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The Vital Message by Arthur Conan Doyle

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THE VITAL MESSAGE

BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE




PREFACE

In "The New Revelation" the first dawn of the coming change
has been described. In "The Vital Message" the sun has risen
higher, and one sees more clearly and broadly what our new
relations with the Unseen may be. As I look into the future of
the human race I am reminded of how once, from amid the bleak
chaos of rock and snow at the head of an Alpine pass, I looked
down upon the far stretching view of Lombardy, shimmering in the
sunshine and extending in one splendid panorama of blue lakes and
green rolling hills until it melted into the golden haze which
draped the far horizon. Such a promised land is at our very feet
which, when we attain it, will make our present civilisation seem
barren and uncouth. Already our vanguard is well over the pass.
Nothing can now prevent us from reaching that wonderful land
which stretches so clearly before those eyes which are opened to
see it.

That stimulating writer, V. C. Desertis, has remarked that
the Second Coming, which has always been timed to follow
Armageddon, may be fulfilled not by a descent of the spiritual to
us, but by the ascent of our material plane to the spiritual, and
the blending of the two phases of existence. It is, at least, a
fascinating speculation. But without so complete an overthrow of
the partition walls as this would imply we know enough already to
assure ourselves of such a close approximation as will surely
deeply modify all our views of science, of religion and of life.
What form these changes may take and what the evidence is upon
which they will be founded are briefly set forth in this volume.

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.

CROWBOROUGH,

July, 1919.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I THE TWO NEEDFUL READJUSTMENTS
II THE DAWNING OF THE LIGHT
III THE GREAT ARGUMENT
IV THE COMING WORLD
V IS IT THE SECOND DAWN?

APPENDICES
A. DR. GELEY'S EXPERIMENTS
B. A PARTICULAR INSTANCE
C. SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY
D. THE CLAIRVOYANCE OF MRS. B.

THE VITAL MESSAGE

CHAPTER I

THE TWO NEEDFUL READJUSTMENTS

It has been our fate, among all the innumerable generations
of mankind, to face the most frightful calamity that has ever
befallen the world. There is a basic fact which cannot be
denied, and should not be overlooked. For a most important
deduction must immediately follow from it. That deduction is
that we, who have borne the pains, shall also learn the lesson
which they were intended to convey. If we do not learn it and
proclaim it, then when can it ever be learned and proclaimed,
since there can never again be such a spiritual ploughing and
harrowing and preparation for the seed? If our souls, wearied
and tortured during these dreadful five years of self-
sacrifice and suspense, can show no radical changes, then what
souls will ever respond to a fresh influx of heavenly
inspiration? In that case the state of the human race would
indeed be hopeless, and never in all the coming centuries would
there be any prospect of improvement.

Why was this tremendous experience forced upon mankind?
Surely it is a superficial thinker who imagines that the great
Designer of all things has set the whole planet in a ferment, and
strained every nation to exhaustion, in order that this or that
frontier be moved, or some fresh combination be formed in the
kaleidoscope of nations. No, the causes of the convulsion, and
its objects, are more profound than that. They are essentially
religious, not political. They lie far deeper than the national
squabbles of the day. A thousand years hence those national
results may matter little, but the religious result will rule the
world. That religious result is the reform of the decadent
Christianity of to-day, its simplification, its purification, and
its reinforcement by the facts of spirit communion and the clear
knowledge of what lies beyond the exit-door of death. The
shock of the war was meant to rouse us to mental and moral
earnestness, to give us the courage to tear away venerable shams,
and to force the human race to realise and use the vast new
revelation which has been so clearly stated and so abundantly
proved, for all who will examine the statements and proofs with
an open mind.

Consider the awful condition of the world before this
thunder-bolt struck it. Could anyone, tracing back down the
centuries and examining the record of the wickedness of man, find
anything which could compare with the story of the nations during
the last twenty years! Think of the condition of Russia during
that time, with her brutal aristocracy and her drunken democracy,
her murders on either side, her Siberian horrors, her Jew
baitings and her corruption. Think of the figure of Leopold of
Belgium, an incarnate devil who from motives of greed carried
murder and torture through a large section of Africa, and yet was
received in every court, and was eventually buried after a
panegyric from a Cardinal of the Roman Church--a church which
had never once raised her voice against his diabolical career.
Consider the similar crimes in the Putumayo, where British
capitalists, if not guilty of outrage, can at least not be
acquitted of having condoned it by their lethargy and trust in
local agents. Think of Turkey and the recurrent massacres of her
subject races. Think of the heartless grind of the factories
everywhere, where work assumed a very different and more
unnatural shape than the ancient labour of the fields. Think of
the sensuality of many rich, the brutality of many poor, the
shallowness of many fashionable, the coldness and deadness of
religion, the absence anywhere of any deep, true spiritual
impulse. Think, above all, of the organised materialism of
Germany, the arrogance, the heartlessness, the negation of
everything which one could possibly associate with the living
spirit of Christ as evident in the utterances of Catholic
Bishops, like Hartmann of Cologne, as in those of Lutheran
Pastors. Put all this together and say if the human race has
ever presented a more unlovely aspect. When we try to find the
brighter spots they are chiefly where civilisation, as apart
from religion, has built up necessities for the community, such
as hospitals, universities, and organised charities, as
conspicuous in Buddhist Japan as in Christian Europe. We cannot
deny that there has been much virtue, much gentleness, much
spirituality in individuals. But the churches were empty husks,
which contained no spiritual food for the human race, and had in
the main ceased to influence its actions, save in the direction
of soulless forms.

This is not an over-coloured picture. Can we not see, then,
what was the inner reason for the war? Can we not understand
that it was needful to shake mankind loose from gossip and pink
teas, and sword-worship, and Saturday night drunks, and self-
seeking politics and theological quibbles--to wake them up and
make them realise that they stand upon a narrow knife-edge
between two awful eternities, and that, here and now, they have
to finish with make-beliefs, and with real earnestness and
courage face those truths which have always been palpable where
indolence, or cowardice, or vested interests have not obscured
the vision. Let us try to appreciate what those truths are
and the direction which reform must take. It is the new
spiritual developments which predominate in my own thoughts, but
there are two other great readjustments which are necessary
before they can take their full effect. On the spiritual side I
can speak with the force of knowledge from the beyond. On the
other two points of reform, I make no such claim.

The first is that in the Bible, which is the foundation of
our present religious thought, we have bound together the living
and the dead, and the dead has tainted the living. A mummy and
an angel are in most unnatural partnership. There can be no
clear thinking, and no logical teaching until the old
dispensation has been placed on the shelf of the scholar, and
removed from the desk of the teacher. It is indeed a wonderful
book, in parts the oldest which has come down to us, a book
filled with rare knowledge, with history, with poetry, with
occultism, with folklore. But it has no connection with modern
conceptions of religion. In the main it is actually antagonistic
to them. Two contradictory codes have been circulated under
one cover, and the result is dire confusion. The one is a scheme
depending upon a special tribal God, intensely anthropomorphic
and filled with rage, jealousy and revenge. The conception
pervades every book of the Old Testament. Even in the psalms,
which are perhaps the most spiritual and beautiful section, the
psalmist, amid much that is noble, sings of the fearsome things
which his God will do to his enemies. "They shall go down alive
into hell." There is the keynote of this ancient document--a
document which advocates massacre, condones polygamy, accepts
slavery, and orders the burning of so-called witches. Its Mosaic
provisions have long been laid aside. We do not consider
ourselves accursed if we fail to mutilate our bodies, if we eat
forbidden dishes, fail to trim our beards, or wear clothes of two
materials. But we cannot lay aside the provisions and yet regard
the document as divine. No learned quibbles can ever persuade an
honest earnest mind that that is right. One may say: "Everyone
knows that that is the old dispensation, and is not to be acted
upon." It is not true. It is continually acted upon, and
always will be so long as it is made part of one sacred book.
William the Second acted upon it. His German God which wrought
such mischief in the world was the reflection of the dreadful
being who ordered that captives be put under the harrow. The
cities of Belgium were the reflection of the cities of Moab.
Every hard-hearted brute in history, more especially in the
religious wars, has found his inspiration in the Old Testament.
"Smite and spare not!" "An eye for an eye!", how readily the
texts spring to the grim lips of the murderous fanatic. Francis
on St. Bartholomew's night, Alva in the Lowlands, Tilly at
Magdeburg, Cromwell at Drogheda, the Covenainters at
Philliphaugh, the Anabaptists of Munster, and the early Mormons
of Utah, all found their murderous impulses fortified from this
unholy source. Its red trail runs through history. Even where
the New Testament prevails, its teaching must still be dulled and
clouded by its sterner neighbour. Let us retain this honoured
work of literature. Let us remove the taint which poisons the
very spring of our religious thought.

This is, in my opinion, the first clearing which should be
made for the more beautiful building to come. The second is less
important, as it is a shifting of the point of view, rather than
an actual change. It is to be remembered that Christ's life in
this world occupied, so far as we can estimate, 33 years, whilst
from His arrest to His resurrection was less than a week. Yet
the whole Christian system has come to revolve round His death,
to the partial exclusion of the beautiful lesson of His life.
Far too much weight has been placed upon the one, and far too
little upon the other, for the death, beautiful, and indeed
perfect, as it was, could be matched by that of many scores of
thousands who have died for an idea, while the life, with its
consistent record of charity, breadth of mind, unselfishness,
courage, reason, and progressiveness, is absolutely unique and
superhuman. Even in these abbreviated, translated, and second-
hand records we receive an impression such as no other life can
give--an impression which fills us with utter reverence.
Napoleon, no mean judge of human nature, said of it: "It is
different with Christ. Everything about Him astonishes me.
His spirit surprises me, and His will confounds me. Between Him
and anything of this world there is no possible comparison. He
is really a being apart. The nearer I approach Him and the
closer I examine Him, the more everything seems above me."

It is this wonderful life, its example and inspiration, which
was the real object of the descent of this high spirit on to our
planet. If the human race had earnestly centred upon that
instead of losing itself in vain dreams of vicarious sacrifices
and imaginary falls, with all the mystical and contentious
philosophy which has centred round the subject, how very
different the level of human culture and happiness would be to-
day! Such theories, with their absolute want of reason or
morality, have been the main cause why the best minds have been
so often alienated from the Christian system and proclaimed
themselves materialists. In contemplating what shocked their
instincts for truth they have lost that which was both true and
beautiful. Christ's death was worthy of His life, and rounded
off a perfect career, but it is the life which He has left as
the foundation for the permanent religion of mankind. All the
religious wars, the private feuds, and the countless miseries of
sectarian contention, would have been at least minimised, if not
avoided, had the bare example of Christ's life been adopted as
the standard of conduct and of religion.

But there are certain other considerations which should have
weight when we contemplate this life and its efficacy as an
example. One of these is that the very essence of it was that He
critically examined religion as He found it, and brought His
robust common sense and courage to bear in exposing the shams and
in pointing out the better path. THAT is the hall-mark of
the true follower of Christ, and not the mute acceptance of
doctrines which are, upon the face of them, false and pernicious,
because they come to us with some show of authority. What
authority have we now, save this very life, which could compare
with those Jewish books which were so binding in their force, and
so immutably sacred that even the misspellings or pen-slips of
the scribe, were most carefully preserved? It is a simple
obvious fact that if Christ had been orthodox, and had
possessed what is so often praised as a "child-like faith," there
could have been no such thing as Christianity. Let reformers who
love Him take heart as they consider that they are indeed
following in the footsteps of the Master, who has at no time said
that the revelation which He brought, and which has been so
imperfectly used, is the last which will come to mankind. In our
own times an equally great one has been released from the centre
of all truth, which will make as deep an impression upon the
human race as Christianity, though no predominant figure has yet
appeared to enforce its lessons. Such a figure has appeared once
when the days were ripe, and I do not doubt that this may occur
once more.

One other consideration must be urged. Christ has not given
His message in the first person. If He had done so our position
would be stronger. It has been repeated by the hearsay and
report of earnest but ill-educated men. It speaks much for
education in the Roman province of Judea that these fishermen,
publicans and others could even read or write. Luke and Paul
were, of course, of a higher class, but their information
came from their lowly predecessors. Their account is splendidly
satisfying in the unity of the general impression which it
produces, and the clear drawing of the Master's teaching and
character. At the same time it is full of inconsistencies and
contradictions upon immaterial matters. For example, the four
accounts of the resurrection differ in detail, and there is no
orthodox learned lawyer who dutifully accepts all four versions
who could not shatter the evidence if he dealt with it in the
course of his profession. These details are immaterial to the
spirit of the message. It is not common sense to suppose that
every item is inspired, or that we have to make no allowance for
imperfect reporting, individual convictions, oriental
phraseology, or faults of translation. These have, indeed, been
admitted by revised versions. In His utterance about the letter
and the spirit we could almost believe that Christ had foreseen
the plague of texts from which we have suffered, even as He
Himself suffered at the hands of the theologians of His day, who
then, as now, have been a curse to the world. We were meant
to use our reasons and brains in adapting His teaching to the
conditions of our altered lives and times. Much depended upon
the society and mode of expression which belonged to His era. To
suppose in these days that one has literally to give all to the
poor, or that a starved English prisoner should literally love
his enemy the Kaiser, or that because Christ protested against
the lax marriages of His day therefore two spouses who loathe
each other should be for ever chained in a life servitude and
martyrdom--all these assertions are to travesty His teaching and
to take from it that robust quality of common sense which was its
main characteristic. To ask what is impossible from human nature
is to weaken your appeal when you ask for what is reasonable.

It has already been stated that of the three headings under
which reforms are grouped, the exclusion of the old dispensation,
the greater attention to Christ's life as compared to His death,
and the new spiritual influx which is giving us psychic religion,
it is only on the latter that one can quote the authority of the
beyond. Here, however, the case is really understated. In
regard to the Old Testament I have never seen the matter treated
in a spiritual communication. The nature of Christ, however, and
His teaching, have been expounded a score of times with some
variation of detail, but in the main as reproduced here. Spirits
have their individuality of view, and some carry over strong
earthly prepossessions which they do not easily shed; but reading
many authentic spirit communications one finds that the idea of
redemption is hardly ever spoken of, while that of example and
influence is for ever insisted upon. In them Christ is the
highest spirit known, the son of God, as we all are, but nearer
to God, and therefore in a more particular sense His son. He
does not, save in most rare and special cases, meet us when we
die. Since souls pass over, night and day, at the rate of about
100 a minute, this would seem self-evident. After a time we may
be admitted to His presence, to find a most tender, sympathetic
and helpful comrade and guide, whose spirit influences all things
even when His bodily presence is not visible. This is the
general teaching of the other world communications concerning
Christ, the gentle, loving and powerful spirit which broods ever
over that world which, in all its many spheres, is His special
care.

Before passing to the new revelation, its certain proofs and
its definite teaching, let us hark back for a moment upon the two
points which have already been treated. They are not absolutely
vital points. The fresh developments can go on and conquer the
world without them. There can be no sudden change in the ancient
routine of our religious habits, nor is it possible to conceive
that a congress of theologians could take so heroic a step as to
tear the Bible in twain, laying one half upon the shelf and one
upon the table. Neither is it to be expected that any formal
pronouncements could ever be made that the churches have all laid
the wrong emphasis upon the story of Christ. Moral courage will
not rise to such a height. But with the spiritual quickening and
the greater earnestness which will have their roots in this
bloody passion of mankind, many will perceive what is reasonable
and true, so that even if the Old Testament should remain, like
some obsolete appendix in the animal frame, to mark a lower
stage through which development has passed, it will more and more
be recognised as a document which has lost all validity and which
should no longer be allowed to influence human conduct, save by
way of pointing out much which we may avoid. So also with the
teaching of Christ, the mystical portions may fade gently away,
as the grosser views of eternal punishment have faded within our
own lifetime, so that while mankind is hardly aware of the change
the heresy of today will become the commonplace of tomorrow.
These things will adjust themselves in God's own time. What is,
however, both new and vital are those fresh developments which
will now be discussed. In them may be found the signs of how the
dry bones may be stirred, and how the mummy may be quickened with
the breath of life. With the actual certainty of a definite life
after death, and a sure sense of responsibility for our own
spiritual development, a responsibility which cannot be put upon
any other shoulders, however exalted, but must be borne by each
individual for himself, there will come the greatest
reinforcement of morality which the human race has ever
known. We are on the verge of it now, but our descendants will
look upon the past century as the culmination of the dark ages
when man lost his trust in God, and was so engrossed in his
temporary earth life that he lost all sense of spiritual reality.

