Part 1 out of 3
Produced by Suzanne Shell, Charlene Taylor and PG Distributed
of a Future
Life in Mars
_Being the Posthumous Papers of_
BRADFORD TORREY DODD
PREFACE BY EDITOR.
The extraordinary character of the story here published, which some
peculiar circumstances have fortunately, I think, put into my hands,
will excite a curiosity as vivid as the incidents of the narratives are
themselves astonishing and unprecedented. To satisfy, as far as I can, a
few natural inquiries which must be elicited by its publication, I beg
to explain how this unusual posthumous paper came into my possession.
It was written by Bradford Torrey Dodd, who died at Christ Church, New
Zealand, January, 1895, after a lingering illness in which consumption
developed, which was attributed to the exposure he had experienced in
receiving some of the wireless messages his singular history details. I
was not acquainted with Mr. Dodd, but some information, acquired since
the reception of his manuscript, has completely satisfied me, that,
however interpreted, Mr. Dodd did not intend in it the perpetration of
a hoax. His scientific ability was undoubtedly remarkable, and the facts
that his father and himself worked in an astronomical station near
Christ Church; that his father died; that his acquaintance with the
Dodans was a reality; that he did receive messages at a wireless
telegraphic station; that he himself and his assistants fully accredited
these messages to extra-terrestrial sources, are, beyond a doubt, easily
A mutual friend brought me Mr. Dodd's papers, which I looked over with
increasing amazement, culminating in blank incredulity. On rereading
them and considering the usefulness of giving them to the public, I have
been influenced by two motives, the desire to satisfy the fervently
expressed wish of the writer himself and the reasonable belief that if
they are preposterously improbable their publication can only furnish a
new and temporary and quite harmless diversion, and that if Mr. Dodd's
experiment shall be in some future day successfully repeated his claims
to distinction as the first to open this marvelous field of
investigation will have been honorably and invincibly protected.
Posthumous Papers of Bradford Torrey Dodd
Note by Mr. August Bixby Dodan
Note by the Editor
The Planet Mars--By Giovanni Schiaparelli
BRADFORD TORREY DODD.
A FUTURE LIFE IN MARS.
In the confusion of thought about a future life, the peculiar facts
related in the following pages can certainly be regarded as helpful.
Spiritualism, with its morbid tendencies, its infatuation and deceit,
has not been of any substantial value in this inquiry. It may afford to
those who have experienced any positive visitation from another world a
very comforting and indisputable proof. To most sane people it is a
humiliating and ludicrous vagary.
At the conclusion of a life spent rather diligently in study, and in
association especially with astronomical practice and physical
experiments, I have, in view of certain hitherto unpublished facts,
decided to make public almost incontrovertible evidence that in the
planet Mars the continuation of our present life, in some instances, has
been discovered by myself. I will not dwell on the astonishment I have
felt over these discoveries, nor attempt to describe that felicity of
conviction which I now enjoy over the prospect of a life in another
My father was the fortunate possessor of a large fortune, which freed
him of all anxieties about any material cares, and left him to pursue
the bent of his inclination. He became greatly interested in physical
science, and was also a patron of the liberal arts. His home was stored
with the most beautiful products of the manufacturer's skill in fictile
arts, and on its walls hung the most approved examples of the painter's
skill. The looms of Holland and France and England furnished him with
their delicate and sumptuous tapestries, and the Orient covered his
floors with the richest and most prized carpets of Daghestan and
Trebizond, and of Bokhara.
But even more marked than his love for art was his passion for physical
science. His opportunities for the indulgence of this taste were
unlimited, and the reinforcement of his natural aptitude by his great
means enabled him to carry on experiments upon a scale of the most
magnificent proportions. These experiments were made in a large
building which was especially built for this object. It contained every
facility for his various new designs, and in it he anticipated many
advances in electrical science and in mechanical devices, which have
made the civilization of our day so remarkable. I recall distinctly as a
boy his ingenious approximation to the telephone, and even the recent
advances in wireless telegraphy, which has been the instrumentality by
which my own researches in the field of interplanetary telegraphy have
been prosecuted, had been realized by himself.
It was in the midst of a life almost ideally happy that the blow fell
which drove him and myself, then a boy and his only child, into a
retirement which resulted in the discoveries I am about to relate. My
father's devotion to my mother was an illustration of the most beautiful
and tender love that a man can bear toward a woman. It was adoration.
Though his mind was employed upon the abstruse questions of physics
which he investigated, or edified by new acquisitions in art, all his
knowledge and all his pleasure seemed but the means by which he
endeavored to gain her deeper affection. She indeed became his companion
in science, and her own just and well regulated taste constantly
furnished him new motives for adding to his wide accumulations of art.
I can recall with some difficulty the day when with my father in a room
immediately below the bedroom in which my mother was confined he awaited
the summons of the doctors to see his wife for the last time. It was a
rainy day, the clouds were drifting across a dull November sky. Through
an opening in the trees then leafless, the Hudson was visible, even then
flaked with ice, while an early snow covered the sloping lawn and
whitened the broad-limbed oaks. I remember indistinctly his leading me
by the hand through the hallway up the stairs, and softly whispering to
me to be quite still, entered the large room dimly lit where my mother,
attended by a nurse and a doctor, lay on the white bed. I remember being
kissed by her and then being led from the room by the nurse. My father
doubtless lingered until all was over, and the dear associate of his
life, whose tenderness and charity had made all who approached her
grateful, whose genial and appreciative mind had supplied the stimulus
of recognition he needed for his own studies, passed away. After that I
seemed dimly to recall a period of extreme loneliness when I was left in
charge of a private instructor, while my father, as I later learned,
bewildered by his great loss, and temporarily driven into a sort of
madness, wandered in an aimless track of travel over the United States.
On his return the sharp recurrence to the scenes of his former happiness
renewed the bitterness of his spirit, and he reluctantly concluded to
abandon his home. His own thoughts had not as yet clearly formed any
decision in his mind as to where he would go or what he would do. It was
inevitable, however, that he should revert to his scientific
investigations. He found in them a new solace and distraction, but even
then his passion for research would not have sufficed to adequately meet
his desperate desire to escape his grief, if in a rather singular manner
there had not come to him an intimation of the possibilities of some
sort of communication with my mother through these very investigations
in electricity and magnetism in which he had been engaged.
I had become quite inseparable from him. He found in me many suggestions
in face and manner of my mother, and particularly he was interested in
my peculiar lapses into meditation and introspection which in many ways
suggested to him a similar habit in her. On one occasion when, as was
his wont, before we finally left the old home at Irvington, he had taken
me in the summer evenings to the top of the observatory, then situated
about half a mile west of the Albany road, we had both been silently
watching the sun sink into a bank of golden haze, and the black band of
the Palisades passing underneath like a velvet zone of shadow, I turned
to my father and in a sudden access of curiosity said:
"Father, if mother had gone to the Sun, would she speak to us now with a
ray of light?"
My father smiled patiently, half amused, and then standing and looking
at the sun's disk, disappearing behind the Jersey hills, said, "My son,
it was a curious thought of a well-known French writer, Figuer, who lost
his son, who was very dear to him, that his soul with armies and hosts
of other souls, had departed to the sun and that they made the light and
heat of this great luminary, and this wise man felt some comfort in the
thought that the heat and light of the sun as he felt himself bathed in
radiance and warmth were emanations from his boy, and his eyes and body
seemed then in a figurative, and yet to him, very real way,
communicating with his boy. You smile. I know it is with interest. Let
me read to you from Figuer's singular book what he has written about
He disappeared and left me also standing and looking upward at a faint
wreath of cloud, tinged in rosiness, which floated almost in the
zenith. I was then about eleven years old, precocious for my years and
gifted with a sympathy for occult and difficult subjects that became
only intensified through the peculiar concentrated companionship I had
from day to day, and month to month enjoyed with my father.
This narrative may be inadvertently classed with those ephemeral
fictions in which the reader is constantly conscious that the dialogue
and the incidents are veritable creations. It may here be asked how
could I recall with any literalness the conversations and events of a
time so long past. I do not pretend or wish it to be thought that these
interviews with my father are here literally related. That, of course,
is beyond the limits of reasonable probability. But I do insist that in
the following pages the occurrences described are very faithful
transcripts of those connected with the peculiar inquiry and experiments
my father and myself began, and brought to a startling conclusion.
Although conducted in the form of an imaginative story the reader is
importuned to give them his most implicit credence.
My father soon returned with the small volume of Figuer and read, I
imagine, that passage which runs as follows in Chapter XIII:
"Since the sun is the first cause of life on our globe; since it is, as
we have shown, the origin of life, of feeling, of thought; since it is
the determining cause of all organized life on the earth--why may we not
declare that the rays transmitted by the sun to the earth and the other
planets are nothing more or less than the emanations of these souls?
that these are the emissions of pure spirits living in the radiant star
that come to us, and to dwellers in the other planets, under the visible
form of rays?
"If this hypothesis be accepted, what magnificent, what sublime
relations may we not catch a glimpse of, between the sun and the globes
that roll around him; between the Sun and the planets there would be a
continual exchange, a never broken circle, an unending 'come and go' of
beamy emissions, which would engender and nourish in the solar world
motion and activity, thought and feeling, and keep burning everywhere
the torch of life.
"See the emanations of souls that dwell in the Sun descending upon the
earth in the shape of solar rays. Light gives life to plants, and
produces vegetable life, to which sensibility belongs. Plants having
received from the Sun the germ of sensibility transmit it to animals,
always with the help of the Sun's heat. See the soul germs enfolded in
animals develop, improve little by little, from one animal to another,
and at last become incarnated in a human body. See, a little later, the
superhuman succeed the man, launch himself into the vast plains of
ether, and begin the long series of transmigrations that will gradually
lead him to the highest round of the ladder of spiritual growth, where
all material substance has been eliminated, and where the time has come
for the soul thus exalted, and with essence purified to the utmost, to
enter the supreme home of bliss and intellectual and moral power; that
is the Sun.
"Such would be the endless circle, the unbroken chain, that would bind
together all the beings of Nature, and extend from the visible to the
From that moment, moved more and more by the strangeness of the fancy,
which evidently fascinated him, he buried himself in the indulgence of
the thought of the possibility of some sort of communication with his
wife. Singularly and fortunately he did not have recourse to the
fruitless idiocy of spiritualism, nor engage in that humiliating
intercourse with illiterate humbugs who personate the minds of men and
women almost too sacred to be even for an instant associated in thought
In 1881 electrical science had well advanced toward those perfected
triumphs which give distinction to this century. Electric lighting was
well understood, the Jablochkoff and Jamin lamps were then in use, the
incandescent and Maxim light, or arc light were employed, and indeed the
panic caused by Edison's premature announcement of the solution of the
incandescent system of lighting had then preceded by two years, the
excellent results of Mr. Swan in England in the same field. Edison's
first carbon light and his original phonograph were exhibited toward the
end of 1880 in the Patent Museum at South Kensington.
