Strange Astral Phenomena

There are several phases of astral phenomena other than those mentioned in

the preceding chapters, which it will be better for the student to become

acquainted with in order to round out his general knowledge of the

subject, although the manifestations are comparatively rare, and not so

generally recognized in works on this subject.

One of the first of these several phases of astral phenomena is that which

may be called Thought-Form Projection. This manifestation comes in the

place on the psychic scale just between ordinary clairvoyance on the one

hand, and astral body projection on the other. It has some of the

characteristics of each, and is often mistaken for one or the other of

these phases.

To understand this phenomena, the student should know something regarding

the fact that thought frequently takes on astral form, and that these

manifestations are known as thought-forms. I have spoken of these in some

of the preceding lessons. The ordinary thought-form is quite simple, as a

rule, and does not bear any particular resemblance to the sender thereof.

But in some cases a person may, consciously or unconsciously, strongly and

clearly think of himself as present at some other place, and thus actually

create a thought-form of himself at that place, which may be discerned by

those having clairvoyant vision. Moreover, this thought-form of himself

is connected psychically with himself and affords a channel of psychic

information for him. As a rule these thought-forms are only projected by

those who have trained their minds and will along occult lines; but

occasionally under the stress of strong emotion or desire an ordinary

person may focus his psychic power to such an extent that the phenomena is


Here I will quote from an English investigator of astral phenomena, who

has had much experience on that plane. He says: "All students are aware

that thought takes form, at any rate upon its own plane, and in the

majority of cases upon the astral plane also; but it may not be so

generally known that if a man thinks strongly of himself as present at any

given place, the form assumed by that particular thought will be a

likeness of the thinker himself, which will appear at the place in

question. Essentially this form must be composed of the matter of the

mental plane, but in very many cases it would draw round itself matter of

the astral plane also, and so would approach much nearer to visibility.

There are, in fact, many instances in which it has been seen by the person

thought of--most probably by means of the unconscious influence emanating

from the original thinker. None of the consciousness of the thinker would,

however, be included within this thought-form. When once sent out from

him, it would normally be a quite separate entity--not indeed absolutely

unconnected with its maker, but practically so as far as the possibility

of receiving any impression through it is concerned.

"This type of clairvoyance consists, then, in the power to retain so much

connection with and so much hold over a newly-created thought-form as will

render it possible to receive impressions by means of it. Such impressions

as were made upon the form would in this case be transmitted to the

thinker--not along an astral telegraph line, but by a sympathetic

vibration. In a perfect case of this kind of clairvoyance it is almost as

though the seer projected a part of his consciousness into the

thought-form, and used it as a kind of outpost, from which observation was

possible. He sees almost as well as he would if he himself stood in the

place of his thought-form. The figures at which he is looking will appear

to him as of life-size and close to hand, instead of tiny and at a

distance as in the case of some other forms of clairvoyance; and he will

find it possible to shift his point of view if he wishes to do so.

Clairaudience is perhaps less frequently associated with this type of

clairvoyance than with the others, but its place is to some extent taken

by a kind of mental perception of the thoughts and intentions of those who

are seen.

"Since the man's consciousness is still in the physical body, he will be

able (even when exercising this faculty) to hear and to speak, in so far

as he can do this without any distraction of his attention. The moment

that the intentness of his thought fails, the whole vision is gone, and he

will have to construct a fresh thought-form before he can resume it.

Instances in which this kind of sight is possessed with any degree of

perfection by untrained people are naturally rarer than in the other types

of clairvoyance, because the capacity for mental control required, and the

generally finer nature of the forces employed."

I may mention that this particular method is frequently employed by

advanced occultists of all countries, being preferred for various reasons.

Some of the reasons of this preference as follows: (a) The ability to

shift the vision, and to turn around almost as well as in the case of

actual astral-body projection--this gives quite an advantage to this

method over the method of ordinary clairvoyance; (b) it does away with

certain disadvantages of "going out into the astral" in the astral-body,

which only trained occultists realize--it gives almost the same results as

astral-body clairvoyance, without a number of disadvantages and


In India, especially, this form of clairvoyance is comparatively frequent.

This by reason of the fact that the Hindus, as a race, are far more

psychic than are those of the Western lands, all else considered; and,

besides, there are a much greater number of highly developed occultists

there than in the West. Moreover, there is a certain psychic atmosphere

surrounding India, by reason of its thousands of years of deep interest in

things psychic and spiritual, all of which renders the production of

psychic phenomena far easier than in other lands.

