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DERMOGRAPHY, skin writing; a phenomenon of the stigmatic class, with one essential difference: the real stigmatic writings last for months, years or throughout a lifetime, whereas skin writing disappears in a few minutes or in a few hours at the most. For that very reason the possibilities of fraud in skinwriting are wide. Given the sensitive skin of neuropsychopaths writing may appear in a few minutes after the letters are directly traced by any blunt instrument or the nails. As a preliminary to skin-writing demonstrations many mediums burn up the pellet on which a name or question is written and rub their arm or forehead with the ashes. The rubbing process may give a good opportunity for covertly tracing the intended message. In at least one case on record this tracing was done telekinetically. Manuel Eyre testified before the London Dialectical Committee of his experience with Mrs. Seymour at Waukeegan, near Chicago, as follows: "In trance she would hold out one arm, and with the forefinger of the other hand make a rapid motion as if writing, the movement of the finger being in the air about a foot from the arm; a few minutes after she stripped off her sleeve, and there on her arm, so distinctly written that it could be read across the room, was the peculiar signature of the spirit giving the communication." According to the American Spiritual Telegraph the writing on Mrs. Seymour's arm appeared in raised letters and could both be seen and felt distinctly for fifteen or twenty minutes. Gradually it faded away, leaving the skin natural, smooth and uncolored. Mrs. Seymour appeared several times before an investigating committee of Milwaukee but the committee could find no explanation and broke up without making a report.
In the case of Miss Coggswell of Vermont the writing
appeared on her arms and forehead in answer to mental questions. The part
which suggestion may play in such demonstrations was shown recently (1933)
at the Institut Metapsychique of Paris, where Mme. Olga Kahl produced on her
skin a mentally communicated word or image. Hysterical patients may further
complicate the problem. Kraft-Ebing records that the writing traced on the
anaesthetic right side of d'Ilma S. appeared reversed on the left side.
Thomas Killigrew testified to the appearance of the names of St. Joseph and
the Virgin upon the hands of the Prioress of the Ursuline nuns at Loudon in
France, about the year 1635 in the following way: "I saw her hand, white as
my hand, in an instant change color all along the vein and become red and
all of a sudden a word distinctly appeared, and the word was Joseph." During
the religious revival in Northern Ireland writing on the skin was of common
In the case of mediums the demonstration is always of doubtful value, unless the moral reputation of the psychic is high. Such is the case of Stainton Moses on whose arm on October 12, 1873, the following names appeared: Imperator, Mentor, Solon and Plato. Solon's name was impressed with a capital Sigma. Charles H. Foster, the "Salem Seer" gave abundant demonstrations of the phenomenon. Before the Dialectical Society Edward Laman Blanchard told the story of how the name of his father appeared in red letters on the arm of the medium and immediately afterwards, in answer to a question, the numbers 24 on the palm of his hand, indicating the number of years since his death. The phenomenon was very rapid, the letters and numbers disappearing in the sight of those present without the arm of the medium being withdrawn. Dr. Ashburner examined Foster's skin-letters under a powerful magnifying glass. He observed clearly that they were in relief and that the coloring matter was under the skin. The color disappeared after two or three minutes. Foster's biographer, George C. Bartlett, describes an amusing incident. A certain Mr. Adams came to consult Foster. He saw the room filled with spirits in his presence. About two o'clock the next morning he woke up, complained to Bartlett that he could not sleep as the room was still filled with the Adams family. They were writing their names all over him. To his astonishment Bartlett counted eleven distinct names, one written across Foster's forehead, others on his arms, and several on his back.
Sometimes the writing is pictographic. A case was reported in the American Spiritual Telegraph of the appearance of a clearly-defined human heart with a wound, as if made by a bullet, on Miss Coggswell's arm in answer to the desire of a sitter that his friend who died shot in the heart should manifest. A still more graphic phenomenon was exhibited in New England by the servant girl of Mr. Lewis Burtis. In the presence of a colored editor, as narrated by Emma Hardinge in Modern American Spiritualism, red lines had formed "into a distinct and beautifully-represented picture of a kneeling man, with a woolly head and African cast of features, a chain round his waist terminating in two balls, which were ingeniously fitted into the veins at the end of the arm, whilst above the whole was written in fine character the words: "A poor old slave." The girl in question was nearly illiterate. Messages frequently appeared on her arm while she was at her household work and would disappear after having been read by her master and mistress.
Of the mechanism of skin-writing we know nothing. Conan Doyle suggested that concentration by an invisible entity may have a similar effect upon the medium as the self-concentration of religious ecstatics.
DIRECT DRAWING AND PAINTING, a development of automatic drawing and painting in which the hand of the automatist is not made use of, and sometimes even drawing and painting materials are dispensed with, the sketch being precipitated in the darkness in a time which is usually too short for normal execution. It is a fairly known mediumistic phenomenon and one which is always open to suspicion as the transcendental pictures are often found to be feeble copies of existing works of art. Mrs. Marshall's direct pencil portrait of Goethe was a close copy of an engraving in The Life of Goethe, many illustrations of David Duguid's Hafed were identical with pictures in Cassell's Family Bible and still-life paintings of Mrs. E. J. French, of New York, were similarly wanting in originality. Taken to task, the controls of Duguid defended themselves by saying that they often took impressions from the medium's subconsciousness. Color is lent to this defense by the much stranger circumstance that, according to some evidence, the mind of the sitter may also contribute the subject. Visitors to David Duguid sometimes recognized, in the direct paintings, scenes which they were acquainted with in America and Australia, which the medium therefore could not have seen. An art dealer found a painting strangely familiar and subsequently discovered its facsimile among some pictures he bought at his home. Miss Frank Miller writes in the Journal of the A.S.P.R. of a well-known artist, who could paint scenes which he never saw but which she remembered to have seen.
Duguid specialized in miniature paintings in oil. They were done under the alleged control of Jacob Ruisdale and Jan Steen, the size of the picture was sometimes as small as a sixpence and the execution, done in the dark, was always very fine. While the medium was tied to his chair, or held by the hands, the noise of handling the brushes was heard above the table and sometimes half a minute later the brushes or pencils and the picture were audibly falling down. Occasionally the drawings were obtained in a few seconds in sealed envelopes on folded sheets of paper.
Mrs. E. J. French excelled in still life paintings, done under a small table which was surrounded by a shawl. For eight to fifteen minutes furious scraping and rubbing was heard, then a signal, the brushes and pencils dropped out and, fresh with paint, a brightly colored picture was produced from under the table.
Samuel Guppy, in his anonymously published Mary Jane, or Spiritualism Chemically Examined, London, 1863, describes drawings of vari-colored flowers obtained, often without any drawing or painting material, in the presence of his first wife. Specially bought and marked paper was placed in a box which was itself carefully wrapped up in paper and sealed to remove any chance of deception. Yet the picture appeared occasionally in as many as seven colors, covered with a varnish from no known source.
In one instance the effect appears to have been produced
in the distance. In a letter to the London Dialectical Society, Countess
Panigai describes a visit to D. D. Home during which she was promised a
distinct sign from her deceased child the following day. The promise was
well kept. At her home which the medium never visited, she heard raps,
apparently coming from a drawer where, unknown to all, the last pair of
boots of her child was hidden in a box. "Unlocking the drawer and the box,
on the elastic of one boot was imprinted a perfect star, and in the center
of the star an eye. The substance with which it is drawn is black. It has
since faded slightly, but remains still thoroughly distinct. So
mathematically perfect is the drawing that great skill and precision is
necessary for an accurate copy to be taken." Letters at each point of the
star formed the name of the child: Stella.
The most unusual demonstrations in direct art were given by the Bangs Sisters, of Chicago. On paper mounted canvases held up against the light near the windows they produced spirit portraits in plain sight of the sitter who was usually advised to keep about his person a photograph of the departed friend whose spirit picture he desired to obtain. Admiral Moore often witnessed the phenomenon and described it in Glimpses of the Next State thus:
"We had to wait some time. After a few minutes the canvas assumed various hues, rosy, blue and brown; it would become dark and light independently of the sun being clouded or not. Dim outlines of faces occasionally appeared in different parts of the canvas. We had been sitting forty minutes when the right and left edges of the canvas began to darken and the face and bust suddenly appeared. It was finished in 35 minutes, i.e., one hour and fifteen minutes from the time we first sat down. On separating the two canvases it was found that the picture was on the further side of the one nearest to me, and the material was quite damp; the other canvas, which had been pressing against it all the time, was unsoiled. The stuff comes off on the finger, a smutty, oily substance. The actual picture therefore, took 35 minutes to precipitate. It is richer in tone now than it was when put on a sofa after the sitting but in other respects just the same. The likeness to the cartes-de visite in my dollar-pocket is not remarkable, but there are points about it which show that the invisible workers had access to these photographs."
The reverse process is indicated in an instance of Helene Smith's mediumship. Her automatic portrait of Judas, the progress of which she had photographed after each sitting, gradually faded out to a previous stage when, to her utter despair, she discovered that some of the negatives turned out badly. This gave her a chance to complete the photographic series.
Reported pictorial appearances of the Virgin in Churches and other places of worship offers ground for the supposition that the phenomena under this heading also occur in a spontaneous manner. It was reported in the London Press in the summer of 1923 that on the plaster wall in Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford, under the Burne Jones window which Dean Liddell had caused to be placed there as a memorial of a dearly loved daughter, and close to three tablets erected to the memory of the Dean and his family, there had gradually emerged, over a period of two years, a remarkable likeness to the late Dean, whose life and work were so closely associated with Christchurch. Referring to the known facts of psychic photography Frederick Bligh Bond argued in the October, 1923, issue of Psychic Science that "instead of a photographic plate and the chemical changes in salts of silver, there is in the smooth white plaster wall and the mineral salts contained in the plaster, a combination susceptible to slow chemical change; and instead of the presence of a physical medium required in psychic photography, there is the physical atmosphere of a building constantly dedicated to prayer and aspiration, full of spiritual and psychical emanations of countless worshippers tending to provide the conditions necessary for the accomplishment of a process in which the alchemy of thought may succeed in affecting the grosser particles of matter." The portrait of Dean Liddell has in no way been affected by the passing of years. Mrs. Hewat McKenzie writes in Psychic Science, October, 1931, that "the Dean's face is beautifully clear and there certainly seems an emergence of other outlines close by which bear a resemblance to two human heads." One of these was noticed to be forming in 1923, the other is recent. Similar appearances have been noticed in other parts of the building. Mrs. McKenzie was shown a grey marble pedestal base. About a foot from the floor a white patch appears on the marble, containing a very clear face of an elderly man with bushy hair and full whiskers and beard. An even clearer face is to be seen on a wall behind the organ and within 20 yards of the choir stall. It is popularly associated with a chorister who for many years sang in the Cathedral.
DIRECT VOICE, an isolated voice in space without visible
source of agency. It issues mostly from a trumpet which sails about the
seance room in the dark and appears to serve as a condenser. With an
increase of power the trumpet may be dispensed with and the voice may be
heard from the center of the floor or from any part of the room. Dennis
Bradley records an experience in which the communicator began his sentence
in the middle of the room, half way up he dropped the trumpet whilst his
voice traveled upwards to the extreme right hand corner of the ceiling and
there ended on the pronouncement of the last syllable of his last word.
(Towards the Stars, p. 20). Physically the phenomenon requires the
supposition that some material, more solid than air, is withdrawn from the
medium's or from the sitter's body to produce the necessary vibrations in
the surrounding atmosphere. Indeed, seance room communications speak of
improvisation of a larynx. It is a strange notion. Yet the improvisation of
human limbs and entire bodies is still stranger. The first vague description
of a "voice box" is to be found in an out-of-body experience of Stainton
Moses. He says: "I did not observe how the sound was made, but I saw in a
distant part o f the room near the ceiling something like a box round which
blue electric light played, and I associate the sound with that. The "voice
box" of Walter, Mrs. Margery Crandon's control, has been photographed as a
white mass on the medium's shoulder, connected to her left ear and nostril
with ectoplasmic tubes. This psychic microphone seems to be very closely
associated with the medium's organism. John Watt, Mrs. Everitt's control,
claimed that he used the medium's breath in speaking. If Mrs. Everitt held
her hand over her mouth the volume of the voice diminished and it ceased
entirely if Mrs. Everitt placed her palm on her mouth. The spirit of Cecil
Husk warned Dennis Bradley not to smoke excessively on the days he was
sitting as sometimes this affects the vocal organs from which part of the
ectoplasmic force is taken. Archdeacon Colley describes an instance in which
Dr. Monck was wakened from trance to greet a materialized fellow-student.
