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(L'Occultisme Hier et Aujourd'hui; Le Merveilleux prescientifique) 

Being a Record of Progress Made in the Reduction of 
Occult Phenomena to a Scientific Basis 



Professor of Clinicai Medicine at the University of Montpellier, and 

National Fellow of the French Academy of Medicine; 

Author of "The Semi-Insane and the Semi-Responsible " 



Of the French Academy 



Fellow of the University of Paris 





Copyright, iqio, by 


(Printed in the United States of America) 

Published September, igio 



Author's Preface to the First Edition xi 

Author's Preface to the Second Edition xii 

Translator's Preface xiii 

Introduction by Emilb Faguet of the French Academy . . xv 


Definitions — Historical Account — Difficulties in 
making this Survey 


Definitions and Historical Account 

I. 1. A Definition of Occultism and Occult Phenomena 3 

II. 2. Historical Account 5 

3. The Period of Animal Magnetism 5 

4. The Period of Spiritualism 10 

5. The 'present Period 16 

6. Occultism the Promised Land of Science 19 

III. 7. What Occultism is Not 22 

8. The traditional Science of the Magi, Theosophists and 

Spiritualists 23 

9. The Supernatural and Miracles 25 

Difficulties in the Present Study of Occult Phenomena 

I. Complexity of Determinism in Experiments 20 

10. Occult phenomena cannot b« reproduced at will 29 

11. This experimental determinism is a fact, and must conse- 

quently be investigated 31 

II. The Frauds of Mediums 33 

12. Frauds in general 33 

13. Voluntary and conscious frauds 34 

14. Frolicsome people and neuropathic sufferers 39 

15. Instances of frauds. Unconscious frauds 40 

16. Conclusions. Caviion to be observed 53 




The Occultism of Yesterday 


Animal Magnetism and Hypnotism ^^^^ 

I. 17. Historical Account. Braid, Charcot, Liebeault and 

Bernheim 58 

II. The Hypnotic Sleep and the Condition of Suggesti- 
bility 60 

18. Definition: hypcrpohjcjonnl disaggregation and polygonal 

malleableness 60 

19. How to provoke hypnotic sleep and how to check it 62 

III. Suggestion 63 

20. Intrahypnotic suggestions 63 

a. Motive 63 

6. Sensory 64 

c. Psychical and active 65 

d. Modifying the individuality of the person 65 

e. Matters usually beyond the reach of volition 66 

21. Posthypnotic suggestions 66 

a. Suggestions at waking time 66 

b. Suggestions to be fulfilled at a distant date 67 

c. Psychical condition when becoming due, and be- 

tween the suggestion and becoming due 68 

d. Suggestions affecting memory 69 

IV. The Use of Hypnotism in Forensic Medicine, Thera- 

peutics AND Morals 69 

22. Hypnotism and suggestion before Justice 69 

23. Hypnotism and suggestion from a therapeutical standpoint . 70 

24. Hypnotism and suggestion with reference to Morals 70 


Involuntary and Unconscious Motions: Table-Turning, the Exploring 
Pendulum, Willing Game with Contact 
I. The Motor Function of the Polygon: Involuntary 

AND Unconscious Movements 71 

25. Historical account 71 

26. Instances: absence of mind, somnambulism, itinerant 

automatism 73 

27. Reciprocal influence of ideas and movements 74 

II. Turning Tables '. 76 

28. The fact verified 76 



29. Explanation of the fad 77 

30. Psychokxjical analysis of experiments 79 

31. Practical requirements for success 80 

32. The unequal aptitudes of various subjects 82 

III. 33. The Exploring Pendulum 82 

IV. 34. The Conjurer's Wand 84 

V. 35. Willing Game by Contact 90 


Polygonal Memory and Sensations; Erroneous Divination; Polygonal 

Hallucinations and Crystal Vision; Polygonal Reminiscences 

and Misjudgments 

I. 36. Polygonal Sensibility and Memory 97 

37. The sensibility of the polygon 97 

38. Memory in the jmlygon 98 

39. Facts recently "disoccultated" which are dependent on the 

polygonal function 101 

II. Polygonal Hallucinations and Crystal Vision 102 

40. Polygonal Hallucinations 102 

41. Crystal vision 104 

a. Description of the phenomenon and historical ac- 

count 104 

b. How to produce the phenomenon 107 

c. Psychological analysis 109 

III. Polygonal Reminiscences and Misjudgments Ill 

42. Polygonal reminiscences Ill 

a. When absent of mind 112 

b. When dreaming 113 

c. Before the crystal mirror 114 

d. When awake 115 

a. Absence of mind and waking 110 

/3. Sleeping and waking 117 

43. A sensation of "things seen previously or already felt," or 

erroneous recognition 118 

a. Some attitudes of O respecting those polygonal 

reminiscences 118 

b. Description of things previously seen 119 

c. Psychophysiological analysis of the phenomenon. . 121 

44. Pathology of polygonal memory 123 

a. Polygonal hyperamnesis 123 

h. Total amnesis with preservation of the polygonal 

memory 123 

c. Polygonal amnesis 125 



Polygonal Association of Ideas and Imagination; 

Polygonal Romances of Mediums p^^j, 

I. Polygonal Imagination and the Linking of Ideas. . . . 128 

45. General hints, definitions and analysis 128 

46. The polygon and inspiration 130 

II. Mediums 134 

47. The exteriorization of polygonal ideas 134 

48. Definition of a medium 135 

49. Trances. Mediums connected with people suffering from 

nervous diseases 138 

50. Alterations of personality and the mediumistic individu- 

ality 141 

51. The stages of mediumship 151 

III. The Polygonal Novels of Mediums 158 

52. Helen Smith's novels 158 

a. The Royal Cycle 158 

b. The Martian novel 164 

53. Mrs. Smead's Martian novel 172 

IV. Conclusions 174 

54. Reality of the polygonal imagination 174 

55. Limits to the polygonal imagination 176 

a. Inferior characteristics 176 

b. Inferiority of polygonal conceptions at large 178 

56. The productions of mediums by polygonal memory easily 

counterfeit exogenic supernatural messages 180 

The Occultism of To-day 

57. Summary of the Second Part. Outline and Plan 

OP the Third Part 185 


68. Classification of Theories. Plan of their Survey 186 


I. Definition and Account of the Spiritualistic Doctrine 187 

59. Meaning of the word Spiritualism 187 

60. Account of the Theory 189 

II, Discussion of the Theory of Spiritualism 192 

61, This theory unlikely 192 

62, Spiritualism must bring forth its proofs 193 



63. The ideas expressed during trances are those of the medium 

but not of the spirits evoked 194 

64. Errors of the mediums. The deceitful spirits 205 

65. The spiritualists do not agree together 210 

III. 66. Conclusions 211 

Psychical Radiations; Perispirit; Astral Body; Radiant Psychical Power 

I. Account of the Theory 214 

67. The occultist doctrine: perispirit ; astral body 214 

68. Other scientific forms of the doctrine 220 

a. Psychical radiations 220 

b. Apparatus to measure them 227 

II. Discussion of Theories 230 

69. Most of them bring forth as proofs only the power of exte- 

riorization which they try to explain 230 

70. The biometers have not proved the existence of a power irre- 

ducible to the other modes of power known (heat, elec- 
tricity) 238 

71. Should this new power be proved, nothing would yet demon- 

strate that it is a connecting agent between two separate 

psychisms 240 

III. 72. Conclusions 242 


The Independence of Occultism and of all Philosophical and Religious 

73. Knowledge of occult phenomena can help neither the triumph 

nor the ruin of any philosophical or religious doctrine. . 244 
. 74. Opinions of people who try to mix occultism with philos- 
ophy or religion 245 

76. Refutation of this doctrine 254 

a. Authors who try to mix occultism with philos- 

ophy or religion come to contradictory conclu- 
sions disproving themselves 254 

b. One could give to occultism a philosophical 

strength only by accepting the spiritualistic 
doctrine, which, as we have seen, is not proved. 256 

c. Occultism is a prescientific chapter open to all, 

whatever their philosophical or religious creed 
may be • 257 



76. One must prove the existence of the fads. Classification 

and Plan of Survey. A list of occult phenomena, ac- 
cording to Maxwell 257 

Cases whose Demonstration, if Possible, Appears Very Far Away 

I. Telepathy and Premonitions 262 

77. Definitions 262 

78. Account of cases 265 

a. Telepathy and telesthesia 265 

b. Premonitions and forebodings (divination and 

prophecy) 267 

c. Telepathical influence of the dead and of things; 

retrocognitive telepathy (psychometry) 272 

79. Discussion 276 

a. Instances of telepathy are not hallucinations. 