In India, moreover, we find many instances of another form of psychic, or

astral phenomena. I allude to the production of thought-form pictures

which are plainly visible to one or more persons. This phase of psychic

phenomena is the real basis for many of the wonder tales which Western

travellers bring back with them from India. The wonderful cases of magical

appearance of living creatures and plants, and other objects, out of the

clear air are the result of this psychic phenomena. That is to say, the

creatures and objects are not really produced--they are but astral

appearances resulting from the projection of powerful thought-forms from

the mind of the magician or other wonder-worker, of whom India has a

plentiful supply. Even the ignorant fakirs (I use the word in its true

sense, not in the sense given it by American slang)--even these itinerant

showmen of psychic phenomena, are able to produce phenomena of this kind

which seems miraculous to those witnessing them. As for the trained

occultists of India, I may say that their feats (when they deign to

produce them) seem to overturn every theory and principle of materialistic

philosophy and science. But in nearly every case the explanation is the

same--the projection of a strong and clear thought-form on a large scale.

Although I have purposely omitted reference to Hindu psychic phenomena in

this book (for the reason given in my Introduction), I find it necessary

to quote cases in India in this connection, for the simple reason that

there are but few counterparts in the Western world. There are no

itinerent wonder-workers of this kind in Western lands, and the trained

occultists of the West of course would not consent to perform feats of

this kind for the amusement of persons seeking merely sensations. The

trained wills of the West are given rather to materializing objectively on

the physical plane, creating great railroads, buildings, bridges, etc.,

from the mental pictures, rather than devoting the same time, energy and

will to the production of astral though-forms and pictures. There is a

great difference in temperament, as well as a difference in the general

psychic atmosphere, between East and West, which serves to explain matters

of this kind.

An American writer truly says: "The first principle underlying the whole

business of Hindu wonder-working is that of a strong will; and the first

necessary condition of producing a magical effect is an increase in the

power of thought. The Hindus, owing to that intense love for solitary

meditation, which has been one of the most pronounced characteristics from

time immemorial, have acquired mental faculties of which we of the Western

and younger civilization are totally ignorant. The Hindu has attained a

past master's degree in speculative philosophy. He has for years retired

for meditation to the silent places in his land, lived a hermit, subdued

the body and developed the mind, thus winning control over other minds."

In India, I have seen scenes of far distant places appearing as a mirage

in clear air, even the colors being present to the scenes. This, though

some what uncommon, was simply a remarkable instance of thought-form

projection from the mind of a man highly developed along occult lines. You

must remember that in order to produce a picture in the astral, of this

kind, the occultist must not only have the power of will and mind to cause

such a picture to materialize, but he must also have a remarkable memory

for detail in the picture--for nothing appears in the picture unless it

has already been pictured in the mind of the mind of the man himself. Such

a memory and perception of detail is very rare--in the Western world it is

possessed by only exceptional artists; however, anyone may cultivate this

perception and memory if he will give the time and care to it that the

Hindu magicians do.

You have heard of the Hindu Mango Trick, in which the magician takes a

mango seed, plants it in the ground, waves his hands over it, and then

causes first a tiny shoot to appear from the surface of the ground, this

followed by a tiny trunk, and leaves, which grow and grow, until at last

appears a full sized mango tree, which first shows blossoms and then ripe

fruit. In short, in a few moments the magician has produced that which

Nature require years to do--that is he apparently does this. What he

really does is to produce a wonderful thought-form in the astral, from

seed stage to tree and fruit stage; the astral picture reproducing

perfectly the picture in his own mind. It is as if he were creating a

moving picture film-roll in his mind, and then projecting this upon the

screen of the air. There is no mango tree there, and never was, outside

of the mind of the magician and the minds of his audience.

In the same way, the magician will seem to throw the end of a rope up into

the air. It travels far up until the end is lost sight of. Then he sends a

boy climbing up after it, until he too disappears from sight. Then he

causes the whole thing to disappear, and lo! the boy is seen standing

among the audience. The boy is real, of course, but he never left the

spot--the rest was all an appearance caused by the mind and will of the

magician, pictured in the astral as a thought-form. In the same way the

magician will seem to cut the boy into bits, and then cause the severed

parts to spring together and reassemble themselves. These feats may be

varied indefinitely but the principle is ever the same--thought-form


Western visitors have sought to obtain photographs of these feats of the

Hindu magicians, but their plates and films invariably show nothing

whatever except the old fakir sitting quietly in the centre, with a

peculiar expression in his eyes. This is as might be expected, for the

picture exists only in the astral, and is perceived only by the awakened

astral senses of those present, which have been stimulated into activity

by the power of the magician--by sympathetic vibration, to be exact.

