Scientific Telepathy

The investigators of the Society for Psychical Research, of England,

started by giving a broad definition of Telepathy, as follows: "Telepathy

is the communication of impressions of any kind from one mind to another,

independently of the recognized channels of sense." They took the rational

position that the actual distance between the projector and the recipient

of the telepathic message is not material; and that all that is required

is such a separation of the two persons that no known operation of the

senses can bridge the space between them. They wisely held that telepathy

between two persons in the same room is as much telepathy as when the two

persons are located at opposite sides of the world.

The investigators then ruled out all instances of thought-transmission in

which there was even the slightest muscular contact between the projector

and the recipient. They held that though there might be genuine telepathy

in such cases, nevertheless, there was always the possibility of fraud or

collusion, or of unconscious muscular action on the part of the projector.

They demanded absolute and actual separation of the two persons, in order

that their experiments might be above suspicion. They were wise in this,

for while there is undoubtedly a psychic communication in the cases in

which there is the slight physical connection between the two persons (as

I shall point out to you a little further on), still the element of doubt

or suspicion must be entirely eliminated from a scientific test, in order

to render it valuable and valid.

They, therefore, confined their investigations in Telepathy to the two

following classes, viz.: (1) where actions are performed without physical

contact with the person willing; and (2) where some number, word, or card

is guessed apparently without any of the ordinary means of communication.

The investigators recognized the possibility that in the first of the

above-mentioned two classes of experiments there is a possibility of

suspicion of collusion, fraud, or unconscious suggestion, in the matter of

the motion of the eyes of the party, or some member of it, which might be

seized upon, perhaps unconsciously, by the recipient, and used to guide

him to the object which was being thought of by the projector or the

party. They sought to obviate this difficulty by blindfolding the

percipient, and by placing non-conductors of sound over his ears. But,

finally, they came to the conclusion that even these precautions might not

prove sufficient; and, accordingly, they devoted their attention to the

second class of experiments, in which all ordinary means of communication

between projector and recipient were impossible. They took the additional

precautions of limiting their circle to a small number of investigators of

scientific reputations, and well known to each other, always avoiding a

promiscuous company for obvious reasons.

One of the earliest series of investigations by these special committees

of investigators was that of the family of the Rev. A.M. Creery, in

Derbyshire, England. The children of this family had acquired a reputation

in what was known as the "guessing game," in which one of the children,

previously placed outside of the room, then returned to the room and

attempted to "guess" the name or location of some object agreed upon by

the party during her absence. The results were very interesting, and quite

satisfactory, and have frequently been referred to in works on the subject

written since that time. I think it well to give the results of this

series of experiments in some little detail, for they form a basis for

experiments on the part of those who read these lessons.

Prof. W.F. Barrett, Professor of Physics in the Royal College of Science

for Ireland, conducted the most of the experiments. The report to the

Society says: "We began by selecting the simplest objects in the room;

then chose names of towns, people, dates, cards out of a pack, lines from

different poems, etc., in fact, any thing or series of ideas that those

present could keep in their minds steadily. The children seldom made a

mistake. I have seen seventeen cards chosen by myself named right in

succession without any mistake. We soon found that a great deal depended

on the steadiness with which the ideas were kept before the minds of the

thinkers, and upon the energy with which they willed the ideas to pass. I

may say that this faculty is not by any means confined to the members of

one family; it is much more general than we imagine. To verify this

conclusion, I invited two of a neighbor's children to join us in our

experiments, with excellent results."

The report gives the methods of the experiments, as follows: "The inquiry

has taken place partly in Mr. Creery's house, and partly in lodgings, or

at a hotel occupied by some of our number. Having selected at random one

child, whom we desired to leave the room and wait at some distance, we

would choose a pack of cards, or write on a piece of paper a name of a

number which occurred to us at the moment. Generally, but not always, this

was shown to the members of the family present in the room; but no one

member was always present, and we were sometimes entirely alone. We then

recalled the child, one of us always assuring himself that, when the door

was suddenly opened, she was at a considerable distance, though this was

usually a superfluity of caution, as our habit was to avoid all utterances

of what was chosen. On re-entering, she stood--sometimes turned by us with

her face toward the wall, oftener with her eyes directed toward the

ground, and usually close to us and remote from the family--for a period

of silence varying from a few seconds to a minute, till she called out to

us some number, card, or whatever it might be."

