THE following pages are concerned
with what has been variously called Independent, Direct, or Spirit
Writing. I have ventured to call it PSYCHOGRAPHY, a term intelligible in
itself, moulded on already existing words, and expressive of what clumsy
periphrases have hitherto vaguely conveyed.
I was under the impression, when I
first applied the term, that it was as new to the subject as it
certainly was to me. I find, however, that I am using a word which has
been before applied; and I am not sorry that I am only giving extended
use to a term which is obviously applicable and convenient.
My object has been to present within
convenient space a record of facts bearing on one form only of Psychic
Phenomena. To this end I have cut out from the quoted records all that
bore upon other phenomena not now under consideration.
I have desired to present no theory
for acceptance. I have, indeed, enumerated several, and have shown in
some cases how far they do or do not square with observed facts. But I
have never presumed to take upon myself the office of advocate of any.
So far have I kept myself from this that I have, in some cases, ventured
to excise expressions of opinion from quoted records, where it was
possible to do so without doing any violence to the context.
In submitting what I have written to
the judgment of my readers, I profess my own firm belief in the trustworthy nature of the facts
recorded, and my own profound
of their far-reaching importance, both
on grounds of their intrinsic value, and as parts of a great system of
Psychological Fact and Phenomenon, the study of which must eventually
throw a flood of light on some of the problems that, in the present day,
are at once most interesting and most perplexing.
That men of trained and practised
intellect should be found willing to devote the assiduous labour of a long
life to some minute subject, in the hope of clearing up one small phase of
it, is, from one point of view, a hopeful and encouraging fact; but it
tends to engender thoughts the
reverse of cheerful, when we reflect that this very search after truth in
one of its minute phases is frequently allied to a scornful contempt for
that noblest study of humanity, Man's own Nature, Powers, and Destiny.
The result, primarily, of ignorance,
next of prejudice, finally of disgust at oft-detected fraud, this attitudeŚthis unworthy attitudeŚcan, I
believe, better be combated by
patient exposition of the truth than by any proselytizing, however
vigorous and wide-spread, or by any controversy, however skilfully
conducted. A Fact must finally drop into its place; it matters not much,
save to those who might profit by knowledge of it, whether now or in a
succeeding age, when our children will, it is to be hoped, be wiser than
It is with this conviction that I have
endeavoured to elucidate one among many of the facts which testify to the
existence of a soul in man, and to its independent action beyond his physical body; an earnest of its survival
and independent life when
released by death from its earthly prison-house.