which the taint of fraud has so
thoroughly attached itself. It is obvious that any clever charlatan, by
persuading his sitters that darkness is necessary for the development of
occult phenomena, can produce most mystifying effects, and the records
of scientific investigations, to say nothing of the records of our
police courts, abound in evidence that swindlers have not been slow in
availing themselves of this opportunity to prey on the credulous and
superstitious. The lengths to which bogus mediums will sometimes go, and
the extreme gullibility which renders their operations ridiculously easy
and highly profitable, are amusingly illustrated by a story told by Mr.
Hereward Carrington, an investigator who has done much to make the
public acquainted with the ways of fraudulent "psychics."

One of these, according to Mr. Carrington, had among his patrons an
elderly business man, the head of a large concern that manufactured
farming implements. After several months of intercourse, during which
the medium deftly led him on from marvel to marvel, until at last there
was no "phenomenon" too incredible for him to swallow, he was informed
that at the next séance he would have the unique experience of
conversing with the spirit of a deceased inhabitant of the planet
Jupiter.

Sure enough, after the lights had been carefully turned low, he was
accosted by a tall, shadowy figure, which announced itself as a spirit
from Jupiter, and which, speaking excellent English, proceeded to
describe the conditions of life in that far-off sphere. The Jupiterians,
it appeared, were a poor, ignorant lot, scarcely removed from barbarism;
they were greatly in need of civilization, and any one who should help
in civilizing them would be generously rewarded in the future life.

"I should be glad to do all in my power," the business man eagerly
volunteered, "but I'm afraid there's nothing I could do."

"Yes, indeed, there is. I understand that you make farm implements and
machinery. Well, they haven't as much as a spade on Jupiter. If you
would send a few tools there, it would be a great step toward civilizing
them."

"But how in the world could I get anything to them?"

"That is quite simple," the "spirit" glibly explained. "Just send the
things to the medium here, and he will dematerialize them and ship them
to Jupiter, where they will be rematerialized."

Instead of seeing in this a daring attempt to fleece him, the victim
joyfully acquiesced, and sent a number of spades, plows, harrows, etc.,
to the medium, who promptly disposed of them, not to the people of
Jupiter, but to a dealer in such articles. Other séances followed, the
spirit from Jupiter again appearing and describing in picturesque
language the beneficent consequences of the welcome presents. This meant
more gifts, which steadily increased in number and value, until the
confederate who had been playing the part of the dead Jupiterian finally
became frightened.

"Look here," he told the medium, "this has got to stop. It was all
very well when you were satisfied with plows, and rakes, and little
things like that, but now that you have got him giving you horses and
harvesters there's bound to be trouble. He's sure to find out in the
end, and some fine morning we'll wake up on the inside of a jail."

"Oh, don't worry," said the medium. "He'll never find out anything."

"I'm not so certain of that. At any rate, you'll have to get somebody
to take my place."

One word led to another, and ended in a violent quarrel. The
confederate, vowing vengeance, called on the business man, and told him
how he had been duped. He was met with the astonishing reply:

"I don't believe a word you say."

"You don't?" he cried. "Didn't you send the medium, only yesterday, a
horse and cart to be dematerialized?"

"Yes."

"Well, if you wish to know where they are, come with me. He has them in
a stable near his house, waiting to find a buyer."

Together they went to the stable, where the confederate pointed out the
horse and cart that had been given to the medium. In particular, he
identified the cart by the number painted on it.

"Come, now," said he, "you can't deny that's your cart, can you?"

"Why," was the answer, "it does indeed look like my cart. But I know it
isn't."

"How do you know it isn't?"

"Because"--in a tone of solemn conviction--"I know that by this time my
cart is on Jupiter."

In another case, drawn to my attention by a lawyer friend, the victim
was a well-to-do Boston merchant, who had become interested in
spiritism shortly after the death of his wife, to whom he had been
devotedly attached, and with whose spirit he hoped to be brought into
communication. A medium, learning this, determined to profit from his
grief and longing, and hired a young woman to pose as the spirit of the
dead wife. He was then told that before long it would be possible to
"materialize" his wife from the spirit world with such substantiality
that he would be able to clasp her in his arms.

When the appointed time came, a slender form, draped in gauze, emerged
from the mediumistic cabinet into the darkened séance room, and saluted
him with a joyful cry of "Husband!" There was not light enough to see
the "spirit's" face, but he did not for an instant doubt that he was
really gazing at his wife, and rose to embrace her. At once the figure
vanished, and after the lights were turned up the medium explained that
there would have to be a good many "materializations" before the spirit
form would be solid enough for him to touch it.

This meant, of course, numerous séances, for which the deluded husband
paid handsomely. It also helped to blind him to the true state of
affairs, and increased his infatuation to such an extent that when at
length the "spirit" submitted to his caresses, it did not seem at all
incongruous to find that he was pressing to his breast a flesh-and-blood
woman.

The medium now resolved on a bold stroke. Acting under her instruction,
the "spirit" bitterly complained one evening that she did not possess
any jewelry.

"What!" her "husband" exclaimed. "Do you mean to say that they wear
jewelry in the other world?"

"Oh, yes. But nothing to compare with what I had while on earth. What
have you done with mine?"

"I have it all--every piece--put away in a little box."

"Good. Then if you will bring it to-morrow night, I can take it with me
when I leave you. The medium, you know, can dematerialize it for us."

"I will bring it. Rest assured of that."

Alas for husbandly devotion! The séance at which he turned over the
jewelry to the affectionate "spirit" of his wife was the last at which
he held communion with her. When he next called, he was told that the
medium had been unexpectedly summoned out of town. She never came back.

These two episodes are typical rather than exceptional instances of the
sort of thing that has been going on for years in connection with the
physical phenomena of spiritism. Its continuance has been made possible
largely by a widespread belief, entertained not by the ignorant and
superstitious merely, but by men of distinction in the intellectual and
scientific world, that, notwithstanding the prevalence of fraud, there
are at least some physical phenomena which must be accounted genuine.

Men like the Italian savants already named, the English naturalist,
Alfred Russel Wallace; the great chemist, Sir William Crookes; the
French astronomer, Camille Flammarion, and many others who might be
mentioned, are satisfied that they have witnessed in the séance
room occurrences out of all accord with natural laws, and not to be
attributed to fraud.

In support of this view, emphasis is laid on the fact that, leaving
out of consideration all mediums who employ their powers as a means of
livelihood, physical phenomena of the most bizarre sort have been
manifested through men and women in private life, who cannot possibly
have a pecuniary motive for deception, and whose character is beyond
reproach.

One of the most celebrated of physical mediums, in fact, was a clergyman
of the Church of England, the Reverend W. Stainton Moses, a gentleman
respected and warmly esteemed by all who knew him.[27]

      [27] An excellent study of the mediumship of Stainton Moses
      is contained in Frank Podmore's "Modern Spiritualism," vol.
      ii, pp. 276-288.

As a further argument in behalf of the authenticity of certain of the
phenomena, attention is also called to the interesting circumstance
that, long before spiritism and spiritistic mediums were heard of,
similar marvels--including seemingly spontaneous movements of furniture,
and the occurrence of mysterious raps, knockings, and other noises--were
frequently reported by thoroughly reputable witnesses.

To mention only a few cases,[28] as long ago as 1661 there was an
outbreak of this kind at the home of a wealthy Englishman named
Mompesson, an invisible ghost for months disturbing the peace of the
Mompesson family by beating on a drum, banging at doors, tugging at
bedclothes, and hurling household articles about in a most destructive
manner. The affair made so much stir that a royal commission was sent
to inquire into it, but signally failed to lay the ghost. For nearly a
year, in 1716-1717, the Reverend Samuel Wesley, father of the founder of
Methodism, was tormented in like fashion at his rectory in Lincolnshire.
In 1753 a Russian monastery was invaded by an equally malicious and
equally invisible "spirit," which for months amused itself by ringing
the monastery bells at unseemly hours. Nine years later all London
was thrilled by the celebrated Cock Lane ghost, which produced spirit
rappings with as much éclat as the most up-to-date, medium-invoked
visitant from "the other side." In none of these instances did
contemporary investigators find a wholly satisfactory explanation for
the singular phenomena involved.

      [28] Studied in detail in my book, "Historic Ghosts and
      Ghost-Hunters."

Nevertheless, it may confidently be affirmed that, instead of
strengthening the case for the physical phenomena of spiritism, the
doings of the poltergeists--as these tricky ghosts are called by
psychical researchers--considerably weaken it. For during recent years
a number of poltergeist hauntings have been looked into by members of
the Society for Psychical Research, and whenever the conditions have
been such as to permit a thorough investigation, it has been found
that, so far from being spiritual entities, poltergeists are invariably
compounded of deceit, credulity, and delusion. Even more important, from
the standpoint of getting at the true inwardness of physical mediumship,
the discovery has been made that fraud has frequently been practised in
poltergeist cases without any apparent motive.

Again I will give an instance from actual occurrence, in order to make
my meaning perfectly clear. Word was one day received at the London
offices of the Society for Psychical Research that a ghost had taken
possession of a farmhouse in Shropshire, and was making life miserable
for the lawful occupants, a family named Hampson and their two
maidservants, Priscilla Evans and Emma Davies. Nobody saw the ghost,
but it made its presence felt in true poltergeist style.

It had announced its advent, about four o'clock one fine afternoon, by
lifting a saucepan from the kitchen fire and throwing it across the
room, picking red-hot coals out of the fire and scattering them over the
floor, and by causing a lamp globe to fly miraculously through the air.
This last prank, naturally enough, so frightened the Hampsons and their
servants that they fled from the house, and summoned aid from the
nearest neighbors, among them a Mr. Lea, who, in the report that reached
the Society for Psychical Research,[29] declared that when he approached
the Hampson homestead, it seemed as if all the upstairs rooms were on
fire, "as there was such a light in the windows."

      [29] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xii, pp. 58-67.

Reënforced, the Hampsons made bold to enter the house again, but the
poltergeist had seemingly formed a strong dislike to them, for the
report added:

"As things were continuing to jump about the kitchen in a manner which
was altogether inexplicable, and many were getting damaged, Hampson
decided to remove everything out of the apartment. He accordingly took
down a barometer from the wall, when something struck him on the leg,
and a loaf of bread, which was on the table, was thrown by some
invisible means, and hit him on the back. A volume of 'Pilgrim's
Progress' was thrown, or jumped, through the window, and a large,
ornamental sea-shell went through in similar fashion.

"In the parlor a sewing machine was thrown about and damaged. The nurse
girl was nursing the baby by the fire when some fire leaped from the
grate, and the child's hair was singed and its arms burned. The girl was
so alarmed that she set off to a neighbor's, and on the way there her
clothes took fire, and had to be torn from her body. During the evening,
while the girl was at the neighbor's, a plate, which she touched while
having her supper, was repeatedly thrown on the floor, and the pieces
were picked up by some unseen agency, and put in the center of the
table."

On the girl's return to the Hampson place the manifestations broke out
anew. Mr. and Mrs. Lea were strongly of the opinion that they were the
work of the devil; the Hampsons, however, inclined to the view that the
blame lay at the door of some evil spirit that was especially desirous
of tormenting the nurse girl, Emma Davies, it being noticed that things
quieted down whenever she was out of the house. On this theory they
sent her to her home in a neighboring village, where the poltergeist
continued to annoy her. In the presence of a police officer, watching
her closely to detect evidence of fraud, it wrenched the buttons from
her dress and ripped out the stitches of her apron. While the village
schoolmistress and some twenty other people looked on, it twice drew off
her shoes and tossed them to the opposite side of the room; and it was
said to have afterward lifted her bodily from the floor, and held her
suspended in mid-air.

Clearly, this was a case calling for investigation, and the Society for
Psychical Research at once commissioned one of its expert detectives
of the supernatural, Mr. F. S. Hughes, to proceed to the scene of the
disturbances. But before he arrived, the mystery was solved. The girl,
it seems, had been made so nervous and excited by the unwelcome
attentions of the poltergeist that it was thought best to place her in a
physician's care, and she was accordingly taken to a sanitarium and kept
in strict seclusion, under the constant observation of the physician's
housekeeper, Miss Turner, a shrewd, level-headed woman. For three days,
the poltergeist continued to plague her. Then it suddenly took its
departure, under the following circumstances, narrated by Mr. Hughes in
his official report:

"On Tuesday morning Miss Turner was in an upper room at the back of
the house, and the servant of the establishment and Emma Davies were
outside, Emma having her back to the house, and unaware that she was
observed. Miss Turner noticed that she had a piece of brick in her hand,
held behind her back. This she threw to a distance by a turn of the
wrist, and, while doing so, screamed to attract the attention of the
servant, who, of course, turning round, saw the brick in the air, and
was very much frightened. Emma Davies, looking round, saw that she had
been seen by Miss Turner, and, apparently imagining that she had been
found out, was very anxious to return home that night.

"Miss Turner took no notice of the occurrence at the time, but the next
morning she asked the girl if she had been playing tricks, and the girl
confessed that she had, and went through some of the performances very
skillfully, according to Miss Turner's account. Later on in the day
she repeated these in the presence of the doctor, Miss Turner, and two
reporters from London."

Obviously, trickster though she was, the girl had no rational motive for
her conduct. It had already cost her a good position, and rendered it
most unlikely that she would easily get another. And, in fact, this same
absence of motive is conspicuous in nearly all the poltergeist cases
exposed by the Society for Psychical Research, and by independent
investigators. It is also noteworthy that when discovery is made,
the active agent is usually found to be a boy or girl, man or woman,
constitutionally or temporarily in an abnormal nervous condition.

In this particular case, for instance, the girl, Emma Davies, on the
testimony of her mother, was subject to "fits." In another case,
investigated by the Society, the poltergeist was definitely identified
with a little deformed girl, twelve years old, of decidedly abnormal
characteristics. In a third case, investigated by Mr. Frank Podmore,
another member of the Society and a specialist on poltergeists, a
confession of fraud was elicited from a neurotic boy of fifteen--a
confession only partial, it is true, but in one sense more illuminating
than any full confession would have been. The case is so instructive,
both for its revelation of the almost incredible credulity of many
devotees of spiritism, and for the light it throws on the problems of
physical mediumship, that I quote it, condensed, from Mr. Podmore's
detailed review of his investigation.[30]

      [30] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xii, pp. 101-103.

"In the autumn of 1894," he states, "Mrs. B., a lady living in a
provincial town, gave me an account of certain curious incidents which
had recently taken place in her house. The occupants of the house--an
old one--consisted, besides Mrs. B. and her family, of a widow lady,
Mrs. D., and her two children, a girl of about twenty, C. D., and a boy
of fifteen, E. D.

"Mrs. B., C. D., and E. D. had been in the habit of trying experiments
with planchette in the evening. Planchette had given them to understand
that the house was haunted by four spirits, a wicked marquis, a wicked
monk, a lay desperado, and a virtuous and beautiful young lady. These
spirits wrote, through planchette, of treasure concealed in the house,
of a hidden chamber, and many other matters. Among other proofs were the
following:

"One evening after dark, Mrs. B., in accordance with directions received
through planchette, went with C. D. and E. D. to an old oak tree in the
garden, and, standing with the girl and boy on either side, holding a
hand of each, she distinctly heard a stone strike the garden roller a
few feet off. The phenomenon was repeated twice; and her companions
solemnly assured her that they had no part in the performance.

"On another occasion, sitting in a bedroom in the dark, with only E. D.
in the room, Mrs. B. was struck by a stone on the temple, heard objects
thrown about the room, felt an arm put through hers, and so on. Some of
these phenomena occurred when she was alone in the room--but with the
door, I gathered, not shut.