In the first experiments, in "guessing" the name of objects, the child

guessed correctly six out of fourteen. She then guessed correctly the

name of small objects held in the hands of one of the committee--five

times out of six. She guessed fictitious names chosen by the

committee--five out of ten, at the first trial. The committee then tested

her by writing down the name of some object in the house, fixed at random,

and then, after all had thought intently of the thing, they sent for the

child and bade her try to find the thing thought of, the

thought-concentration of course continuing during the search. The result

is thus reported: "In this way I wrote down, among other things, a

hair-brush--it was brought; an orange--it was brought; a wine-glass--it

was brought; an apple--it was brought; and so on, until many objects had

been selected and found by the child."

Passing over the details of many other experiments we find that the

following remarkable results were obtained by the committee: "Altogether,

three hundred and eighty-two trials were made in this series. In the case

of letters of the alphabet, of cards, and of numbers of two figures, the

chances of success on a first trial would naturally be 25 to 1, 52 to 1,

and 89 to 1, respectively; in the case of surnames they would of course be

infinitely greater. Cards were far most frequently employed, and the odds

in their case may be taken as a fair medium sample, according to which,

out of a whole series of three hundred and eighty-two trials, the average

number of successes at the first attempt by an ordinary guesser would be

seven and one-third. Of our trials, one hundred and twenty-seven were

successes on the first attempt, fifty-six on the second, nineteen on the


EIGHTY-TWO!" Think of this, while the law of averages called for only

seven and one-third successes at first trial, the children obtained one

hundred and twenty-seven, which, given a second and third trial, they

raised to two hundred and two! You see, this takes the matter entirely out

of the possibility of coincidence or mathematical probability.

But this was not all. Listen to the further report of the committee on

this point: "The following was the result of one of the series. The thing

selected was divulged to none of the family, and five cards running were

named correctly on a first trial. The odds against this happening once in

a series were considerably over a million to one. There were other similar

batches, the two longest runs being eight consecutive guesses, once with

cards, and once with names; where the adverse odds in the former case were

over one hundred and forty-two millions to one; and in the other,

something incalculably greater." The opinion of eminent mathematicians who

have examined the above results is that the hypothesis of mere coincidence

is practically excluded in the scientific consideration of the matter. The

committee calls special attention to the fact that in many of the most

important tests none of the Creery family were cognizant of the object

selected, and that, therefore, the hypothesis of fraud or collusion is

absolutely eliminated. The committee naturally came to the conclusion

that the phenomena was genuine and real telepathy.

Prof. Balfour Stewart, LL.D., F.R.S., who was present at some of these

experiments, though not a member of the committee, expressed great

amazement at some of the results. He reports: "The thought-reader was

outside a door. The object or thing thought of was written on paper and

silently handed to the company in the room. The thought reader was then

called in, and in the course of a minute the answer was given. Definite

objects in the room, for instance, were first thought of, and in the

majority of the cases the answers were correct. Then numbers were thought

of, and the answers were generally right, though, of course, there were

some cases of error. The names of towns were thought of, and a good many

of these were right. Then fancy names were thought of. I was asked to

think of certain fancy names, and mark them down and hand them round to

the company. I thought of and wrote on paper, 'Blue-beard,' 'Tom Thumb,'

'Cinderella.' and the answers were all correct!"

The committee also conducted a number of experiments with other

recipients, with very satisfactory results. Colors were correctly guessed

with a percentage of successes quite beyond the average or probable

number. Names of towns in all parts of the world, were correctly "guessed"

by certain recipients with a wonderful degree of success. But, probably

most wonderful of all, was the correct reproduction of diagrams of

geometrical and other figures and shapes. In one case, the recipient, in a

series of nine trials, succeeded in drawing them all correctly, except

that he frequently reversed them, making the upper-side down, and the

right-hand side to the left. The Society, has published these reproduced

diagrams in its Illustrated reports, and they have convinced the most

skeptical of critics. Some of the diagrams were quite complicated,

unusual, and even grotesque, and yet they were reproduced with marvelous

accuracy, not in a hesitating manner, but deliberately and continuously,

as if the recipient were actually copying a drawing in full sight. Similar

results have been obtained by other investigators who have followed the

lead of these original ones.

