new age spirituality

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

X How George Pelham has proved his identity--He recognises his friends and alludes to their opinions--He recognises objects which have belonged to him--Asks that certain things should be done for him--Very rarely makes an erroneous statement.

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Some of my readers must have asked themselves what the returning George Pelham can have said to make grave and intelligent men think he has proved his identity. I shall try to give them some idea by relating such incidents as I can report without entering into too slight or complete details. I cannot relate everything, in the first place for want of space, and secondly, because I should be tiresome--a thing to be avoided in a popular work like the present.

When Dr Hodgson wrote the report which appeared in 1898, George Pelham, who, like Phinuit, is always ready to act as intermediary (though employing writing instead of speech) had had occasion to see one hundred and fifty sitters, among whom thirty were old friends of his. He recognised the whole thirty, and never mistook a stranger for a friend. He not only addressed them all by name but took with each of them the tone he had been accustomed to take.

We do not speak in the same way to all our friends. The tone of our conversation differs according to the character and the age of the person we address, and according to the degree of esteem or affection we have for him. These shades of manner are typical, though instinctive, and therefore are difficult to reproduce artificially.

George Pelham, then, addressed the thirty friends whom he had the opportunity of meeting through the medium in the tone which he was in the habit of taking formerly with each one of them. The incidents I shall quote are only examples; I have said why I cannot recapitulate all that has been published about these sittings.[55] Besides, the sitters, for reasons easy to imagine, have declined to permit the publication of all that was most private, and consequently most convincing, in the sittings.

From the beginning George Pelham asks to see his father. He says that he wishes to talk to him about private affairs, and also that he should like to convince him, if possible, of his existence in a new world. Mr Pelham was at once informed, and though he was very sceptical both by nature and education, he, with his second wife, George Pelham's step-mother, visited Mrs Piper at once. They were introduced under false names. Quite at the beginning of the sitting George Pelham wrote, "Hullo, father and mother, I am George!" The communications which followed were altogether what Mr Pelham, senior, would have expected from his living son.

At one of the earliest sittings he asks after one of his friends, a young writer, and urges that he should edit one of his, George Pelham's, unpublished papers.

While George Pelham was living in Boston he was connected by bonds of strong affection with the Howard family. He lived with them often and for long periods. He and James Howard often discussed serious philosophical problems together. At the first sitting George Pelham insistently asked for the Howards.[56] "Tell Jim I want to see him. He will hardly believe me, believe that I am here. I want him to know where I am. O good fellow!" He welcomes Mr and Mrs Howard in a characteristic way: "Jim, is that you? Speak to me, quick. I am not dead. Don't think me dead. I'm awfully glad to see you. Can't you see me? Don't you hear me? Give my love to my father, and tell him I want to see him. I am happy here, and more so since I find I can communicate with you. I pity those people who can't speak."

A Mr Vance has a sitting. George Pelham had known him. At first the communicator does not appear to notice him, being occupied in giving messages to Dr Hodgson. But presently George Pelham recognises him, and says, "How is your son? I want to see him some time." "George, where did you know my son?" "In studies in college." "George, where did you stay with us?" "Country, peculiar house, trees around, porch that projects at the front. Vine at the side. Porch at the front, and swing on the other side." All this was correct.[57]