"Mrs. B. one morning placed a white chrysanthemum bouquet on the boughs
of the oak tree. It disappeared shortly afterward, and on the next
morning two other small bouquets were found there. Mrs. B. asked for
whom these were intended, and went away, leaving pencil and paper. On
her return she found the paper torn in half, and the initials of her
own Christian name, and that of C. D., written on the two halves
respectively, with a bouquet on each half.

"About this time a secret chamber was discovered with the skeleton of a
cat crouching in act to spring, and the skeleton of a woman. Asked more
particularly about the latter, Mrs. B. said: 'Well, at least a skull
and some bones--but it was a woman's skull.'

"A few days after receiving this account, I went down by invitation to
the house. I saw Mrs. D. and her two children, and received from them
ungrudging corroboration of Mrs. B.'s marvelous story. In E. D.'s
company I penetrated the secret chamber, and found there the mummified
skeleton of what might have been a cat--but nothing else. In removing
the stains left by this exploit, I contrived a tête-à-tête interview
with E. D., and asked him: 'How much did you do of all these things?'
He replied: 'Oh, not much. I only did a few little things.'

"Pressed on particular points, he admitted having thrown _one_ stone at
the garden roller, and having also thrown a trouser button against the
wall when sitting alone in the bedroom with Mrs. B. He denied having
produced the other phenomena on those occasions. Asked as to the
bouquets, he said he had not placed them on the tree. Pressed a little
more, he said: 'If I did it, it must have been without knowing it.'
This without any suggestion from me as to possible somnambulism, or
unconscious action. He assured me that his sister had had no hand in
this matter. I could not get any more out of him, as he was shortly
after called away.

"I subsequently learned from his mother that E. D. was so nervous and
delicate that he slept in her room at night; that he was not allowed to
do much mental work; that he was subject to attacks of somnambulism; and
had, indeed, fallen into a semiconscious state only a few days before,
during a lesson in carpentry."

Probably the whole affair originated in a moment of mischief, and was
carried on and elaborated because of an uncontrollable, and perhaps not
entirely conscious, desire on the part of the abnormally conditioned lad
to mystify the too easily imposed upon elderly lady.

In point of fact, the investigations of the Society for Psychical
Research make it certain that in nine cases out of ten a poltergeist is
a by-product of hysteria, using the term in its strictest medical sense.
As is well known, one of the distinctive symptoms of hysteria is a
tendency to indulge in all manner of lies and deceptions, coupled often
with almost diabolical cleverness in giving these lies and deceptions
a color of reality. Impulse to such trickery may arise from a great
variety of motives; frequently, it would seem, from nothing more than an
abnormal craving for notoriety and admiration. Certainly, the hysterical
young people run to earth by the poltergeist hunters of the Society
for Psychical Research did not engage in their hoaxings because they
expected to make money out of them.

The bearing of all this on the physical phenomena of spiritism is surely
self-evident. It shows, for one thing, that the money motive is not
the only motive inciting mediums to fraud; that when a neurotic or
hysterical condition is present, the best of characters is no guarantee
against duplicity; and that under such circumstances the detection of
fraud is exceedingly difficult, particularly in the case of witnesses
predisposed to regard the phenomena as genuine. If hysterical children
can, as they have often done, carry on a course of deception mystifying
a whole community, it is manifest that mediums of similar hysterical
tendencies, working under cover of darkness or in a dim light, can more
or less readily deceive the most expert observers; and, moreover,
that they may be only partially, if at all, conscious of their own
frauds.[31]

      [31] I am inclined, for example, to believe that there
      is a large element of hysteria in the mediumship of the
      discredited Eusapia Paladino, once the marvel of two
      continents.

Further, in estimating the nature of the phenomena produced at the
séances of physical mediums, it is imperative to take into account
the innumerable possibilities of mal-observation on the part of the
spectators. Experience has shown that comparatively few people, no
matter how honest, are trustworthy witnesses even when conditions for
observation are of the best.

For proof of this, one does not need to look beyond the courtroom, where
every day perfectly honest people give the most contradictory accounts
of some simple occurrence. If it is thus difficult to see correctly what
goes on in the broad light of day, it surely is far more difficult to be
certain of exactly what is happening in a room where there is darkness
rather than light. Besides which, the imaginative faculty may be
excited to such an extent that the sitters at a séance may not only be
misled into making inaccurate reports of what really occurred, but they
may even, and with absolute sincerity, testify to phenomena which did
not occur at all.

A friend of mine, now a physician in Maryland, used to amuse himself in
his student days by playing medium at table-tipping séances. He would
cause the table to rap out messages to various acquaintances of his,
none of whom were spiritists, but several of whom became intensely
interested, owing to their inability to fathom the source of the
communications they received, my friend managing things so skillfully
that they did not suspect him of hoaxing them.

One evening the table announced the presence of the "spirit" of a little
child, the daughter of a lady well known to most of the sitters. They
were not aware, however, that my friend was intimately acquainted with
the little one's life history, and when, utilizing this knowledge,
he proceeded to make the table rap communications of a most personal
character, there was considerable excitement. Suddenly a lady present,
not a relative of the dead child, uttered a piercing scream, and
fainted.

When she was revived, she declared, with emphatic assurance, that she
had seen the head of a child emerge from the center of the table.

Equally indicative of the part imagination plays in constructing
spiritistic phenomena is an experience of my own with a New York medium.
His specialty was materialization, but at the séance in question he did
not attempt to develop "spirit forms" by any of the methods in vogue
among materializers. Instead, the gas having been lowered until the room
was almost in total darkness, he went into a "trance," and, seated at
the séance table, with his head resting on his hands, declaimed in a
singsong voice:

"The spirits are coming. I can feel them approaching. You will be able
to see them soon. They are almost here. Here is one now, on my left.
Can't you see it? And here comes another, and another. They are crowding
around me, so anxious to communicate with you. Can't you see them? I
can't hold them long; they will be gone soon. Oh, can't you see them?"

There were, perhaps, a dozen people present, including myself and a
fellow investigator, who had accompanied me. Of the others, three
responded to the hypnotic suggestiveness of the medium's words and
manner, and solemnly declared that they could see a "spirit" hovering
about him. One lady, whose integrity I could not doubt, insisted that
she saw two "spirits," which she identified as her dead husband and
brother.

Undoubtedly, therefore, it is proper to assume that when, in the
instances cited at the beginning of this chapter, Professor Lombroso,
sitting with Eusapia Paladino, saw a huge wardrobe advance to attack
him; and when Lords Crawford and Dunraven saw the medium Home floating
through the air, hallucination rather than "spirit action" is the
correct explanation. At all events, in view of the known fallibility of
the human senses; the manifold opportunities for fraud open to mediums;
and the fact that, with the single exception of Home, every medium
subjected to scientific investigation has been caught practising fraud
at one time or another, it seems extremely rash to accept as genuine
any of the phenomena of physical mediumship.

Still, it would be incorrect to say that the time devoted by psychical
researchers to the investigation of these phenomena has been time
wasted. They have performed a necessary police duty for society, and
their labors, as we shall see, have been productive of psychological
discoveries of great practical importance.



CHAPTER VI

THE SUBCONSCIOUS


When the Society for Psychical Research was founded, in 1882, its
purpose was not only to obtain, if possible, scientifically acceptable
proof of the survival of human personality after bodily death, but also
to study the nature of personality in its mundane aspects, with a view
to securing greater insight into the powers and possibilities of man
here on earth.

In this latter quest it has been eminently successful, and thanks to
its labors our knowledge of ourselves has been increased a thousandfold.
As has been shown, phenomena hitherto regarded as mysterious and
"supernatural"--such as apparitions, clairvoyance, crystal-gazing,
etc.--have been definitely explained on a purely naturalistic basis;
and, as was said at the close of the last chapter, in addition to
naturalizing the supernatural, psychical researchers have made, or have
assisted in making, discoveries of great practical utility, and having a
profound bearing on affairs of everyday life.

Among these, none is of more importance than the discovery of the
"subconscious." This term, which was almost unheard of a few years ago,
is nowadays used by psychologists in a variety of ways, but it may be
broadly defined as including an extensive range of mental processes and
phenomena that occur beneath the surface of our ordinary consciousness.
Subconscious mental action, in fact, has a constant, unceasing part
in our lives. It is in evidence in such commonplace acts as walking,
talking, writing, playing the piano, handling a tool, a tennis racket,
or a baseball bat.

There was a time, in the experience of all of us, when we could do none
of these things, but had to learn them by conscious effort. Little by
little, as we acquired more skill, the element of consciousness became
less and less, until at last we could execute them in a seemingly
automatic manner, as in the fashion of the piano player described by
Miss Cobbe:

"Two different lines of hieroglyphics have to be read at once, and the
right hand has to be guided to attend to one of them, the left to the
other. All the fingers have the work assigned as quickly as they can
move. The mind, or something which does duty as mind, interprets scores
of A sharps, and B flats, and C naturals into black ivory keys and white
ones, crotchets, and quavers, and demi-quavers, rests, and all the
mysteries of music. The feet are not idle, but have something to do with
the pedals. And all this time the performer, the _conscious_ performer,
is in a seventh heaven of artistic rapture at the results of all
this tremendous business, or perchance lost in a flirtation with the
individual who turns the leaves of the music book, and is justly
persuaded she is giving him the whole of her soul."

The subconscious is thus a sort of reservoir in which are stored up,
available for future use, the things learned through education and
experience; and it also has a dynamic power that enables it to
supplement, economize, and enlarge the operations of the upper
consciousness. Ordinarily we fail to appreciate what we owe to this
hidden servitor, for the reason that its workings are so smooth, so
unobtrusive, as to pass quite unnoticed. Yet abundant evidence has been
secured to demonstrate not simply the fact of its existence, but the
more significant fact that it is never at rest, but is perpetually
laboring in our behalf.

Even when our consciousness is for the moment completely in abeyance--as
when we are asleep--the subconscious continues operant. Many of my
readers have doubtless had the experience of vainly endeavoring for
hours, perhaps for days, to solve some important problem, and then
awaking one morning with a luminously clear idea of its correct
solution. While they slept, their subconsciousness had been at work
disentangling the threads of their conscious reasoning, stripping away
and discarding unessentials, and finally presenting them with, so to
speak, a ready-made understanding of that which had previously been so
perplexing to them.

In all such cases the action of the subconscious is more vividly evident
when, as often happens, the desired solution is gained during sleep
itself, in the form of a dream. An excellent example is found in an
episode narrated by a business man, who says:

"I had been bothered since September with an error in my cash account
for that month, and, despite many hours' examination, it defied all my
efforts, and I almost gave it up as hopeless. It had been the subject of
my waking thoughts for many nights, and had occupied a large portion of
my leisure hours. Matters remained thus unsettled until the eleventh of
December. On this night I had not, to my knowledge, once thought of the
subject, but I had not been long in bed and asleep, when my brain was as
busy with the books as though I had been at my desk.

"The cash book, banker's pass books, etc., etc., appeared before me;
and, without any apparent trouble, I almost immediately discovered the
cause of the mistakes, which had arisen out of a complicated cross
entry. I perfectly recollect having taken a slip of paper in my dream,
and made such a memorandum as would enable me to correct the error
at some leisure time; and, having done this, that the whole of the
circumstances had passed from my mind.

"When I awoke in the morning I had not the slightest recollection of my
dream, nor did it once occur to me throughout the day, although I had
the very books before me on which I had apparently been engaged in my
sleep. When I returned home in the afternoon, as I did early, for the
purpose of dressing, and proceeded to shave, I took up a piece of paper
from my dressing table to wipe my razor, and you may imagine my surprise
at finding thereon the very memorandum I fancied I had made during the
previous night. The effect on me was such that I returned to our office
and turned to the cash book, when I found that I had really, while
asleep, detected the error which I could not detect in my waking hours,
and had actually jotted it down at the time.

"I have no recollection whatever as to where I obtained the paper and
pencil with which I made the memorandum. It certainly must have been
written in the dark, and in my bedroom, as I found both paper and pencil
there the following afternoon. The pencil was not one which I am in the
habit of carrying, and my impression is that I must either have found
it in the room, or gone down-stairs for it."[32]

      [32] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. viii, pp. 394-395.

Illustrative of the same subconscious mechanism, and doubly interesting
because of the light it throws on the true nature of many dreams
frequently regarded as supernatural, is a singular experience that once
befell Professor H. V. Hilprecht, the well-known archæologist of the
University of Pennsylvania.

At the time, Professor Hilprecht was trying to decipher the inscriptions
on two small fragments of agate from the temple of Bel in ancient
Babylonia, and believed by him to be portions of the finger rings of
some wealthy Babylonian. He had already published a preliminary report
on the collection of which they formed a part, but, despite weeks of
earnest effort, had utterly failed to get at the meaning of the words
inscribed on them.

One Saturday night, after working on the fragments until nearly twelve
o'clock without any satisfactory result, he went to bed weary and
exhausted, and was soon in a deep sleep. He then dreamed that he was
transported to the temple of Bel, where a venerable priest, whose dress
showed that he belonged to a pre-Christian epoch, conducted him into
the treasure chamber of the temple. It was a small, low room, without
windows, and contained a large wooden chest, around which were scattered
pieces of agate and other valuable stones. While Professor Hilprecht
stood looking at these, the priest said to him:

"The two fragments which you have published separately upon pages 22
and 26 belong together, are not finger rings, and their history is as
follows:

"King Kurigalzu [who reigned in Babylonia about 1300 B. C.], once sent
to the temple of Bel, among other articles of agate and lapis lazuli, an
inscribed votive cylinder of agate. Then we priests suddenly received
the command to make for the statue of the god Ninib a pair of earrings
of agate. We were in great dismay, since there was no agate at hand as
raw material. In order to execute the command, there was nothing for us
to do but cut the votive cylinder into three parts, making three rings,
each of which contained a portion of the original inscription.

"The first two rings served as earrings for the statue of the god; the
two fragments which have given you so much trouble are portions of them.
If you will put the two together you will have confirmation of my words.
But the third ring you have not yet found in the course of your
excavations, and you never will find it."

With this the priest disappeared, and the dream came to an end. In the
morning, impressed with its coherence and vividness, Professor Hilprecht
again attacked the troublesome fragments, put them together as directed,
and, by making the proper guesses for the missing middle portion,
readily deciphered the full inscription: "To the god Ninib, son of Bel,
his lord, has Kurigalzu, pontifex of Bel, presented this."[33]

      [33] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xii, pp. 14-15.

Nor are the intellectual achievements of the subconscious during sleep
confined to the solution of problems that have been vexing the upper
consciousness. It has a highly original, creative power of its own.
Thus the composer Tartini dreamed one night that he heard the devil
playing a wonderful sonata, and, remembering it on awaking, was able to
set it down on paper, and thereby put to his credit one of the finest
pieces of music that bears his name. Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" was
another dream composition; and, indeed, a long list of masterpieces in
music, art, and literature, originating through subconscious mental
action in sleep, might be drawn up.

A typical case was recently communicated to me by a well-known Pacific
Coast architect, Mr. B. J. S. Cahill. He had been commissioned to design
a twenty-six-story office building, to be erected in Portland, Oregon,
and he determined, if possible, to plan one that would be a real
contribution towards the solution of some of the most difficult problems
of modern commercial architecture. For weeks Mr. Cahill labored hard to
devise a building that would unite a maximum of beauty, solidity, and
capacity with an abundance, and as nearly as possible an equality, of
light and air for the many offices it was to contain. The structure he
ultimately conceived was certainly novel, and differed conspicuously
from the ordinary four-sided office building, with its inner offices
lighted from a court.

His plan called for the construction of a building shaped much like a
St. Andrew's cross, or like a square with a triangle cut out of each
side. In this way the need for an inner court was completely obviated,
and the only poorly ventilated and dimly lighted portion of the building
would be its central "core." Here the elevators and stairs were to be
located.

