Home

 

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

 

DEDUCTIONS, EXPLANATIONS, AND
THEORIES.

 

I HAVE now brought forward such facts as I consider necessary out of the large number at my disposal. If I have not quoted some on which, because they come within their own personal experience, some of my friends may rely, I must remind them that my object is not to write an exhaustive chronicle, but only to bring forward such cases as will explain and enforce my argument. I cannot quote all, and I have used an editor's discretion in selecting.

 

I desire now, in concluding my argument, to draw attention to some points which will throw light on the theories which have been maintained.

 

Dr. Carter Blake has recorded his opinion that the Force, whose action he observed with Slade, "acted from a spot or spots separate from" him. By this he does not, of course, imply that the Psychic is not the medium through whom the Force is evolved. Plainly he is. Those who have had opportunity of holding the hands of a Psychic during the time when he is passing into the state during which phenomena occur, are familiar with the pulsations and throbs which evidence the surging of the force within him. Convulsive shudders agitate his frame, and these are frequently


 

130                                        Psychography.

communicated to the observer, even though he be not a Psychic himself.

 

I have good cause to remember one of my first experiments with two powerful Psychics, Herne and Williams. After three unsuccessful experiments, the fourth resulted in such a convulsive action of my right arm as to force my hand to beat the table with the most surprising vehemence. I was perfectly powerless to control my arm, and the result was that my hand was so bruised as to be comparatively useless, and very positively painful, for some days afterwards. It was only the arm that was affected. In all other respects I was in a perfectly normal state.

 

Dr. C. Blake notes a similar fact in recording one of his experiments with Slade. "His hands being on both mine in the centre of the table, the muscles of my fore-arms were seized with a convulsive motion, and the waves of this motion, according to my impression, proceeded from my elbows to the finger-tips, and not the converse, as some people might be led to expect. The sensation was unlike what would have been produced by an electric battery under the table, and was more like what I should imagine was the sensation of the aura epileptica. This convulsive movement is gradually communicated to the table, if the Psychic's hands are placed upon it. I have frequently noticed a distinct rhythmical pulsation in the table, commencing some time before any other objective manifestation of the Force is shown, and gradually increasing until it culminates in percussive sounds, or in movements of the table. When this condition is


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                       131

obtained, it is frequently unnecessary for the Psychic, or, indeed, for any one, to touch the table any more. The movements will continue at request, without the contact of any hands, until the stored-up Force is exhausted, when contact again becomes necessary.

 

In Slade's case, the making and breaking of the contact of hands, and consequent cessation and recommencement of the writing was very suggestive. I have alluded to this point before, and several of the records which I have quoted make mention of it. The subjoined account, written by Mr. Conrad W. Cooke, of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, puts it clearly:—

 

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 19th, 1876, I, in company with Professor ——, had a "sitting" with Dr. Slade, at a house in Upper Bedford Place, Russell Square. We arrived at the house a little before three o'clock, and as Dr. Slade was giving a seance to some other gentlemen, we were asked into a front drawing-room on the first floor.

 

Presently two gentlemen came out of the inner room, handed a fee to the secretary, and went away. Dr. Slade then came in, and took us into the adjoining room, which was an ordinary back drawing-room of such houses, furnished as lodging-houses generally are, and having a rectangular double-flap table in the middle of the room, rather farther from the window than the centre of the room would be. This table was covered with a somewhat shabby coloured table-cover, which Dr. Slade removed. He then asked us to examine the table. This we did by moving it, turning it up, and trying it by tapping it in various places. As far as we could see, it was a perfectly ordinary table; the flaps were of the ordinary thickness, and to all appearance quite solid.

 

The table-cover was not replaced, and we, at Dr. Slade's request, sat at the table in the following manner:—Dr. Slade sat with his back to the window and facing the wall which divided us from the room in which he had previously been


 

132                                        Psychography.

waiting. I sat opposite to and facing him, and therefore having the window in front of me; Professor —— sat between us, and at right angles to the way we were sitting, having Dr. Slade to his left and myself to his right.

The room was in no way darkened, and the day, though generally cloudy, was interspersed with gleams of sunshine. I mention this to show that what we saw was in broad open daylight, in a room illuminated by a large window facing towards the west.

We sat, as I have said, at three sides of the table, with our hands upon it, and touching one another, forming what Dr. Slade called a "chain." Professor ——'s left hand rested on the back of the right hand of Dr. Slade, Dr. Slade's left hand was upon my right, and my left upon Professor ——'s right.

