Parapsychology/Sources/Survival After Death and Mediumship

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Survival of consciousness after bodily death, including mediumship studies[edit]

Moreira-Almeida (2006). Review of "Is There Life After Death: An Examination of the Empirical Evidence" by David Lester (this review of an antagonist's text, in the Journal of Near-Death Studies, provides, in its brief counter to antagonist talking points, a useful introduction to the proponents' case)

Williams (undated). Scientific Evidence Supporting Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife (useful preliminary overview. One uncommon criticism is that people undergoing these experiences have brought back no useful contributions to the advancement of human knowledge. Refutation of that contention is provided).

Williams (undated). Out of the Body and Into the Lab.

Williams et al (undated). Apparitional Experiences: A Primer on Parapsychological Research and Perspectives

Betty (undated). The World of Spirit According to Psychical Research.

James (1898). Human immortality; two supposed objections to the doctrine

Beloff (1994). Minds and Machines: A Radical Dualist Perspective.

Grossman (2012). Who’s Afraid of Life After Death?

Carter (2006). Does Consciousness depend on the Brain?

Augustine (2006). A Critique of "Does Consciousness Depend on the Brain?" by Keith Augustine

Carter (2006). Rebuttal to Keith Augustine's attack of "Does Consciousness depend on the Brain?"

Koksvik (2006). In Defence of Interactionism.

Araujo (2012). Materialism’s Eternal Return: Recurrent Patterns of Materialistic Explanations of Mental Phenomena.

Almeder (2012). The Major Objections from Reductive Materialism Against Belief in the Existence of Cartesian Mind–Body Dualism

Alvarado (2012). Psychic Phenomena and the Mind–Body Problem: Historical Notes on a Neglected Conceptual Tradition.

Ishida (2010). Rebuttal to Claimed Refutations of Duncan MacDougall's Experiment on Human Weight Change at the Moment of Death

Myers (1903). Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death.

Lodge (1908/1920). The Survival of Man: A Study in Unrecognized Human Faculty (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Carrington & Meader (1912). Death: its causes and phenomena (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Barrett (1917). On the Threshold of the Unseen. (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Flammarion (1922). Death and Its Mystery - Vol. I: Before Death, Vol. II: At the Moment of Death, Vol. III: After Death (best considered a supplement to the Myers work)

Baird (1944). One Hundred Cases for Survival After Death (very useful summary)

Hart & Hart (1933). Visions and Apparitions Collectively and Reciprocally Perceived.

Hart (1956). Six Theories About Apparitions.

Salter (1961). Zoar, or the Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival

Ducasse (1961). A Critical Examination of the Belief in a Life After Death.

Stevenson (1982). The Contribution of Apparitions to the Evidence for Survival.

Alvarado & Zingrone (1997). Characteristics of Hauntings With and Without Apparitions: An Analysis of Published Cases.

Roll (2006). A Discussion of the Evidence that Personal Consciousness Persists After Death with Special Reference to Poltergeist Phenomena.

Williams (2013). Deathbed Phantasms: Mere Terminal Hallucinations, or Harbingers of the Afterlife?

Cobbe (1882). The Peak in Darien.

Myers (1892). On Indications of Continued Terrene Knowledge on the part of Phantasms of the Dead.

Bozzanno (1906). Apparitions of Deceased Persons at Death Beds.

Hyslop (1907). Visions of the Dying.

Barrett (1926). Death-Bed Visions - The Psychical Experiences of the Dying

Osis (1961). Deathbed Observations of Physicians and Nurses. (This, and a subsequent study (Osis & Haraldsson (1977). Deathbed observations of physicians and nurses: A cross-cultural study. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 71, 237-59.), provided the nucleus for what evolved into the book on death bed visions by Osis and Haraldsson, "At the Hour of Death".

"At the Hour of Death" is made to appear, in a misleading "review" by Paul Kurtz, as if it covered idiosyncratic, subjective culturally modulated deathbed visions, when in reality it described an underlying unity of features of the experience - Osis and Haraldsson wrote, in that text (White Crow Books, 2012),

p. 184: "When the dying see apparitions, they are nearly always experienced as messengers from a postmortem mode of existence."

p. 184-185: "The pilot survey revealed the most dramatic characteristic of deathbed apparitions: the ostensible intent to take the patient away to the other world. This was again found to be the dominantly stated purpose of the apparitions of the dying, as well as of come-back cases, in both American and Indian cultures. The apparitions seem to show a will of their own, instead of expressing the desires and inner dynamics of the patients."

p. 185, "Nearly all the American patients, and two-thirds of the Indian patients, were ready to go after having seen otherworldly apparitions with a take-away purpose. Encounters with ostensible messengers from the other world seemed to be so gratifying that the value of this life was easily outweighed." they then get to the reasons some Indians did not go, due to cultural conditioning, but that shaped the subjective ego of the experiencer, not the experience. They do discuss som moderate shaping if the experience, but this is minor when compared to the underlying unity.

On p. 190, the phenomena describing the underlying cross-cultural nature of the experience are listed in a chart. On p. 191, the authors state, "One can easily see the similarities outweighed the differences by a wide margin [...] In our judgement, the similarities between the core phenomena found in the deathbed visions of both countries are clear enough to be considered as supportive of the postmortem survival hypothesis."

Continuing on p. 191, "We found another source of evidence: The phenomena within each culture often do not conform with religious afterlife beliefs. The patients see something new, unexpected, and contrary to their beliefs. Christian ideas of "judgement," "salvation," and "redemption" were not mirrored in the visions of our American patients. Furthermore, while we had many reports about visions of Heaven, visions of Hell and Devils were almost totally absent. The afterlife figures and environments experienced by Christians were entirely of a benign and pleasing nature. Several basic Hindu ideas of an afterlife were never portrayed in the visions of Indian patients. The various Vedic "loci" of an afterlife-Hindu Heaven-were never mentioned. Nor were reincarnation and dissolution in Brahma, the formless aspect of God which is the goal of Indian spiritual striving. The concept of Karma-accumulation of merits and demerits-may have been vaguely suggested by reports of a "white-robed man with a book of accounts." In both cultures, the visionary contact with deities and other religious figures seemed to be gratifying and value-fulfilling. With the exception of some Indian Yamdoots, the white-robed figures seem to have had an aura of numinous qualities about them. We reached the impression that cultural conditioning by Christian and Hindu teaching is, in part, contradicted in the visionary experiences of the dying. It seems to us that besides symbolizations based on inculcated beliefs, terminal patients do "see" something that is unexpected, untaught, and a complete surprise to them."

A complementary text, revealing the underlying unity of disparate mediumistic communications about afterlife conditions is The Supreme Adventure by Robert Crookall, which I recommend students of the subject obtain immediately, prior to pursing further research in it.

Regarding the main criticisms of the Osis and Haraldsson book, Zingrone noted, "If one reads the articles Alcock published before 1981, it is obvious that Alcock does not see anecdote as proper scientific evidence. This is a common stance in science in general, and in psychical research and parapsychology as well. It is not at all unreasonable (e.g., Thouless, 1969, 1972), even though some of us would argue that close study of anecdotal material can be very fruitful, scientifically-speaking. A reading of Alcock’s review of parapsychology as a science that appeared in an early issue of Skeptical Inquirer (Alcock, 1979) underscores his rejection of anecdote as evidence. In this review, Alcock criticised Osis and Haraldsson’s (1977a) summary of the evidence for survival provided by their death-bed vision research. In their book, At The Hour of Death, Osis and Haraldsson (1977b) presented the results of Osis’s pilot study and their own extensive replication of survey and interview research conducted with doctors and nurses in the US and in India. In their studies, Osis and Haraldsson had asked respondents if they had ever observed dying patients, if within this set of observations they had ever observed behaviours that seemed to indicate that the patient had experienced a death-bed vision, and if so, to describe that experience as they observed it.5 Osis and Haraldsson also sought experiences in which patients had recounted such a death-bed vision to the respondents as well as experiences in which the doctors or nurses themselves witnessed something around the dying patient which seemed to them to be indicative of such an experience, even if the patient did not report such an experience personally.

Setting aside the fact that the research was based on a survey which is certainly an acceptable method of research, and setting aside the fact that the anecdotes, albeit second-hand, were gathered systematically from credible witnesses first as reports and then through follow-up elaborative interviews, Alcock (1979) says: “However, can we have any confidence in the veridicality of thepatients’ reports? The authors in this case didn’t even interview the patients ... . [Osis and Haraldsson] ... argue that these trained observers are likely to be more accurate in their accounts of what the patients reported than would be the patients themselves. This is difficult to accept, of course, since what they were really doing was asking for anecdotal reports about the observer’s impressions of what a patient was experiencing in a situation that occurred in all likelihood years before” (p. 29, my emphasis).

Although Alcock’s concerns about the veridicality of the reports as depictions of the patients’ first-hand experience are reasonable, his characterization of the research and its goals as inherently and weakly anecdotal is simplistic and misleading in the extreme. Osis’s pilot study on the topic (Osis, 1961) made a point of labelling the phenomena of interest as “hallucinatory behaviour” which gave the appearance that patients had had a deathbed vision (p. 10, my emphasis). Osis and Haraldsson were well-aware of the methodological advantages and disadvantages of their approach. They devoted a number of pages, in both the pilot study and in the replication, to a discussion (Osis & Haraldsson, 1977a) of efforts they made to improve on previous death-bed vision case collections. Such early case collections as that conducted by William Barrett (1926) had compiled experiences from any observer; from family members who might reasonably be assumed to be compromised observers operating under extreme emotional and psychological duress, and from dying patients whose perceptive faculties could reasonably be assumed to be compromised by either their medical condition or by the treatment they were receiving. It is equally obvious that Osis and Haraldsson were well aware that, by surveying individuals who had merely observed these behaviours, they were working at one remove. But for them, the key element in choosing doctors and nurses was to obtain accounts from skilled, dispassionate observers (Osis & Haraldsson, p. 14). In addition, they had hoped, in both the pilot study and the replication attempt, to interview experiencers and other witnesses directly.

Unfortunately, in both studies, respondents were unwilling to provide specific details necessary for further corroboration such as the names of the dying persons, their family members or other witnesses. Indeed, some respondents were even unwilling to provide the exact dates on which their observations occurred (p. 15), presumably to prevent Osis and Haraldsson from obtaining identifying information from other sources such as medical records.

One additional and very important advantage of focusing on physicians and nurses in both studies was that Osis and Haraldsson could ask questions about their respondents’ general experience with dying patients so as to assess the prevalence of death-bed-related hallucinatory behaviours and subsequent apparent mood changes attributed by the patients to such experiences. Having access to expert medical testimony also allowed Osis, in the pilot study, to compare the reported content of the experiences of terminal patients with non-terminal ones, and Osis and Haraldsson, in the replication, to look more deeply at the impact of a variety of medical, psychological, and cultural variables on the type and content of reported experiences.

By the time Osis’s pilot study and the Osis and Haraldsson cross-cultural study were combined with a general treatment of the background of deathbed visions into At the Hour of Death (Osis & Haraldsson, 1977b), the authors had begun to make a strong case that their work provided evidence in support of the survival hypothesis. Still, even with that rhetorical bent, the book provided a fairly detailed description of the methodology used in both studies (see, for example, pp. 28-37) as well as a fairly complete tabular presentation of the results (pp. 223-238). Rather than deal with the empirical content of the book in his article, however, Alcock’s “horror of anecdote” argument hinged on the gross over-simplification “The authors in this case didn’t even interview the patients …” (Alcock, 1979, p. 29). He rejected the interviews with doctors and nurses a priori, never giving any indication that Osis and Haraldsson understood the methodological risks of such interviews. In addition, although the point is made in passing in their book (Osis & Haraldsson, 1977b) - and not in the detail in which it appears in the scientific reports (Osis, 1961; Osis & Haraldsson, 1977a) - it is obvious even to casual readers that the authors of At the Hour of Death had hoped, from the beginning of the decade-long research program, to interview the patients themselves when possible, or their family members and other witnesses when not. It was only the unwillingness of the doctors and nurses to share identifying information that thwarted this aim. (This is not to dwell on the fact that, given that the experiencers, by definition, would have either already died at the time the study was conducted or have been further into the process of dying, first-hand interviews would have been difficult, if not impossible or unethical, in most cases.)

One must assume that Alcock understood what he read. Perhaps the pro-survival tone of the book influenced his ability to take in the details of the underlying research and thus, he felt pushed into focusing on what he saw as the anecdotal nature of their research. Or perhaps, like many critics, he deliberately oversimplified his description of the work so as to make it an easier target for ridicule. Alcock’s review does not show that he has an understanding of the unexpected logistical difficulties that often bedevil even the most well-thought-out research program (and one would presume that he does have such an understanding, given that he has conducted survey research himself). One wonders what Alcock would have done if, after gathering thousands of questionnaires and conducting scores of interviews, he found that doctors and nurses could not be convinced to provide the necessary information to do what first-hand interviews were possible. Would Alcock have scrapped the project and left the data he obtained unanalyzed on some forgotten shelf? I doubt it. More likely, as Osis and Haraldsson did, Alcock would have made a reasonable, albeit pragmatic, decision to investigate a set of claims the best way possible, to analyze the data obtained, and to report the findings with the proper qualifications. Because they made that reasonable pragmatic decision, Osis’s and Haraldsson’s efforts resulted in a creative and important contribution to the literature on survival.

It is likely that Alcock was making a pragmatic rhetorical decision 6 to set aside his distaste for anecdote in order to use Carson Bock’s patient’s tale “as is”, even though at the time there were relevant scientific articles available in our literature on cryptomnesia and in the mainstream psychological literature on forgotten memory with which this anecdote could have been scientifically contextualised. Apparently, however, Alcock’s ability to make pragmatic decisions does not translate into the ability to understand the pragmatic decisions of others. Instead of discussing, acknowledging, or even quibbling with the methodological constraints faced by Osis and Haraldsson as they conducted their studies, and in spite of the systematic methods they used to collect the data they did analyze and present, Alcock dismissed the entire research program as merely anecdotal and, by implication, useless and unscientific. At the same time in his own prose, Alcock was perfectly happily to rely on one unreferenced and unexamined story from one lone clinician drawn from one personal caseload.7

One can read the Alcock examples even more closely. Was Alcock tacitly evoking a corollary to the notion that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? Was he telling us that conventional claims require no evidence at all? Certainly this seems to be what Zusne and Jones, Neher, Gardner and Kurtz are saying when they rely on their own unpublished, informal experiments, on untested generalisations, or on a mythological body of “evidence” to bolster their points. If so, this is a corollary that we are well within our rights as scientists to reject categorically: All explanations, conventional or extraordinary, require real evidence."

As for other criticism of Haraldsson and his alleged credulity, the 2013 edition of his book on Sai Baba, entitled "Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet", attempts to counter the critics.).

Cummings (1859). Immortality Proved by the Testimony of Sense.

Stevens (1887/1928). The Watseka Wonder.

Gauld (1968). Critics of Mrs. Piper. (notes, among other things, that attacks on the Hodgson-Piper investigations and attacks on Hodgson's integrity in these investigations are in conflict with the primary sources, discusses the misrepresentations that CEM Hansel credulously endorsed from "wholly unreliable" sources, a letter conveyed by Edward Clodd and a book of Joseph Rinn.

Gauld says in this attachment that "Writers who confine their attention to accounts of Mrs. Piper's off-days can make a black case against her." In order to make the case for Piper, I will begin by citing this alleged negative evidence and show how these writers misrepresent the facts even in these cases, that the tendentious "black case" is considerably lightened. This "negative" evidence is on Wikipedia and rather than quoting it directly, I will provide in context citations from the primary sources. First I will discredit what appear to be proofs of fraud:

The Australian Dictionary of Biography states, of Richard Hodgson,"Mrs Piper's 'controls' gave him news of his mother and Jessie D—, and of Madame Blavatsky, whose 'spirit was in the deepest part of Hell'.": http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hodgson-richard-3777

This cannot be found in Proceedings vol. 6: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015013709350, vol. 8: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=inu.30000108460944;view=1up;seq=9, vol. 13: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=hell;id=inu.30000108460993,vol. 14: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=inu.30000108461009, vol. 16: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=hell;id=inu.30000108461025 - these cover the Piper sittings during the period of Hodgson. Until we have the primary source, it seems premature to accept things which are at total variance with the overall content of the reports.

Less problematic is the accusation against Myers which appears in Edward Clodd's book The Question, from which we gain the view that "In 1889 George Darwin attended two séance sittings with Piper anonymously. The control of Piper mentioned names, but according to Darwin "not a single name or person was given correctly, although perhaps nine of ten were named." At the end of the first séance Darwin and Frederic Myers were talking on the stairs outside of the séance room whilst Piper was left alone inside. Myers mentioned Darwin's name in a clear voice whilst the séance room door was open. In the second séance Piper mentioned the name Darwin."According to Clodd the information about Darwin and Myers talking outside of the séance room originally came from a personal letter from Darwin to Ivor Lloyd Tuckett, there is no way the check this original source. Moreover, this description of behavior is in conflict with the general behavior of the investigators as described below. Problematic information about both Clodd and Tuckett is provided below.

As for Dr. Tuckett, Elanor Sidgwick, in a review of Tuckett's text, noted that he focuses on weaknesses in the proceedings VI report that were known to the investigators, and therefore add nothing to our knowledge. See also page 106 in Walter Franklin Prince's book which describes one of Tuckett's suggestions about Piper employing a conjurer trick in broad daylight whilst in front of Oliver Lodge as completely improbable.

Hyslop's 1912. Review of "Evidence for the Supernatural" by Ivor Lloyd Tuckett is of relevance, and from all of this, we can see that Tuckett's work fails the criteria of comprehensiveness and reliability.

Regarding comprehensiveness, Gauld, specifically citing Tuckett, said in The Founders of Psychical Research, Appendix B, "Writers who confine their attention to Mrs. Piper's off-days can make a black case against her." (emphasis added).

Hyslop wrote of Tuckett's explanations as regards Piper: "In Appendix Q he quotes one of the Piper records freely, but only such portions of it as he thinks guessing, fishing, and chance coincidence. He carefully refrains from mentioning any incidents whatever on which writers of the reports laid any stress or to which they attached any value. He does not tell readers that the Society pressed those explanations wherever and whenever they could. He would imply that they had neglected fundamental principles when in fact they leaned backward in their effort to stretch those hypotheses. When he comes to consider some of the cross correspondences he abandons chance coincidence to suggest previous knowledge on the part of Mrs. Piper. The author does not see that you cannot play the game of chance against knowledge in the same facts. He labors under the illusion that you can combine fishing, chance coincidence, muscle reading, suggestion, certain types of mistakes and confusions, and various suppositions to explain a unity which would not occur in such a combination, but which would occur on the spiritistic theory. On this point he has no sense of humor. It is all very well to attack each incident on the hypothesis of some natural occurrence. There can be no objection to that. But he ought to know that the facts would have no organic unity on his objections. The fact is that they show a psychological unity which no ordinary combination of hypotheses can explain and it is this fact to which the believer in the supernormal appeals, but the author carefully evades this. He does not seem to be familiar with the old and familiar analogy of a bundle of sticks. You can break each separate stick, but you cannot break the bundle of them collectively. In using this analogy I do not concede that you can even succeed in explaining away all the single incidents. In fact the author never takes the strong incidents. This he passes by and shows only an instinct very like lying about the records. It is this sort of criticism which makes friends for psychic research. It wants no better opponents than that. They simply disgust intelligent people."

The issues which Tuckett imagines he discovered were already elucidated by Oliver Lodge years before - Myers quotes Lodge as follows:

From the report by Professor Lodge, Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 448–53. The personality active and speaking in the trance is apparently so distinct from the personality of Mrs. Piper that it is permissible and convenient to call it by another name. It does not differ from her as Hyde did from Jekyll, by being a personification of the vicious portion of the same individual. There is no special contrast, any more than there is any special similarity. It strikes one as a different personality altogether, and the name by which it introduces itself when asked, viz., “Dr. Phinuit,” is as convenient as any other, and can be used wholly irrespective of hypothesis. I would not in using this name be understood as thereby committing myself to any hypothesis regarding the nature of this apparently distinct and individual mind. At the same time the name is useful as expressing compactly what is naturally prominent to the feeling of any sitter, that he is not talking to Mrs. Piper at all. The manner, mode of thought, tone, trains of idea, are all different. You are speaking no longer to a lady, but to a man, an old man, a medical man. All this cannot but be vividly felt even by one who considered the impersonation a consummate piece of acting. Whether such a man as Dr. Phinuit ever existed I do not know, nor from the evidential point of view do I greatly care. It will be interesting to have the fact ascertained if possible; but I cannot see that it will much affect the question of genuineness. For that he did not ever exist is a thing practically impossible to prove. While, if he did exist, it can be easily supposed that Mrs. Piper took care enough that her impersonation should have so much rational basis. It can be objected, why, if he was a French doctor, has he so entirely forgotten his French? For though he speaks in a Frenchified manner, I am told that he cannot sustain a conversation in that language. I am unable to meet this objection by anything beyond the obvious suggestion that Mrs. Piper's brain is the medium utilised, and that she is likewise ignorant. But one would think that it would be a sufficiently patent objection to deter an impersonator from assuming a rôle of purely unnecessary difficulty, and one which it was impossible satisfactorily to maintain. Admitting, however, that “Dr. Phinuit” is probably a mere name for Mrs. Piper's secondary consciousness, one cannot help being struck by the singular correctness of his medical diagnoses. In fact, the medical statements, coinciding as they do with truth just as well as those of a regular physician, but given without any ordinary examination and sometimes without even seeing the patient, must be held as part of the evidence establishing a strong primâ facie case for the existence of some abnormal means of acquiring information. Not {ii-605} that it is to be supposed that he is more infallible than another. I have one definite case of distinct error in a diagnosis (Report, p. 547). Proceeding now on the assumption that I may speak henceforth of Dr. Phinuit as of a genuine individual intelligence, whether it be a usually latent portion of Mrs. Piper's intelligence, or whether it be something distinct from her mind and the education to which it has been subjected, I go on to consider the hypotheses which still remain unexamined. And first we have the hypothesis of fishery on the part of Dr. Phinuit, as distinguished from trickery on the part of Mrs. Piper. I mean a system of ingenious fishing: the utilisation of trivial indications, of every intimation, audible, tactile, muscular, and of little shades of manner too indefinable to name; all these excited in the sitter by skilful guesses and well-directed shots, and their nutriment extracted with superhuman cunning. Now this hypothesis is not one to be lightly regarded, or ever wholly set aside. I regard it as, to a certain extent, a vera causa. At times Dr. Phinuit does fish. Occasionally he guesses; and sometimes he ekes out the scantiness of his information from the resources of a lively imagination. Whenever his supply of information is abundant there is no sign of the fishing process. At other times it is as if he were in a difficult position—only able to gain information from very indistinct or inaudible sources, and yet wishful to convey as much information as possible. The attitude is then as of one straining after every clue, and making use of the slightest indication, whether received in normal or abnormal ways: not indeed obviously distinguishing between information received from the sitter and information received from other sources. The fishing process is most marked when Mrs. Piper herself either is not feeling well or is tired. Dr. Phinuit seems to experience more difficulty then in obtaining information; and when he does not fish he simply draws upon his memory and retails old facts which he has told before, occasionally with additions of his own which do not improve them. His memory seems to be one of extraordinary tenacity and exactness, but not of infallibility; and its lapses do introduce error, both of defect and excess. He seems to be under some compulsion not to be silent. Possibly the trance would cease if he did not exert himself. At any rate he chatters on, and one has to discount a good deal of conversation which is obviously, and sometimes confessedly, introduced as a stop-gap. He is rather proud of his skill, and does not like to be told he is wrong; but when he waxes confidential he admits that he is not infallible: “he does the best he can,” he says, but sometimes “everything seems dark to him,” and then he flounders and gropes, and makes mistakes. It is not to be supposed that this floundering is always most conspicuous in presence of a stranger. On the contrary, if he is in good form he will rattle off a stranger's connections pretty glibly, being indeed sometimes oppressed with the rush and volume of the information available; while, if he is in bad trim, he will fish and retail stale news (especially the latter) to quite an old hand, and one who does not scruple to accuse him of his delinquencies when they become conspicuous. This fallibility is unfortunate, but I don't know that we should expect anything else; anyhow it is not a question of what we expect, but of what we get. {ii-606} If it were a question of what I for one had expected, the statement of it would not be worth the writing. Personally I feel sure that Phinuit can hardly help this fishing process at times. He does the best he can, but it would be a great improvement if, when he realises that conditions are unfavourable, he would say so and hold his peace. I have tried to impress this upon him, with the effect that he is sometimes confidential, and says that he is having a bad time; but after all he probably knows his own business best, because it has several times happened that after half-an-hour of more or less worthless padding, a few minutes of valuable lucidity have been attained. I have laid much stress upon this fishery hypothesis because it is a fact to be taken into consideration, because it is occasionally an unfortunately conspicuous fact, and because of its deterrent effect on a novice to whom that aspect is first exposed. But in thus laying stress I feel that I am producing an erroneous and misleading impression of proportion. I have spoken of a few minutes' lucidity to an intolerable deal of padding as an occasional experience, but in the majority of the sittings held in my presence the converse proportion better represents the facts. I am familiar with muscle-reading and other simulated “thought-transference” methods, and prefer to avoid contact whenever it is possible to get rid of it without too much fuss. Although Mrs. Piper always held somebody's hand while preparing to go into the trance, she did not always continue to hold it when speaking as Phinuit. She did usually hold the hand of the person she was speaking to, but was often satisfied for a time with some other person's, sometimes talking right across a room to and about a stranger, but preferring them to come near. On several occasions she let go of everybody, for half-hours together, especially when fluent and kept well supplied with “relics.” I have now to assert with entire confidence that, pressing the ingenious-guessing and unconscious-indication hypothesis to its utmost limit, it can only be held to account for a very few of Dr. Phinuit's statements. It cannot in all cases be held to account for medical diagnoses, afterwards confirmed by the regular practitioner. It cannot account for minute and full details of names, circumstances, and events, given to a cautious and almost silent sitter, sometimes without contact. And, to take the strongest case at once, it cannot account for the narration of facts outside the conscious knowledge of the sitter or of any person present. Rejecting the fishery hypothesis, then, as insufficient to account for many of the facts, we are driven to the only remaining known cause in order to account for them:—viz., thought-transference, or the action of mind on mind independently of the ordinary channels of communication. Whether “thought-transference” be a correct term to apply to the process I do not pretend to decide. That is a question for psychologists. It may be within the reader's knowledge that I regard the fact of genuine “thought-transference” between persons in immediate proximity (not necessarily in contact) as having been established by direct and simple experiment; and, except by reason of paucity of instance, I consider it as firmly grounded as any of the less familiar facts of nature such as one deals with in a laboratory. (Proceedings S.P.R., vol. ii. p. 189.) I speak of it therefore as a known cause, i.e., one to which there need be no hesitation in appealing in order to explain facts which without it would be inexplicable. The Phinuit facts are most of them of this nature, and I do not hesitate to assert confidently that thought-transference is the most commonplace explanation to which it is possible to appeal. I regard it as having been rigorously proved before, and as therefore requiring no fresh bolstering up; but to the many who have not made experiments on the subject, and are therefore naturally sceptical concerning even thought-transference, the record of the Phinuit sittings will afford, I think, a secure basis for faith in this immaterial mode of communication,—this apparently direct action of mind on mind. But, whereas the kind of thought-transference which had been to my own knowledge experimentally proved was a hazy and difficult recognition by one person of objects kept as vividly as possible in the consciousness of another person, the kind of thought-transference necessary to explain these sittings is of an altogether freer and higher order,—a kind which has not yet been experimentally proved at all. Facts are related which are not in the least present to the consciousness of the sitter, and they are often detailed glibly and vividly without delay; in very different style from the tedious and hesitating dimness of the percipients in the old thought-transference experiments. But that is natural enough, when we consider that the percipient in those experiments had to preserve a mind as vacant as possible. For no process of inducing mental vacancy can be so perfect as that of going into a trance, whether hypnotic or other. Moreover, although it was considered desirable to maintain the object contemplated in the consciousness of the agent, a shrewd suspicion was even then entertained that the unconscious part of the agent's brain might be perhaps equally effective. Hence one is at liberty to apply to these Phinuit records the hypothesis of thought-transference in its most developed state: absolute vacuity on the part of the percipient, acted on by an entirely sub-conscious or unconscious portion of the sitter's brain. In this form one feels that much can be explained. If Dr. Phinuit tells one how many children, or brothers, or sisters one has, and their names; the names of father and mother and grandmother, of cousins and of aunts; if he brings appropriate and characteristic messages from well-known relatives deceased; all this is explicable on the hypothesis of free and easy thought-transference from the sub-consciousness of the sitter to the sensitive medium of the trance personality.1 So strongly was I impressed with this view, that after some half-dozen sittings I ceased to feel much interest in being told things, however minute, obscure, and inaccessible they might be, so long as they were, or had been, within the knowledge either of myself or of the sitter for the time being. At the same time it ought to be constantly borne in mind that this kind of thought-transference without consciously active agency has never been experimentally proved. Certain facts not otherwise apparently explicable, such as those chronicled in Phantasms of the Living, have suggested it, but it is really only a possible hypothesis to which appeal has been made whenever any other explanation seems out of the question. But until it is actually established by experiment in the same way that conscious mind action has been established, it cannot be regarded as either safe or satisfactory; and in pursuing it we may be turning our backs on some truer but as yet perhaps unsuggested clue. I feel as if this caution were necessary for myself as well as for other members of the Society. On reading the record it will be apparent that while “Phinuit” frequently speaks in his own person, relating things which he himself discovers by what I suppose we must call ostensible clairvoyance, sometimes he represents himself as in communication—not always quite easy and distinct communication, especially at first, but in communication—with one's relatives and friends who have departed this life. The messages and communications from these persons are usually given through Phinuit as a reporter. And he reports sometimes in the third person, sometimes in the first. Occasionally, but very seldom, Phinuit seems to give up his place altogether to the other personality, friend or relative, who then communicates with something of his old manner and individuality; becoming often impressive and realistic. This last, I say, is rare, but with one or two personages it occurs, subject to reservations to be mentioned directly; and when it does, Phinuit does not appear to know what has been said. It is quite as if he in his turn evacuated the body, just as Mrs. Piper had done, while a third personality utilises it for a time. The voice and mode of address are once more changed, and more or less recall the voice and manner of the person represented as communicating. The communications thus obtained, though they show traces of the individuality of the person represented as speaking, are frequently vulgarised; and the speeches are more commonplace, and so to say cheaper, than what one would suppose likely from the person himself. It can, of course, be suggested that the necessity of working through the brain of a person not highly educated may easily be supposed capable of dulling the edge of refinement, and of rendering messages on abstruse subjects impossible." (emphasis added)