Their scientific existence not proven 276 

b. No case proves divination or prophecy 278 

c. Many telepathical cases are " disoccultated " bj^ our 

actual knowledge respecting the lower psychism. 280 

d. Coincidences explain the others 281 

e. How should experimentation be established to be- 

come effective 286 

II. Material Brought from a Long Distance 289 

80. Instances 289 

a. Anna Rothe and Henry Melzer 289 

b. MacNab 290 

c. Charles Bailey 291 

81. Discussion 292 

c. Conscious deceits 292 

b. Unconscious deceits 295 

III. Materializations 300 

82. How the question stands 300 

83. Instances 301 

a. Luminous phenomena 301 

b. Fantasms 302 

c. Photographs and moldings 304 

84. Discussion 305 

a. Hallucination 305 

b. Conscious or unconscious deceits 306 

a. Photographs and impressions 306 



/3. Luminous phenomena 309 

7. Fantasms 309 

1. Tricks 309 

2. Spirit-grabbers 310 

3. Experiments at the Villa Carmen 312 

4. Miller's recent experiments 315 


Cases whose Scientific Demonstration does not Appear so Distant, but 
must be at first sought for 
T. Mental Suggestion and Direct Communication of 

Thought 321 

85. Definition; documents and cases 321 

a. How the question stands 321 

b. Recent cases 323 

c. D'Ardenne; Pax; Paul SoUier 323 

d. Lombroso 325 

e. Joseph Venzano 326 

/. Miss Hermione Ramsden 327 

g. Kotik 329 

86. Why experimentation is sometimes erroneous; tricks 329 

87. How to try to establish scientific proof of mental suggestion 333 - 
II. Removal of things without Touch (Levitation). Raps 335 

88. Removals without touch 335 

a. Instances 335 

a. Haunted houses 335 

/3. Removal of thmgs 337 

1. Eusapia Palladino 337 

2. William Crookes and MacNab 343 

3. Maxwell 345 

4. Flammarion 346 

5. Zuccarini 347 

a. Discussion 349 

/3. Advice 354 

7. The recent inquest of the Matin 355 

89. Raps 357 

a. Cases 357 

b. Discussion 359 

c. Conclusion 362 

III. Clairvoyance 363 

90. Definitions. Clairvoyants and female seers 363 

a. Definitions 363 

b. The female seer of Saint-Quentin 365 



91. Cases and discussion 368 

a. A few cases 368 

b. Personal instances 371 

c. Conclusion. Rules for further experiments 372 

Conclusions 376 

Index 381 


When asked to issue a third edition of my former work, 
"SpirituaHsm and Science," I thought better to postpone 
it and undertake instead the present book, "Occultism 
To-day and Yesterday." The title of the former has been 
rightly criticized — first, because it was identical with the 
title of a book that had been issued in 1883 by Mr. Del- 
anne; second, because I did not use the word Spiritualism 
in its narrow, etymological sense. 

To serve as a substitute for that title, I have hesitated 
for the present work between "The prescientifical marvel- 
ous" and "Occultism," but have beheved that the latter 
expression sounds the better. It needs a thorough explana- 
tion, however, lest it be misunderstood. This is what I 
have tried to do in the first part of the book. 

In "Spirituahsm and Science," I chiefly examined those 
manifestations of occultism on which light has recently 
been thrown. They comprised the occultism of yesterday, 
and with this the second portion of the present book deals. 
The occultism of to-day, as discust in the third part of the 
work, is an amplification of a study which was printed 
originally in La Revue des Deux Mondes, in November, 
1906. The same ideas and conclusions, but with more 
proofs, will be found here, 

A clear idea of the scope of the entire work can be 
promptly gathered by reading the contente and conclu- 

J. Grasset. 

MoNTPELLiER, France, March 25, 1907. 


Since the first edition of this book appeared, I have not 
been able to change my doctrinal idea; it still remains 
what it was, I have had only to take notice of the latest 
publications on such occult matters as continue to hold 
public attention. I cite as notable " Les Forces Naturelles 
Inconnues" and "LTnconnu et les Problemes Psychiques" 
of Flammarion; "Le Miracle Moderne" of Jules Bois; 
''La Psychologic Inconnue" of Boirac, and have partic- 
ularly had in mind the new experiments of Italian scien- 
tists with Eusapia Palladino and with Zuccarini. There 
will be found in the book many new things of real worth. 
While these do not alter my conclusions, I had to discuss 

The notable feature of this second edition is the Intro- 
duction, which M. Emile Faguet has been kind enough to 
write for me. In this he has admirably described, and set 
bounds to, the respective domains of the marvelous and 
the scientific. I wish respectfully to mark here my deep 
gratitude to this world-famed Academician, 

Desiring that my volume should not be too much in- 
creased in size by many necessary additions, I have con- 
siderably shortened a few chapters dealing with hypnotism, 
since they contain matter now universally familiar, 

J. Grasset, 

MoNTPELLiER, March 25, 1908. 


The subject-matter of this book, deahng as it does with 
a theme now prominent in the pubhc mind, I have done 
my utmost to present to English-speaking readers in 
accurate comphance with the original text of Professor 
Grasset. I have been well aware of the difficulties of the 
task. A few notes only, and these concerning French 
linguistics or bibliography, have been omitted, as they 
would have been superfluous in an English version. I 
have thought it well to reproduce the diagram so fre- 
quently referred to throughout this volume — the one show- 
ing Dr. Grasset's system in regard to psychical center 0, 
and the lower psychical centers (the polygon), which is 
not in the French edition. It has seemed best, in the in- 
terest of English readers, to give to the book the title 
"The Marvels Beyond Science." 

Let me add that the "Dictionary of Philosophy and 
Psychology," edited in 1902, by J. M. Baldwin, has proved 
very useful to me, especially in finding foreign equivalents 
for abstract terms. My best thanks are also most heartily 
offered to the publishers of the present work, who have 
spared no trouble in giving me much valuable advice. 

Rene Jacques Tubeuf. 

Paris, January, 1910. 


To speak as sailors do, Dr. Grasset has endeavored to 
"calculate the reckoning of the ship," and it appears that 
he has succeeded. Science consists of ''reckoning." To 
be scientific is to know where one has arrived on the road 
of knowledge. Science stands between the explained 
things that are behind us, and those unexplained that are 
in front of us. It marks exactly the point where we stand. 
Behind us are scientific matters known and acquired, 
those that we can believe when once we have resolved to 
believe only reasonable things. Before us lies the pre- 
scientific realm which perhaps one day will become a 
province of the Kingdom of Science — thanks to the aims 
of busy and searching science. There now remains noth- 
ing more to be searched by science than the things which 
are not yet within the dominion of Science. These are 
what we must not yet believe when once we have resolved 
to believe only what is rational. 

One should not say that, according to this view, the 
whole of metaphysics must be banished from intellectual 
considerations. There exists the disposition to believe 
and to make reasonable hypotheses after having allowed 
a certain degree of probability. But we must finally trust 
only to matters that are scientific and well-defined. It is 
not bad — in my opinion, it is even healthy — to make 
hypotheses beyond science, but it is lawful to tread the 
field of probability only when we bear in mind that it is 
only the field of probability. So to do is often to widen 
and to elevate the mind. 