In this way we sat for perhaps three or four minutes, when the table gave two or three distinct tremendous pulsations, at first feeble and far between, but following closer upon one another, and becoming more decided in a few minutes. These were followed by gentle taps such as would be produced by a finger-nail tapping on the table, and then by raps becoming louder until they violently shook the latter and almost lifted it momentarily from the ground.

Dr. Slade then said, "Are you here, Allie?" Taps came on the table as if in reply, and Dr. Slade produced an ordinary school-slate, and biting off a piece from the end of a slate-pencil, he placed a piece about the size of a rice-grain on the slate, which he held tinder the table, pressing it up against the under side of the flap, which was over Professor ——'s knees. During this time the "chain" was maintained as before, except that Dr. Slade had but one hand joining ours, the other being employed to hold the slate. In holding the slate under the table, he did so by clasping the edge of the table and the slate together, after the manner of a clamp, so that his thumb was above the table. Immediately the slate was held against the table, we distinctly heard a slate-pencil writing on it, and when it ceased Dr, Slade pulled the slate away, apparently as if he encountered resistance, sliding it away from the edge in a manner very similar to sliding away an armature from a tolerably powerful permanent


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                      133 magnet, and upon the slate there were words written in a very clear hand.

 

Professor —— then asked Dr. Slade if he thought writing could be produced on the slate if it were above the table. Dr. Slade asked the question verbally, and placing the slate, as before, under the flap, the following words were written on it, "I do not know, but I will try." The "grain" of slate pencil was then placed on the table and covered by the slate, upon which Dr. Slade placed the palm of his left hand, his other hand being above the table and touching ours. The sound of the writing immediately commenced, and continued for several minutes, only stopping whenever any of us lifted a hand so as to "break the chain," as Dr. Slade expressed it. When the slate was turned up, it was perfectly covered with small, clear writing, a sort of essay upon the beneficial and harmless nature of Spiritualism, which it called by that name, and finishing up with the signature "A. F. Slade."

Professor —— then requested to be allowed to hold the slate himself. A grain of slate-pencil was placed on the slate, which he held under the flap of the table, and pressing it up against it. In a moment the writing commenced, and a word or two was written on the slate. During the experiment both Dr. Slade's hands were above the table. A few minutes after, when the slate was held under the table, the following words were written:—" Good-bye, I cannot do any more," and after that no more Writing or Taps were produced, and we came away.

In the above notes I have simply stated the facts as they took place before my eyes and those of my friend in open daylight, on an afternoon in August, between three and four o'clock, and I offer no comments as to their cause.

Several observers noticed the fact that Slade's hands, when in contact with their own, were feverishly hot, and emitted a crackling, detonating sound. He would withdraw them as though the contact burnt him. I specially noticed this during the writing while I held the slate. After Slade had made a few down


 

134                                        Psychography.

ward passes over my arm, my fingers tingled, and I heard distinct detonating noises in the table.

 

These detonations sometimes are so powerful as to split the slate to fragments. Mr. Wedgwood's double-hinged slate was thus broken into minute pieces. The Rev. J. Page Hopps took away with him a slate which, in an unaccountable manner, on his way home was similarly pulverised. Several other observers have recorded the same action of what is apparently an explosive force within the object—not something that acts on it from without. And the Rev. Thomas Colley, writing on December 14, 1877, gives a very instructive record of a similar kind. A gentleman had forwarded to Monck a slate which he had so prepared as to render it impossible that it should be tampered with. He had embedded over the slate a plate of stout glass by means of plaster of Paris, leaving a space of about an inch between the slate and the glass. Into this chamber a fragment of pencil was introduced. The slate was perfectly clean, and it was physically impossible to write upon its inner surface by any normal means. Mr. and Mrs. Colley, together with Mr. and Mrs. Cranstoun, of the Tyrol, met Monck on the 14th December, and then and there the word desired by the gentleman who devised the test was clearly written. That word was Tangier. It was, in an unlucky moment for the safety of that slate, proposed that an attempt should be made to add a word at the separate dictation of each person present. The glazed slate, probably to obtain the necessary darkness, was placed under the table, and


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                      135

 

the two gentlemen had each a foot upon it. Mr. Colley describes a sensation of throbbing within the slate—a heaving as when the confined steam lifts the lid of a kettle—and in a moment an explosion took place that scattered it in fragments over the carpet, like spray from a fountain. Mr. Colley instantly took up the slate, and found the words written in the order in which they had been dictated.