Walter Leaf when reviewing Proceedings VI also looked into the kinds of arguments Tuckett used and stated that these arguments were "far from covering the whole of the facts."

Oliver Lodge, after introductory remarks on p. 647 of Proceedings VI, made a list of Piper's accurate portrayal of incidents unknown to, or forgotten by, or unknowable to persons present.

As for Edward Clodd, of relevance is Hyslop's 1919 article Review of "Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge" by Charles Mercier, "Reflections on "Raymond"" by Walter Cook, and "The Question: "If a Man Die, Shall he Live Again?"" by Edward Clodd. It is notable that Oliver Lodge has been a whipping boy for opponents of this research. Critics of it, like Francis Jones, dismissed his text The Survival of Man because of undemonstrated "weak points" in the arguments. The author who did attempt to demonstrate "weak points" in it, Charles Mercier, did so by means of distortion, as Hyslop's review of his text shows, and WF Prince's review of the text further demonstrates. The greatest distortion, however, is the one antagonists like to quote him on regarding Leonora Piper - Alan Gauld, in The Founders of Psychical Research, p. 255, demonstrates this in the context of an overview of the conditions of the sittings with her, "Mrs. Piper stayed twice in Liverpool with Lodge, twice in Cambridge with Myers and the Sidgwicks, and twice in London in lodgings chosen by the committee. Careful precautions were taken to prevent her from obtaining information about her hosts and possible sitters. Almost all her sitters were introduced anonymously. Lodge's house contained (by chance) completely new servents, who could have known little about his concerns. He locked up the family Bible and photograph albums." - in a footnote, he states, "None the less, C. A. Mercier, Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge, London, 1917, p. 116, triumphantly demands to know if Lodge had not a family photograph album and a family Bible from which Mrs. Piper might have obtained her information." - Gauld continues the main passage: "Mrs. Piper allowed him to examine her mail and to search her baggage, though the payment which she received - 30 shillings a day -would hardly have enabled her to employ agents. Myers obtained for Mrs. Piper and her children a servant who could have known nothing of himself and his Cambridge friends; he chose sitters, he tells us 'in great measure by chance', sometimes introducing hem only after the trance had begun. Of some sittings stenographic records were kept, of the majority full contemporary notes were were taken; those made of the most successful sittings, the twenty-one held under Lodge's auspices, being in fact the fullest."

In this article, Hyslop suggested serious misrepresentations in the works of these authors, and also stated that Frank Podmore, insofar as he wrote counter-advocate literature, was adept at the use of misrepresentation and a priori methods

As for the reception of Oliver Lodge - critics have misrepresented this. While he was viciously assailed by ultra-rationalists, his psychical research was openly received by eminent physicists like Heinrich Hertz and Max Planck.

As for the reception of Hyslop, Arthur Berger has noted, in Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850-1987, on p. 58, that he "generated experimental reports so bulky and so rich in thoroughness and detail and data that nothing like them has been seen since in American parapsychology. These reports are "his greatest monument; and no marble shaft could be more imperishable.""

Regarding the reception of Hyslop among psychical researchers, it is another thing that has been obfuscated by tendentious misrepresentation in the current historical rewrite: Whilst it is true that Berger notes, on p. 62 of the aforementioned text, "The charges made against Hyslop by Pope and Friend when they resigned from the ASPR in 1915 have been reechoed recently by the historian R. Laurence Moore: Hyslop ran the ASPR "like a dictator". It was a one-man rule and Hyslop was no angel. James thought him crude. Funk told Hyslop bluntly: "[Y]ou antagonize." Hyslop's conduct in the Palladino case seems to have been costly to the ASPR. Hyslop's writings were criticized not only for their inadequacies but for his convoluted style. James's letters in 1901 and 1902 are full of complaints about it. To Hodgson he remarked: "I think Hyslop's discussions and methods admirable in all but literary style," and in his correspondence with Flournoy, he said: "[Hyslop's] report is intolerably ill written and I have not been able to read the whole of it. Sir Oliver Lodge deplored the fact that Hyslop did not have "the gift of expressing himself in clear and simple English. Throughout his voluminous writings the sentences are frequently involved, and sometimes so curiously constructed that it is difficult to disentangle their meaning." Sir William Barrett lamented similarly: "Hyslop would have gained a wider and more respectful hearing had he cultivated a better and more restrained style of writing, and been less dogmatic and combative in the expression of his opinions.", critics, who tendentiously cite this, omit what he says next (pp. 62-63):

"If Hyslop's publications were themselves a psychic phenomenon which deterred others from reading them, it was Gardiner thought, because Hyslop "cared little about style, what he cared greatly about was thoroughness" and, indeed, the cases reported in his bulky reports were described down to the minutest detail so that the facts could be studied. He felt "that the American public did not like brevity, but wanted full measure and overflowing in the discussion of any subject." Perhaps Hyslop was combative and dogmatic because of his strict moral character, which also made him intolerant of skeptics who were not truthful or sincere. He was also straitlaced. Once he had an encounter with Theodate Pope who sent someone from her lawyer's office to Hyslop's home to inspect the ASPR's books of account. Hyslop refused to admit the man. Then he came back to the library where the books were kept. His face was white with anger and, in a loud voice, he uttered his choicest epithet: "Sugar Beets! Inspect the books - makes me mad. Sugar beets!" "Sugar beets" was the best Hyslop could do under the trying circumstances. To describe Hyslop like a "dictator" seems unduly harsh in view of the support given him by the ASPR Board of Trustees and in light of the opinions of those who were close to him at the time. A Christian clergyman called Hyslop "a secular saint." Gertrude O. Tubby, his secretary, said of Hyslop:

Mankind he loved ... To have worked under his direction and training ... is a privilege as rare as it is desirable. Moral, intellectual and spiritual integrity, scientific understanding and patience, philosophical and religious poise, an appreciation of art ... these are characteristics of James Hervey Hyslop. ...

Walter F. Prince, who had been appointed by Hyslop in 1917 as ASPR research officer, was another co-worker. He described Hyslop as:

the most delightful man to work with.... We often disagreed and debated, but with utmost good feeling.... [Hyslop] was always just.... Dr. Hyslop knew what rank he occupied in the field of psychical research, but he knew it without elation. Few men who have accomplished anything have been so devoid of vanity...."

Finally from his son "[Father] believed that each man has his work in the world to perform. He chose his task, and to its completion gave all that he had. His race was well run." Hyslop was the first American academician to give all his time to parapsychology. He demonstrated his devotion to this field by refusing to accept any salary from the ASPR., and his energy and industry, as evidenced by his voluminous reports, cannot be doubted. Barrett wrote of Hyslop: "No man could long stand this drain on his mental and physical energies, and Hyslop literally sacrificed his life in the cause of psychical research."

Horace Howard Furness was the source of the biggest example of negative evidence in the Piper case - (c.f. William James. (1986). Essays in Psychical Research. Harvard University Press. p. 398.), however, he was the chairman of the Seybert Commission, problems with which have been highlighted above, as such, he may not be a reliable source on the subject of Spiritualism. (ibid, p. 420)

Furness' descriptions of fake trance are at total variance with the trances reported by multiple psychical researchers who studied Piper over time.

The sitting of professor MacAllister was merely a failed sitting. If there is evidence of supernormality in successful sittings, then failed sittings are of relevance only insofar as they might shed light, via differences in condition, on the reasons for success or failure.

Thomas W. M. Lund had a mixed, inconclusive sitting with Leonora Piper. The primary source, PSPR Vol. 6, pp. 234-236 states: "Notes by Mr. Lund. With regard to my experience of Mrs. Piper, I do not feel that I saw enough to form data for any satisfactory conclusion. What impressed me most was the way in which she seemed to feel for information, rarely telling me anything of importance right off the reel, but carefully fishing, and then following up a lead. It seemed to me that when she got on a right tack, the nervous and uncontrollable movement of one's muscles gave her the signal that she was right and might steam ahead.

In some points she was entirely out of it—e.g., carriage accident—the dangerous dark man—Joseph and Harriet—and especially, my style of preaching. Nothing could be a more ludicrous caricature than this last.

In others, which I will name, she made statements which singularly tallied with the truth—e.g., my son was ill, and my wife was going to see him. I found that at the very time given she left the house with a cloak on her arm, and brushed her dress in the way imitated by Mrs. Piper. Still I am bound to say that within earshot of Mrs. Piper—before the sitting—I told Mrs. Lodge of my son's illness in Manchester, and my wife'* proposed visit to him, and Mrs. L. addressed me bg my name of Lund.

It is quite true that a carpet was recently burnt at our house; that my wife worries over her duties too much for comfort and health ; that I live in a room full of MSS. But without doubt the feature of this sitting was the reference to my youngest sister, who died of diphtheria in my absence quite 30 years ago, and whose death was a heartaching sorrow of many years. Not only did she hit the name "Maggie," but even the pet name "Margie," which I had quite forgotten. However, the reason afterwards alleged for my absence at her death was quite wrong.

I accepted the trance condition on Dr. Lodge's authority; otherwise I should have felt bound to test it.

Altogether there was such a mixture of the true and false, the absurd and rational, the vulgar commonplace of the crafty fortune-teller with startling reality, that I have no theory to offer—merely the above facts. I should require much more evidence than I yet have, and with much more careful testing of it, to convince me (1) that Mrs. Piper was unconscious; (2) that there was any thought-reading beyond the clever guessing of a person trained in that sort of work; (3) that there was any ethereal com- munication with a spirit-world. I did not like the sudden weakness experienced when I pressed my supposed sister for the reason of my absence at her death, and the delay wanted for giving a reply.

That the subject is full of interest I admit, and I should like to pursue it; but I am far from convinced at present that we have evidence on which to build a new theory.

April 26th, 1890. T. W. M. Lund, M.A., Chaplain of the School for the Blind, Liverpool.

To this O. L. adds the following incident which occurred during this sitting, but which had no connection with T. W. M. L.

(Chain handed to Phinuit by O. L., the package having been delivered by hand to O. L. late the previous evening. He had just opened the package, glanced at the contents, and hastily read a letter inside, then wrapped all up again and stored them. The chain had been sent by the friend whom it has been agreed to call George Wilson; it had belonged to his father.)

"This belongs to an old gentleman that passed out of the body—a nice old man. I see something funny here, something the matter with heart, paralytic something. Give me the wrappers, all of them." [i.e., The papers it came in ; a letter among them. Medium held them to top of her head, gradually flicking away the blank ones. She did not inspect them. She was all the while holding with her other hand Mr. Lund, who knew nothing whatever about the letter or the chain.]

"Who's dear Lodge? Who's Poole, Toodle, Poodle? Whatever does that mean?"

O. L.: "I haven't the least idea."

"Is there J. N. W. here? Poole. Then there's Sefton. S-e-f-t-o-n.

Pool, hair. Yours truly, J. N. W. That's it; I send hair. Poole. J. N. W. Do you understand that?"

O. L. : "No, only partially."": http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015013709350;view=1up;seq=562

As regards this sitting Oliver Lodge wrote "The next morning I had arranged for a friend to arrive at 11 o'clock. Mrs. Piper was ready and waiting in my study before that time, and I went outside the gate to meet him. Unfortunately, as he entered, my wife met him accidentally in the hall, and conversed for some two minutes while I was in the study with Mrs. Piper. The door was ajar, and though I did not overhear anything particular Mrs. Piper remarked that they should not be talking within earshot like that. It is impossible to say how much she either consciously or unconsciously heard, and the incident prevents me from being able to consider Mr. Lund as an anonymous stranger, as I had intended.

A second sitting ought always to be given to a stranger, as speedily after the first as possible. A single experience of so novel a kind can hardly ever be satisfactory. Shortness of time prevented it in the present instance.": http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015013709350;view=1up;seq=560

Regarding the "Bessie Beals" misidentification of Piper, of relevance is JASPR vol. 11 (1917), pp. 293-294: "New Light on a Piper Incident. Readers will recall the "Bessie Beals" incident in the re- view of Mrs. Sidgwick's Report. Cf. pp. 90-98. President G. Stanley Hall had asked for a " Bessie Beals" and purported to get messages from her and the alleged Dr. Hodgson con- trolling claimed to see her, tho there was no such known person according to President-Hall. It will be interesting to know that, in a recent conversation with Mrs. Piper regarding this incident, she told me that she knew a Jessie Beals who lived near her. This Jessie Beals's sis- ter was an intimate friend of Mrs. Piper and lived next door to the latter. I made inquiries of a man in whose office this Jessie Beals had been an official at one time and he confirmed the facts. Jessie Beals was living at the time of President Hall's experiments. Mrs. Piper also told me that a Mrs. Beals used to have ittings with her, but she was not certain of her husband's name, and I could not verify the facts, tho I inquired at the office of the man whose name she gave me; he was absent in Europe and I could learn nothing definite about the matter. There are 51 persons by the name of Beal in the Boston Directory, 18 by the name of Beale and 27 by the name of Beals. It will be quite apparent that it would be quite easy to understand the incidents in President Hall's sittings about Bessie Beals, especially if a Mrs. Beals had had sittings with Mrs. Piper. The mere suggestion of the name would possibly recall to the subconscious of Mrs. Piper, especially if she mistook the name Bessie for Jessie, a mental picture of the person she knew or some personality connected with previous communications. In that case Dr. Hodgson might well claim the presence of such a person. The mistake may still have been there, but on Presi- dent Hall's own ideas of suggestion, it would be easy to suppose that the suggestion gave rise to a genuine mental picture as- sociated with the idea of known reality and the whole dramatic episode might readily have occurred as it did, without supposing that it was pure imagination at all, and if any real Beals was present, or personality taken for such, the incident of Hodgson's recognition would be a natural phenomenon, tho a mistake.": http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101063849499;view=1up;seq=303

Researcher Greg Taylor's post The Not-So-Imaginary Bessie Beals is also of relevance.

Of related relevance is James Hyslop's 1920 Review of "The Quest for Dean Bridgman Connor" by Anthony Philpot.

Skeptics usually like to focus on only negative information, omitting positive information like the fact that from page 73 in the book "Can Telepathy Explain?: Results of Psychical Research" 1902, Minot Judson Savage describes visiting Piper in a séance before she was investigated by the SPR and she described his father in accurate detail, cold reading would not explain this, also see the following chapter which has information about his daughter from a sitting with Piper where three locks of hair were taken and the names were given accurately.

Critics claim that Piper read an obituary notice in the local newspaper to obtain information about Mr and Mrs. Sutton daughter Katherine, this is sourced to the believer turned skeptic John Taylor. But this suggestion is not plausible if you read the original report of those séances which is cited in Stephen E. Braude's "Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life After Death" pp. 62-66 which gives the information Piper gave from those séances which accurately described many details about Katherine including her favorite toys.

Andrew Lang's criticism of Piper has been miscited, he argued in full (see The Making of Religion, 1900, p. 139) "Mrs. Piper's honesty and excellent character, in her normal condition, are vouched for by her friends and observers in England and America ; nor do I impeach her normal character. But ' secondary personalities ' have often more of Mr. Hyde than of Dr. Jekyll in their composition. It used to be admitted that, when 'possessed,' Mrs. Piper would cheat when she could — that is to say, she would make guesses, try to worm information out of her sitter, describe a friend of his, alive or dead, as ' Ed.,' who may be Edgar, Edmund, Edward, Edith, or anybody. She would shuffle, and repeat what she had picked up in a former sitting with the same person; and the vast majority of her answers started from vague references to probable facts." Alan Gauld wrote in his article on Lang and Piper "Although Lang continued to talk of'telepathy' or 'thought-transference', he was well aware that application of these terms to such phenomena is merely paying oneself with words. Often he confined himself simply to expressing his agreement with Myers and Hegel that we, or many of us, are in something, or that something is in us, which 'does not know the bounds of time or feel the manacles of space' (53, p. 109). This lent, he thought, some presumption to the view that we do not utterly perish with the destruction of our physical bodies. By a curious paradox the very phenomena which led him to believe in the possibility of survival led him to set aside that evidence for survival which some leading members of the SPR found the strongest, namely the trance communications received through Mrs. Piper. Hodgson and others thought that the hypothesis of telepathy from the living could not fully explain Mrs. Piper's 'hits'. The information given quite often went far beyond what was known to the sitters, so that to maintain the hypothesis of telepathy from the living we should have to postulate telepathy so extended and so selective as to seem no less remarkable than the supposition of survival. In a close analysis of the Piper case (41), Lang replies that Miss Angus' crystal visions often exhibited telepathy ofjust such an extent and selectiveness. 'Suppose', he says (p. 49) 'that Miss Angus, instead of dealing with living people, by ways of visions, had dealt by way of voice, or automatic handwriting, and had introduced a dead 'communicator'. Then she would have been on a par with Mrs. Piper, yet with no aid from the dead. Her cases do not differ from Mrs. Piper's cases, except in copiousness, and in the circumstances that her condition was normal, and that she was new to all such exercises. If Miss Angus can achieve such feats without aid from the dead, why should we suppose interference by the dead in the case of Mrs. Piper?' Lang has other arguments against Mrs. Piper, or rather against the claims of her communicators to be the spirits of deceased persons. He dwells much upon their worst rather than upon their best performances. That spirits in the next life, making use of Mrs. Piper's brains, nerves, voice and hands, should often become confused is, he admits, intelligible. 'But why should they be impudently mendacious, absurdly ignorant, and furtively evasive, fluent in twaddle, and "groping" when a simple question as to something familiar to them when alive is asked, that is, in many cases?' His conclusion is that though Mrs. Piper gave some indications of paranormal faculty worthy of further investigation, her controls and communicators were secondary personalities of her own. Lang often mentions her in his later writings on psychical research, usually with marked distaste. It is curious that an anthropologist who writes dispassionately and even humorously about spirit possession among savages, and in distant lands, and can touch with equanimity upon barbaric or obscene rituals and practices, should have been so distressed by apparent examples of spirit possession occurring, as it were, nearer home. One reason, more or less overtly expressed, for his aversion to Mrs. Piper was a deep-seated feeling that no educated or honourable person could, after death, conceivably wish to speak in American slang through the mouth of an uneducated lower-middle class lady hired at so many dollars a sitting. Even at the time there were those who took exception to this attitude (85; 88). I think, however, that Lang's attitude arose not so much from 'aristocratic aversion' to paid mediums (75, p. 367), as from fastidiousness and sensitivity, an awareness of the pain he would suffer were he to find old friends thus degraded. Lang's emotions rarely got the better of his intellect for long, and occasionally he would defend Mrs. Piper, as he did (23) when two psychologists, Amy Tanner and G. Stanley Hall, wrote a dismissive and remarkably obtuse book about her (38). Nothing, indeed, illustrates the ascendancy of Lang's intellect over his feelings more effectively than the way in which, on a number of occasions, he used the case of Mrs. Piper, and other comparable cases, such as that of Helene Smith, to throw light upon the gifts and genius of the historical figure whom he admired above all others, namely, Joan of Arc."

An unexpected strong item of defense for her comes from Frank Podmore: "On the hypothesis that Mrs Piper has obtained all this information fraudulently, we can but view with amazement the artistic restraint in the use of proper names; her masterly reticence on dates and descriptions of houses and such concrete matters, which form the stock-in-trade of the common clairvoyante, the consummate skill which has enabled her to portray hundreds of different characters without ever confusing the role, to utilize the stores of information so laboriously acquired without ever betraying the secret of their origin." Frank Podmore also noted of Piper's sittings that "the sittings which have to be written down as failures now number barely 10 per cent.": https://books.google.com/books?lr=&output=html&id=NA0rAAAAYAAJ&dq=editions%3ALCCN09022954&jtp=75

He concluded: "If Mrs Piper’s trance-utterances are entirely founded on knowledge acquired by normal means, Mrs Piper must be admitted to have inaugurated a new departure in fraud. Nothing to approach this has ever been done before. On the assumption that all so-called clairvoyance is fraudulent, we have seen the utmost which fraud has been able to accomplish in the past, and at its best it falls immeasurably short of Mrs Piper’s achievements. Now, that in itself requires explanation.": https://books.google.com/books?id=NA0rAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA78&focus=viewport&dq=editions:LCCN09022954&lr=&output=html

In his mostly ultra-skeptical book “The Newer Spiritualism”, written in 1910, p. 222, Podmore conceded that "Taken as a whole, the correspondences are so numerous and precise, and the possibility of leakage to Mrs. Piper through normal channels in many cases so effectually excluded, that it is impossible to doubt that we have here proof of a supernormal agency of some kind - either telepathy by the trance intelligence from the sitter or some kind of communication with the dead.: http://archive.org/stream/newerspiritualis00podmrich#page/222/mode/2up

However, see James Hyslop's 1910 overview of Podmore's text - Review of "The Newer Spiritualism" by Frank Podmore. Prior to this, we had Hyslop (1903). Reply to Mr. Podmore's Criticism. Confusion has been made about Hyslop's sittings with Piper pertaining to Samuel Cooper. In his text "Science and A Future Life" (given below), Hyslop states (p. 281), "I received for answer a number of statements wholly false regarding this Samuel Cooper, but which I later discovered to be true of a Dr. Joseph Cooper, and not in my mind or memory at all.", he also noted (p. 162), "errors are not opposed to any theory when the correct facts are not explicable by chance or guessing." Martin Gardner's belief that Piper recieved information from hodgson is contingent on a belief in Hodgson's dihonesty based on a "letter" refuted above. Hereward Carrington, expert in mediumistic trickery, cited Hyslop's book "Science and A Future Life" in support of the contention that Piper was a genuine medium, and notes in The Coming Science, p. 248, that it was on the strength of Hyslop's arguments that he modified his position on Piper.

