In each of these cases a definite purpose was formed by the agent to produce a certain hallucination or present a certain picture - generally a representation or phantasm of himself to the percipient. A picture or phantasm is seen by the intended percipient, and, on comparison, in each case it is found that it is the same phantasm that the agent had endeavored to project and make visible, and that it was perceived in the same place and at the same time that the agent had intended that it should be seen.
Can these statements be received as true and reliable? In reply we say, the evidence having been carefully examined is of such a character as to entitle it to belief, and the errors of observation and reporting are trifling, and not such as would injure the credibility of statements made regarding any event which was a matter of ordinary observation; moreover, these cases now have become so numerous and have been so carefully observed that they should be judged by the ordinary rules of evidence; and by that rule they should be received.
Having been received, how can they be explained?
It may be answered: -
(1) That these apparent sequences presenting the relation of cause and effect are merely chance coincidences. But on carefully applying the doctrine of chances, it is found that the probability that these coincidences of time and place, and the identity of the pictures presented and perceived, occurred by chance, would be only one in a number so large as to make it difficult to represent it in figures, and quite impossible for any mind to comprehend. And that such a coincidence should occur repeatedly in one person's experience is absolutely incredible.
(2) The circumstances of distance and situation render it certain that the phantasms could not have been communicated or presented to the percipient through any of the usual channels of communication - by means of the physical organs of sense - even granting that they could be so transferred under favorable conditions.
If, then, these cases must be received as authentic and true, and if they cannot be disposed of as chance coincidences, nor explained by any ordinary method or law of production or transmission, then there must be some other method of mental interaction, and mental intercommunication not usually recognized, by means of which these pictures or phantasms are produced or transferred, and this unusual method of mental interaction and intercommunication we designate telepathy. What the exact method is by which this unusual interaction is accomplished is not fully demonstrated, any more than are the methods of the various interacting forces between the sun and the planets or amongst the planets themselves. The hypothesis of a universal or inter-stellar ether has never been demonstrated; it is only a hypothesis framed because it is necessary in order to explain and support another undemonstrated theory, namely, the vibratory or wave theory of light. We do not know what the substance or force which we call attraction really is. Light has one method of movement and action, sound another, heat another, and electricity another, but most of the propositions concerning these methods of action are only theories or hypotheses having a greater or less degree of probability as the case may be. They were invented to account for certain actual and undeniable phenomena, and they are respected by all men of science or other persons having sufficient knowledge of these different subjects to entitle them to an opinion. The same thing is true of telepathy; its facts must be known and its theories well considered by those who assume to sit in judgment upon them; and when known they are respected. The Copernican theory of the planetary movements was formulated three hundred and fifty years ago; it was one hundred and fifty years later when Newton proposed the first rational theory regarding a force which might explain these motions. For this he was ridiculed and even ostracized by the self-constituted judges of his day. Telepathy has been the subject of careful study and experiment comparatively only a few years, and it can hardly, at this early date, expect better treatment at the hands of its critics. Its facts, however, remain, and its explanatory theories are being duly considered.
What, then, are the theories or hypotheses which may aid us in forming an idea of the manner in which a thought, a conception, or a mental picture may pass between two persons so situated that no communication could pass between them through the ordinary channels of communication - sight, hearing, or touch? Let us suppose two persons A and B to be so situated. A is the agent or person having unusual ability to impress his own thought, or any conception or mental picture which he may form in his own mind, upon some other mind; and B is the percipient or a person having unusual ability to receive or perceive such thoughts or mental pictures. Suppose these two people to be in the country and engaged in farming. Upon a certain morning A takes his axe and goes to the woods, half a mile distant, and is engaged in cutting brush and trees for the purpose of clearing the land, and B goes into the garden to care for the growing vegetables. After an hour spent in these respective occupations, B becomes disquieted, even alarmed, oppressed with the feeling that some misfortune has happened and that A is needing his assistance. He is unable to continue his work and at once starts for the woods to seek for A. He finds that A has received a glancing blow from his axe which has deeply wounded his foot, disabled him, and put his life in immediate danger from hemorrhage. Here the thought of A in his extreme peril goes out intensely to B, desiring his presence; and B, by some unusual perceptive power, takes cognizance of this intense thought and wish. This is telepathy. Again, suppose B hears a voice which he recognizes as A's calling his name and with a peculiar effect which B recognizes as distress or entreaty. Or, again, that B sees a picture or representation of A lying wounded and bleeding, still it is a telepathic impulse from A and taken cognizance of by B which constitutes the communication between them, whatever the exact nature or method of the communication may be.