 

The interesting part of this narrative, apart from the crucial test contained in it, is the explosive action of the force, and the sensation of throbbing which Mr. Colley, by the accident of having his foot on the brick, was enabled to feet before the explosion took place. It would seem as if the little chamber between the glass and slate were made a receptacle in which the force conveyed through the Psychic was stored, just as, I believe, the table is charged with the force before any manifestation is given of its presence.

 

So much we are able to gather as to the source and operation of this Psychic Force. It is the "mesmeric fluid" of Mesmer; the odyle of Reichenbach; the nerve-aura of other investigators.

 

When we come to consider the method of its direction, we are on more precarious ground. So many theories have been propounded that their bare enumeration will suffice to show the lines on which speculation has worked.

 

Dr. Collyer is a type of those who consider that the phenomenon of Psychography is due to the unconscious action of the will of the Psychic. I append an


 

136                                        Psychography.

interesting statement of his views, extracted from a pamphlet published by him at the time of the Slade prosecution. His views are not original, but the extract which I quote gives a convenient exposition of them:—

 

I will briefly narrate my experience with Mr. Henry Slade, and will confine my remarks to the automatic writing, leaving the various other phenomena for another occasion to describe. On the 6th day of October, 1876, at 7 p.m., I called at 8 Upper Bedford Place. I was shown into the drawing-room, where I found Mr. Henry Slade, Mr. Simmons, and two young ladies. After some few minutes, Mr. Slade and myself went into a small back room. There were two gaslights turned on to their full extent, making the room as light as gas could make it.

 

Mr. Slade took hold of my hands, and after a few moments he was in "the state." This transition was accompanied by the usual nervous twitchings. He told me to clean the slate which lay on the table. I did so, both with a sponge and then with my handkerchief. I never let go of the said slate, which he placed under the corner of the table. A small piece of slate pencil was placed on the upper surface of the slate. In less than ten seconds the said slate was written on, and in ten seconds more eight lines of writing, filling up the entire upper surface of the slate, were written.

 

As I have before stated, Mr. Slade believes that this was written by his wife's spirit. What he believes is quite beside the fact of writing occurring under circumstances that none of your wiseacres and tricksters could imitate. It was Slade's blind faith that the writing was spiritually produced, that enabled his Will-power to embody the thought. Having attended the trial at the Bow Street police court, I heard the childish propositions of chemical pencils, sympathetic inks, and so forth. I, accordingly, to meet all such objections, purchased of a stationer in Holborn two white porcelain slates, 7 inches long, 5 broad; these I took with me to Slade's rooms on Friday, Nov. 2nd, at noon. We retired into the same room as on the previous occasion. Mr. Slade


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                      137

 

sat for twenty minutes, but entirely failed, and said he had no power. I was not in the least astonished, as I have known persons for weeks to lose all power. On the following Sunday, Nov. 5, at noon, I again visited Mr. Slade. I untied the slates myself, broke off a piece of Cumberland lead, one-eighth of an inch in length, which I placed between the slates, and retied them together with the tape I had brought with me. The slates were then placed on the top of the table, Mr. Slade's fingers being in contact with the frame of the upper slate, his other hand was on my own. I distinctly heard the writing going on or being made. On opening the slates these words were written:—

"We cannot write with this point of pencil.—A. W. SLADE." I retied the slate, leaving within the original piece of pencil.

An ordinary slate, which I carefully cleaned, was placed on the top of the table; on the under surface of the slate I heard the writing taking place. I had my elbow on the slate all the time. On turning the slate I found forty-nine words, written in less than three minutes by my watch. On returning to the drawing-room, I found a gentleman who had brought a folding-slate with him; this was written on both sides—that is, the upper and lower surface, inside the folded part of the slate. There were sixty­four words. At page 94 of my work, Exalted States of the Nervous System (Renshaw, 356 Strand), I use these words: "Faith and Will, —The power of the will, in the ordinary normal state, is confined to the immediate acts essential to the functions of life; but it may be educated (during an abnormal state) so as to be directed out of or beyond the ordinary channel, so that brain phenomena, or abnormal states, may be induced at the will of the individual. In order to arrive at perfect control of the organs not normally under the influence of the will, much time is required."

At page 106 I state: "The embodiment of thought is the cerebral representation or production of the figure thought of. If there be sufficient nervo-vital fluid at the command of the medium, he is enabled to project an embodiment which will, for the time being, under the direction of the will-power, manifest all the conditions of an independent existence."