In other words, one must study metaphysics after a 
positivist spirit. We must not distrust paradoxical truths. 
He who beUeves in metaphysics as in a scientific reahty, 
wilUngly despises real scientific truth; he does not want 
it. Having attained, as he thinks, the end of the road, 
he refuses to follow those who walk slowly, seeking and 
faltering. It may so happen that he will acquire a slow, 
narrow and lazy mind. The positivist who studies meta- 
physics does not believe in them, probably because, be- 
tween things exploited and acquired, which are so few, 
and those fully explained, he sees a wide chasm over which 
he feels obliged to jump, and this is not a lawful act of 
thought. He never looks at metaphysics solely as at 
probability, but to probability applies the rational method 
of which he is fond — a mind of prudence, even in hypoth- 
esis, a mind of self-control, even in bold generalization, a 
mind of perseverance, even in dreaming; and by so doing 
he attains probabilities with which the mind is satisfied 
and, what I think is best, he makes his intelligence free, 
he opens doors and windows, he enlarges his horizon, 
looks at the sky, and after a little, is strengthened and, 
more at rest, a little happier and enters again his study 
saying, "I have taken a small dose of the Infinite." He 
is then ready to tread again the road of real science and 
make those two or three half steps which the strongest 
amongst us find ourselves able to make. 

It is therefore of no use to hinder metaphysical re- 
search; but let us come to it as a scientist dealing with 
science. It is good to explain what has not been already 
explained but which is leaning upon what is known al- 
ready. We must after every small conquest, mark scru- 
pulously the boundary between the things already known, 
and those that are beyond our understanding. Such is 
the aim of Dr. Grasset with regard to occultism, or, if you 


like other terms better, the marvelous, or the wonderful 
of yesterday which have become part of the scientific 
domain of to-day. 

Ages ago, before philosophers and even after them (we 
may say so, without any exaggeration), all things were 
marvelous. I mean nothing whatever was explained, or 
coordinated by well-defined connections between phe- 
nomena. Everything was explained by reference to some 
mysterious agent producing a phenomena. At the basis 
of a fact, you were to find a responsible and willing author. 

Such was the universal creed in former times. The 
sun revolved inasmuch as somebody drew it; the com 
in the blade grew rusty because someone dwelt in it by 
whom it was withered. From infinitely great to ex- 
tremely little things, everything went on the same. The 
motive for this method lay in the fact that man had only 
examined one thing — himself in his voluntary acts. He 
had felt himself to be a maker of phenomena, a creator. 
He had thought that when knocking on a dulcimer, he 
had made a sound, solely because he was willing to do so. 
And looking at the whole universe as he looked at himself 
behind anything that might happen he saw a willing 
being who produced it. As he believed himself to be a 
creator, he fancied the world to be crowded with creators, 
and anything not made by himself he thought made by 
creators more or less powerful than himself, but on the 
whole mightier. 

Science was born the very day when man thought one 
fact might be produced by another fact, and this other 
fact by still another. As a consequence of this, man con- 
sidered that Nature's phenomena were not whimsical, 
that they occurred again and again and were always 
identical when the circumstances were the same. Con- 
sequently they followed those circumstances. They were 


not made by beings who were supposed to be capricious 
and who showed themselves by freaks. 

The supposed hkeness between Nature's manifestations 
and human deeds having vanished httle by httle, the 
marvelous disappeared also. Nature was no more thought 
to be free — the author of phenomena which she might not 
have herself produced. She was little by little believed 
to be linked to phenomena, all of which were necessary. 
The mysterious agent behind a waterfall, or hidden in a 
tree, the special maker of a spring, of lightning, or of a 
gale was eliminated, and man saw nothing but two mar- 
velous creatures — himself, the author of acts for which 
he became sure he would have to answer, and behind all 
natural phenomena, behind everything, an Initial Cause 
that was probably a Being or at least something which 
there was no reason not to trust as a Being; that this 
Being had created, not one thing, but all things, and had 
brought forth, not a phenomenon, but all phenomena, the 
indefinite and eternal series. For a scientific man there 
remained only two miracles, that is to say, two powers 
depending each on the other — human freedom and 

However there remained, with an attenuated stamp of 
the marvelous, facts reckoned to be genuine, and which 
knowledge of the ordinary connections between things did 
not explain; that is, extraordinary facts not tributary to 
laws dealing with the arts of doing and producing things. 
Sunrise and sunset were no longer deemed marvelous, but 
an eclipse was reckoned a wondrous deed so long as science 
had not sufficiently elucidated it. Since science was born, 
the patient conquest of the unexplained kingdoms which 
people had fancied were unattainable and unaccounted 
for, has been marvelous. With every success she makes, 
Science casts a fragment of the marvelous into the king- 


dom of explained things. Little by little, she eats away 
the marvelous, changing it into the scientific. 

In this work science has two steps to take — first, to 
inquire as to the fact deemed to be wondrous, and this 
means only that it is extraordinary; is it genuine, and is 
it controvertible, by scientific minds, or does it exist only 
in fancy? Second, the fact having been acknowledged to 
be genuine how can we explain it; that is to say, how can 
we make it tributary to a rational rule that will account 
for it, and in the same manner account for it at any time 
when it may happen, so that it may be understood by 
reference to the identity of the accounts given. To prove 
the first test — that is, prove the fact genuine — is to make 
it comparatively scientific. The fact we see exists; it is 
unquestionable; it is not fancied; it is therefore scientific, 
and you can trust it for it will be expounded sooner or 

To prove something in the second proceeding is to make 
the fact absolutely scientific. Not only does the fact 
exist, but it is impossible that, with certain conditions 
and in certain given circumstances, it will not happen 
again. Not only can you see it clearly, but you can fore- 
see it clearly also. It is entirely a scientific fact. A woman 
rises in the middle of the night, and when still quite asleep 
makes up a bonnet — so it seems — and then goes to bed 
again. When she wakes up, she is thoroughly astonished 
to find that her bonnet has been made up. A table turns, 
when surrounded by people who have their hands stretched 
out over it, and wish it to turn, but do not wish to make 
it turn. 

These facts are wondrous. At first Science asks, are 
they genuine? Is there no fraud? No feigning, etc.? 
Science acknowledges the facts to be real; they are still 
astonishing, but they are no longer wondrous. They are 


only facts that require an explanation. Science explains 
them by comparing with them analogous cases and by 
concluding, with all these facts connected, that there is a 
conscious will and an unconscious action. Hereafter, 
these facts remain wholly scientific, since they have been 
classified. They need no longer astonish anybody. Bab- 
inet said about 1860, "Nowadays we know the law of 
the evolution of comets. We know when a certain comet 
will appear again to our eyes. Since comets are no more 
abnormal, they are no longer interesting, or rather if they 
are still interesting, they are no longer dramatic. They 
are still scientifically interesting, but they have no longer 
any literary interest." 

This work of setting limits between facts well known 
and facts explained, and between facts insufficiently 
known and not explained — in other words, between facts 
henceforth scientific and those that are not yet so, has 
been achieved by Dr. Grasset with that "quiet fervency" 
M. Anatole France spoke of the other day; that is to say, 
with indefatigable zeal, great coolness and infallible pru- 
dence about those cases of the psychical dominion which 
have been termed, for want of a better denomination, 

In view of these facts, he has asked himself — which are 
the things that have been proved to be true: which are 
those that having been proved to be true, have been ex- 
pounded, or rather, illustrated by a law? Finally, which 
are those that are perhaps sound, though questionable, 
and, at all events, have not been explained by law, and are 
not within the range of what we may depend upon? 

He has shown us a disoccultated realm; that is to say, 
phenomena that are proved to be genuine and have been 
sufficiently explained, and then subjected to more formal 
explanations, such as hypnotic sleep suggestion, the un- 


conscious will of the movers of tables and conjurer's wand, 
the unconscious memory of hypnotized people (commonly 
called "lucid somnambulists"), and with regard to me- 
diums, their unconscious imagination which we were asked 
to suppose was God-sent. 

He has shown us that phenomena still occult are likely 
to be in a short time, expounded as true, and then included 
in a principle, such as mental suggestion and direct inter- 
course of thought (without hypnotic sleep); articles re- 
moved without touch (when such articles are very near); 
and clear-sight (sight through opaque substances). He 
has also shown as still occult and very far from being 
demonstrated as genuine, telepathy, premonitions, articles 
brought from lohg distances, and materializations, such as 
spirits of the dead assuming a body. 

