Various Classes of Phenomena. - Clairvoyance. - Its Field not yet clearly defined. - Telepathy invades its Ancient Domain. - Simple Experiments in Telepathy. - Their Significance. - Telepathic Power in Mediums. - Telepathic Visions. - A Typical Seance. - Wonderful Exhibition of Telepathic Power. - An Affecting Interview of the Sitter with Himself. - Deductions. - Visions of Inanimate Things as well as of Deceased Persons. - Spirit of the Jack of Clubs. - Subjective Memory. - Spirit Identity. - Allan Kardec's Observations. - His Illogical Conclusions. - His Supreme Test. - Telepathic Explanation. - Four Ways of explaining his Test Case.
THERE are several ways by which the operations of the subjective mind can be brought above the threshold of consciousness. When this is done by any one of the various methods, a phenomenon is produced. Each of these phenomena has been, at some time in the history of mankind, attributed to the agency of disembodied spirits.
The leading phenomena above alluded to are clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, mesmerism, or hypnotism, automatic writing, percussive sounds (spirit-rapping), movement of ponderable bodies (table-tipping), and phantasmic appearances.
Of these, clairvoyance, telepathy, and hypnotism have generally ceased to be regarded as proceeding from supernatural agencies. They are now recognized as powers inherent in mankind, and, as will be seen, are largely employed to explain other phenomena.
Of clairvoyance little will be said, for the reason that it is still an open question among scientists who have been, and are still, investigating the subject, whether independent clairvoyance exists as a power of the human mind. Sufficient evidence has not been brought to my attention to demonstrate its existence. Certainly the great bulk of phenomena which are popularly regarded as evincing clairvoyant power must now be referred to telepathy. It must be said, however, that many phenomena have been produced which cannot at present be accounted for on any other hypothesis than that of independent clairvoyance. Yet it is not impossible that, when the laws of telepathy are better understood, all so-called clairvoyant phenomena may be referred to that agency. For the purposes of our argument, however, it is not specially important that the distinction should be clearly drawn between the two, inasmuch as telepathy, which is an undoubted power of the subjective mind, sufficiently explains all the so-called spiritistic phenomena involving the perception by the medium of facts not within his own experience or his previous knowledge.
I will therefore first treat of those phenomena the mysteries of which are directly and primarily referable to telepathy.
A very simple experiment will enable almost any one to * demonstrate telepathic power. Let a person be securely blindfolded, by taking a pair of kid gloves, folding them into pads, placing them over his eyes, and binding them on by means of a handkerchief. Then let a circle be formed by a few persons, with their hands joined, the percipient forming one of the circle. Let a card be selected at random from a pack, taking care that no one sees any other card of the pack, even for an instant, until the experiment is over. Then place the card in plain sight of all but the percipient, and let them fix their minds and gaze upon the card, and in silence await the result. In the mean time the percipient should be and remain in a perfectly passive and tranquil frame of mind, and simply watch for visions. He will soon begin to see indistinct objects floating in the darkness, and these objects will presently begin to form themselves into shapes more distinct. They may be evanescent, and disappear at intervals; but they will soon return in still more definite form, and will eventually assume some shape that will suggest the card selected. It may be that a vision of the whole card will be presented, exactly as it is, or it may be that there will be a sort of allegorical representation of it.
For instance, in an experiment tried in presence of the author the ten of diamonds had been selected. Instead of seeing a vision of the card, there was an appearance of ten real diamonds, arranged in rows corresponding to the rows of spots on the card, each one sending forth rays of light and scintillations of color. As it was the first experiment the percipient had ever tried, he was at a loss to know the meaning, if it had any, of the vision; but as it persisted in coming, he finally ventured to remark, hesitatingly, that he had an "impression of the ten of diamonds." The applause which followed told him that his subjective mind had conveyed to his consciousness by means of an allegorical vision the information it had telepathically received. It may here be remarked parenthetically that the subjective mind of man appears to be t;md of allegory as a means of conveying its thoughts or information above the threshold of consciousness. The history of mankind is full of illustrations of this fact.
When the next card was selected, the percipient saw the vision of a single heart spot floating in the darkness, unattached to anything like a card; whereupon he ventured to name the ace of hearts, which was correct. In all, five cards were selected at this sitting, and each one was named correctly, with the exception of the last, which was the five of spades. The five of clubs was named; but the percipient explained his mistake by saying that one-half of each spot was concealed from his view, namely, the points of the spade spots, which appeared to be thrust into the darkness, so to speak, leaving only the handle end of the spades exposed to view. As that half of the spade spot corresponds exactly to the corresponding half of a club spot, the mistake was natural, and was really of as great, if not greater, evidential value than if the card had been correctly named.
Others of the company tried the same experiment, generally without physical contact with any one else, and each one was able to name some of the cards correctly. But no one was able to name correctly a card which was not seen by some one else, - which showed clearly that the power to see the card resulted from telepathy, and not from independent clairvoyance. It should be here stated that there were six in the company, each one of whom tried the experiment, and each scored a sufficient number of successes to remove the result from the domain of coincidence.