(To THE EDITOR OF TER "SrsOrATOR.1
So,—As many of your readers have asked for explanations of some parts of my letter of last week, and I have no leisure to answer them individually, I hope you will allow me to do so collectively. The first question is,—" What persons in private life have exhibited psychic force in my presence, by causing motion in solid bodies without contact ?"
I answer, at least twenty persons of my own social position, friends and acquaintances, men, women, and children. They can only be seen in confidence, for the ignorant howl against inquiry deters them from making known their power, save to confidential friends. I cannot, therefore, give names, but their callings will speak for themselves. Among them are three clergymen, two barristers, four graduates of Oxford and Cambridge, a famous artist, the wife of an eminent physician, of a distinguished solicitor, of an honourable, of a baronet, of a J.P., the daughters of an M.P. and of a banker, and three officers of the Army and Navy. They are of all ages and both sexes, some very young children ; in fact, psychics might be found in almost every family, if looked for. There can be little doubt that psychic force is possessed by all human beings, but to the extent requisite for external exhibi- tion only in certain special constitutions, in certain abnormal con- ditions of the mechanism.
The second question put to me is this,—" What has occurred within my own personal knowledge, in the presence of these private psychics ?"
I have taken careful notes of more than one hundred and twenty of these experiments. I have seen heavy bodies moved without contact no less than eighty-three times, often very heavy bodies indeed. For instance, the psychic, a clergyman, was sitting with myself alone in my dining-room on a bright afternoon in summer, when my dining-table, which two strong men can lift with difficulty, was, untouched by either of us, raised from the floor several times. That these movements are not illusions is proved by this,—that the servant who cleans the room has to restore to their places the things that have been moved from them. It is worthy of note that the motion is always towards the psychic.
The sounds, called improperly, " rappings," are even more fre- quent. They are not so much blows as explosions. If a stetho- scope be applied to the table, there is heard, first, a slight ticking, then creakings in the fibres of the wood, then small explosions, which grow louder by degrees. It would appear from this that the force is in some manner accumulated in the body to which it is applied, until, from mere sound, it increases to motion, somewhat as the electric fluid is collected spark by spark in the battery until it issues in sound, motion, and light. But this is as yet a mere similitude of action. The most delicate tests fail to show electric force. This force is undoubtedly capable of being directed by
intelligence. But the intelligence is manifestly that of the medium, for the expression of it is identical with his own mind, neither more nor less.
It is, however, often, if not always, exercised without conscious- ness on his part. Hence the difficulty of deciding from which it emanates of those three forces that move and direct the human mechanism,—life, mind, soul. My own impression is that it is the action of the soul-force ; others think it to be the work of the vital force ; others, that of brain or nerve- force. This is the interesting and important problem for careful experiment to solve. Thus the gratuitous assump- tion of " spirits " being banished, it becomes purely a subject for science. Although very curious and calculated to throw great light on many obscure questions of psychology and mental physiology, if treated as other scientific inquiries the superstition that surrounds it would be banished. Of course, phenomena so strange ought not to be accepted by any person on the faith of another. They must be seen to be received as truths, and it is a striking fact that there is no instance of any person who has investigated them coming to any other conclusion than that they are real, nor of one who has once accepted them after wards rejecting them. To use Mr. Hutton's phrase, there has been no case of " reconversion." Upon this not irrational nor improbable basis of fact has been built the superstructure of superstition, mingled with self-delusion and imposture, so well described in your article of last week.—I am, Sir, &c.,