In respect to the facts expounded as genuine and in- 
cluded in law, he has energetically asserted the demon- 
strations, and as to all those not demonstrated as true, 
he has never denied them in advance. Yesterday's occult- 
ism is becoming to-day's science. There has been nothing 
more startling than a storm, but to-day the air is more 
clear. He has not represt research. He has even made 
it easier. But he has shown how any research, touching 
facts capable of being observed, but not experimented 
with, is trying, and he has pointed out the rigorous and 
strict methods of prudence, carefulness and caution that 
one must use in this kind of investigation, the most diffi- 
cult and delicate of all. 

The dangerous things here are faith and hope. One 
takes the risk of being misled because one believes a little 
in advance, and one hopes that the case, about which one 
asks oneself if it is true, \\\\\ prove to be true indeed. 

Dangerous things also — but less to be feared, I cannot 
help saying so — are skepticism and obstinacy; that is to 


say, a fixed belief that nothing more will be discovered. 
One must also remove suggestions less acute than theory, 
hope and faith, and which are still strong — the sugges- 
tions of indolence. La Rochefoucauld has said that " One 
is mistaken when one believes that strong passions, such as 
ambition and love, are sufficiently powerful to overcome 
other passions; laziness, however languid it may be, suc- 
ceeds very often as master and so usurps all the schemes 
and passions of life." 

One must therefore be skeptical, but with a scientific 
skepticism, that is only a fear of being mistaken, but still 
keeping the warmest ardor for research. Merimee said, 
"Remember to be distrustful." One must always remem- 
ber to be distrustful, but one must know how to be a 
believer, when all distrust has been exhausted. There are 
distrusts that will finally yield completely. Scientific dis- 
trust is one of those distrusts that will yield, but only 
when there is nothing left to support it, so that it dies 
from starvation; that is to say, if scientific distrust never 
capitulates, it knows how to die. 

Dr. Grasset seems to me to be endowed with a scien- 
tist's cardinal virtues. I shall not say he is gifted with 
all the others because you do not want to know that. 

Emile Faguet. 

This diagram or " schema" will be found in Dr. Grasset's book on " L'hypno- 
tiame et la Sugg-estion," p. 8. Octave Doin, publisher (2nd edition, Paris, 1906). 


General Schema of the Upper psj'chical center O and of the lower psychical 
centers (upper automatical centers). 

O represents the upper psychical center of conscious personality, or free-will, 
or the responsible Ego — the cerebral cortex of the prefrontal lobe. 

A V T E M K represent the polygon of the lower psychical centers, or psy- 
chological automatism. 

A is the Auditory center : the cortex of temporal convolutions. 

V the Visual center : the cortex in the region of the fissura calcarina. 

T the Tactile center (sensibleness at large) : the cortex of the perirolandic 

K the Kioaesthetic center (general movements) : the cortex of the perirolandic 

M the center of speech : the cortex of the root of the 3rd left frontal. 

E the center of writing : the cortex of the root of the 2nd left frontal. 

a A, V V, t T, are the centripetal organs of vision, audition and sensibleness at 

E e, M m, K k, the centrifugal organs of writing, speech and movement. 

E A, E V, E T, M E, M K, M V, M A, M T, K V, K A, K T, the intra-polygonal 






Adeone me delirare censes, ut ista esse credam? 

IgTiari quid queat esse 

Quid nequeat Lucretius. 

"One must be strongly convinced that sciencs 
to-day, the true, is dreadfully deficient." 

Charles Richet. 



I. 1. A Definition of Occultism and Occult Phenomena. 

II. 2. Historical Account. 

3. The Period of Animal Magnetism. 

4. The Period of Spiritvxilism. 

5. The Present Period. 

6. Occultism the Promised Land of Science. 
III. 7. What Occultism is Not. 

8. The Traditional Sciences of the Magi, Theosophists and Spirit- 


9. The Supernatural and Miracles. 


1. Occultism is not a survey of all things hidden from 
science; it is a survey of facts not yet belonging to science 
(I mean to positive science, after Auguste Comte's manner) 
but which may belong to it. 

Occult facts are outside of science, or in the vestibule 
of science, endeavoring to conquer the right to be included 
in the text of the book of science, or to cross the threshold 
of the palace. There is no logical situation which hinders 
those facts from ceasing one day to be occult and becom- 
ing scientific. Charles Richet calls them metaphysical. 
As they are really psychical, I should rather term them 
juxta- or pre-scientific.^ 

'In an article, very kind in its nature, published in Les Annates des 
Sciences Psychiques (1906, p. 772) under this title: "Science's Promised 
Land," the author, criticizing these words, " prescientific " and "juxta- 


To the word "metapsychical," Boirac^ prefers the term 
"parapsychical," in which the prefix para indicates pre- 
cisely that exceptional and paradoxical phenomena are in 
question — phenomena quite outside the known principles 
of thought and life.^ 

He adds further that on the day when we shall know 
the principles and real causes, either those facts will be 
joined together with facts from which we wrongly sep- 
arate them to-day, and in whose names they will be par- 
takers, or they will get a new and final denomination 
according to their real nature. One might describe para- 
psychical phenomena as all the phenomena manifesting 
themselves among living beings or through their actions, 
and as ]:)eing not entirely explained by Nature's principles 
and powers as already known. Therefore he terms them 
scientific and extrascientific, psychopathical and crypto- 
psychical (or cryptoid). The latter phenomena are those 
"that still wait at the door of science for the moment 
when they shall enter." 

scientific," points out that "a phenomenon does not cease being scien- 
tific solely because the greatest number of scientists have not yet ad- 
mitted it." This is certamly not a question of majority. But to-day 
everybod}' agrees well enough concerning the meaning of the word 
scientific — that is, positive science. Therefore it is proper to acknowl- 
edge that phenomena have a period of scientific existence, which of 
course one must not confuse with the anterior period of their real exist- 
ence. Indeed phenomena exist before they are scientifically surveyed, 
but there is a day when they enter the domain of science, when the 
scientific demonstration is made. 

'Emile Boirac, La psychologic inconnue. Introduction et contribution h 
I'ctude experimentcde des sciences psychiques. Library of contemporary 
philosophy, 1908. 

^In a recent article (Annales des Sciences Psijchiques, 1908, p. 8), 
Charles Richet repels the word "parapsychical," which he saj's means 
"erroneous psychology," and maintains "metapsychical." Metapsy- 
chical will be the science which comes after psychology. " On the day 
when phenomena actually occult shall become scientific, they will enter 
the domain of psychology, as a matter of course, without para or meta. 


It may be gathered that, touching principles and classi- 
fication, we entirely agree with the Provost of the Dijon 


2. In all times there has been a love for the marvelous. 
The attractions of a scientific mystery have not been the 
appanage of any one epoch. Even the most skeptical 
centuries have often been the most easy of belief. As 
Paul de Remusat^ observes, Mesmer reached Paris the 
very year when Voltaire came back to die. At this mo- 
ment "people without doubt were very little fond of 
miracles, but everyone was longing for the marvelous." 
"Such is the axiom," says Emile Faguet: "man wants to 
believe a thing not proved as yet; or, in other words, he 
wants to believe a thing that only a believer can believe." 
Man is "a mystical animal." 

One can divide into three periods the stopping places of 
the prescientific wonders of the last century : the period of 
Mesmerism; the period of Spiritualism, and the present 

3. The Period of Animal Magnetism.^ 

Authors generally begin an historical account with 
Mesmer. But Binet and Fere have remarked that "Mes- 
merism is tributary to a tradition developed in the middle 
of the sixteenth century." It is in the works of Paracelsus 

'Paul de R(5musat, "The Marvels of Other Times and of To-day," 
Revue des Deux Mondes, Nov. 15, 18G1. 

^See Dechambre. Article "Mesmerisme" in the " Dictionnaire Ency- 
clop&lique des Sciences Medicales," p. 143; Ernest Bersot, "Mesmer; 
Le Magndtisme animal; les tables tournantes et les Esprits," 5th edition. 
1884; Alfred Binet et Ch. Fere, "Le Magndtisme animal." Interna- 
tional Scientifical Library, 1887. 


that we find the first trace of the doctrine according to 
which man " has power to exert on his fellow creatures an 
action like that of a magnet." Whatever the fact may be, 
at least the stupendous scope of Mesmerism or animal 
magnetism dates from Mesmer (1734-1815). 