A good overview of the case is the chapter "The Piper Case" on pp. 291-311 of the book "Are the Dead Alive? The Problem of Physical Research". G.N.M. Tyrell gave perhaps the best introduction to Piper: "Mrs. Piper, whose case was carefully studied for many years by the Society for Psychical Research, had a remarkable variety of controls, which included Julius Caesar, "Moses of Old," Longfellow, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot and many more. Three others were entitled Impcrator, Rector and Prudens. Some of them talked incredible nonsense; yet Mrs. Piper's phenomena gave incontestable evidence of knowledge which she could not normally have gained. During the long period that she was under observation, the possibility of her obtaining information by fraudulent and normal methods was fully investigated. Everyone who had much to do with her agreed that nothing less than telepathy could account for her phenomena.", see regarding this the text Spiritism, hypnotism and telepathy as involved in the case of Mrs. Leonora E. Piper and the Society of Psychical Research - suggestion has also been made that sensory leakage could have accounted for William James' positive views on Piper, however, Henry Holt, in The Cosmic Relations and Immortality, Vol. 1, pp. 411-413., notes an instance where Piper conveyed relevant information to James not known by any of the sitters at the time. See also Mrs. Piper & The Society for Psychical Research by Michael Sage, chapter IV, The hypothesis of fraud—The hypothesis of muscle-reading—"Influence." Trevor Hamilton, in Immortal Longings: F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life After Death (2009), p. 255, wrote that "[Ruth] Brandon stated that Mrs Piper gained clues to the kind of statements she should make by fishing for evidence, or using the indicators she obtained from holding the hand of the sitter. Berger made it absolutely clear that this was not a feature of many of the best sittings and described the considerable lengths Professor Hyslop and Hodgson went to prevent Hyslop giving her any sensory clues that might provide evidence she might use to fabricate spirit communication: "Hyslop would arrive in Mrs Piper's home in a closed coach. Before entering he donned a mask which covered his entire face and which he wore as he entered the house and sat with the medium. Hodgson introduced him to Mrs Piper as 'Mr Smith,' the name Hodgson also used to introduce all strange sitters to her. Sitters like Hyslop were were [sic] instructed to say nothing so that voice, in addition to face, was concealed. Like Hyslop, sitters merely bowed when introduced to the medium. During the sitting they never spoke in a normal tone. Moreover, during the sittings Mrs Piper was never touched by a sitter so as to avoid any muscular suggestion. Nor were clues given by questions asked in order that facts obtained might not be suggested by questions. Finally, the sitters stood behind the medium so that she could not see them or their movements (Berger 1988: 24)."

in PSPR vol. 31, pp. 103-104, Oliver Lodge states: "NOTE ON "A RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS OF CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF TRANCE." By Sir Oliver Lodge, F.R.S. In an article published in Proceedings, S.P.R., Vol. VI., on p. 460, at the top of the page, reference is made to a statement made by Phinuit during a sitting I had with Mrs. Piper in Liverpool in 1889, from which I quote the following sentences: Phinuit told me to take the watch out of its case (it was the old- fashioned turnip variety) and examine it in a good light afterwards, and I should see some nicks near the handle which Jerry said he had cut into it with his knife. Some faint nicks are there. I had never had the watch out of its case before; being, indeed, careful neither to finger it myself nor to let anyone else finger it. I recall this because recently, during the British Association Meeting at Bournemouth in September, 1919, a cousin of mine whom I had never previously seen, and who has been most of his life in South America, introduced himself to me and related many reminiscences of our joint uncles, in days partly concurrent with and partly preceding the period during which I knew them. This cousin is Mr. Frederick L. Lodge, who had corresponded with me about an experience of his wife's, the incident being related by me in my book, The Survival of Man, page 74. I had no further communication with Mr. F. L. Lodge, except those specified in the book, and I had not realised exactly who he was. I found at Bourne- mouth, however, for the first time that he was a son of one of my uncles, and that he had been born in 1846, so that his memories date back earlier than my own. Among many recollections of his father and my other senior uncles, who were considerably older than my own father, he told me stories of Uncle Jerry and his blindness, one of which I asked him to put into writing. This morning, September 16th, 1919, accordingly, he sends me the following: When Uncle Jerry was staying at Graf rath in Germany, consulting an oculist (he was then totally blind), I used to accompany him in his daily walks, and on one occasion as we were sitting by the road-side he had his gold repeater watch in his hand and was whittling away at it with his penknife. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied that he was marking it, so as to know it by the touch; I believe it was on the shank near the ring, whether he succeeded in making a mark I do not remember. At the time of your seance with Mrs. Piper the watch was in the possession of his brother Robert at Highgate, but I believe no mark could be discovered then.": http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101075888493;view=1up;seq=117

See, for related phenomena, Hyslop's 1920 article "Bosh" Proves to be Sense.

Myers, in Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death, wrote, "I do not propose here to discuss the hypothesis of fraud in this case, since it has been fully discussed in the articles referred to in {ii-239} my Appendices and elsewhere, e.g. by Dr. Hodgson, Professor William James, Professor Newbold of Pennsylvania University, Dr. Walter Leaf, and Sir Oliver Lodge. I merely quote, as a summary of the argument, a few words of Professor James, from The Psychological Review, July, 1898, pp. 421–22:— "Dr. Hodgson considers that the hypothesis of fraud cannot be seriously maintained. I agree with him absolutely. The medium has been under observation, much of the time under close observation, as to most of the conditions of her life, by a large number of persons, eager, many of them, to pounce upon any suspicious circumstance for [nearly] fifteen years. During that time, not only has there not been one single suspicious circumstance remarked, but not one suggestion has ever been made from any quarter which might tend positively to explain how the medium, living the apparent life she leads, could possibly collect information about so many sitters by natural means. The scientist who is confident of “fraud” here, must remember that in science as much as in common life a hypothesis must receive some positive specification and determination before it can be profitably discussed, and a fraud which is no assigned kind of fraud, but simply “fraud” at large, fraud in abstracto, can hardly be regarded as a specially scientific explanation of concrete facts."

He then provides James' account. See "The Cosmic Relations and Immortality" by Henry Holt, pp. 411-413. for a full contextualization facts related to James unknown to anyone present, but only verified afterwards: https://archive.org/stream/cosmicrelationsi01holtiala#page/410/mode/2up

From the book "The Enigma of Survival: The Case For and Against an Afterlife" by Hornell Hart, see page 75 "Four years later, a month after his death, communications alleged to come from Pelham began to be received through Mrs. Piper. During the next six years, at least 150 sitters were present when 'Pelham' communicated. From among these, he recognized 30 whom he had known when living, and he never claimed acquaintance with a sitter whom he had not known." Skeptics do not mention this. Hart continued on pp. 75-76, "Even the failure of Pelham to recognize a certain young lady whom he had met before death seems to point towards the existence of a real surviving personality rather than merely a fragment of Mrs. Piper's unconscious. The young lady, a Miss Warner, had been only a little girl when Pelham saw her, eight or nine years previously. She had changed greatly. If Pelham had still been in the flesh when he encountered her after this lapse of time, the natural thing would have been for him to have forgotten her, as his alleged surviving personality did in this sitting. But if the supposed personality was a mere construct by Mrs. Piper's unconscious, patching together telepathic information, it would have been natural for Miss Warner to have been 'recognized'. Both she and Dr. Hodgson were aware of the fact that Miss Warner had known Pelham when she was a little girl, so that sources for telepathy were at hand. Moreover, correct information not known to the Sitters was given about Miss Warner's relatives, so that the unconscious of Mrs. Piper must have been aware of her identity. The non-recognition thus seems to be an argument in favour of the independent existence of Pelham. Gardner Murphy summarized in 1957: 'The recently deceased George Pelham appeared to communicate in so convincing a fashion as to lead both Hodgson and Professor J. H. Hyslop to the conviction that the survival of death and the reality of communication had been established.'"

Hyslop (1921). Dr. Hodgson as a Communicator.

and

Hyslop (1910). President G. Stanley Hall's and Dr. Amy E. Tanner's Studies in Spiritism.

and

Hyslop (1917). Mrs. Sidgwick's Report on Mrs. Piper's Trance.

are all useful in helping us navigate the difficulties of the later aspects of the case.

Myers, in Section 956 B of his book, said that: "The next passage I quote from the Introduction by myself—Proceedings S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 436–442,—to the records of sittings given by Mrs. Piper in England, 1889–90:— Mrs. Piper's case has been more or less continuously observed by Professor James and others almost from the date of the first sudden inception of the trance, some five years ago. Mr. Hodgson has been in the habit of bringing acquaintances of his own to Mrs. Piper, without giving their names; and many of these have heard from the trance-utterance facts about their dead relations, &c., which they feel sure that Mrs. Piper could not have known. Mr. Hodgson also had Mr. and Mrs. Piper watched or “shadowed” by private detectives for some weeks, with the view of discovering whether Mr. Piper (who is employed in a large store in Boston, U.S.A.) went about inquiring into the affairs of possible “sitters,” or whether Mrs. Piper received letters from friends or agents conveying information. This inquiry was pushed pretty closely, but absolutely nothing was discovered which could throw suspicion on Mrs. Piper,—who is now aware of the procedure, but has the good sense to recognise the legitimacy—I may say the scientific necessity—of this kind of probation. It was thus shown that Mrs. Piper made no discoverable attempt to acquire knowledge even about persons whose coming she had reason to expect. Still less could she have been aware of the private concerns of persons brought anonymously to her house at Mr. Hodgson's choice. And a yet further obstacle to such clandestine knowledge was introduced by her removal to England—at our request—in November 1889. Professor Lodge met her on the Liverpool landing-stage, November 19th, and conducted her to a hotel, where I joined her on November 20th, and escorted her and her children to Cambridge. She stayed first in my house; and I am convinced that she brought with her a very slender knowledge of English affairs or English people. The servant who attended on her and on her two young children was chosen by myself, and was a young woman from a country village whom I had full reason to believe to be both trustworthy and also quite ignorant of my own or my friends' affairs. For the most part I had myself not determined upon the persons whom I would invite to sit with her. I chose these sitters in great measure by chance; several of them were not resident in Cambridge; and (except in one or two cases where anonymity would have been hard to preserve) I brought them to her under false names,—sometimes introducing them only when the trance had already begun. In one sitting, for instance, which will be cited below, I learnt by accident {ii-603} that a certain lady, here styled Mrs. A., was in Cambridge;—a private lady, not a member of the Society for Psychical Research, who had never before visited my house, and whose name had certainly never been mentioned before Mrs. Piper. I introduced this lady as Mrs. Smith;—and I think that when the reader is estimating the correct facts which were told to her, he may at any rate dismiss from his mind the notion that Mrs. Piper had been able either to divine that these facts would be wanted,—or to get at them even if she had known that her success depended on their production on that day. Mrs. Piper while in England was twice in Cambridge, twice in London, and twice in Liverpool, at dates arranged by ourselves; her sitters (almost always introduced under false names) belonged to several quite different social groups, and were frequently unacquainted with each other. Her correspondence was addressed to my care, and I believe that almost every letter which she received was shown to one or other of us. When in London she stayed in lodgings which we selected; when at Liverpool, in Professor Lodge's house; and when at Cambridge, in Professor Sidgwick's or my own. No one of her hosts, or of her hosts' wives, detected any suspicious act or word. We took great pains to avoid giving information in talk; and a more complete security is to be found in the fact that we were ourselves ignorant of many of the facts given as to our friends' relations, &c. In the case of Mrs. Verrall, for instance [cited in the Report, p. 584], no one in Cambridge except Mrs. Verrall herself could have supplied the bulk of the information given; and some of the facts given (as will be seen) Mrs. Verrall herself did not know. As regards my own affairs, I have not thought it worth while to cite in extenso such statements as might possibly have been got up beforehand; since Mrs. Piper of course knew that I should be one of her sitters. Such facts as that I once had an aunt, “Cordelia Marshall, more commonly called Corrie,” might have been learnt,—though I do not think that they were learnt,—from printed or other sources. But I do not think that any larger proportion of such accessible facts was given to me than to an average sitter, previously unknown; nor were there any of those subtler points which could so easily have been made by dint of scrutiny of my books or papers. On the other hand, in my case, as in the case of several other sitters, there were messages purporting to come from a friend who had been dead many years, and mentioning circumstances which I believe that it would have been quite impossible for Mrs. Piper to have discovered. I am also acquainted with some of the facts given to other sitters, and suppressed as too intimate, or as involving secrets not the property of the sitter alone. I may say that, so far as my own personal conviction goes, the utterance of one or two of these facts is even more conclusive of supernormal knowledge than the correct statement of dozens of names of relations, &c., which the sitter had no personal motive for concealing. On the whole, I believe that all observers, both in America and in England, who have seen enough of Mrs. Piper in both states to be able to form a judgment, will agree in affirming (1) that many of the facts given could not have been learnt even by a skilled detective; (2) that to learn others of them, although possible, would have needed an expenditure of money as well as of time which it seems impossible to suppose that Mrs. Piper could have met; and (3) that her conduct has never given any ground whatever for supposing her capable of fraud or trickery. Few persons have been so long and so {ii-604} carefully observed; and she has left on all observers the impression of thorough uprightness, candour, and honesty."

On the question of fraud, see also the statements of Professor Lodge, Proceeding S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 443–7; of Dr. Walter Leaf, pp. 558–9 of the same Proceedings; pp. 1–9 of the report by Dr. Hodgson in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii.; pp. 6–11 of the report by Professor Newbold in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiv.; and pp. 5–9 of the report by Professor Hyslop in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xvi."

These reports follow: Oliver Lodge, Proceeding S.P.R., vol. vi. pp. 443–7: "Account of sittings with Mrs. Piper. Formal Report. At the request of Mr. Myers I undertook a share in the investiga- tion of a case of apparent clairvoyance. It is the case of a lady who appears to go off into a trance when she pleases to will it under favourable surroundings, and in that trance to talk volubly, with a manner and voice quite different from her ordinary manner and voice, on details concerning which she has had no information given her. In this abnormal state her speech has reference mainly to people's relatives and friends, living or deceased, about whom she is able to hold a conversation, and with whom she appears more or less familiar. By introducing anonymous strangers, and by catechising her myself in various ways, I have satisfied myself that much of the information she possesses in the trance state is not acquired by ordinary common- place methods, but that she has some unusual means of acquiring information. The facts on which she discourses are usually within the knowledge of some person present, though they are often entirely out of his conscious thought at the time. Occasionally facts have been narrated which have only been verified afterwards, and which are in good faith asserted never to have been known j meaning thereby that they have left no trace on the conscious memory of any person present or in the neighbourhood, and that it is highly improbable that they were ever known to such persons. She is also in the trance state able to diagnose diseases and to specify the owners or late owners of portable property, under circum- stances which preclude the application of ordinary methods. In the midst of this lucidity a number of mistaken and confused statements are frequently made, having little or no apparent meaning or application. Concerning the particular means by which she acquires the different kinds of information, there is no sufficient evidence to make it safe to draw any conclusion. I can only say with certainty that it is by none of the ordinary methods known to Physical Science. Oliver J. Lodge. May, 1890. The above careful statement does not convey any vivid idea of the actual occurrences, nor does it impart such information as is needed by persons not already familiar with the subject before they read the detailed report; hence it may be permissible to amplify it by a more descriptive and less cautiously worded account of my experience, accompanied by a preliminary examination of such elucidatory hypo- theses as suggest themselves; premising that for evidence the report of the sittings must be appealed to, not this narrative account. Regarding the manner of the sitting, it may be convenient to print here, as sufficiently representative of what happens, and as embodying what it is necessary somewhere to say concerning Mrs. Piper's initial acquaintance with me, a statement I wrote shortly after my first sitting. Preliminary statement written December 1st, 1889. Mrs. Piper arrived in England on November 19th in the Cunard steamer Scythia from Boston, and as Mr. Myers was called away to Edinburgh on that day, I met the steamer at his request and conveyed the lady to the hotel apartments he had taken for her. I was a complete stranger, but was introduced sufficiently by a note Mr. Myers had left with the hotel Commissionaire, who also met the steamer and saw the luggage through the Custom House. In the course of the drive to the hotel with Mrs. Piper and her two little girls, I mentioned that I had a good many children ; in fact, seven. I also told her that I was a Professor at a college in the city. At the hotel I left her, and though I called next day just to see that she was all right, I told her no more about myself, nor was she in the least inquisitive. She was naturally tired after the journey, and absorbed with the children. That evening Mr. Myers arrived, and next day escorted her to his house in Cambridge. I remained at work in Liverpool till November 29th, when I travelled to London to attend the Royal Society dinner the following day. And on the morning of this day, the 30th, I met Mr. Myers at King's Cross, and travelled to Cambridge with him by the 9.5 a.m. train, reaching his house about 11. Mrs. Piper was soon ready and we commenced a sitting. I sat facing Mrs. Piper in a partially darkened room, and Mr. Myers was within earshot on the other side of curtains, taking note of what was said. Mrs. Piper sat still, leaning forward in her chair, and holding my hands. For some time she could not go off, but at last she said, "Oh, I am going," the clock happened to strike one (for a half hour), and she twitched convulsively, ejaculated "don't," and went into apparent epilepsy. [I had seen epilepsy several times before and recognised many of the ordinary and obvious symptoms; not, of course, pretending to speak medically.] Gradually she became quiet, and still holding my right hand, cleared her throat in a male voice, and with distinctly altered and hardened features, eyes closed and un- used the whole time. Having been told what to expect and how to humour this impersonation,I said, "Well, Doctor," upon which he [for it sounded like a man, and I quite forgot that it was a woman who was speaking for the rest of the sitting: the whole manner and conversation was masculine] introduced himself as "Dr. Phinuit," and we made the usual commonplace remarks. I found it difficult to know what to say, but I said I had heard of him from Myers, and he said, "Ha ! Myers, is he here? He wasn't here last time I came," upon whic Mr. Myers replied, "Yes, I am here, Doctor." He said a few more words to Mr. Myers, and then asked me if there was anything I wanted to ask him, at the same time putting his hand on my head and feeling all over it, saying he wanted to become acquainted with me, that I was "a nice fellow," "worked too hard," "had a full head," and such like things, as he probably would say to anyone engaged in similar pursuits. I asked him if he could tell me anything about my relations, upon which he began a rambling and excited conversation consisting of short sentences and curious snatches and jerks, with occasional wanderings into momentary (apparent) irrelevance, but every now and again coming to a point energetically and hammering it into me with insistence both verbal and manual. Of this conversation Mr. Myers took as complete notes as was possible, and I have not been able to supplement his notes very materially, except perhaps here and there with a touch which had escaped him. The occasional irrelevance faintly coming in every now and then amid the more constant coherent and vigorous communication, reminded me of listening at a telephone, where, whenever your main correspondent is silent, you hear the dim and meaningless fragments of a city's gossip, till back again comes the voice obviously addressed to you and speaking with firmness and decision. The record follows later (p. 465). The details given of my family are just such as one might imagine obtained by a perfect stranger surrounded by the whole of one's relations in a group and able to converse freely but hastily with one after the other; not knowing them and being rather confused with their number and half-understood messages and personalities, and having a special eye to their physical weaknesses and defects. A person in a hurry thus trying to tell a stranger as much about his friends as he could in this way gather would seem to me to be likely to make much the same kind of com- munication as was actually made to me. In order to gain further experience, my wife invited Mrs. Piper to our house between the dates December 18th and December 27th, 1889; and again between the dates January 30th and February 5th, 1890, when she sailed for New York. During these days we had 22 sittings, and I devoted my whole time to the business, being desirous of making the investigation as complete and satisfactory as possible while the opportunity lasted. Mrs. Piper pretends to no knowledge as to her own powers, and I believe her assertion that she is absolutely ignorant of all that she has said in the trance state. She appears to be anxious to get the phenomenon elucidated, and hopes by sitting to scientific investigators to have light thrown on her abnormal condition, about which she expresses herself as not quite comfortable. She perfectly appreciates the reasonableness of withholding information from her; assents with a smile to a sudden stop in the middle of a sentence, and in general is quite uninquisitive. All this innocency may, of course, be taken as' perfection of acting, but it deprives her of the great advantage (assuming fraudulent intention for the moment) of controlling the circumstances after the manner of a conjurer; and prevents her from being the master of her own time and movements. The control of the experiments was thus entirely in my own hands, and this is an essential ingredient for satisfactory testimony. The initial question to be satisfactorily answered before anything can be held worth either investigating or recording concerns the honesty of Mrs. Piper herself. That there is more than can be explained by any amount of either conscious or unconscious fraud, that the phenomenon is a genuine one however it is to be explained, I now regard as absolutely certain; and I make the following two statements with the utmost confidence :— (i.) Mrs. Piper's attitude is not one of deception. (ii.) No conceivable deception on the part of Mrs. Piper can explain the facts. I will not take up time by doing more than enumerating some of the methods of imposture which suggest themselves to an inquirer as preliminary possibilities to be guarded against. Such as :— Inquiry by paid agents. Inquiry by correspondence. Catechism of servants or children. Research in Family Bibles. Study of photograph albums. Use of directories and biographies. Prowling about the house at night with skeleton keys. Bribing servants to name the sitter. The question of good faith is so vital that before taking leave of this part of the subject I will make the following statements :— 1. Mrs. Piper's correspondence was small, something like three letters a week, even when the children were away from her. The outsides of her letters nearly always passed through my hands, and often the insides, too, by her permission. 2. The servants were all, as it happened, new, having been obtained by my wife through ordinary local inquiries and registry offices, just about the time of Mrs. Piper's visit. Consequently they were entirely ignorant of family connections, and could have told nothing, however largely they had been paid. The ingenious suggestion has been made that they were her spies. Knowing the facts, I will content myself with asserting that they had absolutely no connection with her of any sort. 3. The photograph albums and Family Bibles were hidden by me the morning of the day after she arrived at my house. I had intended to do it sooner. This is manifestly a weak point. Like many such things, it sounds worse than it is. The more important books were in my study, and into it she did not go till just before the first sitting. One or two photographs she did look at, and these are noted. The safest tiling is to assume that she may have looked at everything about the house. 4. In order to be able to give better evidence, I obtained permission and immediately thereafter personally overhauled the whole of her luggage. Directories, biographies, Men of the Time, and such-like books were entirely absent. In fact there were scarcely any books at all. 5. The eldest child at home was aged nine, and the amount of information at his disposal was fairly well known to us. My wife was sceptically inclined, and was guarded in her utterances; and though n few slips could hardly be avoided—and one or two of these were rather unlucky ones—they were noted and are recorded. 6. Strange sitters frequently arrived at 11 a.m., and I admitted them myself straight into the room where we were going to sit; they ■were shortly afterwards introduced to Miff. Piper under some assumed name. 7. Occasionally, when the sitter came in an evening and took .a meal first, the correct name was apt to leak out. Even then it seems to me that a portentous and impossible memory would be needed to select from the entire mass of facts which had been previously (by impossible hypothesis) hunted up and memorialised for the circle of my and many other people's acquaintance, and to affix the correct parcel to the appropriate individual. 8. The whole attitude of Mrs. Piper was natural, uninquisitive, ladylike, and straightforward. If anything was noticeable it was a trace of languor and self-absorption, very natural under the trying condition of two long trances a day. Her whole demeanour struck everyone who became intimate with her as utterly beyond and above suspicion. 9. The trance is, to the best of my belief, a genuine one. In it Mrs. Piper is (sometimes, at least,) insensible to pain, as tested by suddenly pushing a needle into her hand, which causes not the slightest flinching; and her pulse is affected beyond what I can imagine to be the control of volition. Of the genuineness of the trance I have not the remotest doubt, and only say no more about it because it is a question for medical witnesses (p. 441). Cheating being supposed out of the question, and something which may briefly be described, at least by a non-psychologist, as a duplex or trance personality being conceded, the next hypothesis is that her trance personality makes use of information acquired by her in her waking state, and retails what it finds in her subconsciousness without any ordinary effort of memory. It is an interesting question whether any facts instilled into the waking Mrs. Piper can be recognised in the subsequent trance speech My impression at one time was that the trance information is practically independent of what specific facts Mrs. Piper may happen to know. The evidence now seems to me about evenly balanced on either side. Whether the trance speech could give, say, scientific facts, or a foreign language, or anything in its nature entirely beyond her ken, I am unable to say. Definite experiments may have, and I hope have, been directed to each of these questions, but not yet by me. I want to attack these questions next time I have a chance. So far as my present experience has gone, I do not feel sure how far Mrs. Piper's knowledge or ignorance of specific facts has an appreciable influence on the com- munication of her trance personality. But certainly the great mass of facts retailed by this personality are wholly outside of Mrs. Piper's knowledge; in detail, though not in kind."