According to the architect's own statement, this plan--which has been
highly praised by so eminent a critic as Mr. Montgomery Schuyler--was
born in his mind while he slept. One night he saw in a dream a building
shaped in this fashion, and knew that his problem was solved. He tells
me that on awaking he made two rough sketches of the plan in a pocket
note-book--one showing the general design, the other indicating the
appearance of the building when completed.

Perhaps no one has ever been more favored in this same way than that
remarkable man of genius, the late Robert Louis Stevenson. The plots
for many of Stevenson's best stories--including the marvelous "Doctor
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"--came to him in dreams, as he himself has related
in a delightful autobiographical essay, in which, with characteristic
whimsicality, he personifies his subconscious ideas as "Brownies" and
"little people."

"This dreamer, like many other persons," he says, "has encountered some
trifling vicissitudes of fortune. When the bank begins to send letters,
and the butcher to linger at the back gates, he sets to belaboring his
brains after a story, for that is his readiest money winner; and behold!
at once the little people begin to bestir themselves in the same quest,
and labor all night long, and all night long set before him truncheons
of tales upon their lighted theater. No fear of his being frightened
now; the flying heart and the frozen scalp are things bygone; applause,
growing applause, growing interest, growing exultation in his own
cleverness--for he takes all the credit--and at last a jubilant leap to
wakefulness, with the cry: 'I have it, that'll do!' upon his lips; with
such and similar emotions he sits at these nocturnal dreams, with such
outbreaks, like Claudius in the play, he scatters the performance in the
midst.

"Often enough the waking is a disappointment; he has been too deep
asleep, as I explain the thing; drowsiness has gained his little people;
they have gone stumbling and maundering through their parts; and the
play, to the wakened mind, is seen to be a tissue of absurdities. And
yet how often have these sleepless Brownies done him honest service, and
given him, as he sat idly taking his pleasure in the boxes, better tales
than he could fashion for himself.

"The more I think of it," Stevenson continues, "the more I am moved to
press upon the world my question: 'Who are the little people?' They
are near connections of the dreamer's, beyond doubt; they share in his
financial worries, and have an eye to the bank book; they share plainly
in his training; they have plainly learned, like him, to build the
scheme of a considerable story, and to arrange emotion in progressive
order; only I think they have more talent; and one thing is beyond
doubt--they can tell him a story piece by piece, like a serial, and
keep him all the while in ignorance of where they aim.

"That part of my work which is done while I am sleeping is the Brownies'
part beyond contention; but that which is done when I am up and about
is by no means necessarily mine, since all goes to show the Brownies
have a hand in it even then."[34]

      [34] Quoted from the "Chapter on Dreams," in R. L.
      Stevenson's "Across the Plains."

It is worth noting that facts like these have recently led to a novel
theory explanatory of what is known as "genius." Instead of adopting
the Lombrosian doctrine, and regarding the man of genius as a kind of
transcendental degenerate, this latest theory affirms that he is what he
is by reason of enjoying a readier communication than most men possess
between the conscious and subconscious portions of his mind. Such a view
has the further virtue of being completely in accord with the familiar
definition of genius as an infinite capacity for hard work.

From what has been said, it must be evident that the contents of the
subconscious are made up in large measure of knowledge gained at one
time or another by conscious endeavor and thought. The man who thinks
hard consciously, is certain to have a richer fund of subconscious
information at his disposal than the one whose conscious thinking is of
the idle, futile, scatter-brained sort. All successful men, whether a
Milton or a Rockefeller, a Shakespeare or a Morgan, are men who have
developed their subconscious faculties by laborious application of their
conscious powers in the routine of daily life.

On the other hand, it has also to be observed that knowledge is often
obtained subconsciously without passing through any preliminary stage of
conscious attention and awareness; and that, by a reversal of the usual
process, the conscious frequently acquires from the subconscious
information of which it would otherwise be ignorant.

I have previously alluded to this interesting and most important fact in
my discussion of telepathy, clairvoyance, crystal-gazing, and kindred
problems in psychical research. As we then saw, the subconscious has
a certain eerie faculty of imparting its information to the upper
consciousness in the way of hallucinations, indicative at times of
thought transference from mind to mind, or, more commonly, originating
merely from unnoticed impressions of direct, personal experience.

It cannot be too firmly borne in mind that every day of our lives we see
and hear and feel more than we realize; that these unobserved sights and
sounds and sensations may, nevertheless, be subconsciously registered
in our minds; and that they may soon or late be projected above the
threshold of consciousness in a form astonishing, puzzling, and perhaps
annoying to us, as in the case of a strange experience of a young New
York newspaper man.

It was his business to edit for publication in a number of country
newspapers the dispatches sent in by a telegraphic news agency. He had
been thus engaged for perhaps a year when he noticed, greatly to his
dismay, that he was repeatedly omitting items which he believed, on
reading them in the telegraphic copy, to be "old news," but which were
printed with more or less prominence in the next morning's issues of
other newspapers. This occurred so often that he began to tremble for
his position, and set himself earnestly to solve the mystery.

Luckily he had some acquaintance with psychology, and knew that his
trouble must be due to a faulty identification of subconscious with
conscious impressions. But why was it, he asked himself, that on certain
nights he would be quite free from such errors of judgment, while on
others he might omit, or be strongly tempted to omit, on the ground of
supposed previous publication, half a dozen items of real news value?
The truth dawned on him one evening as he was sitting down to begin
work.

On his desk lay a heap of envelopes containing the dispatches that had
come from the news agency before his arrival at the newspaper office.
These should already have been opened by an office boy, but that night
he had been busy with something else. Mechanically, the editor himself
tore open the envelopes, smoothed out their contents, and, without
reading them, made a neat pile of the typewritten sheets, preparatory
to going through them.

He had not been working an hour when he came to a dispatch, which he
tossed aside, with the muttered comment, "That's an old story, sure.
I've read it somewhere before."

Then, remembering the mistakes he had been making, he hesitated, picked
it up, and read it carefully. Every word in it seemed familiar. But
where could he have read it? In the evening papers? He went through
them one by one, without result. Then it suddenly occurred to him that
possibly, in opening the dispatches, he had, without being aware of it,
glanced at this particular item, and had obtained a subconscious
knowledge of it, which was now welling up confusedly as a conscious
memory.

To test this theory, he directed the office boy to open the dispatches
without fail for the next few nights. On none of these did he suffer
from memory confusion.

Possibly, if he had analyzed the matter further, he would have found
that the news items which had caught his eye while smoothing out the
dispatch sheets related to subjects of some special interest to him.
For just as one's conscious attention is arrested by that which is
particularly interesting, so does the subconscious select for
presentation to the upper consciousness information of temporary or
habitual interest and significance.

Sometimes, too, there is involved a harking back to interests of an
earlier period of life. A simple but instructive illustration of this is
found in a little incident that occurred to Doctor Richard Hodgson while
on a visit to England. It may best be reported in his own words:[35]

      [35] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xi, p. 415.

"Yesterday morning (September 13, 1895), just after breakfast, I was
strolling alone along one of the garden paths of Leckhampton House,
Cambridge, repeating aloud to myself the verses of a poem. I became
temporarily oblivious to my garden surroundings, and regained my
consciousness of them suddenly, to find myself brought to a stand, in a
stooping position, gazing intently at a five-leaved clover. On careful
examination, I found about a dozen specimens of five-leaved clover, as
well as several specimens of four-leaved clover, all of which probably
came from the same root.

"Several years ago I was interested in getting extra-leaved clovers,
but I have not for years made any active search for them, though
occasionally my conscious attention, as I walked along, has been given
to appearances of four-leaved clover, which proved, on examination,
to be deceptive. The peculiarity of yesterday's 'find' was that I
discovered myself, with a sort of shock, standing still and stooping
down, and afterward realized that a five-leaved clover was directly
under my eyes."

Compare with this an incident reported by an English clergyman, the
Reverend P. H. Newnham. We find in it exactly the same element of
selective subconscious attention, accompanied, however, by an auditory
hallucination as a means of notifying the upper consciousness of the
fact subconsciously observed.

"I was visiting friends at Tunbridge Wells," says Mr. Newnham, "and went
out one evening, entomologizing. As I crossed a stile into a field, on
my way to a neighboring wood, a voice said distinctly in my right ear:
'You'll find "Chaonia" on that oak.' This was a very scarce moth,
which I had never seen before, and which most assuredly I had never
consciously thought of seeing. There were several oaks in the field, but
I instinctively walked up to one, straight to the off side of it, and
there was the moth indicated."[36]

      [36] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xi, p. 411.

The psychological explanation of this is simple enough, and is equally
applicable to similar, if more sensational, hallucinations widely
heralded as of supernatural character. It is manifestly absurd to
suppose that a "spirit" announced to the entomologizing clergyman the
presence of the rare and greatly sought-after moth which it was his good
fortune to capture. But it is not at all absurd to suggest that quite
likely, although he had consciously forgotten all about it, he had at
some time seen Chaonia, or an entomological text-book picture of
Chaonia; that he had subconsciously caught a glimpse of it, fluttering
across the field and settling on the oak, and that his subconscious
recognition of its identity had set in motion the proper mental
mechanism to notify his upper consciousness of a fact in which it would
naturally be much interested.

There may also be a subconscious intensification, or "hyperæsthesia," of
other senses than that of sight. In all probability hyperæsthesia of
the sense of hearing is sufficient to account for the dramatic central
incident in the following story, told by a lady whose identity I am
unable to reveal:

"I was living one summer in a little mining camp in the Rocky Mountains.
Our house, a frame building, was some little distance from any other,
at the top of a steep hill; the only disadvantage of this being the
additional difficulty of getting water, which was an expensive commodity
in the camp, as the adjacent mines had drained most of the wells.

"The house contained six rooms, all opening one out of another, my own
room, with a dressing closet beyond, where my child slept, being at one
end, and the front porch, which overlooked the valley, at the other.

"One evening, after my little girl was asleep, I lit a tiny night lamp,
always left burning on a bracket in her room; and, leaving all doors and
windows open, on account of the intense heat, went to sit on the front
porch. I may have sat there half an hour, when my attention was caught
by a great blazing light in the direction of the farthest houses. It
appeared evident that one at least had taken fire, and the difficulty of
getting water, and the hope that no children were in danger, flashed
through my mind.

"While watching the rapidly growing glare, I heard a faint, crackling
sound in my own house. It would not have disturbed me at any other time,
as I only supposed that some smouldering piece of cedar in the kitchen
stove had blazed up. But, with the present thought of fire in my mind,
I went into the kitchen to look, and, glancing through the open doors
as I passed, saw a volume of flame and smoke pouring from the child's
room into mine.

"Thank God it was still possible to rush through and save her; and I
carried her out in a blanket to prevent the scorch, for the room was
only burning at one end; the side where the bed stood, though fearfully
hot and suffocating, was not yet on fire, and, thanks to the timely
warning, the water left in the barrels proved just enough to extinguish
the flames before very much was destroyed.

"After all was quiet, I went back to the porch to look at that other
burning house, feeling so thankful that my child was safe, and wondering
if others were, also. But all was dark, and when I came to make inquiry
next day, nothing was known in the camp of any such fire. Had it not
been for my strange vision of it, which must have lasted fully ten
minutes, I feel sure that my little girl would have been burned to
death."[37]

      [37] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xi, pp. 418-419.

There is a possibility, though only a possibility, that telepathy
between mother and child may have had part in the production of this
helpful hallucination. But hyperæsthesia of the sense of hearing
seems to afford the likelier explanation, as also in numerous
well-authenticated instances, in which railroad men, obeying an
unaccountable impulse or hallucinatory monition, have taken action
averting disastrous wrecks. A single illustrative example must suffice,
a case called to the attention of the Society for Psychical Research by
Mr. William H. Wyman, of Dunkirk, N. Y.:

"Some years ago my brother was employed on, and had charge as conductor
and engineer of, a work train on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern
Railway, running between Buffalo and Erie. I often went with him to the
gravel bank, where he had his headquarters, and returned on his train
with him.

"On one occasion I was with him, and after the train of cars was loaded,
we went together to the telegraph office to see if there were any
orders, and to find out if the trains were on time, as we had to keep
out of the way of all regular trains. After looking over the train
reports, and finding them all on time, we started for Buffalo.

"As we approached Westfield station, running about twelve miles per
hour, and when within about one mile of a long curve in the line, my
brother all of a sudden shut off the steam, and, quickly stepping over
to the fireman's side of the engine, he looked out of the cab window,
and then to the rear of his train. Not discovering anything wrong, he
put on steam, but almost immediately again shut it off, and gave the
signal for brakes, and stopped.

"After inspecting the engine and train, and finding nothing wrong, he
seemed very much excited, and for a short time he acted as if he did not
know where he was or what to do. I asked what was the matter. He replied
that he did not know; then, after looking at his watch and orders, he
said that he felt that there was some trouble on the line of the road. I
suggested that he had better run his train to the station and find out.
He then ordered his flagman to go ahead around the curve, which was just
ahead of us, and he would follow with the train.

"The flagman started and had barely time to flag an extra express train,
with the general superintendent and others on board, coming full forty
miles an hour. The superintendent inquired what he was doing there, and
if he did not receive orders to keep out of the way of the extra. My
brother told him that he had not received orders, and did not know of
any extra train coming; that we had both examined the train reports
before leaving the station. The train was then backed to the station,
where it was found that no orders had been given."[38]

      [38] _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research_,
      vol. xi, p. 416.

Incidents such as this are of not infrequent occurrence. By the
superstitious they are regarded as weird and uncanny, and savoring of
the spiritistic. In reality they are only exceptional exemplifications
of a process which is ceaselessly taking place in all of us. There is no
one who does not, every day, perform acts which he cannot consciously
account for, and which, if closely inquired into, would be found
similarly to take their rise in unnoticed subconscious impressions. For
the matter of that, it is possible to train one-self to subconscious
attention to selected impressions, even in sleep.

A familiar illustration is the mother who, undisturbed by other sounds,
awakens at the least cry of her infant. The same phenomenon is
observable in the case of the conscientious medical nurse, who, no
matter how profound her sleep, responds instantly to any movement by
her patient. And, in the course of conversation not long ago, a
physician said to me:

"As you know, my house is on a car line, and, besides the cars, there is
much automobile and carriage traffic on my street for a large part of
the night. Nothing of this breaks my rest. I sleep so soundly that a
thunderstorm does not arouse me. Yet let the telephone bell begin to
ring, and I am out of bed and have the receiver at my ear before the
bell has ceased ringing."

I have myself, like a good many other people, found it possible to make
the subconscious do the work of an alarm clock. That is to say, if,
on going to bed, I mentally determine to wake at a certain hour, I
invariably do so, and this although I am one of the deepest of sleepers.
It matters not what hour I select, nor how late I retire the previous
night, the mental sentinel whom I have placed on guard punctually
notifies me when the appointed time arrives.

This goes to show, of course, that the subconscious is, to a certain
extent, at any rate, amenable to conscious control and direction.
That such control is highly desirable is evinced not merely by the
facts reviewed above, but by others which we must next take under
consideration--facts of altogether different import. For if, as we have
seen, the subconscious is in many ways a docile and helpful auxiliary
of the upper consciousness, it also contains within itself dire
possibilities of unhappiness, suffering, disease, and even death.



CHAPTER VII

DISSOCIATION AND DISEASE


The subconscious, I repeat, does not always exercise a helpful
influence; there are times when it may impose upon us indescribable
misery.

It is able to do this by virtue of the intimate relations existing
between the mind and the body. At this late day it is scarcely necessary
for me to undertake to demonstrate that the state of one's mind has a
great deal to do with the health of one's body. What is not so generally
known, and what all of us ought to know, is the further fact that many
diseases are directly due to distressing mental states, and in such
cases usually to subconscious mental states--that is to say, to thoughts
and emotions of which the sufferer consciously has no knowledge. The
same often holds good even with regard to maladies the symptoms of which
are almost wholly if not altogether physical, and the causes of which
one would naturally expect to find physical, likewise.