They had to speak in turn. There was an impasse if they tried to speak at
once. Bastian's direct voice was heard when his mouth was full of water, but
it immediately ceased if his nose was temporarily stopped. Mrs. Everitt
could never speak simultaneously with the spirits. Her lips and tongue moved
but no sound was made. Other mediums felt no handicap. Signor Damiani, in
his testimony before the London Dialectical Society in 1870, spoke of a
seance with Home in which two voices were heard, together with the
persistently speaking medium. David Duguid often spoke simultaneously.
George Valiantine and Mrs. Wriedt have no difficulty in joining with the
spirit voices. According to Noel Jaquin the problem consists not so much in
the use of the physical voice organ, but in the co-ordination of thought. He
experienced an incoherence of thinking while the direct voice was heard and
could only master it by a strong mental effort. Independent conversation by
two or three voices was occasionally carried on in the seances of Mrs.
Wriedt, of Detroit. J. A. Findlay reported the same with Sloan. Admiral
Moore was told that the spirits seemed to speak with his voice. During the
time he often felt a slight cough and irritation of the throat. Others have
observed that the sitters' voices weaken if there is a prolonged direct
voice conversation going on. An interesting experiment was tried with Mrs.
Wriedt. She was asked to sit with seven deaf mutes from Flint, Mich. No one
in the room could utter an articulate word except herself. No voices were
Dr. Eugene Crowell writes of Mrs. Andrews' seances in' The Identity of Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism: "One of the common forms of manifestations at Moravia is singing by spirits. This generally occurs when the persons assembled sing with animation, the spirits seizing the moment when they are ' with one accord ' raising their voices, to join in the strain, and generally the spirit voice is heard clearly above all others." He continues later: "When our spirit friends had conversed more freely than usual, the medium afterwards complained of much soreness and tenderness of the throat and lungs, evidently without any definite idea of its cause. It seemed to me that the spirits ... were compelled to draw directly from the vocal and pulmonary organs of the medium those elements that are liberally supplied by public circles, and which are necessary for the production of spirit voices."
J. Arthur Findlay's On the Edge of the Etheric contains the statement of the communicators that they often make use of a psychic tube from the mouth of the medium to the trumpet. This would explain why the independent voice may resemble that of the medium and also why moisture is sometimes found within the trumpet. The spirit communicators of Findlay also gave a full description how the artificial larynx is made. It reads:
"From the medium and those present a chemist in the spirit world withdraws certain ingredients which for want of a better name is called ectoplasm. To this the chemist adds ingredients of his own making. When they are mixed together a substance is formed which enables the chemist to materialize his hands. He then, with his materialized hands, constructs a mask resembling the mouth and tongue. The spirit wishing to speak places his face into this mask and finds it clings to him, it gathers round his mouth, tongue and throat. At first, difficulty is experienced in moving this heavier material, but by practice this becomes easy. The etheric organs have once again become clothed in matter resembling physical matter, and by the passage of air through them your atmosphere can be vibrated and you hear his voice."
Findlay's explanation received confirmation two years later at a seance recorded by the Rev. V. G. Duncan in his book Proof. The mediums in this instance were the Misses Moore. When asked how it was possible to speak to us on earth the communicator stated:
"I can only explain it like this. You know when you have been to the dentist for an extraction and been given an anaesthetic, he puts that queer mask over your face for you to breath the gas into your lungs. I have to use a contrivance like that in order to speak to you. This contrivance is composed of etheric matter, partly provided by the mediums and sitters, and partly supplied from our side. It is a kind of transformer, and it has a double purpose. It helps to retard my vibrations and so allows me to make my voice audible to you and provides a temporary set of vocal organs."
Findlay's views are further enlarged upon in his second book The Rock of Truth (1933).
The voices may be human (sometimes of someone living, or belong to the animal kingdom. The barking of fairly well materialized dogs, three in number, was heard by Lieut. Col. E. R. Johnson in a London seance with Mrs. Wriedt. Dennis H. Bradley in The Wisdom of the Gods speaks of a direct voice seance in which very loud and distinct barks were heard. "There came back an answering bark of my Alsatian wolfhound in an outhouse some distance away from the room in which the seance was being held." Mr. John M. Dick, the sporting journalist, was told that the dog was a Great Dane, in fact, his own. They had deep affection for it. This dog would always bark in four distinct barks at a time.
Technically, the process of speaking appears to be the same as the ordinary one. After a long sentence the controls often pause for breath, and the indrawing sound becomes distinctly audible. Still the phenomena may so differ individually that it is unadvisable to generalize. The vocal effects know of no restriction. The invisible communicator may laugh, whistle or sing. Walter (the control of Margery) can give expression to all sorts of moods by whistling: surprise, contentment, joy, anger and melancholy. Once, the medium and Walter laughed at the same instant. The two chuckles came from a common point in space and gave the impression of being tangled up together, as though conceivably from a common physical organism. The language may be unknown both to the medium and the sitters. Yet the nationality of the medium may have a curious influence. English, for instance, is easier spoken when the medium is English than another tongue. As an explanation it was suggested that the material to build up the artificial larynx may be drawn from the oral cavity and therefore it may be less adaptable to unusual inflexions. The experience of Dr Abraham Wallace with John King who unexpectedly spoke to him in broad Scotch suggests a similar participation on the part of the sitter. When interrogated on the subject John King replied: "Why, I got it from you." Such indications and the bewildering variety of strange languages spoken through some mediums are mysteries, the depths of which has not been fathomed. In the Valiantine seances Portuguese, Basque, Welsh, Japanese, Russian, Hindustani and ancient pure Chinese is spoken. Dr. Neville Whymant, a famous orientalist, studied this linguistic phenomenon, and on March 25, 1927, it was also recorded on gramophone in Lord Charles Hope's apartment in London. A special telephone cable was laid on to the Columbia Gramophone Company's recording house in Petty France Street. A megaphone was connected with the recording machine and two assistants stationed outside the seance room gave the signals at various times. In the presence of Lord Charles Hope, Dennis Bradley and his wife three voices spoke in English, one in an Indian dialect, ' one in Hindustani, one in Italian and two in Chinese. The last one, claiming to be the voice of Confucius, was admitted by Dr. Whymant to be apparently the same as heard by him in New York.
Was Confucius actually present? Walter, when the question was put to him in Boston, explained the matter thus:
"When K'ung-fu-T'zu manifests in our seance room he is not necessarily personally present. However, at the time of Whymant's interview with K'ung-fu-T'zu through Valiantine in trance, the Master was actually present in person."
Further light is thrown on the problem in Mrs. E. Duffey's Heaven Revised. In answer to her doubts as to the presence of illustrious spirits a vision was given to her:
"I beheld, or seemed to behold-for it was not sight, it was a perception as strong as the sense of seeinga succession of links extending from sphere to sphere and from spirit to spirit, until it had finally found utterance on earth."
Archdeacon Colley heard direct voices in the darkness of the night when sleeping in the same room with Dr. Monck while holding his hand over the mouth of his sleeping companion. During an operation on Mrs. Eileen Garrett in 1931, whilst she was unconscious and gagged, the doctors in attendance heard voices in her proximity. One voice spoke glibly in a tongue which none of the doctors understood. According to Dr. Reid Clanny's account of the strange case of Mary Jobson, individuals connected with the Jobsons were sometimes accosted in their own homes by the voice which spoke in the presence of the girl and they were told to go and see her.
In the first attempts of new communicators, or when the power is insufficient, the voice is feeble or hoarse. With an increase of power or practice it becomes characteristic in tone and distinctive in enunciation. It has a conspicuous selective intelligence, always addressing itself to the right person in the right language.
As soon as the power begins to ebb the trumpet is made increasing use of. This waning of power is curiously described in Mrs. G. K. Hack's notes of the July 8, 1928, seance in 'Millesimo Castle: "The power suddenly failed and consequently the pronunciation of the words he used became confused and the sounds almost inarticulate, until at last they became a sort of prolonged whistle which gradually extinguished itself and formed itself into a mournful sigh."
The general strength of the voice may vary individually. Conan Doyle heard a voice in Chicago which he could only compare to the roar of a lion. Duguid's voices were usually husky. But on one occasion his speaking was so loud and harsh that the sitters became alarmed and asked the spirit to retire. Similarly, in Mrs. Robert Johnson's seances, remonstrations had to be made on account of the volume in the voice. In Mrs. Blake's case the voices were occasionally heard at the distance of one hundred feet. Kokum and Hawk Chief (Valiantine) had tremendous resounding voices. They were heard, as Dennis Bradley records, by his wife in a bedroom on the upper floor thirty to forty yards away with all the doors closed. Kokum's voice carried to a distance of two hundred yards. Mrs. Blake, Valiantine, Mrs. Wriedt, Miss Hazel Ridley and Mrs. Murphy Lydy often produced, the phenomenon in full light. The usual demonstration is to shut the light out of the trumpet with the palm of the medium and hold the small end to the sitter's car. Mrs. Lydy gave several successful platform demonstrations in this manner in May, 1931, in London.
Mr. J. B. McIndoe, of Glasgow, constructed a telephonic apparatus for the hearing of the voice in daylight. A very sensitive telephone transmitter was placed under a tightly buttoned, very high black oilskin coat, on the medium's (Andrew McCreadie) larynx. The sitters were connected with a telephone receiver through which they could hear voices in daylight. The result was the same if a trumpet was placed with the small end under the oilskin coat on the medium's larynx. Through the large end, if closely listened to, voices came through.
Many and varied experiments have been conducted to prove the verity of the phenomenon. Ventriloquism on the medium's part offered itself as the first natural explanation. This was, however, turned down by Prof. Hyslop and Dr. Hereward Carrington in their respective experiments and was also disproved by the observations of Malcolm Bird in the Margery seances. According to Carrington at a very near range it is impossible for a ventriloquist to produce the illusion of distant sounds or voices; he must then depend upon near ventriloquism, and the nearer the listener's ear to the mouth of the performer the less perfect the illusion, until at quite close range the illusion vanishes altogether, and the sounds are correctly located, as issuing from the ventriloquist's mouth. There is no such a thing as "throwing the voice" across the room, or to any distant location in space. The voice merely seems to issue from the spot because the performer distracts the attention of his audience to it. Deprived of light to aid the view the illusion cannot be produced and the investigators who sit quite close to the medium can immediately locate the voice at its point of origin.
The medium was often asked to hold water in her mouth to see whether the voices are independent. With Mrs. Emily French, of Buffalo, the voices were tested in exacting conditions, by Prof. Hyslop, Dr. Isaac Funk and others for a full week. Findlay records how often he had his car at Sloan's mouth when one or more voices were speaking and no sound came from it. In other experiments a special solution was used which, under the effect of the saliva, changes color in proportion to the time during which it is held in the mouth. If one of the sitters also takes an amount into his mouth and ejects it at the same time the color should be identical. It was by this test that Dr. Abraham Wallace contended to have established the good faith of Susannah Harris.
The Voice Control Machine, designed by Dr. Mark Richardson, of Boston, for use in the Margery seances, is a modern control apparatus. It consists of a U-shaped tube in which small luminous floats were placed on the surface of the water. By means of a flexible tube which had a specially constructed mouthpiece the medium blew into the tube and caused, by the pressure of air, the second column of water to rise. This position was retained as long as the mouthpiece was tightly held by the medium's lips and tongue. The collapse of the column of water could be immediately detected in the dark by means of the luminous floats. Yet an even more , satisfactory control was devised by B. K. Thorogood;' a cubical box, made of layers of seven different materials, completely soundproof, closed and padlocked, containing a large, very sensitive microphone, connected by two wires emerging from the box to a distant loudspeaker. While sitters in the seance room heard nothing the voice of Walter issued from the loudspeaker in the distant room, proving that the voice had its origin through the "mike" in the box. Under such conditions the independence of the voices in the Margery seances was completely proved.
In direct voice communications there are two elements of the supernormal: the voice in space and the contents of the message. If it turns out that the trumpet was actually used by the medium in the dark the validity of the communication may yet be established by the other criterion. Carrington, whose Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism describes many possibilities of fraud, points out that many investigators attend trumpet seances quite convinced that the medium does the talking. They contend that the content of the messages is the important thing.
Historically, the Davenport Brothers and Jonathan Koons, of Ohio, were the first mediums through whom direct voice phenomena were produced. It was John King who introduced it and it is also due to this romantic control that we owe the invention of the trumpet. Voice mediumship is one of the most dramatic forms of supernormal manifestations. In view of the ease with which it was acquired by Dennis Bradley one may understand his enthusiastic forecast in The Wisdom of the Gods: "Communication with the spirits in their actual voices may, within this century, become as simple as the telephone or wireless. In fact, it seems to me that it is a new and phenomenal form of wireless communication."
