"(1) What town have we thought of? A. Buxton : which was correct.
"(2) What town have we thought of? A. Derby. What part did you think of first? A. Railway station. (So did I.) What next? A. The market-place. (So did I.)
"(3) What town have we thought of? A. Something commencing with L. (Pause of a minute.) Lincoln. (Correct.)
"(4) What town have we thought of? A. Fairfield. What part did you think of first? A. The road to it. (So did I.) What next? A. The triangular green behind the Bull's Head Inn. (So did I.) "
In seeking an explanation for these remarkable results coincidence and chance may, it would seem, be utterly excluded. Touch and hearing must also be excluded, since the guesser did not come in contact with any person during the experiments, and they were conducted in perfect silence excepting the answers of the percipient or the "yes" or "no " of the agent.
We have left, then, only the unconscious indications which might possibly be given by look, movement of a finger, lip, or muscle by persons who were present especially on account of their desire and ability to detect any such communication, and on account of their ability to avoid giving information in any such manner themselves.
It seems, in fact, quite incredible that information thus conveyed could be sufficient to affect the result in so large a number of experiments, especially where the experiments included the names of places and fictitious names of persons. Even where signalling is successfully carried on, as, for instance, in stage tricks, it is a regular feat of memory accomplished between two people who have studied and practised it assiduously for a long time, while here were simply children, brought in contact, without rehearsal, with strangers, whose object it was to detect the trick if any were practised among them.
We are forced, then, to the conclusion that the knowledge which these sensitives exhibited concerning the objects, names, or cards which were given them as tests, did not come to them by any ordinary sense of perception obtained either legitimately or by trick, but came to them directly from the minds of other persons acting as agents and striving to impress them, and that this knowledge or these impressions were received by some means other than through the ordinary channels of communication.
Another method of demonstrating thought-2 transference which should be mentioned here, is by means of diagrams. The experiment may be made as follows: - The percipient, being blindfolded, is seated at a table with his back to the operator, without contact and in perfect silence. A diagram - for instance, a circle with a cross in the centre - is distinctly drawn by a third person and so held as to be in full view of the operator, who looks at it in silence, steadily and with concentrated attention.
The impression made by the diagram upon the mind of the operator is gradually perceived by the percipient, who, after a time varying from a few seconds to several minutes, declares himself ready. The bandages are then removed from his eyes, and to the best of his ability he draws the impression which came to him while blindfolded. The results have varied in accuracy, very much as did the results in the experiments with objects and cards already described.
The following diagrams are from drawings and reproductions made in the manner just described. They are from the proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, and were the result of experiments made by Mr. Malcolm Guthrie and Mr. James Birchall, two prominent and cultivated citizens of Liverpool, together with three or four ladies, personal friends of theirs, all of whom undertook the experiments with the definite purpose of testing the truth or falsity of thought-transference.
I will also quote another experiment, which is only a fair example of a very large number, carefully carried out from April to November, 1883. In many of the experiments members of the Committee on Thought-transference from the S. P. R. were present.
April 20th, 1883. - Present, Mr. Guthrie, Mr. Birchall, Mr. Steel, and four ladies: -
A square of pink silk on black satin.
"Pink . . . Square." Answered almost instantly.
A ring of white silk on black satin.
"Can't see it."
Word RES, letter by letter.
Each letter was named correctly by Miss E. as it was placed before Miss R.
"Q." First answer.
" F." First answer.
A gilt cross held by Mr. G. behind the percipient.
"It is a cross." Asked, which way is it held, percipient replied,"The right way." Correct.
A yellow paper knife.
"Yellow ... is it a feather? ... It looks like a knife with a thin handle."
A pair of scissors standing open and upright.
" It is silver . . . No, it is steel ... It is a pair of scissors standing upright."
Success was different on different occasions, but this represents an ordinary series of experiments at one sitting. In these experiments with objects, the percipient was blindfolded and the object moreover was kept out of range of vision. In some experiments slight contact was permitted, and in some it was not, but it was found that contact had little if any effect upon the result.
Remarkable success was also obtained in the transference of sensation, such as taste, smell, or pain, while the percipient was in a normal condition, that is, not hypnotized.
The following is an average example of the transference of taste: -
The tasters, Mr. Guthrie (M. G.), Mr. Gurney (E. G.), and Mr. Myers (M.). The percipients were two young ladies in Mr. Guthrie's employ.
Sept. 3, 1883.
E. G. & M.
E. G. & M.
"Between eau de Cologne and beer."
E. G. & M.
"Horrible and bitter."
" A taste of ink - of iron - of vinegar. I feel it on my lips - it is as though I had been eating alum."
Some very striking experiments were made by Mr. J. W. Smith of Brunswick Place, Leeds, as agent, and his sister Kate as percipient. Their success with diagrams fully equalled those already given, and with objects the results have seldom been equalled. The following trials were made March nth, 1884. The intelligence and good faith of the participants is undoubted.
Agent: J. W. Smith. Percipient: Kate Smith.
Correct first time.
" " "
Black cross on white ground.
" " "
" " "
" " "
Pair of Scissors. - Percipient was not told what (i. e. what form of experiment, figure, color or object) was to be next - but carefully and without noise a pair of scissors was placed on white ground, and in about one minute and a half she exclaimed : " Scissors !"
The number of facts and experiments bearing upon this division of our subject is well-nigh inexhaustible ; those already presented will serve as illustrations and will also show upon what sort of evidence is founded the probability that perceptions and impressions are really conveyed from one mind to another in some other manner than by the ordinary and recognized methods of communication.