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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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