Walter Leaf, pp. 558–9 of the same Proceedings: "(3) PART II By Walter Leaf, Litt.D. The series of sittings held by Mrs. Piper at Liverpool forms a set distinct to some extent from the rest in quality as well as in matter, and has therefore been treated apart, for convenience' sake, by Professor Lodge. It was remarkable, as compared with those which have now to be considered, for a high level of success. At Cambridge, as in London, success and failure alternated in a puzzling manner. In a large number of cases particles of intuition were embedded in a mass of vague, unintelligible, or distinctly "fishing" conversation. The sittings, however, have the advantage of throwing a great deal of light upon the working of the medium's secondary personality, and deserve therefore as careful study as those of more uniform quality. The plan adopted in dealing with them has been to set out first the most remark- able from an evidential point of view, and then a few of those which give the most unfavourable side of Dr. Phinuit's personality ; for as a. distinct personality we shall have to regard him. The remainder are collected in the Appendix in an abbreviated form. Before entering upon details, it is necessary to give a general view of the conditions under which the London sittings took place. Mr. Myers has already done this for Cambridge. In London the same precautions were of course taken to introduce all sitters, not previously known to Mrs. Piper, under feigned names. The possibility of gaining information by local gossip, which has to be taken into account in Cambridge and even in Liverpool, was here excluded by the circum- stances of the case; and the same may be said of another supposed source of information, that by inquiry from servants. The first nine sittings were held at Mrs. Piper's lodgings, No. 27, Montagu-street, W.C. The owners of the lodgings could not possibly have known anything of Dr. Myers, by whom the arrangements were made. When Mrs. Piper came to London for the second time, she was lodged at a private hotel not far from my residence, where the possibility of information was equally excluded. She sat several times at my house, and dmed there on one occasion ; but she was under close observation all the time, and it is perfectly certain that she had no chance of "pumping" any of the servants, nor indeed are any of the statements which she made such as could possibly be accounted for by such channels of information. One sitting, perhaps the most remarkable of the series, took place at Mr. Clarke's house at Harrow. Here it may be said that there was a possible source of inquiry; for Mrs. Piper had not only met Mr. Clarke in America, but had crossed the Atlantic on the same steamer with him ; and it will be suggested, no doubt, that she had succeeded in pumping him as to his wife's family in the course of conversation. That any man could have imparted unconsciously such curious and unusual family histories as those told to Mrs. Clarke would be amazing enough. The supposition is simply impossible to those who have had the opportunity of watching Mrs. Piper, and estimating the singularly limited range of her conversation, and its inadequacy for the subtle designs attributed to it. Moreover, some of the facts stated were unknown to Mr. Clarke himself till he heard them asserted by the medium and confirmed by his wife. Both Mr. and Mrs. Clarke are intimately known to me ; and no better evidence than theirs could possibly be desired. Mrs. Clarke is a German by birth, and has been in England only since her marriage. The facts stated to her refer entirely to members of her family in Germany. Nothing short of a detective employed by Mrs. Piper in Munich would have availed to get her the knowledge which she showed on the occasion of her sitting with Mrs. Clarke. The same may be said of the only two other London sittings which are published at length, as being of evidential importance. My sister- in-law, Mrs. H. Leaf, was introduced to Mrs. Piper at the lodgings in Manchester-street, where Mrs. Piper had arrived the day before, and was immediately told a number of facts of almost all of which I was myself quite ignorant, as they referred to various cousins of hers whose names I had not to my knowledge ever heard. Mr. Pye is a friend whom I have known for many years, but of whose family I know only one or two members. What was stated to him was entirely outside my own knowledge. Of the other sittings the most remarkable was undoubtedly Miss " Gertrude C.'s." As will be seen from her report, Appendix, Nos. 29 and 31, the best part of this was of so private a nature that practically very little can be published. Of the facts which have had to be reserved it is quite clear that no means, not even the most astute detective, could have obtained knowledge of them ; they were secrets which were the property of one, or at most of two or three persons. In addition to this there is the conviction which I strongly feel, in common, I think, with all those who have seen much of Mrs. Piper, that she is absolutely honest. This of course refers to her normal state; as to the view to be taken of the Phinuit personality there will be more to be said hereafter. But as to the first and most obvious question, whether she consciously acquires knowledge with regard to her sitters, with the intention of deceiving, I may say most positively that I regard such a supposition as entirely untenable."

pp. 1–9 of the report by Dr. Hodgson in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. viii.: "§ 1. Introductory. My knowledge of Mrs. Piper began early in May, 1887, about a fortnight after my arrival in Boston. Professor William James men- tioned her to me, and appointed an hour, without, of course, mentioning my name, at which Mrs. Piper could give me a sitting. Mrs. Piper, however, was engaged at the time I called, and could see me only to arrange for a sitting a day or two later. As my readers know, from the article in Proceedings S.P.E., Vol. VI., pp. 436-650, Mrs. Piper passes into the so-called "mediumistic trance," and then usually purports to be "controlled" by a "Doctor Phinuit." For convenience of reference I shall speak of "Phinuit " as a distinct personality, and consider later some points that bear on the probability or improbability that Phinuit is an intelligence entirely separate from the individuality of Mrs. Piper. After I had had several sittings I informed Mrs. Piper of my name and address, ike, for convenience in arranging sittings—either for myself or for other persons—and I estimate that I have made appoint- ments for at least fifty persons whom I believed to be strangers to Mrs. Piper. At one time I arranged with Mrs. Piper that she should give me the first hour on three mornings of the week for several successive weeks, and I sent persons at these times to keep the appointment, usually warning them not to speak of their intended visit even in the presence of their nearest relatives, while Mrs. Piper knew simply that either myself or some person deputed by me would fill each engagement. On a few occasions I accompanied the sitters and took notes of the sittings. Several times Mrs. Piper was unable to go into trance at all. At other times the attempts of Phinuit to give information to the sitters were not only unsatisfactory, but were calculated to produce the opinion that he had no supernormal faculty whatever, but was "fishing" and "shuffling" like any ordinary pseudo-medium, and this opinion was produced in some of the sitters, who regarded Mrs. Piper as probably fraudulent. Others again believed themselves to be, through Phinuit, actually conversing with their deceased friends, while others regarded the communications as explicable on the hypothesis that Mrs. Piper in her trance state possesses the power of getting glimpses into the sitter's past experiences, or, to use the phrase of one sitter, of "fingering in the wastepaper basket of our memories." These sittings, therefore, were very much of the same character as those already reported in Vol. VI. of our Proceedings. Much interest was aroused by these preliminary inquiries, which I conducted for my own personal satisfac- tion, and finally, in 1888, a serious attempt was made by the Com- mittee on Mediumistic Phenomena (appointed by the Council of the American Society for Psychical Research) to investigate Mrs. Piper, and I extract the following from the Report of the Committee (Pro- ceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, p. 320):— "During the year the committee, as such, has undertaken the careful examination of the results obtained by one well-known trance medium, who is reported to have given to many prudent sitters names and communications of such accuracy and fulness that it is supposed that such results could only be reached by some occult agency, or by some mental process which is not exactly recognised as yet. The committee was of the opinion that the reality of such phenomena could probably be satisfactorily determined by a series of sittings held with suitable sitters under the personal supervision of a member of the committee and stenographically reported. In this plan we were aided very materially by the generous co-operation of the medium, who expressed herself ready and willing to act with us in our work. Thus far we have been able to have only eight or ten sittings in which the desired conditions were reasonably fulfilled. The results thus obtained are not of such a character as to warrant any very decided judgment as to the nature of the phenomena under examination, but they throw some light on the questions involved." This special investigation ended owing to lack of funds. The com- mittee regarded the stenographic reports as essential, and these were expensive. I had the opportunity of studying the stenographic reports men- tioned in the above extract, and also the comments of the sitter and of the member of the committee in each case. I have also in my posses- sion several stenographic reports of sittings made at the instance of Professor James previous to my arrival in America. In addition I have had sittings for the purpose of testing Phinuit's capacities in various ways, and among them a series of sittings which Mrs. Piper gave gratuitously, for the purpose of enabling me to find out what I could from Phinuit, in any way that I chose, concerning his own personality, his knowledge, his relations to Mrs. Piper, ifcc. This series of sittings last referred to, of which the circumstances at the time permitted me to have only five, were stenographically reported, also gratuitously, by a lady member of our Society who had had frequent sittings with Mrs. Piper, and was well known to the Phinuit personality. Furthermore, I have received oral accounts from a large number of persons, some of whom have had frequent sittings with Mrs. Piper for several years, indepen- dently of my arrangements. I have before me also the reports of Mrs. Piper's sittings in England. Mrs. Piper, throughout all my acquaint- ance with her, has shown the fullest readiness to accept my suggestions in any way whatever for the purpose of ascertaining the meaning of the Phinuit personality, and both she and Phinuit gave me full permission to try and test in any way that I might think desirable. As my investi- gations have proceeded I have been more and more strengthened in the conviction that Mrs. Piper's trance is a genuine abnormal state, and that the normal waking Mrs. Piper has no direct knowledge whatever of the sayings and doings of her trance personality. That she exhibits supernormal phenomena in the trance state I have no doubt. In brief, I find myself in entire agreement with the formal summary report pre- sented by Professor Lodge in Proceedings S.P.E., Vol. VI., p. 443, which ran, it will be remembered, as follows :— "It is the case of a lady who appears to go off into a trance when she pleases to will it under favourable surroundings, and in that trance to talk volubly, with a manner and voice quite different from her ordinary manner and voice, on details concerning which she has had no information given her. "In this abnormal state her speech has reference mainly to people's relatives and friends, living or deceased, about whom she is able to hold a conversation, and with whom she appears more or less familiar. "By introducing anonymous strangers, and by catechising her myself in various ways, I have satisfied myself that much of the information she possesses in the trance state is not acquired by ordinary commonplace methods, but that she has some unusual means of acquiring information. The facts on which she discourses are usually within the knowledge of some person present, though they are often entirely out of his conscious thought at the time. Occasionally facts have been narrated which have only been verified afterwards, and which are in good faith asserted never to have been known; meaning thereby that they have left no trace on the conscious memory of any person present or in the neighbourhood, and that it is highly improbable that they were ever known to such persons. "She is also in the trance state able to diagnose diseases and to specify the owners or late owners of portable property, under circumstances which preclude the application of ordinary methods. "In the midst of this lucidity a number of mistaken and confused statements are frequently made, having little or no apparent meaning or application. "Concerning the particular means by which she acquires the different kinds of information, there is no sufficient evidence to make it safe to draw any conclusion. I can only say with certainty that it is by none of the ordinary methods known to Physical Science." § 2. Some Peculiarities of the Trance State. Mre. Piper seems, so far as my experiments have gone, to be partially anaesthetic in the medium-trance. Professor James tells me that on one occasion he found the lips and tongue analgesic. Phinuit claims to have neither taste nor smell, and I was unable to get any indications of them. Once, however, when I was testing Phinuit's knowledge of herbs (see below, p. 51), Mrs. Blodgett was present and tasted one of the specimens, whereupon Phinuit put a portion in his mouth, but in reply to my inquiry said that he could not taste it. Phinuit claimed to get no sensations of smell from a scent-bag or a bottle of perfume,—at which I was not surprised, since, on a previous occasion, I could not detect the smallest signs of discomfort1 after he had taken several inhalations of strong ammonia. I took special care to see that the ammonia was actually inhaled. Similarly he appeared to be quite un- aware of a spoonful of salt which I placed in his mouth. Dr. C. W. F. states (see below, Reports of Sittings, No. 23) that the sense of taste was in the forehead, but the single incident upon which he founded this opinion is capable of another explanation. Dr. F. writes to me :— "February 16tt, 1891. At my first seance with Mrs. Piper, Phinuit said, 'Get the medium to cut off a lock of your hair for me to examine and then prescribe some medicine for you.' This was done and the medicine sent to me, and I took it for a time, and thought it soothed the bladder. I put a small vial of it in my pocket before visiting Mrs. Piper again, as I wished Phinuit to tell me what it was. I took it from my pocket during the trance and handed it to her, when she removed the cork and wetted her finger either from the cork or vial and placed it to her forehead. Phinuit remarked that it was all right, correctly prepared. It contained, among other things, uva ursi and wild carrot. I now remember asking him the question, 'Why was it necessary for you to have a lock of my hair to examine before prescribing for me when you had me right before you?' His answer was to the effect that the medicine might be examined by him after its preparation to see that it was all right. He then instanced a case he prescribed for where a wrong salt was used by the apothecary to the injury of the lady having the seance. I made no further experiment as to the seat of the sense of taste." On the other hand, Miss W. relates an incident that seems to bear on this point (see p. 31), where Phinuit apparently went through the process of " tasting," and suggested that Mrs. Piper had been eating onions. Miss W. further writes :—. 1 Mrs. Piper suffered somewhat after the trance was over. "Dr. Phinuit seemed to taste the onion. The tongue moved about in the mouth and smacked on the lips for several seconds, while I waited with much curiosity. Neither then nor afterwards did I get any hint of the odour through my own nostrils." He localised pinches correctly in various parts of the body, and sensations of touch, temperature, pressure, and the muscular sense seem to be all present, though apparently somewhat enfeebled. The sense of hearing is present, though this seems to vary in fineness to a certain extent in different trances. When I made some rough experiments on localisation by pinching—sometimes rather severely—Phinuit explained that he "lost control" temporarily of that portion of the body. "Makes it like a stick. I have got no feeling in that for a time, but when you let go I feel it again." Later on, unexpectedly, I held a lighted match to the left forearm. The arm was drawn away, not suddenly, but slowly, as though a vague discomfort was appreciated. "Oui, I feel it," exclaimed Phinuit. "Did you feel pain J" "No, felt cold—cold, I think." I have not tried any severe pain tests. (See Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 447.) Whenever I examined the eye- balls in the medium-trance I found them rolled up, and the pupils reacted to light. They reacted also, I leam from Professor James, in the ordinary hypnosis which he succeeded in obtaining with Mrs. Piper. On one occasion, having persuaded Phinuit to stand up,1 I held the eyelids up and urged Phinuit to force the eyeballs into their ordinary waking position. This seemed to involve considerable effort on Phinuit's part, and Mrs. Piper's face became much drawn and rather ghastly during the process. The eyeballs, with a vacant stare, remained down for about half a minute, though I did not take the exact time, and then suddenly rolled up again. (At the end of that sitting Mrs. Piper was an exceptionally long time recovering from trance. Phinuit had said "Au revoir," but after several minutes spoke again in a low voice, and complained that he had "got twisted round somehow and could not find his way out." After a short interval, however, Mrs. Piper began to come to herself in the usual way.) Here I fully expected to have added the report of Mrs. Piper's physician, who attended her for several months in 1890, and who was present at a sitting which Mrs. Piper gave on December 4th, 1890; but after hesitating for some time he absolutely refused to make any report whatever. Dr. Wadsworth, who made an examination of Mrs. Piper's eyes in 1 Mrs. Piper stood up without changing the position of her feet, at the same time throwing her head slightly back and her chest forward, and thrusting the thumbs jauntily into what would have been the armholes of her waistcoat had she worn one. the normal state, informs me that she has slight astigmatism, hut that otherwise the eyes are normal in all respects.1 § 3. Hypothesis of Fraud ox the Part of Mrs. Piper. I need hardly say that in estimating the value of my own as of all other sittings, I was compelled to assume, in the first instance, that Mrs. Piper was fraudulent and obtained her information previously by ordinary means, such as inquiries by confederates, &c. Not only was this assumption as to Mrs. Piper's fraud necessary, but it was alst> needful to suppose that she worked herself into a hyperresthetic state during which she obtained much further information given in various ways by the sitter, consciously or unconsciously, by speech, gesture, and other muscular action. That I did not obtain a sitting at my first visit might be pointed to as a very suspicious circumstance, and it might well be supposed that, in consequence of my known connection with the Society for Psychical Research, Mrs. Piper might have previously "got up" information about myself and other active workers in the Society in the expectation of future use. The inadequacy, moreover, of my notes may also be alleged, since they were not absolutely verbatim and my attention was more or less given to the associations connected with the information communicated by Phinuit. In reply to this I can only say that I have striven with the utmost care to avoid attributing to Phinuit any statement which might have been obtained previously from my own words.2 My opinion about my own sittings is that they would appear much more remarkable if stenographic reports had been taken. Now, we cannot argue that the facts related to me by Phinuit were not such as were likely to have been provided by confederates, because we must suppose that Mrs. Piper has an astuteness at least equal to ours, and would therefore anticipate an argument of this kind. And there is hardly any single fact about any single person of which a medium may not be legitimately supposed to have acquired some knowledge, either accidentally or by systematic secret inquiry. The difficulty in supposing that Phinuit's knowledge has been acquired in this way is 1 Examination bit 0. F. Wadmorth, M.D., Boston, Mass.—Mrs. L. E. Piper, January 11th, 1891.—Eyes on external inspection normal in appearance. Right eye: vision, with— -25 sph. and + 75 cyl., axis vertical, -J* +. Left eye: vision, with + -50cyl., axis vertical, \i +. Reads '5 Snellen 26" to 9". Field of vision in each eye normal. Colour sense normal. Fundus normal. 2 In recording the early sittings both of myself and other persons, my object was not so much to note down every word of Phinuit, but to note the substance of such specific statements as were made by Phinuit without help from the sitter, using, of course, Phinuit's words as far as possible. I did not, moreover, anticipate any detailt d publicaiton of these early records, which I made for my own satisfaction and for subsequent questioning of the sitters, at a time when I was looking forward to a systematic examination of Mrs. Piper's trance state by the then existing American S.P.R. owing to the large number of facts communicated concerning a large number of different sitters, special care having been taken with the view of preventing Mrs. Piper's knowing anything of these persons before- hand. There is, I think, in the reports which follow, enough evidence to show that fraud on the part of Mrs. Piper is very far from being an adequate explanation, though it is, of course, conceivable that in some cases Mrs. Piper, had she been fraudulent, might have acquired by ordinary means such information as Phinuit gave to the sitter. Mr. John F. Brown, for example, appears to have concluded that this supposition, allowing also for guesswork and questioning during the sitting, is the actual explanation of his own experiences with Mrs. Piper (Reports of Sittings, No. 13); and Professor Henry P. Bowditch, M.D., has given me an account of some circumstances which he finds hard to explain, except upon the hypothesis that Mrs. Piper was acting fraudulently. Professor Bowditch had a sitting with Mrs. Piper in May, 1886, at which the communications were entirely irrelevant. His con- nection with the American Society for Psychical Research was prominent, and he might have been seen by Mrs. Piper presiding at public meetings, and his name ascertained. He is frequently called Dr. Henry Bowditch. An uncle of his, Henry I. Bowditch, M.D., was also well known as a practising physician in Boston. About December, 1887, Professor Bowditch, accompanied by his brother's wife, called on Mrs. Piper for the purpose of having a sitting. Mrs. Piper, he says, declined to give a sitting on the plea of ill-health, but held some con- versation with them, and presumably recognised Professor Bowditch. Several weeks later I arranged a sitting for them, at the request of Pro- fessor Bowditch, without, of course, mentioning any names. At this sitting, which was held on January 17th, 1888, several specific details were given which purported to come from a deceased lady well known to the sitters. Her Christian name and surname were correctly given, and also the place of her death, in Europe; but the references to Pro- fessor Bowditch, his father, and other relatives were incorrect as applied to him, but would have been correct if applied to his uncle, Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, to whom also the deceased lady had been well known. Moreover, no statements at all were made which appeared specially to concern Professor Bowditch's sister-in-law, who accompanied him. It was plain to him during the sitting that there was some confusion, but it was not till afterwards, in talking the matter over with his sister-in- law, that it occurred to him that the references would have fitted his uncle. Professor Bowditch's inference was that Mrs. Piper had obtained information beforehand by ordinary means concerning Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, and had applied it to himself, supposing him to be the person. Unfortunately no record was made of this sitting, and although Professor Bowditch's explanation is the one that would appear most reasonable to any person who was not. familiar with Mrs. Piper's trance state, I think it probable that the incident could easily be explained otherwise if we had a detailed report of the conversation between Professor Bowditch and Phinuit. In personal appearance, at least, Professor Bowditch could never be mistaken for his uncle; but if we suppose Phinuit to be receiving there and then—from whatever source, "departed spirits" or the minds of the sitters—a general mass of information about the Bowditch family, it would not be matter of surprise that he should be confused as to the two doctors Henry Bowditch. It would be much more matter of surprise that Mrs. Viper should make this mistake. It may even be that Phinuit was drawing information, not only—at the time of the sitting—from the sitters or from some extraneous source, but also from the knowledge, conscious and unconscious, previously possessed by Mrs. Piper, and in attempting to piece these fragments of information together made some mistakes. But in the absence of precise details as to what Phinuit said, how far there was mere confusion and how far there was definite mis- taken identity, my explanation cannot go beyond conjecture. The reader may compare the incidents described by Professor Lodge in Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 454 and p. 462 (footnote). I have already stated my conviction of Mrs. Piper's honesty, and I hold further that the reports quoted here—not to speak of those already published in Vol. VI.—establish the existence of some faculty in Phinuit which goes at least as far as telepathy. The detailed reports themselves are offered as justification for this view, and —after what has been already published—I think it superfluous to attempt any summary of them for the purpose of proving either that Mrs. Piper could not have acquired by normal means the information given at the sittings, or that Phinuit, as distinguished from Mrs. Piper, could not have obtained all this information by guessing, questioning, and interpretation of muscular and other indications consciously and unconsciously given by the sitters. My readers, I shall assume, are familiar with the analysis of Phinuit's character and methods by Professor Lodge and also with the —to a certain extent complementary —analysis by Mr. Leaf. With all their criticisms of Phinuit's "tricks and manners" I substantially if not completely agree, and I wish to emphasise this fact very strongly, not because of the mere agreement itself, but because it should be understood that I do not pass lightly over the weakness and deficiencies of the Phinuit personality. Indeed; I have been at sittings where Phinuit has displayed such paltering and equivocation, and such a lack of lucidity, that I believe had these been my only experiences with him I should without any hesitation have condemned Mrs. Piper as an impostor. Such failures appear to depend sometimes, but not always, on the sitter. As Phinuit himself confessed (May 26th, 1888): "Sometimes when I come here, do you know, actually it is hard work for me to get control of the medium. Some- times I think I am almost like the medium, and sometimes not at all. Then [when the control is incomplete] I am weak and confused." Admitting, then, and emphasising the shortcomings of Phinuit, and allowing that many statements correctly made by Phinuit might be accounted for on the supposition that Mrs. Piper had "got up" the information beforehand, I shall here assume that there is nevertheless a large residuum to be attributed to some supernormal faculty. From this point of view the really important questions for consideration are: (1) What is Phinuit? and (2) By what supernormal means does he get his information? I have no final answer for either of these questions, but I think it useful to collate briefly some of the most important incidents in the records here published, with the view of showing why the most obvious answers are not entirely satisfactory. In doing this I propose to follow the example of Professor Lodge (Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 647), and dismiss altogether the hypothesis of imposture on the part of Mrs. Piper."

