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

XVII Some considerations which strongly support the spiritualistic hypothesis--Consciousness and character remain unchanged--Dramatic play--Errors and confusions.

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The unity of character and consciousness in the communicators is one of the reasons which most strongly support the spiritualistic hypothesis. If we were dealing with Mrs Piper's secondary personalities, the first difficulty would be found in their great number. I do not know the exact number of communicators who have asserted their appearance by means of her organism. But several hundreds may be found in the Reports of the Society for Psychical Research, and they are certainly far from being all mentioned. Now each communicator has kept the same character throughout, to such an extent that, with a little practice, it is possible to recognise the communicator at the first sentence he utters, if he has already communicated. Some of the communicators only appear at long intervals, but nevertheless they remain unchanged. But, on the telepathic hypothesis, it is not easy to understand that a self-styled communicator, a merely ephemeral consciousness reconstituted out of the scattered recollections of the sitters, should be thus reconstituted only at long intervals, suddenly, often without apparent cause, and always with the same characteristics. This unity of consciousness and character is particularly evident in the controls--that is, in such of the communicators as have appeared uninterruptedly for years, on account of their acting as intermediaries for others, and helping them with their experience. If it cannot reasonably be admitted that the occasional communicators are only secondary personalities of the medium, the impossibility must be extended to the controls. Either all the communicators are, without exception, secondary personalities, or none of them are; for all give the same impression of intense life-likeness and reality. If they are indeed secondary personalities, science has hitherto studied none like them. I have already sketched Phinuit's character, which has remained consistently the same during twelve years. The reader should also have a sufficiently clear notion of George Pelham's individuality, which is also consistent; even now, when George Pelham appears, we find him unchanged.

The individualities of the present controls are even more marked, and not less consistent. None of those who, up to the present time, have communicated through Mrs Piper have in the least resembled Imperator and his assistants. The principal traits of Imperator's character are a profound and sincere religious sentiment, much gravity and seriousness, great benevolence, an infinite pity for man incarnate on account of the miseries of this life of darkness and chaos; and with this, an imperious temper, so that he does well to call himself Imperator; he commands, and will be obeyed, but he wills only the right. The other spirits who gravitate around him--Rector, Doctor, Prudens, and George Pelham--pay him profound respect. This character of Imperator is quite the same as we find in the works of Stainton Moses. Those who decline to accept the spiritualist hypothesis on any terms may say that Mrs Piper has drawn the character from this source. She must at least know the book we have mentioned--_Spirit Teachings_. When the effort to communicate with Stainton Moses was made, and nothing was obtained but incoherence and falsehood, Dr Hodgson, wishing to discover what influence the normal Mrs Piper's knowledge of Stainton Moses's works might have upon the secondary personality calling itself Stainton Moses (if we are dealing with secondary personalities), took her a copy of _Spirit Teachings_. She read it, or it is to be concluded she did so, but there was no result, and no effect upon the communicator who called himself Stainton Moses. Nevertheless, I repeat, it may be asserted with some probability that Mrs Piper took the character of Imperator from this source. But then, from whence did she take the other characters?