So you see, the seal of scientific authority has been placed upon the

phenomena of telepathy. It is no longer in the realm of the supernatural

or uncanny. As Camille Flammarion, the eminent French scientist, has said:

"The action of one mind upon another at a distance--the transmission of

thought, mental suggestion, communication at a distance--all these are not

more extraordinary than the action of the magnet on iron, the influence of

the moon on the sea, the transportation of the human voice by electricity,

the revolution of the chemical constituents of a star by the analysis of

its light, or, indeed, all the wonders of contemporary science. Only these

psychic communications are of a more elevated kind, and may serve to put

us on the track of a knowledge of human nature. What is certain is: That

telepathy can and ought to be henceforth considered by Science as an

incontestable reality; that minds are able to act upon each other without

the intervention of the senses; that psychic force exists, though its

nature is yet unknown. * * * We say that this force is of a psychic order,

and not physical, or physiological, or chemical, or mechanical, because it

produces and transmits ideas and thoughts, and because it manifests itself

without the co-operation of our senses, soul to soul, mind to mind."

In addition to investigating the above mentioned classes of telepathic

phenomena, the English Society for Psychical Research investigated many

remarkable cases of a somewhat higher phase of telepathy. They took down

the stories told by persons deemed responsible, and then carefully

examined, and cross-examined other witnesses to the strange phenomena. The

record of these experiments, and investigations, fill a number of good

sized volumes of the Society's reports, which are well worth reading by

all students of the subject. They may be found in the libraries of nearly

any large city. I shall, however, select a number of the most interesting

of the cases therein reported, to give my students an idea of the

character of the phenomena so investigated and found genuine by the

committees having this class of telepathy under investigation.

An interesting case of spontaneous telepathy is that related by Dr. Ede,

as follows: "There is a house about a half-mile from my own, inhabited by

some ladies, friends of our family. They have a large alarm bell outside

their house. One night I awoke suddenly and said to my wife: 'I am sure I

hear Mrs. F's alarm bell ringing.' After listening for some time, we heard

nothing, and I went to sleep again. The next day Mrs. F. called upon my

wife and said to her: 'We were wishing for your husband last night, for we

were alarmed by thieves. We were all up, and I was about to pull the alarm

bell, hoping that he would hear it, saying to my daughters, "I am sure it

will soon bring Dr. Ede," but we did not ring it.' My wife asked what time

this had happened, and Mrs. F. said that it was about half past one. That

was the time I awoke thinking that I heard the bell."

In this case there was manifested simply ordinary physical plane

telepathy. Had the bell actually been rung, and heard psychically, it

would have been a case of astral plane hearing, known as clairaudience. As

it was, merely the thought in the mind of Mrs. F., and her strong idea to

ring the bell, caused a transmission of thought waves which struck Dr. Ede

with great force and awakened him. This case is interesting because it is

typical of many cases of a similar nature within the experience of many

persons. It is seen that a strong feeling, or excitement, accompanied by a

strong desire or wish to summon another person, tends to give great power

and effect to the thought waves emitted. They strike the mind of the

recipient like the sudden ringing of an alarm clock bell.

Another interesting case is that of two ladies, both well known to members

of the committee, and vouched for as of strict veracity. This case is

unusual for the reason that two different persons received the

thought-waves at the same time. Here is an abridgment of the case: "Lady

G. and her sister had been spending the evening with their mother, who was

in her usual health and spirits when they left her. In the middle of the

night the sister awoke in her fright and said to her husband: 'I must go

to my mother at once; do order the carriage. I am sure that she is taken

ill.' On the way to her mother's house, where two roads meet, she saw Lady

G.'s carriage approaching. When they met each asked the other why she was

there. They both related the same experience and impression. When they

reached their mother's house, they found that she was dying, and had

expressed an earnest wish to see them."

Another case of a similar nature is this: "At the siege of Mooltan, Major

General R., then adjutant of his regiment, was severely wounded and

supposed himself to be dying. He requested that his ring be taken off his

finger and sent to his wife. At the same time his wife was at Ferozepore,

one hundred and fifty miles distant, lying on her bed, in a state half way

between waking and sleeping. She saw her husband being taken off the

field, and heard his voice saying: 'Take this ring off my finger, and send

it to my wife.'"

This case bears the marks of very strong telepathy, but also has a

suspicious resemblance to clairvoyance accompanied by clairaudience. Or

perhaps it is a combination of both telepathy and clairvoyance. It is

impossible to determine which, in absence of more detailed information.

The message of persons dying, or believing themselves to be approaching

death, are frequently very strong, for certain reasons well known to

occultists. But there is nothing supernatural about the phenomena, and in

most cases it is merely a case of strong telepathy.