pp. 6–11 of the report by Professor Newbold in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xiv.: "A FURTHER RECORD OF OBSERVATIONS OF CERTAIN PHENOMENA OF TRANCE. PART H. A.—By Professor William Romaine Newbold. § 1. Introductory. I have been present at twenty-six sittings with Mrs. Piper, and Dr. Hodgson kindly supervised seven others at which I was not present, although the communicators invoked and the topics introduced were suggested by me. Fifteen sittings, including two of those at which I was not present, were devoted for the most part to getting evidence to prove the identity of the alleged communicators; the remainder to getting from them their own theory of the phenomena and their description of the conditions under which they were working and of the life they live. While it is impossible at present to accept these statements as true, it is of the greatest importance to put them on record as affording clues for the guidance of experiments with other automatists. The material got from this latter series I shall leave entirely to Dr. Hodgson. I am myself concerned with the evidence for identity only. Of the general character of that evidence the following pages will give a sufficient account. In making my abstract I have tried to include the more important passages which are relevant to the question of identity. I have been especially careful to bring into prominence all distinct failures and any other facts which would tend to detract from the surprising character of many of the statements made. As a rule I have not transcribed verbatim pages of confusion from which no coherent thought can be extracted. But in the cases in which such confusion immediately precedes the appearance of some surprising bit of information, it has been in several cases given in full, that the reader may form his own opinion of the methods by which such results are attained. For examples cf. the giving of the names of Morton, Murdoch, and the introduction of Mr. Burton (pp. 15, 27, 32). When clearly intelligible passages contained repetitions of the same word due to the inability of the sitter to decipher the first attempt, or words and phrases which have nothing to do with the general tenor of the communication, the extraneous material has frequently been omitted without indication of the fact. Names of persons and of places have been in nearly all cases sup- pressed. In the selection of pseudonyms I have taken great pains to represent familiar names by names at least as familiar, and unfamiliar names by names as unfamiliar. So also in the transcription of phonetic approximations to the real names, I have taken great care to make the representatives letter for letter analogous to their originals. A few other changes have been made in order still further to conceal identity, but nothing which could at all affect the value of the evidence. With regard to the origin of the information given, I have no theory to offer. I can frame none to which I cannot myself allege unanswerable objections. I am satisfied, however, as is every one so far as I know who has studied the case at any length, that it was not consciously got by Mrs. Piper during waking life and then fraudulently palmed off on the sitter as supernormal. There is every reason for believing that there is no memory bond between Mrs. Piper's waking consciousness and that of her trance life. A question more difficult to answer is that which inquires into the amount of information which Mrs. Piper's trance personalities get from the sitter. Even without resorting to the assumption of a tele- pathic relation between the sitter and the "medium," no one who has seen how readily an acute "medium" will construct an appropriate "spirit" message upon the suggestions furnished by a sitter's looks and words will be easily convinced by any such record as I here offer. This is a legitimate objection, and to some extent impairs the value of the evidence. In dealing with personalities who had had much experience in writing, and occasionally with those. who represented themselves as having been long dead, it was usually possible to keep complete notes of the sitter's questions and answers. The writing was relatively slow, and illegible words were readily rewritten. But the alleged spirits of those who had but recently died, or who had died a violent death, or who had been bound to the sitter by strong emotional ties, nearly always display great excitement and confusion. The time and attention of one and even two sitters is fully occupied in con- trolling the violent convulsions which seize the writing arm, keeping a constant flow of cheering talk going for the benefit of the communica- tor, replacing broken pencils and at the same time deciphering the pages of delirious nonsense which the hand scribbles off as fast as it can tear over the sheets, any misreading of which greatly increases the excitement and confusion. Under such circumstances, our notes necessarily became frag- mentary, and when the sitting was written up a few hours later, many of our questions and answers had to be supplied from memory. It is possible that some suggestions given by sitters have escaped our notice, and the evidence is to that extent untrustworthy. I am myself satisfied that the percentage of error thus introduced is not considerable. Both Dr. Hodgson and I have seen much of pro- fessional mediums, and are thoroughly familiar with the methods of "fishing" upon which they generally rely. Hence we always had such possibilities in mind, and it would have been impossible for any large amount of detailed information to have been extracted from us in this way without our knowledge. Occasionally our vigilance relaxed, and we made careful note of the fact. For examples see the quotation "Fama tempus vivat" (p. 45), and Mr. Bonney's name (p. 43). Probably it occasionally relaxed without our making any note of it, but that could not have happened very often. The reader will observe that "yes " and "no" are often written when no questions are recorded. This is due to the fact that, the writing being exceedingly illegible and coming very rapidly, the sitter reads aloud with a slight interrogatory inflection at any convenient resting point, as at the end of a sheet or at an apparent pause in the sense. To this the writer responds with "yes" or '• no," to show whether he is being correctly understood. If these utterances are, as I believe them to be, entirely dissevered from the normal consciousness of Mrs. Piper, they as truly reveal to us a new world of mind as the microscope reveals a new world of matter. George Pelham and his companions undoubtedly record for us conscious experiences which are subjectively as real as any that you or I ever experienced. But when we ask to what metaphysical category of Being they are to be assigned, we find no satisfactory answer. Are they merely unusually stable dream states, generated in connection with Mrs. Piper's brain, interrupted perhaps during her normal life, but resuming the thread of their phantasmal existence with the recurrence of the convulsions which usher in her trance? Or are they what they profess to be, human minds, divested of their mortal bodies, and lead- ing an independent existence in a supersensible world?—a world as real as this present world in the only true sense of real, being an inevitable portion of the common experience of conscious beings. Of the existence of such a world we cannot satisfy ourselves by any of our usual tests. We are confined to the evidence for the iden- tity of the alleged communicators. Of the extent and value of the evidence to be got from my series of sittings the reader can himself judge. Much of it seems to me strong, and much more I cannot reconcile with the theory of identity. The only alternative to the "spirit" theory is the theory which ascribes the phenomena to secondary personalities, derived from the weaving together by Mrs. Piper's nervous mechanism of all the complex suggestions of the stance room, supplemented by telepathic and clairvoyant impressions got in connection with the sitter and with the articles which he brings. For this we can find some analogies on a smaller scale; the greater part of my own experiences, if taken severally, seem to me susceptible of such an explanation, and there are a few items, such as the Morse incident (p. 24), which almost irresistibly suggest it. Taken as a whole, however, I do not think that the phenomona can be satisfactorily explained by reference to telepathy or clair- voyance. Indeed the phenomena which those words vaguely designate are themselves too little known to provide principles for the elucidation of the less known, and although, as I have said, individual scraps of information may be ascribed with some show of plausibility to a telepathic or clairvoyant origin, the arrangement of these scraps into mosaics of thought, which, however defaced, still often irresistibly suggest the habits, tastes, and memories of some friend deceased—for this I know of no telepathic or clairvoyant analogy. For example, the demand made by "aunt Sallie" that I should identify myself by expounding the significance of "two marriages in this case, mother and aunt grandma also," admits of no satisfactory telepathic explanation. The fact was known to me and might have been got telepathically. But why is the dream personality of the only communicator who died in my childhood the only one who seeks to identify me? Why does she allude in so indirect a fashion to the mode of her death (see p. 34)1 Certainly no stratum of my personality would have felt hesitation in alluding to so commonplace a matter as a laparotomy, or would have lacked suitable language in which to express the allusion. Whence came the reference to "Carson the Dr.," a circumstance which I had totally forgotten, if I ever knew it? And, finally, why was the faded personality of this almost forgotten maiden aunt evoked at all 1 I was not ten years old when she died, and she had been dead twenty years. She was a teacher, lived in Philadelphia, died in a hospital in New York, and was buried near Philadelphia. I do not know the exact date of her death or the exact place of her burial. Probably few persons beside her immediate relatives know that such a person ever existed, and even her relatives seldom think of her. Why were these dim memories so clearly reflected, while others, far stronger, produced no effect 1 Why were my memories, in process of reflection, so refracted as to come seemingly not from my masculine and adult point of view but from that of a spinster aunt who could not at first recognise me with confidence, and who, taking it for granted that her little nephew of ten had not been informed as to the precise cause of her death, expected him, although grown to man's estate, to convey a very obvious allusion to his mother for interpretation without himself knowing what it meant 1 The telepathic interpretation of my other sittings might be criti- cised in much the same manner. Evidence of this sort does not suggest telepathy, it suggests the actual presence of the alleged communicators, and if it stood alone I should have no hesitation in accepting that theory. Unfortunately it does not stand alone. It is interwoven with obscurity, confusion, irrelevancy, and error in a most bewildering fashion. I agree with Dr. Hodgson that the description given by the writers themselves of the conditions under which they are labouring would, if accepted, account for a very large part of this matter. But, even after the most generous allowance on this score, there remains much which the writers cannot explain. Easily first comes their almost total inability to observe and report the phenomena of the material world, coupled with their reiterated assertions that they can and will do so. Second should be put, perhaps, the unaccountable ignorance which they often betray of matters which upon any theory should have been well known to them. In the third place, the general intellectual, as distinguished from the moral and religious, tone of the more recent communications is far lower than we would expect of beings who had long enjoyed exceptional opportunities for the acquisi- tion of knowledge. Concrete descriptions of the other world can be had indeed ad infinitum, but of organised, systematised, conceptual knowledge there is little trace. From such inconsistent material one can draw no fixed conclusions. But there is one result which I think the investigation into Mrs. Piper's and kindred cases should achieve. For any theory some intrinsically strong evidence must be adduced, even if there be but little of it, before the theory can be given any standing in court at all. Until within very recent years the scientific world has tacitly rejected a large number of important philosophical conceptions on the ground that there is absolutely no evidence in their favour whatever. Among those popular conceptions are those of the essential independ- ence of the mind and the body, of the existence of a supersensible world, and of the possibility of occasional communication between that world and this. We have here, as it seems to me, evidence that is worthy of consideration for all these points. It was well expressed by a friend of mine, a scholar who has been known for his uncom- promising opposition to every form of supernaturalism. He had had a sitting with Mrs. Piper, at which very remarkable disclosures were made, and shortly afterwards said to me, in effect, "Scientific men can- not say much longer that there is no evidence for a future life. I have said it, but I shall say it no longer; I know now that there is evidence, for I have seen it. I do not believe in a future life. I regard it as one of the most improbable of theories. The evidence is scanty and ambiguous and insufficient, but it is evidence and it must be reckoned with." If the evidence which the Mrs. Piper case affords proves sufficient to draw any considerable body of competent men into these lines of research, it will have done as much as, and more than, I can venture to expect."

p. 5–9 of the report by Professor Hyslop in Proceedings S.P.R., vol. xvi: "In fixing these alternatives, however, I am told that I should include the possibility of fraud, which is simpler than either of the others. My reply is that I shall not discuss that hypothesis at length. I consider it as having been excluded from view as much as ten years ago, and no one except those who have resolutely remained ignorant of the Society's work in general, and who have not taken the pains to acquaint themselves with the very special precautions in regard to this matter in the Piper case, would compromise his intelligence with that accusation without giving specific proofs of i"t^ For the special benefit of that class, I shall refer it to the record which shows what means were taken to eliminate this resource for explana- tion. (Proceedings, Vol. VI., pp. 437-440, 444-447, 558-560, 615 - etal. Vol. VIII., pp. 1-9; Vol. XIII., pp. 284-5, and Vol. XIV., pp. 7 and 50-78.) Nor is it necessary to resent any insinuations that we are duped, until those who are' possessed of so much intelligence without any previous study of this special instance can produce specific; evidence that the subject of our investigation exhibits the qualities and engages in the kind of work that must be supposed in order to meet the case. It is easy to say "fraud" and suggest any number of imaginable methods of deception, as it is known and practised in most that passes for spiritualism. But it is quite a different thing to indicate the exact kind of "fraud" necessary to reduce the character of a given case. Those who are at all acquainted with the conditions and nature of the Pijier phenomena, and who are not willing to excuse their indolence by an appeal to an explanation for which they have no evidence, will very quickly discover that there is only one kind of fraud even conceivable in the case, and that is the employment of detectives for obtaining infor- mation. This method will undoubtedly account for the cases with which the public is usually entertained, but any attempt to apply it to the present instance in detail, taking adequate consideration of the content of it, will be confronted with assumptions that are about as enormous as the spiritistic theory itself. I am not questioning the' value of scepticism in this direction, but only insisting that it be intelligent and ready to accept the logical consequences of the supposi- tion that it makes. The accuser does not stop to think of the magnitude of his hypothesis when applied to both the quality and quantity of the facts under the conditions involved. But it is not this alone that eviscerates that suspicion of its perti- nence. We might well admit that both quality and quantity would be vitiated by the existence of detective fraud, if that suspicion could be legitimately directed against the subject of our experiments. But in spite of the care with which the Society's publications have stated the conditions under which all arrangements are made for experiments, exempting Mrs. Piper from all responsibility for security against sus- picion, not even the scientific public has yet been intelligent enough to discover that it is on an entirely wrong scent. It ought to be clear to even the most dull person, who must bear the suspicion of fraud, when Dr. Hodgson interposes between the experimenter and Mrs. Piper, and when he, with the rest of us, subordinates the evidential value of any experiments otherwise conducted. The situation is such, as the most cursory examination shows, that the notion of fraud cannot be entertained without implying the complicity of Dr. Hodgson. Now Dr. Hodgson is not under the slightest obligation to prove his own honesty, or that he is not a fraud himself. Hence it is the duty of the sceptic to prove that there is collusion and dishonesty on Dr. Hodgson's part when any charge is made against Mrs. Piper. Members of the Society assumed the duty to examine into her relation to the phenomena, and having satisfied themselves of her innocence, Dr. Hodgson has chosen to shelter her behind his own responsibility, so that the man who wishes to cling to the suspicion of fraud must accept without wincing this responsibility for proving his suspicion. The time is past when we can indulge in the cheap accusation against Mrs. Piper, which tries to throw the burden of proof upon us who announce the value of our results. But when it is Dr. Hodgson who is the starting point of the experiments, critics must accept the challenge to investigate him, or turn their objections to his conclusions in another direction. They cannot stand idly by and demand proof for honesty when it is their duty to prove dishonesty. If we were dealing only with Mrs. Piper, the case might be different, but, as it is, we can safely leave to critics to make good against Dr. Hodgson the alternative to the hypotheses of telepathy and spiritism. In regard to Dr. Hodgson's relation to the sittings generally, it will be important for the reader to know that he is not always present at the sittings that he has arranged for, and that some of the best com- munications have come to persons who, at the former period when the control of Mrs. Piper was not stringent, arranged for themselves and went to her without the knowledge of Dr. Hodgson at all, and reported to him afterward (Cf. Professor Nichols' case, Proceedings, Vol. XIII. pp. 374 and 534). At present, in spite of his control of all arrange- ments for sittings, he is often absent from whole series of them, and the fact makes no difference in the content of the communications. In mine I insisted on his presence, because I was not familiar with the automatic writing and did not wish to waste time in learning to read it. Dr. Hodgson acted as stenographer, so to speak, copying at the time much of the automatic writing, and noting all that was said, or done by both of us and by Mrs. Piper's hand. Any attempt on my part to do this without experience would have resulted in much loss of time and increase of confusion in the "communications," owing to the necessity of repeating until I could decipher the writing. But even then Dr. Hodgson was several times sent out of the room by the trance personalities, and his absence showed no effect on the contents of the "communications," except perhaps to improve that feature of them affecting their relevance, though it took more time for me to read the writing and to obtain a given quantity of material. For the occasions on which Dr. Hodgson was sent out of the room and was not present the reader can consult the following references to the Appendices and detailed records. (Appendix I., pp. 305-306, 306-308, 309-310. All the best part of this sitting, in so far as content is concerned, came while Dr. Hodgson was out of the room. Appendix III., pp. 420-421). The reader can see for himself that in all the instances the "communications " were not interrupted either in manner or matter, except so far as I was the cause and so far as supersensible causes are assumed, so that no affirmation of their entire dependence upon his presence can be made. This is, of course, far truer of others than myself, as he was so often not present even in the house, and the sitter was unknown to Mrs. Piper. Nor is this all, taking the whole case into account. Professor William James, of Harvard University, exercised more or less super- vision over Mrs. Piper's trances and introduced unknown sitters as early as 1885, two years before Dr. Hodgson ever saw the shores of America. And, in fact, it was Professor James that made the appoint- ment for Dr. Hodgson's own first sitting. Professor James says of this year, 1885, "I visited her (Mrs. Piper) a dozen times that winter, sometimes alone, sometimes with my wife, once in company with the Rev. M. J. Savage. I sent a large number of persons to her, wishing to get the results of as many first sittings as possible. I made appoint- ments myself for most of these people, whose names were in no instance announced to the medium." {Proceedings, Vol. VI., p. 652.) A favour- able report of these experiments by Professor James was published in the spring of 1886 {Proceedings of the American S.P.R. pp. 102- 106) one year before Dr. Hodgson came to this country. Further, Mrs. Piper saw a large number of sitters during her visit to England in 1889-90, while Professor James and Dr. Hodgson were both in this country, and several English gentlemen were responsible for the appointments there, especially Professor Oliver J. Lodge, F.R.S., Dr. Walter Leaf, and Mr. F. W. H. Myers. (Proceedings, Vol. VI., pp. 436-447, 558-568). All this implies that we cannot assume fraud without supposing that there has been a conspiracy of it in the Piper case, involving not only the above-named persons, but also many others that could as easily be mentioned. This insinuation must be made good by any man who suggests the possibility of fraud on the part of anyone con- nected with the case. I am myself not exempt from this accusation if a man chooses to make it, and one of my "scientific" colleagues frankly says that he reserves the right to believe, and that he would believe, as an alternative to fraud by Mrs. Piper, that I have lied about the facts. I am not competent to disprove such a theory, but I have shaped this report with the distinct purpose of inviting this charge. Nor does all this imply that I admit the possibility of fraud on the part of any of the persons named. On the contrary, I do not admit that any such thing is possible in the case, because I consider that it was thrown out of court as much as ten years ago for all intelligent men. But I allude to it here, first, to show that I have been alert to all the issues likely to be raised in this problem, and, second—accept- ing a man's right to raise the question where his conviction is involved —to emphasize the fact that the present situation devolves upon him who entertains such a hypothesis the duty to furnish specific and adequate evidence for it. Professor James says on this point (Psycho- logical Review, Vol. V., p. 421): "The 'scientist,' who is confident of 'fraud ' here, must remember that in science, as much as in common life, a hypothesis must receive some positive specification and determi- nation before it can be profitably discussed; and a fraud which is no assigned kind of fraud, but simply 'fraud' at large, fraud in abstracto, can hardly be regarded as a specifically scientific explanation of specific concrete facts." In addition to this, when it comes to accusing Mrs. Piper of fraud without specific proofs, Professor James also says in the same refer- ence: "Dr. Hodgson considers that the hypothesis of fraud cannot be seriously entertained. I agree with him absolutely. The medium has been under observation, much of the time under close observation, as to most of the conditions of her life, by a large number of persons, eager many of them to pounce upon any suspicious circumstance for fifteen years. During that time not only has there not been one single snslncious circumstance remarked, but not one suggestion has ever been made from any quarter which might tend positively to explain how the medium, living the apparent life she leads, could possibly collect infor- mation about so many sitters by natural means." (Cf. Professor Newbold, Proceedings, Vol. XIV., p. 7, and Mr. Andrew Lang, Vol. XV., p. 45.)"")

Hodgson (1897-8). A Further Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance.

Hyslop (1905). Science and a Future Life.

Hyslop (1909). A Case of Veridical Hallucinations.

Hyslop (1910). A Record and discussion of Mediumistic Experiments.

Lodge (1916/1926). Raymond, or Life and Death.

Thorne (1917). Sir Oliver Lodge Says Son's Spirit Talks to Him; Slain in Battle, the Youngest Son of the Scientist Is Asserted to Have Communicated Facts of Existence in Another World. (In a review in the New York Times Van Buren Thorne stated that there was nothing to indicate that Oliver Lodge might not have been deceived as regards his claim that mediums gave evidential communications at a time when they were unaware of his identity or the identities of his family members. However, Thorne conceded that the mediums could have not seen the group photograph at any time before it was described to Lodge.)

Holt (1919). The Cosmic Relations and Immortality Vol. I, Vol. II. (Extended discussion of the Leonora Piper investigations, and the cross-correspondences)

Hyslop (1919). Contact with the other world: the latest evidence as to communication with the dead.

Dallas (1919). Death, the gate of life? (mors janua vitae?) : a discussion of certain communications purporting to come from Frederic W.H. Myers

Balfour (1920). The Ear of Dionysius (alongside the Lethe Incident (concerning otensible communications from F.W.H. Myers), which Frank Podmore concedes is the "one case ... which may be held to furnish perhaps the clearest and most direct evidence for the spiritualistic hypothesis" (for discussion of the other incident Podmore describes, see Gauld (1982), below), this (involving the ostensible communications of A.W. Verall and S.H. Butcher, two dead classical scholars who taught at Oxford) is one of the more notable cross-correspondence cases. In these cases, very obscure sources of classical literature were communicated disparately via several separated mediums, which made sense only when compiled together. For arguments against fraud in the cross-correspondences, see Gauld (1982) below, particularly Hamilton (2017) below, and Carter (2014), Have the Cross-Correspondences Been Explained Away?, a note he gave me in private correspondence as follows: ABSTRACT - Magician John Booth in his 1986 book Psychic Paradoxes claims to have claims to have offered a “rational, credible, natural interpretation” for the cross correspondences, one that does not involve the necessary involvement of the deceased. However, there is nothing new in his “interpretation” which involves nothing more than mere speculation about the possibilities that the cross correspondences arose from fraud or by chance, and that these possibilities were overlooked because of the alleged stupidity and incompetence of the investigators. Despite the fact that the cross correpondences have been carefully scrutinized in several lengthy articles and books, Booth devotes a mere 8 pages to the phenomenon, and offers an analysis of not even one case. I intend to show here that there is nothing “rational, credible, or natural” about his “interpretation”, as all his speculations have been dealt with before, and do not stand up to an examination of the actual cases. As one pseudo-skeptic is said to have remarked, “never let the facts get in the way of a good debunking.”


BODY OF TEXT - The messages which became known as the cross correspondences were received by mediums in England, the United States, and India, during the period 1901 – 1932. Their distinguishing feature is that they appear to be meaningless when read by themselves. But when combined with messages received by other mediums at about the same time, they show various correspondences, so that when a group of them is considered together they can be seen to clearly refer to some common topic, usually from classical literature or history. They are in the form of literary puzzles, analogous to the pieces of a crossword puzzle – individually meaningless, but when combined can be seen to form a pattern. The nature of these puzzles seems to rule out telepathy between the mediums as their source. After all, if each medium does not understand their own part of the message, then how could they transmit the corresponding messages that complete and solve the puzzle?

A further difficulty these puzzles raise for the hypothesis of telepathy is that many of them required knowledge of the classics that far exceeded the knowledge of most of the mediums involved – but not that of the living Myers. In some of the best cases, solving the puzzles required a great deal of study on the part of the investigators. And throughout these investigations, the mediums frequently remained ignorant of what the other automatists had written.

What makes the cross correspondences so strangely unusual in that they seem to be a method invented “on the other side” in order to overcome the objection that alleged messages from the dead via talented human mediums could be the result of some form of extreme telepathy between mediums and the living. The defining characteristic of the cross correspondences is that messages received via one medium seemed to make no sense until they were compared to messages received via another medium from the same alleged communicator, in which common patterns were found. Booth spends two pages describing the background, and then writes

"Hypothetically, the aim of the discarnates in the beyond, who had themselves been psychic researchers while in the flesh, was to provide a demonstratable form of communication from the spirit realm that would convincingly and absolutely rule out causative factors of fraud or telepathy." (Booth, 1986, p. 172)

But there is nothing “hypothetical” about this claim, as it is constantly claimed in the scripts that this is in fact the intention of the communicators. There are many passages in the scripts that bear this out. The automatists are exhorted “to weave together” and are told that by themselves they can do little. In the script of Mrs Verrall we find: “Record the bits and when fitted they will make the whole”, and “I will give the words between you neither alone can read but together they will give the clue he wants.” (Saltmarsh, 1938, p. 36) It is constantly claimed in 2 the scripts that the enigmatic messages are part of an experiment designed to provide convincing evidence of survival, and that the source of the enigmatic messages is the mind of Frederic Myers; or later, of some of his deceased colleagues.

Also, in several instances there are instructions in the scripts for the automatist to send her script to one of the other automatists, or to one of the investigators. As we will see, it was such instructions that first brought two of the automatists together.

Cast of Characters

In addition to Frederic Myers, the communications claimed to come mostly from the two other co-founders of the Society for Psychical Research, Edmund Gurney and Henry Sidgwick. Gurney was Myers’ friend and collaborator, and had helped write a book on apparitions titled Phantasms of the Living. He died in June, 1888. Sidgwick was a well-known philosopher at Cambridge, and was the first President of the SPR when it was founded in 1882. He died in August 1900. Later communications were received that claimed to come from Dr A.W. Verrall, a classical scholar at Cambridge who died in 1912; and from his friend Henry Butcher, another classical scholar at Cambridge who died in 1910.

The automatists included the Boston medium Mrs Piper, the only professional medium in the group. Most of the other principal mediums were upper-class women, some of them well-known figures in public life who used pseudonyms and kept their mediumship a closely-guarded secret, even from their friends. These included Mrs Verrall, wife of Dr A.W. Verrall and lecturer in Classics at Newnham College; her daughter Helen; Mrs Holland, pseudonym of Mrs Fleming, a sister of Rudyard Kipling who lived in India; Mrs Forbes, another pseudonym; and Mrs Willett, a pseudonym for Mrs Coombe-Tennant, justice of the peace and the first woman to be appointed by the British Government as a delegate to the assembly of the League of Nations.

The chief investigators were Gerald Balfour and J.C. Piddington. Balfour was an expert classical scholar, and Piddington also had sufficient knowledge of the classics to understand the frequent allusions made to them in the scripts. Both men devoted a large part of their lives to the study of the scripts, and the script intelligences took an active interest in their efforts. Others involved in a significant way include Miss Alice Johnson; Mrs Henry Sidgwick (sister of Gerald Balfour and wife of one of the communicators); distinguished physicist Sir Oliver Lodge; Frank Podmore; and Dr Richard Hodgson up to the time of his death in 1905.

The investigation of the scripts proved to be an enormous task, as they continued to appear for over thirty years, and finally numbered over three thousand. The membership of the group of mediums changed somewhat over the years. In the end over a dozen different mediums were involved, from the three countries of England, India, and the United States.

Early Messages

Shortly after Myers died in 1901, Mrs Verrall in Cambridge began to write automatic scripts which were signed “Myers.” At first they were rather poorly expressed, but gradually became more coherent. However, the messages remained cryptic, as though their true meaning were being concealed. About a year later, allusions to the same subjects began to appear in the scripts of Mrs Piper in Boston, and these too claimed to come from Myers. Some time later Mrs Verrall’s daughter Helen began automatic writing, and similar oblique references to the same subjects were found in her scripts as well.

Starting at this point, the scripts were sent to Miss Alice Johnson, secretary of the SPR.

Soon afterwards, Mrs Holland in India also began to receive messages which purported to come from Myers. On November 7 1903 the script read, “My Dear Mrs Verrall I am very anxious to speak to some of the old friends – Miss J. – and to A.W.” These initials were taken to refer to Miss Johnson and Dr A.W. Verrall. This was followed by a largely accurate description of Dr Verrall, and finally the words: “Send this to Mrs. Verrall, 5 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge.” (Saltmarsh, 1938, p. 46)

Mrs Holland knew the name of Mrs Verrall, as it appears in Myer’s Human Personality, which she had recently read. But she knew nothing about her personally, and most certainly did not know her address, or even if there was such a place as Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge. As such, she did not follow these instructions, but did eventually send the scripts to Alice Johnson, secretary for the SPR, who duly filed them away without suspecting that they contained allusions to the same subjects as the Verrall and Piper scripts.

It was not until 1905 that Miss Johnson realized what was happening. By that time, the scripts contained the astounding claim that the discarnate Myers, Gurney, and Sidgwick had devised the scheme of providing meaningless fragments in the scripts of different mediums, fragments which would be found to express a coherent idea only when combined. In her article of 1908 the theory of the cross correspondences is fully discussed for the first time. She first describes the nature of the messages:

"What we get is fragmentary utterance in one script, which seems to have no particular point or meaning, and another fragmentary utterance in the other, of an equally pointless character; but when we put the two together, we see that they supplement one another, and that there is apparently one coherent idea underlying both, but only partially expressed in each."

We now turn to Booth’s speculations, which fall into two categories: fraud and chance.

Conscious Fraud

Booth writes: "Does not the abundance of scholarly correspondences in the messages and the apparent cross references, prove that mediums untutored in the classics or even working together could not have fraudulently produced the messages out of their own minds? In reply, we must emphasize the studious research frequently found behind the better psychics’ work. They are not fools. (Booth, p. 174)

Booth apparently has a lower opinion of the distinguished investigators, for he writes next:

The surface personality of many so-called psychics often belies what dwells in the depths below. Underneath a socially adapted façade may lurk a mischievous seriousness. (Booth, p. 174)

As mentioned above, Mrs Piper of Boston was the only professional medium involved, and although she was studied intensively over many years, was brought to England where she had no acquaintances, and was even trailed by private detectives, not the slightest hint of fraud was ever found. (One investigator of Mrs Piper remarked, “As to fraud, that has been excluded in the Piper case for fifteen or twenty years, and only unintelligent men would talk about it any longer.” (quoted in Tymn, p. 164.)) Booth’s remarks are nothing more than a sleazy and 6 unfounded accusation against women of culture and sophistication; note that he provides not a shred of evidence to support this accusation.

Booth continues along the same lines, writing: "It may be that, among the dozen or so participating mediums, some less conscientious, self-invited individuals may have latched onto an opportunity (the Cross Correspondences) for which they possessed few appropriate talents and were clearly cheating." (Booth, p. 176)

It very well “may be that” certain “self-invited individuals may have latched onto an opportunity”, but who exactly were these “self-invited individuals”? And what could possibly be their motive for this “opportunity”? Mediums were not paid for work on the cross correspondences, and most operated under pseudonyms in order to keep their participation a secret. Booth does not provide any names or any motive, nor could he. And if these individuals “were clearly cheating” then why doesn’t Booth provide us with even a shred of evidence?

Note that Booth also casually insults the investigators, who presumably were too stupid or gullible to detect that these “self-invited individuals were clearly cheating.”

Unconscious Fraud

Not all of Booth’s accusations are as sinister.