 

138                                        Psychography.

The medium must necessarily be an extremely sensitive person—even morbidly so. How, then, is it possible that he can be calm and self­possessed, exercise mental concentration or will-power, if he is purposely rendered irritable his sensitiveness wounded by wanton, puerile opposition? It cannot be expected that if the necessary conditions to success are destroyed that successful results can follow. It would be as unphilosophical to break your watch, and then to grumble because it ceased to keep time.

No man is a greater admirer of pure philosophy and close inductive reasoning than myself. I also abhor with detestation and contempt those upstart parvenus in science who imagine that by coups de main [a stroke of the hand] they can solve the most recondite revelations of brain function. It cannot be forgotten that the College of Physicians of London ignored both Harvey and Jenner. It should not be forgotten that the Royal Society of Great Britain received the report of Benjamin Franklin's experiments, showing the identity of lightning with other electrical phenomena, with a shout of laughter.

Napoleon referred the subject of steam navigation to the Academy of Science. The result was that the Academy pronounced the idea to be "a ridiculous notion." When George Stephenson first proposed railroad travelling, how was the idea treated by the British House of Commons? Did not his distinguished son, Robert Stephenson, with all England, ridicule the French project of digging a canal at Suez? Still, the British nation a few years subsequently gave four millions sterling for an interest in the same canal! Who, fifty years since, would not have been pronounced a madman if he had had the temerity to state the practicability of holding in a few minutes communication with his friends in Australia? Cases could be multiplied showing the ignorance of the most intellectual in matters which are beyond their knowledge. The universe abounds in mysteries, exciting only the barren wonder of the desponding observer, but stimulating the philosophical to untiring and earnest research. To contradict past experience is a certain indication of error; to march beyond it is the truest indication of genuine discovery. If ignorance is punishable


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                      139

 

with three months' hard labour, who could escape the amusing task of continually walking upstairs?

Slade is not responsible for his want of knowledge as to the modus operandi of the most recondite phenomena connected with cerebral function. All he knows is, that these phenomena do not occur under certain conditions. It is not because he verily believes that they are produced by the spirit of his late wife, that such a belief comes within the sphere of criminal jurisdiction. I am not responsible for Slade's ideas. I am thoroughly convinced he is honest in his belief. What concerns myself is the production of these cerebral phenomena. My conviction of the fact that they are produced without the least attempt at trickery or fraud, is a conviction arrived at after thirty-five years' investigation. That many persons with partially-developed powers have resorted to deception I am equally convinced. I have discovered on many occasions false representations, but these do not militate against the genuine phenomena. There is scarcely a subject with which the human mind is conversant that may not be simulated or imitated so closely as to deceive and betray the unsuspecting.

I am as satisfied of the genuineness of the automatic writing presented by Henry Slade, of the United States, as I am of my own existence, or that the sun gives light, or is the cause of light, or of any other physical phenomenon, universally admitted. I do not find fault with the learned magistrate who defined "palmistry" to be analogous to these new recondite mental phenomena. Nor do I blame Mr. Henry Slade for believing that the phenomena are produced by his deceased wife's spirit. I am firmly convinced that if he had not this belief the phenomena would not be produced. Blind faith is essential to the exercise of willpower.

It is the will-power during an abnormal or exalted state of brain which produces all these varied phenomena, no matter how diversified or apparently complicated.

Absolute blind faith (not exercisable during the normal state of existence) is necessary to the full development of will-power. Doubt your own capacity, and it ceases to exist. Conviction of power is the surest road to success; "he who


 

140                                         Psychography.

 

hesitates is lost." It is really ridiculously funny to find men of the most ordinary mental faculties writing of the "Common Course of Nature."

 

All the world believed the postulates advanced by Aristotle, and these were defined as "The Laws of Nature" until Galileo and Newton demonstrated the contrary. As to the laws of falling bodies and gravitation, for two thousand years the whole world had spoken of the "Common Course of Nature." Common enough would poor Nature be if interpreted by such conjuring mechanicians. What is that which we entitle a Law of Nature? Is it, as is generally conceived, an abstract sovereign rule of Divine authority before the beginning of the world's existence? Or is it only a synthetical epitome of Nature's operations, such as human experience and assiduity has found out, and human ingenuity arranged? Here, on this very topic, is an error most prevalent, even amongst the men best versed in science. They are too apt to confound scientific theory, conventionally stamped, as a "law of Nature," as an original principle established by the fiat of Omnipotence. The poor wretch who has the temerity or foolish hardihood to question its validity is denounced as a heretic to the order of Nature herself. Roger Bacon was excommunicated by the Pope for such a crime, and imprisoned ten years, accused of having dealings with the devil. At that period (the 13th century) professors were bound, under oath, to follow no, other guide than Aristotle. "There is a wide difference between the idols of the human mind and ideas of the Divine mind."