The Society also reports the following interesting case: "A. was awake,

and strongly willed to make himself known to two friends who at that time

(one o'clock in the morning) were asleep. When he met them a few days

afterward, they both told him that at one o'clock they had awakened under

the impression that he was in their room. The experience was so vivid that

they could not go to sleep for some time, and looked at their watches to

note the time." Cases of this kind are quite common, and many

experimenters have had equally good results with this phase of thought

transference. You will remember that there is no actual projection of the

astral body, in most of these cases, but merely a strong impression caused

by concentrated thought.

Another interesting case is that of the late Bishop Wilberforce, and is

recorded in his biography, as follows: The Bishop was in his library at

Cuddleson, with three or four of his clergy with him at the same table.

The Bishop suddenly raised his hand to his head, and exclaimed: "I am

certain that something has happened to one of my sons." It afterwards

transpired that just at that time his eldest son's foot was badly crushed

by an accident on board his ship, the son being at sea. The Bishop himself

recorded the circumstance in a letter to Miss Noel, saying: "It is curious

that at the time of his accident I was so possessed with the depressing

consciousness of some evil having befallen my son, Herbert, that at the

last, I wrote down that I was unable to shake off the impression that

something had happened to him, and noted this down for remembrance." There

is nothing unusual about this case, for it has been duplicated in the

experience of many persons. Its chief importance lies in the fact that it

is recorded by a man of wide reputation and high standing, and also that

the Bishop had taken the precaution to note down the thing at the time,

instead of merely recalling it after he had heard of the accident.

You will notice that in many cases of this kind the phenomenon closely

approaches the aspect of true clairvoyance, or astral sensing. In some

cases there appears to be a blending of both telepathy and astral

clairvoyance. In fact, there is but very little difference between the

highest phases of ordinary telepathy, and the more common phases of

clairvoyance. Here, as in many other cases of Nature's forces, there seems

to be a gradual blending, rather than a sharp dividing line between the

two classes of phenomena. Moreover, the student developing his telepathic

powers will frequently find that he is beginning to unfold at least

occasional flashes of clairvoyance.

In the case of telepathy, the recipient merely senses what is in the mind

of the projector. In some cases a picture in the mind of the projector may

be seen by the recipient, and may thus be mistaken for a case of pure

clairvoyance. But, in investigating closely, it will be found that the

real scene was slightly different from the impression, in which case it

shows that the impression was simply telepathic. Clairvoyant vision shows

the scene as it really is, or rather as the physical eye of the recipient

would have seen it. The astral sight really sees the scene, and does not

merely receive the mental impression of the projector. The first is

original seeing; the second, merely a reproduction of images already in

the mind of the projector, and colored by his personality, etc.

In the next lesson, I shall give you a number of exercises and methods

designed to develop your telepathic powers. You will find the practice of

these most interesting and entertaining, and at the same time most

instructive. You will find that as you practice the exercises given

therein, you will become more and more adept and proficient in producing

telepathic phenomena. From the lower stages, you will be able to proceed

to the higher. And, in time, you will be surprised to find that almost

unconsciously you have passed into the stage in which you will have at

least occasional manifestations of clairvoyance, psychometry, etc.

In fact, there is no better way known to practical occultists to develop

in a student the powers of clairvoyance than just this method of starting

the student with the exercises designed to develop the telepathic power.

It has been found by centuries of experience that the student who develops

telepathic power, in a systematic way, will gradually unfold and evolve

the clairvoyant and psychometric power. It constitutes the first rungs on

the ladder of psychic development.

Of course, under the head of clairvoyance, etc., you will be given methods

and exercise designed to develop clairvoyant powers--some of them very

valuable and effective methods, at that. But, notwithstanding this, I feel

that I should impress upon you the importance of laying a firm foundation

for such instruction, by developing yourself first along the lines of

telepathic power. Such a course will not only keenly sharpen your powers

of receptivity to such vibrations as you may wish to receive; but it will

also train your mind in the direction of translating, interpreting, and

recording such impressions when received.

You must remember that proficiency in a mental art is attained only by

means of training the attention to concentrate upon the task. It is the

same way in clairvoyance and psychometry. Telepathy trains your attention

to concentrate upon the reception of impressions, and to hold them firmly

and clearly in consciousness. The result is that when you really develop

clairvoyant receptivity, your attention has already been trained to do

the necessary work. I need not tell you what an advantage this gives you

over the clairvoyant who has not received this training, for your own good

common sense will assure you of it.

So, now for our training in telepathy--not only for itself, but also as a

means of preparing for the higher stages.

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