"The style of messages required in order to become part of this venture was obvious. Widely known were the scholarly interests, literary forms and word usages of Messrs. Gurney, Sidgwick, and Myers. Conforming to such expectations, the classical specialist, Mrs Verrall, set the tone of the transmissions from the start. Naturally, other sensitives were thereafter motivated to delve into and become familiar with related works of mythology, technical phrases, poetry, Latin and Greek writings. These materials are readily accessible in the libraries of the world. (Ibid, p. 174)

Booth continues: "Incomplete and meaningless scripts are exactly the result one might expect from quick learning autonomists sitting alone with pencil and paper trying to “receive” (recollect) unfamiliar classical passages. Recently memorized or read, difficult-to-recall materials are more easily handled in fragments. What was now being wrung out of the conscious or unconscious memory they may have honestly come to believe was surging from spirit entities – and that their own literary research was not consciously undertaken to produce this information but to be able to understand or record properly whatever strange or foreign words should present themselves psychically. Thus, sincere persons might have become self-deluded by what, on their own part, was actually an “unconscious” fabrication of messages." (Ibid, pp. 174-5)

Once again, Booth provides not a shred of supporting evidence, and the vacuous nature of this claim becomes readily apparent from an actual examination of the case material. Even assuming - for the sake of argument and without any evidence - the mediums involved did secretly study the classics, how do we account for the detailed, sophisticated, and extensive knowledge of literature and philosophy displayed in the communications at the times when a cross correspondence was not being attempted? The following is impossible to explain on the basis of “recently memorized or read, difficult-to-recall material [that] are more easily handled in fragments.”

The following comes from the mediumship of Mrs Willett. Unlike Mrs Piper and Mrs Leonard, when the English medium Mrs Willett went into a trance she did not lose control of her body as if she were asleep or in a faint. She would sit up and talk in a natural way, and Mrs Willett had no regular control. Messages usually appeared to be conveyed to her directly, and she would then pass them on to the sitters. Clearly, she was no ordinary trance medium.

Her two main communicators claimed to be the surviving spirits of Edmund Gurney, who had died in 1888, and Frederic Myers, who had died in 1901. Both men were classical scholars and founders of the Society for Psychical Research, and both had made sizeable contributions to research into mediumship and other psychical phenomena. When alive, Gurney and Myers were avid philosophers, widely read in philosophy and psychology. On several occasions the alleged postmortem personalities of Gurney and Myers communicated through Mrs Willett the request that one of the sitters be their friend G.W. Balfour, a keen psychic researcher and president of the SPR from 1906 to 1907. On numerous occasions Balfour had engaged in philosophical discussion with Gurney and Myers before they died.

With Balfour and others present, Mrs Willett would enter a deep trance. Lively philosophical discussions would then ensue between Balfour and the communicators “Myers” and “Gurney.” The philosopher C.D. Broad commented on the content of these discussions, and wrote that all of the communications were “plainly the product of a highly intelligent mind or minds, with a keen interest in psychology, psychical research and philosophy, and with a capacity for drawing subtle and significant distinctions.” (Broad, 1962, p. 297) The purported 10 communicators also showed a thorough acquaintance with the views and terminology of books written by the living Myers and Gurney.

At these sittings there was not merely an outpouring of views which the sitter simply passively recorded and accepted. On the contrary, the sittings provided excellent examples of the conversational give-and-take that by itself stretches the ESP hypothesis nearly to the breaking point. In between sittings Balfour would leisurely examine the record of a previous sitting, and then at the next sitting would make criticisms or suggestions, and would ask for explanations of obscure matters. The communicators would address the issues raised, and would accept, or at times vigorously reject, Balfour’s suggestions. The philosopher Robert Almeder wrote that some of the sittings “were purely philosophical and sound like the transcript of an Ivy League graduate seminar on classical philosophy.” (Almeder, 1992, p. 219)

Mrs Willett had never met Myers or Gurney, yet Balfour and others were convinced that the Myers and Gurney communicators acted and spoke in ways uniquely characteristic of Myers and Gurney. Second – and perhaps even more startling – Mrs Willet was neither educated nor interested in philosophy, and showed little patience for such discussions. The attitude of her trance personality (as well as her normal personality) toward the communications can best be described as one of boredom and bewilderment. At one point, when the Gurney personality was discussing in detail some philosophical problem, she exclaimed “Oh, Edmund, you do bore me so!” At another point she complained, “you see it seems a long time since I was here with them [with Myers and friends] and I want to talk and enjoy myself. And I’ve all the time, to keep on working, and seeing and listening to such boring old – Oh Ugh!” (Heywood, 1961, p. 102) When the communicators were comparing 12 three conflicting views of the mind-body relationship – interactionism, epiphenomenalism and parallelism – she seemed to have great problems communicating the word “interaction.” At last she said, “I’ve got it.” And then, “Oh but now I’ve got to give it out. Oh, I’m all buzzing. I can’t think why people talk about such stupid things. Such long stupid words.” (Heywood, 1961, p. 103)

We cannot attribute these communications as due to unconscious fraud plus the dramatizing powers of the medium’s trance personality.

First of all, Mrs Willett never met the living Myers or Gurney, and – given the technology available at the time – almost certainly never had the opportunity of studying audiotapes of their voices. Second, the high-level philosophical discussions reflect an acquired skill – the skill of philosophizing well. But there is a substantial difference between knowledge that something is true, and knowledge of how to do something. The knowledge of how to do something – such as play an instrument or speak a language – frequently requires a skill that is only developed through years of solid practice. Learning to philosophize well is one such skill, and these lengthy scripts are not “incomplete and meaningless.”

Reflecting on this case, philosopher C.D. Broad wrote: "Suppose we altogether rule out the suggestion that Myers and Gurney in some sense survived bodily death and were the deliberate initiators of these utterances. We shall then have to postulate in some stratum of Mrs Willet’s mind rather remarkable powers of acquiring information from unread books or the minds of living persons or both; of clothing it in phraseology characteristic of Myers and Gurney, whom she had never met; and of working it up and putting it forth in a dramatic form which seemed to their friend Balfour to be natural and convincing." (Broad, 1962, p. 313)

At any rate, Balfour found the communications so natural and convincing that he came to believe that he was indeed discussing philosophy with the departed spirits of Myers and Gurney, and that no other hypothesis could explain the data as well. The philosophical views expressed by the Myers and Gurney communicators certainly did not seem to come from his mind, since both of the communicators contradicted Balfour’s opinions on several occasions. When, for instance, Balfour argued that the conscious and subconscious minds of one person may communicate with each other by telepathy, the Myers personality would have none of this. When, on another occasion, Balfour suggested that the conscious and subconscious selves were as separate as two persons are separate, the Gurney communicator firmly replied “Bosh! Different aspects of the same thing.”

Cooperation among Mediums

In a variation of the fraud hypothesis, Booth writes: "Limited cooperation among two or more sensitives may also have developed at one point or another. What would be more natural than for one automatist to write casually, and at first innocently, in a social letter to another: “Yesterday, Myers came through to me quoting, oddly, from Browning and suggesting anagrams. What peculiar stuff!” Would it be surprising if the recipient of this “offhand” comment did not find herself receiving comparable messages the next day? (Booth, p. 175)

Once again, Booth provides not a shred of evidence to support his claim. Several of the autonomists did not even know each other; and at important periods, one (Mrs Holland) was in India, another (Mrs Piper) was in the United States, and the rest were in Great Britain. It is hard to see how the conspiracy could be carried out without the aid of the investigators, as the scripts were often written under their own eyes. Moreover, several writers have commented on the enormous amount of work that would have been required. For instance, Rosalind Heywood describes a simple experiment that a skeptic can perform to illustrate the amount of knowledge, ingenuity, and research required to create these puzzles:

To construct an elementary cross correspondence, a topic or quotation from a particular author must be chosen and further quotations collected from his work which allude to this topic but do not mention it directly. Puns are allowed. Finally an independent investigator must find the clue which binds the quotations into a coherent whole. Anyone who tries to construct a cross correspondence of the quality of those which claimed to come from the Myers group will sympathize with the remark in Mrs Willett’s script which purported to be made by Dr Verrall shortly after his death: “This sort of thing is more difficult to do than it looked.”

And could the mediums even have possibly communicated with each other in the time required? They were found in three different continents, and in the days before email, letters would take weeks or months to arrive. The next two cases are simply inexplicable as due to communication between mediums.

Thanatos

As Mrs Piper in Boston awoke from trance on April 17 1907 a word was spoken which was first heard as “Sanatos,” then repeated as “Tanatos.” Mrs Sidgwick, the sitter, inserted a note saying that “Thanatos” was probably meant. On April 23, in the waking stage of the seance, the word was correctly pronounced as “Thanatos”, and on May 7th “I want to say Thanatos” came through in the waking stage. Thanatos is the Greek word for “Death.”

By this time the investigators had learned that the repetition of a word in a disconnected fashion was usually a signal that it is being used in a cross correspondence.

On April 16, 1907 Mrs Holland in India wrote the following words: “Maurice Morris Mors. And with that the shadow of death fell upon his limbs.”

It was thought that ‘Maurice Morris’ were the first attempts at “Mors”, the Latin word for “Death.” The later occurrence of the English word “death” points to this.

On April 29, 1907, Mrs Verrall in England wrote: Warmed both hands before the fire of life. It fades and I am ready to depart… Manibus date lilia plenis… Come away, come away, Pallida mors.

Finally, in the same script came the message: “You have got the word plainly written all along in your own writing. Look back.” “Warmed both hands…” is a quotation from a poem by nineteenth-century English poet, Walter Landor. Manibus date lilia plenis [Latin for “Give lilies with full hands”] is a quotation from a section of Virgil’s work The Aeneid, in which Anchises fortells the early death of Marcellus. “Come away, come away” is from a song by Shakespeare, and the next word in the song is “death.” (Come away, come away, death, and in sad cypress let me be laid; Fly away, fly away, breath: I am slain by a fair cruel maid. - Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, 4)

Pallida mors [Latin for “Pale death”] are the first two words, in the original Latin, from a line in Odes by Horace. (Pale Death, with impartial step, knocks at the poor man’s cottage and the palaces of kings. (Pallida Mors aequo pulsat pede, pauperum tabernas regumque turris) - Horace, Odes, 1.4 )

In a period of less than two weeks, the same keyword was given by three mediums located in three different continents, in three different languages, combined with indirect references to the same topic.

The Roden Noel Case

On March 7, 1906 Mrs Verrall’s script in England contained an original poem, which started with the words: Tintagel and the sea that moaned in pain.

When Miss Johnson read this she was struck by its similarity to a poem by Roden Noel, entitled “Tintadgel.” To the best of her recollection, Mrs Verrall had never read this poem.

On March 11, 1906 Mrs Holland’s script in India contained these words: This is for A.W. Ask him what the date May 26th, 1894 meant to him – to me – and to F.W.H.M. I do not think they will find it hard to recall, but if so – let them ask Nora.

The date given, which meant nothing to Mrs Holland, is the death of Roden Noel. The initials A.W. refer to Dr Verrall, and F.W.H.M. refers of course to F.W.H. Myers, both of whom knew Noel, but not very well. Nora means Mrs Sidgwick, which seems appropriate, as Noel was an intimate friend of Dr Sidgwick.

On March 14, before any of the above facts were known to Mrs Holland, she wrote, in a trance state:

"Eighteen, fifteen, four, five, fourteen, Fourteen, fifteen, five, twelve. Not to be taken as they stand. See Rev. 13, 18, but only the central eight words, not the whole passage." (Quoted in Saltmarsh, 1938, p. 57. For original material, see Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. XXI)

The whole thing was meaningless to Mrs Holland, and she did not look up the passage. But Miss Johnson did, and found that the central eight words were: “for it is the number of a man.” Taking this to be a hint, she translated the numbers given in the script into the letters of the alphabet, with “d” being the fourth letter, “e” the fifth, and so on. When finished, the letters spelled Roden Noel.

There was a further reference to Roden Noel in Mrs Verrall’s script of March 16, 1906, and finally, on March 28 1906 Mrs Holland’s script contained the name Roden Noel written out in full. Hence, the common topic of the scripts was only revealed in a later script, and by the dutiful efforts of Miss Johnson to understand the earlier scripts.

In this cross correspondence between two mediums on different continents we find three references to the same person, but given in an indirect manner which did not reveal the chosen topic to the conscious minds of the mediums. This deliberate concealment seems to be crucial to the plan of the cross correspondences: the messages are deliberately enigmatic to prevent the mediums from acquiring knowledge of the topic, in order to rule out the possibility of the mediums helping each other, normally or telepathically.

From an examination of actual cases, we can see once again the vacuous nature of Booth’s “explanation” of the cross corresponences, that is, that “they could have been the result of information transfers between those mediums who did write one another though they may never have met.” (Booth, p. 176)

Chance

Booth asserts that “across 30 years some seemingly amazing material would inevitably show up in the scripts. According to the law of averages, corresponding literary and language content would occur, sometimes expectedly, sometimes accidentally.” (Ibid, p. 176) And that is the sum total of Booth’s assertion that chance can explain at least some of the “seemingly amazing material.” The problem with this is that the possible role of chance has been thoroughly examined.

The possibility that the cross correspondences may simply due to chance coincidence may, at first glance, seem reasonable. After all, in scripts full of cryptic literary and historical allusions, we might reasonably expect occasional coincidences of theme and reference. However, an explanation in terms of chance coincidence has several strikes against it.

First of all, Piddington and Dorr tried to generate artificial cross correspondences. Fourteen people were each sent quotations, twelve in all, from Virgil, Homer, Shakespeare, Shelly, Milton, Rostand, Wordsworth and Coleridge, and were asked to write down words or phrases associated with them. The results were very different from the cross correspondences that appeared spontaneously in the scripts of the automatists. There was no tendency to return again and again to one theme, and Piddington and Dorr concluded that the few cross references that occurred bore no resemblance to the cross correspondences of the scripts.

Second, various experiments may be performed in order to attempt to create cross correspondences. Choose a book by an author whose works you are well acquainted, and pick a passage at random. Pick another book by the same author, randomly choose another passage, and try to work out a cross correspondence between the two passages. The results (or, more likely, the lack or results) will give a clear indication of how far pure chance is likely to have been responsible for the cross correspondences.

Third, Piddington counted cross correspondence on a large scale, and found that allusions pertinent to a given cross correspondence did not wax and wane haphazardly, but arose during the appropriate period and then largely disappeared. And finally, we have seen that the cross correspondences are accompanied by explicit statements that they are indeed parts of a planned experiment. Here is another example: on March 2nd and March 4th 1906 Mrs Verrall wrote a series of cryptic scripts referring to the main events in the history of the City of Rome, accompanied by a statement that she would receive a message through another woman. On March 7th, five thousand miles away, Mrs Holland wrote: “Ave Roma Immortalis. How could I make it clearer without giving her the clue?” Similar remarks occur again and again. (Saltmarsh, 1975, 85-6)

For all of these reasons, chance coincidence can be effectively ruled out as an explanation.

Conclusions

With fraud and chance ruled out, Booth is left only with the stupidity and incompetence of the investigators.

The interpretations that even some impartial SPR investigators placed upon cryptic material in the thousands of automatic writings demonstrate how readily human beings can adapt evidence to fit understandable hopes or expected conclusions. (Booth, p. 176)

Once again, the vacuous and insulting nature of this comment will be readily apparent to those who examine the actual cases.

In a 1908 review of some of the earliest cross correspondences, Piddington wrote: "The only opinion which I hold with confidence is this: that if it was not the mind of Frederic Myers it was one which deliberately and artistically imitated his mental characteristics." (Piddington, 1908, p. 243)

But as the years went on, Piddington, who disliked the idea of survival, was driven more and more to the conclusion that communication from the surviving minds of Myers, Gurney, and the others was the most plausible explanation of the cross correspondences. With very few exceptions, the other investigators also came to this conclusion.

Mrs Verrall was the only medium in the group who had a substantial knowledge of the classics. However, the death of Mrs Verrall in 1916 made very little difference to the content or nature of the scripts. This contrasts sharply with the change in the scripts following the death of her husband, Dr A.V. Verrall, on June 18, 1912. Within a few weeks of his death, messages purporting to come from Dr Verrall began to appear in the scripts. There also appeared several striking literary puzzles, purportedly created by Verrall, which differed sharply in style from those which purported to come from the Myers group. Like some of the earlier puzzles, they were at first completely incomprehensible to the investigators – including his surviving wife and daughter. But after following up on clues provided in the scripts, solutions were found which indicated knowledge that very few living classical scholars possessed – but that was known to be possessed by Dr Verrall. (Excellent summaries of these cases can be found in Saltmarsh, 1938, chapter VI.)

In addition, the accompanying messages displayed many idiosyncratic personal characteristics of the living Verrall. His old friend Reverend Bayfield, after reviewing these messages, testified that “to me at least it is incredible that even the cleverest could achieve such an unexampled triumph in deceptive impersonation as this would be if the actor is not Verrall himself.” (Bayfield, 1915, p. 249)

Years of reviewing and researching the cross correspondences eventually convinced Piddington, Lodge, Miss Johnson, Mrs Sidgwick, Balfour and others that the cross correspondences were in fact what they constantly claimed to be – messages from Myers and his deceased colleagues. In 1932, as the cross correspondences were finally petering out, Mrs Sidgwick wrote an account of the history of the work of the Society for Psychical Research during its first fifty years. At the time she was President of Honor of the Society, and her keen mind and cautious approach were widely respected. At the Society’s Jubilee her paper was read by her brother, Lord Balfour. After he finished, he added a personal comment:

"Some of you may have felt that the note of caution and reserve has possibly been over-emphasized in Mrs Sidgwick’s paper. If so, they may be glad to hear what I am about to say. Conclusive proof of survival is notoriously difficult to obtain. But the evidence may be such as to produce belief, even though it fall short of conclusive proof. I have Mrs Sidgwick’s assurance – an assurance which I am permitted to convey to the meeting – that, upon the evidence before her, she herself is a firm believer both in survival and in the reality of communication between the living and the dead." ( Balfour, G. 1933. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 41, 1932-3, p. 26)

Balfour had also come to share this belief. Certainly very few people have been as thoroughly acquainted with the evidence from cross correspondences, and at the same time as objective and keenly critical, as were Mrs Sidgwick and Lord Balfour.

Booth’s concludes his 8-page treatment of this complex set of cases with the triumphant words “believers cannot now claim that the Cross Correspondences phenomena, in their many developments, are without a rational, credible, natural interpretation.” However, there is nothing new in his “interpretation” which involves nothing more than mere speculation about the possibilities that the cross correspondences arose from fraud or by chance, combined with the alleged stupidity and incompetence of the investigators. I believe I have shown here that there is nothing “rational, credible, or natural” about his “interpretation”, as all his speculations have been dealt with before, and do not stand up to an examination of the actual cases.

Booth’s book has largely been ignored by serious researchers. However, it would be naïve to suppose that his work will not sometimes be referenced by those who are comfortable with never letting the facts get in the way of a good debunking.


Sources Almeder, Robert, 1992. Death & Personal Survival. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Balfour, G., 1933. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 41. Bayfield, M.A., 1915. “Notes on the same Scripts”, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. XXVII, 1914-1915, pages 244-249. Booth, John, 1986. Psychic Paradoxes. Prometheus Books. Carter, Chris, 2012. Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness. Vermont: Inner Traditions. Heywood, Rosalind, 1961. Beyond the Reach of Sense. New York: EP Dutton & Company. Piddington, J.G., 1908. “A Series of Concordant Automatisms”, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vol. 22, pages 19-416. Saltmarsh, H.F., 1938. Evidence of Personal Survival from Cross Correspondences. London: G. Bell & Sons. Tymn, Michael, 2013. Resurrecting Leonora Piper. UK: White Crow Books)

Hamilton (2017). The Cross-Correspondences. (SPR article by Trevor Hamilton, author of a forthcoming extensive book on the subject)

Glenconner (1921). The earthen vessel: a volume dealing with spirit-communication received in the form of book-tests. (with a preface by Oliver Lodge - this book is an argument in favor of the book tests with Gladys Osborne Leonard - see also Smith (1964), below)

Prince (1927). The Case of Patience Worth (noting the errors and distortions of Joe Nickell and Joseph Jastrow on this case, we can now consult the original source. This is useful for the pages dealing with Curran's testimony and the corroborating testimony of others concerning the differences between Curran and Worth, and for rebuttals to criticisms. Regarding Grandolfi-Wall, see this. Parapsychologists like Ian Stevenson and Stephen Braude regard "Patience Worth" as a secondary personality demonstrating latent capacities, though this interpretation has been challenged in favor of the spiritualistic hypothesis. At minimum, this case shows, as Walter Franklin Prince states, that "EITHER OUR CONCEPT OF WHAT WE CALL THE SUBCONSCIOUS MUST BE RADICALLY ALTERED, SO AS TO INCLUDE POTENCIES OF WHICH WE HITHERTO HAVE HAD NO KNOWLEDGE, OR ELSE SOME CAUSE OPERATING THROUGH BUT NOT ORIGINATING IN THE SUBCONSCIOUSNESS OF MRS. CURRAN MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED." (emphasis in original))

Tillyard (1928). Evidence of Survival of a Human Personality. (Nature 122, 243–246 (18 August 1928)).

Allison (1929). Leonard and Soule experiments in psychical research.

Thomas (1935). A Proxy Case Extending Over Eleven Sittings With Mrs. Osborne Leonard.

Thomas (1937). Beyond normal cognition: an evaluative and methodological study of the mental content of certain trance phenomena. (very interesting work with Gladys Osborne Leonard and other mental mediums, adapted from a Duke University PhD thesis from when the author was a Graduate psychology student under William McDougall)

Dingwall & Langdon-Davies (1956). Mental Mediums and Survival. (overviews incidents in the careers of Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne Leonard suggestive of paranormality (with Piper, notable incidents occur with Oliver Lodge and James Hyslop providing credence to the Spiritualist hypothesis), and notes in the case of Leonard that detectives were hired to see if she was trying to get information about sitters, and found nothing to impeach her honesty)

Smith (1964). The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard. (Various false claims about Leonard have made that are corrected in this text and in ensuing commentary. People cite the study of Heard and Besterman to prove ventriloquism on the pat of Leonard, however, the reference, Besterman, Theodore & Heard, G. NOTE ON AN ATTEMPT TO LOCATE IN SPACE THE ALLEGED DIRECT VOICE OBSERVED IN SITTING WITH MRS LEONARD, JSPR 28, 1933-34, p. 84, merely states that "On none of these occasions was the voice found to be displaced in space, i.e. to emanate from a source in space other than the position occupied by the medium." This should be considered in light of ch. 11 of Smith's text, which notes results contradicting this. References to criticisms of Whately Carrington's word association tests have been given in the overview of Carrington's work on telepathy, in ch. 8 of Smith's book we find information contradicting this.

As an introduction to Leonard, we should note Dingwall's statement in The Unknown: Is it Nearer? (Cassell & Company Ltd., London, 1956.) pp. 162: "Everybody is agreed that Mrs. Leonard has always been utterly honest, sincere, and modest. During her active mediumship she has never resented any kind of investigation - detectives, for example, hired to see if she was trying to get information about sitters, tests of every sort both during trance and in her ordinary life; and indeed she has welcomed every sort of inquiry and has shown herself as much interested as anyone else to learn more as to the how and why of her extraordinary gift. She has never taken sitters wanting information of material value to themselves, but has confined herself to those who have wanted to get in touch with their dead friends. In short, we are as far away as it is possible to get from the sort of mediumship, usually physical, which must work in darkness, which resents any sort of test and lays down conditions which make all scientific investigation impossible or at least doubtfully effective."

For Leonard's book tests, critics omit relevant details, and their views as well as Anthony Flew's comment about alleged "vagueness" on p. 47 of his text A New Approach to Psychical Research, are misinformed. Flew himself admits, and in contrast, a deeply critical, but extremely informed student of the field, Eric Dingwall, made very positive statements about the tests. In The Unknown: Is it Nearer? (Cassell & Company Ltd., London, 1956.) pp. 163-166 - " It should be noted that with a really good medium like Mrs. Leonard great care is taken to preserve the anonymity of the sitter. The appointment is obtained by letter, usually written by someone else, and the reply is sent to the applicant under a false name, care of some friend, or of their bank or lawyer. The sitter should never give any kind of information away, and until the identity has been established must be careful to give no hint that Feda's "fishing" is "warm" or "cold." It is with all these precautions carefully observed that the following examples of successful mediumship took place.

Our first example is a book test. This is a method devised to give the communicator an opportunity of proving his reality and his identity by conveying information that neither the sitter, nor Mrs. Leonard, nor anyone else can possibly know.

On September 29, 1917, Mrs. Beadon wished to get in touch with her husband, Colonel Beadon. Feda told her to go to a squarish room and to take the fifth book on a certain shelf whose position was minutely described and look at either page 71 or 17 - she was not sure which, but thought it was 71. On this page would be found a message to her from her husband, who, through Feda, described seven tests:

1. The passage in question referred to a past condition. 2. But also had application to the present. 3. It is an answer to a thought previously more in Mrs. Beadon's mind than at present. 4. On the opposite page there is a reference to five. 5. Also a reference to light. 6. Also a reference to olden times, but none of these have anything to do with the message; they are only for identification purposes. 7. On the same page or opposite or perhaps overleaf a very important word beginning with S.

(In passing we may remark that Feda is always bad at numbers and uncertain of proper names. When she gets them, presumably from the communicator, they are often distorted, or it is after great difficulty.)

Mrs. Beadon identified the shelf in a room in her mother's home and took down the book indicated. On page 71 there was the following poem:

The weary pilgrim slumbers, His resting-place unknown, His hands were crossed, his lids were closed, The dust was o'er him strown; The drifting soil, the mouldering leaf Along the sod were blown, His mound has melted into Earth His memory lives alone.

The communicator, Colonel Beadon, was killed in action in Mesopotamia and buried the same night. All traces of the grave were obliterated to avoid interference from Arabs. Therefore the poem can be said to refer very accurately to the dead person whose identity had to be established. But that is only the beginning. Let us consider the seven tests.

1. The poem is O. W. Holmes's "The Pilgrim's Vision" and refers to early American settlers, i.e., a past condition. 2. It refers to the present, Le., Colonel Beadon's resting-place unknown. 3. Mrs. Beadon had at first been worried by the fact that her husband's grave was not marked by a cross and had hoped to have the spot identified, but had recently felt far less concern about the matter. 4. On the opposite page there was the following poem: Still shall the fiery pillar's ray Along the pathway shine, 5. To light the chosen tribe that sought 6. This Western Palestine

(The lines refer to the Israelites led by a pillar of fire out of Egypt into Palestine.)