 

Dr. Geo. Wyld entertains a somewhat similar idea. In an elaborate paper printed in the Spiritualist of Dec. 14, 1877, he maintains the opinion "that all the phenomena we have yet obtained might be produced by the spirits of the living." Respecting Slade's Psychography, he "believes that it was produced by his own partially entranced spirit," although Slade was, to all appearance, in his normal state at the time.


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                      141

 

This theory finds a curious illustration in the experiments recorded by Miss Kislingbury, which I have already quoted. There, however, the Psychic's will was decidedly not the only active cause. And, most probably, this may be so in any given case. Dr. Collyer's idea is that most in accordance with the ancient belief. Those who in days of old have studied the mysteries of occult phenomena have left for us a more or less bewildering record of their conclusions. Those who are curious enough to desire to peep behind the veil, and to master what the wisdom of the ancients has collected, may do so by perusing a work which has recently been published by Bouton of New York—ISIS UNVEILED: a Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology. By H. P. Blavatsky. There he will find, scattered up and down through two huge volumes—master-pieces of industry and erudition—much that will attract his attention and exercise his thought. And there, too, he will find the views of the ancients and mediaevalists respecting the innate power of the human spirit set forth at length.

 

They believed that the human spirit, properly trained to energize through its will, had incalculable powers; that its action was by no means limited to the body in which it was imprisoned, but extended, under favouring circumstances, to almost any distance. They held that this phenomenon of Psychography, with which they were perfectly familiar, was effected by the spirit of the Psychic just as really as when his hand held the pencil and framed the letters.


 

142                                        Psychography.

They would say that such performances as we are familiar with are but the unconscious and feeble products of an untrained spirit, which possesses magical powers without knowing it. These unconscious and unregulated Psychic phenomena they would discourage, and would substitute for their feeble and uncertain results the sure and calculated efforts of a trained Will. Man, they say, an Incarnate Spirit, has in himself all he needs for the production of the most apparently miraculous results. He is lord of creation, with the "promise and potency" within him of all, even creative power, did he only know it.

 

The Kabalist is very strong in his claims, but he is at least coherent. Both Dr. Wyld and Dr. Collyer would seem to mix up two totally different states: one which I call Psychism, in which the Psychic is so far from exercising the power of his will with that concentrated energy which alone avails, that he must ex hypothesi [from the hypothesis] be passive and at perfect rest in order to obtain results; and another, which is the state of conscious and concentrated Will-power—a state as positive as the other is negative—one that admits of no passivity, but is characterized by severest energy.

 

There are, indeed, grades of distinction between all three explanations; and the curious reader may amuse himself, without experiencing much fear of failure, by suggesting difficulties which neither of the modern theorists can hope to solve.

 

In Dr. Morin's journal de Magnetisme, published in Paris, at a time when table-turning was at its height,


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                       143

a letter was printed which contains statements of opinion bearing upon what I am now saving. I quote from the same work of Madame Blavatsky's before alluded to:—

 

We, who well know the value of the phenomenon, are perfectly sure that after having charged the table with our magnetic efflux, we have called to life, or created, an intelligence analogous to our own, which, like ourselves, is endowed with a free will—can talk and discuss with us with a degree of superior lucidity, considering that the resultant is stronger than the individual, or rather the whole is larger than a part of it…. The phenomenon is as old as the world…. The priests of India and China practised before the Egyptians and the Greeks. The savages and the Esquimaux know it well. It is the phenomenon of Faith, sole source of every prodigy.

 

This is the magic secret of the Kabalist, the grand truth enunciated in days long past by Jesus Christ—"Thy faith hath saved thee," "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Be thou cast into the depths of the sea, and it shall be done"—the sole secret of success, a will that knows no "perhaps," and a faith whose confidence no temporary failure can shake.

 

This theory of the action of a new consciousness, framed out of the intelligences of those present at the experiment, has been many times put forward, to be as often upset by some fact which it is not sufficient to explain. It is the fate of theories. All gravitate to the same grave, until the time comes and the man, who explains, in the light of accumulated facts, by severe process of deductive logic, what insufficient knowledge has only blundered over,


 

144                                         Psychography.

 

Perhaps the greatest light will be shed on these obscure phenomena by the study of mesmerism. The passive state in which the Psychic is thrown before any phenomena are produced may be regarded by some as a state of auto-mesmerism, during which his liberated spirit displays some of the strange phenomena of clairvoyance, prevision, introvision, and the like, which successful mesmerists study in their "subjects." The trance-state, during which the best phenomena are observed, is one known to mesmerists by the name of ecstasis, and many remarkable facts are recorded respecting it, as, for instance, in a valuable work on the subject by Professor Gregory, F.R.S.E., entitled Animal Magnetism. This has been lately republished by Mr. Harrison (38, Great Russell Street), and is an excellent introduction to the study of the phenomena now under notice.