Books largely on direct voice experiences: Dennis Bradley: Towards the Stars; The Wisdom of the Gods; And After. W. Ushborne Moore: The Voices; G. K. Hack: Modern Psychic Mysteries at Millesimo Castle; J. Arthur Findlay: On the Edge of the Etheric; Edward Randall: The Dead Have Never Died; May Wright Seawall: Neither Dead Nor Sleeping; J. H. Remmer: Is Death the End?; Clive Chapman: The Blue Room; Mrs. O'Hara Pincock: The Trails of Truth; Wilson G. Bailey: No, Not Dead, They Live; H. Montague Crane: Spirit Voices; Maurice Barbanell: The Trumpet Shall Sound; Bessie Clarke Drouet: Station Astral; Rev. V. G. Duncan: Proof.
DIRECT WRITING, a development of automatic writing, produced without visible physical contact with the medium and sometimes without writing material. That contact, in an invisible form, may exist is a justified inference from the oft observed synchronized motions of the medium's hands. Eusapia Paladino, on the Ile Roubaud in Prof. Richet's House, rubbed the end of her finger with blue chalk, asked Prof. Richet to hold it and, advancing to the table, drew two crosses on the table top in the air. The blue marks disappeared from her finger and the crosses were found on the underside of the table. She also drew scrawls on Prof. Richet's jacket with Myers' fingers. A blue mark was found on his shirt front under the waistcoat. Holding Prof. Richet's clean finger as though it were a pencil she drew a blue line on a piece of white paper in good light. Schiaparelli bought a block of new writing paper and asked Eusapia to write her name, She grasped his finger and moved it over the paper as if it were a pen. The writing was found inside the block.
In the notes of Stainton Moses we find I was slightly convulsed, and my hands were moved under the table while the writing was going on beneath." The hands of Henry Slade were sometimes feverishly hot and emitted, during the writing, which was nearly always in his own hand, crackling and detonating sounds. These detonations occasionally amounted to veritable explosions and pulverised the slate. The pulsations, throbs and convulsive shudders of Slade's body were frequently communicated to those holding his hands. His exposure by Professor Lankester was partly based on the observation that the tendons of his wrist were in motion. Charles E. Watkins, of Cleveland, another slate-writing medium, always writhed as if in torture every time the writing took place. He felt a sudden "drawing" from his body and was unable to articulate distinctly. As soon as the writing finished, with a jerk, he was himself again.
This invisible link between medium and direct writing may not be solely physical. Most of the direct scripts of Mrs. Everitt proved to be quotations from various, sometimes inaccessible books, bearing on the teachings of Swedenborg. As the medium belonged to the New Church her subconscious mind may have had some part in the contents. There is so much more reason for this supposition as C. C. Massey's experience with Eglinton on April 23, 1884, suggests that even the sitter's subconscious mind may be tapped.
As quoted in John S. Farmer's Twixt Two Worlds the contents of a very private letter which C. C. Massey wrote alone in his own room and posted himself a week before had been rifled and, taken out of the context, were woven into a very censorious communication. "The postscript was of a peculiarly malicious character, referring to other confidential correspondence of mine of a very delicate and personal nature. I must own that this particular shot took effect and caused me no small embarrassment and annoyance." C. C. Massey at once wrote to his friend in Paris and received the assurance that nobody other than himself saw, read or heard of the letter.
There are many stages of development in direct writing.
The physical discomfort is not always noticeable. The writing may be done by
materialized hands or by full-grown phantoms, the link with the medium, by
the ectoplasmic process, still being inferable. In Experiences in
Spiritualism with D. D. Home Lord Adare's father is thus quoted: "A sheet of
paper was lying on the edge of the table next to the window, on which a
pencil was placed. We presently saw the pencil moving about on the paper.
Mr. Home saw the fingers holding it. Adare noticed it also more than once,
but of undefined form."
Sir William Crookes recorded his first experience in direct writing with Mrs. Kate Fox-Jencken in the following words: "A luminous hand came down from the upper part of the room, and after hovering near me for a few seconds, took the pencil from my hand, rapidly wrote on a sheet of paper, threw the pencil down, and then rose up over our heads, gradually fading into darkness."
Robert Dale Owen saw, in a sitting with Slade on February 9, 1874, in sufficient gas light, a white, female, marble-like hand, which was detached and shaded off at the wrist, creep up his knees, write on the note sheet placed there on a slate, then slip back with the pencil under the table. Five minutes later the performance was repeated by a smaller hand which resembled the first.
By such experiences one is reminded of that most dramatic account in Daniel: "In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote." (Chap. V, verse 5).
There are many instances on record when fully materialized phantoms have left written messages behind. The spirits of George Spriggs, sat down to write letters, Katie King left behind farewell messages when she took her leave. Friedrich, a materialized form different from the medium Sambor both in stature and gesture, wrote something on the inside of the glass of Mr. S.'s watch in Petersburg. There is a case so unique that it can only be called an instance of direct automatic writing. A materialized phantom of Monck, "The Mahedi," wrote in Egyptian characters and was then controlled by the guide of Monck, "Samuel," who spoke through him and wrote with his hand in English characters which Archdeacon Colley, from comparison with pieces of direct writing, found to be in "Samuel's" hand. Archdeacon Colley observed that, while this was going on, the medium, standing some seventeen feet away, involuntarily or absent-mindedly moved his hand and said afterwards that he felt his hand wanting to write while yet he knew not what was being written.
Crookes desired to see the actual production of a written
message. "Presently," he writes, "the pencil rose up on its point, and after
advancing by hesitating jerks to the paper, fell down. It then rose and
again fell. A third time it tried but with no better result. After three
unsuccessful attempts a small wooden lath, which was lying near upon the
table, slid towards the pencil and rose a few inches from the table; the
pencil rose again, and propping itself against the lath, the two together
made an effort to mark the paper. It fell, and than a joint effort was made
again. After a third trial the lath gave it up and moved back to its place,
the pencil lay as it fell across the paper, and an alphabetic message told
us "We have tried to do as you asked, but our power is exhausted."
Led by a similar desire Stainton Moses made the following observations in an out-of-body experience from the other side: "It was not done, as I had imagined, by guiding my hand or by impressing my mind, but was by directing on to the pen a ray which looked like a blue light. The force so directed caused the pen to move in obedience to the will of the directing spirit. In order to show me that the hand was a mere instrument not essential to the experiment, the pen was removed from the hand, and kept in position by the ray of light which was directed upon it. To my great astonishment it moved over the paper and wrote as before. I cried out With astonishment and was warned to keep still lest I should break the conditions."
Horace Greely quoted in Putnam's Monthly Magazine the experience of Ex-Senator James F. Simmons, of Rhode Island, in obtaining direct writing by a pencil dropped through the ring of a pair of scissors. The pencil stood firmly poised and slowly and deliberately traced the words "James D. Simmons." The handwriting was a facsimile of his deceased son's signature. It was obtained in daylight.
In direct-writing seances with Mrs. Everitt, Crookes
noticed that no matter how thin the paper was the pencil produced no
indentation. Nevertheless, it was clear that the pencil had been used, as
once, owing to a double edge, the words appeared double. Another supernormal
phenomenon is the speed with which the scripts are delivered and the success
in overcoming the handicaps that have been experimentally set up. The paper
has often been placed in a closed book, in a locked box and slates, the
sheets were marked and writing was demanded on a given page in a book or on
folded sheets in a sealed envelope. In Mrs. Everitt's case the writing often
covered one side of the marked sheet and when, after examination, the light
was again extinguished, it was continued on the back side of the same paper.
Thomas Everitt, her husband, declared at a meeting of the Marylebone
Association of Inquirers into Spiritualism that he had known as many as nine
hundred and thirty-six words to be written in a second. To test ' the powers
of Sambor a cone of sheet iron was prepared under the direction of Mr.
Erfurt, head of the printing works at Petersburg. A piece of paper and a
pencil were placed inside. M. Zabasky and M. Eichwalk, engineers, had an
iron lid fixed on with special rivets. The cone was then left for several
days in a room which Sambor never entered. In a later seance Sambor declared
that writing would be found in the cone. After much difficulty the cone,
which was found intact, was opened. The paper was inscribed with a few
words. The direct-writing produced by Mme. Ignath in Oslo (Sept. 30, 1931)
on wax tablets in a closed box appeared, under microscopic enlargement, to
have been "melted" into the wax by fine rays, swinging together from the
direction of the sitters.
Generally, the writing may be in the medium's hand or in a strange character. This may furnish proof of identity as in the case of Estelle, the deceased wife of Charles Livermore, manifesting through Kate Fox in New York for a long period. The language of the writing may also vary and the script may contain words or sentences desired by the company. The scene of the most ancient instance of direct writing was Mount Sinai, where Moses obtained the Ten Commandments. Mediaeval students of the occult were well aware of the phenomenon. The first modern record of experiments is to be found in Baron Guldenstubbe's book La Réalité des Esprits et le Phénomčne Merveilleux de leur Ecriture Directe. The phenomenon was observed during the Poltergeist disturbances in the house of the Rev. Phelps at Stratford in 1850. Direct scripts were delivered in the locked spirit room of the Koon log house in Vermont. Mrs. Marshall, the first English professional medium, produced direct writing on sheets of glass, which were smeared over with a composition of oil and whitening, under the table. This was the rudimentary beginning of slate-writing of which the first English account, with Mrs. Marshall in 1861, was published by Thomas P. Barker. The reason why slate-writing came into vogue was that it furnished a comparatively quick message from departed friends without an excessive drain on the medium as the space between the slates served as a convenient dark chamber. It is now fairly out-of-date. Mrs. Pruden, of Cincinnati, is almost the only modern medium producing the phenomenon. Carrington's conclusions perhaps explains the loss of popularity: "Now there are so many different ways by which such writing (slate-writing) may be obtained by trickery that it is almost impossible to obtain conclusive evidence by this means. Personally, I have never seen a genuine example, in all the years during which I have been investigating this question." This statement also includes his experiences with Pierre Keeler with whom he had two sittings at Lily Dale in 1907 (when he came to the conclusion that fraud was practiced on both occasions) and the sitting with Mrs. Laura Pruden, of Cincinnati. But, as regards the latter case, Dr. Carrington admits that the evidence is not so conclusive ' indeed, his detailed account fails to show anything but a strongly imaginative possibility of fraud
Henry Slade, Monck, Eglinton, Watkins and W. H. Powell were the best known exponents of slate writing. The commotion caused by the Slade trial resulted in some interesting public testimonies. Professor William Barrett in a letter quoted in "M.A. Oxon's" Psychography, declared that he noted the same suspicious circumstances to which Prof. Lankester alluded and also that Slade always sat with his back to the light and sideways, so that the front of his person was in comparative shade, though generally in full view. Fraud suggested itself to him as well. But instead of forcibly interrupting Slade to discover whether the writing was already on the slate when it was not yet supposed to be there, he took a clean slate, placed a crumb of a slate pencil below, held it firmly down with his elbow and only allowed the tips of Slade's fingers to touch the slates. "While closely watching both of Slade's hands which did not move perceptibly, I was much astonished to hear scratching going on apparently on the under side of the table, and when the slate was lifted up I found the side facing the table covered with writing. A similar result was obtained on other days; further, an eminent scientific man obtained writing on a clean slate when it was held entirely in his own hand, both of Slade's being on the table."
In a letter to the Spectator of October 6, 1877, Alfred Russel Wallace described a remarkable experiment. The sitting was held in a private house with Monck. Two slates, examined, cleaned and tied together by Alfred Russel Wallace were on the table, never out of his sight. Monck asked Alfred Russel Wallace to name a word he wished to be written on the slate inside. He named the word "God." Monck then asked how it should be written. He replied: "lengthways of the slate and with a Capital G." In a very short time writing was heard on the slate. The medium's hands were convulsively withdrawn, Alfred Russel Wallace himself untied the cord and on opening the slates found on the lower one the word in the manner he asked for.
From the period immediately following Slade's flight to the Continent we find a number of surprisingly successful slate-writing experiments with the persecuted medium recorded in Zöllner's Transcendental Physics.
Writing was heard and found between untouched slates on the table, Slade being two feet away, a slip of paper disappeared from underneath a slate and was found to have entered the locked and sealed double slates. The paper was written on. It was identified by two bits which Prof. Zöllner previously tore off. The text was disclosed by Slade in trance before the slates were opened.
