new age spirituality

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

VIII Communications from persons having suffered in their mental faculties--Unexpected communications from unknown persons--The respect due to the communicators--Predictions--Communications from children.

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The Blodgett-Hannah Wild case is, I repeat, of a kind to throw discredit on the spiritualist hypothesis. If it and analogous cases alone were considered, it would be needful to ask why earnest men, after long hesitation, have finally given the preference to this hypothesis. But psychic phenomena, and mediumistic phenomena in particular, are infinitely various; they present a multitude of aspects, and it would not be wise to consider them separately.

In this Hannah Wild case everything seems to support the telepathic hypothesis. By this must be understood, not only the reading of thoughts in the consciousness, and even in the subconsciousness, of the persons present, but also in that of absent persons, however far off they may be. And what Phinuit calls "the influence" must be added. This mysterious "influence" might be the traces of vibrations left on objects by our thoughts and feelings. Evidently this hypothesis plunges us into mystery, at least as much as does the spiritualist hypothesis. Nevertheless, we should be obliged to give it the preference, if it were sufficiently supported, because it is, after all, more in touch with our present conceptions than its rival.

Even the incident of the medium who, designating Mrs Blodgett amidst a numerous audience, said to her, "There is a lady here who wants to speak to you; she will soon give you the contents of the paper," can easily be explained by telepathy. Mrs Blodgett was in the presence of a medium. Now some medium was to reveal to her the mysterious text of her sister's letter. That was enough to bring the recollection of the letter into the foreground of her consciousness, where the medium may have read it telepathically.

But again, there are an infinite number of other cases which telepathy does not explain at all, or only insufficiently. I shall try to show this by repeating some of the arguments put forward by Dr Hodgson in his remarkable report in 1898, and in the chapter entitled "Indications that the 'Spirit' Hypothesis is True."[44]

The most important of these arguments is founded upon the communications of persons whose mental faculties had been impaired by illness for a more or less long period before their deaths. A long series of concordant observations inspired Dr Hodgson with this argument. It is as follows:--"If we had to do with telepathy, the communications should be most clear and abundant in the cases where the memories of the dead are most clear and abundant in the minds of the living."

But experience shows that this is not so. When the self-styled communicator has suffered from mental illness before his death, the communications repeat the trouble feature by feature; they are full of confusion and incoherence. This confusion and incoherence is all the graver, as the mental trouble preceding death was graver. It disappears slowly, but sometimes traces of it appear years after. Telepathy does not explain this. If there is madness in the mind of the dead person, there is none in the minds of the living who remember him. On the other hand, if we introduce the spiritualist hypothesis, the fact is quite admissible, either because the mental trouble may only slowly disappear, or because (and the controls assert this) the mere fact of the disincarnated spirits plunging again into the atmosphere of a human organism temporarily reproduces the trouble.

Besides, there is always more or less incoherence in the communications made very shortly after death, even when the communicator has kept his full mental faculties up to his last moments. But if the communicator were really what he says he is, we should expect this, for three reasons--the violent shock of disincarnation must trouble the mind; the arrival in an entirely new environment, where he must at first be unable to distinguish much, should trouble him still more; and lastly, these first attempts at communication may be impeded by his want of skill in using the strange organism; he would require a sort of apprenticeship.