Again, supposing that the entry of the account was made by the captain's hand, it is extremely probable that some one else had access to the books; and however superficially the knowledge was impressed upon his consciousness, it was forever fixed upon the tablets of his subjective memory, and was instantly available for use when a test case was needed. To those who regard independent clairvoyance as an established principle, or faculty, of the human mind, the explanation is easy; for there would be no difficulty in supposing the mind of the independent clairvoyant to be capable of taking cognizance of all that was to be found in the ship's records.
It is extremely improbable, however, that any third party figured in the transaction, or that it is necessary to assume that any third party knew of the loan. It is sufficient to know that the captain was aboard the ship, and that everyone on the vessel was necessarily en rapport with him. Besides, if any one in the circle was in telepathic rapport with the captain, it would be an all-sufficient explanation of the phenomenon; for it is well known that specific information, not known to any one in the circle, can be obtained from some one having the knowledge who happens to be en rapport with any person in the circle.
Thus it will be seen that there are at least four ways of accounting for the phenomenon, on well-established principles, without the necessity of resorting to the assumption of supernatural agencies.
The subtle role which telepathy plays in so-called spirit manifestations must now be apparent. It is not only in the class of phenomena to which we have alluded that its power is manifest, but it reappears in all classes and phases of phenomena popularly attributed to spirits. The greater part of the mystery which surrounds these manifestations, aside from the purely physical phenomena, is directly traceable to telepathy; and it explains that which, without its aid, would be inexplicable on any other hypothesis than that the manifestations proceed from disembodied spirits.
In concluding the discussion of this branch of the subject, I desire distinctly to impress upon the mind of the reader , an important proposition which seems to have been lost sight of by many who are otherwise inclined to give full credit to telepathy as a means of explaining many so-called spirit phenomena. It is this: -
It is not necessary that any member of a circle should be in possession of objective knowledge of a fact in order to be able to communicate it telepathically to the medium.
The reason will be obvious, after a moment's reflection, to any one who admits the existence of the power of telepathy. If the power is possessed by A to communicate a telepathic message to B, it follows that B can communicate the same message to C, and C can convey it to D, and so on, ad infinitum. This proposition will not be gainsaid by any one who admits that A can convey a telepathic message to B. D may have no objective knowledge of A or of B, but is en rapport with C. Now, we will suppose that a disaster happens to A. He is missing; he is drowned; but no one possesses any objective knowledge of the fact, and his friends institute a vain search, no one having the remotest idea of what has happened to him. B, his mother, receives a telepathic message, conveyed by A at the moment of his death to her subjective mind, informing her of the sad accident. But not being sensitive to subjective impressions, it is impossible for her subjective mind to convey the message above the threshold of her consciousness. She is, therefore, objectively ignorant of the fact, although her subjective mind is fully cognizant of all its sad details.
In the mean time, C, a sympathetic neighbor, en rapport with B, subjectively perceives that which is so strongly impressed upon the subjective mind of the mother. C is also unable to elevate the knowledge above the threshold of her consciousness; but she is a believer in spiritism, and volunteers to visit a neighboring city and consult a medium. She does so; and the moment she becomes en rapport with the medium, the telepathic message is delivered, and the medium perceives, objectively as well as subjectively, the details of the disaster which befell A. He describes the whole transaction, and locates the exact spot where the body may be found. Subsequent investigation demonstrates the exact knowledge possessed by the medium, for the whole environment is found to be exactly as described, and the body is found in the very spot indicated.
Now, the spiritists say that this occurrence cannot be explained by reference to telepathy, for the reason that D was not en rapport with A, nor with B. Nor was C en rapport with A, for the latter was dead before C could have become cognizant of the facts. The obvious answer to this is, as before indicated, that if the power exists in man to convey a telepathic message to his fellow-man, it presupposes the existence of the power in the percipient to repeat the message to a third person, and so on indefinitely, until some one receives it who has the power to elevate the information above the threshold of his consciousness, and thus convey it to the objective intelligence of the world. Nor is the element of time necessarily an adverse factor in the case; for there is no reason to suppose that such messages may not be transmitted from one to another for generations. Thus, the particulars of a tragedy might be revealed many years after the event, and in such a way as to render it difficult, if not impossible, to trace the line through which the intelligence was transmitted. For the spiritist the easy and ever-ready explanation of such a phenomenon is to ascribe it to the intervention of spirits of the dead.
But to those who have kept pace with the developments of modern scientific investigation, and who are able to draw the legitimate and necessary conclusions from the facts discovered, the explanation is obvious, without the necessity of entering the domain of the supernatural.