The general proceeding with Slade was to place the slates under the table against the slab or lay his hands over it on top of the table. The process of writing, a scratching sound, was not only heard but the tremors could be felt if a hand was placed over the locked slate. The finishing of the message was usually indicated by raps. The crumb of slate-pencil, worn away, was mostly found at the end of the writing. With other slate-writing mediums the conditions varied. In Mrs. Harman's case, as reported by J. L. O'Sullivan, former American Minister in Portugal, a steady stream of rapid little ticks was audible. In the case of Mrs. Francis,. Of San Francisco, the direct movement of the pencil on the slate was seen by Elliot Cowes and E. Coleman. Watkins was offered 50,000 dollars by Hiram Sibley, of Rochester, for the secret of his slate writing trick. He did not know it himself. Dr. Crowell, to a question how the writing was effected, received the following answer in a seance with Slade: "The smaller the pencil the more easily we can write, the larger the pencil the greater the difficulty. We move the point by our will-power entirely, and that enables us to write. Very few spirits can directly control the pencil. That is the reason why the medium's wife comes so often to show other spirits how to do this. (The Identity of Primitive Christianity with Modern Spiritualism, Vol. 11, 14).
Fred P. Evans, of San Francisco, obtained slate writing in colored chalk. The phenomenon was witnessed by Alfred Russel Wallace in San Francisco in 1887. Two thick lines drawn across the slate with a slate pencil proved that the colored chalk, which was not of the medium's providing, was precipitated after the slates had been locked.
This brings us to the problem of precipitated writing of which there are some very curious instances on record.
There is a note of Stainton Moses beneath the signature of Imperator under a communication received on March 3, 1876: "While I was writing the above automatically, the underwritten pencil letters grew under my hand. No pencil was near me. I watched them from time to time, merely covering the page so as to get darkness." On his inquiry he was told by Prudens that it is not necessary for the communicators to have the materials for direct writing. As a demonstration Magus wrote in blue when there was no blue pencil in the room and produced a red message in a closed book. When Stainton Moses asked for a message in multicolors, the names of various controls were signed in a closed book after a count of five in red, blue and black pencils. Col. Olcott also obtained colored slate writing with the medium Cozine without the use of pencil or crayon (Old Diary Leaves, First Series, Madras, 1895, p. 362).
Papus, Dr. Encausse, in a lecture before the Society d'Etudes Psychiques at Nancy in 1907, related: "In 1889 a well-known magnetizer, named Robert, had succeeded in putting two subjects to sleep, a man and a girl, and he placed them in such a state of hypnosis that these subjects projected characters and lines of writing on blank sheets of paper, without using a pencil or pen. The characters appeared of themselves on the paper. Dr. Gibier and I went to study this phenomenon. During this seance we were able to obtain in full light on a sheet of paper, signed by twenty witnesses, the precipitation of a whole page of written verses signed "Corneille." I examined the substance which formed the writing under the microscope and I was led to the conclusion that it consisted of globules of human blood, some altered and as if calcined, - others still quite distinct." Papus believed that the blood of the medium and his nervous force exteriorized itself and reconstructed itself at a distance. The medium was preparing for the stage and had studied Corneille during the whole of the preceding day. (Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1907).
Sometimes direct writing is witnessed in curious forms. Blavatsky's Posthumous Memoirs, published by Joseph M. Wade in Boston, 1896, is claimed to have been produced by the direct operation of a typewriter. Direct typewriting was also claimed by the Bangs Sisters, of Chicago. Sheets of unexposed bromide paper or photographic plates may also be impressed with direct scripts. These messages are called psychographs. They may appear to the medium's eyes like luminous scrolls. The theory is that they are built on ectoplasmic patches. They are often found on the plates of spirit photographers. In Poltergeist cases the phenomenon also occurs. In The Great Amherst Mystery Dr. Carritte was standing by Esther Cox's bedside when all present heard the sound of writing on the wall and looking round they saw cut deeply into the plaster on the wall the terrible words: "Esther Cox, you are mine to kill." The writing remained visible for years afterwards. Frau Gilbert's control, Dr. Franciscus Nell, produces direct writing by engraving his name on cigarette cases held under the table.
Writing in fire, i.e., by psychic lights, is another variety. Admiral Moore has seen, in a seance with Ada Bessinet, names traced in the air in front of the sitter in letters of bright light. The effect was not permanent and the beginning of a letter disappeared before the end was completed. Hyslop writes in Contact with the Other Worlds of his experiences with Miss Burton: "The messages were written in letters of fire in the air in pitch darkness and gave cross references with other psychics. They had to be read sometimes a letter at a time and repeated until I could be certain of them."
Dermography, skin-writing, may also be considered as a form of direct writing.
Books on the subject: "M.A. Oxon" (Stainton Moses): Psychography, London, 1882; J. J. Owen: Psychography, San Francisco; John S. Farmer: Twixt Two Worlds, London, 1886; H. Cholmondely Pennell: Bringing it to Book.
ECTOPLASM (from the Greek ektos and plasma: exteriorized substance), a mysterious protoplasmic substance streaming out of the body of mediums by the manipulation of which, either by the subconscious self or by discarnate intelligences, phenomena of a super-physical order, including partial and complete materializations, are produced. The word was originated by Professor Richet. Psychoplasm and teleplasm convey the same meaning, the latter denoting action at a distance from the medium's body, while ideoplasm progresses a step farther and means the moulding of the stuff into the likeness of a self. The questions which demand paramount consideration are: the properties of this mysterious substance; the effect of its outflow upon the medium; the method of manipulation.
The first thing that has been definitely established is that ectoplasm is matter, invisible and intangible in its primary state but assuming vaporous, liquid or solid condition in various stages of condensation. It emits a smell which reminds of ozone. It has strange properties.
Swedenborg in his first vision speaks of "a kind of vapor steaming from the pores of my body." It was a most visible watery vapor and fell downwards to the ground upon the carpet. Colonel Rochas compared the luminous vapor he saw arising from Mme. d'Esperance's breast to the Milky Way. P. Lecour likened the process to the condensation of a nebula. The same idea is suggested by Venzano's description of a mass of swirling vapor at the side of Eusapia Paladino. In the case of Kluski and Eva C. the liquid type was observed as white, luminous spots from the size of a pea to that of a crown piece here and there on the medium's clothes. In Kluski's case they were much brighter than in Eva's. Geley describes how a dimly phosphorescent column formed beside him out of which a luminous hand, perfectly formed and of natural size, patted him several times on the forearm in a friendly way. At the slight shock a drop of luminous liquid fell on his sleeve and shone there for fifteen to twenty minutes after the disappearance of the hand.
The solid form is the last stage of ectoplasmic development. "As soon as I have entered the mediumistic cabinet," writes Mme. d'Esperance, "my first impression is of being covered with spider webs. Then I feel that the air is filled with substance, and a kind of white and vaporous mass, quasi luminous, like the steam from a locomotive, is formed in front of the abdomen. After this mass has been tossed and agitated in every way for some minutes, sometimes even for half an hour, it suddenly stops, and then out of it is born a living being close to me."
At another time she said: "It seemed that I could feel fine threads being drawn out of the pores of my skin." This is suggestive in view of the cloudy, faintly luminous threads that are sometimes observed in materialization seances between the phantom and the medium. In such instrumentality may lie a nearer understanding of telekinetic phenomena (See Movement).
Experimental Findings and Inferences
The photographs of the nascence of ectoplasm are rather repulsive. They show a gelatinous, viscous stuff, oozing from all the natural orifices of the medium's body; from the mouth, cars, nose, eyes and lower orifices, also from the top of the head, from the breasts and the finger tips. Most often it comes from the mouth. The form of the substance varies, according to Geley, between threads, cords, rigid rays, membranes and fabric or woven material with indefinite and irregular outlines. The most curious appearance is presented by a widely expanded membrane provided with fringes and rucks, and resembling in appearance a net. The output greatly varies. It is conditioned by psychological factors of will and emotion. It may completely envelop the medium as in a mantle. It may have different colors, white, black or grey. White is the most frequent, or perhaps the most easily observed. Sometimes the three colors appear simultaneously. The visibility varies a great deal. The impression to the touch is sometimes moist and cold, sometimes viscous and sticky, more rarely dry and hard. The substance is mobile, slow, reptile-like, or quick as lightning. It is sensitive to light. The production can affect the general temperature of the room. This is particularly noticeable near the medium or any object touched by the exuding substance.
Baron Schrenck Notzing in Phenomena of Materialization sums up hundreds of experiments conducted for a period of five years with Eva C.: "We have very often been able to establish that by an unknown process there comes from the body of the medium a material, at first semi-fluid, which possesses some of the properties of a living substance, notably that of the power of change, of movement and of the assumption of definite forms.
In Munich, with the Polish medium Stanislawa P., the Baron succeeded in making a cinematographic record of ectoplasm as it flowed out of the medium's mouth.
The similarity between these observations and Mrs. Davidson's experience in haunted Willington Mill is suggestive. She saw "what she supposed was a white towel lying on the ground. She went to pick it up, but imagine her surprise when she found that it rose up and went behind the dressing table over the top, down on the floor across the room, disappeared under the door and was heard to descend the stairs with a heavy step." (journal S.P.R. Vol. V.)
In the Margery seances in Boston ectoplasm was photographed as it was being reabsorbed by the medium's body through the openings of the mouth, nose and ears. In several of these photographs the ectoplasm is visible still conserving the form it had first assumed in the materialization, a form then reduced to a species of placenta attached to the medium by a cord which, in its turn, calls up the appearance of the umbilical cord.
Dr. Schwab, in his experiments with Frau Vollhardt, made a photographic record of telekinetic movements and found ectoplasm on them. The stuff was usually streaming out of Frau Vollhardt's mouth. Marks of her teeth were often found in it, proving it to be a plastic substance.
As indicated before, the sensation of touch produced by ectoplasm varies. According to the invisible operators of the seance room it can be made to have any desired "feel." Walter, the control of Margery, put an ectoplasmic terminal into the hand of Dr. Crandon telling him that he might feel and squeeze it gently. It was a more or less conical mass, half an inch wide at its tip, getting rapidly wider, up to about an inch and a quarter where it left Dr. Crandon's hand. The mass was ice cold, somewhat rough on the surface and yielded slightly as a rubber eraser might do. On repetition with another sitter, Conant, he was required to scrape his hand carefully, and he stated that through this process he recovered and put down on the table at Walter's command something that acted much like the finer inner membrane of an egg.
Conan Doyle also speaks of an occasion with Eva C. when, in good light, he was allowed to squeeze a piece of ectoplasm between his fingers. It gave him the impression of a living substance, thrilling and shrinking under his touch.
If ectoplasm is suddenly exposed to light the medium is thrown into agony. It was found, however, by Dr. Crawford that it is not so much the ectoplasm as the medium which cannot bear the light. If the medium is shielded with black cloth the pain is considerably reduced and flashlight photographs become easily procurable. Mme. Bisson confirmed these observations with Eva C. Another point is that the flash of light should not be sudden. Warning should be given as there is ground to suppose that the effect of a sudden flash drives the substance back into the medium's body with the force of a snapped elastic band. Kluski received an open wound from a violent retreat of ectoplasm. Conan Doyle quotes the case of a medium who exhibited a bruise from the breast to the shoulder caused by the recoil of the band. Evan Powell, at the British College of Psychic Science, suffered a bad injury on the chest owing to an unintended violent movement of a sitter, touched by an ectoplasmic arm. Hemorrhage may also result from sudden exposure to light. Dennis Bradley speaks of an instance in which George Valiantine got a black bruise, measuring about two inches by three, on the stomach by the shock of returning ectoplasm when a powerful electric light was suddenly switched on in his garage which faced one of the windows of the seance room. The substance was seen and described by Caradoc Evans, the writer, as a slimy, frothy bladder "into which you could dig a finger but through which you could not pierce."
"To its sensitiveness" - writes Geley in From the Unconscious to the Conscious - "the substance seems to add a kind of instinct not unlike that of the self-protection of the invertebrates; it would seem to have all the distrust of a defenseless creature, or one whose sole defense is to re-enter the parent organism. It shrinks from all contacts and is always ready to avoid them and to be reabsorbed."