The daily News of New York in April of 1881 published the victory of the
Edison Electric Lighting Company over the Mayor's veto in words that may
be read to-day with considerable interest. It said "the company will
proceed immediately to introduce its new electric lamps in the offices
in the business portion of the city around Wall Street. It consists of a
small bulbous glass globe, four inches long, and an inch and a half in
diameter, with a carbon loop which becomes incandescent when the
electric current passes through. Each lamp is of sixteen candle power
with no perceptible variation in intensity. The light is turned on or
off with a thumb screw. Wires have already been put into forty
My father had anticipated the incandescent light in its fuller later
development and had used, before it was announced by Prof. Avenarius of
Austria, a method of dividing the electric current, by the insertion of
a polariser in a secondary circuit connected with each lamp, a method,
it need not be said to electricians, now utterly obsolete.
The rooms of our physical laboratory at Irvington were almost all lit by
electric lamps constructed somewhat on the principle of Edison's, but
using platinum wires, and the old residents of that village may recall
the singular, lonely house half hidden in broad sycamores, sending out
its electric radiance late at night while my father and frequently
myself, then a boy of thirteen years, worked at experimental problems in
My father gave my precocity for science a very successful impetus and
left me at his death fully in possession of the ideas and projects he
cherished. Amongst these projects, one partially realized, was the
acceleration of plant growth by means of electric light, and heating by
Dr. Siemens of England, it may be recalled, had very ingeniously
experimented upon the influence of the electric light upon vegetation.
In a paper read by that distinguished man before the Society of
Telegraph Engineers in June, 1880, he referred to his conclusion that
"electric light produces the coloring matter, chlorophyll, in the leaves
of plants, that it aids their growth, counteracts the effects of night
frosts, and promotes the setting and ripening of fruit in the open air."
I find in an old note book of my father's, dated 1879, "chlorophyllous
matter in leaves encouraged by electric energy, presumably by the blue
rays." In heating and cooking by electricity my father had made some
progress though he had not in 1880 employed his time in this direction.
Perhaps more remarkable than anything else presenting my father's great
scientific ingenuity was his improvements of the dynamo and the
invention of a new successful small traction engine.
In 1880 the complete distinction between alternating and direct currents
had not been made, and the device of a successful converter, for the
change of the former comparatively inert to the latter's dynamic
condition, only dreamed of. Yet in my father's notebook I find this
suggestive sentence: "It seems possible to devise an apparatus which
would deliver from an alternating circuit a direct current to a direct
I have dwelt somewhat upon my father's scientific acquirements and
genius in order to impress upon the reader the strictly legitimate
training I received in scientific procedure, and I have instanced
somewhat the status of his scientific development in 1880, because it
was at that time that he concluded to leave Irvington and locate his
laboratory and observatory elsewhere. And for the sake of his
astronomical interests he determined to find some place peculiarly well
fitted, on account of its atmospheric advantages, for astronomical
observations. It is necessary likewise to recall some of the facts then
known to astronomers and my father's own theories, in order to weave
into a logical sequence the incidents leading up to my positive
demonstration of a future life for some of our race in the planet Mars.
Astronomy had a great charm for my mother. Her enthusiasm was soon
communicated to my father who found his wealth was a requisite in
establishing the observatory he had erected at Irvington and in its
equipment. Telescopes are expensive playthings.
The Lick Observatory was begun in 1880 and my father through
correspondence with the directors of the University of California had
learned many of the details pertaining to this great project. Influenced
by the splendid prospects of this undertaking my father determined if
possible to surpass it. He wrote to Fiel of Paris and expected to be
able to secure an objective of 4 feet diameter, exceeding that of the
Lick Observatory by one foot, a hopeless and as it proved an utterly
abortive design. He spent an entire year in New York after leaving
Irvington examining the various possible locations for his new
observatory. The requisites were nearness to the equator, an equable
climate, elevation and a clear atmosphere. During this year my father
heard that Prof. Hertz of Berlin had generated waves of magnetism and
that it was hoped that these might ultimately prove efficacious as a
means of direct communication between distant points without the
introduction of wire conductors.
This thought of communicating with distant points without fixed
conductors greatly impressed my father and led him along a line of
speculation upon which finally rested my own success in securing the
messages detailed in this book from the planet Mars.
I recall that one evening in the winter of 1881 while he was yet engaged
in making preparations for his departure from the United States to New
Zealand, which he finally chose for the erection of his laboratories,
and especially his observatory, I heard him read with the greatest
satisfaction of the attempt made in the siege of Paris to bring the
besieged French into telegraphic communication with the Provinces by
means of the River Seine.
It was proposed to send powerful currents into the River Seine from
batteries near the German lines and to receive in Paris upon delicate
galvanometers, such an amount of their current as had not leaked away in
the earth. Profs. Desains, Jamin, and Berthelot were interested in these
experiments, although the suggestion had been made by M. Bourbouze, and
after some interruptions when the attempt was to be carried out, the
armistice of Jan. 14, 1871, brought their preparations to a close.
How often my father spoke of these attempts, and half smilingly on one
occasion as we watched the starry skies "thick inlaid with patterns of
bright gold" said to me: "It seems to me within the reach of possibility
to attain some sort of connection with these shining hosts. If we must
assume that the disturbances on the Sun's surface effect magnetic storms
on ours, it is quite evident that a fluid of translatory power or
consistency exists between the earth and the sun, then also between all
the planetary inhabitants of space, and I cannot see why we may not hope
some day to realize a means of communication with these distant bodies.
How inspiring is the thought that in some such way upon the basis of an
absolutely perfect scientific deduction we might be brought into
conversational alliance with these singular and orderly creations, and
actually look upon their scenes and lives and history, and bring to
ourselves in verbal pictures a presentation of their marvellous
I think it was on this occasion that my father expressed his thought
upon some form of interplanetary telegraphy in a manner that left it in
my own mind a very impressive and majestic idea. He had read at some
length the address of Sir William Armstrong before the British
Association in 1863, when that distinguished observer speaks of the
sympathy between forces operating in the sun, and magnetic forces in the
earth and remarks the phenomenon seen by independent observers in
September, 1859. The passage, easily verified by the reader, was to this
"A sudden outburst of light, far exceeding the brightness of the sun's
surface was seen to take place, and sweep like a drifting cloud over a
portion of the solar surface. This was attended by magnetic disturbances
of unusual intensity and with exhibitions of aurora of extraordinary
brilliancy. The identical instant at which the effusion of light was
observed was recorded by an abrupt and strongly marked deflection in the
self-registering instruments at Kew."
My father then pausing and walking impetuously across the room
declaimed, as it were, his views:
"Here we are, a group of limited intelligent beings circumscribed by a
boundless space, and placed upon a speck of matter which is whirled
around the sun in an endless captivity, bound by this inexorable law of
gravitation, like a stone in a sling. About us in this ethereal ocean
floats a host of similarly made orbs, perhaps, in thousands of cases,
inhabited by beings throbbing with the same curiosity as our own to
reach out beyond their sphere, and learn something of the nature of the
animated universe which they may dimly suspect lies about them in the
other stars. Why must it not be part of this immeasurable design which
brought us here, that we shall some day become part of a celestial
symposium; that lines of communication, invisible but incessant, shall
thread in labyrinths of invisible currents these dark abysses, and bring
us in inspiring touch with the marvels and contents of the entire
He turned to me and gazing intently at my upturned face which I am sure
reflected his own in its enthusiasm and delight, continued: "You, my
son, and I, will put this before us as a possible achievement and work
incessantly for that end. Prof. Hertz has generated these magnetic
waves; we will; and by means of some sort of a receiver endeavor to find
out a clue to _wireless telegraphy_." These closing remarkable words
were actually used by my father, and in view of the marvellous
realization of Marconi's hopes in that direction, as well as my own
stupendous success in reaching the inhabitants of Mars, was a distinct
It was a few months later that my father completed all of his
arrangements in regard to the disposition of his investments, and
perfected the necessary arrangements for being constantly supplied with
funds by his bankers in New York. He also had agreed upon the apparatus
to be forwarded, expecting to be largely supplied at Sydney in new South
Wales, as it was from this point he intended to sail or steam to New
Zealand. Much of the equipment for his observatory was to come from
Paris, and he relied upon intelligent assistance both in Sydney and
Christ Church, in New Zealand, for the erection and furnishment of his
He finally concluded to place his station on Mount Cook at an elevation
of 1,000 feet upon a well protected plateau, which was described to him
by a Mr. Ashton who had extensive acquaintance and some five years'
experience in New Zealand. We found this position ideal, and in the
perfection of all the conditions necessary for our experiments possessed
by it, made the realization at that time utterly unsuspected by either
of us, of our final designs, commensurately more simple.
I left New York with my father filled with a curious expectancy. I
seemed to cherish no regret at leaving my childhood's home. I only felt
a vague wondering delight to go abroad and see strange and new things.
My seclusion with my father had developed in me a singular inaptitude
for companionship with boys of my own age, and furthermore from the
influence of his rather poetic and dreaming nature, I began to show a
half wistful intensity of interest in things occult, mysterious and
difficult. We left New York in 1882, and it was then that I read for
diversion in my long ride to California, Colonel Olcutt's Esoteric
The whole central fancy of reincarnation affected me deeply. But I
modified the idea as displayed by Blavatsky and Theosophists generally.
From a long familiarity with the stars, in conjunction with the
inevitable creative and anthropomorphic sensibility of youth, I began to
think that this reincarnation did not occur on the earth, but had its
stages of transmutation placed elsewhere. In short, I amused myself
incessantly with placing the poets in one star, the novelists in
another, the scientists in a third, the mechanicians in a fourth, and in
each I imagined a Utopia. A very little mature thought and the most
ordinary observation of plain men, men who at 20 have far more practical
sense than I possess to-day, would have demonstrated the hopelessness of
this arrangement, and the deplorable social chaos it would have led to.
I think, however, that along this line of feeling I grew more and more
in sympathy with my father's dimly expressed hopes to achieve something
tangible in the way of interstellar or planetary communication. So that
gradually he, by reason of a desire that slowly invaded every emotional
recess of his being, and I, through the vagaries of an imaginative mind
reached successively an intense conviction that we should work in this
There was much in our scientific work also that encouraged a certain
high mindedness and liberty of speculation, a careless audacity before
the most difficult tasks. The resolution of matter into a phase of
energy, the interpretation of light as an electric phenomenon, the
mysteries of the electric force itself, the peculiar hypotheses about
the force of gravitation, lead men, studying these subjects, and endowed
with speculative tendencies to conceive, moved also by a quasi
sensational desire to reach new results, that the most extravagant
achievements are possible to science.
With us, regarding the physical universe as a unit, recognizing the
notes of intelligence of a deep coercive and comprehensive plan involved
throughout, feeling that our human intelligence was the reflex or
microcosmic representation of the planning, upholding mind, that if so,
no conceivable limitation could be placed upon its expansion and
conquests, that further it would be incomprehensible that the colonizing
(so to speak) of the central mind occurred only on one sphere, when it
doubtless might be embodied in other beings, on hundreds or thousands or
millions of other spheres; that continuance of life after death was a
truth; feeling all this, their concomitant influence was to make us
positive that the human mind in an intelligent, satisfactory,
self-illuminating way some day would reach mind everywhere in all its
specific forms; and that the abyss of space would eventually thrill with
the vibrations of conscious communion between remote worlds.