CHAPTER II

THE DAWNING OF THE LIGHT


Some sixty years ago that acute thinker Lord Brougham
remarked that in the clear sky of scepticism he saw only one
small cloud drifting up and that was Modern Spiritualism. It was
a curiously inverted simile, for one would surely have expected
him to say that in the drifting clouds of scepticism he saw one
patch of clear sky, but at least it showed how conscious he was
of the coming importance of the movement. Ruskin, too, an
equally agile mind, said that his assurance of immortality
depended upon the observed facts of Spiritualism. Scores, and
indeed hundreds, of famous names could be quoted who have
subscribed the same statement, and whose support would dignify
any cause upon earth. They are the higher peaks who have been
the first to catch the light, but the dawn will spread until
none are too lowly to share it. Let us turn, therefore,
and inspect this movement which is most certainly destined to
revolutionise human thought and action as none other has done
within the Christian era. We shall look at it both in its
strength and in its weakness, for where one is dealing with what
one knows to be true one can fearlessly insist upon the whole of
the truth.

The movement which is destined to bring vitality to the dead
and cold religions has been called "Modern Spiritualism." The
"modern" is good, since the thing itself, in one form or another,
is as old as history, and has always, however obscured by forms,
been the red central glow in the depths of all religious ideas,
permeating the Bible from end to end. But the word
"Spiritualism" has been so befouled by wicked charlatans, and so
cheapened by many a sad incident, that one could almost wish that
some such term as "psychic religion" would clear the subject of
old prejudices, just as mesmerism, after many years of obloquy,
was rapidly accepted when its name was changed to hypnotism. On
the other hand, one remembers the sturdy pioneers who have fought
under this banner, and who were prepared to risk their
careers, their professional success, and even their reputation
for sanity, by publicly asserting what they knew to be the truth.

Their brave, unselfish devotion must do something to cleanse the
name for which they fought and suffered. It was they who nursed
the system which promises to be, not a new religion--it is far
too big for that--but part of the common heritage of knowledge
shared by the whole human race. Perfected Spiritualism, however,
will probably bear about the same relation to the Spiritualism of
1850 as a modern locomotive to the bubbling little kettle which
heralded the era of steam. It will end by being rather the proof
and basis of all religions than a religion in itself. We have
already too many religions--but too few proofs.

Those first manifestations at Hydesville varied in no way
from many of which we have record in the past, but the result
arising from them differed very much, because, for the first
time, it occurred to a human being not merely to listen to
inexplicable sounds, and to fear them or marvel at them, but to
establish communication with them. John Wesley's father
might have done the same more than a century before had the
thought occurred to him when he was a witness of the
manifestations at Epworth in 1726. It was only when the young
Fox girl struck her hands together and cried "Do as I do" that
there was instant compliance, and consequent proof of the
presence of an INTELLIGENT invisible force, thus differing
from all other forces of which we know. The circumstances were
humble, and even rather sordid, upon both sides of the veil,
human and spirit, yet it was, as time will more and more clearly
show, one of the turning points of the world's history, greater
far than the fall of thrones or the rout of armies. Some artist
of the future will draw the scene--the sitting-room of the
wooden, shack-like house, the circle of half-awed and half-
critical neighbours, the child clapping her hands with upturned
laughing face, the dark corner shadows where these strange new
forces seem to lurk--forces often apparent, and now come to stay
and to effect the complete revolution of human thought. We may
well ask why should such great results arise from such petty
sources? So argued the highbrowed philosophers of Greece and
Rome when the outspoken Paul, with the fisherman Peter and his
half-educated disciples, traversed all their learned theories,
and with the help of women, slaves, and schismatic Jews,
subverted their ancient creeds. One can but answer that
Providence has its own way of attaining its, results, and that it
seldom conforms to our opinion of what is most appropriate.

We have a larger experience of such phenomena now, and we can
define with some accuracy what it was that happened at Hydesville
in the year 1848. We know that these matters are governed by law
and by conditions as much as any other phenomena of the universe,
though at the moment it seemed to the public to be an isolated
and irregular outburst. On the one hand, you had a material,
earth-bound spirit of a low order of development which needed a
physical medium in order to be able to indicate its presence. On
the other, you had that rare thing, a good physical medium. The
result followed as surely as the flash follows when the electric
battery and wire are both properly adjusted. Corresponding
experiments, where effect, and cause duly follow, are being
worked out at the present moment by Professor Crawford, of
Belfast, as detailed in his two recent books, where he shows that
there is an actual loss of weight of the medium in exact
proportion to the physical phenomenon produced.[1] The whole
secret of mediumship on this material side appears to lie in the
power, quite independent of oneself, of passively giving up some
portion of one's bodily substance for the use of outside
influences. Why should some have this power and some not? We do
not know--nor do we know why one should have the ear for music
and another not. Each is born in us, and each has little
connection with our moral natures. At first it was only physical
mediumship which was known, and public attention centred upon
moving tables, automatic musical instruments, and other crude but
obvious examples of outside influence, which were unhappily very
easily imitated by rogues. Since then we have learned that there
are many forms of mediumship, so different from each other that
an expert at one may have no powers at all at the other. The
automatic writer, the clairvoyant, the crystal-seer, the trance
speaker, the photographic medium, the direct voice medium, and
others, are all, when genuine, the manifestations of one force,
which runs through varied channels as it did in the gifts
ascribed to the disciples. The unhappy outburst of roguery was
helped, no doubt, by the need for darkness claimed by the early
experimenters--a claim which is by no means essential, since the
greatest of all mediums, D. D. Home, was able by the exceptional
strength of his powers to dispense with it. At the same time the
fact that darkness rather than light, and dryness rather than
moisture, are helpful to good results has been abundantly
manifested, and points to the physical laws which underlie the
phenomena. The observation made long afterwards that wireless
telegraphy, another etheric force, acts twice as well by night as
by day, may, corroborate the general conclusions of the early
Spiritualists, while their assertion that the least harmful light
is red light has a suggestive analogy in the experience of the
photographer.

[1] "The Reality of Psychic Phenomena."
"Experiences in Psychical Science." (Watkins.)


There is no space here for the history of the rise and
development of the movement. It provoked warm adhesion and
fierce opposition from the start. Professor Hare and Horace
Greeley were among the educated minority who tested and endorsed
its truth. It was disfigured by many grievous incidents, which
may explain but does not excuse the perverse opposition which it
encountered in so many quarters. This opposition was really
largely based upon the absolute materialism of the age, which
would not admit that there could exist at the present moment such
conditions as might be accepted in the far past. When actually
brought in contact with that life beyond the grave which they
professed to believe in, these people winced, recoiled, and
declared it impossible. The science of the day was also rooted
in materialism, and discarded all its own very excellent axioms
when it was faced by an entirely new and unexpected proposition.
Faraday declared that in approaching a new subject one should
make up one's mind a priori as to what is possible and what
is not! Huxley said that the messages, EVEN IF TRUE,
"interested him no more than the gossip of curates in a
cathedral city." Darwin said: "God help us if we are to believe
such things." Herbert Spencer declared against it, but had no
time to go into it. At the same time all science did not come so
badly out of the ordeal. As already mentioned, Professor Hare,
of Philadelphia, inventor, among other things, of the oxy-
hydrogen blow-pipe, was the first man of note who had the moral
courage, after considerable personal investigation, to declare
that these new and strange developments were true. He was
followed by many medical men, both in America and in Britain,
including Dr. Elliotson, one of the leaders of free thought in
this country. Professor Crookes, the most rising chemist in
Europe, Dr. Russel Wallace the great naturalist, Varley the
electrician, Flammarion the French astronomer, and many others,
risked their scientific reputations in their brave assertions of
the truth. These men were not credulous fools. They saw and
deplored the existence of frauds. Crookes' letters upon the
subject are still extant. In very many cases it was the
Spiritualists themselves who exposed the frauds. They
laughed, as the public laughed, at the sham Shakespeares and
vulgar Caesars who figured in certain seance rooms. They
deprecated also the low moral tone which would turn such powers
to prophecies about the issue of a race or the success of a
speculation. But they had that broader vision and sense of
proportion which assured them that behind all these follies and
frauds there lay a mass of solid evidence which could not be
shaken, though like all evidence, it had to be examined before it
could be appreciated. They were not such simpletons as to be
driven away from a great truth because there are some dishonest
camp followers who hang upon its skirts.

A great centre of proof and of inspiration lay during those
early days in Mr. D. D. Home, a Scottish-American, who possessed
powers which make him one of the most remarkable personalities of
whom we have any record. Home's life, written by his second
wife, is a book which deserves very careful reading. This man,
who in some aspects was more than a man, was before the public
for nearly thirty years. During that time he never received
payment for his services, and was always ready, to put
himself at the disposal of any bona-fide and reasonable
enquirer. His phenomena were produced in full light, and it was
immaterial to him whether the sittings were in his own rooms or
in those of his friends. So high were his principles that upon
one occasion, though he was a man of moderate means and less than
moderate health, he refused the princely fee of two thousand
pounds offered for a single sitting by the Union Circle in Paris.

As to his powers, they seem to have included every form of
mediumship in the highest degree--self-levitation, as witnessed
by hundreds of credible witnesses; the handling of fire, with the
power of conferring like immunity upon others; the movement
without human touch of heavy objects; the visible materialisation
of spirits; miracles of healing; and messages from the dead, such
as that which converted the hard-headed Scot, Robert Chambers,
when Home repeated to him the actual dying words of his young
daughter. All this came from a man of so sweet a nature and of
so charitable a disposition, that the union of all qualities
would seem almost to justify those who, to Home's great
embarrassment, were prepared to place him upon a pedestal above
humanity.

The genuineness of his psychic powers has never been
seriously questioned, and was as well recognised in Rome and
Paris as in London. One incident only darkened his career, and
it, was one in which he was blameless, as anyone who carefully
weighs the evidence must admit. I allude to the action taken
against him by Mrs. Lyon, who, after adopting him as her son and
settling a large sum of money upon him, endeavoured to regain,
and did regain, this money by her unsupported assertion that he
had persuaded her illicitly to make him the allowance. The facts
of his life are, in my judgment, ample proof of the truth of the
Spiritualist position, if no other proof at all had been
available. It is to be remarked in the career of this entirely
honest and unvenal medium that he had periods in his life when
his powers deserted him completely, that he could foresee these
lapses, and that, being honest and unvenal, he simply abstained
from all attempts until the power returned. It is this
intermittent character of the gift which is, in my opinion,
responsible for cases when a medium who has passed the most rigid
tests upon certain occasions is afterwards detected in
simulating, very clumsily, the results which he had once
successfully accomplished. The real power having failed, he has
not the moral courage to admit it, nor the self-denial to forego
his fee which he endeavours to earn by a travesty of what was
once genuine. Such an explanation would cover some facts which
otherwise are hard to reconcile. We must also admit that some
mediums are extremely irresponsible and feather-headed people. A
friend of mine, who sat with Eusapia Palladino, assured me that
he saw her cheat in the most childish and bare-faced fashion, and
yet immediately afterwards incidents occurred which were
absolutely beyond any, normal powers to produce.

Apart from Home, another episode which marks a stage in the
advance of this movement was the investigation and report by the
Dialectical Society in the year 1869. This body was composed of
men of various learned professions who gathered together to
investigate the alleged facts, and ended by reporting that
they really WERE facts. They were unbiased, and their
conclusions were founded upon results which were very soberly set
forth in their report, a most convincing document which, even now
in 1919, after the lapse of fifty years, is far more intelligent
than the greater part of current opinion upon this subject. None
the less, it was greeted by a chorus of ridicule by the ignorant
Press of that day, who, if the same men had come to the opposite
conclusion in spite of the evidence, would have been ready to
hail their verdict as the undoubted end of a pernicious movement.

In the early days, about 1863, a book was written by Mrs. de
Morgan, the wife of the well-known mathematician Professor de
Morgan, entitled "From Matter to Spirit." There is a sympathetic
preface by the husband. The book is still well worth reading,
for it is a question whether anyone has shown greater brain power
in treating the subject. In it the prophecy is made that as the
movement develops the more material phenomena will decrease and
their place be taken by the more spiritual, such as automatic
writing. This forecast has been fulfilled, for though physical
mediums still exist the other more subtle forms greatly
predominate, and call for far more discriminating criticism in
judging their value and their truth. Two very convincing forms
of mediumship, the direct voice and spirit photography, have also
become prominent. Each of these presents such proof that it is
impossible for the sceptic to face them, and he can only avoid
them by ignoring them.

In the case of the direct voice one of the leading exponents
is Mrs. French, an amateur medium in America, whose work is
described both by Mr. Funk and Mr. Randall. She is a frail
elderly lady, yet in her presence the most masculine and robust
voices make communications, even when her own mouth is covered.
I have myself investigated the direct voice in the case of four
different mediums, two of them amateurs, and can have no doubt of
the reality of the voices, and that they are not the effect of
ventriloquism. I was more struck by the failures than by the
successes, and cannot easily forget the passionate pantings with
which some entity strove hard to reveal his identity to me,
but without success. One of these mediums was tested afterwards
by having the mouth filled with coloured water, but the voice
continued as before.

As to spirit photography, the most successful results are
obtained by the Crewe circle in England, under the mediumship of
Mr. Hope and Mrs. Buxton.[2] I have seen scores of these
photographs, which in several cases reproduce exact images of the
dead which do not correspond with any pictures of them taken
during life. I have seen father, mother, and dead soldier son,
all taken together with the dead son looking far the happier and
not the least substantial of the three. It is in these varied
forms of proof that the impregnable strength of the evidence
lies, for how absurd do explanations of telepathy, unconscious
cerebration or cosmic memory become when faced by such phenomena
as spirit photography, materialisation, or the direct voice.
Only one hypothesis can cover every branch of these
manifestations, and that is the system of extraneous life and
action which has always, for seventy years, held the field for
any reasonable mind which had impartially considered the
facts.

[2] See Appendix.


I have spoken of the need for careful and cool-headed
analysis in judging the evidence where automatic writing is
concerned. One is bound to exclude spirit explanations until all
natural ones have been exhausted, though I do not include among
natural ones the extreme claims of far-fetched telepathy such as
that another person can read in your thoughts things of which you
were never yourself aware. Such explanations are not
explanations, but mystifications and absurdities, though they
seem to have a special attraction for a certain sort of psychical
researcher, who is obviously destined to go on researching to the
end of time, without ever reaching any conclusion save that of
the patience of those who try to follow his reasoning. To give a
good example of valid automatic script, chosen out of many which
I could quote, I would draw the reader's attention to the facts
as to the excavations at Glastonbury, as detailed in "The Gate of
Remembrance" by Mr. Bligh Bond. Mr. Bligh Bond, by the way, is
not a Spiritualist, but the same cannot be said of the writer
of the automatic script, an amateur medium, who was able to
indicate the secrets of the buried abbey, which were proved to be
correct when the ruins were uncovered. I can truly say that,
though I have read much of the old monastic life, it has never
been brought home to me so closely as by the messages and
descriptions of dear old Brother Johannes, the earth-bound
spirit--earthbound by his great love for the old abbey in which
he had spent his human life. This book, with its practical
sequel, may be quoted as an excellent example of automatic
writing at its highest, for what telepathic explanation can cover
the detailed description of objects which lie unseen by any human
eye? It must be admitted, however, that in automatic writing you
are at one end of the telephone, if one may use such a simile,
and you have, no assurance as to who is at the other end. You
may have wildly false messages suddenly interpolated among
truthful ones--messages so detailed in their mendacity that it is
impossible to think that they are not deliberately false. When
once we have accepted the central fact that spirits change little
in essentials when leaving the body, and that in consequence
the world is infested by many low and mischievous types, one can
understand that these untoward incidents are rather a
confirmation of Spiritualism than an argument against it.
Personally I have received and have been deceived by several such
messages. At the same time I can say that after an experience of
thirty years of such communications I have never known a
blasphemous, an obscene or an unkind sentence come through. I
admit, however, that I have heard of such cases. Like attracts
like, and one should know one's human company before one joins in
such intimate and reverent rites. In clairvoyance the same
sudden inexplicable deceptions appear. I have closely followed
the work of one female medium, a professional, whose results are
so extraordinarily good that in a favourable case she will give
the full names of the deceased as well as the most definite and
convincing test messages. Yet among this splendid series of
results I have notes of several in which she was a complete
failure and absolutely wrong upon essentials. How can this be
explained? We can only answer that conditions were obviously
not propitious, but why or how are among the many problems of the
future. It is a profound and most complicated subject, however
easily it may be settled by the "ridiculous nonsense" school of
critics. I look at the row of books upon the left of my desk as
I write--ninety-six solid volumes, many of them annotated and
well thumbed, and yet I know that I am like a child wading ankle
deep in the margin of an illimitable ocean. But this, at least,
I have very clearly realised, that the ocean is there and that
the margin is part of it, and that down that shelving shore the
human race is destined to move slowly to deeper waters. In the
next chapter, I will endeavour to show what is the purpose of the
Creator in this strange revelation of new intelligent forces
impinging upon our planet. It is this view of the question which
must justify the claim that this movement, so long the subject of
sneers and ridicule, is absolutely the most important development
in the whole history of the human race, so important that, if we
could conceive one single man discovering and publishing it, he
would rank before Christopher Columbus as a discoverer of new
worlds, before Paul as a teacher of new religious truths, and
before Isaac Newton as a student of the laws of the Universe.

