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Telepathy Explained

Telepathy, meaning Thought-Transference, bears a misleading title.
Literally translated, it means "suffering at a distance," or, perhaps,
"feeling pain at a distance." The name should really indicate "knowing at
a distance," in order to be properly descriptive. But as the term has
acquired a forced meaning by reason of years of usage, it will probably be
continued in popular favor. After all, names do not count, so long as the
meaning is accepted and understood.

While the term itself has been generally used in the sense of conscious
and deliberate sending and receiving of thought-waves, there is a far
wider field of phenomena really covered by it, viz., the unconscious
sending and receiving of mental and emotional vibrations. I shall take up
this phase of the subject in a moment, after I have called your attention
to the mechanism whereby the waves of thought and emotion are transmitted.

In the last chapter, you will remember that I called your attention to the
fact that there is a manifestation of energy or force (in the form of
vibrations) in every mental or emotional state. This is true not only in
the case of deep thought or vivid feeling, but also in the case of general
mental "feelings," and emotional states. During such manifestations there
is a radiation of mental or emotional vibrations from the brain or nervous
centres of the system, which flows out in all directions just as do light
and wireless electricity. The principal seats or centres of these
radiations are (1) the several brains of man, viz., the cerebrum,
cerebellum, and the medulla oblongata, respectfully; and (2) the several
great centres of nerve substance in the human system, called the plexi,
such as the solar plexus, etc.

The vibrations arising from emotional excitement are sent out principally
from the plexi, or great centres of the sympathetic nervous system. Those
arising from the more strictly mental states emanate from certain centres
and points of the brain, or brains, of the person manifesting them.
Certain forms of these vibrations constitute the real essence of what is
generally called "human magnetism," which will be treated upon in the
proper place in these lessons.

I do not think it advisable to go into the technical details of the
generation and mechanism of transmission of these thought and emotional
vibrations, in these lessons. To understand the same would require a
technical knowledge of physiology and organic chemistry, which is not
possessed by the average person. Moreover, such details are neither
interesting nor instructive to the general student of occultism. But, I
think it proper to give at least a brief description of the receiving of
such vibratory-waves by other individuals.

In the first place, every great plexus, or groups of nerve ganglia, in the
human system is a receiving station, as well as a sending station. A
person manifesting strong emotional excitement tends to awaken similar
states in the nervous centres of other persons in whom the conditions are
favorable. This explains why the vibrations of anger, fear, panic, are so
contagious. It also explains the strong effect of the vibrations emanating
from the nerve centres controlling the reproductive system, in certain
cases of strong sexual excitation. Each human sympathetic nervous system
contains many receiving stations where emotional vibrations are received,
and where they tend to be transformed into similar feeling in the
receiving system, unless neutralized by other mental and emotional states
in the person.

When we come to consider the apparatus by which is received the vibrations
arising from what may be called "purely mental" operations of the brain,
such as intellectual thought, constructive imagination, etc., we find a
more specialized arrangement, as might be expected. There are several
minor receiving points of mental vibrations, regarding which I do not
consider it worth while to go into detail, because of the technical
features involved. The principal apparatus for receiving thought
vibrations of this kind is that which is known as the "pineal gland,"
which I shall now describe.

The pineal gland is a peculiar mass of nervous substance which is embedded
in the human brain, in a position near the middle of the skull almost
directly above the extreme top of the spinal column. It is shaped like a
small cone; and is of a reddish-gray color. It lies in front of the
cerebellum, and is attached to the floor of the third ventricle of the
brain. It contains a small quantity of peculiar particles of gritty,
sand-like substance, which are sometimes called "brain-sand." It derives
its scientific name from its shape, which, as I have said, resembles a
pine-cone. Physiologists are at sea regarding the function of this strange
organ, and generally content themselves with the statement that "its
functions are not understood." But occultists know that the pineal gland,
with its peculiar arrangement of nerve-cell corpuscles, and its tiny
grains of "brain-sand," is the physical telepathic receiving instrument.
Students of wireless telegraphy have noticed a startling resemblance
between the pineal gland and a part of the receiving instrument employed
in wireless telegraphy.