7. On the next page there is a poem called "The Steamboat" in capital letters.

Curiously enough, on turning to page 17, Mrs. Beadon found another poem mentioning an unmarked grave and on the opposite page there are the words "fire" and "sunset glow." No wonder Feda was not quite sure of the page! Moreover, on page 17 the lines appear "No altars - and they need them not who leave their children free," which was even more strongly a message, especially as the poem was a soldier's message about a battlefield and as it mentions "the Indian's shaft, the Briton's ball" when her husband was commanding Indian troops.

In short, Feda seems, on the face of it, to have been given a double reference by Colonel Beadon for communication to his wife. There cannot be any other book in which the references on two different pages would be so appropriate, whether taken together or apart. We have said "On the face of it" in order to retain an impartial approach to the questions involved, but we are not prepared to suggest an alternative explanation, nor has any other been offered.

More than five hundred of these book tests were carried out by Mrs. Leonard and her various sitters, with results of varying accuracy. A large number were as suggestive as the one we have quoted, though few probably contained quite as many separate items. In order to get an idea of how chance results would compare, a careful experiment was carried out. Three ideas were selected and a page chosen out of one of a number of books on which something to do with the idea was to be found. Thus one "idea" was an allusion to circles of any kind, and page 150 of Emerson's English Traits was looked up. If there was anything to do with circles on it that scored a success. Of 1,800 trials 1.89 per cent were scored as successes, 4.72 per cent as successes or partial successes, and 7.67 per cent when "slight successes" were added to the others. In Mrs. Leonard's mediumistic tests the percentages were 17.2, 36, and 54.1 for all 532 results and with the best communicator 63.6, 68.2, and 77.2. That should settle the question as to whether the results were due to chance."

Alan Gauld's Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations, is cited as an authoritative source by Kelly and Arcangel in their 2011 Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease mediumship article. He revealed the facts that are obfuscated in the half-truths of critics. On p. 47, he discussed how the book tests were extremely remarkable in their precision, that they displayed characteristics of psi making the survival hypothesis difficult because they showed a clairvoyance that extended beyond information that would have been known to the communicators. He also clarified the percentage of accurate hits Leonard made by comparison to a control. He wrote, "The origin of the Leonard book tests is a little obscure, and it seems quite likely that they were first proposed by Feda. If so, they share with the ‘cross-correspondences’ (to be discussed later) the remarkable feature of being ‘tests of survival’ ostensibly suggested by deceased persons. There are, however, analogies for them from earlier literature. The principle of book tests is well summarized by Sir Oliver Lodge (50, p. xvi). A communicator, usually passing the message through Feda, has to specify the number of a page in a book, itself indicated only by its numbered place on a given shelf in a book-case whose position is described, in a house to which the medium need have no access, though a house presumably, or usually, well-known to the ostensible communicator. The idea is that a sentence shall subsequently be found on that page, by any one who follows the instructions and identifies the book, which sentence shall sufficiently convey an intended message, or shall show a similarity in thought to what has otherwise been said, or shall be appropriate to the actual circumstances or past connection of communicator and intended recipient. Since the book chosen need not be one known to the sitter, or indeed known in the requisite detail to anyone living, it is plain, as Lodge says, that ‘no simple kind of mind-reading can be appealed to or regarded as a rational explanation.’ I will take as an example a short but somewhat remarkable case in which the communicator is Edward Wyndham Tennant (‘Bim’), a young officer killed on the Somme in 1916. The sitting (50, p. 60) was held on 17 December 1917. Feda. ‘Bim now wants to send a message to his Father. This book is particularly for his Father; underline that, he says. It is the ninth book on the third shelf counting from left to right in the bookcase on the right of the door in the drawing-room as you enter; take the title, and look at page 37.’ We found the ninth book in the shelf indicated was: Trees [by J. Harvey Kelman]. And on page 36, quite at the bottom and leading on to page 37, we read: ‘Sometimes you will see curious marks in the wood; these are caused by a tunnelling beetle, very injurious to the trees …’ (Signatures of two testificators to the finding and verifying of this Book-Message). GLENCONNER DAVID TENNANT

Bim’s father was intensely interested in Forestry; and his obsession with ‘the beetle’ was a family joke. Thus the message was particularly appropriate, and the bookshelf from which it had been culled was one known to the alleged communicator. During the period immediately before and after the end of the First World War many successful book tests were carried out (145c, 157a). In a lengthy paper published in 1921 (145c), Mrs E. M. Sidgwick analysed the results of 532 such tests. She classified 92 (17%) as successful, 100 (19%) as approximately successful. 96 as dubious, 40 as nearly complete failures and 204 as complete failures. In a control experiment (138a; cf. 10) 1800 ‘sham’ book tests were subjected to a similar analysis. There were 34 successes (under 2%) and 51 partial successes (under 3%).

Some of the individual successes in these tests were very remarkable. In one case (145c, pp. 253–260) an anonymous sitter (Mrs Talbot) received through Feda a message from her late husband advising her to look for a relevant message on page twelve or thirteen of a book on her bookcase at home. Feda said the book was not printed, but had writing in it; was dark in colour; and contained a table of Indo-European, Aryan, Semitic and Arabian languages, whose relationships were shown by a diagram of radiating lines. Mrs Talbot knew of no such book, and ridiculed the message. However when she eventually looked, she found at the back of a top shelf a shabby black leather notebook of her husband’s. Pasted into this book was a folded table of all the languages mentioned; whilst on page 13 was an extract from a book entitled Post Mortem. In this case the message related to a book unknown to medium and sitter (indeed, so far as could be told, to any living person), but undoubtedly known to the communicator.

The two book tests which I have just described might be thought to constitute rather striking evidence for survival. Mind-reading does not seem a likely explanation, for it was highly unlikely that the requisite information was possessed in sufficient detail by any living person. On the other hand the existence of the books, and of the relevant passages, could have been, and in the second case certainly was, known to the alleged communicator. Unfortunately the results of many other book tests serve only to confuse the issue; not because they were unsuccessful, but because they were too successful. For the communicators proved equally able to transmit information relating to the contents of books deliberately placed on shelves in houses unknown to them, books, furthermore, having for them no special significance. On the face of it |49| this would imply that the communicators got their knowledge of the contents of these books by clairvoyance (the books, of course, being all closed). Feda certainly talks as though the communicators were independent entities who homed in on the test bookshelves, scanned the books for appropriate passages, and then returned to relay the results through her. But if these communicators can exercise clairvoyance of such remarkable degree, why should not Feda? Why should not Mrs Leonard herself? The information given is no longer such as the alleged communicators are specially qualified to supply. In some cases (145c, pp. 300–313), indeed, correct information was apparently given about the contents of books in classical Greek; yet neither Mrs Leonard, nor the sitter, nor the alleged communicator knew classical Greek, while the person who lent the books (Mrs Salter), though she knew Greek, had not properly studied several of the volumes. Neither telepathy with the living, nor communication with the dead, nor yet clairvoyance, would seem to supply us with an adequate explanation here. I think it would be fair to say this of the book tests: (a) The fact that in certain cases meaningful reference was made to passages from books to which the communicators had in life had special access cannot be taken as evidence that the surviving memory stores of those communicators were somehow active in the matter. For, as we have just seen, communicators were also able to refer unmistakably to passages in books which it was highly unlikely they had read when alive. (b) Still, if we grant for the sake of argument that the books were in some sense open to clairvoyant inspection by an agency other than that of the communicator, there remains the problem of how, from this mass of potentially available material, just those passages were so often selected which were particularly appropriate as messages from the communicator to the particular living recipient. Who selected for Bim’s father the passage about the beetle damaging trees? To select a passage as appropriate as this, the medium would have had e.g. to tap Bim’s father’s mind, and then in the light of information telepathically gained from it, select that one of the very numerous book passages clairvoyantly accessible to her which would be most likely to impress Bim’s family as a message of a kind he might plausibly address to his father. This problem of selection will arise again; as will that of the apparent synthesis of information extrasensorially acquired from more than one source."

Gauld then moves on to discuss proxy sittings with Leonard, which skeptics don't touch: "The term ‘proxy sitting’ is almost self-explanatory. A sitter takes a sitting on behalf of a third party, about whom both he and the medium know as little as possible. If ‘evidential’ communications are then received, the explanation can hardly be laid at the door of telepathy with persons present. Usually the third party, or absent principal, desires communications from a particular deceased person who has in some way or another to be contacted. To achieve this the proxy sitter may give the medium carefully circumscribed details (e.g. name, identifying phrase) of the desired communicator, or may bring some relic of him to serve as a ‘token object’; or he may privately appeal to him, or concentrate upon him, before the sitting; or he may request his own ‘spirit guides’ to act as intermediaries. The best-known of all proxy sittings are without doubt the numerous sittings with Mrs Leonard at which Miss Nea Walker and the Rev C. Drayton Thomas acted as proxies (157d; 157e; 157f; 167a, 167b; cf. 158). These sittings were usually, although not always, the outcome of letters from bereaved, sometimes despairing, parents, spouses, etc.

Many proxy cases went on for several sittings, and it is hard to convey the ‘feel’ of them adequately in a brief summary. For instance one of Drayton Thomas’s most remarkable cases, the ‘Bobbie Newlove’ case (157e), extended over eleven sittings. Bobbie was a boy of ten who had died of diphtheria. He proved a fluent communicator, and through Feda made unmistakable references to such matters as a dog-shaped salt-cellar he had owned, a ‘Jack of Hearts’ costume he had once worn, visits to a chemical laboratory with his grandfather, gymnastic apparatus which he had set up in his room and exercises carried out therewith, a girl skater of whom he was fond, an injury to his nose, and the topography of his home town (including place-names). Most curious of all, he repeatedly insisted that some weeks before his death his constitution had been undermined by contact with poisonous ‘pipes’, and that this had lowered his resistance to the diphtheria. In connection with the pipes he talked of cattle, a sort of barn, and running water. This meant nothing to his family, but upon investigation some water pipes round which he had played with a friend were discovered. The locality answered the description given and it is possible that Bobbie had drunk bad water there.

In another case, Drayton Thomas was asked by Professor E. R. Dodds, well-known as a critic of the evidence for survival, to attempt to contact a certain Frederic William Macaulay on behalf of the latter’s daughter, Mrs Lewis. Thomas had five sittings with Mrs Leonard. |51| Distinctive references were made to Macaulay’s work as an hydraulic engineer. The following passages (157f, pp. 265–269) refer to more personal matters. Mrs Lewis’s annotations are in square brackets.

FEDA: There is a John and Harry, both with him. And Race … Rice … Riss … it might be Reece but sounds like Riss, and Francis. These are all names of people who are connected with him or linked up with him in the past, connected with happy times. I get the feeling of an active and busy home in which he was rather happy. [This is a very curious passage … Probably the happiest time of my father’s life was in the four or five years before the war, when we, his five children, were all at school, and the home was packed with our friends during the holidays. John, Harry and Francis could be three of these . . But the most interesting passage is ‘It might be Reece but it sounds like Riss’ … My elder brother was at school at Shrewsbury and there conceived a kind of hero-worship for one of the ‘Tweaks’ (sixth form boys) whose name was Rees. He wrote home about him several times and always drew attention to the fact that the name was spelt ‘Rees’ and not ‘Reece’. In the holidays my sister and I used to tease him by singing ‘Not Reece but Riss’ until my father stopped us …] FEDA: I get a funny word now … could he be interested in … baths of some kind? Ah, he says I have got the right word, baths. He spells it, BATHS. His daughter will understand, he says. It is not something quite ordinary, but feels something special. [This is, to me, the most interesting thing that has yet emerged. Baths were always a matter of joke in our family—my father being very emphatic that water must not be wasted by our having too big baths or by leaving taps dripping. It is difficult to explain how intimate a detail this seems…The mention of baths here also seems to me an indication of my father’s quaint humour, a characteristic which has hitherto been missing … ] FEDA: … Godfrey; will you ask the daughter if she remembers someone called Godfrey. That name is a great link with old times. [My father’s most trusted clerk, one who specially helped in the hydraulic research, was called William Godfrey. He was with my father for years and I remember him from almost my earliest childhood … ] FEDA: What is that? … Peggy … Peggy … Puggy … he is giving me a little name like Puggy or Peggy. Sounds like a special name, a little special nickname, and I think it is something his daughter would know … [My father sometimes called me ‘pug-nose’ or ‘Puggy’.]

Altogether, 124 items of information were given, of which 51 were classified as right, 12 as good, 32 as fair, 2 as poor, 22 as doubtful, and 5 as wrong. Dodds, the instigator of this experiment, remarks: ‘It appears to me that the hypotheses of fraud, rational influence from disclosed facts, telepathy from the actual sitter, and coincidence cannot either singly or in combination account for the results obtained.’

Of the more impressive proxy cases, most are, like the Bobbie Newlove and Macaulay cases, too long to be done justice to in a brief summary. The next case (157g) has some very unusual (though not unprecedented) features, the essentials of which can be set forth fairly briefly. We may call it the ‘Aitken’ case, after the family involved.

At a Leonard sitting on 28 October 1938, Drayton Thomas’s regular communicators (his father and his sister) enquired if he had recently received from a middle-aged man a letter about his son. He had not yet received such a letter, and the communicators proceeded to give some further particulars of its contents. The letter would concern an accident to do with a motor car. In this accident the young man was killed outright, or nearly so. There was a connection with ‘Morton’ or a like-sounding name. The father once lived near where Drayton Thomas lived. Finally another name, sounding like ‘Char’, was given.

The anticipated letter duly arrived. It was dated eleven days after the sitting, and was from Mr Lionel G. Aitken, a member of the SPR. Mr Aitken told Drayton Thomas that he first thought of writing after hearing him speak at a Queen’s Hall meeting on 9 October, i.e. three weeks before the sitting and nearer five before he actually wrote. A sentence of the letter reads, ‘Not very long ago I lost my son, a splendid young man, full of the joy of life and success.’ After reference to certain London mediums, it continues, ‘I think on the whole that we have been most fortunate in the evidential nature of the messages received.’ Finally Thomas’s advice was asked about other mediums, but there was no word to suggest that he might possibly obtain a message for him through Mrs Leonard.

Drayton Thomas entered into correspondence with Mr Aitken. From this correspondence certain facts emerged concerning the statements made at the sitting of 28 October. In this quotation (157g, pp. 103–104) Drayton Thomas places these facts for comparison beside the items given at the sitting.

1. I am to expect a letter from a father about his son … On my enquiring when Mr Aitken had first thought of writing he replied, ‘I don’t think I had thought of mentioning my case to you and asking for advice until I actually wrote the letter. I merely intended to thank you for your address. It appears that you had news of something I was going to write before I wrote it or had consciously thought of it.’ 2. The father is middle aged. This is correct. 3. An accident case. This is also correct. 4. Connected with a motorcar. Mr Aitken writes, ‘Not a motorcar accident exactly.’ 5. The young man was killed outright or very nearly so. He was killed outright. 6. Morton or a like-sounding name; this father once lived near where you lived. In correspondence about this statement I learnt that Mr Aitken had resided at the village of Norton and that his son was born there and had been familiar with all the neighbourhood. Norton is but one and a half miles from Baldock where I lived with my parents in 1876–8. Is it too much to suppose that Feda’s ‘Morton’ was misheard by her for Norton? 7. Another name like Char—is given. This was unsatisfactory, just possibly an attempt for Charles, the Christian name of Mr Aitken’s friend killed at Gallipoli. Drayton Thomas was entirely convinced that something more than chance was at work here. Several of the items, however, are either commonplace or wrong. The case rests largely on: (a) the coincidence in time between the prediction of a letter that a man would write about his son, and the fulfilment of that prediction, and (b) the fairly clear indication of a particular locality. The former is somewhat hard to assess in the absence of detailed knowledge about the sort of letters Drayton Thomas habitually received; (b) is, however, not easy to discount.

Thomas uses the apparent precognition displayed by his communicators to knock the super-ESP hypothesis. He says (p. 104): Those who incline to the universal telepathy hypothesis will suggest that the messages originated with Mr Aitken. But this would imply that the medium tapped the Aitken memory before either she or I were aware of his existence and, more incredibly still, that she divined a purpose of which he remained entirely unaware until he was in the act of writing to thank me for remarks he heard me make in public.

Drayton Thomas’s criticism of the ‘universal telepathy hypothesis’ is no doubt entirely justified. One suspects, however, that he wishes to pass from the shortcomings of that hypothesis directly to the validity of the survivalist position. The principle seems to be—and it is, unfortunately, a principle enthusiastically applied in this field by partisans of all persuasions—that if your chief competitors are bankrupt, your own business must be on a sound footing. Many hopeful theorists have tried to persuade themselves of the latter by proving the former to their own satisfaction. But of course the present problem—that of the apparent precognition of Mr Aitken’s letter—is not solved simply by attributing the precognition to discarnate spirits. Such a move would be entirely regressive.

The most remarkable aspect of this case, however, still remains to be told. At four later Leonard sittings, for which Drayton Thomas was sitter, and at which Mr Aitken was not present, a good deal of material ostensibly relating to Mr Aitken’s son was received. Mr Aitken regarded much of this matter as highly evidential. There were however some passages which he could make little of, but which his other son recognized at once as a message concerning a common friend of his and his brother’s, a friend of whom Mr Aitken had never heard. It transpired that the living son had (in thought) deliberately asked his dead brother to try to send a message concerning this friend through some medium.

I give now Mr Aitken’s own corroborations of Feda’s statements (157g, pp. 122–123): In Mr Drayton Thomas’s sitting of 20 January 1939, Feda says: ‘There was somebody else he was very interested in, that perhaps you don’t know … a name that starts with the letter B, and I think there is an R in it … it’s not a long name—very much linked with him … it might be a Mr BRICK … I feel this is something you could use for building, and is a name much connected with this boy and his interests.’ In Mr Drayton Thomas’s sitting of 3 February 1939, Feda says: ‘A name starting with BR—rather an important name with him … Somebody he was linked up with shortly before his passing … there is a link between this BR … and the boy’s passing. I also want to know if there is anything to do with him like a little ship … or a little model of a ship—something he had on earth and was very fond of. He is showing me something like a toy ship—a fancy ship, not a plain one—’laborate, rather ’laborate—with a good deal of detail shown in it—it seemed to be connected with his earth life—but some time before he passed over, rather early in his earth life, but I think it is something that his people have still got …’ A name beginning with BR—like the name Feda says ‘might be Mr BRICK’—had been mentioned by other mediums, but we had been unable to place it, nor was the reference to a ‘model ship’ understood; but my son, on seeing the Leonard script, recognised its meaning. He and his deceased brother had been friends at an RAF Station with a young officer called BRIDGEN—whom we had not heard of—and who had been killed about a year after my son. This young man, before joining the RAF, had worked for a firm which made scale models of ships for shipping companies, and he had shown my son a photograph of one of these models which he had made himself and which he said his people still had at home. My son had felt sure that this matter of the model ship would be given as a sign if they were unable to get the name through correctly.

These corroborations were accompanied by the following letter from Mr Aitken’s surviving son: The Editor, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Dear Sir, I have read my father’s account of the ‘Leonard-Aitken’ proxy sittings, and I testify to its correctness. I was the only living member of the family who knew of ‘Bridgen’, and I had never had any communication with Mr Drayton Thomas or Mrs Leonard. My ‘thought-message’ was not directed to Mr Drayton Thomas or to Mrs Leonard—but to my ‘dead’ brother—and to me, the reply was unmistakable. Yours sincerely, LIONEL AITKEN, Flying-Officer, RAF 14 November 1939

I shall not at this point attempt to work out the full implications which successful proxy sittings may have for the problem of survival. But the following points are worth bearing in mind for future discussion:

1. It seems rather unlikely that all or even most of the information transmitted at these sittings could have come in a large part from clairvoyance by the medium. Many of the details given could be verified only by consulting the memories of friends and relatives of the deceased persons; there were, so far as we know, no pictures, no records, written or printed, and no other physical state of affairs which, clairvoyantly perceived, might have yielded such pieces of information as that Bobbie Newlove had an affection for a girl skater a little older than him, that F. W. Macaulay had an obsession about baths, and that he used unfeelingly to call his daughter ‘pug-nose’, and so on. And even if there had been such clairvoyantly accessible sources of information, the sources for each case would almost certainly have been scattered, so that the medium would have had to locate them, read them and synthesize them into a coherent and plausible story. Telepathy with some living person possessed of all the relevant scraps of information sounds a far more hopeful proposition.

2. However it appears that in at any rate two of the proxy cases cited in this chapter there was no one living person who possessed all the information. This is most obvious in the Aitken case just described, in which Feda produced some distinctive pieces of information not known to Mrs Leonard, to Drayton Thomas, or to Mr Aitken, but only to the latter’s still living son. In the Bobbie Newlove case some of the |56| relevant information (about the pipes and their location) was not known to any member of the communicator’s family. We are forced to attribute its production either to telepathy between Mrs Leonard and one of Bobbie’s friends (the one who played with him around the pipes), or to clairvoyant scanning of the neighbourhood plus skilful guessing about Bobbie’s likely habits, or to a clairvoyant monitoring prior to Bobbie’s death of his pastimes and activities, and a subsequent storing up of a record of them in the medium’s unconscious mind. (This last possibility, implying as it does continual monitoring of the lives of an indefinitely large number of potential communicators who are as yet still living, seems to me more fantastic than any version of the survival hypothesis.) For both of these cases, therefore, we would on the ESP (or super-ESP) hypothesis have to postulate that Mrs Leonard located (telepathically or clairvoyantly) two separate sources of information, tapped them, and collated and synthesized the results.

In the remaining case cited, the Macaulay case, Drayton Thomas listed three correct items given by Feda which were not known to Mrs Lewis, the presumed principal source of telepathically obtained information. However Dodds found these items too vague and general to be convincing; and I agree with Dodds’s estimate of them.

3. An obvious underlying problem which successful proxy sittings present for the ESP hypothesis is of course that of how the medium manages to locate (telepathically or clairvoyantly) sources of information appropriate to the case in hand. These sources are, in a number of different senses, remote from the sitting and the sitter, to whom the very existence of some of them is likely to be unknown. We might propose that the medium learns from the sitter’s mind the identity of his principal (i.e. of the person for whom he is acting as proxy), and that this somehow enables her to home in on the mind of the principal; from the mind of the principal further clues to other sources of information may be obtained; and soon. One has only to ask oneself in detail what would be involved here to see that the proposed process is grotesquely implausible. Proper names, addresses, dates, and so forth—details which identify a person uniquely— are notoriously among the most difficult of all items for sensitives to obtain; and yet such uniquely identifying details (or their equivalents) would have to be obtained in a proxy case before the medium could pinpoint the right source of information to tap; and in some cases they would have to be obtained from several sources as the medium’s mind so to speak moved along the chain of clues.

It must be added, of course, that the survivalist theory too must cope with the problem of how Feda managed to locate Bobbie Newlove, F. W. Macaulay, etc., on the ‘other side’ in order to extract evidential messages from them. Did she do it by ESP? Certainly she often speaks as though her awareness of communicators were of a fluctuating and uncertain kind. However, if there is ‘another world’ to which our spirits pass at death, it is perhaps reasonable to suppose that it contains some form of established communication network or heavenly post office directory.

4. Finally it should be noted that in some proxy cases the principals have felt the messages received contained not just correct information, but hints of the personal characteristics (humour, interests, turns of phrase, and so forth) of the ostensible communicators. If they are correct in this, we have additionally to attribute to the medium the power to glean the relevant facts and then, instead of presenting them in statement form (‘he had a dry sense of humour’), so to speak to enact them in dramatic form by reproducing the communicator’s characteristic dry humour (or whatever it may be). Certainly, the more numerous the unusual gifts we have to attribute to mediums in order to support the super-ESP hypothesis, the more cumbersome that hypothesis becomes.")

Tyrell (1946). Mrs Willet: Communications Ostensibly Proceeding from the Dead.

Balfour (1960). The 'Palm Sunday' Case.

Broad (1965). Mrs Willett (Winifred Margaret Pearce-Serocold): 1874-1956 (from the Foreword by C. D. Broad from "Swan on a Black Sea" by Geraldine Cummins (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965)).

(various) (1966). Complete SPR Correspondence on Geraldine Cummins' Swan on a Black Sea. (this shows the necessity of following the whole correspondence for articles like this, and the correspondence, as a whole, exonerates Cummins from all attacks, which were already misrepresented by critics in the first place. The text analyzed, Swan on The Black Sea, is the only empirically evident "channeled" text that I am aware of, though according to Trevor Hamilton, in Immortal Longings (2009), p. 300, regarding the alleged "Myers" scripts The Road to Immortality and Beyond Human Personality, "The preface to the 4th edition of the former, written by Geraldine Cummins, stated that shortly after its publication, Sir Lawrence Jones, a close friend of Myers and his wife, came to visit her and made her an extraordinary offer. He said that Eveleen Myers had brought twenty-seven copies of the book to give to her friends, since she was sure the communications were from her husband, and Sir Lawrence offered her, on behalf of Mrs Myers, the chance to live on the top floor of Mrs Myers' house so that she might receive communications from her husband. Miss Cummins refused the offer, wisely no doubt." Hamilton pp. 283-292, notes that Eveleen Myers was antagonistic to earlier alleged communication because they disclosed personal details she did not want to deal with, though her attacks were emotional rather than logical, but in the case of the Cummins scripts, they touched upon cosmic philosophy and life after death in general, and so were more acceptable to her).

Hume (2015). The R-101 Seances in light of the once secret Jarman Report (in Light', Vol. 136 - this shows skeptical misrepresentation of the R-101 seances of Eileen Garrett)

Carrington (1957). The Case for Psychic Survival. (concerns Eileen Garrett)

Haraldsson & Stevenson (1975). A Communicator of the Drop-in Type in Iceland: the case of Runolfur Runolfsson.

Haraldsson & Stevenson (1975). A Communicator of the Drop-in Type in Iceland: the case of Gudni Magnusson.

Gauld (1982). Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations.

Keen et al (1999). The Scole Report.