Many observations seem to justify the supposition that ectoplasm has "an immediate and irresistible tendency towards organization" and, as a natural sequel, it tends to assume the shape of the medium's body. This may account for the frequently noted duplication of the medium's face in materialization seances as a preliminary to individualized forms and also the often-observed identity of a phantom hand with that of the medium. An alternative to this theory is that the double of the medium serves as a pattern on which the new creations are actually built up. The double, wholly or partially detached, may magnetically attract the ectoplasm and Mrs. Barbara McKenzie even suggests that the initial stimulation of his body before its detachment contributes to the ejection of the ectoplasm, but only when it is fully withdrawn does it attract it and clothe itself with it.
In a series of interesting experiments in the Goligher circle Dr. Crawford traced the flow of ectoplasm by powdered carmine. He found that the ectoplasmic stream carried coloring matter. Staining various parts of the medium's body he discovered that in his particular case the flow started at the base of the spine and passed down to the feet. On returning it encountered frictional resistance: the fabric of the medium's knickers and stockings was found abraded in places. Staining with carmine Miss Goligher's blouse and asking for a rap on the wall he found carmine spots on the place of the raps. These observations suggest that a medium may not always be guilty of cheating if traces of the paint with which telekinetically moved instruments are covered are found on her body or clothes. Materialized hands produced wonderful paraffin moulds in seances with Kluski. He was amply controlled. Yet once he was found smeared with wax. At another time particles of wax were found in out of the way corners of the seance room, and even in the adjoining room, indicating a long extension of psychic structures.
It is not only particles of paint but particles of clothing material as well which may be carried along by the ectoplasmic flow. At least, this conclusion was suggested to Dr. Crawford when he found that the fabric of the medium's stockings was nearly always impressed in the soft clay when he asked for an impression to be produced by the psychic rods. As these particles were not deposited they apparently flowed back. The question arises in what state is this clothing matter? May it not have some part in spirit drapery? May it not be that ectoplasm acts as solvent on material particles through which it passes, reducing them into an unknown fluidic state?
Dr. Crawford also noticed that if he passed his hand
between the medium's ankle and the levitated table the table dropped to the
floor. If his hand was gloved the table dropped more slowly. If he passed a
glass rod between the table and the medium the levitation was unaffected.
Similarly he found that if the medium touched the levitated table the
psychic energy became short-circuited and the table dropped. The medium's
touch with gloved hand retarded the drop whereas a touch with wood or paper
had no appreciable effect.
Baron Schrenck Notzing was able to get a fragment of
ectoplasm into a tube. The moment he wanted to trap it it vanished with
lightning-like speed. Occasionally, however, with the medium's consent,
specimens were amputated for chemical and microscopical analysis. Of the
result Baron Schrenck Notzing writes: "Very probably the formation of the
substance which appears in the sitting as liquid material, and also as
amorphous material, or filmy net-like and veil-like material, in the form of
shreads, wisps, threads and cords, in large or small packets, is an
organized tissue which easily decomposes-a sort of transitory matter which
originates in the organism in a manner unknown to us, possesses unknown
biological functions, and formative possibilities and is evidently
peculiarly dependent on the psychic influence of the medium. As regards the
structure of the teleplasm, we only know this: that within it, or about it,
we find conglomerates of bodies resembling epithelium, real plate epithelium
with nuclei, veil-like filmy structures, coherent lamellar bodies without
structure, as well as flat globules and mucus. If we abstain from any
detailed indications concerning the composition and function of teleplasm we
may yet assert two definite facts: 1. In teleplasm, or associated with it,
we find substances of organic origin, various cell-forms, which leave behind
cell detritus. 2. The mobile material observed, which seems to represent the
fundamental substance of the phenomena, does not consist of india-rubber or
any other artificial product, by which its existence could be fraudulently
represented. For substances of this kind can never decompose into cell
detritus, or leave a residue of such."
This analysis was made in February, 1916. It was controlled by Dr. Dombrowski who obtained half of the ectoplasm in Warsaw. He found leucocytes and epithelial cells but otherwise the analysis yielded no secret. Said the summary of a bacteriological report published by the Polish S.P.R.: "The substance to be analyzed is albuminoid matter accompanied by fatty matter and cells found in the human organism. Starch and sugar discoverable by Fehling's test are absent."
Flammarion described Eusapia Paladino's sensation during the withdrawal of ectoplasm: "She suddenly experiences an ardent desire to produce the phenomena; then she has a feeling of numbness and the gooseflesh sensation in her fingers; these sensations keep increasing; at the same time she feels in the lower portion of the vertebral column the flowing of a current which rapidly extends into her arms as far as her elbow, where it is gently arrested. It is at this point that the phenomenon takes place."
As regards telekinetic effects produced by psychic rods, Conan Doyle suggested that the psychic rods may not be strong in themselves. They may be conveyors of strength, similar to a copper wire which carries electricity. If should be added to this that according to all indication the ectoplasmic lines are conveyors of feeling and emotion, too, not only between the materialized figure and the medium, but the medium and the sitters as well. Writes Mme. d'Esperance in Shadowland of the period when she was conscious during materialization: "I felt conscious of the thoughts, or rather the feelings, of everyone in the room, but had no inclination to as much as lift a finger to enable me to see anything." At another place she writes of her brain "apparently becoming a sort of whispering gallery where the thoughts of other persons resolved themselves into an embodied form and resounded as though actual substantial objects. Was anyone suffering, I felt the pain. Was anyone worried or depressed, I felt it instantly. Joy or sorrow made themselves in some way perceptible to me. I could not tell who among the friends assembled was suffering, only that the pain existed and was in some way reproduced in myself. If anyone left his or her seat, thus breaking the chain, this fact was communicated to me in a mysterious but unmistakable manner."
In a lecture reported in Light, November 21, 1903, she said: "I lost physical strength, but no particle of my individuality. On the contrary, the loss of physical power seemed but to intensify that of the senses. Distant sounds, beyond hearing at other times, became painfully audible; a movement of any of the sitters sent a vibration through every nerve; a sudden exclamation caused a sensation of terror; the very thoughts of the persons in the room made themselves felt as though they were material objects."
The exteriorization of ectoplasm requires a state of passivity on the part of the medium. Perhaps it is to ensure this that trance is nearly always necessary. Mme. d'Esperance had no strength to exert herself during the process of materialization, but if she made a great effort this invariably compelled the materialized forms to retire to the cabinet, as though deprived of the power to stand or support themselves.
It appears that feelings of pain may be transferred from
the medium to the materialized phantom. Mme. d'Esperance once scorched her
arm previous to a seance and felt fainting, during the seance, from pain.
Suddenly she felt a series of something like electric shocks and the pain
left her. But Yolande carried her arm as though she was in pain, and when
accidentally touched she flinched as though hurt. But, at another time, when
a dislocated shoulder necessitated Mme. d'Esperance wearing a surgical
bandage for a few days, Yolande appeared with both arms uninjured. Nor did
she exhibit any sign of weakness, for she lifted with ease a pitcher of
water in her right hand, a feat which, under the circumstances, would have
been quite impossible for the medium. Mme. d'Esperance conjectures that
Yolande had sufficient material on that occasion from the persons in the
circle, which in this case numbered over twenty. On the occasion of the
burnt arm under ten persons formed the circle.
The physiological effect of the sitters on the medium was again curiously demonstrated in a case of Mme. d'Esperance. After sittings for spirit photography in Sweden she felt unusually prostrate. The symptoms were those of nicotine poisoning. Experiments were made and it was discovered that none of the uncomfortable sensations were felt when the seances were conducted with non-smokers.
We may arrive at a better understanding of this strange occurrence by pointing to another finding of Dr. Crawford, namely that the sitters also contribute to the ectoplasmic flow. He discovered it by measuring the variation in weight during the seance of both the medium and the sitters. Ordinarily the loss of the medium's weight did not amount to more than 10-15 Ibs. In one case, however, it amounted to 541 Ibs., the normal weight of the medium being 128 Ibs. At thirty pounds the stress on the medium appeared to be severe. The withdrawal of her bodily substance went on with difficulty, in fluxes, as if an elastic resistance had to be overcome. There was a distinct collapse in the hips of the girl which, however, filled out when the ectoplasm was reabsorbed.
Williams, whose normal weight was 153 Ibs., was weighed
while the materialized spirit "Peter" left the cabinet. His weight shrank to
35 Ibs. and remained that much for half an hour. Miss Fairlamb and Miss Wood
were several times observed to have lost half of their weight during the
apparition of a phantom. It was noticed with Spriggs, in Melbourne, that
when there were tall people in the circle the forms were taller than when
the sitters showed a low average of stature.
The general shrinking and contraction of the medium's body may reach further stages. It may amount to the disintegration of the extremities and in certain exceptional cases to the temporary disappearance of the entire body. Eusapia Paladino was described by Dr. Ochorowitz as "all shrunken together" during physical phenomena. Her hand seemed to be contracted. Arthur Levy, at a seance on November 16, 1898, similarly observed: "Her burning hands seemed to contract or shrivel. Eusapia seems shrunken together and is very much affected ... when the lamps are again lighted she is seen to be very much changed, her eyes dull, her face apparently diminished to half its usual size."
Dr. Vezzano once noticed the disappearance of the lower limbs of Eusapia. John King claimed to have dematerialized them to gain more power.
Of Charles Eldred, before his exposure, Charles Letort and Ellen S. Letort reported in Light: "He had shrunk up like a mummy; his head seemed to have sunk in between his shoulders and his legs seemed to have become shorter. When he had sat down at the beginning of the sitting we had seen his feet reach out under the curtains; now they scarcely touched the floor. He seemed all shriveled up, but on his cheeks there was a feverish red spot."
Willie Reichel, in the Psychische Studien of 1905 and 1906, writes of Mr. C. V. Miller's seances in San Francisco in one of which he observed: "In the space of about three minutes the head of the medium became like that of a child, and after further shrinking disappeared altogether."
Florence Marryat was led by the materialized spirit Florence," behind the curtains to see Miss Showers. "The first sight of her terrified me" she writes. "She appeared to be shrunk to half her usual size and the dress hung loosely on her figure. Her arms had disappeared, but putting my hands up the dress sleeves I found them diminished to the size of those of a little child-the fingers reaching only to where the elbows had been. The same miracle had happened to her feet, which only occupied half her boots. She looked in fact like the mummy of a girl of four or six years old. The spirit told me to feel her face. The forehead was dry, rough and burning hot, but from the chin water was dropping freely on the bosom of her dress."
The famous case of the partial dematerialization of Mme.
d'Esperance's body in Helsingfors on December 11, 1895, is described in
Aksakof's booklet A Case of Partial Dematerialization, 1898. He was not
present himself, but he collected testimonies of fifteen witnesses. As he
reconstructed the case the lower part of the medium's body, from the waist
downward disappeared. Her skirt was lying flat on the chair for about 15
minutes and the medium's trunk was apparently suspended in the air above the
seat. The light was sufficient to see by and Mme. d'Esperance permitted five
persons to verify the phenomenon by passing their hands below her trunk.
This examination caused her great distress and she was ill for three months
after the occurrence Mme. d'Esperance's account of her feelings is
especially interesting. She said: "I relaxed my muscles and let my hands
fall upon my lap and then I found that, instead of resting against my knees
they rested against the chair in which I was sitting. This discovery
disturbed me greatly and I wondered if I was dreaming. I patted my skirt
carefully, all over, trying to locate my limbs and the lower half of my
body, but found that although the upper part of it-arms, shoulders, chest,
etc.-was in its natural state, all the lower part had entirely disappeared.
I put my hands where my knees should have been, but nothing whatever was
there but my dress and skirts. Nevertheless, I felt just as usual-better
than usual, in fact; so that if my attention had not been attracted by
accident I should probably have known nothing of the occurrence. Leaning
forward to see if my feet were in their proper place, I almost lost my
balance. This frightened me very much and I felt that it was absolutely
necessary to assure myself whether I was dreaming or the victim of a
hallucination. To this end I reached over and took Prof. Seiling's hand,
asking him to tell me if I was really seated in the chair. I awaited his
answer in perfect agony of suspense. I felt his hand just as if it touched
my knees; but he said: "There is nothing there, nothing but your skirts."
This gave me a still greater fright. I pressed my free hand against my
breast and felt my heart beating wildly.
Fifteen minutes later her skirts filled out and her lower limbs appeared in full view of the sitters.
Professor Haraldur Neilsson, of the University of Reykjavik, Iceland, witnessed the entire disappearance of the left arm of Indride Indridason. It occurred three times. The medium was examined in light. The absence of the arm in the sleeve was plainly felt. It reappeared half an hour later. Other professors testified to the same phenomenon. (Light, Oct. 25, 1919).