In 1766, Mesmer, in his thesis for his doctor's degree in 
Vienna, studied the influence of the planet on the human 
body. In 1774, he was surprised by experiments made by 
Father Hell, " a Jesuit professor of anatomy," who " healed 
the sick by means of magnetic iron," and arranged a pri- 
vate asylum in his home, where he used to magnetize and 
electrify people.^ 

Then, in 1776, he gave up those two agents, and only 
mesmerized people.^ In 1778, he reached Paris. This 
was the primitive age — or, "the age of the trough." 

"In the middle of a spacious room," says Bersot, "is a 
circular oaken chest, about one foot, or one foot and a 
half high, called 'baquet' (trough). This trough simply 
contains water, and in this water some articles such as 
broken glass, filings, etc., or even those same articles 
without water, nothing having been previously electrified 
or made magnetic. There are in the lid some holes out 
of which come arms of iron, bending and movable. In a 
corner of the room is a piano. Someone plays different 

*In 1749, Sauvages had already made electrical trials in Montpellier 
(Lecercle, "Nouveau Montpellier medical," 1892). Of this period, the 
brothers Goncourt have written : " It is fashionable for ladies of studied 
elegance to go and be enraptured by the 'seances' of Abbe Nollet, and 
to look at fire coming forth — fire that made a noise coming out of the 
scratched chin of a valet." See "Le Medecin de I'Amour au temps des 
Marivaux." "Etude sur Boissier de Sauvages," 1896, p. 68. 

^According to Charles Richet (Societe de Biologic, 1884, p. 334), when 
Mesmer used for his fluid the term "magnetism," this was not alone be- 
cause he assimilated it in a special manner with the magnet, but because 
it was at this moment understood that the power exerted at a distance, 
without direct touch, was a magnetic power. 


tunes in various measures, especially when seances are 
coming to an end. Sometimes singing takes place. Doors 
and windows are securely closed and locked. Curtains 
allow only a dim light to enter. Patients silently make 
several circles around this trough, and each of them has 
an iron arm applied to the sore part of his body. A rope 
tied to their waists unites them together. Sometimes a 
second linking is established communicating with the 
hands; that is to say, by applying thumb to thumb and 
finger to finger. Patients are magnetized at the same 
time by the iron arms, the rope, the joining of thumbs, 
and the soimd of the piano or the singing voice. The 
magnetizer staring at them, moves in front of their bodies, 
his switch or his hand." Then happen odd scenes, con- 
vulsions, sleep, tears, hiccoughs and laughter. All are 
brought under subjection to the magnetizer. The master 
of this company was Mesmer, dressed in pale lilac-colored 
silk attire, or in any other agreeable color, moving his 
switch with superlative authority. Deslon^ was there with 
assistants that he had selected, young and fair. The 
room wherein those scenes were enacted has been termed 
"The Convulsions Hell." 

On March 12, 1784, the king appointed a committee, 
whose members, belonging to the Faculty of Medicine 
and the Academic des Sciences, were to investigate Mes- 
merism. In their report, worked out by Bailly, the com- 
mittee proscribed the theory of animal fluid, and came to 
the conclusion that everything in those experiments de- 
pended on three agents : iniRgi nation^ f^nnfaf^ tand imit atjnn. 

Marquis de Puysegur, who followed Mesmer, found out 

'Superintendent of the Faculty of Medicine and first physician to 
Count d'Artois, Deslon in 1780 was inhibited for a year and forbidden 
to partake of the Faculty's deliberations, his name to be stricken from 
the Faculty table at the end of the year in case he did not mend his ways. 


new and curious facts. On March 8, 1784, he saw a man 
whom he had magnetized fall peacefully asleep, " speaking 
aloud and attending to his own business." This was the 
first public illustration of instigated somnambulism. During 
his sleep the patient saw whatever the magnetizer wished 
him to see. The man magnetized a tree, and by means of 
that tree had power over a very large number of individ- 
uals. "Patients," he said, "gather around my tree. This 
morning there were over one hundred and thirty. There 
are continual goings and comings in the neighborhood. 
I spend two hours there every morning and my tree is the 
best possible trough; there is no leaf in it that does not 
heal." To awaken his "subject," he touches his eyes, or 
sends him to kiss the tree by which he had been recently 
made asleep and which now disenchants him. 

Petetin (1787) described various states of catalepsy 
originating in magnetism. The Abbe de Faria made 
people sleep, and this without gestures or movements, 
but by simply saying aloud, with an imperative voice, 
"Sleep." "It is from this," says Dechambre, "that dates 
the vulgarization of this agreeable and eminently useful 
gift possessed by magnetizers to give a drink any taste 
that may please one, to change water into milk or make 
wine into champagne."^ 

The experiments made by Dupotet, Foissac and others 
led to the report presented by Husson to the Academic 
de Medecine (June 21 and 28, 1831) in the name of a 
committee that had been appointed ten years before. 

»See Abb6 Jose Custodio de Faria, "De la Cause du Sommeil Lucide 
ou Etude de la Nature de rHomme." Reprint of the edition of 1819, 
preface and introduction by Dr. Dalgado, 1906, "Braidism and 
Fariism, or the doctrine of Dr. Braid on hypnotism compared with 
de Faria 's theory of the lucid sleep." Revue de I'hypnotisme, 1906, pp. 
116 and 132. 


Research may always be misled by premature therapeuti- 
cal applications and by gifts of divination groundlessly 
attributed to magnetizers. In spite of the very wise 
warnings with which Husson's report concludes, people 
remain obstinate in this way, and always seek for mar- 
velous results from magnetism. Scientists prove the in- 
exactitude of badly observed phenomena and find them 
premature or ridiculous; but by an illogical, though con- 
ceivable reasoning they generalize their inferences, con- 
cluding that all magnetism is false, without taking care to 
find out what is false and what genuine. 

Such was the unhappy work of the second committee 
appointed by the Academic de Medecine (at the instiga- 
tion of Berna, the magnetizer). This report was issued by 
Dubois of Amiens (August 12 and 17, 1837), and there 
was founded a prize of 3000 francs "to such person as 
could read without the help of eyes and light. "^ 

No candidate fulfilled the competition's requirements, 
and at the expiration of the time limit, according to 
Dubois' motion the Academie decided that from that day 
(October 1, 1840) they would respond no more to com- 
munications concerning animal magnetism; acting thus 
in the same manner as the Academie des Sciences in de- 
claring not receivable by it all documents referring to the 
squaring of the circle and perpetual motion. 

I know nothing more interesting for everybody than 
this solemn and final condemnation of a question which 
two years later Braid was to make enter the domain of 
positive science.^ 

'Not after the manner of the bhnd; that is to say, "by contact with 
letters in reUef "; but the object to be seen was to be placed immediately 
before other senses than the eyes. 

^The British Association were likewise disposed at that time; in June, 
1842, they refused to hear James Braid's communications on this sub- 


4. The Period of Spiritualism/ 

It appears that in the fourth century, the chiefs of a 
conspiracy against the Roman Emperor Valens, questioned 
magic tables after the manner used by actual spiritualists. 

Among ancient cases of spiritualism, "one of the best 
investigated" is related by Dr. Kerner, in his book "Die 
Seherm von Prevorst," as translated by Dr. Dusart, prob- 
ably after the English translation of Mrs. Crowe. Kerner 
has surveyed raps and removals without touch since 1827, 
when he had with him Madame Hauff. One finds similar 
phenomena in stories of haunted houses. Some of these 
were observed at very remote periods. There are decisions 
of courts cancelling leases for such causes. They were cen- 
sured at the end of the eighteenth century.^ 

It was in 1847, in America (at the very moment when 
Braid " disoccultated " animal magnetism), that in the 
village of Hydeville, State of New York, new facts were 
revealed. One night, a Mr. Weekman heard a knock at 
his door. He opened the door, but saw nobody; opened 
it again without seeing anything, and then, fatigued by 
this renewed summons, abandoned the house. His place 
was taken by Dr. John Fox, his family consisting of his 
wife and two daughters, one fifteen years old, the other 
twelve. These are the celebrated Misses Fox, who became 
the heroines of this haunted house and in whom so much 
of Spiritualism has originated. 