With feelings of this sort excited and reinforced by my father's
passionate hope to learn something of his wife's life after death we
reached Christ Church, New Zealand, in June, 1883.
I may now revert to the line of suggestions that led my father and
myself to locate in Mars the scene, at least, as we surmised in part, of
those phases of a future life which I am now able to reveal with, I
think, positive certainty.
The planet Mars as being the next orb removed from the Sun after our own
world in the advance outward from our solar center, has always attracted
attention. At perihelion, when in opposition with the earth, it is 35
millions of miles from the earth, and its surface, as is well known from
the drawings of Kaiser, the Leyden astronomer, and of Schiaparelli,
Denning, Perrotin and Terby, has apparently revealed an alternation of
land and water which, with the assumption of meteorological conditions,
such as prevail on the earth, has gradually made it easy to think of its
occupation by rational beings as altogether possible.
During the opposition of Mars in 1879-80, Prof. Schiaparelli at Milan
determined for the second time the topography of this planet. The
topography revealed the curious long lines or ribbons, commonly called
canals, which seamed the face of our neighboring planet. In 1882 this
observation was enormously extended. He then showed that there was a
variable brightness in some regions, that there had been a progressive
enlargement since 1879 of his _Syrtis Magna_, that the oblique white
streaks previously seen, continued, and, more remarkable, that there was
a continuous development day after day of the doubling of the canals
which seemed to extend along great circles of the sphere. In 1882
Schiaparelli expected at the evening opposition in 1884 to confirm and
add to these observations.
My father had read Schiaparelli's announcements with absorbed interest.
They fed his burning fancies as to the extension of our present life,
and offered him a sort of scientific basis (without which he was
inclined to view all eschatology as superficial) for the belief that we
may attain in some other planet an actual prolonged second existence.
His great reverence for Sir William Herschell was indisputable. He
quoted Herschell's own words with appreciation. These pregnant sentences
were as follows:
"The analogy between Mars and the earth is perhaps by far the greatest
in the whole solar system. Their diurnal motion is nearly the same, the
obliquity of their respective ecliptics not very different; of all the
superior planets the distance of Mars from the sun is by far the
nearest, alike to that of the earth; nor will the length of the Martial
year appear very different from what we enjoy when compared to the
surprising duration of the years of Jupiter, Saturn and the Georgian
Sidus. If we then find that the globe we inhabit has its polar region
frozen and covered with mountains of ice and snow, that only partially
melt when alternately exposed to the sun, I may well be permitted to
surmise that the same causes may probably have the same effect on the
globe of Mars; that the bright polar spots are owing to the vivid
reflection of light from frozen regions; and that the reduction of these
spots is to be ascribed to their being exposed to the sun."
"In the light of these larger analogies," my father would continue, "why
are we not further permitted to conclude that there is a more intimate
and minute correlation. Why can not we predicate that under similar
climatic and atmospheric vicissitudes, with a very probably similar or
identical origin with our globe, this planet Mars, now burning red in
the evening skies, possesses life, an organic retinue of forms like our
own, or at least involving such primary principles as respiration,
assimilation and productiveness, as would produce some biological
aspects not extremely differing from those seen in our own sphere.
"If we imagine, as we are most rationally allowed to, that Mars has
undergone a progressive secularization in cooling, that contraction has
acted upon its surface as it has on ours, that water has accumulated in
basins and depressed troughs, that atmospheric currents have been
started, that meteorological changes in consequence have followed, and
that the range of physical conditions embraces phases naturally very
much like those that have prevailed in our planet, how can it be
intelligently questioned that from these very identical circumstances,
an order of life has not in some way arisen."
My father had an interesting habit of snapping his fingers on both hands
together over his head when he declaimed in this way, always circling
about the room in a rapid stride. I remember he stopped in front of me
and continued in a strain something like this:
"For myself I am convinced that there has been an evolution in the order
of beings from one planet to another, that there is going on a stream of
transference, from one plane of life here to planes elsewhere, and that
the stream is pouring in as well as out of this world, and that it may
be, in our case, pouring both ways, that is, we may be losing
individuals into lower grades of life as well as emitting them to
higher. See, what economy!
"Instead of wasting the energies of imagination to account for the
destinations of millions upon millions of human beings, the countless
host that has occupied the surfaces of this earth through all the
historic and prehistoric ages, we can, upon this assumption, reduce the
number of individuals immensely, allowing that spirits are constantly
arriving, constantly departing, and that the sum total in the solar
system remains perhaps nearly fixed, just as in the electrolysis of
water we have hydrogen rising at one electrode and oxygen at the other
by transmission of atoms of hydrogen and atoms of oxygen toward each
electrode through the water itself, in opposite directions, while for a
sensible time the mass of water remains unchanged.
"Let us suppose that in Mercury some form of mental life exists, that it
is individualized, that it expresses the physical constants of that
globe, that its mentality has reached the point where it can make use of
the resources of Mercury, can respond to its physical constants so far
as they awaken poetry or art or religion or science. Suppose that this
life is one of extreme forcefulness, of stress and storm, like some
prehistoric condition on our globe, but invested with more intellectual
attributes than the same ages on our earth required or possessed,
perhaps reaching a permanent condition not unlike that depicted in the
Niebelungen Lied or the Sagas of the North. It might be called the
_brawn_ period. Then the spirits born upon our planet or on any other
planet in an identical condition, would find after death their
destination in Mercury, where they could evolve up to the point where
they might return to as, or to some other planet fitted for a higher
"Then Venus, we may imagine, succeeding Mercury, carries a higher type,
an emotional life, though of course I am not influenced by her
accidental name, in suggesting it. Here in Venus, a period perchance
resembling a mixture of the pagan Grecian life and the troubadour life
of Provence may prevail and again to it have flown the spirits which in
our planet only touch that development, which from Venus flow to us,
those adapted for the religious or intellectual phase we present. This
Venus life might be called the _sense_ period.
"And now our world follows, with its scientific life which probably
represents its normal limit. Beyond this it will not go. As we have
developed through a _brawn_ and _sense_ period to our present stage, so
in Mercury and Venus, ages have prevailed of development which
eventuated in their final fixed stages at brawn and sense. In Venus,
too, the brawn stage preceded the sense period. In us both have preceded
the scientific stage. There has been, may we not think, constant
interchanges between these planets of such lives as survive material
dissolution, and they have found the _nidus_ that fits them in each.
Souls leaving us in a brawn _epoch_ have fled to Mercury, souls leaving
us in a _sense_ epoch have fled to Venus, and all souls in Mercury or
Venus, ready for reincarnation in a _scientific_ epoch, have come to us.
"But there is an important postulate underlying this theory. It is, that
upon each planet the possibilities of development just attain to the
margin of the next higher step in mental evolution. That is, that on
Mercury the period of brawn develops to the possibility of the period of
sense without fully exemplifying it, so in Venus the period of sense
develops to the possibility of the period of science without attaining
it, and in our world the period of science develops to the period of
_spirit_, without, in any universal way, exhibiting it.
"These are steps progressively represented, I may imagine, in the
planets. And, in the further progress outward, we reach the planet Mars.
Let us place here the period of spirit. On Mars is accomplished in
society, and accompanied by an accomplishment in its physical features,
also, of those ideals of living which the great and good unceasingly
labor to secure for us here and unceasingly fail to secure. O my child,
if we could learn somehow to get tidings from that distant sphere, if
only the viewless abyss of space between our world and Mars might be
bridged by the _noiseless and unseen waves of a magnetic current_."
We reached Christ Church in June, in 1883, and for one year were most
busy in completing the station we had selected, in receiving apparatus,
getting our observatory built and a useful, but not large telescope
The position taken by us was attractive. It was upon a high hill, a
glacial mound which had been smoothed upon its upper surface into a long
and broad plain. The prospects from this position were exceedingly
beautiful. Christ Church was some ten miles distant and the irregular
shores northward outlined by ribbons of breaking waves lay upon the
seaward margin of our vision, while the broken intermediate landscape,
with interrupted agricultural domains and forests was in front of us and
far above us rose the grander peaks of the New Zealand Alps, a constant
charm through the changing atmosphere, now brought near to us through
the optical refraction of the clear air, and again veiled and shadowed
and removed into spectral evanescent forms. The picture was intensely
interesting and like all commanding views where the most expressive
elements of scenery are combined, the remote sea, reflecting every mood
of light and color, and the snowy peaks carrying to us the opaline
glories of rising or setting sun was a comparison that stimulated and
controlled the spectator with its wonderful charm and strength and
To me whose emotional nature, inherited from a mother gifted with
delicate tastes and a refined enthusiasm for the beautiful had been
curiously discouraged by association with my father's scientific
pursuits, this lively panorama constantly fed my dreams with pleasing
My life has been an isolated and repressed one, except for the one
incident I am about to bequeath to posterity. I had not enjoyed the play
of youthful companions except in a fugitive way, I had not gone to
school nor passed three years of muscular and buoyant activity in the
usual pastimes and pleasures of childhood. I had a precocious nature and
it had been unfolded in an atmosphere of strictly intellectual ideas. My
mother had been a constant joy to me during the short years of her life
on earth, but somehow by reason of sickness I had not enjoyed even her
endearment as I might have.
So in my father and his aspirations, and the later hopes of his excited
and passionate longing to regain some trace of my mother, my life from
four years of age was actually and potentially concentrated. My father
cherished me with a great consuming love. He saw in me the
representation in face and partially in temperament of his wife. He
lavished on me every care. Yet because of his eager affection, and his
complete suspense from social connections I was made too largely
dependent on him alone. I lived in his companionship only. My
conversation became prematurely advanced in terms and principles, and my
childish confidence was nurtured by nothing less wonderful than books
and theories, experiments and dissertations.
The wonderful beauty of our new surroundings, the strangeness of our
sudden removal from America, the long distances travelled, awoke in me
new thoughts and I readily surrendered myself at times to the incoherent
struggles of my nature, to find someone, something, more responsive to
my young feelings than essays on magnetism, and a man, father though he
was, immersed in demonstrations and problems. It was then that this
distant picture in the days of the fragrant and reviving springtime,
filled me with unutterable and touching ecstacy.
My father, as I had said, fully intended to arrive at some definite
conclusions as to the possibilities of wireless telegraphy. At one end
of the grassy plain I have alluded to, our chief stations were erected
and, at the distance of two miles, almost at the other extremity, we
placed a smaller station. Our whole work was to achieve telegraphic
communication between these points without wires. At night my father
bent his telescopic gaze upon the heavens, and as the earth approached
opposition to Mars in 1884 I remember his eagerness and his repeated
adjurations that if we failed in the task in his lifetime I should
devote my life, separated from all other occupations and indulgences, to
carrying on his designs.
At first he only dimly intimated his great ambition, the union of our
world with others by magnetic waves, but as it slowly assumed a
theoretical certainty he talked more and more boldly of this portentous
and transforming possibility.
I cannot refrain from noticing another important scientific activity of
my father's. It was the use of photography in stellar measurement. As is
well known to photographers, in 1871 Dr. R.L. Maddox used gelatine in
place of collodion from which innovation rose the present system of dry
plate photography. My father had always felt the greatest interest in
the use of photography in astronomy. He was acquainted with the splendid
work done by Chapman for Rutherford, New York, in his careful and
exquisite photographs of the moon. As early as 1850 Whipple of Boston
made photographs of the stars.
