The Intelligence manifested. - It is a Human Intelligence. - Inherent Probabilities. - Conditions requisite. - The Best Conditions. - A Living Organism necessary - The Laws of Telepathy and Suggestion prevail. - Slate-Writing. - A Wonderful Slate-Writing Seance. - Telepathic and Psycho-Physical Power displayed in Perfection. - Demonstration of its Mundane Origin. - An Unexpected Phenomenon. - Summary of Results. - Syllogism. - General Conclusions. - Spiritistic Phenomena do not constitute Valid Evidence of a Life beyond the Grave. - An Argument lor Immortality.
THE physical phenomena of spiritism are in more senses than one the most interesting of all the manifestations of subjective power. They require, however, but a brief treatment at our hands, for the reason that the primary object of this book is to deal with the mental powers and attributes of mankind in their relations to psychic phenomena. No attempt, therefore, will be made to prove that the alleged physical phenomena of so-called spiritism are veridical or otherwise. It would be a work of supererogation to attempt to add force or volume to the already overwhelming array of testimony going to show the wonderful physical power often displayed in connection with psychic phenomena. For our purposes it is not a matter of vital importance whether things can be made to levitate without physical contact or not. It will be assumed, therefore, that all statements made by respectable witnesses in regard to the occurrence of physical phenomena are true. We do this partly because we believe them to be true, having seen enough to know the reality of the leading physical phenomena, and partly because our purpose is to deal with the mental aspects of psychic phenomena, and the laws which pertain to their development.
We shall leave to those who are sceptical, or who think they are sceptical rather than ignorant, the task of investigating, after the ponderous and elaborate methods of the scientists, phenomena which can be verified beyond the possible shadow of a doubt, by the exercise of a little common-sense. And we will here undertake to guarantee that if any scientific gentleman will, in good faith, follow the suggestions offered in former chapters of this book regarding the proper method of dealing with so-called mediums, and will divest himself, for the time being, of all fear of professional mediums and all prejudice against them, he will not only see enough to convince him of the truth of all that is alleged regarding physical phenomena, but he will also see that the elaborate test conditions often insisted upon by scientific investigators are superfluous, not to say absurd. These remarks are, of course, applicable to the better class of mediums, that is, those who are recognized by the great body of spiritists as possessing a high order of mediumistic power. Their moral characteristics need not count as a factor, for it is to the interest of a medium to produce genuine phenomena when he can, and he will always do so if the conditions are favorable.
Mediums are always anxious to exhibit their phenomena, when genuine, under test conditions, and will do so in a way that shall satisfy the most sceptical. A further qualification of the foregoing remarks should be made in regard to "materializing" mediums. The writer has never seen anything genuine in the line of materializations. There is here more room for fraud, and more fraud is perpetrated by materializing mediums than by any other, because materialization is a rare and difficult phase of mediumship. Yet there is every reason to believe, and we shall undertake to show further on, that the production of genuine apparitions, resembling the persons they profess to represent, is a possibility within the range of psychic power.
The remarks which follow will therefore be addressed, not to those who are not yet convinced of the reality of physical phenomena, but to those who are aware of their reality, but attribute them to extramundane causes.
There is one pregnant fact connected with these manifestations which all will admit, and that is that there is an intelligence which directs and controls them. This intelligence is that of disembodied spirits, or it is not. If it is not, it must be that of embodied spirits. These propositions, if not self-evident, will at least be admitted to be true by those who believe that it proceeds from disembodied spirits of human beings. The intelligence is a human intelligence, - that is, it is characterized by human imperfections and limitations; and, as all human beings must be classified as either living or dead, we must look to one class or the other for the source of the phenomena.
The first question in order is, What are the inherent probabilities? Conceding the power to exist, it would seem to be more inherently probable that it is possessed by a soul connected with a living organism, than it is that it is possessed by a soul that has been entirely severed from all connection with the material world. Spiritists themselves unwittingly concede the truth of this proposition when they assert, as does Allan Kardec, on the authority, as he says, of "the spirit of Saint Louis," that "the spirits who produce these effects are always inferior spirits, who are not entirely disengaged from material influence." 1 Besides, the very fact that the intervention of a "medium " is necessary for the production of physical phenomena demonstrates the proposition that the elements of physical organism are essential. It requires, therefore, two things to produce the phenomena; namely, a soul and a body. In a living man the two are united and working in harmony. Is it not probable that such an organism is capable of producing all the effects attributed to the temporary union of a dead man's soul and a living man's body? If not, why not? Why should a dead man's spirit in abnormal union with a living man's body possess more power than a living man's spirit in normal union with his own body? Is it because the former possesses more knowledge than the latter? No, for we have seen that it is only "inferior spirits " who are capable of producing physical manifestations.