The thought vibrations coming in contact with the nervous system of the
receiving person, set up a peculiar vibration in the substance of the
pineal gland and thus the first step in the transformation of these
vibrations into thought-forms in the mind of the person is under way. The
remainder of the process is too technical, both in the physiological as
well as in the occult sense, to be taken up in detail at this place. The
student will do well to get the idea of the workings of wireless
telegraphy well fixed in his mind, for this will set up the right
conception of the working of ordinary telepathy, without the necessity of
complicated technical diagrams and descriptions.

And, now then, let us see what results from the sending forth and
receiving of these mental and emotional waves of force and energy. It is a
most interesting subject, I assure you. While the phenomena of the astral
plane is probably more fascinating to the average student, I would impress
upon you the importance of mastering the occult phenomena of the physical
plane, before passing on to that of the higher planes.

In the first place, as all occultists know, each person is constantly
surrounded with what has been called an "atmosphere" composed of mental
and emotional vibrations which are emanated from his personality. The
atmosphere of each person depends upon the general character of the
thoughts and feelings of the person in question. Consequently, as no two
persons are precisely alike in character, it follows that no two personal
atmospheres are exactly alike. Each person has a psychic atmosphere of his
or her own. These atmospheric vibrations do not extend very far from the
presence of the person, and, consequently affect only those coming near to

In the same way, every group or crowd of persons has its own psychic
atmosphere, composed of a blending of the individual psychic atmospheres
of the persons composing the crowd, group or assemblage, and representing
the general average of the thought and feelings of the crowd. There are no
two group atmospheres exactly alike, for the reason that no two groups of
persons, large or small, are exactly alike. Actors know that each audience
which they face has its own psychic atmosphere, and the actors are
affected by it. Preachers, lawyers, and speakers in general are quite
aware of this fact, and freely admit it, though they may not be acquainted
with the causes or laws governing the phenomena.

Following the same psychic law, it will be found that every town or large
city, or even every small village or section of a larger town, will be
found to have its own distinctive psychic atmosphere, which is very
perceptible to strangers visiting the place, and which affect those who
take up their residence in the place. In large cities, it has been noticed
that every building has its own peculiar vibrations which arise from the
general character of those occupying it. Different church buildings
likewise reflect the character of the general habits of thought and
feeling of those worshipping in them. Likewise, certain business streets
have pleasant or unpleasant vibrations in their atmosphere, from the same
causes. Every person recognizes the truth of these statements, though but
few are able to account for the facts in a scientific manner.

The beginner in the study of psychic phenomena often asks how these things
can be, when the thought which has occasioned the vibrations have long
since passed away. The explanation is simple, when properly explained. It
is something like this: just as heat remains in a room after the stove has
ceased to throw out heat-waves, so do the vibrations of thought and
feeling persist long after the thought or feeling has died away. Or, if
you prefer a more material illustration, we may say that if a package of
perfumery has been opened in a room, and then removed, the air will remain
charged with the odor for a long time afterwards.

So, you see, the same principle applies in the case of psychic vibrations.
The person carries around with him the general atmosphere of his
characteristic mental and emotional vibrations. And, in the same way, the
house, store, church, street, town, or city, etc., is permeated with the
psychic vibrations of those who have frequented them. Nearly every one
realizes the different feeling that impresses him when he enters a strange
house, apartment, store or church. Each one has its own difference of
psychic effect. And, so does each person create his or her psychic effect
upon those coming in contact with him or her, or who comes into his or her
presence or vicinity.

The next question asked by the thoughtful new student is this: If persons
are constantly sending forth psychic vibrations, and if such vibrations
persist for some time, why are we not overwhelmed with the force of them;
and why are they not all so mixed up as to lose all their effect. I shall
now answer this very important question.

In the first place, though we are constantly affected more or less by the
multitude of psychic vibrations beating upon us, still the greater part of
them do not consciously impress us. For an example, we have but to
consider how few of the sounds or sights of a busy street are impressed
upon our consciousness. We hear and see only a few of the things which
attract our attention and interest. The rest are lost to us, although our
eyes and ears receive them all. In the same way, we are impressed only by
the stronger vibrations which reach us, and then only by those which we
have attracted to ourselves, or which prove attractive to us by reason of
our own likes and dislikes.

