It should be stated, in this connection, that this phantom does not appear to have been seen objectively by any one, save, possibly, by Bezuel himself. Others were present, who saw Bezuel apparently engaged in conversation with some invisible being. They could hear Bezuel's words, but neither saw nor heard those of the phantom. It seems probable, therefore, that it was a case of telepathic communion pure and simple; but it illustrates our point just as well as if it had been what it appeared to Bezuel to be, - • a veritable apparition, perceptible to the objective senses. Moreover, it was a case of deferred percipience, - the death having occurred two days previously, - and is therefore more strongly illustrative of our position, as will presently be seen.
A moment's reflection will show how impossible it would be for the agent, in conveying a telepathic message on a given subject, especially in a case of deferred percipience, to do anything more than convey the message. When the agent has sent the message, the transaction is ended, so far as he is concerned. When the message rises above the threshold of the consciousness of the percipient, and he begins to ask questions foreign to the subject of the message, there is no one to answer them; the agent is no longer in telepathic rapport with him. It is just the same as if one should send a telegram to another on a given subject, and then disappear. The recipient of a message might ask all the questions he chose, on that or any other subject, but he could get no reply, for the reason that the original sender is out of reach.
It might be possible, if both the agent and the percipient were in the proper mental condition at the same time, for them to hold a general conversation; but we know of no recorded case of the kind. In all reported cases the agent telepaths the message, and the percipient takes cognizance of it by means of clairaudience, or by seeing a vision illustrating it, as the case may be, and that ends it. The message is a thought of the agent projected into the consciousness of the percipient through the medium of his subjective mind. When the message has once risen into the consciousness of the percipient, he is apparently no longer in a mental condition to communicate with the agent telepathically. At least, he never does so communicate, with the result of receiving further information in reply.
In the case under consideration the agent had been dead two days when the message was received by the percipient. If it was a telepathic message projected at the hour of death by the agent, it was manifestly impossible, for the reasons before stated, for him to respond to questions foreign to the subject of the message. If, on the other hand, the apparition was the real phantom, or spirit, of the deceased, it could have conveyed any information desired. The fact that it could not do so shows conclusively that said phantom was merely the embodied thought of the deceased, projected at the supreme moment for a specific purpose.
M. d'Assier affirms that the case here related is typical of all messages delivered by ghosts; that is, that they are apparently never able to enter into a general discussion of matters outside of the one dominant idea which called them into being. The history of all phantoms, so far as our reading extends, confirms the statement.
From these premises two conclusions seem inevitable:
1. That a phantom, whether it be of the living or of the dead, whether it is perceived subjectively or objectively, is not the subjective entity, or soul, of the person it represents. If it were, it would necessarily possess all the intelligence belonging to that person, and would, consequently, be able and willing to answer any and all questions propounded by the percipient. It is simply impossible to conceive any valid reason for the refusal of a friend or relative of the percipient to answer questions of vital interest and importance to all mankind.
2. The second conclusion is, that a phantom, or ghost, is nothing more or less than an intensified telepathic vision, its objectivity, power, persistency, and permanence being in exact proportion to the intensity of the emotion and desire which called it into being. It is the embodiment of an idea or thought. It is endowed with the intelligence pertaining to that one thought, and no more. Hence the astonishing limitations of the intelligence of ghosts, before noted.
The difference between a telepathic vision transmitted from one living man to another, and a phantom, or ghost, of a deceased person, is one of degree, and not of kind; of species, but not of genus. Both are creations of the subjective mind; both are created for the purpose of conveying intelligence to others. In each case the vision ceases the moment the object of its creation is accomplished. In telepathy between two living persons, the vision is created, and the intelligence is communicated direct to the percipient. Its mission accomplished, it fades away. It seldom displays physical power or becomes perceptible to the touch, although there are exceptions to the rule. (See the cases noted in a former chapter.) The reasons are: (1) that the emotions and desires which call it into being are seldom of great intensity, compared with the emotions of a man dying by violence; (2) that the conditions are not so favorable in a living person, in normal health, as they are in one whose objective senses are being closed in death; (3) that the object for which it was created being easily and quickly accomplished, and there being no further reason for its existence, it fades away, in accordance with the laws of its being.
On the other hand, the phantom of the dead is produced under the most favorable conditions. The objective senses are being closed in death. The emotions attending a death by violence are necessarily of the most intense character. The desire to acquaint the world with the circumstances attending the tragedy is overwhelming. The message is not for a single individual, but to all whom it may concern. Hence the ghost does not travel from place to place, and show itself promiscuously, but confines its operations to the locality, and generally to the room in which the death-scene occurred. There it will remain, nightly rehearsing the tragedy, for days, and months and years, or until some one with nerves strong enough demands to know the object of its quest. When this is done, the information will be given, and then the phantom will fade away forever.