Before opening up this subject there is one consideration
which should have due weight, and yet seems continually to be
overlooked. The differences between various sects are a very
small thing as compared to the great eternal duel between
materialism and the spiritual view of the Universe. That is the
real fight. It is a fight in which the Churches championed the
anti-material view, but they have done it so unintelligently, and
have been continually placed in such false positions, that they
have always been losing. Since the days of Hume and Voltaire and
Gibbon the fight has slowly but steadily rolled in favour of the
attack. Then came Darwin, showing with apparent truth, that man
has never fallen but always risen. This cut deep into the
philosophy of orthodoxy, and it is folly to deny it. Then again
came the so-called "Higher Criticism," showing alleged flaws and
cracks in the very foundations. All this time the churches were
yielding ground, and every retreat gave a fresh jumping-off
place for a new assault. It has gone so far that at the present
moment a very large section of the people of this country, rich
and poor, are out of all sympathy not only with the churches but
with the whole Spiritual view. Now, we intervene with our
positive knowledge and actual proof--an ally so powerful that we
are capable of turning the whole tide of battle and rolling it
back for ever against materialism. We can say: "We will meet
you on your own ground and show you by material and scientific
tests that the soul and personality survive." That is the aim of
Psychic Science, and it has been fully attained. It means an end
to materialism for ever. And yet this movement, this Spiritual
movement, is hooted at and reviled by Rome, by Canterbury and
even by Little Bethel, each of them for once acting in concert,
and including in their battle line such strange allies as the
Scientific Agnostics and the militant Free-thinkers. Father
Vaughan and the Bishop of London, the Rev. F. B. Meyer and Mr.
Clodd, "The Church Times" and "The Freethinker," are united in
battle, though they fight with very different battle cries,
the one declaring that the thing is of the devil, while the other
is equally clear that it does not exist at all. The opposition
of the materialists is absolutely intelligent since it is clear
that any man who has spent his life in saying "No" to all
extramundane forces is, indeed, in a pitiable position when,
after many years, he has to recognise that his whole philosophy
is built upon sand and that "Yes" was the answer from the
beginning. But as to the religious bodies, what words can
express their stupidity and want of all proportion in not running
halfway and more to meet the greatest ally who has ever
intervened to change their defeat into victory? What gifts this
all-powerful ally brings with him, and what are the terms of his
alliance, will now be considered.

CHAPTER III

THE GREAT ARGUMENT


The physical basis of all psychic belief is that the soul is
a complete duplicate of the body, resembling it in the smallest
particular, although constructed in some far more tenuous
material. In ordinary conditions these two bodies are
intermingled so that the identity of the finer one is entirely
obscured. At death, however, and under certain conditions in the
course of life, the two divide and can be seen separately. Death
differs from the conditions of separation before death in that
there is a complete break between the two bodies, and life is
carried on entirely by the lighter of the two, while the heavier,
like a cocoon from which the living occupant has escaped,
degenerates and disappears, the world burying the cocoon with
much solemnity by taking little pains to ascertain what has
become of its nobler contents. It is a vain thing to
urge that science has not admitted this contention, and that the
statement is pure dogmatism. The science which has not examined
the facts has, it is true, not admitted the contention, but its
opinion is manifestly worthless, or at the best of less weight
than that of the humblest student of psychic phenomena. The real
science which has examined the facts is the only valid authority,
and it is practically unanimous. I have made personal appeals to
at least one great leader of science to examine the facts,
however superficially, without any success, while Sir William
Crookes appealed to Sir George Stokes, the Secretary of the Royal
Society, one of the most bitter opponents of the movement, to
come down to his laboratory and see the psychic force at work,
but he took no notice. What weight has science of that sort? It
can only be compared to that theological prejudice which caused
the Ecclesiastics in the days of Galileo to refuse to look
through the telescope which he held out to them.

It is possible to write down the names of fifty professors in
great seats of learning who have examined and endorsed these
facts, and the list would include many of the greatest
intellects which the world has produced in our time--Flammarion
and Lombroso, Charles Richet and Russel Wallace, Willie Reichel,
Myers, Zollner, James, Lodge, and Crookes. Therefore the facts
HAVE been endorsed by the only science that has the right to
express an opinion. I have never, in my thirty years of
experience, known one single scientific man who went thoroughly
into this matter and did not end by accepting the Spiritual
solution. Such may exist, but I repeat that I have never heard
of him. Let us, then, with confidence examine this matter of the
"spiritual body," to use the term made classical by Saint Paul.
There are many signs in his writings that Paul was deeply versed
in psychic matters, and one of these is his exact definition of
the natural and spiritual bodies in the service which is the
final farewell to life of every Christian. Paul picked his
words, and if he had meant that man consisted of a natural body
and a spirit he would have said so. When he said "a spiritual
body" he meant a body which contained the spirit and yet was
distinct from the ordinary natural body. That is exactly
what psychic science has now shown to be true.

When a man has taken hashish or certain other drugs, he not
infrequently has the experience that he is standing or floating
beside his own body, which he can see stretched senseless upon
the couch. So also under anaesthetics, particularly under
laughing gas, many people are conscious of a detachment from
their bodies, and of experiences at a distance. I have myself
seen very clearly my wife and children inside a cab while I was
senseless in the dentist's chair. Again, when a man is fainting
or dying, and his system in an unstable condition, it is asserted
in very many definite instances that he can, and does, manifest
himself to others at a distance. These phantasms of the living,
which have been so carefully explored and docketed by Messrs.
Myers and Gurney, ran into hundreds of cases. Some people claim
that by an effort of will they can, after going to sleep, propel
their own doubles in the direction which they desire, and visit
those whom they wish to see. Thus there is a great volume of
evidence--how great no man can say who has not spent diligent
years in exploring it--which vouches for the existence of
this finer body containing the precious jewels of the mind and
spirit, and leaving only gross confused animal functions in its
heavier companion.

Mr. Funk, who is a critical student of psychic phenomena, and
also the joint compiler of the standard American dictionary,
narrates a story in point which could be matched from other
sources. He tells of an American doctor of his acquaintance, and
he vouches personally for the truth of the incident. This
doctor, in the course of a cataleptic seizure in Florida, was
aware that he had left his body, which he saw lying beside him.
He had none the less preserved his figure and his identity. The
thought of some friend at a distance came into his mind, and
after an appreciable interval he found himself in that friend's
room, half way across the continent. He saw his friend, and was
conscious that his friend saw him. He afterwards returned to his
own room, stood beside his own senseless body, argued within
himself whether he should re-occupy it or not, and finally, duty
overcoming inclination, he merged his two frames together and
continued his life. A letter from him to his friend
explaining matters crossed a letter from the friend, in which he
told how he also had been aware of his presence. The incident is
narrated in detail in Mr. Funk's "Psychic Riddle."

I do not understand how any man can examine the many
instances coming from various angles of approach without
recognising that there really is a second body of this sort,
which incidentally goes far to account for all stories, sacred or
profane, of ghosts, apparitions and visions. Now, what is this
second body, and how does it fit into modern religious
revelation?

What it is, is a difficult question, and yet when science and
imagination unite, as Tyndall said they should unite, to throw a
searchlight into the unknown, they may produce a beam sufficient
to outline vaguely what will become clearer with the future
advance of our race. Science has demonstrated that while ether
pervades everything the ether which is actually in a body is
different from the ether outside it. "Bound" ether is the name
given to this, which Fresnel and others have shown to be denser.
Now, if this fact be applied to the human body, the result
would be that, if all that is visible of that body were removed,
there would still remain a complete and absolute mould of the
body, formed in bound ether which would be different from the
ether around it. This argument is more solid than mere
speculation, and it shows that even the soul may come to be
defined in terms of matter and is not altogether "such stuff as
dreams are made of."

It has been shown that there is some good evidence for the
existence of this second body apart from psychic religion, but to
those who have examined that religion it is the centre of the
whole system, sufficiently real to be recognised by clairvoyants,
to be heard by clairaudients, and even to make an exact
impression upon a photographic plate. Of the latter phenomenon,
of which I have had some very particular opportunities of
judging, I have no more doubt than I have of the ordinary
photography of commerce. It had already been shown by the
astronomers that the sensitized plate is a more delicate
recording instrument than the human retina, and that it can show
stars upon a long exposure which the eye has never seen. It
would appear that the spirit world is really so near to us that a
very little extra help under correct conditions of mediumship
will make all the difference. Thus the plate, instead of the
eye, may bring the loved face within the range of vision, while
the trumpet, acting as a megaphone, may bring back the familiar
voice where the spirit whisper with no mechanical aid was still
inaudible. So loud may the latter phenomenon be that in one
case, of which I have the record, the dead man's dog was so
excited at hearing once more his master's voice that he broke his
chain, and deeply scarred the outside of the seance room door in
his efforts to force an entrance.

Now, having said so much of the spirit body, and having
indicated that its presence is not vouched for by only one line
of evidence or school of thought, let us turn to what happens at
the time of death, according to the observation of clairvoyants
on this side and the posthumous accounts of the dead upon the
other. It is exactly what we should expect to happen, granted
the double identity. In a painless and natural process the
lighter disengages itself from the heavier, and slowly draws
itself off until it stands with the same mind, the same emotions,
and an exactly similar body, beside the couch of death, aware of
those around and yet unable to make them aware of it, save where
that finer spiritual eyesight called clairvoyance exists. How,
we may well ask, can it see without the natural organs? How did
the hashish victim see his own unconscious body? How did the
Florida doctor see his friend? There is a power of perception in
the spiritual body which does give the power. We can say no
more. To the clairvoyant the new spirit seems like a filmy
outline. To the ordinary man it is invisible. To another spirit
it would, no doubt, seem as normal and substantial as we appear
to each other. There is some evidence that it refines with time,
and is therefore nearer to the material at the moment of death or
closely after it, than after a lapse of months or years. Hence,
it is that apparitions of the dead are most clear and most common
about the time of death, and hence also, no doubt, the fact that
the cataleptic physician already quoted was seen and
recognised by his friend. The meshes of his ether, if the phrase
be permitted, were still heavy with the matter from which they
had only just been disentangled.

Having disengaged itself from grosser matter, what happens to
this spirit body, the precious bark which bears our all in all
upon this voyage into unknown seas? Very many accounts have come
back to us, verbal and written, detailing the experiences of
those who have passed on. The verbal are by trance mediums,
whose utterances appear to be controlled by outside
intelligences. The written from automatic writers whose script
is produced in the same way. At these words the critic naturally
and reasonably shies, with a "What nonsense! How can you control
the statement of this medium who is consciously or unconsciously
pretending to inspiration?" This is a healthy scepticism, and
should animate every experimenter who tests a new medium. The
proofs must lie in the communication itself. If they are not
present, then, as always, we must accept natural rather than
unknown explanations. But they are continually present, and in
such obvious forms that no one can deny them. There is a
certain professional medium to whom I have sent many, mothers who
were in need of consolation. I always ask the applicants to
report the result to me, and I have their letters of surprise and
gratitude before me as I write. "Thank you for this beautiful
and interesting experience. She did not make a single mistake
about their names, and everything she said was correct." In this
case there was a rift between husband and wife before death, but
the medium was able, unaided, to explain and clear up the whole
matter, mentioning the correct circumstances, and names of
everyone concerned, and showing the reasons for the non-arrival
of certain letters, which had been the cause of the
misunderstanding. The next case was also one of husband and
wife, but it is the husband who is the survivor. He says: "It
was a most successful sitting. Among other things, I addressed a
remark in Danish to my wife (who is a Danish girl), and the
answer came back in English without the least hesitation." The
next case was again of a man who had lost a very dear male
friend. "I have had the most wonderful results with Mrs.
---- to-day. I cannot tell you the joy it has been to me. Many
grateful thanks for your help." The next one says: "Mrs. ----
was simply wonderful. If only more people knew, what agony they
would be spared." In this case the wife got in touch with the
husband, and the medium mentioned correctly five dead relatives
who were in his company. The next is a case of mother and son.
"I saw Mrs. ---- to-day, and obtained very wonderful results.
She told me nearly everything quite correctly--a very few
mistakes." The next is similar. "We were quite successful. My
boy even reminded me of something that only he and I knew." Says
another: "My boy reminded me of the day when he sowed turnip
seed upon the lawn. Only he could have known of this." These
are fair samples of the letters, of which I hold a large number.
They are from people who present themselves from among the
millions living in London, or the provinces, and about whose
affairs the medium had no possible normal way of knowing. Of all
the very numerous cases which I have sent to this medium I have
only had a few which have been complete failures. On quoting
my results to Sir Oliver Lodge, he remarked that his own
experience with another medium had been almost identical. It is
no exaggeration to say that our British telephone systems would
probably give a larger proportion of useless calls. How is any
critic to get beyond these facts save by ignoring or
misrepresenting them? Healthy, scepticism is the basis of all
accurate observation, but there comes a time when incredulity
means either culpable ignorance or else imbecility, and this time
has been long past in the matter of spirit intercourse.

In my own case, this medium mentioned correctly the first
name of a lady who had died in our house, gave several very
characteristic messages from her, described the only two dogs
which we have ever kept, and ended by saying that a young officer
was holding up a gold coin by which I would recognise him. I had
lost my brother-in-law, an army doctor, in the war, and I had
given him a spade guinea for his first fee, which he always wore
on his chain. There were not more than two or three close
relatives who knew about this incident, so that the test was a
particularly good one. She made no incorrect statements,
though some were vague. After I had revealed the identity of
this medium several pressmen attempted to have test seances with
her--a test seance being, in most cases, a seance which begins by
breaking every psychic condition and making success most
improbable. One of these gentlemen, Mr. Ulyss Rogers, had very
fair results. Another sent from "Truth" had complete failure.
It must be understood that these powers do not work from the
medium, but through the medium, and that the forces in the beyond
have not the least sympathy with a smart young pressman in search
of clever copy, while they have a very different feeling to a
bereaved mother who prays with all her broken heart that some
assurance may be given her that the child of her love is not gone
from her for ever. When this fact is mastered, and it is
understood that "Stand and deliver" methods only excite gentle
derision on the other side, we shall find some more intelligent
manner of putting things of the spirit to the proof.[3]

[3] See Appendix D.