Indeed, ignorance of the tremendous rôle played by the subconscious in
the causation of disease, has in the past been responsible for many
medical shortcomings. Nor is the situation as yet much improved,
although it is rapidly improving, thanks chiefly to the labors of a
little group of scientific investigators known as psychopathologists,
or medical psychologists, who have made it their special business to
ascertain the different ways in which the subconscious may affect health
adversely, and to devise methods for coping with mentally caused
diseases.

These men are not "faith healers." They are not making any war on
medicine. They are, in fact, themselves physicians, graduates of the
best medical schools, of excellent standing in their profession, and
seeking, above all things, to increase the usefulness and precision of
medical science. Already, though their labors were begun only a few
years ago, they have effected numerous cures of a seemingly miraculous
character; but always they have effected them by utilizing natural laws
which they have discovered by the rigorous processes of scientific
experiment.

Of fundamental importance among these laws is one known as the law of
dissociation. It might almost be called the law of forgotten memories,
for to a large extent its workings depend on the interesting
circumstance, to which attention has previously been drawn, that
ideas which have faded from the conscious memory persist in the
subconsciousness. As Pierre Janet, the distinguished Frenchman and most
eminent of living psychopathologists, has tersely phrased it, "Nothing
that goes into the human mind is ever really lost."

No matter how remote, past experiences, as I have shown in earlier
chapters, can be recovered and recalled to mind by means of
crystal-vision, automatic writing, or other psychological methods of
"tapping the subconscious." Obviously we have here no absolute loss of
memory, but merely a splitting off, or "dissociation," from the field
of waking consciousness.

Now, while the memories thus dissociated and lying hidden in the
subconscious usually exercise no appreciable effect other than in the
molding of character, the enlargement of our store of knowledge, etc.,
there are conditions under which, in the case of persons predisposed by
circumstances of heredity or environment, they may give rise to all
manner of mental and physical ills.

A person, for instance, experiences a sudden fright. Time passes, the
fright is completely forgotten, or, at most, vaguely remembered. But
one day unmistakable, and sometimes exceedingly peculiar, symptoms of
disease appear. The victim, it may be, suffers from a strange obsession
or "fixed idea," or from a general "nervous breakdown," or from an
actual paralysis of some bodily organ, or from the development of
abdominal or other enlargements resembling true organic growths.

Whatever the symptoms, the mechanism of the puzzling malady is always
the same. There has been an abnormal dissociation. The ideas connected
with the original shock, although submerged beneath the threshold
of consciousness--in a word, forgotten--remain vividly alive in the
subconscious, to act as perpetual irritants of the nervous system and
in time to give rise to the appearance of the symptoms of which the
sufferer complains. Often, indeed, the dissociation is instantaneous,
and the appearance of the disease symptoms equally rapid.

In either case, the resultant malady is purely psychical in its origin,
and can be cured only by psychical, not by physical means. What is
needed is to get at the dissociated mental states--the forgotten,
disease-creating memories--and reassociate them with the upper
consciousness, or root them out completely by means of "suggestions"
skillfully applied.

This is no fanciful theory. It is the solidest kind of fact, repeatedly
tested and verified. Time and again, patients pronounced incurable by
competent physicians have been taken in hand by the psychopathologists
and, once their disease has been definitely traced to some dissociation,
have been restored to perfect health.

For the matter of that, of course, the same thing has been done to some
extent by Christian Science healers and other irregular practitioners
of "mental medicine." But the difference between all of these and the
psychopathologists is just this--that the former apply the healing
power of suggestion to all sorts of diseases, and without any
adequate understanding of its laws and limitations, whereas the
psychopathologists recognize that it is only one of several valuable
medical methods, and that it is legitimately applicable only to certain
maladies.

Experience has taught them, too, that even within its proper sphere
of usefulness it often is of therapeutic value only after a searching
scientific examination of the patient's subconsciousness has brought
to light the particular dissociated states which have to be corrected
before a cure can be wrought.

Nevertheless, the range of maladies susceptible of cure by
psychopathological processes is marvelously wide, and it is no
exaggeration to say that the discovery of the influence exercised by
the subconscious in the causation of disease is one of the most vitally
significant ever made in the history of medicine.

The truth of this may readily be shown by citing a few cases
illustrating some of the manifold ways in which dissociation works
havoc in the human organism, and the extreme ingenuity displayed by the
skilled psychopathologist in overcoming its ravages.

There was brought one day to the Parisian hospital of the Salpêtrière,
the world's greatest center of psychopathological investigation, a woman
of forty, designated in the medical record of her case by the name of
Justine. She was accompanied by her husband, who explained that he
wished Doctor Janet to examine her because he feared that she had become
insane. And, in fact, she presented the aspect of a veritable maniac.
Her jet-black hair was flowing loosely over her shoulders, her eyes
were fixed and glaring, her hands trembling, the muscles of her neck
twitching, and she constantly made the most horrible grimaces. When
Doctor Janet gently sought to question her, she buried her face in her
hands, and cried:

"Oh, it is terrible to live thus! I am afraid, I am so afraid!"

"And of what, pray, are you afraid?" the physician asked.

"I am afraid of cholera."

"Is that all you are afraid of?"

"But surely it is quite enough."

Doctor Janet turned for an explanation to her husband, who shook his
head despairingly, as he replied in an undertone:

"This is the way she has been for years, doctor, only lately she has
grown much worse. She will scarcely eat anything, for fear of catching
cholera. It is difficult to persuade her to stir from the house. She
seems to think the air is full of cholera germs. She sees cholera
in everything. Tell me, doctor, is my poor Justine mad? Must we be
separated, she and I? Is it that she will have to spend the rest of her
life in an asylum?"

"Leave her here a few days," said Doctor Janet, "and I can tell you
better then."

Psychopathologists have invented some delicate tests for discriminating
infallibly between true organic insanity, which in the present state of
medical knowledge is quite incurable, and functional mental troubles
due to dissociation. Applying these, Doctor Janet soon reached the
conclusion that Justine was not really insane, and that her "phobia,"
or irrational fear, was due to some forgotten shock connected with the
disease cholera.

But, closely though he questioned her, she could recall nothing of the
sort. He then decided to try the effect of hypnotizing her, for, as all
psychopathologists are aware, hypnotism, when it is possible to use it,
is an unrivaled agency for recovering lost memories. Put into the
hypnotic state, patients easily remember incidents in their past of
which they have no conscious recollection when in the normal, waking
state. It was thus with Justine, who proved to be most hypnotizable.

"I want you," Doctor Janet told her, after she had passed into deep
hypnosis, "to try to remember whether at any time in your life you saw
a person suffering from cholera, or one who had died from cholera."

"Why, certainly I did," she promptly replied, shuddering violently.

"When was it?"

"When I was a little girl--fifteen years old."

"Tell me the circumstances."

"My mother was very poor. She had to take all sorts of work. Sometimes
she nursed sick people, and when they died she got them ready for
burial. Once two people in our neighborhood died from cholera, and I
helped her with the corpses. They made a frightful sight--one of them,
at all events. It was the body of a man, naked, and all blue and green.
Oh, frightful, frightful! What if I should catch the cholera? I shall
catch it, I know I shall! Nothing can save me!"

Her voice rose in a shriek of terror, and Doctor Janet hastened to
de-hypnotize her.

The situation was now perfectly clear to him. Evidently the sight of the
corpse, "naked, and all blue and green," had so profoundly affected the
impressionable girl as to cause a severe dissociation whereby all memory
of the shocking episode had been blotted out of her consciousness, only
to be subconsciously remembered in most minute detail.

To bring about a cure, to free her from the obsessing dread of cholera,
it was necessary to remove the gruesome subconscious memory image, and
Doctor Janet essayed to do this through suggestions given to her when
she was again hypnotized.

"You will no longer think of this," he kept assuring her. "You will
forget it, absolutely, permanently."

Day after day, for weeks, he hypnotized her, and reiterated similar
commands. But she continued to be afflicted with her irrational fear,
and it finally became certain that her subconscious recollection of the
phobia-causing scene of twenty-five years before was too deeply rooted
to be destroyed by direct attack. Instead, however, of abandoning
the task as hopeless, Doctor Janet, with a shrewdness born of long
experience, made a clever change in tactics.

"You insist," he said to the hypnotized Justine, "that you cannot help
seeing in your mind's eye the corpse of the man who died. Very well,
I have no objection to that. But hereafter you must see it decently
clothed. So when it next appears to you, you will see it wearing a
bright blue-and-green uniform, the uniform of a foreign military
officer."

Happily, this suggestion "took," and Doctor Janet followed up his
advantage by suggesting that the subconscious memory image which she
regarded as that of a corpse was, in reality, the image of a living man.
This suggestion likewise being successful, he set about getting rid of
the idea "cholera," and its dire implications. Hypnotizing the patient
as usual, he demanded:

"What is this 'cholera' that troubles you so much? Do you not understand
that it is only the name of the fine gentleman in blue and green, whom
you see marching up and down? He is a Chinese general, and his name is
Cho Le Ra. Bear that well in mind."

Quite evidently there was nothing to inspire dread in the image of a
picturesque Chinese officer, General Cho Le Ra. Little by little,
as this artificial conception obtained firmer lodgment in Justine's
subconsciousness, the baneful idea which it was intended to supplant
faded away, and with its fading the abnormal fear diminished, until
at length it entirely disappeared, greatly to her joy and the warm
gratitude of her devoted husband.[39]

      [39] This case and a number of other instances of forgotten
      terrors giving rise to disease-symptoms are discussed in
      detail in Doctor Janet's "Névroses et Idées Fixes."

Other psychopathologists, following Doctor Janet's lead, have similarly
used this method of substituting one subconscious idea for another.
Doctor John E. Donley, a well-known neurologist of Providence, Rhode
Island, and one of the few psychopathologists whom the United States has
yet produced, was once consulted by a young man of thirty-two, who said
to him:

"Doctor Donley, I hear you have been very successful in handling people
troubled with foolish notions. I'm bothered with as foolish a notion
as any one could possibly imagine. I simply can't bear to ride in a
street-car with an odd number. Even-numbered cars give me no trouble at
all, but if an odd-numbered car comes along, I've got to let it pass, no
matter how great my hurry. My friends laugh at me, but I tell you it's
no laughing matter. The thing has got on my nerves so that it is
unbearable."

"How long have you been suffering in this way?" asked Doctor Donley.

"For years. Just when it began I can't remember.

"Is it only odd-numbered cars that affect you? How about odd-numbered
houses, for instance?"

"No, no," answered the young man, "it isn't odd numbers in general. That
doesn't bother me a bit. It's just when they're painted on street-cars."

"H'm," said Doctor Donley. "Ever been in a street-car accident?"

"Never."

"Ever seen one?"

"Not that I remember."

"You are quite sure as to that?"

"Quite."

"Have you any objection to my hypnotizing you?"

"Not in the least, if it is likely to do me any good."

In another ten minutes the problem was solved. Doctor Donley from the
outset had felt confident that the young man's phobia must be connected
in some way with a street-car accident, and so it proved. Fourteen years
earlier, when walking along the street, he had seen a car strike and
seriously injure a child who unexpectedly came from behind a wagon. He
had noticed at the time that the car bore the number two hundred and
thirteen, and he remembered thinking to himself: "There is always bad
luck in thirteen." The sight of the accident gave him a marked emotional
shock, which, he said, upset him for several days.

All of this had long since passed from his waking memory, but was
distinctly recalled during hypnosis. It was clear to Doctor Donley that
the case was one of dissociation, and that the exciting cause of the
young man's unreasonable dread of odd-numbered cars was based on a
painfully vivid subconscious memory image of the consciously forgotten
tragedy. Also, it was evident that before the dread could be overcome
the distressing memory image would have to be eradicated.

To accomplish this, Doctor Donley resorted to the method of
substitution, suggesting to the patient, while still under hypnotic
influence, that he was quite mistaken in supposing that the street-car
had seriously injured the little girl; that, on the contrary, it had
scarcely touched her.

The result, after only eight days' treatment, was effectually to replace
the painful memory image with one free from distressing associations. As
by magic, the young man shook off his absurd phobia. No longer, when he
had to take a car, did he stand on street corners, sometimes for an
hour at a time, waiting anxiously for a car with an even number to
appear.[40]

      [40] This case and several others similarly illustrative of
      the disease-creating power of emotional disturbances are
      discussed by Doctor Donley in "Psychotherapeutics," a book of
      composite authorship.

Bizarre as these cases must seem, they are actually typical of a
widespread malady that causes an amount of suffering only appreciable by
the sufferers themselves. In every land there are thousands of men and
women afflicted with obsessions equally strange and equally distressing,
yet amenable to treatment by the methods of psychopathology.

Often, in order to effect a cure, it is not necessary to make use of the
roundabout device just described. Direct suggestion--a strongly negative
command imposed in the hypnotic state--is frequently sufficient.

Often, besides, it is not necessary to use hypnotism at all, a cure
resulting if only the psychopathologist can dig down to the root of the
trouble, and, by recalling to conscious recollection the lost memory
image, reassociate it with the rest of the contents of the upper
consciousness.

Particularly interesting in this connection, as being illustrative also
of an ingenious method of "mind tunnelling" nowadays frequently employed
to get at forgotten memories, is a case reported by Doctor A. A. Brill,
a New York psychopathologist. His patient was a young woman who applied
to be treated for extreme nervousness. She had been perfectly well until
three months before, when, she said, she had begun to suffer from a
complication of disorders, including insomnia, loss of appetite,
constant headache, irritability, and stomach trouble. No physical cause
for her condition could be detected, and Doctor Brill suspected that it
was due to some secret anxiety, but the patient earnestly assured him
that she "had nothing on her mind."

To get at the facts which he suspected she was consciously or
unconsciously concealing from him, Doctor Brill decided to make use of
what is known as the "association-reaction method of mental diagnosis,"
a cumbersome and formidable term for a really simple process.

Everybody knows that if a man is suddenly asked a question bearing on
matters which personally concern him and which he is anxious to keep
entirely to himself, he is apt to "react" to the question in a way that
will betray the true state of affairs. He may blush or stammer before
replying, may reply evasively, may find it impossible to reply at all.
If he is a man of uncommon self-control, and not to be taken off his
guard, the reply may come smoothly enough, and to all appearance without
hesitation. Nevertheless, experiment has shown that, even in such
cases, there is an appreciable difference in the time, if not in the
character, of the replies he makes to emotion-arousing questions, as
compared with the time it takes him to reply to questions that have
no special significance to him. The same holds good in the case
of questions evoking within him memories--albeit perhaps wholly
subconscious memories--of happenings that may be no longer, but once
were, of keen emotional import to him.

Out of the discovery of this fact the association-reaction method has
been evolved. The specialist using it reads slowly to his patient a list
of one hundred words or more, and requests him, as he hears each, to
respond with the first word that comes into his mind. Seemingly the list
of stimulus words is chosen at random; actually it is so constructed
that some of the words are likely to stir into activity the subconscious
memories of which the physician is in search. If they do this the fact
will be disclosed in the time of his reaction-words--the words he utters
in reply--as measured by a chronoscope or stop-watch; or in their
character, as noted down by the specialist.

Of course, it is necessary for the physician to select words having, or
likely to have, emotional significance to the particular patient; and as
a guide in the selection, strange though it may seem, nothing is more
useful than the patient's dreams. For it has been definitely established
that dreams are far from being the haphazard products of imagination
they are generally supposed to be; that on the contrary, no matter
how trivial or nonsensical they seem, they always have an emotional
foundation corresponding with some present or past reality; and that
usually they mask matters of distinct significance to the dreamer.

As a preliminary, then, in the treatment of his nervous patient, Doctor
Brill asked her to write out her dreams and bring them to him.