 

Indeed the whole subject of the trans-corporeal action of the human spirit—its power of making its presence felt far away from its bodily prison-house under the influence of strong emotion; its sympathies and antipathies; its strange power of mind-reading and transfusion of thought, under certain circumstances and in certain states;—are all points to be cleared up by the student of these phenomena before be ought to venture far into the domain of theory. Professor Barrett very properly said, in the course of a letter to The Times, when the Slade prosecution was before the public: "I am inclined to believe that other mental phenomena—such, for example, as the possibility of the action of one mind upon another, across


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                      145

 

space, without the intervention of the senses—demand a prior investigation." He had previously recommended the study of mesmerism; and he might have added that the whole subject of Psychology in its various branches, respecting which so little is now known, should receive careful attention in the light of knowledge which ancient students possessed. It is thus that the gates will be opened, after prolonged and patient investigation and study.

 

But when all this has been admitted, and when these theorisers have said their say, there remains, it must be confessed, a numerous, compact, and firm body of observers who correlate these phenomena with others called spiritual, and refer them to the action of disembodied human spirits. These are the Spiritualists pur sang [pure breads]. They cut the knot of every difficulty with an all-sufficient knife; and, starting with a tremendous postulate, account for everything on comprehensive principles. They say, in effect, that the pretensions which, it must be conceded, are invariably put forward by the intelligent operator are such as they see no reason to reject. They ask, with considerable cogency, what ground the theorist has for rejecting a hypothesis which has the merit of being consistently put forward by the Invisible Intelligence; and why this Intelligence, being interrogated, should invariably return an answer identifying itself with the spirit of a departed human being, if it be, indeed, as alleged, only the liberated spirit of the Psychic? They propound, indeed, several difficulties which are somewhat staggering to the theorists who maintain the


 

146                                         Psychography.

 

action of the spirit of the Psychic as the sole and sufficient cause; and— with a faith which, if it cannot move mountains, has apparently no difficulty in swallowing them—all to them is plain and simple. The world of spirit, they say, is all around us, only a crass materialism has so blinded our eyes that we can no longer discern it, save in those comparatively rare cases where the gulf is bridged by Psychic power. The various Biblical records, which I need not quote, of the intervention of spirit on the material plane, fortify them in their faith, which, they allege, has the venerable prescription of semper, ubique, et ab omnibus [what has been believed always, everywhere and by all] (who, at least, have not wilfully closed their spiritual eyes, or become spiritually blind by inheritance of defective spiritual sense). These claim kinship, too, with the great Eastern schools of thought whose adepts can demonstrate at will what the Western Psychic only fitfully evokes. They contend that what strikes the English mind as portentously incredible is matter of every-day experience to the spiritually-cultured Eastern; as it has been to all who have striven to obey the maxim, Know thyself

 

Between these various theories—and their ramifications are far wider than I have thought it necessary to indicate—the candid reader may be left to choose, unless, indeed, he be made in that rare and robust mould which is content with facts and facts only, satisfied with accumulating and preserving them, and willing to leave theory, to the day when sufficient material shall have been accumulated to lift a deduction out of the mists of mere speculation.


 

Deductions, Explanations, and Theories.                       147

In concluding I am bold to reiterate what I said at starting. I have no controversial end in view, else my tone had been other than it has been. I have neither the wish nor the power to force unwelcome truth on unwilling minds. My aim has been to record facts for such as wilt value them. I have but enumerated certain theories, without any desire—at this juncture, and in this volume—to advocate any of them. In the words of Professor Gregory—writing, I am rejoiced to think, about a subject then sneered at, but now generally accepted—"My object has not been to explain the facts I have described, but rather to show that a large number of facts exist which require explanation, but which can never be explained unless we study them. I am quite content that any theoretical suggestions I have made should be thrown aside as quite unimportant, provided the facts be attended to, because I consider it too early for a comprehensive theory, and because I believe the facts are as yet but very partially known."—Animal Magnetism, p. 252.

 

APPENDIX.