It was, however, the incomparable advantages, furnished in speed, by
the dry plate photography which made my father realize early as anyone,
the boundless possibilities thus opened in human attainment for the
penetration of the Sidereal firmament. He had made a great number of
photographs at Irvington, and the photographic laboratory was a charming
illustration of my father's ingenuity and precision. At Mt. Cook we
enjoyed a marvellously clear atmosphere for work of this sort, and
amongst the first thoughts of my father was to provide the most
satisfactory means for the continuance of our stellar photography.
Besides our visual telescope we had a photographic telescope which was
used, instead of connecting the visual lens on one and the same
instrument, as in the Lick Observatory.
The innovations introduced by photography have revolutionized the
processes of stellar measurement. Instead of the laborious task of
measuring the stars through the telescope, the photographic plate can be
studied at ease as a correct and identical chart of the heavens and the
results thus obtained placed at the disposal of astronomers. My father
appreciated this and amongst his numerous projects of scientific
usefulness the preparation of photographs of the stars fully occupied
We had no Meridian Circle, as it was less in the direction of the
determination of the position of stars than in the elucidation of the
surfaces of planets, that my father's astronomical predilections lay.
Our telescope was a refractor and had an objective of two feet diameter.
It was firmly supported on a trap rock pedestal. The eye piece
adjustment was unusually successful, and the remarkable freedom of the
objective from any traces of spherical or chromatic aberration gave us
an image of surprising clearness. The photographic results were
admirable. I imagine few more satisfactory photographs of the face of
Moon have been made than those we secured, so far at least as definition
is concerned, and the detail within the limits of our powers of
The telescope was very slowly installed and it was well in 1885 before
we were able to use it for either observation or photography.
As the surprising messages detailed in the following pages came by means
of wireless telegraphy, I will dwell for an instant for the benefit of
the non-scientific reader, upon the investigations made by my father and
myself in this subject.
The installation of a wireless telegraphic station is not necessarily
difficult. The progress made since my father and myself began these
experiments has been, of course, considerable, and yet so far as I am
able to ascertain the new devices in this direction were largely
anticipated by us. The tuning of wireless messages by which the
interception of messages is prevented was certainly forestalled by us,
though in the communications with Mars herein detailed the ordinary
[_non-syntonic_.--Editor] receiver was employed.
We employed an induction coil, emitted a wave by a spark, and had a wire
rod [_antenna_.--Editor] which was in turn part of an induction coil.
This was the sender (transmitter) and we could regulate the wave length
so that a receiving wire adjusted for such a wave could only receive it.
[There seems to be implied in these words an arrangement known as the
Slaby-Arco system, which American readers have had described for them by
M.A. Frederick, Collins, Sci. Amer., March 9 and Dec. 28,
1901.--Editor.] The receiver consisted of iron filings in which later
carbon particles were added.
My father died in 1892 and we had not at the time of his death learned
of Popoff's microphone-coherer in which steel filings were mixed with
carbon granules. The magnetic waves received at first by us presumably
from Mars, and later, as the communications indisputably show, from that
planet, were taken upon a Marconi receiver, or what was practically
My father became more and more interested in the direction of
interplanetary research by means of the magnetic wave. He argued
vehemently, buoyed up by his increasingly augmented hopes as our own
experiments improved, that the electric wave through space moving in an
ethereal fluid of the extremest purity would progress more rapidly than
in our atmosphere, that the tension of such waves would be greater, that
they could be so "heaped up" as he expressed it--(_In the Slaby-Arco
system an apparatus is employed consisting of a Ruhmkorff coil with a
centrifugal mercury interrupter, by which a steeper wave front of the
disruptive discharge is secured_.--Editor)--that their reception over
the almost impassable distances of space would be made possible.
This idea of piling up the waves was suggested by purely physical
analogies. The enormous waves generated by severe storms upon the ocean
travel farther than the smaller waves, and are less consecutively
dissipated by the resistance of the water, the traction of its molecules
and the occasional diversion of cross disturbances from other centers.
Again some experiments made invacuo upon a limited scale seemed to show
the accuracy of his predictions. Through a glass tube one foot in
diameter and ten feet long we sent magnetic waves both when the tube
was filled with air and when it was exhausted. Our means of measuring
the time required in both cases were quite inadequate--perhaps there was
no appreciable difference--but the records in the latter case, secured
upon a Morse register, were unmistakably more vigorous and audible.
At last our various results had reached a point where we felt justified
in extending the limits of our investigations. We had up to this time
only tried our messages between the two stations upon the plateau of Mt.
Cook. My father now proposed that I go to Christ Church, install a
sender (transmitter) and send messages to him at the observatory. I did
so and the experiment was convincing. The day before I was ready to
transmit a message I had attended an attractive church service--it was
toward the close of Lent in the year 1889--and as my father was entirely
unprepared for the account I proposed to give him of the function, I
thought its correct transmission would afford an indubitable proof of
our success. I wrote out the description. It was received by my father
with only ten imperfect interpretations in a list of 1,000 words.
From this time forward our plans for erecting a receiver in the
observatory were pushed to a completion. We had discovered the
necessity of elevation for the senders (transmitters) and receivers for
long distance work, and a tall mast, fifty feet in height, was put up at
the observatory, which--needlessly I think--was to serve as the
terrestrial station for the reception of those viewless waves which my
father thought might be constantly breaking unrecorded upon the
insensitive surfaces of our earth.
The eventful night came. It was August, 1890. Mars was then in
opposition. The evening had been extremely beautiful. Nature united in
her mood the most transporting contradictions of temperament. It was
August and the day had been marked by changes of almost tropical
severity, although, as we were south of the equator (the latitude of
Christ Church is S. 44 degrees) August was, with us, mid-winter. A
thunderstorm had broken upon us in the morning, itself an unusual
meteorological phenomenon, and the downpour of black rain, shutting off
the views and enclosing us in a torrential embrace of floods, had lasted
an hour when it passed away, and the Sun re-illumined the wide
glistening scene. The line of foam from the breakers along the remote
shore, yet lashing with curbing crests the inlets, promontories, and
islands, was readily seen; the northern Alps shone in their ermine
robes, greatly lengthened and deepened by the season's snows, the washed
country side below us was a patch work of rocks and fields and denuded
forestland. Christ Church like a vision of whiteness sprang out to the
west upon our vision, and immediately about us the mingling rivulets
poured their musical streams through and over the icy banks of half
As night came up, the stars seemed almost to pop out in their
appropriate places, like those stellar illusions that appear so
appropriately upon the theatrical stage, and the low lying moon sent its
flickering radiance over the yet unsubdued waters. It was the time of
the opposition of Mars which brings that planet nearest to us. As is
well known to astronomers, the perihelion of Mars is in the same
longitude in which the earth is on August 27; and when an opposition
occurs near that date, the planet is only 35 millions of miles from the
earth, and this is the closest approach which their bodies can ever
Our magnetic receiver had been placed in position, the Morse register
was attached; the whole apparatus was in one of the upper rooms of the
observatory, in proximity with the telescope through whose glass for
days we had watched the approach of our sister planet. As the night
settled down upon us we had taken our seats for a few instants at a
table in a lower room engaged in one of those innumerable desultory
talks upon our project and their, even to us, somewhat problematic
character. Everything connected with that evening, apart from its having
been carefully recorded in my diary and notebooks, is very distinctly
remembered by me. I recall my father reading from a letter to Nature,
May 15, 1884, by Mr. W.F. Denning, discussing "The Rotation Period of
Mars." From my note-book I find the passage literally transcribed:
It read--"Notwithstanding his comparatively small diameter and its slow
axial motion, the planet Mars affords especial facilities for the exact
determination of the rotation period. Indeed, no other planet appears to
be so favorably circumstanced in this respect, for the chief markings on
Mars have been perceptible with the same definiteness of outline and
characteristics of form through many succeeding generations, whereas the
features, such as we discern on the other planets, are either temporary,
atmospheric phenomena, or rendered so indistinct by unfavorable
conditions as to defy measurement and observation. Moreover, it may be
taken for granted that the features of Mars are permanent objects on the
actual surface of the planet, whereas the markings displayed by our
telescopes on some of the other planetary members of our system are mere
effects of atmospheric changes, which, though visible for several years
and showing well defined periods of rotation cannot be accepted as
affording the true periods. The behavior of the red spot on Jupiter may
closely intimate the actual motion of the sphere of that planet, but
markings of such variable, unstable character can hardly exhibit an
exact conformity of motion with the surface upon which they are seen to
be projected. With respect to Mars' case, it is entirely different. No
substantial changes in the most conspicuous features have been detected
since they were first confronted with telescopic power and we do not
anticipate that there will be any material difference in their general
"The same markings which were indistinctly revealed to the eyes of
Fontana and Huyghens in 1636 and 1659 will continue to be displayed to
the astronomers of succeeding generations, though with greater fullness
and perspicuity owing to improved means. True, there may possibly be
variations in progress as regards some of the minor features, for it has
been suggested that the visibility of certain spots has varied in a
manner which cannot be satisfactorily accounted for on ordinary
grounds. These may possibly be due to atmospheric effects on the planet
itself, but in many cases the alleged variations have doubtless been
more imaginary than real. The changes in our own climate are so rapid
and striking, and occasion such abnormal appearances in celestial
objects that we are frequently led to infer actual changes where none
have taken place; in fact, observers cannot be too careful to consider
the origin of such differences and to look nearer home for some of the
discordances which may have become apparent in their results."
It was just as he finished reading this extract that the shrill
fluttering call of the maxy bird was heard from the bare branches of a
poplar near the station, and in the next instant, in that intense quiet
that succeeds sometimes a sudden unexpected and acute accent, the Morse
register was audible above us, clicking with a continuity and evident
_intention_ that, weighted as we were with vague sensational hopes, drew
the blood from our faces, and seemed almost like a voice from the red
orb then glowing in the southeastern sky. We sprang together up the
stairs to the operating-room and saw with our eyes the moving lever of
the little Morse machine. We had made ourselves familiar with the
ordinary telegraphic codes, the international Telegraphic Code and that
in use in Canada and the United States. They were useless. The
succession of short or long intervals was entirely different and the
message, if message it was, defied our persistent efforts at
translation. The disturbance of the register continued some three hours,
and though we were unmistakably in communication with some external
regulated and _intentional_ source of magnetic impulses we were
hopelessly confused as to their meaning.
I can never forget our excitement. We were certainly the recipient of
exact careful conscious messages. Their terrestrial origin, strange and
incredible as it might appear, did not seem likely, for the two codes so
generally in use were not represented in it. Could it be--the thought
seemed to stop the beating of our hearts--could it be that we had indeed
received an extra-terrestrial communication? The register of the dots
and dashes cannot be all reproduced here, though a very long record of
them, indeed almost complete, was made by myself. During the whole time
that the register moved hardly a word of conversation escaped our lips.