Raps succeeded each other in this house, mysterious and 
unaccountable. Of course the young ladies attributed 

'SeeBersot; Pierre Janet, "L'automatisme psychologique." "Essai 
de psychologie experimentale sur les formes inferieures de I'activite 
humaine." Library of contemporary philosophy. 2nd edition, 1894, 
p. 377; Jules Bois, "Le monde invisible," 1902, p. 310. 

^Maxwell, "Les ph^nomenes psychiques. Recherches, observations, 
m^thodes." Library of contemporary philosophy, 1903, p. 260. 


them to the spirit of an individual who died in the house. 
With a courage beyond praise they began a conversation 
with that person. Mr. Fox's elder daughter "tripped 
several times into the spirit's presence, inviting the noisy 
creature to answer questions." It answered them. The 
mother also came and took part in the talking. She heard 
the spirit announce her children's age. "If you are a 
spirit," she said, "strike twice." Two taps were heard. 
"Did you die a violent death?" was asked. Two raps 
came. "Is your nmrderer alive?" Two taps were heard. 
It was agreed with the spirit that an alphabet should be 
pronounced, and that it would rap to mark a required 
letter. They came to know that their interlocutor's name 
was Charles Rayn ; that he had been interred in this very 
house by the murderer; that his wife died two years be- 
fore, and that he had five children, all of whom were alive. 
Little by little, in order to facilitate speaking quicker, 
abbreviations were agreed upon. When the Fox family 
changed their residence to Rochester the spirit removed 
also. Finally, after some continuous intercourse with that 
spirit, the Fox family were able to raise up other spirits, 
and the three women became leaders. In February, 1850, 
motions of tables wherein spirits resided and around which 
a necessary circle was previously made, were authentically 
testified to. Hands without arms were perceived, as well 
as a grayish fluid, and all kinds of noises and motions. 
Phosphorescence was perceptible in the room where the 
family were congregated. T'hen, the family went to New 
York, where they met with the greatest success. Every- 
body was discussing them. But, as Jules Bois asserts, 
nobody denied that these American young ladies were 
making much ado in a proper and figurative sense. When- 
ever they appeared, noise came out of the walls. 

Judge Edwards, who witnessed their seances, was struck 


" by the knowledge which the spirits, whom he questioned, 
had about his own thoughts," his "most secret thoughts." 
By means of raps in walls and objects made to move, 
spirits began to forward in America the spiritualistic faith. 
Three scientific commissions acknowledged themselves baf- 
fled. A mob in the State of New York threatened to treat 
the Fox family harshly. 

This'was sufficient to cause the taste for speaking-tables 
to go beyond the sea. From America, the craze went at 
first to Germany, through a letter from a New Yorker to 
a Bremen resident. The mode of proceeding was indi- 
cated, and was immediately made use of. 

''Several persons placed themselves around the table in 
the cabalistic position; that is, made everyone's little fin- 
ger touch the one of the next person, and they then waited. 
Soon, ladies began to shout, for the table was shaking 
under their hands, and began to turn. Other pieces of 
furniture turned — arm-chairs, chairs, then hats, even per- 
sons who had chains around their waists. They ordered the 
table to dance, and it danced; to lie down, and it obeyed. 
They caused brooms to jump, as if they had become con- 
jurors' horses." 

In France, these feats were made known in a pamphlet 
issued by Guillard and entitled, "Table qui danse et table 
qui repond." Experiments were started in 1853 at 
Bourges, Strasburg and Paris. "Acting under the press- 
ure of hands methodically placed around it, the table not 
only turned and danced, but imitated various beatings of 
the drum, a sham fight with file or volley firings, and then 
a saw's gnashing or a hammer's stroke, and various tunes." 
One must read Bersot's account of these heroic ages of 
turning tables: 

"It was a passion and everything was forgotten. In an 
intellectual country whose drawing-rooms were generally 


famed for the lively conversations therein held, one saw 
during several months, Frenchmen and Frenchwomen, 
who have so often been accused of being light-headed, 
sitting for hours around a table, stern, motionless and 
dumb; their fingers stretched out, their eyes obstinately 
staring at the same spot, and their minds stubbornly 
engrossed by the same idea, in a state of anxious expec- 
tation, sometimes standing up when exhausted by useless 
trials, sometimes, if there was a motion or a creaking, 
disturbed and put out of themselves while chasing a piece 
of furniture that moved away. During the whole winter, 
there was no other social occupation or topic. It was a 
beautiful period, a period of first enthusiasm, of trust and 
ardor that would lead to success. How triumphant with 
modesty those who had the "fluid"! What a shame it was 
to those who had it not! What a power it became to 
spread the new religion! What a love existed between 
adepts! What wrath prevailed against unbelievers!" 

By means of raps previously agreed upon, not only did 
tables answer yes or no, but all the alphabet's letters were 
given. Then a pencil was fixed to the leg of the table, and 
it wrote. "Later on use was made of smaller tables, of 
baskets, hats and even Httle boards that were especially 
made for the purpose, and that wrote under the lightest 

It was then found that the part taken in those 
seances by bystanders was not equally important. Some 
of the participants were useless, others were necessary, 
the latter were termed mediums, persons whose presence 
and cooperation were requisite to obtain motions and 
answers from speaking tables. Experiments became more 
and more frequent. The medium worked alone. His 
hand, drawn by a motion of which he had no conscious- 
ness, wrote without help from his will or thought things 


that he himself did not know and that he was surprised 
to read afterwards. 

"In that time," writes Jules Bois (this was in the be- 
ginning of the Spiritualistic Gospel), "well-known experi- 
mentalists met together in the Rue des Martyrs — namely, 
Tiedmen Marthese, ruler of Java and a German cousin of 
the Queen of Holland; the Academicien, St-Rene Tail- 
landier, a professor at the Paris Faculty of Letters; Sardou, 
father and son, and Flammarion. A simple table became 
the common meeting-place of human talented. Galileo 
elbowed Saint Paul, and Voltaire became reconciled with 
Joan of Arc." 

One night M. Sardou " took with him to one of the cir- 
cle's seances, M. Rivail, said to be a bookkeeper to the 
newspaper L'Univers, although some others say he was an 
old taker of tickets at a theater. Stout and practical, he 
burst out laughing when he heard the first raps." Later 
on, he again took interest in the matter, and one day the 
spirits declared that Rivail "ought to put in order and 
publish their revelations." He accepted and became an 
Apostle of the Spiritualistic church called under the name 
now famous of Allan of Kardec, and wrote " Le Livre des 
Esprits." He there set forth what he called "The Spirit- 
ualistic philosophy, according to teachings given by 
higher spirits with the help of various mediums." This 
book, as "dictated, reviewed and corrected by spirits," 
had a considerable success. As Pierre Janet remarks, it 
became from the moment the guide-book of the spirits 
themselves, who did nothing but comment upon it. Then 
higher spirits, such as Gutenberg and Saint John the Divine, 
were made to speak and write. 

Camille Flammarion^ has given an account of some of 
their seanc es (1861) at Allan Kardec's. 

^Camille Flammarion, "Les forces naturelles inconnues," 1907, p. 44. 


"People met every Friday evening in the Society's 
meeting hall (the Paris Society for Spiritualistic Research) 
in the Passage Sainte-Anne. This society was placed un- 
der St. Louis' patronage. The chairman opened the meet- 
ing with a prayer to good spirits. After that invocation, 
some of the persons sitting around the table were asked 
to give themselves up to inspiration, and write. There 
were no physical experiments with turning, moving or 
speaking tables, Allan Kardec, the chairman, declared 
that to be of no consequence. At the same period and a 
few years afterward, my illustrious friend, Victorien 
Sardou, who had somewhat frequented the observatory, 
had as medium written queer pages concerning the inhab- 
itants of the planet Jupiter, and produced picturesque 
and surprising drawings in order to depict things and 
beings in that gigantic world. One of those drawings 
showed us Mozart's house, and others the mansions of 
Zoroaster and Bernard Palissy, who are, it appears, neigh- 
bors in that planet. For my part, I wrote some pages 
touching upon astronomy and signed them Galileo." 