I have dwelt upon these results, which could be matched
by other mediums, to show that we have solid and certain reasons
to say that the verbal reports are not from the mediums
themselves. Readers of Arthur Hill's "Psychical Investigations"
will find many even more convincing cases. So in the written
communications, I have in a previous paper pointed to the "Gate
of Remembrance" case, but there is a great mass of material which
proves that, in spite of mistakes and failures, there really is a
channel of communication, fitful and evasive sometimes, but
entirely beyond coincidence or fraud. These, then, are the usual
means by which we receive psychic messages, though table tilting,
ouija boards, glasses upon a smooth surface, or anything which
can be moved by the vital animal-magnetic force already discussed
will equally serve the purpose. Often information is conveyed
orally or by writing which could not have been known to anyone
concerned. Mr. Wilkinson has given details of the case where his
dead son drew attention to the fact that a curio (a coin bent by
a bullet) had been overlooked among his effects. Sir William
Barrett has narrated how a young officer sent a message
leaving a pearl tie-pin to a friend. No one knew that such a pin
existed, but it was found among his things. The death of Sir
Hugh Lane was given at a private seance in Dublin before the
details of the Lusitania disaster had been published.[4] On that
morning we ourselves, in a small seance, got the message "It is
terrible, terrible, and will greatly affect the war," at a time
when we were convinced that no great loss of life could have
occurred. Such examples are very numerous, and are only quoted
here to show how impossible it is to invoke telepathy as the
origin of such messages. There is only one explanation which
covers the facts. They are what they say they are, messages from
those who have passed on, from the spiritual body which was seen
to rise from the deathbed, which has been so often photographed,
which pervades all religion in every age, and which has been
able, under proper circumstances, to materialise back into a
temporary solidity so that it could walk and talk like a mortal,
whether in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, or in the
laboratory of Mr. Crookes, in Mornington Road, London.

[4] The details of both these latter cases are to be found in
"Voices from the Void" by Mrs. Travers Smith, a book containing
some well weighed evidence.


Let us for a moment examine the facts in this Crookes'
episode. A small book exists which describes them, though it is
not as accessible as it should be. In these wonderful
experiments, which extended over several years, Miss Florrie
Cook, who was a young lady of from 16 to 18 years of age, was
repeatedly confined in Prof. Crookes' study, the door being
locked on the inside. Here she lay unconscious upon a couch.
The spectators assembled in the laboratory, which was separated
by a curtained opening from the study. After a short interval,
through this opening there emerged a lady who was in all ways
different from Miss Cook. She gave her earth name as Katie King,
and she proclaimed herself to be a materialised spirit, whose
mission it was "to carry the knowledge of immortality to mortals.

She was of great beauty of face, figure, and manner. She was
four and a half inches taller than Miss Cook, fair, whereas the
latter was dark, and as different from her as one woman could be
from another. Her pulse rate was markedly slower. She became
for the time entirely one of the company, walking about,
addressing each person present, and taking delight in the
children. She made no objection to photography or any other
test. Forty-eight photographs of different degrees of excellence
were made of her. She was seen at the same time as the medium on
several occasions. Finally she departed, saying that her mission
was over and that she had other work to do. When she vanished
materialism should have vanished also, if mankind had taken
adequate notice of the facts.

Now, what can the fair-minded inquirer say to such a story as
that--one of many, but for the moment we are concentrating upon
it? Was Mr. Crookes a blasphemous liar? But there were very
many witnesses, as many sometimes as eight at a single sitting.
And there are the photographs which include Miss Cook and show
that the two women were quite different. Was he honestly
mistaken? But that is inconceivable. Read the original
narrative and see if you can find any solution save that it is
true. If a man can read that sober, cautious statement and not
be convinced, then assuredly his brain, is out of gear.
Finally, ask yourself whether any religious manifestation in the
world has had anything like the absolute proof which lies in this
one. Cannot the orthodox see that instead of combating such a
story, or talking nonsense about devils, they should hail that
which is indeed the final answer to that materialism which is
their really dangerous enemy. Even as I write, my eye falls upon
a letter on my desk from an officer who had lost all faith in
immortality and become an absolute materialist. "I came to dread
my return home, for I cannot stand hypocrisy, and I knew well my
attitude would cause some members of my family deep grief. Your
book has now brought me untold comfort, and I can face the future
cheerfully." Are these fruits from the Devil's tree, you timid
orthodox critic?

Having then got in touch with our dead, we proceed,
naturally, to ask them how it is with them, and under what
conditions they exist. It is a very vital question, since what
has befallen them yesterday will surely befall us to-morrow. But
the answer is tidings of great joy. Of the new vital message
to humanity nothing is more important than that. It rolls away
all those horrible man-bred fears and fancies, founded upon
morbid imaginations and the wild phrases of the oriental. We
come upon what is sane, what is moderate, what is reasonable,
what is consistent with gradual evolution and with the
benevolence of God. Were there ever any conscious blasphemers
upon earth who have insulted the Deity so deeply as those
extremists, be they Calvinist, Roman Catholic, Anglican, or Jew,
who pictured with their distorted minds an implacable torturer as
the Ruler of the Universe!

The truth of what is told us as to the life beyond can in its
very nature never be absolutely established. It is far nearer to
complete proof, however, than any religious revelation which has
ever preceded it. We have the fact that these accounts are mixed
up with others concerning our present life which are often
absolutely true. If a spirit can tell the truth about our
sphere, it is difficult to suppose that he is entirely false
about his own. Then, again, there is a very great similarity
about such accounts, though their origin may be from people very
far apart. Thus though "non-veridical," to use the modern
jargon, they do conform to all our canons of evidence. A series
of books which have attracted far less attention than they
deserve have drawn the coming life in very close detail. These
books are not found on railway bookstalls or in popular
libraries, but the successive editions through which they pass
show that there is a deeper public which gets what it wants in
spite of artificial obstacles.

Looking over the list of my reading I find, besides nearly a
dozen very interesting and detailed manuscript accounts, such
published narratives as "Claude's Book," purporting to come from
a young British aviator; "Thy Son Liveth," from an American
soldier, "Private Dowding"; "Raymond," from a British soldier;
"Do Thoughts Perish?" which contains accounts from several
British soldiers and others; "I Heard a Voice," where a well-
known K.C., through the mediumship of his two young daughters,
has a very full revelation of the life beyond; "After Death,"
with the alleged experiences of the famous Miss Julia Ames; "The
Seven Purposes," from an American pressman, and many others.
They differ much in literary skill and are not all equally
impressive, but the point which must strike any impartial mind is
the general agreement of these various accounts as to the
conditions of spirit life. An examination would show that some
of them must have been in the press at the same time, so that
they could not have each inspired the other. "Claude's Book" and
"Thy Son Liveth" appeared at nearly the same time on different
sides of the Atlantic, but they agree very closely. "Raymond"
and "Do Thoughts Perish?" must also have been in the press
together, but the scheme of things is exactly the same. Surely
the agreement of witnesses must here, as in all cases, be
accounted as a test of truth. They differ mainly, as it seems to
me, when they deal with their own future including speculations
as to reincarnation, etc., which may well be as foggy to them as
it is to us, or systems of philosophy where again individual
opinion is apparent.

Of all these accounts the one which is most deserving of
study is "Raymond." This is so because it has been compiled from
several famous mediums working independently of each other,
and has been checked and chronicled by a man who is not only one
of the foremost scientists of the world, and probably the leading
intellectual force in Europe, but one who has also had a unique
experience of the precautions necessary for the observation of
psychic phenomena. The bright and sweet nature of the young
soldier upon the other side, and his eagerness to tell of his
experience is also a factor which will appeal to those who are
already satisfied as to the truth of the communications. For all
these reasons it is a most important document--indeed it would be
no exaggeration to say that it is one of the most important in
recent literature. It is, as I believe, an authentic account of
the life in the beyond, and it is often more interesting from its
sidelights and reservations than for its actual assertions,
though the latter bear the stamp of absolute frankness and
sincerity. The compilation is in some ways faulty. Sir Oliver
has not always the art of writing so as to be understanded of the
people, and his deeper and more weighty thoughts get in the way
of the clear utterances of his son. Then again, in his anxiety
to be absolutely accurate, Sir Oliver has reproduced the fact
that sometimes Raymond is speaking direct, and sometimes the
control is reporting what Raymond is saying, so that the same
paragraph may turn several times from the first person to the
third in a manner which must be utterly unintelligible to those
who are not versed in the subject. Sir Oliver will, I am sure,
not be offended if I say that, having satisfied his conscience by
the present edition, he should now leave it for reference, and
put forth a new one which should contain nothing but the words of
Raymond and his spirit friends. Such a book, published at a low
price, would, I think, have an amazing effect, and get all this
new teaching to the spot that God has marked for it--the minds
and hearts of the people.

So much has been said here about mediumship that perhaps it
would be well to consider this curious condition a little more
closely. The question of mediumship, what it is and how it acts,
is one of the most mysterious in the whole range of science. It
is a common objection to say if our dead are there why should we
only hear of them through people by no means remarkable for
moral or mental gifts, who are often paid for their
ministration. It is a plausible argument, and yet when we
receive a telegram from a brother in Australia we do not say:
"It is strange that Tom should not communicate with me direct,
but that the presence of that half-educated fellow in the
telegraph office should be necessary." The medium is in truth a
mere passive machine, clerk and telegraph in one. Nothing comes
FROM him. Every message is THROUGH him. Why he or she
should have the power more than anyone else is a very interesting
problem. This power may best be defined as the capacity for
allowing the bodily powers, physical or mental, to be used by an
outside influence. In its higher forms there is temporary
extinction of personality and the substitution of some other
controlling spirit. At such times the medium may entirely lose
consciousness, or he may retain it and be aware of some external
experience which has been enjoyed by his own entity while his
bodily house has been filled by the temporary tenant. Or the
medium may retain consciousness, and with eyes and ears attuned
to a higher key than the normal man can attain, he may see
and hear what is beyond our senses. Or in writing mediumship, a
motor centre of the brain regulating the nerves and muscles of
the arm may be controlled while all else seems to be normal. Or
it may take the more material form of the exudation of a strange
white evanescent dough-like substance called the ectoplasm, which
has been frequently photographed by scientific enquirers in
different stages of its evolution, and which seems to possess an
inherent quality of shaping itself into parts or the whole of a
body, beginning in a putty-like mould and ending in a resemblance
to perfect human members. Or the ectoplasm, which seems to be an
emanation of the medium to the extent that whatever it may weigh
is so much subtracted from his substance, may be used as
projections or rods which can convey objects or lift weights. A
friend, in whose judgment and veracity I have absolute
confidence, was present at one of Dr. Crawford's experiments with
Kathleen Goligher, who is, it may be remarked, an unpaid medium.
My friend touched the column of force, and found it could be felt
by the hand though invisible to the eye. It is clear that we
are in touch with some entirely new form both of matter and of
energy. We know little of the properties of this extraordinary
substance save that in its materialising form it seems extremely
sensitive to the action of light. A figure built up in it and
detached from the medium dissolves in light quicker than a snow
image under a tropical sun, so that two successive flash-light
photographs would show the one a perfect figure, and the next an
amorphous mass. When still attached to the medium the ectoplasm
flies back with great force on exposure to light, and, in spite
of the laughter of the scoffers, there is none the less good
evidence that several mediums have been badly injured by the
recoil after a light has suddenly been struck by some amateur
detective. Professor Geley has, in his recent experiments,
described the ectoplasm as appearing outside the black dress of
his medium as if a hoar frost had descended upon her, then
coalescing into a continuous sheet of white substance, and oozing
down until it formed a sort of apron in front of her.[5]
This process he has illustrated by a very complete series of
photographs.

[5] For Geley's Experiments, Appendix A.


These are a few of the properties of mediumship. There are
also the beautiful phenomena of the production of lights, and the
rarer, but for evidential purposes even more valuable,
manifestations of spirit photography. The fact that the
photograph does not correspond in many cases with any which
existed in life, must surely silence the scoffer, though there is
a class of bigoted sceptic who would still be sneering if an
Archangel alighted in Trafalgar Square. Mr. Hope and Mrs.
Buxton, of Crewe, have brought this phase of mediumship to great
perfection, though others have powers in that direction. Indeed,
in some cases it is difficult to say who the medium may have
been, for in one collective family group which was taken in the
ordinary way, and was sent me by a master in a well known public
school, the young son who died has appeared in the plate seated
between his two little brothers.

As to the personality of mediums, they have seemed to me to
be very average specimens of the community, neither markedly
better nor markedly worse. I know many, and I have never met
anything in the least like "Sludge," a poem which Browning might
be excused for writing in some crisis of domestic disagreement,
but which it was inexcusable to republish since it is admitted to
be a concoction, and the exposure described to have been
imaginary. The critic often uses the term medium as if it
necessarily meant a professional, whereas every investigator has
found some of his best results among amateurs. In the two finest
seances I ever attended, the psychic, in each case a man of
moderate means, was resolutely determined never directly or
indirectly to profit by his gift, though it entailed very
exhausting physical conditions. I have not heard of a clergyman
of any denomination who has attained such a pitch of altruism--
nor is it reasonable to expect it. As to professional mediums,
Mr. Vout Peters, one of the most famous, is a diligent collector
of old books and an authority upon the Elizabethan drama; while
Mr. Dickinson, another very remarkable discerner of spirits, who
named twenty-four correctly during two meetings held on the same
day, is employed in loading canal barges. This man is one
gifted clairvoyants in England, though Tom Tyrrell the
weaver, Aaron Wilkinson, and others are very marvellous.
Tyrrell, who is a man of the Anthony of Padua type, a walking
saint, beloved of animals and children, is a figure who might
have stepped out of some legend of the church. Thomas, the
powerful physical medium, is a working coal miner. Most mediums
take their responsibilities very seriously and view their work in
a religious light. There is no denying that they are exposed to
very particular temptations, for the gift is, as I have explained
elsewhere, an intermittent one, and to admit its temporary
absence, and so discourage one's clients, needs greater moral
principle than all men possess. Another temptation to which
several great mediums have succumbed is that of drink. This
comes about in a very natural way, for overworking the power
leaves them in a state of physical prostration, and the stimulus
of alcohol affords a welcome relief, and may tend at last to
become a custom and finally a curse. Alcoholism always weakens
the moral sense, so that these degenerate mediums yield
themselves more readily to fraud, with the result that
several who had deservedly won honoured names and met all hostile
criticism have, in their later years, been detected in the most
contemptible tricks. It is a thousand pities that it should be
so, but if the Court of Arches were to give up its secrets, it
would be found that tippling and moral degeneration were by no
means confined to psychics. At the same time, a psychic is so
peculiarly sensitive that I think he or she would always be well
advised to be a life long abstainer--as many actually are.

As to the method by which they attain their results they
have, when in the trance state, no recollection. In the case of
normal clairvoyants and clairaudients, the information comes in
different ways. Sometimes it is no more than a strong mental
impression which gives a name or an address. Sometimes they say
that they see it written up before them. Sometimes the spirit
figures seem to call it to them. "They yell it at me," said one.

We need more first-hand accounts of these matters before we can
formulate laws.

It has been stated in a previous book by the author, but it
will bear repetition, that the use of the seance should, in
his opinion, be carefully regulated as well as reverently
conducted. Having once satisfied himself of the absolute
existence of the unseen world, and of its proximity to our own,
the inquirer has got the great gift which psychical investigation
can give him, and thenceforth he can regulate his life upon the
lines which the teaching from beyond has shown to be the best.
There is much force in the criticism that too constant
intercourse with the affairs of another world may distract our
attention and weaken our powers in dealing with our obvious
duties in this one. A seance, with the object of satisfying
curiosity or of rousing interest, cannot be an elevating
influence, and the mere sensation-monger can make this holy and
wonderful thing as base as the over-indulgence in a stimulant.
On the other hand, where the seance is used for the purpose of
satisfying ourselves as to the condition of those whom we have
lost, or of giving comfort to others who crave for a word from
beyond, then it is, indeed, a blessed gift from God to be used
with moderation and with thankfulness. Our loved ones have their
own pleasant tasks in their new surroundings, and though they
assure us that they love to clasp the hands which we stretch out
to them, we should still have some hesitation in intruding to an
unreasonable extent upon the routine of their lives.