In the second place, the effect of certain thought vibrations is
neutralized by the effect of the vibrations of thoughts of an opposite
character. Just as a mixture of black and white produces the neutral color
of grey, so do two currents of opposing thought vibrations tend to resolve
themselves into a neutral vibration which has little or no effect upon
those coming in contact with them. You may think of numerous
correspondences to this in the world of material things. For instance, a
mixture of very hot and very cold water, will produce a neutral lukewarm
liquid, neither hot nor cold. In the same way, two things of opposing
taste characteristics, when blended, will produce a neutral taste having
but little effect upon one. The principle is universal, and is readily

In the third place, there is that which we may call an "affinity" between
thoughts and feelings of a similar character. Not only do the vibrations
of similar thoughts tend to coalesce and combine; but, more than this,
each one of us attracts to himself or herself the thought vibrations which
are in general accord with corresponding thoughts in our own minds, or
feelings in our own nature. Like attracts like. In the same way, the
character of our thoughts and feelings act to repel thought or emotional
vibrations of an opposite or inharmonious nature. As all occultists know,
everyone draws thought vibrations in harmony with his or her own; and also
repels thought vibrations of an inharmonious nature.

These are the general laws and principles governing the phenomena of this
phase of telepathic vibrations. There is much more to be said on the
subject, of course, but if you will note carefully the leading principles
and laws of manifestation just mentioned, you will be able to reason
correctly regarding any phase of this class of phenomena which may come
before you for attention. Once you learn a general rule, the rest becomes
merely a matter of application and interpretation. Let us now proceed to a
consideration of other phases of the general subject of telepathic

We now come to the phase of what may be called direct telepathy--that is
where a thought is consciously, and more or less purposely, directed
toward another person. We come across many interesting cases of this kind
where persons find themselves thinking intently of certain other persons,
and afterwards are told by the other persons that "I found myself thinking
intently about you, at such and such a time," etc. In some of these cases
it is difficult to determine which one started the thinking. Again, how
often do we find ourselves thinking of a person, when all of a sudden the
person comes into sight. Again, we think intently and earnestly about a
certain question; and then, all of a sudden, other folks whom we meet
begin talking to us about the same thing. These instances are too common
to need more than a passing notice.

A little more purpose is displayed in that class of phenomena in which we
intently wish that a certain person shall do a certain thing, and lo! we
soon learn that that certain person has done it. A number of years ago, a
popular writer wrote an article in which he mentioned what seemed to him
to be a curious instance of some form of mental influence or telepathy. He
said that he had found out that if he would sit down and carefully write a
letter to some person from whom he had not heard for a long time, and then
destroy the letter instead of sending it, he would be almost certain to
receive a letter from that person within a few days. He did not attempt to
account for the phenomenon, he merely called the attention of his readers
to it. Many persons have followed the suggestion, often with very
wonderful results. There is nothing miraculous, or supernatural about such
occurrences. It is merely one phase of telepathy. The concentrated thought
of the writer of the letter is directed toward the other person, and that
person begins to think of the first one; then he thinks he will write to
him; then he actually does write. Distance, space, and direction have no
importance in this experiment--it is not necessary to even know where the
second person is, in fact.

There are often found persons so closely in psychic harmony with each
other that they very often are able to ask questions and receive answers
from each other, even though great distances separate them. Some
particular times there is a better psychic harmony existing between the
same persons than is found at other times. All this, of course, affects
the success of the experiment. It is surprising what wonderful results
along these lines may be obtained by almost any person of average
intelligence, after a little careful, patient, conscientious practice.

But there have been phenomena obtained as the result of long series of
careful experiments which are, in a way, even more wonderful than these
somewhat less deliberate experiments just mentioned. I allude to the
experiments of a number of earnest, careful scientific students, who
surrounded themselves with every precaution against over-enthusiasm,
fraud, and coincidence. Prominent among this class of investigations we
find those conducted by the Society for Psychical Research, of England,
which really established a firm basis for the work of other investigators
who followed the general methods of the said society. In the following
chapter, I shall give you a somewhat extended statement of the results of
such investigations, because this information is important to every
student of psychic phenomena, not only because it establishes a firm
scientific basis for his studies and beliefs, but also because it gives
him important information which he may apply in the course of his own
experimental work.