In the Journal of the American S.P.R., March, 1925, there is an account by Miss Helen C. Lambert of a medium in an experimental circle whose forearm shrank in length and finally vanished. The hand appeared to grow out of the elbow. The return to the normal was slow and the medium was badly scared.
In the case of Carlo Mirabelli, the Sao Paolo medium, the dematerialization of his arms while he was sitting in a white costume amongst fourteen investigators was photographed. Only a slight shadow was visible in the place of the arms.
These instances make the assumption legitimate that the ectoplasmic process is an externalization of the medium. There is a wide field of speculation whether this externalization is automatic in certain constitutional states or whether it implies a surrender to an extraneous and discarnate will. The attempt to tell where the formative powers of the subconscious over this externalized bodily substance stop and where the supposition of something more becomes necessary is fraught with difficulties.
Geley found five striking analogies of the ectoplasmic
process in the known organic realm: the chrysalis in which the body of the
caterpillar is resolved into a creamy mass and reformed into the butterfly,
the cold light of insects and microbes, the pseudopods of some protozoa and
certain similarities in the evolution of animal forms and dermoid cysts. In
his last book, Clairvoyance and Materialization he reached the following
conclusions: "The primary condition of ectoplasmic phenomena is an
anatomo-biologic decentralisation in the medium's body and an
externalization of the decentralized factors in an amorphous state, solid,
liquid or vaporous. This decentralization is accompanied by a considerable
expenditure of vital energy. The vital energy thus released may take the
form of mechanical energy, thus producing telekinesis or raps. It may be
transformed into luminous energy, producing living lights in all respects
similar to normal animal lights. Sometimes the luminous energy seems to be
condensed in some organ either already materialized or in process of
materialization; sometimes it is connected with a phosphorescent secretion
which can agglomerate and form actual living lamps; and sometimes it may
manifest as discharges or flashes. The same vital energy which is manifested
by telekinesis and bioluminescence may ultimate in the organization of
amorphous ectoplasm. It then creates objective but ephemeral beings or parts
of beings. Complete materializations are the final product of the
The discovery of ectoplasm is not new. Foster Damon, of Harvard University, found in the works of the philosopher Vaughan, who lived about 1650, a description under the name of "first matter" or "mercury" of a substance, drawn from the body, which has all the characteristics of ectoplasm. The first systematic study was the result of the joint efforts of Baron Schrenck Notzing and Mme. Bisson in experimenting with Eva C. Before them Delanne, Morselli and Richet published descriptions of the different evolutionary states of ectoplasm. After them the most important contribution to the subject was made by Geley. On the question whether ectoplasm is a purely human contribution or animals might also have a share in it, interesting light was thrown in a seance with Margery. She took a cat with her into the cabinet. As told by F. Bligh Bond in Psychic Research, 1929, p. 101, "presently we all observed a luminous appearance over the table, like a tall pale flame. This seemed to move slightly and vary in height. Then came Walter's voice "Here, someone take this animal out; it's croaking." The sitter on Margery's left bent over and took up the cat from her lap. It was quite comatose and stiffened ... Walter then explained that he had borrowed the cat's ectoplasm and that was what we had seen as a flame on the table."
ELONGATION of the human body, a comparatively rare but by no means modern psychical phenomenon. The Neo-Platonists observed it in the case of certain obsessed men. Jamblichus, writing on Divination, said: "The person of the subject has been known to dilate and tower to supernormal height." Gorres in La Mystique Divine, Naturelle et Diabolique states that the blessed Ida of Louvain one night, as she occupied .a bed with a very devout nun, assumed monstrous proportions until she was lying in all but a very narrow strip of the bed. So great was the strain that the skin of one of her legs burst and she ever afterwards had the scar. Suddenly, her body began to diminish until at last it was reduced to an extremely minute size. The phenomenon was repeated as she returned from the church with her friend.
Among modern mediums it was D. D. Home who most often demonstrated it. The expansions and contractions of his body have been witnessed by 50 people at the very least. He felt exceedingly sick after elongations. His maximum growth was found by, the Master of Lindsay to be eleven inches. On being questioned by the members of the Dialectical Committee, he said: "The top of the hip bone and the short ribs separate." In Home they are unusually close together. There was no separation of the vertebrae of the spine; nor were the elongations at all like those resulting from expanding the chest with air; the shoulders did not move. Home looked as if he was pulled up by the neck; the muscles seemed to be in a state of tension Lord Adare saw Mr. Jencken, a taller man standing beside Home when the phenomenon took place. Home's feet remained fairly level on the ground. His unbuttoned coat showed a spade of about four inches between his waistcoat and the waistband of his trousers. Lord Adaire estimated the entire growth to be 6-8 inches. He appeared to grow also in breadth and size all over. A hand being placed flat upon his waist the observer felt the ' lower rib pass under his hand until it was some inches above it, the whole flesh and muscle apparently moving and stretching. On the contraction taking place he felt the lower rib come down until it pressed against the upper edge of his hand and moved into its proper position. After two elongations, at another time, he was shortened to less than his natural height. He could also elongate his arms. Lord Adare placed himself in front of him when he stood against the wall and made a pencil mark at the tip of his extended arms. First his left, then his right arm was elongated. By measuring the distance between the pencil marks it was ascertained the total elongation amounted to 91 inches. During this elongation Home's chest became greatly expanded.
H. T. Humphreys, a journalist, published in 1868 the following account: "Mr. Home was seen by all of us to increase in height to the extent of some eight or ten inches, and then sink to some six or eight inches below his normal stature. Having returned to his usual height, he took Lord Adare and the Master of Lindsay and placing one beside each post of the folding doors lay down on the floor, touching the feet of one with his head and the feet of the other with his feet. He was then again elongated and pushed both Lord Adare and the Master of Lindsay backward along the floor with his head and feet as he was stretched out, his arms and hands remaining motionless by his side." The distance-as measured by Mrs. S. C. Hall-was more than 7 feet.
H. D. Jencken in his account in Human Nature, 1869, also speaks of the elongation of Home's legs. He says: "The right leg of Mr. Home was then elongated about six inches, then shortened, the foot literally shrinking into the trousers. I carefully examined the leg from the ankle joint to the hip. The limb felt shrunk and withered and, gradually elongated, it felt as if it were being expanded by air being inflated. Whilst the leg was so shortened he walked about the room, proving that, though lessened in size, the function of the limb was unimpaired. The final and most satisfactory test, however, was the lengthening and shortening of the hand. I caused Mr. Home to place his hand firmly on a sheet of paper, and then carefully traced an outline of the hand, causing the pencil point to be firmly kept at the wrist. I am, I believe, rendering the first positive measurement of the extension and contraction of the human organism."
Home could impart the power of elongation to others. Miss Bertolacci, a medium herself, was once elongated together with him. The phenomenon was also witnessed in the mediumship of others.
"On one occasion in my quarters at the Sandown Hospital, Isle of Wight-writes John E. Purdon, M.D., in Light, May 10, 1902, p. 223-1 held the feet of Miss Florence Cook firmly against the floor, and can certify that there was no lifting of the heels, either with or without her boots, and that there was such an elongation that my brother-in-law, the late assistant surgeon, Mark A. Kilroy, whose hands were on her shoulders, cried out ' She is dragging me up to the ceiling.' As he was over five feet nine inches in height there could have been no posturing that would account for his experience. Further, I most distinctly remember Miss Cook coming back with a jerk to her normal stature. My wife, who was present and heard her brother make the above remark, fully endorses my statement."
Florence Marryat writes of a seance with Katie Cook in which the medium's arm, which she held, was elongated to such an extent that it reached the sitters on the other side of the table where it would have been impossible for her own much longer arms to follow it. She believes that the limb must have been stretched to thrice its natural length, and that in sight of everybody.
Frank Herne, J. J. Morse, Eusapia Paladino and, in her early career, Mrs. Thompson also demonstrated the strange gift of elongation. Frank Podmore, in Modern Spiritualism, quotes the Rev. C. J. M. Shaw for the account of the elongation of a professional clairvoyant, Peters, in his house. The arm of the medium grew six inches.
Pepito Ariola, the Spanish infant musical prodigy, when three and a half years old, sounded full octaves on the piano. His hands did not stretch more than five notes. It seemed to the onlookers that his hand increased during the time he played.
In the case known as The Great Amherst Mystery, Esther Cox's body repeatedly puffed out to an abnormal size. The physicians could do nothing to relieve her agony. She was screaming with pain. In a short time, however, the trouble always subsided. In the case of Mrs. Thompson the elongation was attempted to quiet an "angry nerve" as the medium complained from violent neuralgic pains. The attempt was successful and the Medium, on coming to herself, found all her pain gone.
EMANATIONS, unknown to physical science, which sensitives may perceive or which the human body emits form a growing chapter of psychical research. Their importance is indicated by the phenomena of psychometry and dowsing.
Said Sir Oliver Lodge in a lecture before the Literary and Philosophic Society of Liverpool: "Here is a room Where a tragedy occurred, where the human spirit was strung to intense anguish. Is there any trace of that agony still present, and able to be appreciated by an attuned or receptive mind? I assert nothing, except that it is not inconceivable. If it happens, it may take many forms-that of vague disquiet perhaps, or even imaginary sounds or vague visions, or perhaps a dream or picture of the event as it occurred. Relics again. Is it credible that a relic, a lock of hair, an old garment retains any indication of the departed-retains any portion of his personality? Does an old letter? Does a painting?-an old master we call it. Aye, much of the personality of an old master may be thus preserved. Is not the emotion felt on looking at it a kind of thought transference from the departed? "
Writing of Ossowiecki's psychic gifts, Prof. Richet says: "There is something profoundly unknown in a line of our writing, other than the lines traced on the paper. This unknown something may be called an emanation. I have called it pragmatic emanation, which would act on our cryptesthesis and stimulate cognition. It resembles somewhat the emanation from subterranean water that provokes the movements of the dowsing rod."
The simile is suggestive. Running water, metals, crystals and magnets produce strange sensations in sensitives. In hypnotic and in hysteric cases the sensitivity to metals is very pronounced. The magnetism of the earth is felt by some sleepers according to how they lie, in the north-south or in the east-west position. Discoveries of this nature were made as early as 1840 by Baron Reichenbach. He named the mysterious emanation of magnets, crystals and other substances odyle or odic force. The sensations were broadly of two kinds: feeling of temperature and perception of light and color. Each elementary substance appeared to have its own distinctive light. Magnets were most peculiar. The sensitives saw flames issue from their poles. The flames varied in color and brilliance according to the strength of the magnet. In' the case of electro-magnets they instantly disappeared when the current was switched off. Some people could see the emanations even in light. Baron Reichenbach also contended that similarly to the poles of magnets an aura exists about the human body and can be seen issuing from the finger tips. Some of his sensitives could see the odyllic glow over the bodies of the sick in hospitals and perceived a faintly luminous column over a newly made grave. The odyllic radiance was capable of illuminating other objects, but it produced no effect on the thermometer. It could be concentrated by a lens, reflected by a mirror and absorbed by the percipient's spectacles.
In 1883 the S.P.R. investigated Reichenbach's claims. In careful and repeated trials with forty-five subjects of both sexes and ages between 16-60, three of them professed to see luminous appearances. With one subject 14 consecutive successes were recorded. The committee concluded: "In view of these apparent confirmations of previous testimony, the committee incline to the opinion that, among other unknown phenomena associated with magnetism, there is a prima facie case for the existence, under conditions not yet determined, of a peculiar and unexplained luminosity resembling phosphorescence, in the region immediately around the magnetic poles, and visible only to certain individuals." (Proc. I. p. 236)
Reichenbach's famous work on the result of his experiments was published in 1848 and was translated into English two years afterwards by Dr. William Gregory under the title Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat, Light, Crystallisation and Chemical Attraction in their Relations to the Vital Force.
Another and more exhaustive investigation on behalf of the old American S.P.R. by Prof. Joseph Jastrow and Dr. George Nutthal was entirely negative.
As regards the human aura, Kilner's experiments furnished valuable data. An interesting analogy can be found in Maxwell's experiments as regards a digital effluvium, the colored perception of which, according to his conclusions, indicates a highly psychical temperament. He advised that a dark object, i.e., an armchair covered with dark velvet should be placed between the light and the experimenter, the hands should be joined at the finger tips, palm towards the chest and then they should be slowly withdrawn, always keeping the fingers stretched out. Seven or eight out of ten subjects if their head is on a level with the operator's head, will perceive a sort of grey mist uniting the fingertips. Maxwell found that out of 300 people of both sexes 240-250 perceive the effluvium; 2 or 3 out of a hundred see it blue. Two saw it yellow and one saw it red. If the hands cease to move the effluvium disappears. If the movements of withdrawal cease when the finger-tips are within 10-15 centimeters proximity the effluvium remains visible for a longer time.