A word should be said as to that fear of fiends and evil
spirits which appears to have so much weight with some of the
critics of this subject. When one looks more closely at this
emotion it seems somewhat selfish and cowardly. These creatures
are in truth our own backward brothers, bound for the same
ultimate destination as ourselves, but retarded by causes for
which our earth conditions may have been partly responsible. Our
pity and sympathy should go out to them, and if they do indeed
manifest at a seance, the proper Christian attitude is, as it
seems to me, that we should reason with them and pray for them in
order to help them upon their difficult way. Those who have
treated them in this way have found a very marked difference in
the subsequent communications. In Admiral Usborne Moore's
"Glimpses of the Next State" there will be found some records
of an American circle which devoted itself entirely to missionary
work of this sort. There is some reason to believe that there
are forms of imperfect development which can be helped more by
earthly than by purely spiritual influences, for the reason,
perhaps, that they are closer to the material.

In a recent case I was called in to endeavour to check a very
noisy entity which frequented an old house in which there were
strong reasons to believe that crime had been committed, and also
that the criminal was earth-bound. Names were given by the
unhappy spirit which proved to be correct, and a cupboard was
described, which was duly found, though it had never before been
suspected. On getting into touch with the spirit I endeavoured
to reason with it and to explain how selfish it was to cause
misery to others in order to satisfy any feelings of revenge
which it might have carried over from earth life. We then prayed
for its welfare, exhorted it to rise higher, and received a very
solemn assurance, tilted out at the table, that it would mend its
ways. I have very gratifying reports that it has done so,
and that all is now quiet in the old house.

Let us now consider the life in the Beyond as it is shown to
us by the new revelation.

CHAPTER IV

THE COMING WORLD


We come first to the messages which tell us of the life
beyond the grave, sent by those who are actually living it. I
have already insisted upon the fact that they have three weighty
claims to our belief. The one is, that they are accompanied by
"signs," in the Biblical sense, in the shape of "miracles" or
phenomena. The second is, that in many cases they are
accompanied by assertions about this life of ours which prove to
be correct, and which are beyond the possible knowledge of the
medium after every deduction has been made for telepathy or for
unconscious memory. The third is, that they have a remarkable,
though not a complete, similarity from whatever source they come.

It may be noted that the differences of opinion become most
marked when they deal with their own future, which may well be a
matter of speculation to them as to us. Thus, upon the
question of reincarnation there is a distinct cleavage, and
though I am myself of opinion that the general evidence is
against this oriental doctrine, it is none the less an undeniable
fact that it has been maintained by some messages which appear in
other ways to be authentic, and, therefore, it is necessary to
keep one's mind open on the subject.

Before entering upon the substance of the messages I should
wish to emphasize the second of these two points, so as to
reinforce the reader's confidence in the authenticity of these
assertions. To this end I will give a detailed example, with
names almost exact. The medium was Mr. Phoenix, of Glasgow, with
whom I have myself had some remarkable experiences. The sitter
was Mr. Ernest Oaten, the President of the Northern Spiritual
Union, a man of the utmost veracity and precision of statement.
The dialogue, which came by the direct voice, a trumpet acting as
megaphone, ran like this:--

The Voice: Good evening, Mr. Oaten.
Mr. O.: Good evening. Who are you?
The Voice: My name is Mill. You know my father.
Mr. O.: No, I don't remember anyone of the name.
The Voice: Yes, you were speaking to him the other day.
Mr. O.: To be sure. I remember now. I only met him
casually.
The Voice: I want you to give him a message from me.
Mr. O.: What is it?
The Voice: Tell him that he was not mistaken at midnight on
Tuesday last.
Mr. O.: Very good. I will say so. Have you passed long?
The Voice: Some time. But our time is different from yours.
Mr. O.: What were you?
The Voice: A Surgeon.
Mr. O.: How did you pass?
The Voice: Blown up in a battleship during the war.
Mr. O.: Anything more?

The answer was the Gipsy song from "Il Trovatore," very
accurately whistled, and then a quick-step. After the latter,
the voice said: "That is a test for father."

This reproduction of conversation is not quite verbatim, but
gives the condensed essence. Mr. Oaten at once visited Mr. Mill,
who was not a Spiritualist, and found that every detail was
correct. Young Mill had lost his life as narrated. Mr. Mill,
senior, explained that while sitting in his study at midnight on
the date named he had heard the Gipsy song from "Il Trovatore,"
which had been a favourite of his boy's, and being unable to
trace the origin of the music, had finally thought that it was a
freak of his imagination. The test connected with the quick-step
had reference to a tune which the young man used to play upon the
piccolo, but which was so rapid that he never could get it right,
for which he was chaffed by the family.

I tell this story at length to make the reader realise that
when young Mill, and others like him, give such proofs of
accuracy, which we can test for ourselves, we are bound to take
their assertions very seriously when they deal with the life
they are actually leading, though in their very nature we can
only check their accounts by comparison with others.

Now let me epitomise what these assertions are. They say
that they are exceedingly happy, and that they do not wish to
return. They are among the friends whom they had loved and lost,
who meet them when they die and continue their careers together.
They are very busy on all forms of congenial work. The world in
which they find themselves is very much like that which they have
quitted, but everything keyed to a higher octave. As in a higher
octave the rhythm is the same, and the relation of notes to each
other the same, but the total effect different, so it is here.
Every earthly thing has its equivalent. Scoffers have guffawed
over alcohol and tobacco, but if all things are reproduced it
would be a flaw if these were not reproduced also. That they
should be abused, as they are here, would, indeed, be evil
tidings, but nothing of the sort has been said, and in the much
discussed passage in "Raymond," their production was alluded to
as though it were an unusual, and in a way a humorous,
instance of the resources of the beyond. I wonder how many of
the preachers, who have taken advantage of this passage in order
to attack the whole new revelation, have remembered that the only
other message which ever associated alcohol with the life beyond
is that of Christ Himself, when He said: "I will not drink
henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink
it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

This matter is a detail, however, and it is always dangerous
to discuss details in a subject which is so enormous, so dimly
seen. As the wisest woman I have known remarked to me: "Things
may well be surprising over there, for if we had been told the
facts of this life before we entered it, we should never have
believed it." In its larger issues this happy life to come
consists in the development of those gifts which we possess.
There is action for the man of action, intellectual work for the
thinker, artistic, literary, dramatic and religious for those
whose God-given powers lie that way. What we have both in brain
and character we carry over with us. No man is too old to learn,
for what he learns he keeps. There is no physical side to
love and no child-birth, though there is close union between
those married people who really love each other, and, generally,
there is deep sympathetic friendship and comradeship between the
sexes. Every man or woman finds a soul mate sooner or later.
The child grows up to the normal, so that the mother who lost a
babe of two years old, and dies herself twenty years later finds
a grown-up daughter of twenty-two awaiting her coming. Age,
which is produced chiefly by the mechanical presence of lime in
our arteries, disappears, and the individual reverts to the full
normal growth and appearance of completed man--or womanhood. Let
no woman mourn her lost beauty, and no man his lost strength or
weakening brain. It all awaits them once more upon the other
side. Nor is any deformity or bodily weakness there, for all is
normal and at its best.

Before leaving this section of the subject, I should say a
few more words upon the evidence as it affects the etheric body.
This body is a perfect thing. This is a matter of consequence in
these days when so many of our heroes have been mutilated in
the wars. One cannot mutilate the etheric body, and it remains
always intact. The first words uttered by a returning spirit in
the recent experience of Dr. Abraham Wallace were "I have got my
left arm again." The same applies to all birth marks,
deformities, blindness, and other imperfections. None of them
are permanent, and all will vanish in that happier life that
awaits us. Such is the teaching from the beyond--that a perfect
body waits for each.

"But," says the critic, "what then of the clairvoyant
descriptions, or the visions where the aged father is seen, clad
in the old-fashioned garments of another age, or the grandmother
with crinoline and chignon? Are these the habiliments of
heaven?" Such visions are not spirits, but they are pictures
which are built up before us or shot by spirits into our brains
or those of the seer for the purposes of recognition. Hence the
grey hair and hence the ancient garb. When a real spirit is
indeed seen it comes in another form to this, where the flowing
robe, such as has always been traditionally ascribed to the
angels, is a vital thing which, by its very colour and
texture, proclaims the spiritual condition of the wearer, and is
probably a condensation of that aura which surrounds us upon
earth.

It is a world of sympathy. Only those who have this tie
foregather. The sullen husband, the flighty wife, is no longer
there to plague the innocent spouse. All is sweet and peaceful.
It is the long rest cure after the nerve strain of life, and
before new experiences in the future. The circumstances are
homely and familiar. Happy circles live in pleasant homesteads
with every amenity of beauty and of music. Beautiful gardens,
lovely flowers, green woods, pleasant lakes, domestic pets--all
of these things are fully described in the messages of the
pioneer travellers who have at last got news back to those who
loiter in the old dingy home. There are no poor and no rich.
The craftsman may still pursue his craft, but he does it for the
joy of his work. Each serves the community as best he can, while
from above come higher ministers of grace, the "Angels" of holy
writ, to direct and help. Above all, shedding down His
atmosphere upon all, broods that great Christ spirit, the
very soul of reason, of justice, and of sympathetic
understanding, who has the earth sphere, with all its circles,
under His very special care. It is a place of joy and laughter.
There are games and sports of all sorts, though none which cause
pain to lower life. Food and drink in the grosser sense do not
exist, but there seem to be pleasures of taste, and this
distinction causes some confusion in the messages upon the point.

But above all, brain, energy, character, driving power, if
exerted for good, makes a man a leader there as here, while
unselfishness, patience and spirituality there, as here, qualify
the soul for the higher places, which have often been won by
those very tribulations down here which seem so purposeless and
so cruel, and are in truth our chances of spiritual quickening
and promotion, without which life would have been barren and
without profit.

The revelation abolishes the idea of a grotesque hell and of
a fantastic heaven, while it substitutes the conception of a
gradual rise in the scale of existence without any monstrous
change which would turn us in an instant from man to angel or
devil. The system, though different from previous ideas,
does not, as it seems to me, run counter in any radical fashion
to the old beliefs. In ancient maps it was usual for the
cartographer to mark blank spaces for the unexplored regions,
with some such legend as "here are anthropophagi," or "here are
mandrakes," scrawled across them. So in our theology there have
been ill-defined areas which have admittedly been left unfilled,
for what sane man has ever believed in such a heaven as is
depicted in our hymn books, a land of musical idleness and barren
monotonous adoration! Thus in furnishing a clearer conception
this new system has nothing to supplant. It paints upon a blank
sheet.

One may well ask, however, granting that there is evidence
for such a life and such a world as has been described, what
about those who have not merited such a destination? What do the
messages from beyond say about these? And here one cannot be too
definite, for there is no use exchanging one dogma for another.
One can but give the general purport of such information as has
been vouchsafed to us. It is natural that those with whom we
come in contact are those whom we may truly call the blessed, for
if the thing be approached in a reverent and religious spirit it
is those whom we should naturally attract. That there are many
less fortunate than themselves is evident from their own constant
allusions to that regenerating and elevating missionary work
which is among their own functions. They descend apparently and
help others to gain that degree of spirituality which fits them
for this upper sphere, as a higher student might descend to a
lower class in order to bring forward a backward pupil. Such a
conception gives point to Christ's remark that there was more joy
in heaven over saving one sinner than over ninety-nine just, for
if He had spoken of an earthly sinner he would surely have had to
become just in this life and so ceased to be a sinner before he
had reached Paradise. It would apply very exactly, however, to a
sinner rescued from a lower sphere and brought to a higher one.

When we view sin in the light of modern science, with the
tenderness of the modern conscience and with a sense of justice
and proportion, it ceases to be that monstrous cloud which
darkened the whole vision of the mediaeval theologian. Man has
been more harsh with himself than an all-merciful God will ever
be. It is true that with all deductions there remains a great
residuum which means want of individual effort, conscious
weakness of will, and culpable failure of character when the
sinner, like Horace, sees and applauds the higher while he
follows the lower. But when, on the other hand, one has made
allowances--and can our human allowance be as generous as
God's?--for the sins which are the inevitable product of early
environment, for the sins which are due to hereditary and inborn
taint, and to the sins which are due to clear physical causes,
then the total of active sin is greatly reduced. Could one, for
example, imagine that Providence, all-wise and all-merciful, as
every creed proclaims, could punish the unfortunate wretch who
hatches criminal thoughts behind the slanting brows of a criminal
head? A doctor has but to glance at the cranium to predicate the
crime. In its worst forms all crime, from Nero to Jack the
Ripper, is the product of absolute lunacy, and those gross
national sins to which allusion has been made seem to point to
collective national insanity. Surely, then, there is hope that
no very terrible inferno is needed to further punish those who
have been so afflicted upon earth. Some of our dead have
remarked that nothing has surprised them so much as to find who
have been chosen for honour, and certainly, without in any way
condoning sin, one could well imagine that the man whose organic
makeup predisposed him with irresistible force in that direction
should, in justice, receive condolence and sympathy. Possibly
such a sinner, if he had not sinned so deeply as he might have
done, stands higher than the man who was born good, and remained
so, but was no better at the end of his life. The one has made
some progress and the other has not. But the commonest failing,
the one which fills the spiritual hospitals of the other world,
and is a temporary bar to the normal happiness of the after-life,
is the sin of Tomlinson in Kipling's poem, the commonest of all
sins in respectable British circles, the sin of conventionality,
of want of conscious effort and development, of a sluggish
spirituality, fatted over by a complacent mind and by the
comforts of life. It is the man who is satisfied, the man who
refers his salvation to some church or higher power without
steady travail of his own soul, who is in deadly danger. All
churches are good, Christian or non-Christian, so long as they
promote the actual spirit life of the individual, but all are
noxious the instant that they allow him to think that by any form
of ceremony, or by any fashion of creed, he obtains the least
advantage over his neighbour, or can in any way dispense with
that personal effort which is the only road to the higher places.

This is, of course, as applicable to believers in Spiritualism as
to any other belief. If it does not show in practice then it is
vain. One can get through this life very comfortably following
without question in some procession with a venerable leader. But
one does not die in a procession. One dies alone. And it is
then that one has alone to accept the level gained by the work of
life.

And what is the punishment of the undeveloped soul? It is
that it should be placed where it WILL develop, and sorrow
would seem always to be the forcing ground of souls. That
surely is our own experience in life where the insufferably
complacent and unsympathetic person softens and mellows into
beauty of character and charity of thought, when tried long
enough and high enough in the fires of life. The Bible has
talked about the "Outer darkness where there is weeping and
gnashing of teeth." The influence of the Bible has sometimes
been an evil one through our own habit of reading a book of
Oriental poetry and treating it as literally as if it were
Occidental prose. When an Eastern describes a herd of a thousand
camels he talks of camels which are more numerous than the hairs
of your head or the stars in the sky. In this spirit of
allowance for Eastern expression, one must approach those lurid
and terrible descriptions which have darkened the lives of so
many imaginative children and sent so many earnest adults into
asylums. From all that we learn there are indeed places of outer
darkness, but dim as these uncomfortable waiting-rooms may be,
they all admit to heaven in the end. That is the final
destination of the human race, and it would indeed be a
reproach to the Almighty if it were not so. We cannot dogmatise
upon this subject of the penal spheres, and yet we have very
clear teaching that they are there and that the no-man's-land
which separates us from the normal heaven, that third heaven to
which St. Paul seems to have been wafted in one short strange
experience of his lifetime, is a place which corresponds with the
Astral plane of the mystics and with the "outer darkness" of the
Bible. Here linger those earth-bound spirits whose worldly
interests have clogged them and weighed them down, until every
spiritual impulse had vanished; the man whose life has been
centred on money, on worldly ambition, or on sensual indulgence.
The one-idea'd man will surely be there, if his one idea was not
a spiritual one. Nor is it necessary that he should be an evil
man, if dear old brother John of Glastonbury, who loved the great
Abbey so that he could never detach himself from it, is to be
classed among earth-bound spirits. In the most material and
pronounced classes of these are the ghosts who impinge very
closely upon matter and have been seen so often by those who
have no strong psychic sense. It is probable, from what we
know of the material laws which govern such matters, that a ghost
could never manifest itself if it were alone, that the substance
for the manifestation is drawn from the spectator, and that the
coldness, raising of hair, and other symptoms of which he
complains are caused largely by the sudden drain upon his own
vitality. This, however, is to wander into speculation, and far
from that correlation of psychic knowledge with religion, which
has been the aim of these chapters.