Then, in 1868, happened phenomena in materialization. 
Owing to necessary help from a medium who played a 
part difficult enough to describe precisely, articles that 
nobody had touched were moved, pencils wrote, l:)eing 
spontaneously lifted up and driven, handwritings appeared 
on slates that had been locked up in sealed boxes. Then 
the astonished faithful saw arms, heads and bodies, that 
came in sight in the middle of a dark room. Sometimes 
those apparitions were photographed; sometimes they 
were molded. M. Reymers, of La Revue Spirite, graci- 
ously sent me a box filled with spirits' feet and hands 
molded in paraflSn. 


5. The Present Period. 

All centuries are equally attracted by the Wondrous. 
To-day the wondrous is as much admitted, loved and 
sought for as in previous centuries, 

I have already quoted Jules Bois' book, in which will 
be found a summing up of all that has been done in recent 
times; since the modern "Magi," such as Sar Peladan- 
Merodack and the theosophists, who, one day, needing 
sugar-tongs, materialized by an aerial gesture gherkin- 
tongs (the creative idea not having been very clear to the 
mind of the medium, Madame Blavatsky), down to the 
Luciferians, ironically represented by Leo Taxil, Bataille 
and Diana Vaughan ; since the magical hate and love 
charmers, the "hope-vendors," diviners and chiromancers 
like Mme. de Thebes, the "Popess of spotted cards," the 
"Seer of the Rue des Halles" and the "Zouave Jacob," a 
professor of theurgy; since Mme. de Girardin was made 
to spend the latter years of her life in company with 
Mme. de Sevigne, Sapho, Moliere, Sedaine, Shakespeare, 
and Victor Hugo, making tables speak on the seashore, 
and Victorien Sardou building up on a piece of paper, 
with the spirits' assistance, small palaces made up of 
music-notes, and Augusta Holmes, the celebrated musi- 
cian, receiving messages from the other side of life; since 
Paul Adam suffered " during more than a year the assaults 
of an evil spirit that dictated to him bad advice." Jean 
Lorraine was carried away into the shadow by the "cold 
hands" of the spirits, and Queen Victoria wept over the 
death of the medium through whom she had been able 
to have talks with the Prince-Consort. And so on, from 
these to those SpirituaUstic seances, "mediocre and ster- 
corary," which were called by Huysmans " the MS. of the 


If our epoch is unlike previous ones, this is not because 
we are less attracted by the Wondrous, but solely because 
we are tempted to clothe all in a scientific dress. The 
characteristic of the "supernatural trumpery" of to-day, 
says Marcel Prevost, is "abuse of scientific pretensions." 
The dress of the augurs and prophets is changed. For- 
merly, people accepted the god's messages with the same 
piety as to-day we admit the revelations of science, or at 
least those that bear its name, or arrive in its name. 

The Wondrous formerly had its temples and sacred 
books; to-day it possesses its newspapers, reviews and 
congresses.* It is the subject of what are called, quite 
wrongly,^ Psychical Sciences. 

All works issued under that title are immediately and 
respectfully admitted, and soon received with respect by 
the most cautious minds and in spite of queer and unlikely 
statements. All that bears a scientifical label has become 
the Koran of our twentieth century. 

In 1891, Paulhan spoke^ (Le Nouveau Mysticisme) of 
the important part played in the genesis of a new spirit, 
"by a mysticism that, far from repelling the scientifical 
system, willingly seeks it." Such is the real characteristic 
cf the point of view. All centuries have been fond of the 
Wondrous, have sought after it, have surveyed it. Ours 
has been adapted to this perpetual human taste by new 
methods and tries to make it a matter of science. 

It is certain, however, that the study of Occultism has 
assumed a much more serious and scientifical aspect. 
Men such as Aksakoff, W. Crookes, Dariex, Durand, De 

^See Lilian Whiting's article (Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1907, 
p. 1), touching "camp-meetings" in the United States. 

'Boirac thinks the term "psychical phenomena" quite unappropriate. 

^See also Paulhan, "Lcs hallucinations v^ridiques et la suggestion 
mentale," Revue Philosophique, November 1, 1892. 


Gros, Gibier, De Gramont, Pierre Janet, 0. Lodge, Lom- 
broso, Maxwell, Myers, Ochorowicz, Charles Richet, De 
Rochas, Sabatier, Stainton Moses, R. Wallace, de Wette- 
ville, Zcellner, etc., have brought into their experiments 
the scientific spirit and methods. 

In 1893, a time almost of revolution, I promised to 
preside at the Montpellier Faculty of Medicine, during the 
presentation of a thesis about occult psychical phenomena. 
There was a certain amount of boldness in thus sanctioning 
"an attempt to make the wonderful enter the official 
sphere." By this treatise Albert Coste,* with real learning, 
acute criticism and highly developed literary knowledge, 
set matters in order and made ''an official report on the 
actual condition of the subject." 

A little before that publication, Dariex, wishing to estab- 
lish and perpetuate in France the work of the Society for 
Psychical Research,^ founded in London, issued the "An- 
nales des Sciences Psychiques," which is still published 
and where is found the richest documentation of all these 
questions.^ In a preface to the first issue of this publica- 
tion, Charles Richet said: "We endeavor to make a num- 
ber of mysterious and unseizable phenomena pass into the 
sphere of positive sciences." Such, indeed, must be the 
aim of Science in its intercourse with Occultism. 

'Albert Coste, " Les phenomenes psychiques occultes. Etat actuel de 
la question," 2nd edition, 1895. 

^See Arthur Hill, " Society for Psychical Research." " A look backward 
and a look forward." Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 721. 

^See also, for this documentation, the "Echo du Merveilleux" of Gas- 
ton Mery, whom I thank here for his kind welcome to my article con- 
cerning Occultism (see Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 470). Charles 
Richet quotes the following journals: Light, or Banner of Light, La Revue 
Spirite, la Revue du Spiritisme, la Revue des Etudes Psychiques de Mar- 
seille, and others. 


6. Occultism the Promised Land of Science. 

The conclusion following from this historical account is 
that if love for the wondrous remains untouched through- 
out centuries, the nature of this wondrous is continually 
altered. These alterations are not a circular movement, 
with returns to the same place (like the squirrel in a cage), 
but a continuous motion of progress forward. A good 
many phenomena, surveyed as occult half a century ago, 
are no longer so, but have become scientific. Science, 
which is never final, invades everyday occultism's domin- 
ion whose boundaries recede without end. So this domin- 
ion of occultism is as the promised land of science. 

In the same manner as astrology and alchemy have 
to-day become replaced by astronomy and chemistry, so 
have many phenomena formerly dependent on sorcery, 
that is to say occultism (anesthesia, convulsions, etc.) 
finally entered the domain of science, and belong to what 
we call psychoses, hysteria or somnambulism. We shall 
see (and this is one of the aims of this book) that animal 
magnetism has become scientific under the name of hyp- 
notism, that turning tables, willing game with touch, the 
conjurer's wand, and a certain amount of mediuraical 
phenomena have ceased to be occult phenomena. 

One sees that if there is still an occultism, the phenomena 
surveyed under that name are various from one epoch to 
another, and it is consequently interesting from time to 
time to set matters in order, so that the public may be 
guided or at least have a precise starting point, for read- 
ing and examining the innumerable publications issued 
respecting that subject. It is especially necessary to set 
forth occultism's balance-sheet, of which the public is 
usually tempted to generalize in haste. Since many phe- 
nomena formerly occult are to-day formally admitted by 


positive science, many would carelessly infer that all other 
occult phenomena, such as materializations or telepathy, 
are equally scientific. 

Surbled quotes somewhere this sentence of a magician: 
"Hypnotism is our waiting-room. We shall all pass be- 
hind Charcot." No. This is a mistake. He that is will- 
ing does not always enter into the realm of science. When 
a new group of phenomena have been surveyed and fixed, 
just as hypnotism has been investigated by Charco t, 
Occultism will have one chapter less and positive science 
one chapter more. This work of control must be done, 
not in a lump for all occult phenomena, but bit by bit 
and successively for each group. Neither Charcot's ex- 
periments of hypnotism, nor those of Pierre Janet on 
turning tables, justify the assertions of contemporary 
occultists, which have a mighty power over the public, 
as testifies Saint-Quentin of whom I shall speak again. 