Maxwell's experiments were conducted in daylight. One of
his mediums saw the effluvium escape from the hands of the sitters and
spread itself over the seance table. Putting out all light Maxwell traced
letters on the table with the tip of his finger. The medium was able to read
five-lettered words thus traced.
This effluvium recalls the magnetic fluid of mesmerizers about which controversy was running high for many decades. Richet believes that no satisfactory answer yet can be given to the question whether the old method of passes disengages some special human power which acts on human beings. Col. Rochas, Baraduc and Boirac claimed photographic evidence for its existence. The claim was, of late, upheld by Dr. Sydney Alrutz of the University of Upsala and it appears that the researches of E. K. Muller, an engineer of Zurich and Director of the Salus Institute for electromagnetic treatment of nervous disorders have finally demonstrated the existence of an emanation from the human body which is capable of decreasing the resistance of an electric circuit. The experiments have been verified by Prof. Farny of the Zurich Polytechnicum who has given the name anthropoflux to the emanation. The maximum emission is given out by the inner surfaces of the fingers of the left hand. Its source appears to be in the blood, but the breath is also charged with it. It penetrates a large number of substances many of which give off then a secondary radiation and it can be stored up in an inverted test tube in the same way as a gas.
The next mysterious radiations were claimed by Prof. Blondlot of the University of Nancy. He asserted that the human brain and nerves give off rays which are capable of penetrating aluminum, black paper and other opaque objects. He named them N-rays after the town of Nancy. The N-rays were believed to consist of at least four groups of ether vibrations. They are said to be of long wave length and near electromagnetic waves in point of frequency.
Dr. Jules Regnault holds it probable that the N-rays only constitute part of the radiations studied under the name of odic force. The discovery of the N-rays was followed by the NI-rays and by the demonstration of Gustave Lebon that all bodies emit effluvia. He called it dark light. In 1893 Dr. Luys published a book on the direct visibility of cerebral effluvia.
Commandant Darget of Tours proved the existence of vital emanations in plants by placing a freshly cut small fern on a photographic plate in a dark room. After two days he obtained the exact portrait of the plant, effluvia thrown from each leaflet and zones of contraction during its suffering. His experiences led him to propose that a plate should be placed on the head and heart of a man who is believed to be dead and who might be in danger of being buried alive. He believes that traces of life will show themselves on the plate. But G. de Fontenay advises caution.
There are "perfidies of the sensitive plate" and the interchange of gaseous matter between living bodies and the atmosphere, the influence of secretions, the action of radiant heat may be well responsible for some of the phenomena.
Dr. Louis Favre, experimenting with Mme. Agnes Schloemer,
discovered powerful vital emanations of the human body. By the imposition of
her hands Mme. Schloemer could destroy as resistant bacteria as the bacillus
subtilis and the bacillus anthracis. Dr. H. Durville published similar
results with the typhoid bacillus in the Bulletin General of the
Psychological Institute of Paris ' but the most sensational experiments ill
this field were conducted by Drs. L. Clarac and B. Llaguet, of Bordeaux,
with Mme. X. The report of their seven years' investigations, published in
1912, appears to prove the existence of a fluid emanation in the case of
certain individuals which prevents the decomposition of plants or animals
and preserves them in a dessicated but much finer state than any
mummification process could bring about. The experiments were conducted in
the doctors' own laboratory, the various objects were provided by the
physicians and were placed immediately under lock and key. The treatment
took place in light, under perfect control, has taken each time about twenty
minutes and consisted of nothing else but the placing of the hands of Mme.
X. in contact with the object or sometimes only near it. Plants dried up
with the preservation of perfect color, wine refused to show the signs of
acid fermentation, in oysters the process of putrefaction was prevented, or
stopped if the treatment began at a later stage, fishes, birds preserved
their form and color, the brightness of the eye without having been emptied,
the blood of a rabbit was preserved in a liquefied state for 25 days and
remained as a solid red mass afterwards.
Similar phenomena were demonstrated by Joanny Gaillard, of Lyons. He was a shoe dealer and claimed that from his youth he had been able to heal burns and bruises of any sort by laying on his right hand. He observed that when he juggled with oranges the latter became hardened. He believed that a fluid which counteracts putrefaction and has germicidal qualities emanated from his hands. He made experiments from January, 1928, one to mummify animal corpses and perishable commodities generally. He found that even fish, after treatment, was perfectly preserved. Oranges and lemons got as hard as wooden balls. He made a little museum of such objects which Rene Sudre in Psychic Research, March, 1929, admits to have seen. Lyons physicians tested his "fluid" on seeds and microbes. It appears that he has succeeded in arresting the germination of lentil seeds. But when he tried his fluid on a bacterial culture it seemed to be reflected in some curious fashion and he got the sensation of having burned his hands. But a physicians' committee in Paris, before whom Gaillard appeared, came to the conclusion that the existence of his fluid had not been demonstrated. Gaillard claims that he can mummify completely a pigeon in fifteen days and a mutton chop in ten. Fruit, such as oranges and potatoes, take about two weeks to become mummified.
A. Bue, in his Le Magnetisme curatif, narrates interesting experiments in hastening the growth of plants by magnetising passes. Bulbs of hyacinths were used. According to A. Bue" by magnetising every day, for about five or ten minutes, the water in the vases where the roots of these tubercles are immersed, one is able to give such vitality to the sap, that stem and flower will speedily assume extraordinary appearances. Similar experiments were reported by Dr. Favre at a meeting of the Psychological Institute at Paris in 1905. According to his findings the human hand exercises an action over the germination and growth of the plants, the right hand is the most active, it strengthens feeble vitality and the influence of six minutes' action the first day extends to the whole period of germination. The better the health the stronger the action.
Heinrich Nusslein, the German automatic painting medium, has the power to prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers for several days by passes made over them. He also mummifies dead bodies.
Dr. Rozier, of Paris, experimented in Paris in 1901 with a young Roumanian called Broussay who could cause water gaseously to bubble in a bottle when he closed it up with his hand. The water appeared to be in a state of effervescence like soda water. Bubbles flew into it from the direction of the hand and a crackling sound was audible.
Gambier Bolton in his Psychic Force recommends the flower-healing test to find out mediumistic powers. A dying blossom should be put in fresh water in a place where it is sheltered from the full rays of the sun. The experimenter should rub the palms of his hands together sharply for half a minute and then-standing in front of the flower-place the palms of both hands behind the flower and draw the hands in a semi-circle towards his body. 'this action should be repeated slowly and steadily, and with the mind concentrated on what he is doing, from twelve to twenty times, remembering that it is not at all necessary to touch the flower. As a further test another dying blossom might be placed in water three feet away from the first. When the twenty passes have been made over the first blossom both should be placed out of reach, in a moderate temperature, and there left for 24 hours. If at the end of that period the one treated shows any signs of improvement the experimenter has some powers, if both look better, he is certain to be a good medium who can also influence a photographic plate.
For the latter purpose Gambier Bolton gives the following recommendations: Each person present, before taking the light, tightly-wrapped plate into his hands, should stand up and hold both hips firmly for about half a minute; they should then rub the palms of the hands together sharply for about 25 seconds, then sit down and, taking the envelope between the palms of their hands, should hold it for from fifteen-twenty minutes. The best room temperature-is from 58-63 Fahr., the best hours from 5-8 p.m. On developing the plates with weak pyro-ammonia solution many of them may show distinct markings during development which will disappear entirely when they are placed in the fixing solution. Many of the plates which show only feeble marking when removed from the fixing solution, will, if stored away for several days in a very dry and dark place, show the markings in a greatly intensified form.
Diaphanous marks, like a distorted, elongated second contour were seen upon the fingers of Eusapia Paladino when she felt power. They may not have been of ectoplasmic nature but the rigid rays of Ochorowitz's experiments with Stanislawa Tomczyk were clearly such. He called them X-rays and found that they passed through thick screens of metal plate, showed insensitivity both to electrical and magnetic fields and attained a range of two metres.
Baraduc photographed the emanations of human hands. In psychic hands he found the luminosity radiating from the lower base of the palm. Mental states had great influence over the lines of light which he thus obtained. Mental distress was disclosed by confused lines. Baraduc also photographed holy water at Lourdes after a miraculous cure and a sacred wafer during its elevation in a Catholic Church. He found light effects on his plates.
Capt. G. Mondeil in a large volume: Le fluide humain devant la physique revelatrice et la metapsychique objective describes experiments with an electric bulb .in darkness. If one holds it by its base in the left hand and rubs it slightly with the open right in one or two seconds, if the conditions are favorable, the lamp will be seen completely suffused with a milky light. The light is bright enough to illuminate an object in contact with the lamp. The same result was obtained if the lamp was rubbed with a rubber-gloved hand.
Albert Nodon, President of the Bordeaux Astronomical Society tested, the radioactivity of living substances by a specially constructed electro-meter. He has found that the radioactivity of vegetable matter is of the same order as that of uranium. It is greater for the reproductive organs than for the other parts of the plants, it is also greater for freshly cut plants than for dried ones. Freshly dug earth had similar radioactivity. The insects showed three-five times greater radioactivity by unit of weight than uranium. Unfortunately Nodon's instrument, for constructional reasons, could not be applied to human beings.
Dr. Charles Russ constructed an instrument to demonstrate
that an energy radiates from the human eye. He suspended in a jar a delicate
selenoid of mica, covered with strips of aluminum. Electrically charged
metal plates were fixed to the outside of the glass vessel. When the gaze
was focussed intently upon one end of the cylinder it moved away from the
eye. When the gaze was fixed on the other end it moved towards the eye. When
the gaze was directed at the center it remained stationary.
Albert Jounet removed the lens from a camera, placed his left eye in the opening and gazed at an exposed plate in a completely darkened laboratory for half an hour. On development the print showed some marks as though made with a paint brush, radiating around the point where his gaze was fixed and a rather large spot on one of the small sides of the plate, possibly corresponding with the direction of the nose and nostrils.
The destructive effects of the human gaze on seance room phenomena is well known. D. D. Home, before his levitations, usually asked the sitters not to look at him. The fire-resistance test was sometimes similarly handicapped by earnest looks. Apports usually avoid the eyes both in seances and Poltergeist disturbances. In materialization phenomena the combined gaze has a similar effect to light. Katie King could not stand the light and the sitters' gaze at the same time. During the photographing scenes she asked the sitters not to look at her.
Experiments proved that when the sitters blindfold their eyes the phenomena gain in strength and direct voice may be obtained in fair visibility.
Prof. Cazzamalli of Milan constructed a delicate instrument by which he claims to register the emanations given off by the brain. Enclosed in a chamber, impermeable to electromagnetic radiations from without, with a medium in trance the indicators reveal electromagnetic waves which evidently do not emanate from the medium. It is claimed that with the apparatus one may control, the genuineness of trance.
The strange phobias of certain men against the presence of animals may be attributed to bodily radiations. Henry III and the Duke of Schomberg could not sit in a room where there was a cat. Capt. Burton, F.R.G.S., quoted the case of a soldier who fought through many a campaign but turned faint and pale in the presence of a cat even if he did not see, smell or feel the animal in the room. Lord Roberts, Commander-in- Chief of the British Army in the Transvaal, was said to be similarly sensitive. To quote from a note in the Daily Telegraph: "During a battle in Afghanistan, General Roberts, surrounded by his staff, remained, as usual, impassive under a hail of bullets and shells. Suddenly he began to tremble, and this man, who had seen a hundred battles, pointed with desperate gesticulations to the top of a wall which was close to him. The officers of his staff, looking round, beheld a half-starved cat. They chased it away and Lord Roberts regained his self-control. Another day, at Mandalay, an aide-de-camp, going to the headquarters to accompany Lord Roberts to mess, found him sitting deadly pale and in a fainting condition, looking at a little cat which rubbed itself against his legs. The aide-de-camp took the little animal and handed it to a soldier and only then did Lord Roberts regain his composure."
In the January, 1930, Zeitschrift fur Parapsychologie, Dr. Joseph Bieniedel furnishes a record of experiments with Frau Silbert, having the object of discovering whether an organic emanation suspected in her case could induce fluorescence in chemical solutions. The well-known green fluorescence of uranium salts was employed and it was found that whilst in darkness no manifestation of this nature was visible, yet when Frau Silbert took a glass of this solution in her hand, a green fluorescence promptly resulted and this was so strong that the glow could be seen at a distance of ten metres whilst the outline of the glass was plainly visible. If other persons took up the glass no fluorescence was seen. In France it was proved by experiments that carrier-pigeons, under the effect of strong wireless emissions lose their homing instinct. They circle round and round, unable to find their way. As soon as the emission stops they fly off in a straight line as if the reception of some subtle local emanations had been reassured.