By one of those strange coincidences, which seem to me
sometimes to be more than coincidences, I had reached this point
in my explanation of the difficult question of the intermediate
state, and was myself desiring further enlightenment, when an old
book reached me through the post, sent by someone whom I have
never met, and in it is the following passage, written by an
automatic writer, and in existence since 1880. It makes the
matter plain, endorsing what has been said and adding new points.

"Some cannot advance further than the borderland--such as never
thought of spirit life and have lived entirely for the
earth, its cares and pleasures--even clever men and women, who
have lived simply intellectual lives without spirituality. There
are many who have misused their opportunities, and are now
longing for the time misspent and wishing to recall the earth-
life. They will learn that on this side the time can be
redeemed, though at much cost. The borderland has many among the
restless money-getters of earth, who still haunt the places where
they had their hopes and joys. These are often the longest to
remain . . . many are not unhappy. They feel the relief to be
sufficient to be without their earth bodies. All pass through
the borderland, but some hardly perceive it. It is so immediate,
and there is no resting there for them. They pass on at once to
the refreshment place of which we tell you." The anonymous
author, after recording this spirit message, mentions the
interesting fact that there is a Christian inscription in the
Catacombs which runs: NICEFORUS ANIMA DULCIS IN REFRIGERIO,
"Nicephorus, a sweet soul in the refreshment place." One more
scrap of evidence that the early Christian scheme of things
was very like that of the modern psychic.

So much for the borderland, the intermediate condition. The
present Christian dogma has no name for it, unless it be that
nebulous limbo which is occasionally mentioned, and is usually
defined as the place where the souls of the just who died before
Christ were detained. The idea of crossing a space before
reaching a permanent state on the other side is common to many
religions, and took the allegorical form of a river with a ferry-
boat among the Romans and Greeks. Continually, one comes on
points which make one realise that far back in the world's
history there has been a true revelation, which has been blurred
and twisted in time. Thus in Dr. Muir's summary of the RIG.
VEDA, he says, epitomising the beliefs of the first Aryan
conquerors of India: "Before, however, the unborn part" (that
is, the etheric body) "can complete its course to the third
heaven it has to traverse a vast gulf of darkness, leaving behind
on earth all that is evil, and proceeding by the paths the
fathers trod, the spirit soars to the realms of eternal light,
recovers there his body in a glorified form, and obtains
from God a delectable abode and enters upon a more perfect life,
which is crowned with the fulfilment of all desires, is
passed in the presence of the Gods and employed in the fulfilment
of their pleasure." If we substitute "angels" for "Gods" we must
admit that the new revelation from modern spirit sources has much
in common with the belief of our Aryan fathers.

Such, in very condensed form, is the world which is revealed
to us by these wonderful messages from the beyond. Is it an
unreasonable vision? Is it in any way opposed to just
principles? Is it not rather so reasonable that having got the
clue we could now see that, given any life at all, this is
exactly the line upon which we should expect to move? Nature and
evolution are averse from sudden disconnected developments. If a
human being has technical, literary, musical, or other
tendencies, they are an essential part of his character, and to
survive without them would be to lose his identity and to become
an entirely different man. They must therefore survive death if
personality is to be maintained. But it is no use their
surviving unless they can find means of expression, and means of
expression seem to require certain material agents, and also a
discriminating audience. So also the sense of modesty among
civilised races has become part of our very selves, and implies
some covering of our forms if personality is to continue. Our
desires and sympathies would prompt us to live with those we
love, which implies something in the nature of a house, while the
human need for mental rest and privacy would predicate the
existence of separate rooms. Thus, merely starting from the
basis of the continuity of personality one might, even without
the revelation from the beyond, have built up some such
system by the use of pure reason and deduction.

So far as the existence of this land of happiness goes, it
would seem to have been more fully proved than any other
religious conception within our knowledge.

It may very reasonably be asked, how far this precise
description of life beyond the grave is my own conception, and
how far it has been accepted by the greater minds who have
studied this subject? I would answer, that it is my own
conclusion as gathered from a very large amount of existing
testimony, and that in its main lines it has for many years been
accepted by those great numbers of silent active workers all over
the world, who look upon this matter from a strictly religious
point of view. I think that the evidence amply justifies us in
this belief. On the other hand, those who have approached this
subject with cold and cautious scientific brains, endowed, in
many cases, with the strongest prejudices against dogmatic creeds
and with very natural fears about the possible re-growth of
theological quarrels, have in most cases stopped short of a
complete acceptance, declaring that there can be no positive
proof upon such matters, and that we may deceive ourselves either
by a reflection of our own thoughts or by receiving the
impressions of the medium. Professor Zollner, for example, says:

"Science can make no use of the substance of intellectual
revelations, but must be guided by observed facts and by the
conclusions logically and mathematically uniting them"--a passage
which is quoted with approval by Professor Reichel, and would
seem to be endorsed by the silence concerning the religious
side of the question which is observed by most of our great
scientific supporters. It is a point of view which can well be
understood, and yet, closely examined, it would appear to be a
species of enlarged materialism. To admit, as these observers
do, that spirits do return, that they give every proof of being
the actual friends whom we have lost, and yet to turn a deaf ear
to the messages which they send would seem to be pushing caution
to the verge of unreason. To get so far, and yet not to go
further, is impossible as a permanent position. If, for example,
in Raymond's case we find so many allusions to the small details
of his home upon earth, which prove to be surprisingly correct,
is it reasonable to put a blue pencil through all he says of the
home which he actually inhabits? Long before I had convinced my
mind of the truth of things which appeared so grotesque and
incredible, I had a long account sent by table tilting about the
conditions of life beyond. The details seemed to me impossible
and I set them aside, and yet they harmonise, as I now discover,
with other revelations. So, too, with the automatic script
of Mr. Hubert Wales, which has been described in my previous
book. He had tossed it aside into a drawer as being unworthy of
serious consideration, and yet it also proved to be in harmony.
In neither of these cases was telepathy or the prepossession of
the medium a possible explanation. On the whole, I am inclined
to think that these doubtful or dissentient scientific men,
having their own weighty studies to attend to, have confined
their reading and thought to the more objective side of the
question, and are not aware of the vast amount of concurrent
evidence which appears to give us an exact picture of the life
beyond. They despise documents which cannot be proved, and they
do not, in my opinion, sufficiently realise that a general
agreement of testimony, and the already established character of
a witness, are themselves arguments for truth. Some complicate
the question by predicating the existence of a fourth dimension
in that world, but the term is an absurdity, as are all terms
which find no corresponding impression in the human brain. We
have mysteries enough to solve without gratuitously
introducing fresh ones. When solid passes through solid, it
is, surely, simpler to assume that it is done by a
dematerialisation, and subsequent reassembly--a process which
can, at least, be imagined by the human mind--than to invoke an
explanation which itself needs to be explained.

In the next and final chapter I will ask the reader to
accompany me in an examination of the New Testament by the light
of this psychic knowledge, and to judge how far it makes clear
and reasonable much which was obscure and confused.

CHAPTER V

IS IT THE SECOND DAWN?


There are many incidents in the New Testament which might be
taken as starting points in tracing a close analogy between the
phenomenal events which are associated with the early days of
Christianity, and those which have perplexed the world in
connection with modern Spiritualism. Most of us are prepared to
admit that the lasting claims of Christianity upon the human race
are due to its own intrinsic teachings, which are quite
independent of those wonders which can only have had a use in
startling the solid complacence of an unspiritual race, and so
directing their attention violently to this new system of
thought. Exactly the same may be said of the new revelation.
The exhibitions of a force which is beyond human experience and
human guidance is but a method of calling attention. To
repeat a simile which has been used elsewhere, it is
the humble telephone bell which heralds the all-important
message. In the case of Christ, the Sermon on the Mount was more
than many miracles. In the case of this new development, the
messages from beyond are more than any phenomena. A vulgar mind
might make Christ's story seem vulgar, if it insisted upon loaves
of bread and the bodies of fish. So, also, a vulgar mind may
make psychic religion vulgar by insisting upon moving furniture
or tambourines in the air. In each case they are crude signs of
power, and the essence of the matter lies upon higher planes.

It is stated in the second chapter of the Acts of the
Apostles, that they, the Christian leaders, were all "with one
accord" in one place. "With one accord" expresses admirably
those sympathetic conditions which have always been found, in
psychic circles, to be conducive of the best results, and which
are so persistently ignored by a certain class of investigators.
Then there came "a mighty rushing wind," and afterwards "there
appeared cloven tongues like unto fire and it sat upon each of
them." Here is a very definite and clear account of a
remarkable sequence of phenomena. Now, let us compare with this
the results which were obtained by Professor Crookes in his
investigation in 1873, after he had taken every possible
precaution against fraud which his experience, as an accurate
observer and experimenter, could suggest. He says in his
published notes: "I have seen luminous points of light darting
about, sitting on the heads of different persons" and then again:

"These movements, and, indeed, I may say the same of every class
of phenomena, are generally preceded by a peculiar cold air,
sometimes amounting to a decided wind. I have had sheets of
paper blown about by it. . . ." Now, is it not singular, not
merely that the phenomena should be of the same order, but that
they should come in exactly the same sequence, the wind first and
the lights afterwards? In our ignorance of etheric physics, an
ignorance which is now slowly clearing, one can only say that
there is some indication here of a general law which links those
two episodes together in spite of the nineteen centuries which
divide them. A little later, it is stated that "the place
was shaken where they were assembled together." Many modern
observers of psychic phenomena have testified to vibration of the
walls of an apartment, as if a heavy lorry were passing. It is,
evidently, to such experiences that Paul alludes when he says:
"Our gospel came unto you not in word only, but also in power."
The preacher of the New Revelation can most truly say the same
words. In connection with the signs of the pentecost, I can most
truly say that I have myself experienced them all, the cold
sudden wind, the lambent misty flames, all under the mediumship
of Mr. Phoenix, an amateur psychic of Glasgow. The fifteen
sitters were of one accord upon that occasion, and, by a
coincidence, it was in an upper room, at the very top of the
house.

In a previous section of this essay, I have remarked that no
philosophical explanation of these phenomena, known as spiritual,
could be conceived which did not show that all, however different
in their working, came from the same central source. St. Paul
seems to state this in so many words when he says: "But all
these worketh that one and the selfsame spirit, dividing to
every man severally as he will." Could our modern speculation,
forced upon us by the facts, be more tersely stated? He has just
enumerated the various gifts, and we find them very close to
those of which we have experience. There is first "the word of
wisdom," "the word of knowledge" and "faith." All these taken in
connection with the Spirit would seem to mean the higher
communications from the other side. Then comes healing, which is
still practised in certain conditions by a highly virile medium,
who has the power of discharging strength, losing just as much as
the weakling gains, as instanced by Christ when He said: "Who
has touched me? Much virtue" (or power) "has gone out of me."
Then we come upon the working of miracles, which we should call
the production of phenomena, and which would cover many different
types, such as apports, where objects are brought from a
distance, levitation of objects or of the human frame into the
air, the production of lights and other wonders. Then comes
prophecy, which is a real and yet a fitful and often delusive
form of mediumship--never so delusive as among the early
Christians, who seem all to have mistaken the approaching fall of
Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, which they could
dimly see, as being the end of the world. This mistake is
repeated so often and so clearly that it is really not honest to
ignore or deny it. Then we come to the power of "discerning the
spirits," which corresponds to our clairvoyance, and finally that
curious and usually useless gift of tongues, which is also a
modern phenomenon. I can remember that some time ago I read the
book, "I Heard a Voice," by an eminent barrister, in which he
describes how his young daughter began to write Greek fluently
with all the complex accents in their correct places. Just after
I read it I received a letter from a no less famous physician,
who asked my opinion about one of his children who had written a
considerable amount of script in mediaeval French. These two
recent cases are beyond all doubt, but I have not had convincing
evidence of the case where some unintelligible signs drawn by an
unlettered man were pronounced by an expert to be in the Ogham or
early Celtic character. As the Ogham script is really a
combination of straight lines, the latter case may be taken with
considerable reserve.

Thus the phenomena associated with the rise of Christianity
and those which have appeared during the present spiritual
ferment are very analogous. In examining the gifts of the
disciples, as mentioned by Matthew and Mark, the only additional
point is the raising of the dead. If any of them besides their
great leader did in truth rise to this height of power, where
life was actually extinct, then he, undoubtedly, far transcended
anything which is recorded of modern mediumship. It is clear,
however, that such a power must have been very rare, since it
would otherwise have been used to revive the bodies of their own
martyrs, which does not seem to have been attempted. For Christ
the power is clearly admitted, and there are little touches in
the description of how it was exercised by Him which are
extremely convincing to a psychic student. In the account of how
He raised Lazarus from the grave after he had been four days
dead--far the most wonderful of all Christ's miracles--it is
recorded that as He went down to the graveside He was
"groaning." Why was He groaning? No Biblical student seems to
have given a satisfactory reason. But anyone who has heard a
medium groaning before any great manifestation of power will read
into this passage just that touch of practical knowledge, which
will convince him of its truth. The miracle, I may add, is none
the less wonderful or beyond our human powers, because it was
wrought by an extension of natural law, differing only in degree
with that which we can ourselves test and even do.

Although our modern manifestations have never attained the
power mentioned in the Biblical records, they present some
features which are not related in the New Testament.
Clairaudience, that is the hearing of a spirit voice, is common
to both, but the direct voice, that is the hearing of a voice
which all can discern with their material ears, is a well-
authenticated phenomenon now which is more rarely mentioned of
old. So, too, Spirit-photography, where the camera records what
the human eye cannot see, is necessarily a new testimony.
Nothing is evidence to those who do not examine evidence,
but I can attest most solemnly that I personally know of several
cases where the image upon the plate after death has not only
been unmistakable, but also has differed entirely from any pre-
existing photograph.

As to the methods by which the early Christians communicated
with the spirits, or with the "Saints" as they called their dead
brethren, we have, so far as I know, no record, though the words
of John: "Brothers, believe not every spirit, but try the
spirits whether they are of God," show very clearly that spirit
communion was a familiar idea, and also that they were plagued,
as we are, by the intrusion of unwelcome spiritual elements in
their intercourse. Some have conjectured that the "Angel of the
Church," who is alluded to in terms which suggest that he was a
human being, was really a medium sanctified to the use of that
particular congregation. As we have early indications of
bishops, deacons and other officials, it is difficult to say what
else the "angel" could have been. This, however, must remain a
pure speculation.

Another speculation which is, perhaps, rather more
fruitful is upon what principle did Christ select his twelve
chief followers. Out of all the multitudes he chose twelve men.
Why these particular ones? It was not for their intelligence or
learning, for Peter and John, who were among the most prominent,
are expressly described as "unlearned and ignorant men." It was
not for their virtue, for one of them proved to be a great
villain, and all of them deserted their Master in His need. It
was not for their belief, for there were great numbers of
believers. And yet it is clear that they were chosen on some
principle of selection since they were called in ones and in
twos. In at least two cases they were pairs of brothers, as
though some family gift or peculiarity, might underlie the
choice.

Is it not at least possible that this gift was psychic power,
and that Christ, as the greatest exponent who has ever appeared
upon earth of that power, desired to surround Himself with others
who possessed it to a lesser degree? This He would do for two
reasons. The first is that a psychic circle is a great source of
strength to one who is himself psychic, as is shown continually
in our own experience, where, with a sympathetic and helpful
surrounding, an atmosphere is created where all the powers are
drawn out. How sensitive Christ was to such an atmosphere is
shown by the remark of the Evangelist, that when He visited His
own native town, where the townspeople could not take Him
seriously, He was unable to do any wonders. The second reason
may have been that He desired them to act as His deputies, either
during his lifetime or after His death, and that for this reason
some natural psychic powers were necessary.

