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Mrs. Piper & the Society for Psychical Research by Michael Sage


It is obvious that such a body of men, pledged to impartial investigation, as the Society for Psychical Research could not officially stand sponsor to the speculative comments of M. Sage, however admittedly clear-sighted and philosophical that French critic may be.

But the publication of this translation has been actually desired and encouraged by many individuals in the Society, it has been revised throughout by a member of their Council, and it is introduced to the general reader by their President.

The Society, indeed, is prepared to accept M. Sage's volume as a faithful and convenient _résumé_ of experiments conducted under its own auspices, and so far as it contains statements of fact, these statements are quoted from authoritative sources. For the comments, deductions or criticisms therein contained, the acute intellect of M. Sage is alone responsible.

It remains only to state in detail the principles on which the original text has been "slightly abridged" by the translator. No facts or comments have been left out that bear directly on the main subject of the book, the omissions are wholly of matters which might be regarded as superfluous for the understanding of the case of Mrs Piper. Occasionally paragraphs have been condensed, a tendency to vague theorising has been checked throughout, and certain irrelevant matter has been altogether omitted. Such omissions are confined, indeed, to single sentences or paragraphs, with only the exception of a somewhat technical discussion of the Cartesian philosophy in Chapter XVII. It had at first been intended to omit the whole of Chapter XI., as containing only fanciful and non-evidential matter; but statements of this kind form an integral part of the communications, and so, on the whole, it was thought fairer to retain M. Sage's chapter on the subject, especially as it may be found of popular interest.

The original appendix has been incorporated, after modifications, in Chapter XII., since the incident here discussed was in progress as M. Sage wrote and has since been closed. His conjectures as to its possible development are naturally omitted. Finally all references to the _Proceedings_ (or printed reports) of the Society itself have been carefully verified. In every case the words of the reports themselves are given in preference to any re-rendering of M. Sage's translations.