EVIL SPIRITS, according to spiritualistic philosophy, do exist. There are 'many intelligent entities in the higher and lower spheres which may not be of human origin or may not be benevolent. But the evil spirits, commonly spoken of, are the spirits of bad men who inhabit the lower spheres from which, either owing to the special locality to which they are earth-bound, or the attraction of bad, immoral sitters, they may easily reach the medium. Their appearance may be accidental also. They may see the "light" of the medium and attempt to oust the control. The controls, as a rule, are able to keep evil spirits away. But sometimes, for unknown reasons, their power fails. In such cases they urgently ask for the breaking of the circle and the suspension of the sitting. On the other hand, if an evil spirit has already taken possession of the medium it is considered of the utmost importance to maintain the circle unbroken until the invader can be ousted. Possession by evil spirits is usually manifested by fits, violent convulsions and uncouth mouthings. It may cause serious harm to the medium.
According to a trance address of J. J. Morse (Light, July 11, 1903): "So long as evil men live on earth, pass from it at death, and live beyond, so long will it .be possible for them to obtrude among you. What then is the preventive? The cultivation of your will power; the absolute determination to be master of yourself; the assertion of your unquestionable right to select your own associates among the people of either world. The exercise of your duty "to try the spirits" as you do men before deferring to their advice or leading. And, most of all, in this connection to refuse entrance, or harbor, to unclean thoughts of any kind into your minds. The complete discontinuance of gross living, intoxicants and narcotics and a rigid obedience to personal cleanliness must also be adopted. Purity of mind must have its complement in purity of body. By aspiration, prayer and cleanliness men may not only ward off but prevent the influence of undesirable spirits and in conjunction with a steadfast will no better exorcism can be practiced."
If, in spite of all, an evil spirit has gained possession, how should it be exorcised? A curious experiment has been recorded by G. H. Lock in Light, Nov. 28, 1903. It occurred to him that down the ages some mystic power had been associated with the Cross as a symbol, and that the very common belief in the virtue of the Sign of the Cross may have had its origin in the spirit world. He tried the efficacy of this sign on the spirit plane with most remarkable results. But, he affirms, the mere wearing of a material cross upon the person is useless for the purpose. The medium, or if he is in trance, the leader of the circle, must think the sign at or towards the spirit, or draw the sign mentally upon the spirit, at the same time willing him or adjuring him, to stand revealed, or that he should go, his control should cease. Should the request be unavailing, the sign of the cross should be drawn, firmly and deliberately, upon the breast of the medium and on the back about the region of the shoulders. At a first attempt only a cringing may result but "I have never known failure at the third attempt."
A case of control by an evil entity is recorded by Bozzano from the mediumship of L.D. The medium was controlled by his father, Luigi. Once he declared in terror that evil spirits were near the medium. Before the sitting could be closed, L.D. began to glare and foaming at the mouth, assaulted a sitter and tried to strangle him by shouting: "I have found you at last, wretch. I was a soldier, of the royal marines. Do you remember Oporto? You murdered me and I will avenge myself and strangle you." It was with difficulty that the sitter's life was saved. His story was that he killed a drunken sailor who attacked him in Oporto and was sentenced to six years detention for the deed.
Willie Reichel, in his Occult Experiences, describes the sudden intrusion of a black female spirit who went around the circle of 14 persons striking and spitting on nearly all of them and using horrible language.
Besides injuring the medium or the sitters, the danger of an enduring possession may have to be faced. Such possession, or obsession, would be called demoniacal. As a rule, however, cases of obsession do not originate in the seance room. But it would be unwise to deny its possibility (See Obsession).
As regards a lesser issue: evil influences on this life from the other world Andrew Jackson Davis, in commenting on a book, The Great Psychological Crime, was very emphatic: "I deny utterly and for all time that individuals are led into evil and crimes by persons in the other world. I know the pranks and college-boy mischievousness of the 'Diakka' but even for them and all such, I know that the police regulations of the other world are adequate and universally effective."
EXTERIORIZATION OF MOTRICITY: action of the medium's motor force outside the periphery of his body. It is offered as an explanation of telekinesis. Evidence for the theory was furnished by the curious synchronisation which was noticed between Eusapia Paladino's movements and her physical phenomena. The extinguishing and relighting of a lamp, for instance, corresponded with a slight movement of the index finger of Eusapia in the hollow of Lombroso's hand. Many such sympathetic movements were recorded. To prove that the motor nerves of the medium are at work a number of apparatus have been constructed. The best known are the Biometer of Baraduc and the Sthenometer of Dr. Paul Joire; the Dynamoscope of Dr. Collongues, the Magnetometer of Abbe Fortin, the Galvanometer of Puyfontain, the Spiritoscope of Dr. Hare, the Magnetoscope of Ruter, and the fluid motors of Count Tromelin belong to the same class.
"They show," writes Dr. Charles Lancelin, "that there is a repulsive force generated from one side of the body and an attractive force from the other side. In normal human beings these forces should be equal. When they are not, odd things are likely to happen in their immediate environment. Their relative power may be tested by means of these instruments."
By the Sthenometer Dr. Joire claimed to have proved that the exteriorized nervous force can be stored for a short time, like heat, light and electricity, in wood, water enclosed in bottles, linen and cardboard. The objects are charged with the force by simply holding them for a time in the hand. Placed near the sthenometer they will affect the needle in proportion to the intensity of the source which produces it.
EXTERIORIZATION OF SENSITIVITY: sensory power of the medium outside the periphery of his body. Dr. Paul Joire, in 1892, was the first to call attention to the phenomenon in his treatise on hypnology. The phenomenon lies on the confines of hypnotic and psychical phenomena. Approaching his hypnotic subject with a pointed instrument he found him sensitive a short distance from the skin. The distance at which the sensation was perceived and the range of the sensitive surface varied with the nervous sensibility of the subject on an average from one to ten centimeters. The sensibility of the skin itself disappeared. With the profundity of hypnosis a series of sensitive layers may be formed around the body and the sensibility can also be transferred into various objects, a glass of water, glass plates covered with velvet, wood or a ball of putty. To the latter Dr. Paul Joire gave the vague contour of the subject and as he pricked parts of the putty which represented the parts of the subject's body, the subjects experienced a corresponding sensation. Some of the subject's hair was cut off while he was asleep and stuck into the head of the putty. When they were afterwards pulled the patient strongly protested, saying his hair was being pulled out. When the glass of water, charged with sensibility, was held by the subject, the reaction to the pricking of the water was instantaneous. If it was held by an assistant, removed from the subject in a chain, there was an increasing slowness in the sensation. The delay between the pricking and the feeling of the sensation was two seconds when five persons formed the chain. Dr. Joire could also transfer the sensibility to a living man or to the subject's shadow on the wall. Care was taken to prevent the working of suggestion. The exteriorization of sensation to this degree, however, is a very rare phenomenon. Dr. Joire also found that the excitation produced at a distance in a subject whose sensibility has been externalized, leaves a persistent painful trace, like a contusion of a mosquito sting. A few moments after the first movement the subject began to stroke the sensitive spot as though he still felt the sensation and though he remembered nothing in the waking state in the night he often dreamed that he was being pricked or pinched.
Similar to the results obtained by Joire, a clairvoyant of another famous experimenter along these lines, of Col. Rochas, described during the magnetising process the formation of a series of equidistant layers separated by an interval of six or seven centimeters around the body of the subject. They extended sometimes as far as two or three metres and their sensibility diminished in proportion to their distance from the body. He noticed that when a glass of water was placed across a zone of sensibility the layers beyond the glass are interrupted whereas the water in the glass becomes rapidly luminous throughout its mass and at the end of some time a sort of luminous mist is liberated from it. Taken to some distance the glass of water retained its sensibility. Experimenting on these lines Rochas found that sensibility may be stored in those substances which store odor s: liquids, viscous substances, especially those derived from animals, like gelatine, wax, wadding, stuffs of loose or plushy texture, such as velvet, etc. As the emanations spread themselves in a manner analogous to light he tried to focus them on a plate of gelatino -bromide film. The subject of these experiments was Mme. Lux. She was photographed awake, then asleep but not exteriorized, afterwards asleep and exteriorized. In the latter case the plate was left for some moments in contact with her body in her belt of sensitivity. "I observed that when I pricked the first plate with a pin Mme. Lux felt nothing, when I pricked the second she felt it slightly, and when I pricked the third she felt it sharply, and this was a few minutes after the operation." Three days later "wishing to discover to what extent this plate was sensitive, I gave two sharp blows with the pin on the hand depicted in the picture in such a manner as to tear the film of gelatino-bromide. Mme. Lux, who was two metres distant from me, and could not see what part I had pricked, fell back at once with cries of pain. I had some difficulty in restoring her to her normal state; her hand hurt her, and a few seconds afterwards I saw appear on her right hand-the one I pricked in the photograph-some little red marks whose position corresponded to the pricks. Dr. P., who was present during the experiment, observed that the epidermis was not broken and the redness was in the skin."
These experiments have been verified by Dr. Jules Bernard
Luys (1828-1897), the famous brain specialist.
The exteriorization of sensibility may be gradually pushed to the formation of two luminous phantoms on the left and the right of the subject, and finally to their union. This is the exteriorization of the astral body. While the astral body of the subject was thus exteriorized Col. Rochas unintentionally struck the astral hand with his hand. In a few seconds the corporeal hand became very red. It is possible that the special hypnotic conditions may be responsible for this result. Sylvan Muldoon, in his remarkable book, The Projection of the Astral Body, describes his experiences in self-projection and declares that he never experienced sensitivity as described by the French experimenters. There is some point in his question: wouldn't an astral entity have to be constantly on the watch, dodging pointed material objects? If he did not these pointed objects would make contact with his sensibility. Muldoon feels certain that if repercussion of sensibility takes place it does so while the phantom is within cord-activity range. The compromise probably covers the truth, as mediums in trance furnish some confirmation of the aforementioned experiments. Col. Rochas and Morselli observed that Eusapia Paladino perceived a pinprick at a distance of one inch and a quarter from her forearm and about two and a half inches from the back of her left hand.
Mme. d'Esperance writes of her phantom "Yolande:" When she touches some object I feel my muscles contract as if it were my hands that touched it. When she put her hands into melted paraffin I felt my hands burn and when a thorn penetrated her finger I experienced great pain. When I touch the hands of Yolande I believe I am feeling my own, but perceive my error afterwards when I see four hands."
Boirac, on the other hand, believes that there is no reason for supposing that exteriorization of sensibility is a rare, accidental abnormal phenomenon which requires a particular hypnotic condition for its production. It may be a normal phenomenon but not in evidence because the means of a special developer are necessary to note it. In his Psychic Science he mentions some experiments with a glass of water which the experimenter held for a short time in his hand, then handed to the somnambule and, in the second experiment placed it on the table. If the somnambule plunged his fingers into the water and the experimenter was pinched he felt it in his own hand. If the experimenter held the somnambule's hand and the glass of water was pricked by one of the spectators the subject again declared the corresponding sensation. Everything happened as though the experimenter, and not the subject, had externalized his sensibility into a material object and remained in communication with this object by some kind of force so that every impression made on his nervous system was immediately experienced by the object and reciprocally every impression made on the object was immediately experienced in his nervous system, and the subject acted simply as reactive or detector by reason of his exceedingly delicate impressionability.
Historically, the first glimmerings of exteriorized sensitivity may be traceable to the sympathetic system of medical treatment. In Sir Walter Scott's Last Minstrel the Ladye of Branksome takes the broken lance from Deloraine's wound and treats it with a salve, instead of the wound. Whereupon "William of Deloraine, in trance, whenever she turned it round and round, twisted as though she'd galled his wound." The sympathetic system might have been a delusion but Sir Walter Scott, in speaking of Deloraine as in trance, may have caught a glimpse of a deep idea.
Besides exteriorization of motricity and sensitivity we may speak of the exteriorization of the substance of the body, as in the ectoplasmic process, and of exteriorization of perception as in instances of hallucination, of projection into space of a telepathic image or of subconscious symbolic warnings, of hypnagogic and hypnopompic illusions, of imagination images and of subjective visions.
From Nandor Fodor Encyclopaedia with slight additions..
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