"But," she said, "I never dream, except when I am troubled by
indigestion, and then my dreams are so absurd that they are not worth
telling."

"Never mind," was his reply. "Whenever you do happen to have a dream,
report it to me."

Laughingly she promised to comply, and one day brought him the
following:

"I dreamed that I was in a lonely country place and was anxious to reach
my home, but could not get there. Every time I made a move there was a
wall in the way--it looked like a street full of walls. My legs were as
heavy as lead; I could only walk very slowly as if I were very weak or
very old. Then there was a flock of chickens, but that seemed to be in
a crowded city street, and they--the chickens--ran after me, and the
biggest of all said something like: 'Come with me into the dark.'"

"There," she said, "that is my dream, and if you can make head or tail
of it, it is more than I can. It is so ridiculous that I am ashamed to
tell it."

But Doctor Brill was already at work drawing up a test list, with the
more striking words of the dream sprinkled through it. Twice he read the
list to her, noting not only the time of her responses, but also their
character.

He was immediately impressed by the fact that certain of the dream
words--such as "chicken," "street," and "dark" had caused a noticeable
time variation; and that she had also given in her responses words that
would not ordinarily be associated with the test words. Especially
peculiar was the association of "mystery" and "marriage" with the word
"dark." The suspicion formed in his mind that a disappointment in love
might be at the bottom of all her disease symptoms. But he did not at
once give voice to this idea; instead, he sought to obtain corroboration
from her own lips without her appreciating his purpose, by means of
another method of "mind tunnelling" known as the method of free
association.

"I want you," he said to her, "to concentrate your attention on the word
'chicken,' and state the thoughts that come to you in connection with
it."

Her reply, given after a few moments of silent meditation, was:

"I remember now that I could see only the biggest chicken; all the
others seemed blurred; it was unusually big and had a very long neck and
it spoke to me. The street in which I saw it recalls where I used to go
to school--the block was always crowded with school children."

She paused, and began to blush and laugh.

"Go on," said Doctor Brill encouragingly. "What next?"

"Why, it recalls the happy school days when I was young and had no
worries. I even had a beau, a boy who attended the same school. We used
to meet after school hours and walk home together. He was lanky and
thin, and the girls used to tease me about him. Whenever they saw him
coming, they said: 'Belle, here comes your chicken.' That was his
nickname among the boys."

Stopping suddenly, she exclaimed:

"Doctor Brill, it couldn't be possible that the chicken with the long
neck, that I saw in my dream, was my old beau!"

"It begins to look very much like it," he smiled. "Have you seen him
lately?"

"Not for months."

"And before then?"

Little by little the whole story came out. They had kept up their
acquaintance after the school days were long gone. Three times he had
asked her to marry him, but each time she had refused, because although
she "liked" him she was not at all sure that she "loved" him. At last
she had decided that the next time he proposed she would accept. But he
had not proposed again. And shortly before she became ill she had heard
that he was paying attentions to another young lady.

"I take it," interposed Doctor Brill, "that he is not so well off as he
might be, and that this had something to do with your refusing to marry
him."

"What makes you say that?"

"In your dream I note that you state: 'Every time I made a move there
was a wall in the way; it looked like a street full of walls.' A street
full of walls might easily signify Wall Street--hence money. That has
been the real obstacle, has it not?"

She confessed that he was right.

He then explained that the one great cause of her ills was her
insistent, if subconscious, brooding over the disappointment she had
experienced, and that her cure depended upon her ability to overcome
this mental attitude. Realizing for the first time, as a result of the
dream analysis, that she was really in love with the man she had three
times declined to wed, she soon solved the problem. Only a hint was
needed to transform him into a suitor once more, and within a very few
months they were happily married.[41]

      [41] Doctor Brill has reported and discussed this case in his
      recently published "Psychoanalysis," pp. 48-54.

Sometimes direct questioning is sufficient to enable the physician
to get at the underlying mental cause of trouble. Take, for example,
another case successfully treated by Doctor Donley.

The patient was a woman of thirty-five who was troubled by a constant
and involuntary hacking, which sounded as though she were trying to
clear her throat. Drugs, local applications, and electricity had been
tried at intervals during more than four years, but to no purpose. On
inquiry, it was found that the trouble had set in about five years
before, when the patient, who was a mill hand, had suffered from a sore
throat. The physician whom she then consulted told her that she had a
bad case of tonsilitis, and that her tonsils would have to be burned
out.

Greatly frightened, she had hurried home, refusing to submit to the
operation. In a few days the tonsilar symptoms disappeared, and she
returned to work. But she was attacked a second time three weeks later,
and visited another doctor, to be informed that her tonsils were so
badly diseased that it would be well to have them removed by cutting.

Again she refused to submit to an operation, but the fear of cutting,
added to her previous fear, now revived, of burning out her tonsils,
threw her into a highly nervous state. She then began to experience an
unpleasant stinging, tickling feeling in her throat, which she tried to
remove by hacking. As the tickling continued, the hacking became more
and more frequent, and by the time she came under Doctor Donley's
observation had taken on the character of a "tic," or uncontrollable
muscular movement.

These facts in the early history of the case, the patient herself
remembered only vaguely. But she confessed that she was still tormented
by a haunting fear of a possible future burning or cutting of her
tonsils. Finding her exceedingly suggestible, Doctor Donley made no
attempt to hypnotize her. He merely requested her to close her eyes,
remain perfectly passive, and listen attentively to him.

"She was then told, with much emphasis," he says, in describing the
treatment, "that her tonsils were perfectly healthy, that no cutting or
burning ever was or ever would be required; that the tickling sensation
in her throat arose from the constant fixation of attention upon this
part; that she would feel no more desire to hack because her supposed
reason for hacking had ceased to exist, and finally, that when she
should open her eyes she would feel better than she had in a good many
years.

"Much emphasis was placed upon this feeling of health, because it was
desired to leave her on the crest of a pleasurable emotion, which of
itself has a very great suggestive value. What had been predicted in her
regard actually occurred. When she sat up, her tic had disappeared, and
she expressed herself as feeling quite grateful and happy. The treatment
lasted an hour, and except for two slight recurrences easily removed by
waking suggestion, this patient has had no further difficulty."[42]

      [42] Quoted from "Psychotherapeutics: A Symposium," p. 152.

Unfortunately, such an easy solution of problems like this is
comparatively rare, particularly when, as in this instance, a physical
trouble is superadded to the mental. Often--a fact which cannot be
emphasized too strongly--it happens that, in dissociational cases,
physical symptoms so far predominate as to lead to totally wrong
diagnosis, even by experienced physicians. This results, as was hinted
above, from the power inherent in subconscious "fixed ideas" of
producing an endless variety of disturbances simulating true organic
diseases, it may be diseases remediable only through surgical
operations.

As a consequence, innumerable operations have been performed on patients
who should have been given, not surgical but psychopathological
treatment. I have in mind as I write a case of this kind that was
called to my attention by a friend who participated in the lamentable
affair.

A middle-aged woman entered one of the Boston hospitals and complained
of severe abdominal pains, which she attributed to cancer of the stomach
or intestines. She was obviously greatly frightened, and suffering
intense agony. A diagnosis of appendicitis was made, and an immediate
operation deemed imperative.

But, to the surprise of the surgeons, the appendix was found to be in a
normal condition. At once they directed their attention to the other
abdominal organs, examining them one by one. None showed any sign of
disease. Finally, with a rueful smile, one of the surgeons straightened
up, and, touching a finger to his head, said:

"The trouble with this poor woman, gentlemen, is here, not in the region
that we have been exploring. But we should not undeceive her. We will
remove the appendix, on general principles, and that will probably be
all that is needed to cure the trouble in her head."

Under the circumstances, it was excellent advice. But how much better
it would have been for the unfortunate woman, whose life was thus
endangered by the surgeon's knife, if it had been recognized from the
beginning that her malady was only a "hysterical simulation" of the
symptoms of appendicitis. Some day, when physicians generally make
themselves acquainted with the diagnostic methods of psychopathology,
blunders like this will be, as they ought to be, most exceptional.

In point both of diagnosis and treatment, again, psychopathological
knowledge is indispensable to the correct handling of such cases as the
following, reported by Doctor Janet.[43] It is, I am ready to concede,
an unusual case, but it is unusual only because it presents a complex of
symptoms commonly found singly or in simpler combination.

      [43] In "Névroses et Idées Fixes," vol. i, pp. 1-68.

It would be impossible to estimate with any accuracy the number of
persons who, afflicted only in scant degree like this poor Marcelle,
have been obliged to drag out an existence worse than death, either in
the care of their friends or immured in an institution, simply because
their medical attendants, ignorant of the workings of the law of
dissociation, have been unable to fathom the true nature of their ills
and adopt adequate curative measures.

Marcelle, as Doctor Janet calls her, was only nineteen years old when
she began to astonish her relatives by developing what they were at
first disposed to regard as nothing but an eccentric form of laziness.
She would constantly ask them to give her objects--a book, her crochet
work, a plate--which she could easily have got for herself by stretching
out her hand and picking them up. To all expostulations, she would
calmly reply:

"I can't help it. I can't use my hands as I once did, and that's all
there is to it."

"You can't use your hands! What nonsense! You can use them to eat with,
well enough, and you are crocheting most of the time."

"Oh, but that's different."

"What's the difference? Tell us."

But Marcelle could not, or would not, tell them, and from joking with
her the family soon passed to a state of wrath, endeavoring in every
way to overcome her "stupid obstinacy." Their anger in turn gave way to
fear, when, one night, noticing a glimmer of light in her room, they
entered, and found her standing, fully dressed, before the bed.

"But what is this!" they exclaimed, in amazement. "Why don't you get
your clothes off and go to bed?"

"Because," she cried, "I can't undress!"

And, all arguments proving vain, it was necessary for her sister to
disrobe her as though she were a tiny child. Next day a consultation was
held, and it was decided to take her to the Salpêtrière.

"She doesn't seem insane," her mother explained, when applying to have
her admitted. "She talks sensibly about most things. Can it be that she
is really suffering from some kind of paralysis?"

"Most assuredly," was the reply, "and we will do our best to discover
what it is and cure it."

This turned out to be no easy matter. Doctor Janet, into whose care she
came, had no difficulty in determining that the specific malady which
afflicted her was an extreme form of "aboulia," a disease involving
temporary paralysis of the will, and thereby preventing all muscular
movement. But it was one thing to make a diagnosis, and another to
effect a cure.

Presently, too, indications of mental disturbance developed. Doctor
Janet had discovered that by distracting her attention he could induce
her to rise, extend her hands, and perform other acts that were
impossible to her when she concentrated her attention on them. He
utilized this as an argument to try and persuade her that she could
always control her limbs if she only made sufficient effort.

"But you are quite wrong," she calmly informed him. "I have not left my
chair, I have not put out my hand."

"Most assuredly you have. You know very well I did not give you that
piece of crochet work. How, then, does it come into your hands?"

"I did not pick it up."

"Who did, then?"

"Somebody else--somebody acting in me."

A little later arose another complication. She refused to eat, and it
became necessary to administer food to her forcibly. She kept saying to
herself:

"You must die, you must die as soon as possible. You must not eat, you
have no need of eating. You must not speak, you have no voice, you are
paralyzed."

"Why do you say this?" Doctor Janet one day asked her.

"Why do I say what?"

He repeated her words.

"But I have said nothing of the sort."

"Oh, yes, you have."

"No, no, no--it was not I; it was somebody else acting in me."

Again that phrase--"somebody else acting in me." Greatly impressed,
Doctor Janet threw her into deep hypnosis. Now, an unexpected and most
pathetic passage of personal history came to light. A year before,
Marcelle had had a secret love affair, her lover had deserted her, she
had determined to commit suicide. Failing to do this, she had, none the
less--overwhelmed by the shock of the desertion, and giving herself
wholly to grief and chagrin, which she felt obliged to allow no one to
perceive--gradually passed into a dissociated, dreamlike state, in which
she subconsciously pictured herself to herself either as no longer
existing or as about to perish.

Hence her "aboulia," hence the "somebody else acting in me," hence the
refusal to take food. To Doctor Janet the situation was now almost as
clear as the light of day--so, likewise, was the course which he would
need to follow to restore the sufferer to her "real self," and rid her
of all disease symptoms.

The dissociation, to put it briefly, had in this case been so complete
as to cause an actual disruption of the sense of personality. Nor is
this malady of "loss of personality" as rare as one might be tempted to
think. I could mention many cases not unlike that of Marcelle's, and
some far surpassing it in astounding developments. There is, for
example, the singular case of BCA. But this is so remarkable, so weirdly
fascinating, and so instructive that it deserves to be treated, as I
shall treat it in the next chapter, entirely by itself.



CHAPTER VIII

THE SINGULAR CASE OF BCA


During his long career as a specialist in the treatment of nervous
and mental diseases, Doctor Morton Prince, the celebrated Boston
psychopathologist, has been called upon to deal with many puzzling human
riddles, and to solve mysteries which, in their way, have been quite as
complicated and baffling as any that ever taxed the ingenuity of that
most ingenious of story-book detectives, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. In fact,
some of the problems laid before the New England specialist surpass even
the most astonishing of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, thus proving
once more that truth is stranger than fiction. This particularly applies
to the BCA affair.

In the beginning, however, there was nothing in the BCA affair to
suggest to Doctor Prince that it had features which would test to
the utmost his psychopathological skill. It opened in a prosaic,
matter-of-fact way, with the arrival at his office of a young woman who
wished to be treated for what she described as a "nervous breakdown."
The story she told was a sad one, but he had heard many quite like it
before, and it did not impress him as involving anything out of the
ordinary.

"My trouble," she said, in describing the evolution of her malady,
"began when my husband was attacked with an incurable disease. For four
years my life was altogether given up to caring for him, striving to
make him as comfortable as possible, and endeavoring to conceal from him
my grief and anxiety. You can imagine the strain put upon me all that
time. Finally he died, under circumstances that caused me a great shock.

"Within less than a week after his death, I lost twenty pounds in
weight. For nearly three months I ate scarcely anything, and did not
average more than three or four hours' sleep out of the twenty-four. I
was depressed, overwhelmed; felt that I had lost all that made life
worth living; and, in short, wished to die. I became highly nervous,
tired easily, and suffered almost constantly from headaches.

"This went on for many months. Then there came a period of temporary
recovery. Strangely enough, it followed an occurrence that brought to me
suddenly a realization that my position in life was entirely changed,
that I was quite alone, desolate, and helpless. For a few minutes these
ideas flashed through my mind, and then all seemed changed. I no longer
minded what, a moment before, had caused me so much distress; and, what
is more, I immediately began to improve in health, until I was able to
mingle with my friends, take long walks, go driving, and really enjoy
life as I had formerly done. Alas, there soon was a relapse, and now I
am feeling worse than ever."

Listening to her recital, and examining carefully her mental and
physical condition, Doctor Prince felt justified in assuring her that
there was nothing seriously the matter, and that he would ere long
have her on the highway to health. In fact, he regarded her case
as one presenting "the ordinary picture of so-called neurasthenia,
characterized by persistent fatigue and the usual somatic symptoms, and
by moral doubts and scruples"; and planned a course of treatment which
he expected would speedily result in a cure. It was, to describe it
briefly, treatment by hypnotic suggestion--a method often employed by
psychopathologists in handling cases of neurasthenia, for they have
discovered that it is perfectly feasible to "suggest away" the fatigue,
insomnia, and other symptoms connected with this widespread and
distressing malady.

The use of hypnotism in the present instance, though, was attended by
consequences vastly different from any Doctor Prince had anticipated,
since it revealed to him that his patient was, in reality, suffering
from something infinitely more serious than ordinary neurasthenia, and
infinitely more difficult to overcome. Put into the hypnotic state, her
ills, to Doctor Prince's amazement, disappeared as though by a miracle.
Her whole expression was altered. She looked, and declared that
she felt, entirely well. It was hard to believe that this radiant,
vigorous, brightly smiling woman was the one who had entered his office
so short a time before, a typical nervous wreck, her features haggard
and careworn, her eyes dull and heavy, her hands trembling. And, most
astonishing of all, the hypnotized patient herself insisted that, in a
very literal sense, she was not the same person.