The close connection which appears to exist between the
Apostles and the miracles, has been worked out in an interesting
fashion by Dr. Abraham Wallace, in his little pamphlet "Jesus of
Nazareth."[6] Certainly, no miracle or wonder working, save that
of exorcism, is recorded in any of the Evangelists until after
the time when Christ began to assemble His circle. Of this
circle the three who would appear to have been the most psychic
were Peter and the two fellow-fishermen, sons of Zebedee,
John and James. These were the three who were summoned when an
ideal atmosphere was needed. It will be remembered that when the
daughter of Jairus was raised from the dead it was in the
presence, and possibly, with the co-operation, of these three
assistants. Again, in the case of the Transfiguration, it is
impossible to read the account of that wonderful manifestation
without being reminded at every turn of one's own spiritual
experiences. Here, again, the points are admirably made in
"Jesus of Nazareth," and it would be well if that little book,
with its scholarly tone, its breadth of treatment and its psychic
knowledge, was in the hands of every Biblical student. Dr.
Wallace points out that the place, the summit of a hill, was the
ideal one for such a manifestation, in its pure air and freedom
from interruption; that the drowsy state of the Apostles is
paralleled by the members of any circle who are contributing
psychic power; that the transfiguring of the face and the shining
raiment are known phenomena; above all, that the erection of
three altars is meaningless, but that the alternate reading,
the erection of three booths or cabinets, one for the medium and
one for each materialised form, would absolutely fulfil the most
perfect conditions for getting results. This explanation of
Wallace's is a remarkable example of a modern brain, with modern
knowledge, throwing a clear searchlight across all the centuries
and illuminating an incident which has always been obscure.

[6] Published at sixpence by the Light Publishing Co., 6,
Queen Square, London, W.C. The same firm supplies Dr. Ellis
Powell's convincing little book on the same subject.


When we translate Bible language into the terms of modern
psychic religion the correspondence becomes evident. It does not
take much alteration. Thus for "Lo, a miracle!" we say "This is
a manifestation." "The angel of the Lord" becomes "a high
spirit." Where we talked of "a voice from heaven," we say "the
direct voice." "His eyes were opened and he saw a vision" means
"he became clairvoyant." It is only the occultist who can
possibly understand the Scriptures as being a real exact record
of events.

There are many other small points which seem to bring the
story of Christ and of the Apostles into very close touch with
modern psychic research, and greatly support the close
accuracy of some of the New Testament narrative. One which
appeals to me greatly is the action of Christ when He was asked a
question which called for a sudden decision, namely the fate of
the woman who had been taken in sin. What did He do? The very
last thing that one would have expected or invented. He stooped
down before answering and wrote with his finger in the sand.
This he did a second time upon a second catch-question being
addressed to Him. Can any theologian give a reason for such an
action? I hazard the opinion that among the many forms of
mediumship which were possessed in the highest form by Christ,
was the power of automatic writing, by which He summoned those
great forces which were under His control to supply Him with the
answer. Granting, as I freely do, that Christ was preternatural,
in the sense that He was above and beyond ordinary humanity in
His attributes, one may still inquire how far these powers were
contained always within His human body, or how far He referred
back to spiritual reserves beyond it. When He spoke merely from
His human body He was certainly open to error, like the rest
of us, for it is recorded how He questioned the woman of Samaria
about her husband, to which she replied that she had no husband.
In the case of the woman taken in sin, one can only explain His
action by the supposition that He opened a channel instantly for
the knowledge and wisdom which was preter-human, and which at
once gave a decision in favor of large-minded charity.

It is interesting to observe the effect which these
phenomena, or the report of them, produced upon the orthodox Jews
of those days. The greater part obviously discredited them,
otherwise they could not have failed to become followers, or at
the least to have regarded such a wonder-worker with respect and
admiration. One can well imagine how they shook their bearded
heads, declared that such occurrences were outside their own
experience, and possibly pointed to the local conjuror who earned
a few not over-clean denarii by imitating the phenomena. There
were others, however, who could not possibly deny, because they
either saw or met with witnesses who had seen. These declared
roundly that the whole thing was of the devil, drawing from
Christ one of those pithy, common-sense arguments in which He
excelled. The same two classes of opponents, the scoffers and
the diabolists, face us to-day. Verily the old world goes round
and so do the events upon its surface.

There is one line of thought which may be indicated in the
hope that it will find development from the minds and pens of
those who have studied most deeply the possibilities of psychic
power. It is at least possible, though I admit that under modern
conditions it has not been clearly proved, that a medium of great
power can charge another with his own force, just as a magnet
when rubbed upon a piece of inert steel can turn it also into a
magnet. One of the best attested powers of D. D. Home was that
he could take burning coals from the fire with impunity and carry
them in his hand. He could then--and this comes nearer to the
point at issue--place them on the head of anyone who was fearless
without their being burned. Spectators have described how the
silver filigree of the hair of Mr. Carter Hall used to be
gathered over the glowing ember, and Mrs. Hall has mentioned how
she combed out the ashes afterwards. Now, in this case,
Home was clearly, able to convey, a power to another person, just
as Christ, when He was levitated over the lake, was able to
convey the same power to Peter, so long as Peter's faith held
firm. The question then arises if Home concentrated all his
force upon transferring such a power how long would that power
last? The experiment was never tried, but it would have borne
very, directly upon this argument. For, granting that the power
can be transferred, then it is very clear how the Christ circle
was able to send forth seventy disciples who were endowed with
miraculous functions. It is clear also why, new disciples had to
return to Jerusalem to be "baptised of the spirit," to use their
phrase, before setting forth upon their wanderings. And when in
turn they, desired to send forth representatives would not they
lay hands upon them, make passes over them and endeavour to
magnetise them in the same way--if that word may express the
process? Have we here the meaning of the laying on of hands by
the bishop at ordination, a ceremony to which vast importance is
still attached, but which may well be the survival of
something really vital, the bestowal of the thaumaturgic power?
When, at last, through lapse of time or neglect of fresh
cultivation, the power ran out, the empty formula may have been
carried on, without either the blesser or the blessed
understanding what it was that the hands of the bishop, and the
force which streamed from them, were meant to bestow. The very
words "laying on of hands" would seem to suggest something
different from a mere benediction.

Enough has been said, perhaps, to show the reader that it is
possible to put forward a view of Christ's life which would be in
strict accord with the most modern psychic knowledge, and which,
far from supplanting Christianity, would show the surprising
accuracy of some of the details handed down to us, and would
support the novel conclusion that those very miracles, which have
been the stumbling block to so many truthful, earnest minds, may
finally offer some very cogent arguments for the truth of the
whole narrative. Is this then a line of thought which merits the
wholesale condemnations and anathemas hurled at it by those
who profess to speak in the name of religion? At the same
time, though we bring support to the New Testament, it would,
indeed, be a misconception if these, or any such remarks, were
quoted as sustaining its literal accuracy--an idea from which so
much harm has come in the past. It would, indeed, be a good,
though an unattainable thing, that a really honest and open-
minded attempt should be made to weed out from that record the
obvious forgeries and interpolations which disfigure it, and
lessen the value of those parts which are really above suspicion.

Is it necessary, for example, to be told, as an inspired fact
from Christ's own lips, that Zacharias, the son of Barachias,[7]
was struck dead within the precincts of the Temple in the time of
Christ, when, by a curious chance, Josephus has independently
narrated the incident as having occurred during the siege of
Jerusalem, thirty-seven years later? This makes it very clear
that this particular Gospel, in its present form, was written
after that event, and that the writer fitted into it at least one
other incident which had struck his imagination. Unfortunately,
a revision by general agreement would be the greatest of all
miracles, for two of the very first texts to go would be those
which refer to the "Church," an institution and an idea utterly
unfamiliar in the days of Christ. Since the object of the
insertion of these texts is perfectly clear, there can be
no doubt that they are forgeries, but as the whole system of the
Papacy rests upon one of them, they are likely to survive for a
long time to come. The text alluded to is made further
impossible because it is based upon the supposition that Christ
and His fishermen conversed together in Latin or Greek, even to
the extent of making puns in that language. Surely the want of
moral courage and intellectual honesty among Christians will seem
as strange to our descendants as it appears marvellous to us that
the great thinkers of old could have believed, or at least have
pretended to believe, in the fighting sexual deities of Mount
Olympus.

[7] The References are to Matthew, xxiii 35, and to Josephus,
Wars of the Jews, Book IV, Chapter 5.


Revision is, indeed, needed, and as I have already pleaded, a
change of emphasis is also needed, in order to get the grand
Christian conception back into the current of reason and
progress. The orthodox who, whether from humble faith or some
other cause, do not look deeply into such matters, can hardly
conceive the stumbling-blocks which are littered about before the
feet of their more critical brethren. What is easy, for faith is
impossible for reflection. Such expressions as "Saved by the
blood of the Lamb" or "Baptised by His precious blood" fill their
souls with a gentle and sweet emotion, while upon a more
thoughtful mind they have a very different effect.

Apart from the apparent injustice of vicarious atonement, the
student is well aware that the whole of this sanguinary metaphor
is drawn really from the Pagan rites of Mithra, where the
neophyte was actually placed under a bull at the ceremony of the
TAUROBOLIUM, and was drenched, through a grating, with the blood
of the slaughtered animal. Such reminiscences of the more brutal
side of Paganism are not helpful to the thoughtful and sensitive
modern mind. But what is always fresh and always useful and
always beautiful, is the memory of the sweet Spirit who wandered
on the hillsides of Galilee; who gathered the children
around him; who met his friends in innocent good-fellowship; who
shrank from forms and ceremonies, craving always for the inner
meaning; who forgave the sinner; who championed the poor, and who
in every decision threw his weight upon the side of charity and
breadth of view. When to this character you add those wondrous
psychic powers already analysed, you do, indeed, find a supreme
character in the world's history who obviously stands nearer to
the Highest than any other. When one compares the general effect
of His teaching with that of the more rigid churches, one marvels
how in their dogmatism, their insistence upon forms, their
exclusiveness, their pomp and their intolerance, they could have
got so far away from the example of their Master, so that as one
looks upon Him and them, one feels that there is absolute deep
antagonism and that one cannot speak of the Church and Christ,
but only of the Church or Christ.

And yet every Church produces beautiful souls, though it may
be debated whether "produces" or "contains" is the truthful
word. We have but to fall back upon our own personal
experience if we have lived long and mixed much with our fellow-
men. I have myself lived during the seven most impressionable
years of my life among Jesuits, the most maligned of all
ecclesiastical orders, and I have found them honourable and good
men, in all ways estimable outside the narrowness which limits
the world to Mother Church. They were athletes, scholars, and
gentlemen, nor can I ever remember any examples of that casuistry
with which they are reproached. Some of my best friends have
been among the parochial clergy of the Church of England, men of
sweet and saintly character, whose pecuniary straits were often a
scandal and a reproach to the half-hearted folk who accepted
their spiritual guidance. I have known, also, splendid men among
the Nonconformist clergy, who have often been the champions of
liberty, though their views upon that subject have sometimes
seemed to contract when one ventured upon their own domain of
thought. Each creed has brought out men who were an honour to
the human race, and Manning or Shrewsbury, Gordon or
Dolling, Booth or Stopford Brooke, are all equally admirable,
however diverse the roots from which they grow. Among the great
mass of the people, too, there are very many thousands of
beautiful souls who have been brought up on the old-fashioned
lines, and who never heard of spiritual communion or any other of
those matters which have been discussed in these essays, and yet
have reached a condition of pure spirituality such as all of us
may envy. Who does not know the maiden aunt, the widowed mother,
the mellowed elderly man, who live upon the hilltops of
unselfishness, shedding kindly thoughts and deeds around them,
but with their simple faith deeply, rooted in anything or
everything which has come to them in a hereditary fashion with
the sanction of some particular authority? I had an aunt who was
such an one, and can see her now, worn with austerity and
charity, a small, humble figure, creeping to church at all hours
from a house which was to her but a waiting-room between
services, while she looked at me with sad, wondering, grey eyes.
Such people have often reached by instinct, and in spite of
dogma, heights, to which no system of philosophy can ever
raise us.

But making full allowance for the high products of every
creed, which may be only, a proof of the innate goodness of
civilised humanity, it is still beyond all doubt that
Christianity has broken down, and that this breakdown has been
brought home to everyone by the terrible catastrophe which has
befallen the world. Can the most optimistic apologist contend
that this is a satisfactory, outcome from a religion which has
had the unopposed run of Europe for so many centuries? Which has
come out of it worst, the Lutheran Prussian, the Catholic
Bavarian, or the peoples who have been nurtured by the Greek
Church? If we, of the West, have done better, is it not rather
an older and higher civilisation and freer political institutions
that have held us back from all the cruelties, excesses and
immoralities which have taken the world back to the dark ages?
It will not do to say that they have occurred in spite of
Christianity, and that Christianity is, therefore, not to blame.
It is true that Christ's teaching is not to blame, for it is
often spoiled in the transmission. But Christianity has
taken over control of the morals of Europe, and should have the
compelling force which would ensure that those morals would not
go to pieces upon the first strain. It is on this point that
Christianity must be judged, and the judgment can only be that it
has failed. It has not been an active controlling force upon the
minds of men. And why? It can only be because there is
something essential which is wanting. Men do not take it
seriously. Men do not believe in it. Lip service is the only
service in innumerable cases, and even lip service grows fainter.

Men, as distinct from women, have, both in the higher and lower
classes of life, ceased, in the greater number of cases, to show
a living interest in religion. The churches lose their grip upon
the people--and lose it rapidly. Small inner circles,
convocations, committees, assemblies, meet and debate and pass
resolutions of an ever narrower character. But the people go
their way and religion is dead, save in so far as intellectual
culture and good taste can take its place. But when religion is
dead, materialism becomes active, and what active
materialism may produce has been seen in Germany.

Is it not time, then, for the religious bodies to discourage
their own bigots and sectarians, and to seriously consider, if
only for self-preservation, how they can get into line once more
with that general level of human thought which is now so far in
front of them? I say that they can do more than get level--they
can lead. But to do so they must, on the one hand, have the firm
courage to cut away from their own bodies all that dead tissue
which is but a disfigurement and an encumbrance. They must face
difficulties of reason, and adapt themselves to the demands of
the human intelligence which rejects, and is right in rejecting,
much which they offer. Finally, they must gather fresh strength
by drawing in all the new truth and all the new power which are
afforded by this new wave of inspiration which has been sent into
the world by God, and which the human race, deluded and bemused
by the would-be clever, has received with such perverse and
obstinate incredulity. When they have done all this, they will
find not only that they are leading the world with an
obvious right to the leadership, but, in addition, that they have
come round once more to the very teaching of that Master whom
they have so long misrepresented.

APPENDICES

A

DOCTOR GELEY'S EXPERIMENTS


Nothing could be imagined more fantastic and grotesque than
the results of the recent experiments of Professor Geley, in
France. Before such results the brain, even of the trained
psychical student, is dazed, while that of the orthodox man of
science, who has given no heed to these developments, is
absolutely helpless. In the account of the proceedings which he
read lately before the Institut General Psychologique in Paris,
on January of last year, Dr. Geley says: "I do not merely say
that there has been no fraud; I say, `there has been no
possibility of fraud.' In nearly every case the materialisations
were done under my, eyes, and I have observed their whole genesis
and development." He adds that, in the course of the
experiments, more than a hundred experts, mostly doctors, checked
the results.

These results may be briefly stated thus. A peculiar whitish
matter exuded from the subject, a girl named Eva, coming partly
through her skin, partly from her hands, partly from the orifices
of her face, especially her mouth. This was photographed
repeatedly at every stage of its production, these photographs
being appended to the printed treatise. This stuff, solid enough
to enable one to touch and to photograph, has been called the
ectoplasm. It is a new order of matter, and it is clearly
derived from the subject herself, absorbing into her system once
more at the end of the experiment. It exudes in such quantities
as to entirely, cover her sometimes as with an apron. It is soft
and glutinous to the touch, but varies in form and even in
colour. Its production causes pain and groans from the subject,
and any violence towards it would appear also to affect her. A
sudden flash of light, as in a flash-photograph, may or may not
cause a retraction of the ectoplasm, but always causes a spasm of
the subject. When re-absorbed, it leaves no trace upon the
garments through which it has passed.