We were fixed in mute amazement. We were full of unexpressed imaginings,
which were told, however in my father's face, so flushed with eagerness,
as with half-parted lips he bent over the instrument or interrupted his
attention by walking to the window and gazing far out into the heavens.
The record we obtained is here reproduced, in part, as the whole would
occupy altogether too much space. I am interested in giving it as it may
effectually remain a proof of my sincerity in this matter, and will, I
have the firm conviction, be repeated in the future, not exactly or at
all, as I have written it, but some message similarly received will
corroborate the statement here made, and the still further marvellous
facts I am yet to relate.
The record I will select for reproduction is as follows:
. . . - . . .-- . . . - - - . - - . . . - . . .
. . - - - - . . . . . - - - . . . . . . . . . .
- - . . . . - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - . . . - - . . . - - - - - . . . . . . . - -
- . . - . . . - - - - - . . . . . . . - - . -
. . . . - - - . . . - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- . . . - . . . - - - . . . - . . . - . . .
- - - - - . . . . - - - . . . . - - - -
As I now know there is a Martian language, if this communication came
from that planet, which was my own and my father's deepest conviction,
it would be impossible to interpret the foregoing record with any
certainty, or indeed, in any way. Absolute ignorance of that language,
except the brief mention in my father's communications, received by
myself from that body--whose publication before I die is the sole
purpose of this manuscript--make it quite certain that it is in the main
a vowel language, consisting of short vocalic syllables. In such a case
it is probable that some abbreviation has been used, and the problem of
its resolution simply is placed out of the question. I may here
partially forestall the facts communicated to me by my father from Mars.
In those unparalleled messages he has told me of the desire of the
Martians to communicate with the earth, and as the Martians themselves
are largely made up of transplanted human spirits, the possibility of
doing so would have been completely expected. But the singular
evanescence of memory amongst these humans which absolutely displaces
details of strictly mnemonic acquirements, except in certain directions
of art and invention, has apparently precluded this.
We remained at the register almost the entire night taking turns in our
tireless vigil. But no more disturbances occurred. My father was deeply
moved and I scarcely less so. Accustomed as we had become to the thought
that wireless telegraphy would place us more readily in touch with the
sidereal universe than with distant points upon our earth, presuming
indeed, that, except for the intervening envelopes of atmosphere
attached to our or any neighboring planet, the path of transmission of
messages through space would be inconceivably swift, we saw nothing
really impossible in the impression that we had that night received
communications from extra-terrestrial sources.
The thought was none the less stupendous, and it seemed almost
impossible for us to allude to the subject without a peculiar sense of
reverential self-suppression, at least for a week or so. Examination and
inquiry showed us no contiguous source of the message and it seemed most
improbable that it had come to us from any distant part of the earth, as
we had become acquainted with the difficulty or impossibility of
bridging our very great distances with the resources then at human
command, and with the unavoidable exigence of the earth's convexity.
* * * * *
It was a few months after this that my father, returning from a climb in
the neighboring hills, complained of great weariness and a sort of mild
vertigo. I had become exceedingly endeared to him. I found him a most
unusual companion, and unnaturally separated as I had been from more
ordinary associations, our lives had assumed an almost fraternal
I was greatly troubled to see my father's illness, and begged him to
take rest; indeed, to leave the observatory for a while; to visit Christ
Church. We had made some very congenial acquaintances in Christ Church.
A family of Tontines and a gentleman and his daughter by the name of
Dodan had often visited us, and while we had become somewhat a subject
of perennial curiosity, and were more or less visited by curiosity
hunters and others, actuated by more intelligent motives, the Tontines
and the Dodans remained our only very intimate friends.
Indeed, Miss Dodan had come to me, buried in scientific speculations and
denied hitherto all female acquaintances, like a beam of light through
a sky not at all dark, but gray and pensive and sometimes almost
irksome. Miss Katharine Dodan was gentle, pretty, and unaffectedly
enthusiastic. Her interest in all equipment of our laboratories was
boundless. When I found myself alone with her at the big telescope
adjusting everything with--oh! such exquisite precision--and then
sometimes discovered my hand resting upon hers, or my head touching
those silken brown curves of hair that framed her white brow and
reddening cheeks, the throbbing pleasure was so sweet, so unexpected, so
strange, that I felt a new desire rise in my heart, and the newness of
life lifted me for a moment out of myself, and started those fires of
ambition and hope that only a lovely woman can awaken in the heart of a
man. I mention this circumstance that led to the fatal train of
occurrences that led to my father's death.
I urged my father to go to Christ Church and stay with the Dodans. Mr.
Dodan had frequently invited him, and Miss Dodan's brightness and her
cheerful art at the piano would, I know, cheer him, inured too long to
his lonely life, subject to the periodic returns of that bitter sadness,
which was now only accentuated by his self-imposed exile from the home
and scenes of his former happiness.
He at last consented, and in October, 1891, accompanied by the Dodans,
whom he had summoned from Christ Church, he went down the steep hillside
that slanted from our plateau to the lowlands, and was soon lost from
view in a turn of the road, which also robbed me of the sight of a
waving, small white handkerchief, floating in front of a half-loosened
pile of chestnut hair.
A few days later I received a visit from Miss Dodan. I was then working
at some photographs in the dark room. My assistant told me of her
arrival. I hurried to our little reception room and library, where a few
of my father's "Worthies of Science" decorated the walls, which for the
most part were covered with irregular book cases, while a long square
covered table occupied the center of the room, littered with charts,
maps, journals and daily papers.
Miss Dodan sat near the wide window looking toward Christ Church and the
quickly descending road over which only a few days ago my father had
journeyed. I caught in her face, as I entered, an anxious and disturbed
glance, and I felt almost instantly an intimation of disaster. She
turned to me as I came into the room and with a quick movement advanced.
"Mr. Dodd, your father is ill. I hardly know what is the matter with
him. He is quite strange; does not know us when we talk to him, and
wanders in a talk about 'magnetic waves' and 'his wife' and 'different
code.' Won't you come to see him? You may help him greatly."
The kind, clear eyes looked up into mine and the impulse of real
sympathy as she pressed my hand seemed unmistakable. I asked a few
questions and was convinced that my father was the victim of some sort
of shock, perhaps precipitated by the continuous excitement caused by
our unaccountable experience in the observatory.
I was but a few moments getting ready for the drive to Christ Church. I
remember the cold, crisp air, the rapid motion, and can I ever forget
it--the nearness and touch of Miss Dodan's person, perhaps only a
hurried brushing past me of her arm, the stray touch of her floating
hair, or the accidental stubbing of her foot against my own. It seemed a
short, delicious drive. I fear my heart was almost equally divided
between apprehension for my father's health and the joy of simple
nearness to the woman I loved. At last we reached Christ Church. The
Dodans lived in the suburbs in a pretty villa on a high hill, from whose
top the city lay spread before them in its modest extent with its
neighboring places and Port Lyttelon eight miles away.
I found my father better, but it required my own zeal and affection to
thoroughly restore him, and bring him back to his characteristic
interest and alertness, which made him so original and delightful a
companion. At length, by a week's nursing, during which Miss Dodan and
myself were frequently together, becoming more and more attached to each
other, my father renewed his wonted studies, and strongly desired to
return to the "plateau."
I almost regretted, harsh as the thought may seem, our return. Such
incidents are now a kind of sweet sadness to recall, for as I write
these words, I hear nearer and nearer the summons that must put me also
in the spirit world, while she, in whose heart my own trustingly lived,
has been taken away, I think wisely and prudently, to live with her
father's people in a charming, rustic village of Devonshire. But oh! so
far away! and this picture which daily I draw from beneath the pillow of
my sick couch must alone serve to replace the companionship of her face
I can permit myself in this last record of an unrecoverable past to
describe a treasured incident just before I left the Dodan home with my
father. I was coming out of my room when I found Miss Dodan also
emerging from her own bedroom at the opposite end of an upper hall. We
met and I said: "Miss Dodan, it is a treacherous confession, but I wish
you were going back with us, or that my father would stay a little
longer here. I shall miss you."
"Yes," she answered. "Aren't you a good nurse?"
"Oh, I think you need not misunderstand me," I insisted.
"Misunderstanding is rather an English trait, you Americans say," she
"But in this case," I continued, "I hoped any disadvantages of that sort
would be overcome by your own feelings."
She blushed and looked quite dauntlessly into my eyes: "You mean," she
inquired, "that you are sorry to leave me?"
My face was very red, I knew, and I felt a puzzling sensation in my
throat, but I did not hesitate: "Of course, I am sorry to leave you,
more sorry than I can say, but I fear more, that leaving you may mean
This time confusion seemed struggling with a pleased mirth in her face,
and with a laugh and a quick movement toward the stairway she exclaimed:
"Well, Americans, they say, never lose what they really care to win."
I darted forward, but she was too quick for me and the chase ended in
the lower hall in a group of people--her parents, my father, visitors
and servants--and I saw her disappear with a backward glance, in which,
I could swear, I saw two pouting lips.
My father was overjoyed to return to our really very comfortable
quarters on "Martian Hill," as Mr. Dodan, in reference to my father's
infatuation over his imaginary (?) population of Mars, was accustomed to
call our professional home.
It was, I think, only a few weeks after this that my father called me to
his room. He was standing in his morning apparel, a strange garb which
he sometimes affected, made up of a black velvet gown brought together
at the waist by a stout yellow cord, a bright red skull cap, a sort of
sandal shoe, picked out with silver ornaments, his arms covered with
loose, puckered sleeves of lace, dotted with black extending up to the
close fitting sleeves of the velvet gown which only descended to his
elbow. Beneath the gown, when he was thus theatrically attired, he wore
a shirt of pale blue silk with a flat collar, over which came a black
vest meeting his black trunks and blue hose.
My father was a really striking and beautiful picture in his incongruous
habiliment. His strong and thoughtful face, over which yet clustered the
curly hair of boyhood, just touched with gray, lit up by his earnest,
sad eyes, seemed--how distinctly I recall it--almost ideally lovely that
morning, and I compared him in my thoughts with the father of Romola,
only as wearing a more youthful expression. He was seated when I came
in, and as his eyes encountered mine, I detected the traces of tears
upon his cheeks. My heart was full of love for my father, or childlike
adoration it might have been called. I hurried to him and embraced him.
The tenderness overcame his habitual self-restraint and he seemed to
fall sobbing in my arms.
"My son," he finally whispered, "my days are drawing very fast to a
close. The shock I experienced at Christ Church prepared me to believe I
would die in some attack of paralysis. A slight aphasia occurred this
morning. It, too, as suddenly disappeared. But these warnings cannot be
neglected. I and you must at once make preparations for that future
colloquy which we must endeavor to establish between ourselves, when I
have left this earth and you yet remain upon it.
"I have been thinking a good deal on this subject and my reflections
have resulted in this conclusion."
His voice had now resumed its usual melody and power, and we sat down
while he turned the pages of Prof. Bain's little work entitled "Mind and
Body." He read (I marked at the time the passage): "The memory rises
and falls with the bodily condition; being vigorous in our fresh moments
and feeble when we are fatigued or exhausted. It is related by Sir Henry
Holland that on one occasion he descended, on the same day, two mines in
the Hartz Mountains, remaining some hours in each. In the second mine he
was so exhausted with inanition and fatigue, that his memory utterly
failed him; he could not recollect a single word of German. The power
came back after taking food and wine. Old age notoriously impairs the
memory in ninety-nine men out of a hundred."