The tone, the language, the manner--all were changed. Struck with
sudden apprehension, Doctor Prince quickly brought her out of hypnosis.
Immediately there was another transformation, and she was neurasthenic
once more, without the slightest remnant of the strength, independence,
and self-assertiveness she had just been displaying. Nor, although she
was sharply questioned, could she remember anything she had said while
hypnotized; still, this proved nothing, for it is seldom that what goes
on during hypnosis is recalled in the waking state.

But, comparing her latest declarations with her prior account of the
course her malady had run, Doctor Prince could not help asking himself
whether she might not actually be a victim of what is technically
designated "total dissociation of personality," whether the second
emotional shock of which she had spoken, acting on a system already
disorganized by the severe and prolonged strain imposed upon her by her
husband's illness, might not have resulted in a psychical upheaval so
catastrophic as to involve the disintegration of her ego, or "self," and
the creation of a secondary self markedly differing from her original
personality.

In such an event, the period of temporary recovery would, indeed,
represent a period when the secondary self had obtained at least partial
control of the patient's organism; and it was quite conceivable that
there might come a time when, momentarily, at any rate, the secondary
self would become wholly dominant. In that case, the young woman's
plight would be appalling, for she would be in ignorance of all she said
and did while in the secondary state. This was precisely what occurred.

Only a few days after she had first visited him, she came into Doctor
Prince's office in a greatly excited condition.

"Doctor," she cried, "the strangest, the most inexplicable thing has
happened to me! This morning, after breakfast, I went up-stairs,
intending to lie down for a time, as I felt so utterly exhausted. I
think I fell asleep, but am not sure. I do know, though, that two hours
afterward I found myself standing in the post-office, about to mail to
you a letter which I am certain I did not write, but which is plainly in
my handwriting. It is such a queer letter, too, for it speaks of matters
of which I know nothing, and even refers to me as though I were somebody
else, and somebody else were I. What does this mean? What does it mean?"

And, in a day or so, she had an even stranger story to relate.

"Yesterday afternoon," she said, "I went for a walk, not because I
wanted to, but because you had told me that I ought to take some
exercise. I returned home about four o'clock, and went straight to my
room. I remember nothing of what then happened until, in the evening,
I suddenly became aware that I was at a gay dinner party, drinking
wine--which is contrary to my principles--and, what was far worse,
smoking a cigarette. Never in my life had I done such a thing, and my
humiliation at the discovery was deep and keen.

"I assure you, on my honor, that I have not the least recollection of
accepting an invitation to dine out, of dressing for dinner, or of
leaving the house to attend the party. Everything is a blank to me from
the moment I went to my room, in the afternoon, until I came to my
senses, several hours afterward, to find a lively group about me, a
wineglass at my plate, and a half-smoked cigarette in my fingers. Tell
me, Doctor Prince, am I going insane?"

The physician hastened to reassure her, but nevertheless he felt
seriously alarmed. It was evident that she was in a thoroughly
dissociated condition, and that she had become, so to speak, a
battleground on which was to be fought out the weirdest and most uncanny
of conflicts--a duel between two separate selves for absolute supremacy
in the use of the organs of her body.

Further, it soon developed that the advantage would lie with the
secondary self--which Doctor Prince called her B self--because, although
her ordinary, or A self, suffered from amnesia, or loss of memory,
regarding her actions when in the B state, the B self had a memory
extending over both states. The mental agony growing out of this
recurring forgetfulness on A's part may readily be imagined. As the
patient herself has since expressed it, in an autobiographical account
written at Doctor Prince's request:[44]

      [44] This autobiographical account was first published in the
      _Journal of Abnormal Psychology_. Afterwards it was brought
      out in book form by Richard G. Badger, the Boston publisher,
      under the title, "My Life as a Dissociated Personality," and
      with an introduction by Doctor Prince. It is an account well
      worth reading by all students of psychology.

"The amnesia made life very difficult; indeed, except for the help you
gave me, I think it would have been impossible, and that I should have
gone truly mad. How can I describe or give any clear idea of what it is
to wake suddenly, as it were, and not to know the day of the week, the
time of the day, or why one is in a given position? I would come to
myself as A, perhaps on the street, with no idea of where I had been,
or where I was going; fortunate if I found myself alone, for if I
was carrying on a conversation I knew nothing of what it had been;
fortunate, indeed, in that case, if I did not contradict something
I had said, for, as B, my attitude toward all things was quite the
opposite of that taken by A."

Picture to yourself, my reader, how you would feel if, for a few hours
almost every day, and sometimes for whole days at a stretch, you became
virtually nonexistent, yet were made to realize, from what your friends
told you, that a something or a somebody had taken possession of your
organism, and was veritably acting in your place, and in a way utterly
unlike your natural self. This was the state of affairs with Doctor
Prince's luckless patient. In moods, tastes, points of view, habits of
thought, and controlling ideas, her secondary personality was the very
reverse of that which had been dominant when she first sought medical
advice.

There even were pronounced physical differences. Whenever she was in the
A state, she was extremely neurasthenic, being afflicted now by one, now
by another, of the multifarious functional disturbances that accompany
neurasthenia, and being exhausted by the slightest effort. A walk of a
few hundred yards would be almost enough to prostrate her.

In the B state, on the contrary, she did not know the meaning of the
word "pain," and was seemingly incapable of feeling fatigue. She
would walk for miles without experiencing the slightest distress, was
constantly on the go, and appeared to be in every way an exceptionally
robust, healthy woman. Thus, physically, she was--as B--a decided
improvement over herself as A. But with respect to psychical differences
it was altogether another matter.

In the A state, she was kind, considerate of others, self-sacrificing,
animated by a keen sense of, and devotion to, duty; profoundly stirred
by any tale of sorrow or suffering, and most conscientious--if anything,
overconscientious, being tortured at times in an extraordinary degree by
moral doubts. In the B state, she was selfish, thoughtless, and cold;
one might almost say devoid of human feeling. Here is the way she
herself has put it:

"As B, I felt no emotion, except that of pleasure, using the word
pleasure as meaning a 'good time'--social gayety, driving, motoring,
walking, boating, etc.; but my enjoyment of these things was very keen.
As B, I was always the gayest of the company, but for people I cared
nothing. The little acts of affection which we all perform in daily home
life I never thought of. The habit of shaking hands with one's friends,
kissing or embracing those nearer and dearer, had no meaning to me.
Ordinarily, I think, when one shakes hands with a friend, one feels the
individuality of the person, more or less, and the clasp of hands means
something; but, as B, it meant no more to me than clasping a piece of
wood, and the acts of shaking hands, embracing, or kissing were all
alike--it made no difference to me which I did--one meant just as much
as the other. This lack of feeling applied only to people, for I loved
the outside world; the trees, the water, the sky, and the wind seemed to
be a very part of myself. But the emotions by which as A I was torn to
shreds, as B I did not feel at all."

In still further contrast, this most remarkable young woman, when in the
B state, was giddy, irresponsible, and frivolous. In the A state, she
was most serious-minded and intellectual, being fond of reading such
excellent literature as the works of Shakespeare, Hugo, Ibsen, Tolstoi,
and Maeterlinck. All this, B found very tiresome, and cared only for the
lightest kind of fiction, when she read at all.

In matters of dress and social pleasures, A and B were also
diametrically opposed. A believed that she ought to wear black; B, who
seems never to have given a thought to the dead husband, detested black,
and, on the other hand, had a really abnormal liking for white. So that,
as the two selves alternated in control, the strange spectacle was
presented of the same woman at one moment arrayed in deep mourning, at
another dressed in some light, bright gown.

To cap the climax, B took a malicious pleasure in tormenting her other
self in many ways. She made engagements which she knew that, as A, she
would not like to keep; she cultivated friendships with people with
whom, as A, she had little desire to associate; she was wastefully
extravagant, freely spending on useless articles money which, as A,
she had been carefully hoarding against a rainy day; she indulged in
innumerable petty, but annoying, practical jokes at A's expense.

For example: A would often wake in the morning to find on her pillow or
dressing-table notes advising her jeeringly to "cheer up," to "weep
no more," and not to "bother Doctor Prince so much." These notes she
herself had written during the night, having changed to the B state
while she slept, awakened as B, risen, and penned the notes, and then
returned to bed, to fall asleep once more, and, in the morning, awake as
A, with no memory of what she had done since retiring.

The flood of notes continuing, she began to destroy them unread, hoping
that this would discourage B's malicious activity. It only made matters
worse, for B now began to affix the notes to the center of her mirror,
pasting above them inscriptions warning her to be sure to read them, and
declaring that they contained--as they sometimes did--information of
importance to her.

But the best idea of the topsyturvy, kaleidoscopic, almost incredible
life led by this woman with a double existence may be given by quoting
a few extracts from a diary kept jointly by the two personalities, at
Doctor Prince's suggestion. Unique as a record of human experiences, it
had a distinctly practical value, for it enabled A to keep track of what
she had been doing while B was in control. B, of course, had no need of
it for this purpose, since, as was said, she did not suffer from loss
of memory, like A. The extracts quoted are not always in chronological
order; but, for the present purpose, that is unimportant:

"I am here again to-night, B, I am. I may as well tell all I have done,
I suppose. For one thing, I had a facial massage--there is no need of
being a mass of wrinkles. I know A doesn't care how she looks, but I do.
The Q's spent the evening here, and I smoked a cigarette. Now, A, don't
go and tell Doctor Prince; you don't have to tell him everything--you do
it, though. I _must_ have a little fun."

"I have struggled through another day. B has told what she did. How
_can_ I bear it? How explain? I am so humiliated, so ashamed. Why should
I do things which so mortify my pride? Quite ill all day. I am, as
usual, paying for B's 'fun.' It is not to be borne."

"A terrible day--one of the worst for a long time. I _cannot_ live this
way; it is not to be expected. I am so confused. I have lost so much
time now that I can't seem to catch up. What is the end to be? What will
become of me?"

"A was used up, and had to stay in bed all the morning, but I came about
one o'clock, and Mrs. X asked me to motor down to Z. Had a gorgeous
ride, and got home at seven, nearly famished, for A had eaten nothing
all day--she lives on coffee and somnos--nice combination!--steak and
French fried for mine, please."

"Good gracious! How we fly around! A has been ill all the day, could not
sleep last night. I hope he [Doctor Prince] won't send for us, for he
will put a quietus on me, and, as things are now, I am gaining on A. Had
a gay evening--no discussions of religion or psychology, no dissecting
of hearts and souls while I am in the flesh."

"I wonder if A is really dead--for good and all? It seems like it. The
thought rather frightens me some way, as if I had lost my balance wheel.
She wants to die, she really does, for she thinks it to herself all the
time. I wish I were myself alone, and neither A nor B; I cannot bear to
hear A groan, she cannot bear my glee."

"Such a day! A got away from me for a little while, and tried to write
a letter to Doctor Prince. It was a funny-looking letter, for I kept
saying to her: 'You cannot write, you cannot move your hand,' but she
had enough will power to write some, and direct it. The effort used her
up, however, and I came, and the letter was not mailed."

"I am too much bewildered to write. I have succeeded in writing Doctor
Prince. If I can only mail it! Oh, but I am tired! Such an awful
struggle!"

"Another queer thing happened to-day. I have not been to the cemetery
for a long time, so started to go there. I had gone only a little way
when I began to feel that I could not go on. I do not mean that I did
not wish to, but that I could not easily move my feet in that direction.
It was as if some physical force was restraining me, or like walking
against a heavy wind. I kept on, however, and finally reached the
entrance; but farther I found it impossible to go. I was _held_--could
not move my feet one inch in that direction. I set my will, and said to
myself: 'I _will_ go, I _can_ go, and I will!' But I could not do it.
I began to feel very tired--exhausted--and turned back. As soon as I
turned away, I had no trouble in walking, but I was very tired."

These last paragraphs refer to a phase of the case which was, from
the standpoint both of the patient and Doctor Prince, one of its most
serious and mysterious features. Although B, try as she might--and she
undoubtedly tried hard enough--could not permanently oust the A self,
and had to be content with manifesting as an alternating personality,
it was none the less the fact that, even when A was uppermost, B was
able to exercise, from some subconscious region, a certain amount of
influence, often impelling A to do things contrary to her inclinations.

The consequence was that A suffered fearfully from what seemed to be
aboulia, or paralysis of will, somewhat similar to that experienced by
Doctor Pierre Janet's patient, Marcelle, described in the preceding
chapter. The cemetery episode was only one of many incidents, when,
overpowered by some force she could not understand, and which was
actually the superior will of B, she was unable to carry out projects
she wished to execute, or was made to perform acts not at all to her
liking.

The diary is full of allusions to this subconscious mastery of A by
B. Scores of times, B influenced her to read some particular book
she--B--wished to read, or to go out for a walk when she--A--wished to
remain at home. Naturally A began to consider herself changeable and
weak-minded.

"One day," B writes, "it was raining and she did not want to go out, but
I felt that I could not stay in the house another minute. So I willed
that she should go to walk, and she changed her clothes and went out.
She thought: 'What nonsense this is to go out in this rain! I wish I
knew what I wanted to do five minutes at a time.' She would think: 'I
guess I will go to walk.' And then she would think: 'No, I don't want to
go out in all this rain.' Then, in a few minutes: 'I believe I _will_
go to walk,' etc. And finally she went, more for peace of mind than
anything else."

Frequently, moreover, the subconscious willing to affect A's conduct,
resulted in completely effacing A, and allowing B to reëmerge
spontaneously, in full control.

Thus, there was a dinner party which B was anxious to attend, but while
A was dressing she--A--decided she would not go, and started across
the room to telephone and say she would not be present. At once B
subconsciously began to think: "I want to go," "You must go." And poor
A first became very much confused, then faded away entirely, with the
result that the telephone message was not sent, and B was free to
attend the party, and enjoy another of the "good times" that meant so
much to her.

Where A suffered most of all by reason of this subtle power of B to
influence her actions, lay in the difficulty she had in communicating
with Doctor Prince, and in going to him for treatment. B well knew that
her career would come to an end the moment Doctor Prince succeeded in
reassociating his patient's disintegrated personality, and she fought
desperately to preserve her existence, repeatedly preventing A, as
mentioned in the extracts quoted from the diary, from telephoning to
Doctor Prince, writing to him, or visiting him; all of which greatly
increased A's confusion, misery, and unhappiness.

But, as it chanced, although Doctor Prince was earnestly desirous of
effectually and forever suppressing B, he was not at all desirous of
doing this for A's sake; and was, in fact, as anxious to get rid of A
as he was to get rid of B.

For, to inject a new complication into this most complicated affair, he
had by this time discovered that A had no more right to consideration
than B, since A no more than B represented the patient's normal
personality. His searching study of the case--the duel between A and
B lasted a year or more--had convinced him that there had been not a
single, but a double, dissociation of personality; and that the normal
self, in consequence first of the shock occasioned by the husband's
illness and death, and afterward of the shock that brought the B
personality to the fore, had been violently relegated to some obscure
department of the patient's subconsciousness, where, however, it
assuredly was existent, and where it was an intensely interested, if
helpless, spectator of the struggle being waged for control by the two
usurping selves.

To recall this lost self, which he designated as C, was Doctor Prince's
paramount object; and, after many months of weary and futile effort, he
ultimately succeeded. One day, after he had plunged his patient into
deep hypnosis, he saw that she had undergone a striking change.
Physically she seemed much as in the B state, though not so boisterously
vigorous; mentally she was like A, thoughtful and intellectual, but
happily devoid of the vacillation and morbid overconscientiousness that
had made A's life a misery to herself, and most difficult to all who
came in contact with her.