I may mention that the investigations into the subject of telepathy, and
kindred subjects, under the auspices of the society just mentioned, were
conducted by men of careful scientific training and experience, and under
the general supervision and approval of the officers of the society, among
which have been numbered such eminent men as Prof. Henry Sidgwick, of
Cambridge University; Prof. Balfour Stewart, a Fellow of the Royal Society
of England; Rt. Hon. A.J. Balfour, the eminent English statesman; Prof.
William James, the eminent American psychologist; Sir William Crookes, the
great chemist and discoverer of physical laws, who invented the celebrated
"Crookes' Tubes," without which the discovery of the X Rays,
radio-activity, etc., would have been impossible; Frederick W.H. Myers,
the celebrated explorer of the astral planes, and writer upon psychic
phenomena; Sir Oliver Lodge, the popular English scientist; and other men
of international reputation and high standing. The character of these men
at once gives the stamp of honesty and scientific accuracy to all the work
of the society.

In order that you may understand the spirit which animated these
scientific investigators in their work of the exploration of this new and
strange region of Nature, I ask you to carefully read the following words
of the presidential address of Sir William Crookes, before the Royal
Society, at Bristol, England, in 1898. Remember, please, that this address
was made before an assemblage of distinguished scientists, many of them
rank materialists and, quite skeptical of all occult phenomena--this was
nearly twenty years ago, remember. Sir William Crookes, facing this
gathering, as its president, said:

"Were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of
science, I should choose a starting point different from that of old
(where we formerly began). It would be well to begin with Telepathy; with
that fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may
be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the
recognized organs of sense--that knowledge may enter the human mind
without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways. * * *
If telepathy takes place, we have two physical facts--the physical change
in the brain of A, the suggestor, and the analogous physical change in the
brain of B, the recipient of the suggestion. Between these two physical
events there must exist a train of physical causes. * * * It is
unscientific to call in the aid of mysterious agencies, when with every
fresh advance in knowledge it is shown that either vibrations have powers
and attributes abundantly able to any demand--even the transmission of

"It is supposed by some physiologists that the essential cells of nerves
do not actually touch, but are separated by a narrow gap which widens in
sleep while it narrows almost to extinction during mental activity. This
condition is so singularly like a Branly or Lodge coherer (a device which
led to the discovery of wireless telegraphy) as to suggest a further
analogy. The structure of brain and nerve being similar, it is conceivable
that there may be present masses of such nerve coherers in the brain,
whose special function it may be to receive impulses brought from without,
through the connecting sequence of ether waves of appropriate order of

"Roentgen has familiarized us with an order of vibrations of extreme
minuteness as compared with the smallest waves with which we have hitherto
been acquainted: and there is no reason to suppose that we have here
reached the limit of frequency. It is known that the action of thought is
accompanied by certain molecular movements in the brain, and here we have
physical vibrations capable from their extreme minuteness of acting direct
upon individual molecules, while their rapidity approaches that of
internal and external movements of the atoms themselves. A formidable
range of phenomena must be scientifically sifted before we effectually
grasp a faculty so strange, so bewildering, and for ages so inscrutable,
as the direct action of mind upon mind.

"In the old Egyptian days, a well known inscription was carved over the
portal of the Temple of Isis: 'I am whatever has been, is, or ever will
be; and my veil no man hath yet lifted.' Not thus do modern seekers after
truth confront Nature--the word that stands for the baffling mysteries of
the Universe. Steadily, unflinchingly, we strive to pierce the inmost
heart of Nature, from what she is to reconstruct what she has been, and
to prophesy what she shall be. Veil after veil we have lifted, and her
face grows more beautiful, august and wonderful, with every barrier that
is withdrawn."

You will notice that this address made nearly twenty years ago, and from
the standpoint of physical science is in full accord with the ideas of
occultism as old as the hills. And yet, the speaker had worked out the
idea independently. He also investigated higher forms of psychic
phenomena, with results that startled the world. But, you will notice that
he does not attempt to give any other than purely physical laws the credit
for the ordinary phenomena of telepathy. And he was thoroughly right in
this, as we have seen. He escaped the common error of confusing
physical-sense phenomena with the phenomena of the astral-senses. Each
plane has its own phenomena--and each class is surely wonderful enough.
And, again, remember that both physical and astral phenomena are purely
natural; there is no need for seeking any supernatural agencies to account
for these natural facts.

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