Psychography, A Treatise of Psychic or Spiritual Phenomena 1840 - 1892




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 sense


6                                                  Preface.

M. A. (OXON.)

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 their fathers.


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.