Questioned, she showed that in this new state she possessed a complete
memory for both the A and the B states, and was closer to normal than
either. In Doctor Prince's mind, no doubt remained--he had found C,
the missing self, the self which, after nearly two years of exile, had
promise of coming once more into its own.

It had yet to be reëstablished in sovereignty--no easy task, as the
event proved. Not many hours after its first emergence, B once more put
in an appearance, wrathful, vehement, and defiant, angrily challenging
Doctor Prince to suppress it if he could. Then came A, and soon a
momentary return of C, quickly put to flight, however, by the still
powerful will of B. In short, the conflict now became triangular, with
B and C active opponents, and A a participant because she could not
help herself.

The invaluable diary affords a clear view of the chaos that prevailed,
and of the increasing effectiveness of Doctor Prince's vigorous
reënforcement, by hypnotic suggestion, of the claims of C. We find,
for instance, B lamenting, after several days' banishment:

"Well, once more I am permitted to write in this diary. After we got
home, C went to pieces. I never saw such a lot! And then poor old A
came again, in anguish, wringing of hands, finally tears. Then, thank
goodness, I came myself! I _cannot_ see why Doctor Prince would rather
have that _emotional_, _hysterical_ set than to have _me_! It passes
comprehension. I know _everything_, _always_, and they know only a few
things for a few minutes."

The note of woe and panic sounded here was amply justified. Little by
little, A and B became less in evidence, until at length they were heard
from no more, and C--the normal self--was left dominant, with a complete
restoration to physical as well as mental health.

But, the reader may well ask, what does all this mean? Can there really
be more than one self, one personality, in human beings? If so, what
are we? What is the true nature of man? These are questions that cannot
be avoided, and in my next and closing chapter I will make some attempt
to answer them.



CHAPTER IX

THE LARGER SELF


It is barely fifty years since the problem of supreme interest to
mankind--the problem of the nature, possibilities, and destiny of
man--began to be studied in a really scientific way; yet in that half
century more progress has been made toward its solution than in all the
previous thousands of years that have elapsed since man first asked
himself: What am I? What are my capabilities? Shall I be, after I have
ceased to exist here on earth?

Armed with instruments of the most delicate precision, devising
novel methods for exploring the body and the mind in their mutual
ramifications, modern investigators have thrown a flood of new and
largely unexpected light on the great questions at issue, and have
opened vistas of hope and aspiration and actual achievement undreamed
of by the vanished peoples of bygone times.

At first sight, to be sure, much of their effort appears to be
irreparably, even wantonly, destructive, and perhaps nowhere more so
than in the blows they have dealt at the traditional conception of
the central fact in man's psychical make-up--that intangible entity
variously known as the ego, the self, the personality, animated and
governed by an indwelling, unifying principle, the soul. Every man
instinctively believes that there is only one of him. He feels that, no
matter how his thoughts, his sensations, his emotions may change in the
course of time, he himself will remain essentially and permanently the
same. Putting this belief into metaphysical language, he declares, with
the excellent Thomas Reid:

"The conviction which every man has of his identity ... needs no aid of
philosophy to strengthen it; and no philosophy can weaken it without
first producing some degree of insanity.... The identity of a person is
a perfect identity; wherever it is real it admits of no degrees; and
it is impossible that a person should be in part the same and in part
different, because a person is a monad, and is not divisible into
parts."[45]

      [45] Thomas Reid's "Essay on the Intellectual Powers of Man,"
      pp. 228-231 (James Walker's edition of 1850).

But the modern explorer of the nature of man, replies:

"You are wrong, my friend. Your self is very far from being the simple,
stable unity that you imagine it to be. In reality it is most complex
and most unstable, easily breaking up, and sometimes breaking up so
completely that it may even be replaced by an entirely new self. You
do not believe this? I can prove it to you from the facts not only of
scientific experiment, but also of everyday observation."

Naturally, in support of this statement, stress would be laid on
instances resembling the strange case of BCA, just narrated. And
although cases at all similar to the BCA affair are extremely uncommon
there are a number on record evidencing in other ways so-called "total
dissociation of personality." For example:

A prosperous Philadelphia plumber, a man of exemplary habits and
seemingly in good health, left his home one day to take a short walk.
From that moment he disappeared as completely as though the earth had
opened and swallowed him. There was no reason why he should abscond or
commit suicide, and the general belief was that he had met with foul
play. Rewards were offered, and detectives employed, but no trace of him
could be found. His wife, giving him up for dead, sold his business and
removed with their children to Chicago.

Nearly two years later, the workmen in a tin-shop in a Southern city
were startled one morning by the conduct of one of their number, who,
dropping his tools and pressing his hand to his head in a bewildered
way, sprang to his feet, and cried:

"My God! Where am I? How did I get here? This isn't my shop!"

The foreman, thinking he was drunk, or had gone insane, ran forward to
pacify him.

"Steady, Smith, steady!" he exclaimed. "You'll be all right in a
minute."

The other only stared at him wildly.

"Why do you call me Smith?" he demanded. "That isn't my name."

"That's the name you've gone by since you came among us six months ago."

"Six months ago! You're crazy, man. It isn't half an hour since I left
my wife and little ones to get a breath of fresh air before dinner."

"Look here," said the foreman, pressing him gently into a seat, "where
do you suppose you are, anyway?"

"Why, in Philadelphia, of course."

It was indeed the Philadelphia plumber, whose missing self had returned
to him as suddenly and as mysteriously as it had vanished. A few days
more and he was happily reunited with the family that had so long
believed him to be among the dead.[46]

      [46] Boris Sidis's "Multiple Personality," pp. 365-368. This
      book, by one of the foremost American psychopathologists,
      should be read by all students of abnormal psychology.

Where, it may well be asked, was this man's original self during these
two years? What had become of his normal ego, the ego of which alone he
had formerly been aware? Yet at no time throughout the period when he
lacked knowledge of his identity, and was without memory for his earlier
life and social relationships, did he display the slightest sign of
mental aberration. He was as sane and real to himself and to those with
whom he came into contact, and was as able to take care of himself and
earn a sufficient living, as he had ever been in the years before he
experienced the remarkable psychical upheaval that had substituted an
alien, a "secondary" self in the place of the self he had always been
and known.

A blow, an illness, a fright, the stress of a prolonged emotion--any one
of several causes may bring about this weird condition, of which I could
give illustrative cases to a number that would fill many pages of this
book.[47] Sometimes, though fortunately seldom, there may be--as in the
case of BCA--a double or even a multiple dissociation, resulting in
the development of two, three, four, or more secondary selves, which
alternate with one another in a way productive of the most intense
mental agony to the helpless victim.

      [47] A collection of such cases will be found in my book,
      "Scientific Mental Healing," pp. 124-155.

But, after all, it is not necessary to insist on such extreme instances
in order to demonstrate the essential instability and divisibility of
that which we commonly have in mind when we speak of the "self."
Dissociation of personality is in evidence every day in the pathetic
symptomatology of the various insanities, and in the chronic, if often
masked and unrecognized, memory lapses universal among sufferers from
the manifold affections of hysteria, such as we dealt with in the
chapter on "Dissociation and Disease." It is in evidence in the victims
of alcoholic and drug excesses, who, in a very literal sense, may become
"another person," and say and do things quite alien from their usual
self, and concerning which their usual self afterward has no knowledge.

Even normal sleep, albeit a wise provision for the rest and
strengthening of the organism, involves dissociation. Still more
strikingly is dissociation evident in the phenomena of the state of
artificial sleep induced by hypnotism.

It would carry us too far from the point now under consideration to
enter here into any discussion of the nature and mechanism of hypnotism,
that still widely misunderstood but marvelous agency, not simply for
therapeutic purposes but for the study and exploration of man's inmost
being. The thing of immediate importance is the fact that under the
influence of hypnotism a person invariably develops a self more or less
different from his ordinary waking, conscious self.

Hypnotized, he is to all outward seeming oblivious to everything
transpiring around him. But let the hypnotist speak to him, question
him, and he instantly responds with answers so intelligent as to
indicate that, in some respects, at all events, he is more alert and
keen than when wide awake. Curiously enough, however, commands and
suggestions given to him are, within certain limitations, accepted and
acted upon, no matter how disagreeable or absurd they may be.

Later, when awakened, he is in precisely the same position as are
victims of spontaneous dissociation--such as the Philadelphia plumber,
and Doctor Prince's puzzling neurasthene, BCA. That is to say, he is
unable to give any account of what he has said and done during hypnosis.
Thus the effect of hypnotism is to produce a psychical cleavage so
profound as to involve the action, within a single organism, of two
separate selves.

This has been demonstrated by a long line of scientific investigators,
including physicians and psychologists of international reputation.
Moreover, these investigators have shown that, even after a person has
been brought out of the hypnotic state, the self evoked by hypnotism may
in some inscrutable way continue operant without his suspecting for a
moment its existence and influence.

Impressive proof of this is found in the execution of what are known as
post-hypnotic commands. A hypnotized person is told that, after being
de-hypnotized, he is to perform a certain act on receiving a certain
signal, or at the expiration of a certain time. As usual, when restored
to his conscious, waking state, he remembers nothing of the command
imposed on him; but when the signal is given, or the appointed time
arrives, he feels an irresistible, and to him inexplicable, impulse to
carry out the suggested idea.

Thus, in one series of fifty-five experiments made by the foremost
English authority on hypnotism, Doctor J. Milne Bramwell, the subject, a
young woman of nineteen, was ordered to perform a specified act at the
end of a varying number of minutes, ranging from three hundred to more
than twenty thousand. Not once, on being de-hypnotized, did she remember
what she had been told to do, although offered a liberal reward if she
could recall the commands given her.

Nevertheless, only two of the fifty-five experiments were complete
failures, while in forty-five she executed the commands at exactly the
moment designated, and in the remainder was at no time more than five
minutes out of the way. As to the complete failures, Doctor Bramwell
ascertained that in one instance she had mistaken the suggestion given,
and in the other the circumstances were such that the command might
have been executed without his being aware of it.[48]

      [48] These experiments by Doctor Bramwell were first reported
      by him in the _Proceedings of the Society for Psychical
      Research_, vol. xii, pp. 176-203.

Equally astonishing results are reported by the brilliant group of
Frenchmen who, uniting under the direction of Doctor A. A. Liébeault,
were the first to make an organized investigation of the cause and
effects, the possibilities and limitations, of hypnotism. One of these
French investigators, Doctor Hippolyte Bernheim, once hypnotized an old
soldier, and asked him:

"On what day in the first week of October will you be at liberty?"

"On the Wednesday."

"Well," said Doctor Bernheim, "on that day you will pay a visit to
Doctor Liébeault; you will find in his office the president of the
republic, who will present you with a medal and a pension."

The soldier was then awakened and questioned as to what had been said to
him, but could remember nothing. However, on Wednesday, October 3,
Doctor Liébeault wrote to Doctor Bernheim:

"Your soldier has just called at my house. He walked to my bookcase,
and made a respectful salute; then I heard him utter the words: 'Your
excellency!' Soon he held out his right hand, and said: 'Thanks, your
excellency.' I asked him to whom he was speaking. 'Why, to the president
of the republic.' He turned again to the bookcase and saluted, then went
away. The witnesses to the scene naturally asked me what that madman was
doing. I answered that he was not mad, but as reasonable as they or I,
only another person was acting in him."[49]

      [49] "De la Suggestion dans l'État Hypnotique," p. 29.

Compare with this an amusing little story told by Doctor Prince.

"Wishing to test the compelling influence of post-hypnotic commands," he
says,[50] "I suggested to one of my subjects, Mrs. R., after she was
hypnotized, that on the following day, when she went down to dinner,
she would put on her bonnet, and keep it on during the whole of dinner
time. The next day I received a letter from her in which she said:

      [50] _Boston Medical and Surgical Journal_, vol. cxxii,
      p. 463.

"'I think I am getting insane. At dinner time I would wear my hat during
the meal.'

"On further inquiry, I obtained the following story, which I give
substantially in the original language:

"'As I was going in to dinner, my girl asked me what I was going out
for. "I am not," says I. "I am going to eat my dinner." "Then what have
you got your hat on for?" says she. I put my hand to my head, and there
was my bonnet. "Lord, Mamie!" says I, "am I going crazy?" "No, mother,"
she says, "you often do foolish things." I began to get frightened, but
took off my bonnet and went into the next room to dinner.'

"Then the younger child similarly asked her where she was going, and
called attention to her having her bonnet on. A second time she raised
her hand to her head, and to her surprise found that her bonnet was
really there. She again took it off, and later, when her husband
entered, the same thing was repeated; but when she found her bonnet on
her head for the third time, she made excuse of the stormy words that
ensued to declare she would 'keep it on now till she was through.' After
dinner, being alarmed, she consulted a neighbor about it."

But the longest time on record for the carrying out of a post-hypnotic
suggestion was made by a subject of Doctor Liégeois, another of the
early French investigators. Doctor Liégeois hypnotized a young man, and
said to him:

"A year from to-day this is what you are going to do, and what you are
going to see: You will call at Doctor Liébeault's office in the morning,
and tell him that you have come to thank him and Doctor Liégeois for all
they have done to improve your health. While you are talking to him, you
will see enter the room a dog with a monkey riding on its back. They
will perform a thousand tricks that will amuse you very much.

"Then you will see a man come in, leading a great American grizzly bear,
which will also perform tricks. It will be a tame bear, so that you will
not be at all frightened. The man will be delighted at recovering his
trained dog and monkey, which he thought he had lost. Before he leaves
you will borrow a few cents from Doctor Liébeault to give to him."

Doctor Liégeois, after repeating these complicated and absurd
directions, awoke the young man, and by cautious questioning ascertained
that his memory was a perfect blank for all that had been said to him
while he was hypnotized. Great care was taken not to recall to his mind
at any time the command given to him, and which his hypnotic self was
expected to remember and perform on the appointed day.

Exactly a year later, at nine in the morning, Doctor Liégeois went
to Doctor Liébeault's office, where he waited half an hour, and then
returned home, thinking that the experiment had failed. But at ten
minutes to ten the young man arrived. There was nothing about his
appearance to indicate that he was in any abnormal condition.

He greeted Doctor Liébeault, explained that he had come to thank him for
his kindness to him, and inquired for Doctor Liégeois, whom he said he
had expected to find there. A few minutes afterward, Doctor Liégeois
having meanwhile been hastily summoned, the young man cried out that a
monkey had just come in, riding on the back of a dog. He watched
the antics of these imaginary animals with great interest, laughing
heartily, and describing the tricks he fancied he saw them performing.
After this, he announced the arrival of a man who was evidently the
owner of the monkey and the dog, and he begged Doctor Liébeault to lend
him a little money to reward the man for the amusement his animals had
given him. But he saw no bear.

A moment later he was conversing with the two physicians, in evident
ignorance of all that he had just been saying and doing. He angrily
denied that there had been any animals in the room. When asked why he
himself was there, he could give no definite reply. Doctor Liégeois
immediately put him into the hypnotic state, and demanded:

"Do you know why you came here this morning?"

"Of course I do."

"Why was it?"

"Because you told me to."

"When?"

"A year ago."

"But you did not come at nine o'clock?"

"You did not tell me to come at nine o'clock. You said to come at
exactly a year from the time you were talking to me. It was ten minutes
to ten when you gave me your command."

"And why did you not see the bear?"

"Because you said nothing about a bear when you repeated your orders.
You spoke only once of a bear. Everything else you spoke of twice. I
thought you had changed your mind about the bear."[51]

      [51] Dr. Liégeois's account of his many hypnotic experiments,
      as given in his "De la Suggestion et du Somnambulisme dans
      leurs Rapports avec la Jurisprudence et la Médecine légale,"
      forms one of the most striking contributions to the
      literature of hypnotism.