My father then continued: "It seems to me quite clear that our memory,
at any rate, however little of our other mental attributes is engaged in
matter, is quite constructed in a series of molecular arrangements of
our nervous tissues. No doubt there is memory also in that subtle fluid
that survives death, but, inasmuch as memory is so closely expressed in
physical or material units or elements, does it not seem plain that as
spirits we shall probably lose memory?
"The material structure in which it existed, which in a sense was memory
itself, is dissipated by death. Memory disappears with it. But perhaps
not wholly. Some shadow of itself remains. What will most likely be
treasured then? The strongest, deepest memories only. Those which are
so subjectively strong as to leave even in the spirit _flesh_ an
impression. In this same little book of Bain's this sentence occurs:
'Retention, Acquisition, or Memory, then, being the power of continuing
in the mind, impressions that are no longer stimulated by the original
agent, and of recalling them at after-times by purely mental forces, I
shall remark first on the cerebral seat of those renewed impressions. It
must be considered as almost beyond a doubt that the _renewed feeling
occupies the very same parts, and in the same manner as the original
feeling_, and no other parts, nor in any other manner that can be
"It seems to me, my son, in view of all this, that, as the fondest hope
of my life is to send back to you from wherever I may be, a message, and
as we both believe the means must be something like this wireless
telegraphy, I must imbed in my mind the whole system we have developed,
and especially make myself almost intuitively familiar with the Morse
alphabet. Beating, beating, beating upon my brain substance this
ceaselessly reiterated mechanical language, it will become so
incorporated, that even in the surviving mind I shall find its traces
and be able to use it.
"So I have concluded to put aside almost everything else and think and
live in the thought only of this coming experience. You understand me?
You sympathize in this? Yes, yes, I shall get ready for this supreme
experiment which may at last, to a long waiting world, bring some
reasonable assurance that death does not end all. As I think of it, as I
look forward to meeting your mother, the whole prospect of death grows
wonderfully interesting and sublimely welcome. And yet, my son, you, you
who have been so patient, so kind, giving up your life for my
convenience and pleasure, I dread to leave you. But I will speak to you!
Watch! wait! and at that instrument upstairs, which I know responded to
some waves of magnetism crossing the oceans of space, I shall be heard
by you in English words, opening up the mysteries of other worlds!"
He stopped in sheer exhaustion with his whole face charged with almost
frantic ecstacy. It seemed to me so natural, nurtured in the same
impossible dreams, that I saw nothing ludicrous in his hopes.
From that day on we gave ourselves up to telegraphing from our two
stations, while my father again and again consulted models of our
transmitters and receivers. This excitement lasted a long time and it
did seem psychologically certain that in any disembodied condition my
father would be likely to recall some important parts or all of this
well learned lesson.
For years my father, as I mentioned before, in his astronomical studies,
had limited himself to the study, photography and drawing of the
surfaces of our planetary neighbors. Mars particularly fascinated him,
for he had, by some illusion or accident of thought fixed his belief
firmly that Mars represented his future post mortem home.
The progress of study of the physical features of Mars had been
considerable. With these results my father and I were very familiar, had
been in correspondence with certain astronomical centers with regard to
them, and had even contributed something toward the elucidation of the
problems thus presented.
In 1884, before the Royal Society, some notes on the aspect of Mars, by
Otto Baeddicker, were read by the Earl of Rosse. They were accompanied
by thirteen drawings of the planet and showed many features represented
on the Schiaparelli charts. W.F. Denning in 1885, remarked upon "the
seeming permanency of the chief lineaments on Mars, and their
distinctiveness of outline." Schiaparelli confirmed his previous
observations upon the duplications of the canals and Mr. Knobel
published some sketches.
In 1886, M. Terby presented to the Royal Academy of Belgium notes on
drawings made by Herschell and Schroeter, indicating the so-called
Kaiser Sea. M. Perrotin at the Nice Observatory was able to redetect
Schiaparelli's canals, which elicited the remark that "the reality of
the existence of the delicate markings discovered by the keen-sighted
astronomer of Brera seems thus fully demonstrated, and it appears highly
probable that they vary in shape and distinctness with the changes of
the Martial seasons."
These observations of M. Perrotin were detailed at length in the
_Bulletin Astronomique_, and the distinguished observer called attention
to the fact that these markings varied but slightly from Schiaparelli's
chart, and indicated a state of things of considerable stability in the
equatorial region of Mars. M. Perrotin recorded changes in the Kaiser
Sea (Schiaparelli's _Syrtis Major_). This spot, usually dark, was seen
on May 21, 1886, "to be covered with a luminous cloud forming regular
and parallel bands, stretching from northwest to southeast on the
surface, in color somewhat similar to that of the continents but not
quite so bright." These cloud-like coverings were later more distributed
and on the three following days diminished greatly in intensity. They
were referred by Perrotin to clouds.
In March and April of the year 1886 a study was made of the surface of
Mars by W.F. Denning in England. Mr. Denning's drawings corroborated the
charts of Green, Schiaparelli, Knobel, Terby and Baeddicker. He found
the surface of Mars one of extreme complexity, a multitude of bright
spots in places, but with a general fixity of character which led him to
believe that the appearances were not atmospheric. He indeed attributed
to Mars an attenuated atmosphere and thought that some of the vagaries
in its surface characters were due to variations in our own atmosphere
He did not find the Schiaparelli canals as distinct in outline as given
by that ingenious observer. He noted many brilliant spots on Mars and
indicated the disturbing influences of vibrations produced by winds on
the surface of our earth in connection with changes in the earth's
In 1888 M. Perrotin continued his observations on the channels of Mars
and noted changes. The triangular continent (Lydia of Schiaparelli) had
disappeared, its reddish white tint indicating, or supposed to indicate,
land, was then replaced by the black or blue color of the seas of Mars.
New channels were observed, some of them in "direct continuation" with
channels previously observed, amongst these an apparent channel through
the polar ice cap. Some of these seemed double, running from near the
equator to the neighborhood of the North Pole. The place called Lydia
disappeared and reappeared. A strange puzzling statement was made that
the canals could be traced straight across seas and continents in the
line of the meridian. M. Terby confirmed many of these observations.
Later the so-called "inundation of Lydia," observed by M. Perrotin, was
doubted. Schiaparelli himself, Terby, Niesten at Brussels, and Holden at
the Lick Observatory, failed to remark this change. These observers did
not double the canals satisfactorily, but all agreed upon the striking
whiteness and brightness of the planet.
M. Fizeau (1888) argued that the Schiaparelli canals were really glacial
phenomena, being ridges, crevasses, rectilinear fissures, etc., of
continental masses of ice. Again (Bulletin de l'Academie Royale de
Belgique, June) M. Nesten averred that the changes on the surface of
Mars were periodic.
In 1889, Prof. Schiaparelli reviewed what had been observed upon the
surface of the planet in a continued article in _Himmel und Erde_, a
popular astronomical journal published by the Gesellschaft Urania and
edited by Dr. Meyer.
Some remarkable photographs taken by Mr. Wilson in 1890 were commented
on by Prof. W.H. Pickering in the "Sidereal Messenger." They showed the
seasonal variations in the polar white blotches.
In 1889 there reached us from Chatto and Windus of London a most
entertaining book by Hugh MacColl, entitled "Mr. Stranger's Sealed
Packet." It was a work of fancy, ingeniously constructed upon scientific
principles. It described a hypothetical machine, a flying machine, which
was made up of a substance more than half of whose mass had been
converted into repelling particles. Such a fabric would leave the earth,
pass the limits of its attraction with an accelerating velocity and move
through space. In such a way Mr. Stranger reached Mars. He found it
inhabited by a people--the Marticoli--happy in a state of socialism, and
with abundance of food manufactured from the elements, oxygen, hydrogen,
carbon and nitrogen, with electric lights, phonetic speech, but without
gunpowder or telescopes.
Its inhabitants had been derived from the earth by a most delightful
scientific fabrication. A sun and its satellites in its course around
some other center draws the earth and Mars so together that on some
parts of the earth's surface the attraction of Mars would overcome that
of the earth and gently suck up to itself inhabitants from the earth,
who would not suffer death from loss of air, as the atmosphere of both
bodies would be mingled.
These observations and this last scientific myth have some interest in
view of the actual knowledge now vouchsafed to the world through my
father's messages. I have very briefly reviewed them.
My father's premonitions were fully realized. He grew sensibly weaker as
the months of 1891 passed. His mind became eager with the cherished
expectation which grew day by day into a sort of a mild possession. It
seemed to me that there was a moderate aberration involved in his deeply
seated convictions, and when sometimes I saw him walking past the
windows on the plateau with his head thrown back, his arms outstretched
as if he were inviting the stars to take him and his murmuring voice,
repeating some snatches of song, I felt awed and frightened.
My father was stricken with paralysis on September 21, 1892, became
speechless the following day, but for a day thereafter wrote on a pad
his last directions. Some of these were quite personal, and need not be
detailed here. It was indeed pathetic to see his strenuous and repeated
efforts to assure me that he remembered all the parts of the telegraphic
apparatus, and his smile of saddened self-depreciation when he
hesitated over some detail. At last he sank into a torpor with the usual
stertorous breathing, flushed face and gradually chilled extremities.
His last words were scrawled almost illegibly by his failing
hand--"Remember, watch, wait, I will send the messages."
Miss Dodan came to the plateau and was helpful; to me especially. She
kept up my breaking spirits, and her womanly tenderness, her brave
grace, and the joy my loving heart felt in seeing her, enabled me to go
through the trial of death and separation.
All was finished. My father was buried in Christ Church cemetery by his
own request, although thus separated by a hemisphere from his wife.
* * * * *
A year had passed. I had received nothing. Mr. and Miss Dodan came to
the observatory. They both were acquainted with the singular
prepossessions which controlled both myself and my father, and I think
Mr. Dodan was himself, though he admitted nothing, most curious and
interested in the whole matter. Miss Dodan frankly said she was. But I
know, to Miss Dodan's fresh, healthy, human life there was something
weirdly repellent in this thought of communication with the dead. She
thought of it with a nervous dread and excitement. It just kept me in
her thoughts a little shrouded in mystery and superiority and closed a
little the avenues of absolute confidence and peaceful self-surrender.
I had forgotten nothing, although at first an overwhelming sense of the
uselessness of the attempt, the almost grotesque absurdity of expecting
to hear from beyond the limits of the earth's atmosphere any word
transmitted through a mechanical invention, upon the earth's crust, made
me feel somewhat ashamed of my preparations, yet I arranged every
portion of the receiver and exercised my best skill to give it the most
Whenever I had occasion to rest I either sent an assistant to the post,
or kept on my pillow, adjusted to my ear, a telephone attachment to the
Morse register, so that its signals might instantly receive attention.
At length as time wore on I arranged a bell signal that might summon us
to the register.