Fontana (1999). Evidence Inconsistent With the Super-ESP Hypothesis.

Fontana (2004). Survival Research: Opposition and Future Developments.

Schwartz (2003). How Not To Review Mediumship Research: Understanding the Ultimate Reviewer's Mistake.

Playfair & Keen (2004). A Possibly Unique Case of Psychic Detection. (medium provides information leading to the capture of a murderer)

Beischel (2007). Contemporary methods used in laboratory-based mediumship research.

Beischel & Schwartz (2007). Anomalous information reception by research mediums demonstrated using a novel triple-blind protocol.

Moreira-Almeida et al (2008). Comparison of Brazilian Spiritist Mediumship and Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Beischel & Rock (2008). Quantitative Analysis of Research Mediums’ Conscious Experiences during a Discarnate Reading versus a Control Task: A Pilot Study.

Beischel & Rock (2009). Adressing the Survival versus PSI debate through Process-Focused Mediumship Research.

Rock et al (2009). Psi vs. survival: A qualitative investigation of mediums’ phenomenology comparing psychic readings and ostensible communication with the deceased

Kelly (2010). Some directions for mediumship research.

Moreira-Almeida et al (2010). The Neurobiology of Trance and Mediumship in Brazil.

Kelly & Arcangel (2011). An investigation of mediums who claim to give information about deceased persons

Boccuzzi & Beischel (2011). Objective Analyses of Reported Real-Time Audio Instrumental Transcommunication and Matched Control Sessions: A Pilot Study.

Roxburgh & Roe (2013). “Say From Whence You Owe This Strange Intelligence”: Investigating Explanatory Systems of Spiritualist Mental Mediumship Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Miraldi & Krippner (2013). A Biopsychosocial Approach to Creative Dissociation: Remarks on a Case of Mediumistic Painting.

Delorme et al (2013). Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased.

Lucchetti et al (2013). Historical and cultural aspects of the pineal gland: comparison between the theories provided by Spiritism in the 1940s and the current scientific evidence.

Williams (2014). Mediums, Spirits, and Science.

Rocha et al (2014). Investigating The Fit And Accuracy Of Alleged Mediumistic Writing: A Case Study Of Chico Xavier’s Letters.

Beischel et al (2015). Anomalous Information Reception by Research Mediums Under Blinded Conditions II: Replication and Extension

Sanderson (2003). The Case For Spirit Release.

Powell (2003). Psychiatry and Spirit Release Therapy.

Powell (2005). The Contribution of Spirit Release Therapy to Mental Health.

Moreira-Almeida et al (2005). Spiritist Views of Mental Disorders in Brazil.

Powell (2007). ‘Furthering the spiritual dimension of psychiatry in the United Kingdom’.

Stevenson (1974). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation.

Matlock (2011). Ian Stevenson's Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation: An Historical Review and Assessment.

Stevenson et al (1980). A preliminary report on an unusual case of the reincarnation type with Xenoglossy.

Stevenson (1983). American Children Who Claim to Remember Previous Lives.

Stevenson et al (1989). A Case of the Possession Type in India with evidence of Paranormal Knowledge.

Almeder (1992). Death and Personal Survival: The Evidence for Life After Death (general overview which also contains a defense of the work of Ian Stevenson on reincarnation, with rebuttals to C.T.K. Chari, Ian Wilson, and Paul Edwards)

Almeder (1997). A Critique of Arguments Offered Against Reincarnation (appraisal of the evidence in light of Paul Edwards' attacks in Reincarnation: A Critical Examination - also rebuts misleading attacks Edwards made against Almeder)

Stevenson (2000). The phenomenon of claimed memories of previous lives: possible interpretations and importance.

Haraldsson et al (2000). Psychological Characteristics of Children Who Speak of a Previous Life: A Further Field Study in Sri Lanka.

Haraldsson (2003). Children who speak of past-life experiences: Is there a psychological explanation?

Stevenson & Haraldsson (2003). The Similarity of Features of Reincarnation Type Cases over Many Years: A Third Study.

Sharma & Tucker (2005). Cases of the Reincarnation Type with Memories from the Intermission Between Lives.

Tucker (2008). Children's reports of Past-Life Memories: A Review.

Carpenter (2009). An Experimental Investigation of Past-Life Experiences.

Matlock (2012). Bibliography of reincarnation resources online (articles and books, all downloadable).

Haraldsson (2012). Cases of the Reincarnation Type and the Mind–Brain Relationship.

Tart (1968). A Psychophysiological Study of OBEs in a Selected Subject. (this experiment, like many really notable experiments, has been attacked, however, such attacks are irrelevant if one considers Tart's commentary on pp. 82-83 of this 1998 review of studies - see also Alvarado (1982). ESP During Out-of-Body Experiences: A Review of Experimental Studies)

Paquette (2012). NDE Implications from a Group of Spontaneous Long-Distance Veridical OBEs. (excerpt: "The case for veridical out-of-body experiences (OBEs) reported in near-death experiences might be strengthened by accounts of well-documented veridical OBEs not occurring near death. However, such accounts are not easily found in the literature, particularly accounts involving events seen at great distances from the percipient. In this article, I seek to mitigate this paucity of literature using my collection of dream journal OBE cases. Out of 3,395 records contained in the database as of June 15, 2012, 226 had demonstrated veridicality. This group divides into examples of precognition, after-death communications, and OBEs. Of the OBEs, 92 are veridical. The documentation involved is stronger than is normally encountered in spontaneous cases, because it is made prior to confirmation attempts, all confirmations are contemporaneous, and the number of verified records is large relative to the total number of similar cases in the literature. This database shows that NDE-related veridical OBEs share important characteristics of veridical OBEs that are not part of an NDE. Because the OBEs are similar, but the conditions are not, skeptical arguments that depend on specific physical characteristics of the NDE--such as the use of drugs and extreme physical distress--are weakened. Other arguments against purported psi elements found in veridical OBEs are substantially weakened by the cases presented in this article.")

Alvarado (2016). Out-of-Body Experience (OBE).

Greyson & Stevenson (1980). The Phenomenology of Near-Death Experiences

Greyson (1985). A Typology of Near-Death Experiences.

Fenske (1990). The near-death experience: An ancient truth, a modern mystery.

Serdahely (1991). A comparison of retrospective accounts of childhood near-death experiences with contemporary pediatric near-death experience accounts. (excerpt: "I compared five childhood near-death experiences (NDEs) reported by adults and another five NDEs reported by minors, in terms of Ring's five NDE stages, Greyson's four NDE components, Moody and Perry's 12 NDE traits, Sabom's 16 general characteristics, and Gallup and Proctor's 10 basic positive experiences. In this combined pool of 47 NDE characteristics (which were interdependent), only two relating to time sense showed significant differences between the adults' retrospective reports of childhood NDEs and the children's contemporary NDE reports, and that number of differences would be expected by chance. This study therefore supports the claims of previous researchers that adults' retrospective reports of childhood NDEs are not embellished or distorted.")

Greyson (1993). Near-death experiences and the physio-kundalini syndrome.

Fenwick (1997). Is the Near-Death Experience Only N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Blocking? (excerpt: "Karl Jansen's interesting hypothesis that near-death experiences (NDEs) result from blockade of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor has several weaknesses. Some NDEs occur to individuals who are neither near death nor experiencing any event likely to upset cerebral physiology as Jansen proposed; thus his hypothesis applies only to a subset of NDEs that occur in catastrophic circumstances. For that subset, the clarity of NDEs and the clear memory for the experience afterward are inconsistent with compromised cerebral function. Jansen's analogy between NDEs and ketamine-induced hallucinations is weakened by the fact that most ketamine users do not believe the events they perceived really happened. Temporal lobe seizures do not resemble NDEs as Jansen postulated; they are confusional, rarely ecstatic, and never clear, as are NDEs, nor are they remembered afterward. Jansen's hypothesis assumes the standard scientific view that brain processes are entirely responsible for subjective experience; however, NDEs suggest that that concept of the mind may be too limited, and that in fact personal experience may continue beyond death of the brain.")

Cook et al (1998). Do any near-death experiences provide evidence for the survival of human personality after death? Relevant features and illustrative case reports.

Ring & Cooper (1998). Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind: A Study of Apparent Eyeless Vision. (these kinds of results are further elaborated upon in Ring & Cooper (2008) Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind)

Green (1998). Near-Death Experiences, Shamanism, and the Scientific Method (excerpt: "The first 20 years of near-death studies have thoroughly documented the existence of this phenomenon. The field of near-death studies appears to be evolving from a purely academic one to include an applied, clinical component. I discuss the overlap between shamanism and near-death experiences (NDEs) and suggest that the study of shamanism would be helpful in more fully understanding this phenomena and beginning the development of an applied methodology. Although it may be difficult to verify subjective accounts of NDEs and shamanic journeys, from a clinical stand-point it may not be necessary to do so in order to develop a technique that passes the test of scientific scrutiny.")

Stone (2001). A Critique of Susan Blackmore's Dying Brain Hypothesis by Greg Stone. (Informal non-peer reviewed critique of the dying brain hypothesis by a psychologist and theologian).

van Lommel et al (2001). Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands.

Parnia and Fenwick (2002). Near death experiences in cardiac arrest: visions of a dying brain or visions of a new science of consciousness? (formal, peer-reviewed critique of the dying brain hypothesis - a relevant excerpt is as follows: "The occurrence of lucid, well structured thought processes together with reasoning, attention and memory recall of specific events during a cardiac arrest (NDE) raise a number of interesting and perplexing questions regarding how such experiences could arise. These experiences appear to be occurring at a time when cerebral function can be described at best as severely impaired, and at worst absent. Although, under other clinical circumstances in which the brain is still functioning, it may be possible to argue that the experiences may arise as a hallucination in response to various chemical changes in the brain, this becomes far more difficult during a cardiac arrest. NDE in cardiac arrest appear different to hallucinations arising from metabolic or physiological alterations, in that they appear to occur in a non-functioning cortex, whereas hallucinations occur in a functioning cortex. Therefore, it is difficult to apply the same arguments for their occurrence. In addition cerebral localisation studies have indicated that thought processes are mediated through a number of different cortical areas, rather than single areas of the brain. Therefore a globally disordered brain would not be expected to produce lucid thought processes. From a clinical point of view any acute alteration in cerebral physiology such as occurring in hypoxia, hypercarbia, metabolic, and drug induced disturbances and seizures leads to disorganised and compromised cerebral function[36]. Furthermore, as already described, any reduction in cerebral blood flow leads to impaired attention and higher cerebral function. A recent study by Marshall and co workers has demonstrated that deterioration in higher cerebral function correlates with reduction in the levels of cerebral blood flow, and that even relatively minor reductions in blood flow leads to impaired attention [37]. NDEs in cardiac arrest are clearly not confusional and in fact indicate heightened awareness, attention and consciousness at a time when consciousness and memory formation would not be expected to occur.

An alternative explanation is that NDEs reported from cardiac arrests, may actually be arising at a time when consciousness is either being lost, or regained, rather than during the actual cardiac arrest period itself. Experiments during simple fainting episodes have shown that, experiences arising during loss of consciousness occur in conjunction with mental experiences at the beginning of the episode [38]. This is not seen classically in NDEs. The EEG during fainting show a gradual slowing of the cerebral rhythms with the appearance of delta activity before finally, in a minority of cases, the EEG becoming flat [39]. In cardiac arrest, the process is accelerated, with the EEG showing changes within a few seconds[40].

Any cerebral insult leads to a period of both anterograde and retrograde amnesia [41] and [42]. In fact memory is a very sensitive indicator of brain injury and the length of amnesia before and after unconsciousness is an indicator of the severity of the injury [43]. Therefore, events that occur just prior to or just after loss of consciousness would not be expected to be recalled. Recovery following a cerebral insult is confusional [41] and [42]. As has been described above, cerebral function as indicated by EEG has, in many cases been shown not to return until many minutes or even a few hours after successful resuscitation. Despite these observations it can still be argued that the occurrence of some of the features of an NDE such as seeing a light or a tunnel potentially may occur during the recovery phase following a cardiac arrest, with the patient thinking that the experiences had occurred during the actual period itself. However, anecdotal reports of patients being able to ‘see’ and recall detailed events occurring during the actual cardiac arrest, such as specific details relating to the resuscitation period verified by hospital staff, simply cannot be explained in this way. For this memory to take place, a form of consciousness would need to be present during the actual cardiac arrest itself.")

van Lommel (2003). Open Letter to Michael Shermer. (chastises Shermer for misrepresentation of data from van Lommel's Lancet study)

Rivas (2003). The Survivalist Interpretation of Recent Studies Into the Near-Death Experience.

Rivas (2003). The Survivalist Interpretation of Recent Studies into the NDE.

van Lommel (2006). Near-death experience, consciousness, and the brain.

Alvarado (2006). Neglected Near-Death Phenomena.

Greyson (2007). Consistency of near-death experience accounts over two decades: Are reports embellished over time? (excerpt: "Near-death experiences," commonly reported after clinical death and resuscitation, may require intervention and, if reliable, may elucidate altered brain functioning under extreme stress. It has been speculated that accounts of near- death experiences are exaggerated over the years. The objective of this study was to test the reliability over two decades of accounts of near-death experiences. Methods: Seventy-two patients with near-death experience who had completed the NDE scale in the 1980s (63/ of the original cohort still alive) completed the scale a second time, without reference to the original scale administration. The primary outcome was differences in NDE scale scores on the two administrations. The secondary outcome was the statistical association between differences in scores and years elapsed between the two administrations. Results: Mean scores did not change significantly on the total NDE scale, its 4 factors, or its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between scores on the two administrations were significant at P < 0.001 for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, and for its 16 items. Correlation coefficients between score changes and time elapsed between the two administrations were not significant for the total NDE scale, for its 4 factors, or for its 16 items. Conclusion: Contrary to expectation, accounts of near-death experiences, and particularly reports of their positive affect, were not embellished over a period of almost two decades. These data support the reliability of near-death experience accounts.")

Greyson (2007). Near-death experience: clinical implications. (excerpt: "When some people come close to death, they report a profound experience of transcending the physical world that often leads to spiritual transformation. These ``near-death experiences (NDEs) are relevant to clinicians because they lead to changes in beliefs, attitudes, and values; they may be mistaken for psychopathological states, although producing different sequelae requiring different therapeutic approaches; and because they may enhance our understanding of consciousness. Objectives: This literature review examined the evidences regarding explanations proposed to explain NDEs, including expectation, birth memories, altered blood gases, toxic or metabolic hallucinations, and neurochemical and neuroanatomical models. Methods: The literature on NDEs of the past 30 years was examined comprehensively, including medical, nursing, psychological, and sociological databases. Results: NDEs typically produce positive changes in attitudes, beliefs, and values, but may also lead to interpersonal and intrapsychic problems. These problems have been compared to various mental disorders, but are distinguishable from them. Various therapeutic strategies have been proposed to help experiencers with problematic aftereffects, but have not been tested yet. Conclusions: The mystical consciousness and higher mental activity during NDEs, when the brain is severely impaired, challenge current models of brain/mind interaction and may occasionally lead to more complete models for the understanding of consciousness.")

Parnia (2007). Do reports of consciousness during cardiac arrest hold the key to discovering the nature of consciousness? (excerpt: "Perhaps the biggest challenge facing neuroscience at the dawn of the 21st century is understanding the relationship between mind, consciousness and the brain. Editorials in recent years have highlighted the difficulties faced by cognitive neuroscience in attempting to answer questions regarding the nature, as well as the mechanism by which subjective experiences and our sense of consciousness may arise through neuronal processes. Current scientific views regarding the origin of consciousness vary widely and range from an `epiphenomenon' arising from neuronal networks, to neuronal quantum processes, to a separate undiscovered scientific entity. Although there has been a lack of experimental studies to test these theories, recent studies have indicated that the study of the human mind during cardiac arrest may hold the key to solving the mystery of consciousness. Four published prospective studies of cardiac arrest survivors have demonstrated that paradoxically human mind and consciousness may continue to function during cardiac arrest. This is despite the well demonstrated finding that cerebral functioning as measured by electrical activity of the brain ceases during cardiac arrest, thus raising the possibility that human mind and consciousness may continue to function in the absence of brain function. In this article the broad theories for the causation of consciousness are reviewed as well as a novel method to study consciousness during cardiac arrest. This may provide a unique experimental method to determine the nature of human mind and consciousness as well as its relationship with the brain.")

Greyson (2008). Four Errors Commonly Made by Professional Debunkers.

Smit (2008). Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a Near-Death Experience.

Smit & Rivas (2010). Rejoinder to “Response to ‘Corroboration of the Dentures Anecdote Involving Veridical Perception in a Near-Death Experience’” (argues that Woerlee's account of this case is an inaccurate misrepresentation)

Wood (2010). Response to G.M. Woerlee's Critique of Dr. Long's Research. ("After reading Dr. Woerlee's critique of Dr. Jeffery Long's NDE research, Review of Evidence of the Afterlife, I was rather frustrated at what I felt was a sloppy effort on Dr. Woerlee's part. I think it is very important that we hold those who make claims and those who rebut claims to the same level of scientific scrutiny. Therefore, in the spirit of science, I offer this paper as a response to Dr. Woerlee's critique. This document is formatted to follow the same sectional outline that Dr. Woerlee used in his critique of Dr. Long.")

Rivas (2010). Is it Rational to extrapolate from the Presence of Consciousness during a Flat EEG to Survival of Consciousness After Death?

Dellolio (2010). Do Near-Death Experiences Provide a Rational Basis for Belief in Life after Death?

Greyson (2010). Implications of Near-Death Experiences for a Postmaterialist Psychology.

Greyson (2010). Seeing dead people not known to have died: “Peak in Darien” experiences.

Nahm et al (2009). Terminal Lucidity in Patients With Chronic Schizophrenia and Dementia: A Survey of the Literature.

Nahm et al (2011). Terminal lucidity: A review and a case collection.

Facco & Agrillo (2012). Near-death experiences between science and prejudice. (this, among other things, rebuts the erroneous, but popularly cited paper "There is Nothing Paranormal about Near-Death Experiences" by Mobbs and Watt, and similar literature. Bruce Greyson, Janice Holden, and Pim van Lommel, noted in a reply to the article of Mobbs & Watt that "We suggest that Mobbs and Watt explained ‘all aspects’ of near-death experiences (NDEs) by ignoring aspects they could not explain and by overlooking a substantial body of empirical research on NDEs. In a subsequent radio interview, Watt acknowledged that they had avoided looking at any evidence for veridical out-of-body perception, resulting in their being unable to evaluate whether or not there was empirical evidence of anything paranormal about NDEs. But if Mobbs and Watt did not consider the evidence for possible paranormal features, then their claim that there is nothing paranormal about NDEs is not evidence based." Pim van Lommel wrote in a 2013 Journal of Consciousness Studies article Non-local consciousness: A concept based on scientific research on near-death experiences during cardiac arrest. (Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20, 7-48.), on p. 18: "In a recent review of 93 corroborated reports of potentially verifiable out-of-body perceptions during NDE it was found that about 90% were completely accurate, 8% contained some minor error, and only 2% were completely erroneous (Holden, 2009). This strongly suggests that OBE cannot be an hallucination, i.e. experiencing a perception that has no basis in ‘reality’, like in psychosis, neither can it be a delusion, which is an incorrect assessment of a correct perception, nor an illusion, which means a misapprehension or misleading image. So the question arises: should an OBE be considered as a kind of non-sensory perception?" - in that article he refuted common materialist monist explanations for the phenomena. The following excerpts from Irreducible Mind also engage in such refutation.)

Agrillo et al (2012). Near-death experiences as a tool for forming a broader comprehension of the link between consciousness and social perception: commentary on Graziano and Kastner (2011)

Fenwick (2012). Can Near Death Experiences Contribute to the Debate on Consciousness? (excerpt: "The near death experiences (NDEs) is an altered state of consciousness, which has stereotyped content and emotional experience. Some features of the experience are trans-cultural and suggest either a similar brain mechanism or access to a transcendent reality. Individual features of the experience point more persuasively to transcendence than to simple limited brain mechanisms. Moreover there are, so far, no reductionist explanations which can account satisfactorily for some of the features of the NDE; the apparent ``sightedness in the blind during an NDE, the apparent acquisition after an NDE of psychic and spiritual gifts, together with accounts of healing occurring during an NDE, and the accounts of veridical experience during the resuscitation after a cardiac arrest. Although nonlocal mind would explain many of the NDE features, nonlocality is not yet accepted by mainstream neuroscience so there is a clear explanatory gap between reductionist materialistic explanations and those theories based on a wider understanding of mind suggested by the subjective experience of the NDEr. Only wider theories of mind would be likely candidates to bridge this gap.")

Facco et al (2013). Near-Death Experiences and Non-Ordinary Mental Expressions (NOME): Is There an Original Sin of Galilean Sciences?

Carter (2012). Reply to Woerlee’s Rejoinder on the Pam Reynolds Case.

Alexander (2012). Proof of Heaven: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife.

Alexander (2013). Eben Alexander answers skeptics' criticisms.

Mays (2013). Esquire article on Eben Alexander distorts the facts (saved internet copy of the early article, the final draft excises some information)

Rivas & Smit (2013). A Near-Death Experience with Veridical Perception Described by a Famous Heart Surgeon and Confirmed by his Assistant Surgeon.

Greyson et al (2013). Surge of neurophysiological activity in the dying brain ( There is also the claim put forth by counter-advocates that "Most brain activity tests are not typically performed when a patient is undergoing attempts at emergency resuscitation because this takes far too much time, and patients need to be resuscitated as soon as possible. It is entirely possible, for example, that a patient showing no activity on an EEG scan could still have brain activity that would appear on an FMRI, PET, or catSCAN. This is because, unless surgically implanted into the brain directly, the EEG principally measures surface cortical activity."

All of this seems very convincing to people who don't know the issues. The source for the refutation is Pim van Lommel's book Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (HarperOne; Reprint edition (August 9, 2011)).

Within 10 - 15 seconds after cardiac arrest the EEG goes flat, indicating no activity in the cerebral cortex. Within about one minute the patient will show no pupil reflexes in response to bright light shone into the eyes, indicating no activity in the brain stem. Since all parts of the brain are deprived of oxygen and glucose during cardiac arrest, there is no reason to think that any part of the brain is functioning. Yet detailed experiences are still reported.

Also, the claims by counter-advocates are irrelevant, as no model has ever postulated consciousness as a function of any part of the brain except the cerebral cortex.

Finally, any sort of insult to the brain is marked by amnesia and recovery via a state of confusion. Yet patients showing all these signs still report clear memories of the time there is every reason to believe their brains were non functioning.

Unfortunately have people like Michael Shermer lying about the results of the Van Lommel study, Stenger lying about and minimizing Kenneth Ring's results, and Woerlee lying about cases of veridical perception. Such action "for the greater good" only holds back science).

Palmieri et al (2014). “Reality” of near-death-experience memories: evidence from a psychodynamic and electrophysiological integrated study (from abstract: "Findings showed that NDE memories were similar to real memories in terms of detail richness, self-referential, and emotional information. Moreover, NDE memories were significantly different from memories of imagined events. The pattern of EEG results indicated that real memory recall was positively associated with two memory-related frequency bands, i.e., high alpha and gamma. NDE memories were linked with theta band, a well-known marker of episodic memory. The recall of NDE memories was also related to delta band, which indexes processes such as the recollection of the past, as well as trance states, hallucinations, and other related portals to transpersonal experience. It is notable that the EEG pattern of correlations for NDE memory recall differed from the pattern for memories of imagined events. In conclusion, our findings suggest that, at a phenomenological level, NDE memories cannot be considered equivalent to imagined memories, and at a neural level, NDE memories are stored as episodic memories of events experienced in a peculiar state of consciousness.")

Tressoldi et al (2014). Out of Body Experience Induced by Hypnotic Suggestion: Phenomenology and Perceptual Characteristics.

Tressoldi et al (2015). Out of Body Experience Induced by Hypnotic Suggestion. Part 2: How Many Bodies are Out There? News About the Subtle and Psychic Body.

Facco et al (2015). Epistemological implications of near-death experiences and other non-ordinary mental expressions: Moving beyond the concept of altered state of consciousness

(Various) (undated). Links to over 300 online NDE Scientific Papers.

Sartori (2016). Near-Death Experience.

A item I'd like to obtain is The Handbook of Near-death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation by Janice Miner Holden, Bruce Greyson, and Debbie James.

Also, as regards the debate as to whether Near-death experiences can be explained or not explained by abnormalities in brain functioning, I have been referred to the following debate in the Journal of Near-Death Studies as a very significant fleshing out of the arguments:

Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer 2007) started with "Does Paranormal Perception Occur in NDEs?" by Keith Augustine, followed by four critiques written by Greyson, by Kimberly Clark Sharp, by Charles Tart, and by Mike Sabom, and a response by Augustine.

Vol. 26, No. 1 (Fall 2007) started with "NDEs with Hallucinatory Features" by Augustine, followed by three critiques written by Jan Holden, by Peter Fenwick, and by Bill Serdahely, and a response by Augustine. This issue also included letters to the editor from Greyson, from Ken Ring, from Raymond Moody, from Steve Cooper, and from Barbara Whitfield correcting some of the factual and conceptual errors in Augustine's response in the previous issue.

Vol. 26, No. 2 (Winter 2007) started with "Psychophysiological and Cultural Correlates Undermining a Survivalist Interpretation of NDEs" by Augustine, followed by four critiques written by Greyson, by Allan Kellehear, by Mark Fox, and by Harvey Irwin, and a response by Augustine.

(Greyson's commentary was quoted by Carter as stating: "Without exception, every report of a large study of NDEs published in a mainstream medical journal has concluded that these phenomena cannot be explained as hallucinations. Such unanimity among scientific researchers is unusual and should tell us something. Why is it that scientists who have done the most near-death research believe the mind is not exclusively housed in the brain, whereas those who regard NDEs as hallucinations by and large have not conducted any studies of the phenomena at all?")

Vol. 26, No. 3 (Spring 2008) included letters to the editor from P.M.H. Atwater, from Mike Sabom, and from Neal Grossman commenting on further errors by Augustine, followed by a response from him.

Vol. 26, No. 4 (Summer 2008) included a letter to the editor from Rudolf Smit correcting additional errors by Augustine.