Obviously, the hypnotic self, distinct and different though it is from
the primary, waking self, can reason, can analyze, can draw conclusions
as readily as the conscious self, and is, to put it otherwise, as truly
a self as the conscious self.

Facts like these, as was said, have caused numerous investigators
to question the validity of the hitherto prevailing view of human
personality. The self, they affirm, is no single, continuous, permanent
entity. On the contrary, it is merely a loosely coördinated aggregation
of mental states, forever shifting and changing, so that the self of
to-morrow may be vastly different from the self of to-day. To quote
Professor Ribot, the famous scientist, and one of the most distinguished
exponents of this new view of the self:

"The unity of the ego is not the unity of a single entity diffusing
itself among multiple phenomena; it is the coördination of a certain
number of states perpetually renascent, and having for their sole,
common basis the vague feeling of the body. This unity does not diffuse
itself downward, but is aggregated by ascent from below; it is not an
initial, but a terminal point."

And Ribot adds emphatically:

"It is the organism, with the brain, its supreme representative, which
constitutes the real personality; comprising in itself the remains of
all that we have been and the possibilities of all that we shall be.
The whole individual character is there inscribed, with its active and
passive aptitudes, its sympathies and antipathies, its genius, its
talent or its stupidity, its virtues and its vices, its torpor or its
activity."[52]

      [52] Ribot's "Les Maladies de la Personalité." Quoted from
      F. W. H. Myers's translation in his "Human Personality and
      its Survival of Bodily Death," vol. i, p. 10.

Or, as the eminent psychologist, Alfred Binet, declares:

"We have long been accustomed by habits of speech, fictions of law,
and also by the results of introspection, to consider each person as
constituting an indivisible unity. Actual researches utterly modify this
current notion. It seems to be well proven nowadays that if the unity of
the ego be real, a quite different definition should be applied to it.
It is not a single entity; for, if it were, one could not understand how
in certain circumstances some patients, by exaggerating a phenomenon
which obviously belongs to normal life, can unfold several different
personalities. A thing that can be divided must consist of several
parts. Should a personality be able to become double or triple, this
would be proof that it is compound, a grouping of, and a resultant from,
several elements."[53]

      [53] "Les Altérations de la Personnalité," p. 316.

But the brain, which Ribot identifies with the personality, is a mere
organ of the body, perishing with the body. Does it follow that the self
perishes with bodily death? Is it really without an abiding, indwelling
principle superior to, and independent of, the physical organism--in
short, a soul--that would enable it to survive the final catastrophe of
earthly existence? Is man soulless? Does death end personality?

Aye, those who hold with Ribot would reply. To speak of a soul is, in
their view of the case, sheer mysticism, since "the ego in us is nothing
more than the functional result of the arrangement for the time being of
the molecules or ions of our brain matter."

That is why, at the beginning of this chapter, I stated that, of all the
labors of the modern investigators of the nature of man, none would seem
to be so irreparably destructive as the blows they have dealt at the
traditional conception of human personality.

Yet, when we probe a little deeper, it will be found that the damage is
not so irreparable as would at first appear; nay, it will even be found
that by their searching inquiries, the advocates of the brain-stuff
theory have unwittingly provided stronger reasons than were at any
previous time available for insisting both on the actuality of the soul
and the fundamental unity and continuity of the ego.

Undeniably, it is necessary to modify the old conception in some
important respects. After the discoveries that have been made as to the
disintegrating effects of natural and artificially induced sleep, of
disease, of sudden frights, of profound emotional shocks, of alcohol
and drugs, etc., it is idle to pretend that unity and continuity are
distinctive characteristics of the ordinary self of waking life. So far
as that self is concerned, its instability and divisibility are now
plainly evident.

What, however, if it can be shown that, equally with the secondary
selves that may and so often do replace it, the primary self is only
part of a larger self--a self which persists unchanged beneath all the
mutations of spontaneous and experimental occurrence? In that case
it will at once become clear that the situation has again changed
completely, and that we are back to the traditional, the intuitive, the
"common-sense" conception of personality, with the single difference
that the term "self" means something broader and nobler than when we
limit it to the now demonstrated unstable, and ever-changeable self of
ordinary consciousness.

And it is precisely to such a view of the self that the discoveries of
the modern investigators, when closely scrutinized, irresistibly impel
us. If, I repeat, they have shown that what we usually look upon as the
self is liable to sudden extinction, they have likewise brought to light
abundant evidence to prove that there is none the less an abiding self,
a self not dominated by but dominating the organism, and unaffected by
any vicissitudes that may befall the organism.

To be sure, it must be said that, as yet, comparatively few of those
to whom we owe this evidence are prepared to admit that such is the
ultimate outcome of their efforts. All the same, the evidence is there,
not simply justifying, but rendering logically necessary, the hypothesis
of a continuous, unitary ego, inclusive of, and superior to, all
changing selves of outward manifestation, and possessing powers thus
far little utilized; but, under certain conditions, utilizable for our
material, intellectual, and moral betterment.

I have, in fact, in the previous chapters presented much of the evidence
supporting this view.[54] All the phenomena of subconscious mental
action--as variously exhibited in telepathy, crystal vision, automatic
writing and speaking, the cure of disease by wholly mental means--point
unmistakably, I am persuaded, to the existence of a superior self
to which the ordinary self of everyday life stands in much the same
relation as does the secondary self of a hysterical patient to the
ordinary, normal self of a healthy person.

      [54] See also my book, "The Riddle of Personality,"
      especially pp. 69-70, 159-162.

Not all the faculties of the larger self--for instance, the faculty
involved in telepathic action--seem to be adapted for ready employment
here on earth. Which would argue, of course, for a future state in
which, freed from all hampering limitations of the body, such faculties
will have full manifestation.

But most assuredly, as the findings of the psychopathologists indicate
plainly, some among these hidden powers are amply available for use
here and now, and may be so employed as to enable the self of ordinary
consciousness to become less liable to disintegration, to ward off and
conquer disease, to develop mental attainments of a high order, to solve
life's varying problems with a sureness and success sadly lacking to
most of us at present.



INDEX


  Aboulia, case of, 259-264.

  Angus, Miss, crystal-visions of, 154-156.

  Automatism, 134-170.


  Badger, R., and case of BCA, 273 _n_.

  Barrett, W. F., and telepathy, 64, 100.

  Barzini, Professor, and Eusapia Paladino, 173.

  BCA, case of, 265-289;
    also mentioned, 292, 295, 298.

  Bernheim, H., hypnotic experiments by, 300-301.

  Bettany, Mrs., vision seen by, 40-41.

  Binet, A., on personality, 308-309.

  Blakeway, W., telepathic experience by, 90-91.

  Boyle, Mrs., case of, 4.

  Bramwell, J. M., hypnotic experiments by, 299-300.

  Brill, A. A., and psycho-analysis, 246-254.

  Burt, F. R., telepathic experiments by, 74, 81-83.


  Cahill, B. J. S., dream creation by, 210-211.

  Carrington, H., and mediumistic frauds, 175-178.

  Clairvoyance, 102-126.

  Cleaveland, W. M., case reported by, 143-146, 148.

  Cobbe, Miss, and the subconscious, 202-203.

  Cock Lane ghost, 183.

  Corliss, I. M., trance medium, 138-141, 147.

  Cortachy Castle, Drummer of, 13-17, 47, 48.

  Crawford, Lord, and D. D. Home, 173, 199.

  Crookes, W., and telepathy, 63, 97, 98;
    and mediumistic phenomena, 181.

  Cross-correspondence, 160-170.

  Crystal-gazing, 127-131, 154-156.


  Dalrymple, Miss, and ghostly drummer, 14-15.

  Dickinson, L., case reported by, 156-157 _n_.

  Dissociation, 230-289.

  Donley, J. E., and cases of dissociation, 242-245, 254-257.

  Dreams, telepathic, 106-118;
    of lost objects, 121-126;
    problems solved in, 204-209;
    creative imagination in, 209-214.

  Dunraven, Lord, and D. D. Home, 173, 199.


  Eardley, Lady, case of, 39-40, 56, 57, 90.

  Eastlake, Lady, case of, 4-5.

  Entwistle, J. S. W., apparition seen by, 29-31.


  Flammarion, C., and telepathy, 63;
    and mediumistic phenomena, 181.

  Flournoy, T., and telepathy, 63.

  Forbes, Mrs., automatic writer, 160, 167-168.


  Genius, new theory of, 214-215.

  Ghosts, premonitory, 12-26;
    coincidental, 26-35;
    house-haunting, 35-38;
    experimental, 42-45;
    of inanimate objects, 49-52.
    See also POLTERGEISTS.

  Golinski, C., telepathic dream by, 116-118.

  Goodrich-Freer, Miss, apparition seen by, 4-8;
    crystal-visions of, 127-131.

  Griffith, Mrs., telepathic dream by, 95-96.

  Gurney, E., alleged spirit messages from, 160-164, 166.


  Hallucinations, Census of, 48, 49.
    See also DISSOCIATION, GHOSTS, HYPNOTISM, HYSTERIA, SUGGESTION,
    and TELEPATHY.

  Hazard, Mrs., apparition seen by, 26, 27.

  Hilprecht, H. V., strange dream of, 207-209.

  Hodgson, R., alleged spirit messages from, 160, 168-169;
    hyperaesthesia of, 219-220.

  Hohenzollerns, White Lady of, 12.

  Holland, Miss, automatic writer, 160, 161-169.

  Home, D. D., trance medium, 173, 199.

  Hughes, F. S., and Shropshire poltergeist, 188-189.

  Hughes, Mrs., telepathic dream by, 94-95.

  Huse, Miss, case of, 104-106.

  Hyperaesthesia, principle of, 64-65;
    cases of, 121-126, 216-227.

  Hypnosis, characteristics of, 157, 158, 296-306;
    as aid in treating disease, 238-244, 263, 265-289.
    See also POST-HYPNOTIC COMMANDS, and SUGGESTION.

  Hyslop, J. H., telepathic experiments by, 67-69, 84;
    also mentioned, 113, 131.

  Hysteria, and poltergeists, 189-195;
    and physical phenomena of spiritism, 196 and _n_;
    modern theories and treatment of, 233-289.


  Jackson, E., apparition seen by, 33-35.

  James, W., and Huse case, 104-106;
    and Mrs. Piper, 149;
    also mentioned, 64, 71, 72.

  Janet, P., and modern treatment of hysteria, 236-242, 259-264;
    also mentioned, 232, 283.

  Johnson, Miss, and experiments in cross-correspondence, 162-167.

  Justine, dissociation of, 236-242.


  Lamont, Miss, and haunting of Petit Trianon, 8-12, 53-55.

  Lang, A., and crystal-gazing, 154-156.

  Langtry, J., apparition seen by, 22-26, 57.

  Liébeault, A. A., and hypnotic experiments, 300-301, 303-305.

  Liégeois, Doctor, hypnotic experiment by, 303-306.

  Lodge, O., and telepathy, 63, 100, 101;
    and Mrs. Piper, 150-153;
    and spiritistic hypothesis, 170.

  Lombroso, C., and Eusapia Paladino, 172-173, 199.

  Lumley, Mrs., case of, 49.


  M., Mrs., apparition seen by, 35-38, 55.

  Marcelle, dissociation of, 259-264, 283.

  Marks, F., telepathic experience of, 114-116.

  McKechnie, C. C., apparition seen by, 27-29.

  Miles, Miss, telepathic experiments by, 74-81.

  Mompesson ghost, 183.

  Morison, Miss, and haunting of Petit Trianon, 8-12, 53-55.

  Morselli, H., and telepathy, 64;
    and Eusapia Paladino, 173.

  Moses, W. S., experimental apparition seen by, 73-74;
    mediumship of, 182 and _n_.

  Muscle reading, 65.

  Myers, F. W. H., and telepathy, 100;
    alleged spirit messages from, 160, 161-163, 166-169;
    also mentioned, 308 _n_.


  Newnham, P. H., hyperaesthesia of, 220-221.


  Paladino, E., trance mediumship of, 171-173, 196 _n_, 199.

  Personality, cases of secondary and multiple, 259-289, 292-295;
    conflicting theories as to, 290-313.

  Petit Trianon, haunting of, 8-12, 53-55.

  Piper, Mrs., automatic writer, 149-154, 160, 168-169.

  Podmore, F., on telepathy, 100;
    and poltergeists, 190-194;
    also mentioned, 41.

  Poltergeists, 2, 182-195.

  Post-hypnotic commands, execution of, 298-306.

  Prince, M., and case of BCA, 265-289;
    hypnotic experiment by, 301-303;
    also mentioned, 52, 53, 298.

  Psychopathology, principles and methods of, 230-289.


  R., Mrs., case of, 301-303.

  Ramsden, Miss, telepathic experiments by, 74-81.

  Reeves, H. E., apparition seen by, 31-32.

  Reid, T., on personality, 291-292.

  Ribot, T., on personality, 307-308.

  Richet, C., and telepathy, 63.

  Robinson, Mrs., telepathic experience of, 113-114.

  Ruttan, Mrs., case reported by, 22-26.


  Sidgwick, H., alleged spirit messages from, 160, 168.

  Sinclair, B. F., telepathic experiment of, 42-43.

  Spiritism, statistics, 134;
    reasons for vitality of, 135-137;
    trance mediumship in, 137-143, 158-159, 171-182;
    hysteria and, 194-196.

  Stevenson, R. L., dream creation by, 211-214.

  Subconscious, the, 51-57, 64-69, 121-132, 158-159, 201-229, 232-289.

  Suggestion, in trance mediumship, 157-159, 196-197;
    in treatment of disease, 234-289;
    in experimental hypnosis, 297-306.


  Telepathy, experiments in, 42-46, 67-83, 119;
    cases of spontaneous, 58-63, 87-96, 106-118;
    and trance mediumship, 147-149, 153-156, 160-170;
    theories regarding, 84-86, 97-100.

  Thompson, Mrs., automatic writer, 160.

  Titus, Mrs., case of, 105-106.

  Tout, C. H., mediumistic experiences of, 158-159.

  Turner, G. L., case of, 49-51.


  Usher, F. L., telepathic experiments by, 74, 81-83.


  Vaux-Royer, Mme., telepathic experiment by, 70-71.

  Verrall, Miss, automatic writer, 160, 168.

  Verrall, Mrs., automatic writer, 160, 162-169.


  Wallace, A. R., and mediumistic phenomena, 181.

  Wedgwood, Mrs., telepathic dream by, 106-108.

  Wesermann, Herr, telepathic experiment by, 43-45.

  Wesley, S., poltergeist experience of, 183.

  West, Mrs., telepathic dream by, 111-113.

  Woodds, Knocking Ghost of the, 17-22, 47.

  Wright, Miss, automatic messages by, 144-146, 148.

  Wyman, W. H., case reported by, 225-227.


  Young, A. K., telepathic dream by, 108-111.



Transcriber's Note


In this txt-version italics have been surrounded by _underscores_ and
small capitals changed to all capitals. The footnotes have been
renumbered and placed after the paragraph they belong to.

The following corrections have been made, on page

   55 "conciousness" changed to "consciousness" (complete control over
      the upper consciousness)
   60 , changed to . (I fretted and worried. But by return)
  221 "subconciously" changed to "subconsciously" (that he had
      subconsciously caught a glimpse of it)
  236 "Salpetrière" changed to "Salpêtrière" (to the Parisian hospital
      of the Salpêtrière);

and in footnote

   7 "Psyical" changed to "Psychical" (to the Society for Psychical
     Research)
  41 "Psychanalysis" changed to "Psychoanalysis" (in his recently
     published Psychoanalysis)
  51 "legale" changed to "légale" (et la Médecine légale).

Otherwise the original has been preserved, including inconsistencies in
spelling and hyphenation.





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