On the occasion of this visit by the Dodans I was in the loft at the
receiver which was in a room to one side of that we called "the
equatorial," where the telescope was suspended. I was as usual waiting
for a message that never came, and my failing hopes, made more and more
transitory by the brightness of the southern spring and all the instant
present industry of the fields below me on the low-lands, seemed to
dissolve into a mocking phantom of derisive dreams.
I stood up hackneyed and forlorn. Had I not done everything I could? Had
I not kept my promise? I heard the voices below me; one, that musical
tone, that made the color come and go upon my cheeks, and as I turned
hastily to descend to them while the breathing earth seemed to send
upward its powerful sensitizing odors that turn energy into languorous
desire, and touch the senses with indolence; at that moment the Morse
Could my ears have deceived me? No! It was running, running, running,
intelligible, strong, definite; it seemed to me of almost piercing
loudness, although just audible. I bent over, seized my pad and wrote.
The Abyss of Death was bridged! From behind the veil of that inexorable
silence which lies beyond the grave came a voice--and what a voice! The
clicking of a telegraphic register in signals, that the whole world knew
and used. I was quiet, preternaturally so, I think, as I took down the
message. I became almost aged in the intense rigidity of my absorption.
I was told the Dodans came up and saw me, heard the telltale clicks of
the register, and unnoticed left me. Still I wrote on, unheeding the
time. My assistants, pale with wonder, stood around me. The measured
tappings were the ghostly voices of another world. This message began at
10 a.m., Sept. 25, 1893. It ended at 10 p.m. on the same day. It came
quite evenly, though slowly, and was unmistakably intended to be
inerrantly recorded, as indeed it was.
"My son," it began, "I am indeed in the red orb of light we have so
often looked up to when we were together on the earth, and about which
our wondering minds hazarded so many fruitless guesses. I have been here
a short time, and now am able to return to you, by that cipher we so
fortunately printed upon the tablet of memory, word of my existence.
"I can hardly describe to you my occurrence on this planet. I found
myself here without any recollection of whence I had come, without a
traceable thought of anything I had ever heard before.
"I was suddenly sitting in a high room, brilliantly lighted by a soft,
tranquillizing radiance, listening to a chorus of most delicately
attuned voices, indescribably sweet, penetrating and moving. Around me
upon white ivory chairs arranged in an amphitheatre sat beings like
myself, all looking outward upon a sloping lawn where were gathered
beneath blossoming fruit trees an army, it seemed, of half shining
creatures, unlike myself, singing these wonderful choruses.
"I have since learned that I did not reach Mars in that identical moment
when I found myself sitting in the hall. I had come to it, as all
disembodied spirits from the earth come to it at one receiving point, a
high hill not far from the tropic of Mars. This hill, crowned and
covered with glass buildings, is known as the hill of the Phosphori.
Here, for nearly one of our months, the incoming souls, which are little
more than a sort of ethereal fluid, presenting a form only observable by
refracted light, or I should say polarized light, are bathed in a
marvellously phosphorescent beam procured by absorption from the sun.
These souls are intermingled in a chaotic stream that I may liken to the
streaming currents of heated air in convection from a source of heat
upon our earth, and this continuous tide is caught in a great spherical
chamber or a series of chambers extending over five miles around the
bald summit of this eminence.
"In these colossal chambers the phosphorescent light from enormous
radiators beats incessantly through and through the slowly, oscillating,
vibrating, revolving soul matter. And here the process of
individualization is achieved. A soul, or many souls, are separated
from the great tide, by flashing, under the bombardment of the
phosphorescent blaze into shining forms. They assume a shape outlined by
light, and just slightly subject to gravity from the atomic compression
necessary to maintain their illumination, they fall lightly out from the
domes of the spheres, touch the floors beneath, and are led away.
"In this way I found later I had arrived at Mars. When the spirits, thus
shaped in light and otherwise almost immaterial and unclothed, emerge
from the Hill of the Phosphori, they are taken along wide, white roads
to some of the many chorus halls which fill the City of Light, where I
am now, and from which I am sending this magnetic message. They remain
for hours, even days and weeks in these halls listening in a sort of
stupor or trance to beautiful music; for music is the one great
recreation of the Martians, and is spontaneous, appearing as a vocal
gift in beings who have never enjoyed its exercise on earth.
"Gradually under the influence of this musical immersion, as under the
bombardment of the phosphorescent rays, a mentality seems developed;
voice and language come, and the soul moves out of the concourse of
listening souls, moved by a desire to do something, into the streets of
the city. This is called, as we might say, the Act Impulse. From that
time on the soul rushes, as it were, to its natural occupation. Its
mentality, aroused by music, becomes full of some sort of aptitude, and
it enters the avenues of its congruous activity as easily, as quickly,
as justly as the growing flower turns toward the Sun wherever it may be.
"Let me present to you the curious scene my eyes encountered as I sat in
the great Chorus Hall. I say my eyes. It is hard perhaps for you to
realize what an organ can be in a creature, so apparently, as we are,
little more than gaseous condensations. The physiology and morphology of
a spirit is not an easy thing to grasp or define. I am yet ignorant upon
many points. But dimly, at least, I may make your natural senses
cognizant of it.
"You have seen faces and forms in clouds. How often you and I from Mount
Cook on the earth have watched their changing and confluent lineaments
in the clouds above the New Zealand Alps. It is the same way with
Martian spirits. They are tenuous fluids, but the individual pervades
them and a material response is evoked, and the light from their
surfaces is so halated, intensified, or reduced as to form a figure with
a head and arms and legs.
"In some way I imagine the organs are optical effects, ruled by mind,
which is located in this luminous matter. Later I will describe the
process of _solidification, the resumption of matter_, for these spirit
forms slowly concrete into beings like terrestrial men and women. There
is, therefore, a dual population here, the extreme newly transplanted
souls, and the flesh and blood people, and between them the transitions
from spirit to corpuscular bodies. But all this takes place in the City
of Light. Elsewhere over the whole planet the spirits are seldom seen,
but only the vigorous and beautiful race of material beings into which,
they--the spirits--have _consolidated_.
"To return to my first experience in the Chorus Hall in the City of
Light. I seemed to be in a great alabaster cage enormously large and
very beautiful. Its shining walls rose from the ground and at a great
height arched together. The front was a network of sculpture, it held
the rising rows of what seemed like ivory chairs on which the motionless
white and radiant assemblage were seated. The whole place glowed, and
this phosphorescent prevails throughout the City of Light, just as it
does in the Hill of the Phosphori, when we first landed in this strange
"The music came from a field in front of the Chorus Hall, which held a
wonderful array of beings who, while not radiant as we were, had a
_lustrous_ look over their smooth and lovely bodies, which were tightly
clad in the palest blue tunics and leggings. These creatures were
consolidated spirits. They are constantly augmented by new arrivals,
and, as the number remains almost unchanged, as new arrivals appear,
others leave and then move off from the City of Light into the vast
regions of Mars outside and beyond the city.
"A word of explanation would make this all clear. The Hill of the
Phosphori begins the transmutation of the psychic fluid which makes up
the souls as they flow into Mars from space. At the Hill the very
moderate condensation begins, just enough to bring them to the ground by
gravity. The psychic fluid is susceptible to the light, absorbs and
emits it, and so the spirit forms are shining like great _ignes fatui_
on our old earth. The spirits thus individualize, pass in companies to
the City of Light, and come to the huge chorus halls which surround the
city on its outskirts, in the country margin.
"They reach these chorus halls by a sort of suasion produced apparently
by their sympathy with music. Music and Light are the energies, which at
first and measurably throughout all the latter days of Martian life,
direct work and thought and being. The music is quite audible for long
distances, especially in the direction of the Hill of the Phosphori
where the spirits land. Drawn by it they move unconsciously toward the
singing centers. Now there are perhaps a hundred of these chorus halls
about the City of Light grouped in the direction of the Hill of the
Phosphori, and the music is quite different in them. There are four
principal sorts, the grave, the gay, the romantic and the harmonic. By
their interior sympathy the kinds of spirits move to the choruses which
afford the music they respond to and it is wonderful how infallibly this
"The bands separate and strings and lines of the phosphorized spirits
train away without direction to the choruses that attract them, although
only a sort of subdued and confused murmur reaches them from the halls.
"Throughout the first stages of life here, the spirits are somnambulous.
They move and act unconsciously and in obedience to their imbedded
instincts and tastes. Only, as under the influence of music and light
and afterwards occupation, they are transmuted by consolidation into the
fair material race, which outside of the City of Light controls the
planet, does consciousness and curiosity and language arise. I sat a
long, long time in the chorus hall, to which I was drawn, which
produced _grave_ music. I knew nothing, felt nothing, was but dimly
cognizant of what was about me, but I thrilled with the music.
"I felt the process of condensation going on, and it was a process
exquisitely blissful. Now and then, a spirit form would arise and step
down the rising forms and go out, another and another, while as silently
spirits from the Hill of the Phosphori would enter and take their seat
and bathe in the almost unbroken surges of music that come from the
field outside, from the multitude beneath the almond blossom laden
trees. Movement is without volition in the spirit stage; attraction that
follows a hidden impulse, that seems indescribable at first, directs
them. It is only as the process of consolidation in the City of Light
individualizes, that the spirits become, as you would say, human. But it
is a humanity of great beauty. Material particles invade or transfuse
them, replacing the diaphanous phosphorescent spirit fluid, and they
grade into supple white and rosy figures, strong, strenuous and
"After remaining a long time, perhaps, in the chorus hall, I felt the
restlessness that causes one after the other of the spirits to go out. I
followed the solitary line out into the city, the solemn, swaying music
still heard as I stepped out upon the broad steps which face the city.
I was now more observant, something like sight and feeling and memory
were slowly generated within me, and I noticed that whereas the arriving
spirits moved like apathetic ghosts, those with whom I now was, turned
with interest this way and that, seemed apprehending and alive.
"The spirits from the Hill of the Phosphori came on the broad avenues
leading to the chorus halls like waifs of cloud driven by a zephyr, with
no visible distention of parts, no leg, or arm, or head or body motion.
Now they moved with some anatomical suggestions.
"I stood amid a colonnade of arches, the white shining columns rose
around me to the high, shining roof, before me a long descent of steps,
and beyond me and around on a softly swelling eminence was spread the
City of Light. It was a marvellous picture.
"The City of Light is simple and monotonous in architecture, but its
composition and its radiance quite surpass any earthly conception. The
buildings are all domed and stand in squares which are filled with fruit
trees, low bush-like spreading plants, bearing white pendant lily-like
flowers or pink button-shaped florets like almonds. Each building is
square, with a portico of columns, placed on rising steps, a pair of
columns to each step. Vines wind around the columns, cross from one
line of columns to another and form above a tracery of green fronds
bearing, as it was then, red flowers, a sort of trumpet honeysuckle.
"The walls of the buildings are pierced on all sides with broad windows
or embrasures, filled, it seemed, with an opalescent glass. Avenues
opened in all directions, lined on both sides with these wonderful
houses, which are made of a peculiar stone, veined intermittently with
yellow, which has the property of absorbing and emitting light.