This is wonderful enough, but far more fantastic is what has
still to be told. The most marked property of this ectoplasm,
very fully illustrated in the photographs, is that it sets or
curdles into the shapes of human members--of fingers, of hands,
of faces, which are at first quite sketchy and rudimentary, but
rapidly coalesce and develop until they are undistinguishable
from those of living beings. Is not this the very strangest and
most inexplicable thing that has ever yet been observed by human
eyes? These faces or limbs are usually the size of life, but
they frequently are quite miniatures. Occasionally they begin by
being miniatures, and grow into full size. On their first
appearance in the ectoplasm the limb is only on one plane of
matter, a mere flat appearance, which rapidly rounds itself off,
until it has assumed all three planes and is complete. It may be
a mere simulacrum, like a wax hand, or it may be endowed with
full power of grasping another hand, with every articulation in
perfect working order.

The faces which are produced in this amazing way are worthy
of study. They do not appear to have represented anyone who
has ever been known in life by Doctor Geley.[8] My impression
after examining them is that they are much more likely to be
within the knowledge of the subject, being girls of the French
lower middle class type, such as Eva was, I should imagine, in
the habit of meeting. It should be added that Eva herself
appears in the photograph as well as the simulacra of humanity.
The faces are, on the whole, both pretty and piquant, though of a
rather worldly and unrefined type. The latter adjective would
not apply to the larger and most elaborate photograph, which
represents a very beautiful young woman of a truly spiritual cast
of face. Some of the faces are but partially formed, which gives
them a grotesque or repellant appearance. What are we to make of
such phenomena? There is no use deluding ourselves by the idea
that there may be some mistake or some deception. There is
neither one nor the other. Apart from the elaborate checks upon
these particular results, they correspond closely with those
got by Lombroso in Italy, by Schrenk-Notzing in Germany, and by
other careful observers. One thing we must bear in mind
constantly in considering them, and that is their abnormality.
At a liberal estimate, it is not one person in a million who
possesses such powers--if a thing which is outside our volition
can be described as a power. It is the mechanism of the
materialisation medium which has been explored by the acute brain
and untiring industry of Doctor Geley, and even presuming, as one
may fairly presume, that every materialising medium goes through
the same process in order to produce results, still such mediums
are exceedingly, rare. Dr. Geley mentions, as an analogous
phenomenon on the material side, the presence of dermoid cysts,
those mysterious formations, which rise as small tumors in any
part of the body, particularly above the eyebrow, and which when
opened by the surgeon are found to contain hair, teeth or
embryonic bones. There is no doubt, as he claims, some rough
analogy, but the dermoid cyst is, at least, in the same flesh and
blood plane of nature as the foetus inside it, while in the
ectoplasm we are dealing with an entirely new and strange
development.

[8] Dr. Geley writes to me that they are unknown either to him
or to the medium.


It is not possible to define exactly what occurs in the case
of the ectoplasm, nor, on account of its vital connection with
the medium and its evanescent nature, has it been separated and
subjected to even the roughest chemical analysis which might show
whether it is composed of those earthly elements with which we
are familiar. Is it rather some coagulation of ether which
introduces an absolutely new substance into our world? Such a
supposition seems most probable, for a comparison with the
analogous substance examined at Dr. Crawford's seances at
Belfast, which is at the same time hardly visible to the eye and
yet capable of handling a weight of 150 pounds, suggests
something entirely new in the way of matter.

But setting aside, as beyond the present speculation, what
the exact origin and nature of the ectoplasm may be, it seems to
me that there is room for a very suggestive line of thought if we
make Geley's experiments the starting point, and lead it in the
direction of other manifestations of psychomaterial activity.
First of all, let us take Crookes' classic experiments with
Katie King, a result which for a long time stood alone and
isolated but now can be approached by intermittent but definite
stages. Thus we can well suppose that during those long periods
when Florrie Cook lay in the laboratory in the dark, periods
which lasted an hour or more upon some occasions, the ectoplasm
was flowing from her as from Eva. Then it was gathering itself
into a viscous cloud or pillar close to her frame; then the form
of Katie King was evolved from this cloud, in the manner already
described, and finally the nexus was broken and the completed
body advanced to present itself at the door of communication,
showing a person different in every possible attribute save that
of sex from the medium, and yet composed wholly or in part from
elements extracted from her senseless body. So far, Geley's
experiments throw a strong explanatory light upon those of
Crookes. And here the Spiritualist must, as it seems to me, be
prepared to meet an objection more formidable than the absurd
ones of fraud or optical delusion. It is this. If the body of
Katie King the spirit is derived from the body of Florrie
Cook the psychic, then what assurance have we that the life
therein is not really one of the personalities out of which the
complex being named Florrie Cook is constructed? It is a thesis
which requires careful handling. It is not enough to say that
the nature is manifestly superior, for supposing that Florrie
Cook represented the average of a number of conflicting
personalities, then a single one of these personalities might be
far higher than the total effect. Without going deeply into this
problem, one can but say that the spirit's own account of its own
personality must count for something, and also that an isolated
phenomenon must be taken in conjunction with all other psychic
phenomena when we are seeking for a correct explanation.

But now let us take this idea of a human being who has the
power of emitting a visible substance in which are formed faces
which appear to represent distinct individualities, and in
extreme cases develop into complete independent human forms.
Take this extraordinary fact, and let us see whether, by an
extension or modification of this demonstrated process, we
may not get some sort of clue as to the modus operandi in
other psychic phenomena. It seems to me that we may, at least,
obtain indications which amount to a probability, though not to a
certainty, as to how some results, hitherto inexplicable, are
attained. It is at any rate a provisional speculation, which may
suggest a hypothesis for future observers to destroy, modify, or
confirm.

The argument which I would advance is this. If a strong
materialisation medium can throw out a cloud of stuff which is
actually visible, may not a medium of a less pronounced type
throw out a similar cloud with analogous properties which is not
opaque enough to be seen by the average eye, but can make an
impression both on the dry plate in the camera and on the
clairvoyant faculty? If that be so--and it would not seem to be
a very far-fetched proposition--we have at once an explanation
both of psychic photographs and of the visions of the clairvoyant
seer. When I say an explanation, I mean of its superficial
method of formation, and not of the forces at work behind, which
remain no less a mystery even when we accept Dr. Geley's
statement that they are "ideoplastic."

Here we have, I think, some attempt at a generalisation,
which might, perhaps, be useful in evolving some first signs of
order out of this chaos. It is conceivable that the thinner
emanation of the clairvoyant would extend far further than the
thick material ectoplasm, but have the same property of moulding
itself into life, though the life forms would only be visible to
the clairvoyant eye. Thus, when Mr. Tom Tyrrell, or any other
competent exponent, stands upon the platform his emanation fills
the hall. Into this emanation, as into the visible ectoplasm in
Geley's experiments, break the faces and forms of those from the
other side who are attracted to the scene by their sympathy with
various members of the audience. They are seen and described by
Mr. Tyrrell, who with his finely attuned senses, carefully
conserved (he hardly eats or drinks upon a day when he
demonstrates), can hear that thinner higher voice that calls
their names, their old addresses and their messages. So, too,
when Mr. Hope and Mrs. Buxton stand with their hands joined
over the cap of the camera, they are really throwing out a
misty ectoplasm from which the forms loom up which appear upon
the photographic plate. It may be that I mistake an analogy for
an explanation, but I put the theory on record for what it is
worth.

B

A PARTICULAR INSTANCE


I have been in touch with a series of events in America
lately, and can vouch for the facts as much as any man can vouch
for facts which did not occur to himself. I have not the least
doubt in my own mind that they are true, and a more remarkable
double proof of the continuity of life has, I should think,
seldom been published. A book has recently been issued by
Harpers, of New York, called "The Seven Purposes." In this book
the authoress, Miss Margaret Cameron, describes how she suddenly
developed the power of automatic writing. She was not a
Spiritualist at the time. Her hand was controlled and she wrote
a quantity of matter which was entirely outside her own knowledge
or character. Upon her doubting whether her sub-conscious self
might in some way be producing the writing, which was
partly done by planchette, the script was written upside down and
from right to left, as though the writer was seated opposite.
Such script could not possibly be written by the lady herself.
Upon making enquiry as to who was using her hand, the answer came
in writing that it was a certain Fred Gaylord, and that his
object was to get a message to his mother. The youth was unknown
to Miss Cameron, but she knew the family and forwarded the
message, with the result that the mother came to see her,
examined the evidence, communicated with the son, and finally,
returning home, buried all her evidences of mourning, feeling
that the boy was no more dead in the old sense than if he were
alive in a foreign country.

There is the first proof of preternatural agency, since Miss
Cameron developed so much knowledge which she could not have
normally acquired, using many phrases and ideas which were
characteristic of the deceased. But mark the sequel. Gaylord
was merely a pseudonym, as the matter was so private that the
real name, which we will put as Bridger, was not disclosed. A
few months after the book was published Miss Cameron
received a letter from a stranger living a thousand miles away.
This letter and the whole correspondence I have seen. The
stranger, Mrs. Nicol, says that as a test she would like to ask
whether the real name given as Fred Gaylord in the book is not
Fred Bridger, as she had psychic reasons for believing so. Miss
Cameron replied that it was so, and expressed her great surprise
that so secret and private a matter should have been correctly
stated. Mrs. Nicol then explained that she and her husband, both
connected with journalism and both absolutely agnostic, had
discovered that she had the power of automatic writing. That
while, using this power she had received communications
purporting to come from Fred Bridger whom they had known in life,
and that upon reading Miss Cameron's book they had received from
Fred Bridger the assurance that he was the same person as the
Fred Gaylord of Miss Cameron.

Now, arguing upon these facts, and they would appear most
undoubtedly to be facts, what possible answer can the materialist
or the sceptic give to the assertion that they are a double proof
of the continuity of personality and the possibility of
communication? Can any reasonable system of telepathy explain
how Miss Cameron discovered the intimate points characteristic of
young Gaylord? And then, how are we afterwards, by any possible
telepathy, to explain the revelation to Mrs. Nicol of the
identity of her communicant, Fred Bridger, with the Fred Gaylord
who had been written of by Miss Cameron. The case for return
seems to me a very convincing one, though I contend now, as ever,
that it is not the return of the lost ones which is of such
cogent interest as the message from the beyond which they bear
with them.

C

SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY


On this subject I should recommend the reader to consult
Coates' "Photographing the Invisible," which states, in a
thoughtful and moderate way, the evidence for this most
remarkable phase, and illustrates it with many examples. It is
pointed out that here, as always, fraud must be carefully guarded
against, having been admitted in the case of the French spirit
photographer, Buguet.

There are, however, a large number of cases where the
photograph, under rigid test conditions in which fraud has been
absolutely barred, has reproduced the features of the dead. Here
there are limitations and restrictions which call for careful
study and observation. These faces of the dead are in some cases
as contoured and as recognisable as they were in life, and
correspond with no pre-existing picture or photograph.
One such case absolutely critic-proof is enough, one would think,
to establish survival, and these valid cases are to be counted
not in ones, but in hundreds. On the other hand, many of the
likenesses, obtained under the same test conditions, are
obviously simulacra or pictures built up by some psychic force,
not necessarily by the individual spirits themselves, to
represent the dead. In some undoubtedly genuine cases it is an
exact, or almost exact, reproduction of an existing picture, as
if the conscious intelligent force, whatever it might be, had
consulted it as to the former appearance of the deceased, and had
then built it up in exact accordance with the original. In such
cases the spirit face may show as a flat surface instead of a
contour. Rigid examination has shown that the existing model was
usually outside the ken of the photographer.

Two of the bravest champions whom Spiritualism has ever
produced, the late W. T. Stead and the late Archdeacon Colley--
names which will bulk large in days to come--attached great
importance to spirit photography as a final and
incontestable proof of survival. In his recent work, "Proofs of
the Truth of Spiritualism" (Kegan Paul), the eminent botanist,
Professor Henslow, has given one case which would really appear
to be above criticism. He narrates how the inquirer subjected a
sealed packet of plates to the Crewe circle without exposure,
endeavoring to get a psychograph. Upon being asked on which
plate he desired it, he said "the fifth." Upon this plate being
developed, there was found on it a copy of a passage from the
Codex Alexandrinus of the New Testament in the British Museum.
Reproductions, both of the original and of the copy, will be
found in Professor Henslow's book.

I have myself been to Crewe and have had results which would
be amazing were it not that familiarity blunts the mind to
miracles. Three marked plates brought by myself, and handled,
developed and fixed by no hand but mine, gave psychic extras. In
each case I saw the extra in the negative when it was still wet
in the dark room. I reproduce in Plate I a specimen of the
results, which is enough in itself to prove the whole case of
survival to any reasonable mind. The three sitters are Mr.
Oaten, Mr. Walker, and myself, I being obscured by the psychic
cloud. In this cloud appears a message of welcome to me from the
late Archdeacon Colley. A specimen of the Archdeacon's own
handwriting is reproduced in Plate II for the purpose of
comparison. Behind, there is an attempt at materialisation
obscured by the cloud. The mark on the side of the plate is my
identification mark. I trust that I make it clear that no hand
but mine ever touched this plate, nor did I ever lose sight of it
for a second save when it was in the carrier, which was conveyed
straight back to the dark room and there opened. What has any
critic to say to that?

By the kindness of those fearless pioneers of the movement,
Mr. and Mrs. Hewat Mackenzie, I am allowed to publish another
example of spirit photography. The circumstances were very
remarkable. The visit of the parents to Crewe was unproductive
and their plate a blank save for their own presentment.
Returning disappointed, to London they managed, through the
mediumship of Mrs. Leonard, to get into touch with their
boy, and asked him why they had failed. He replied that the
conditions had been bad, but that he had actually succeeded some
days later in getting on to the plate of Lady Glenconnor, who had
been to Crewe upon a similar errand. The parents communicated
with this lady, who replied saying that she had found the image
of a stranger upon her plate. On receiving a print they at once
recognised their son, and could even see that, as a proof of
identity, he had reproduced the bullet wound on his left temple.
No. 3 is their gallant son as he appeared in the flesh, No. 4 is
his reappearance after death. The opinion of a miniature painter
who had done a picture of the young soldier is worth recording as
evidence of identity. The artist says: "After painting the
miniature of your son Will, I feel I know every turn of his face,
and am quite convinced of the likeness of the psychic photograph.
All the modelling of the brow, nose and eyes is marked by
illness--especially is the mouth slightly contracted--but this
does not interfere with the real form. The way the hair
grows on the brow and temple is noticeably like the photograph
taken before he was wounded."

D

THE CLAIRVOYANCE OF MRS. B.


At the time of this volume going to press the results
obtained by clients of this medium have been forty-two successes
out of fifty attempts, checked and docketted by the author. This
series forms a most conclusive proof of spirit clairvoyance. An
attempt has been made by Mr. E. F. Benson, who examined some of
the letters, to explain the results upon the grounds of
telepathy. He admits that "The tastes, appearance and character
of the deceased are often given, and many names are introduced by
the medium, some not traceable, but most of them identical with
relations or friends." Such an admission would alone banish
thought-reading as an explanation, for there is no evidence in
existence to show that this power ever reaches such perfection
that one who possesses it could draw the image of a dead
man from your brain, fit a correct name to him, and then
associate him with all sorts of definite and detailed actions in
which he was engaged. Such an explanation is not an explanation
but a pretence. But even if one were to allow such a theory to
pass, there are numerous incidents in these accounts which could
not be explained in such a fashion, where unknown details have
been given which were afterwards verified, and even where
mistakes in thought upon the part of the sitter were corrected by
the medium under spirit guidance. Personally I believe that the
medium's own account of how she gets her remarkable results is
the absolute truth, and I can imagine no other fashion in which
they can be explained. She has, of course, her bad days, and the
conditions are always worst when there is an inquisitorial rather
than a religious atmosphere in the interview. This intermittent
character of the results is, according to my experience,
characteristic of spirit clairvoyance as compared with thought-
reading, which can, in its more perfect form, become almost
automatic within certain marked limits. I may add that the
constant practice of some psychical researchers to take no
notice at all of the medium's own account of how he or she
attains results, but to substitute some complicated and unproved
explanation of their own, is as insulting as it is unreasonable.
It has been alleged as a slur upon Mrs. B's results and character
that she has been twice prosecuted by the police. This is, in
fact, not a slur upon the medium but rather upon the law, which
is in so barbarous a condition that the true seer fares no better
than the impostor, and that no definite psychic principles are
recognised. A medium may under such circumstances be a martyr
rather than a criminal, and a conviction ceases to be a stain
upon the character.

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