Moreover, in certain instances it has been found that the vision is

confined to a limited area; persons outside of the limit-ring see nothing,

and those moving nearer to the magician lose sight of what they had

previously seen. There are scientific reasons for this last fact, which

need not be gone into at this place. The main point I am seeking to bring

out is that these wonderful scenes are simply and wholly thought-form

pictures in the astral, perceived by the awakened astral vision of those

present. This to be sure is wonderful enough--but still no miracle has

been worked!

I may mention here that these magicians begin their training from early

youth. In addition to certain instruction concerning astral phenomena

which is handed down from father to son among them they are set to work

practicing "visualization" of things previously perceived. They are set to

work upon, say, a rose. They must impress upon their memory the perfect

picture of the rose--no easy matter, I may tell you. Then they proceed to

more difficult objects, slowly and gradually, along well known principles

of memory development. Along with this they practice the art of

reproducing that which they remember--projecting it in thought-form state.

And so the young magician proceeds, from simple to complex things; from

easy to difficult; until, finally, he is pronounced fit to give public

exhibitions. All this takes years and years--sometimes the boy grows to be

a middle-aged man before he is allowed to publicly exhibit his power.

Imagine a Western boy or man being willing to study from early childhood

to middle-age before he may hope to be able to show what he has been

learning! Verily "the East is East, and the West is West"--the two poles

of human activity and expression.

Another phase of psychic astral phenomena which should be mentioned,

although it is manifested but comparatively seldom, is that which has been

called "Telekinesis." By the term "telekinesis" is meant that class of

phenomena which manifests in the movement of physical objects without

physical contact with the person responsible for the movement. I

understand that the term itself was coined by Professor Cowes, with whose

works I am not personally familiar. It is derived from the two Greek words

TELE, meaning "far off," and KINESIS, meaning "to move."

This class of phenomena is known better in the Western world by reason of

its manifestation in spiritualistic circles in the movement of tables,

etc.; the knocking or tapping on tables and doors, etc.; all of which are

usually attributed to the work of "spirits," but which occultists know are

generally produced, consciously or unconsciously, by means of the power in

the medium or others present, sometimes both. I would say here that I am

not trying to discredit genuine spiritualistic phenomena--I am not

considering the same in these lessons. All that I wish to say is that many

of the phenomena commonly attributed to "spirits" are really but results

of the psychic forces inherent in the living human being.

Under certain conditions there may appear in the case of a person strongly

psychic, and also strongly charged with prana, the ability to extend a

portion of the astral body to a considerable distance, and to there

produce an effect upon some physical object. Those with strong clairvoyant

vision may actually perceive this astral extension, under favorable

circumstances. They perceive the astral arm of the person stretching out,

diminishing in size as it extends (just as a piece of flexible rubber

shrinks in diameter as it expands in length) and finally coming in contact

with the physical object it wishes to move or strike. Then is seen a

strong flow of prana along its length, which (by a peculiar form of

concentration) is able to produce the physical effect. I cannot enter into

the subject of astral physics at this place, for the subject is far too

technical to be treated in lessons designed for general study. I may at

least partially explain the phenomenon, however, by saying that the

projected astral arm acts in a manner almost precisely like that of an

extended physical arm, were such a thing possible in nature.

This astral-body extension produces spirit raps on tables; table-tilting

and movement; levitation, or the lifting of solid objects in the air;

playing upon musical instruments such as the guitar, accordian, etc. In

some cases it is able to actually lift the person himself from the floor,

and carry him through the air, in the same way. It may also cause the

movement of a pencil in a closed slate, or bit of chalk upon a blackboard.

In fact, it may produce almost any form of movement possible to the

physical hand. In the case of the levitation of the person himself, the

astral arms, and sometimes the legs as well, extend to the floor and push

up the physical body into the air, and then propel it along. There are

many complex technical details to these manifestations, however, and in a

general statement these must be omitted.