"It is indeed a phosphori as, if I recall it aright, the sulphides of
barium, strontium, and calcium were upon our earth. Later I shall see
the great quarries of this stone in the Martian mountains. Another
strange feature in these Martian houses was the hollow sphere of glass
upheld above each house. It is a sphere some six feet in diameter made
up of lenses. It encloses a space in the center of which is a ball of
the phosphorescent stone. During the day the rays of the sun are
concentrated upon this ball of stone, and at night the stored-up
sunlight is radiated into lambent phosphorescent light.
"It was the close of a Martian day that I felt the returning impact of
volition and left the chorus hall. I emerged, as I said before, upon the
broad platform with its colonnade of columns and arches and saw the
city as the night drew on. It is difficult to put in words, my son, the
"Each house built of this strange substance, which throughout the day
had been storing up the energies of light, now, as the fading day waned,
became a center of light itself. At first a glow covered the sides of
the houses, the colonnade and dome, while the glass prisms above them
sent out rays from their imprisoned balls of phosphori. The glow spread,
rising from the outskirts of the city in the lower grounds to the
summits of the hills where the sun's last rays lingered. It became
intensified. The green beds of trees were black squares and the houses,
pulsating fabrics of light between them. A slight variety of
architecture in places was accentuated by diverse and varying lines or
"The whole finally blended and a sea of radiance was before me in which
the beautiful houses were descried, the illuminated groves, and like
enormous scintillations the glassy spheres--the Martians call them the
_Plenitudes_ above them. Many other developing beings were around me,
and voiceless, mute, impassioned, with an admiration which we had as yet
no adequate organs to express we gazed upon the throbbing metropolis,
ourselves luminous spectres in the vast eruption of glorious light
before, above, around us.
"As the night settled down the light grew more intense, more beautiful.
I could discern the opalescent glasses in the houses sending out their
parti-colored rays, patching the trees with quilts of changing colors,
and far away there came, still unsubdued by the night, the continuous
elation of music.
"All night, all day, the choruses kept on with intermissions, but the
singers change. This musical facility is the mental or emotional
characteristic of the Martian. There is more in music than you
earthlings know or dream of. It is a part of the immortal fiber of men,
and in Mars it _creates_ matter, for the slow assumption of material
parts, as I have said, is propagated and accomplished by music, and the
parts thus made are the most perfect expression of matter the divine
form of man or woman can know, I think. They are tuned to health, to
beauty, to inspiration, but all of this you shall know.
"So I went down the steps into the city. I was with a group of spirits
who noticed me, and whom I noticed, but as yet the listless, strange,
doomed expression was on our faces, and though memory was beginning to
light its fires within us, though the transmission of viewless particles
of matter into our fluent bodies of spirit had begun, though mind and
desire were awakened, not a word passed our shining lips, and we moved
on in silence.
"The City of Light is often called in the Martian language also the City
of Occupation, for here the forming spirits work. I have told you that
as _consolidation_, through Music and Light, goes on, the aptitudes or
tastes are awakened, and this first birth of desire in Mars carries the
spirits off from their ivory seats in the Chorus Halls to the City,
where like an animal ferreting its purpose by intuition, they seem
impelled whither their needs are best satisfied.
"I now know that the City of Light is generally divided,--not exactly,
but as association would naturally impel, into four quarters, the
quarter of art, the quarter of science, the quarter of invention, the
quarter of thought. This is simply that the artists, the scientific
minds, the designers, and the philosophers are somewhat by themselves.
The population of the City of Light is made up of a fair, white race of
Martians, and of the forming spirits. As the forming spirits attain
materialization through occupation, they may remain in the City or go
out into the other cities, and into the country to work and live.
"Besides the quarters I have mentioned, there is the business section
and the offices of the government.
"In the light of all I have learned since I came, I may at once explain
something about the actual life and social organization of this strange
"The Martian world is one country. There are here no nationalities. The
center of the country is in the City of Scandor, quite removed from the
City of Light. Business is carried on as with you on the earth, but its
nature and its physical elements vary, as you will see. There is a
circulating medium, banks and business enterprises, but it is more
veiled, more hidden, less, far less, insistent than with you. A great
socialistic republic is represented in Mars, and the limits of
individual initiative are very narrow. Still they exist.
"One prime element of difference is in the nourishment and the area of
population. The Martian lives only on fruit, and he lives only a few
degrees on either side of the Equator. All the businesses that in your
earth arise from the preparation and sale of meat and all the various
confections, disappear there, and also all the mechanism of house
heating and lighting. Also there are no railroads, but innumerable
canals, which form a labyrinth of waterways, and are fed from the tides
of the great northern and southern seas.
"The business is largely agricultural, but in the cities the pursuit of
knowledge still continues. There is, however, on Mars a much lessened
intellectual activity than on the earth. It is a sphere of simplified
needs and primal feelings exalted by acutely developed love of Music.
Mars is the music planet. There are not on Mars newspapers, journals,
magazines, books. The tireless production of these things on the earth
has but one analogy in Mars, the publication of music scores, the
recitation of poetry and symposia, and the great illustrated journal,
Dia. But these things I will explain later.
"I wandered on that night through the city with other spirits. We went
through the city streets in the radiance of the _Plenitudes_ above the
houses. The night air was blowing through the trees, and the city was
filled with people. They were the Martians. We were scarcely noticed. In
the City of Light the new arrivals are not questioned until they begin
to "take shape," as they say here, and then they are closely examined,
and their origin, if it can be traced, is written down and kept in great
"The groups were moving in streams toward the higher ground, and as my
companions were gradually separated from me and were lost like wisps of
moving light here and there, I went on alone. I came up long, wonderful
avenues between walls of light, regularly punctuated by the dark squares
of trees, and the spherical radiations of the Plenitudes above the
"The people about me seemed all young, or scarcely more than, as we say,
in middle life. They speak less than the earth folk, and when they speak
they utter very simple sentences, and seem very sincere. I often stood
by little groups gathered at the corners of cross streets, and listened
to their musical intonations. The language is vocalic and monosyllabic.
It sometimes suggests a Mongolian tongue, but without the guttural
clicks and coughs. The Martians are all gifted in music. It fills their
"From point to point crowds were assembled about platforms where singing
was in progress, and every now and then a man or woman in the street
would sing loudly and passionately with such power and beauty that the
impressionable Martians would follow the refrain of the song and the
whole street for blocks and blocks would resound in waves of delightful
melody. There are no mechanical modes of propulsion in the streets of
the City of Light. _The Martians all walk_.
"I approached the top of the broad hill on which the City is built, and
came suddenly out into a square filled again in its park-like center
with trees. From amid these trees rose a massive building, which I
instantly recognized as an observatory; the many round domes, as on
earth, were unmistakable.
"I passed up the walks of the square to the building and entered it.
"It was illuminated by balls of phosphori in glass globes, and its cool,
broad halls and stairways were, in the soft light, very beautiful. But
their wonderfulness consisted in the insertion upon the walls of
illuminated plans and maps of the heavens. These miniature firmaments
were all afire, so that each opening, carefully graded in size to
represent stars of the first or second or third magnitude, was filled
with a beaming point of light, and I walked in these noble corridors
between reduced patterns of the universe of stars. I can hardly tell you
how astonished and entranced I was.
"I had for the first time since I reached the planet the impulse of
speech, and I raised my hands with that motion of snapping the fingers,
which you recall was characteristic of me on earth, and _spoke_. I
cried, 'Here is my home.'
"As my hands dropped to my sides I felt resistance. I looked down upon
myself and could behold the changing surfaces of my body. Under this
completing stroke of volition the work begun upon the Hill of the
Phosphori and the Chorus Hall in reducing the intangible spirit fluid to
corporeal expression was now hastening to an end. I do not stop here to
consider the reflections this suggests as to the nature of matter, those
abstruse speculations we indulged in so often over the pages of Muir and
Helmholz and Tait and Crookes.
"I had reached the ascending stairway, when my hand--for hand it now
seemed to be--was taken in a friendly pressure, and I turned and saw a
tall figure with a face of extreme nobility, somewhat scarred, I
thought, dressed in the usual Martian attire of a flowing tunic and
closely fitting body clothing. He said in English, 'You are from the
earth as I am.'
"My son, how can I, in this dull, mechanical method of conversation with
you, ignorant, indeed, whether the magnetic waves loaded with my
message, are traversing or not the millions of miles of space to your
ear, how can I make you realize the wonderful and blessed feelings of
amazement and happiness that the stranger's words brought me. Here I
was, a disembodied soul from Earth, which at that moment I only dimly
recalled, undergoing the strange process of re-establishment in flesh
and blood, and slowly appropriating those natural appetites which come
with flesh and blood, a waif of spiritual being in the great voids of
creation, impelled by some implanted power of affinity to this remote,
strange, phantasmal and unreal place, overwhelmed in a stupor of
confusion, like some awakening patient from the vertigo of a terrifying
"I looked upon my friend, and in the rapidly rising flood of emotions
that came with the acting members of my body, flushed and throbbing with
excitement, and with a wild joy besides, I flung myself upon his neck
and pressed him with arms that seemed once more those natural physical
ties that have held upon my breast those I best loved on earth.
"The stranger led me slowly up the stairway and past great celestial
spheres which filled the higher hallways, conducting me to a room at one
corner of the great structure. The room was a singular and unique
apartment. It consisted of a large central space, furnished with the
usual ivory chairs, and a broad, massive center table, also of ivory,
curiously inlaid with particles of the omnipresent _phosphori_, which
gave out a liquid light and imparted indescribable chasteness and beauty
to the carved ornaments upon them. The floor was dark, a leaden color,
lustrous, however, like black glass, and made up in mosaic. Around the
room were alcoves lit by lamps of the phosphori, and in each alcove a
globe of a blue metal upon which were painted sketches like charts or
maps. A chandelier of this blue metal was pendant from the ceiling, and
in its cup-like extremities, arranged in vertical tiers, were round
balls of the phosphori, glowing softly.
"Wide windows, unprotected by glass or sashes, just embrasures framed in
white stone which everywhere prevails in Mars, looked out upon the
marvellous City, which thus seemed a lake of glowing fires, over which,
rising and refluent waves of light constantly chased each other to its
dark borders, where the surrounding plain country met the City's edges.
But throughout the distance I could trace lines of light marking
highways or roads leading interminably away until quite extinguished at
the optical limits of my vision.
"The walls of this beautiful room rose to an arched ceiling which was
inlaid with this wonderful blue metal, seen in the globes, designed in
scrolls and waving ribbons, and just descending upon the walls
themselves in attenuated twigs and strings. The walls were bare and
"My friend led me to one of the great windows and placed me in a chair.
Drawing another beside me, placing his hand on mine, and leaning outward
toward the burning splendor below us, above which in the still, clear
heavens shone those stellar hosts you and I have so often watched with
wonder, he said:
"'Ten Martian years ago I came to this world as you have come. As a
spirit I entered the chambers on the Hill of the Phosphori. I sat in the
Chorus Hall. I entered the City and slowly changed, as you are changing,
into one of the Martian white people. I found my work, as you will, in
this Patenta, for by that name in Mars is called this home of astronomy
and physical philosophy. Here, amid telescopes and apparatus of
experiment and investigation, I have spent the years, mapping with many
others the skies, and above all beating the earth we left, as have many,