Clairvoyance In Space: Semi-intentional

Under this rather curious title I am grouping together the cases of

all those people who definitely set themselves to see something, but

have no idea what the something will be, and no control over the sight

after the visions have begun--psychic Micawbers, who put themselves

into a receptive condition, and then simply wait for something to turn

up. Many trance-mediums would come under this heading; they either in

ay hypnotize themselves or are hypnotized by some

"spirit-guide," and then they describe the scenes or persons that

happen to float before their vision. Sometimes, however, when in this

condition they see what is taking place at a distance, and so they

come to have a place among our "clairvoyants in space."

But the largest and most widely-spread band of these semi-intentional

clairvoyants are the various kinds of crystal-gazers--those who, as

Mr. Andrew Lang puts it, "stare into a crystal ball, a cup, a mirror,

a blob of ink (Egypt and India), a drop of blood (among the Maories of

New Zealand), a bowl of water (Red Indian), a pond (Roman and

African), water in a glass bowl (in Fez), or almost any polished

surface" (Dreams and Ghosts, p. 57).

Two pages later Mr. Lang gives us a very good example of the kind of

vision most frequently seen in this way. "I had given a glass ball,"

he says, "to a young lady, Miss Baillie, who had scarcely any success

with it. She lent it to Miss Leslie, who saw a large square,

old-fashioned red sofa covered with muslin, which she found in the

next country-house she visited. Miss Baillie's brother, a young

athlete, laughed at these experiments, took the ball into the study,

and came back looking 'gey gash.' He admitted that he had seen a

vision--somebody he knew under a lamp. He would discover during the

week whether he saw right or not. This was at 5.30 on a Sunday


"On Tuesday, Mr. Baillie was at a dance in a town some forty miles

from his home, and met a Miss Preston. 'On Sunday,' he said, 'about

half-past five you were sitting under a standard lamp in a dress I

never saw you wear, a blue blouse with lace over the shoulders,

pouring out tea for a man in blue serge, whose back was towards me, so

that I only saw the tip of his moustache.'

"'Why, the blinds must have been up,' said Miss Preston.

"'I was at Dulby,' said Mr. Baillie, and he undeniably was."

This is quite a typical case of crystal-gazing--the picture correct in

every detail, you see, and yet absolutely unimportant and bearing no

apparent signification of any sort to either party, except that it

served to prove to Mr. Baillie that there was something in

crystal-gazing. Perhaps more frequently the visions tend to be of a

romantic character--men in foreign dress, or beautiful though

generally unknown landscapes.

Now what is the rationale of this kind of clairvoyance? As I have

indicated above, it belongs usually to the "astral-current" type, and

the crystal or other object simply acts as a focus for the will-power

of the seer, and a convenient starting-point for his astral tube.

There are some who can influence what they will see by their will,

that is to say they have the power of pointing their telescope as they

wish; but the great majority just form a fortuitous tube and see

whatever happens to present itself at the end of it.

Sometimes it may be a scene comparatively near at hand, as in the case

just quoted; at other times it will be a far-away Oriental landscape;

at others yet it may be a reflection of some fragment of an akashic

record, and then the picture will contain figures in some antique

dress, and the phenomenon belongs to our third large division of

"clairvoyance in time." It is said that visions of the future are

sometimes seen in crystals also--a further development to which we

must refer later.

I have seen a clairvoyant use instead of the ordinary shining surface

a dead black one, produced by a handful of powdered charcoal in a

saucer. Indeed it does not seem to matter much what is used as a

focus, except that pure crystal has an undoubted advantage over other

substances in that its peculiar arrangement of elemental essence

renders it specially stimulating to the psychic faculties.

It seems probable, however, that in cases where a tiny brilliant

object is employed--such as a point of light, or the drop of blood

used by the Maories--the instance is in reality merely one of

self-hypnotization. Among non-European nations the experiment is very

frequently preceded or accompanied by magical ceremonies and

invocations, so that it is quite likely that such sight as is gained

may sometimes be really that of some foreign entity, and so the

phenomenon may in fact be merely a case of temporary possession, and

not of clairvoyance at all.