Some who are firmly wedded to the spiritistic theory resent the statement

of occultists that this form of phenomena may be explained without the

necessity of the "spirits." But the best ground for the statement of the

occultists is that many advanced occultists are able to produce such

phenomena, consciously, by an act of pure will, accompanied by the power

of mental picturing. They first picture the astral extension, and then

will the projection of the astral and the passage of the prana (or vital

force) around the pattern of the mental image. In the case of some very

highly developed occultists the astral thought-form of their body becomes

so charged with prana that it is able to move physical objects. There are

not mere theories, for they may be verified by any occultist of

sufficiently high development.

I do not wish to intimate that the mediums are aware of the true nature of

this phenomena, and consciously deceive their followers. On the contrary,

most of them firmly believe that it is the "spirits" who do the work;

unaware that they are unconsciously projecting their astral bodies,

charged with prana, and performing the feat themselves. The best mediums,

however, will generally tell you that they strongly "wish" that the thing

be done, and a little cross-examination will reveal the fact that they

generally make a clear mental picture of the actual happening just before

it occurs. As I have already stated, however, the best proof is the fact

that advanced occultists are able to duplicate the phenomena deliberately,

consciously, and at will. I do not think that detracts from the wonder and

interest in the so-called "spiritistic" phenomena; on the contrary, I

think that it adds to it.

Again invading the realm of the "spirits," I would say that occultists

know that many cases of so-called materialization of "spirit-forms" take

place by reason of the unconscious projection of the astral body of the

medium. Moreover, such a projection of the astral body may take on the

appearance of some departed soul, by reason of the mental picture of that

person in the mind of the medium. But, it may be asked if the medium has

never seen the dead person, how can he or she make a mental picture of him

or her. The answer is that the minds of the persons present who knew the

dead person tend to influence the appearance of the nebulous spirit form.

In fact, in most cases the medium is unable to produce the phenomenon

without the psychic assistance of those in the circle. In this case, also,

I would say that the advanced occultist is able to duplicate the phenomena

at will, as all who have enjoyed the privilege of close acquaintance with

such persons are aware.

The fact the medium is usually in a trance condition aid materially in the

ease with which the phenomena are produced. With the conscious mind

stilled, and the subconscious mind active, the astral phenomena are

produced with much less trouble than would be the case if the medium were

in the ordinary condition.

Now, I wish to impress upon the minds of those of my readers who have a

strong sympathy for the spiritistic teachings that I recognize the

validity and genuineness of much of the phenomena of spiritism--I know

these things to be true, for that matter; it is not a matter of mere

belief on my part. But I also know that much of the so-called spiritistic

phenomena is possible without the aid of "spirits," but by, the employment

of the psychic astral forces and powers as stated in these lessons. I see

no reason for any honest investigator of spiritism to be offended at such

statements, for it does not take away from the wonder of the phenomena;

and does not discredit the motives and power of the mediums. We must

search for truth wherever it is to be found; and we must not seek to dodge

the results of our investigations. There is too much wonderful phenomena

in spiritism to begrudge the explanation that the occultist offers for

certain of its phases.

While I am on the subject of materialization however, I would direct the

attention of the student to my little book entitled "The Astral World," in

which I have explained briefly the phenomena of those planes of the astral

in which dwell the cast-off shells of souls which have moved on to the

higher planes of the great astral world. I have there shown that many

astral shells or shades, or other astral semi-entities may be

materialized, and thus mistaken for the "spirits" of departed friends. I

have also explained in the same little book how there are certain powerful

thought-forms which may be mistaken for spirit materializations. I have

also shown how many a honest medium is really a good clairvoyant, and by

reading the records of the astral light is able to give information which

seems to come from the departed soul. All of these things should be

familiar to the earnest investigator of spiritism, in order that he may be

able to classify the phenomena which he witnesses, and to avoid error and


In this connection, before passing on to the consideration of other phases

of psychic phenomena, I would say that one of the best mediums known to

the modern Western world--a medium who has been consulted by eminent men,

university professors, psychologists, and others--and whose revelations

regarding past, present and future astounded careful and intelligent men

of international reputation--this medium at the height of her professional

success made a public announcement that she felt compelled, from

conscientious motives, to assert that she had come to the conclusion that

her message came not from departed "spirits" but rather from some unknown

realm of being, brought hither by the exercise of some faculty inherent in

her and developed to a high power in her for some reason, which power seem

to manifest more effectively when she shut off her ordinary physical

faculties and functioned on a plane higher than them. I think that the

student of the present lessons will be able to point out the nature of the

phenomena manifested by this medium, and also the source of her power. If

not, I shall feel disappointed at my work of instruction.

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