The next subject in order is that of clairaudience, or "clear hearing." It is a faculty of the human mind much more rarely developed than that of clairvoyance, - that is, if we assume the latter, to be identical with telepathy, which we may do for the purposes of this discussion.

The Century Dictionary defines clairaudience as "the supposed power of hearing in a mesmeric trance sounds which are not audible to the ear in the natural waking condition".

This, as far as it goes, is a correct definition of that faculty; but it defines a very small part of its field of operations, and that part which is of the least importance. It may be defined, broadly, to be "the power of hearing the spoken words of a human soul." In other words, it is that faculty of man's intelligence which enables his objective mind to receive communications from his own subjective mind or from that of another by means of spoken words. It is one means of bringing the operations of the subjective mind above the threshold of consciousness. The power is by no means confined to persons in a mesmeric trance, although it seems probable that one must be in a partially subjective state to enable him to hear clairaudiently. The degree of subjectivity may be very slight, so that the percipient may seem to himself and others to be in a perfectly normal condition. The sounds - if that may be called sound which does not cause atmospheric vibrations - are perfectly distinct to the consciousness of the percipient, but are not perceptible to others who may be near him and in the normal condition.

Like all other means for bringing the operations of the subjective mind above the threshold of consciousness, the sounds have from time immemorial been attributed to supernatural agencies. Socrates furnished the most notable example in ancient or modern times of a man whose subjective mind was able at any time to communicate messages to his objective mind by means of spoken words. It is well known that he supposed himself to be constantly attended by a daemon, or guardian spirit, who watched over him and warned him of any danger that was imminent. (See Chapter X (Hypnotism And Crime). for a fuller discussion of Socrates and his daemon.) The biblical student will recall to mind many instances where voices were heard, conveying intelligence of the most portentous character, and a critical examination of some of the instances will not fail to reveal their true nature.

Many spiritual mediums of the present day have the faculty largely developed. Some of them are enabled to obtain the names of their sitters by hearing them spoken clairaudiently, and the names of supposed spirits are obtained in the same way. It is popularly supposed that the ordinary method of telepathic communion, when the message is not brought above the threshold of consciousness, is by mental impressions. It is, of course, impossible for us to know the processes employed in the ordinary communion of subjective minds. It seems probable, however, that it is by means of such language as is employed by the communicants in objective life. All that is or can be known is, that when the ideas are communicated to the conscious mind, it is necessarily by such means as can be understood, - that is, by means which appeal to the senses. It is true that the subjective mind is often able strongly to impress the objective mind, especially when danger to the person is imminent, or when some near relative or dear friend is in danger. Such impressions are known as premonitions. Sometimes they are so strong as to be of real service in averting danger.

But they are not always reliable, for the reason that we are seldom able to distinguish a real premonition from that feeling arising from fear and anxiety regarding the welfare of those who are absent and very dear to us. Thus, a mother will often feel that she has a premonition of danger to an absent child, but will afterwards learn that her fears were groundless. Perhaps at another time a real premonition will be disregarded. It seems probable that when the laws of subjective mental action are better understood, there may be some method formulated by which a genuine premonition may be recognized. It is certain that in all cases where danger to the person is imminent, the subjective mind makes a supreme effort to give warning and avert the danger. That being its normal function, its highest activity is exercised in the effort to preserve the life of the individual. It is sometimes successful, and sometimes not; but that the effort is always made does not admit of doubt. Sometimes it succeeds by means most extraordinary, - clairaudience not infrequently being the means of receiving the warning. Thus, a lady once confessed to the writer that she at one time, in a fit of despondency arising from ill health, attempted to commit suicide.

She had raised a pistol to her head and was about to fire, when she heard an explosive sound, apparently in the same room, resembling a pistol-shot. This caused her to pause for an instant, when she heard the words, apparently spoken in her ear, "Not now; you have two years yet!" Surprise caused her to lower the pistol, and reflection caused her to desist, and finally to abandon the idea of suicide. As the two years have not yet expired, it is too early to know whether it is a case of prevision as well as of clairaudience.

One of the most remarkable cases of clairaudient warning against danger that has ever come under the observation of the writer occurred near Washington a short time ago. A well-known colored preacher was aboard a train on its way to the city. He was dozing in his seat a few miles out, when he was suddenly awakened by a cry of "Wreck! wreck!" apparently sounding in his ears. He thought for a moment that he had been dreaming; but after he was fully awake he again heard the same words repeated three times. As he happened to be the only occupant of the car, he knew that no one was playing a trick upon him, and he instantly became panic-stricken, and rushed to the rear end of the car and jumped off, although the train was going at the rate of thirty miles an hour. He was somewhat cut and bruised, but managed to walk to the next station, where he related his adventure to my informant. Little importance was attached to the circumstance at that time, as his train passed to the city in safety. But the very next train that passed over the road in the same direction was wrecked by the falling of a large rock upon it as it passed. The rock overhung the track, and had evidently become loosened by the vibrations caused by passing trains.

Subsequent investigation by my informant revealed the fact that the old preacher had leaped from the train but a short distance beyond the scene of the wreck.