In the same manner, to prove the possibility* of a phe- 
nomenon is not sufficient to establish that it is scientifi- 
cally genuine. Arguments by analogy are vain. The 
wireless telegraphic communications between the Eiffel 
Tower and Casablanca do not prove telepathy's existence 
any more than the discovery of the N rays would have 
proved (had it been confirmed) that mental suggestion is 
a reality. 

Nothing is therefore more useful than to fix the precise 
boundaries of occultism's actual dominion — that is, to 
reckon the scientific ship, as Emile Faguet says in his 
preface.* For the basis of any sound science is knowledge 

'Several authors waste much of their time to demonstrate the unques- 
tioned evidence of the following sentence of Arago, quoted by Boirac: 
"He who, out of mere mathematics, utters the word impossible, lacks 
prudence." He who with all that is possible should try to make some- 
thing true, might lack prudence also. " An irrefutable demonstration is 
still to be found," writes Jules Bois (p. 87). There difficulty begins, 


of the acquired realm's exact limits, and also knowledge 
of those unknown limits yet to be found beyond, and of 
methods by which everyone should try to draw back 
those limits and so "disoccult the occult."^ 

Recently Charles Richct,^ answering Bormann's criti- 
cisms, stated in the Psychische Studien (1907, No. 6) that 
the terms "occult" and ''occultism" are abominable and 
indefensible. He is right if one places side by side the 
words "occult" and "science." "Occult science" means 
nothing, but " prescientifical occult" has a meaning. 
Indeed, Charles Richet himself asserts, in the same article, 
that "this neologism (metapsychical) distinctly signifies a 
near normal psychology; there is another psychology, still 
very dark, very questionable, and even rather occult up 
to nowf but perhaps, if we laboriously and methodically 
analyze the facts, it will lose its dreary characteristic of 
occult. We wish, through a survey of the facts, to develop 
some rules that will teem with new and grand hints. In 
other words, we wish to make it scientincal." 

Such is exactly the program that I intend to go through ; 
in more simple words to disoccult the occult, and so to 
invade the promised land. 

exclaims Mr. Charles Richet. In "metapsychical" sciences all is real 
and nothing is real. Tliat is to saj^ all is possible and nothing is proved. 
It is almost impossible to admit anything in an indisputable and defini- 
tive manner. One always ascertains a cleft through which hesitations 
enter. The " experimentum crucis," as the alchemists said, is still to be 
found ; that is to say, unquestionable proof. 

^This pleasing expression is due to Goudard {Bulletin de la Societe 
d'etudes Psychiques de Marseille, 1903, p. 48). 

'Charles Richet, " Metapsychism or Occultism?" Annates des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1908, p. 8. 

*This is the "psychologic inconnue" by Boirac, 


7. To make still more precise the definition above given, 
I must insist on what Occultism is not, and point out some 
necessary differences in order to avoid confusions, I have 
been strongly held to account for having neglected those 
distinctions in my book, " Spirituahsm and Science." " We 
regret," says Becker,^ ''that Dr. Grasset, speaking about 
Spiritualism, has taken his information, not from the 
spiritualists, but from Papus's book : ' Occultism and Spir- 
ituahsm.' It is very strange to learn that a professor may 
be to such an extent mistaken, for, after all. Spiritualistic 
doctrines are not those of occultists, and it is deplorable to 
see such an error almost officially extended." 

And Papus:^ "From the beginning of the work, Grasset 
makes an error that will be continued throughout his 
book; it is an erroneous classification of the Spiritualistic 
doctrines. Lacking a sufficient amount of patience to risk 
himself in a dominion unknown to him, the professor 
mixes together in the same salad, occultists, spiritualists 
and even catholic psychics, like Gaston Mery. I already 
hear incriminations against the author because he has 
given from one of my books an account of the Spiritualistic 
doctrine! But I am an occultist, dear professor, an awful 
occultist, as the spiritualists would say!" 

My emotions have not been very intense in consequence 
of these criticisms, because I think the question has only 
reached the stage of making a survey of the facts. People 
still ask themselves what exists and what does not exist, 
and I do not think the moment fit for choosing out of the 
"salad" some one of the theories as the best. But there 
is a fact, and I acknowledge it. Our use of terms is never 
precise enough. 

'Becker, Revue Scientifique et Morale du Spiritisme, 1903, p. 735. 
'Papus, L'Initiation, 1903, p. 243. 


8. The Traditional Sciences of the Magi, Theoso- 
PHisTs, AND Spiritualists. 

At first it is easy to see that my use of the word " occult- 
ism" differs from that of Papus (Dr. Encausse) in his 
"Traite Elementaire de Science Occulte."^ For this au- 
thor, and those who think Hke him,^ occultism, "every- 
where identical in its principles," is a digest of learning 
that "constituted the traditional science of the magians." 
It is "a, very ancient tradition, whose theories have not 
changed in their essential basis, after more than thirty 

In the introduction to his book on "Occultism and 
Spiritualism,"^ the same author sets forth very clearly 
the principles and origin of occult science. "The way," 
says he, " that has led us to our actual notions concerning 
Man, the Universe and God is far from being a new one, 
as it depends on ideas professed in the temples of Egypt, 
2600 B.C., and that have later constituted Platonism and 
for the most part Neo-Platonism. Many of those inquirers 
have applied themselves to the antique philosophy of the 
Patriarchs, of the Egyptian imitators of Moses, to the 
agnostics, to the Christian visionaries, to the alchemists 
and Rosicrucians. This philosophy has never varied in its 
teachings throughout the centuries, and is as able to-day 
to explain the phenomena of Spiritualism and sound hyp- 
notic sleep as in the eighteenth Egyptian d3niasty, the 

^Papus, "Traite Elementaire de Science Occulte; mettant chacun k 
meme de comprendre et d'expliquer les theories et les symboles employes 
par les anciens par les alchimistes, les astrologues, les E.\ de la V."., les 
kabbalistes," 7th edition, 1903. 

^ The word occultism is used in the same manner by Emile Laurent 
and Paul Xagour, " L'Occultisme et L'Amour." 1902. 

^Encausse (Papus), "L'Occultisme et le Spiritualisme Expos^ dea 
theories philosophiques et des adaptations de I'Occultisme." Biblio- 
theque de philosophic contemporaine, 1902. 


connection between the lOia and Khou, of the physical 
and luminous bodies, in their action upon the Bai, upon 
the intelhgent spirit. This philosophy is actually known 
under the name of Occultism." 

Evidently this class of knowledge is not included within 
the ordinary range of our sciences. When we try to discuss 
the rights of our knowledge to be admitted, even eventually, 
as scientifically existing, we must accept as means of dem- 
onstration, only observation, experimentation, deduction 
and induction. As Maxwell^ very well says, "Analogy and 
connections are not equally important in ordinary logic." 
Besides, to consider an esoteric interpretation of the He- 
braic Books as expressing the Truth, does not seem to me 
prudent. I do not see any reason why I should have given up 
my belief in their esoteric assertions only to trust their 
Talmudical or Kabbalistic meaning. I hardly think that 
the medieval Rabbis or their predecessors, the contempo- 
raries of Esdras, had a more precise notion than ourselves 
about human nature. Their blunders touching physics are 
no guarantee of their being right in metaphysics. The truth 
is not to be investigated through the analysis of a book very 
beautiful, but very old. "The occultist," says Jules Bois, 
" cannot submit to becoming a simple and modest seeker, a 
truthful experieraentalist."^ 

I shall not deal with theosophy either. This "queer 
mystical movement provoked in Europe and America by 
the teachings of Mme. Blavatsky, Col. Olcott and Mrs, 
Annie Besant," is only a sort of religion, "an irreligious re- 

'Maxwell, loc. cil., p. 5. 

^"In fact, well knowing them," says the same author {loc. cit., p. 60), 
"I do not believe either in the influence or the scientifical knowledge of 
small mystical societies, all of whom originated in the second half of the 
nineteenth century, in spite of their claiming to be very ancient. To 
draw rusty swords, to put on worn-out carnival masks, to repeat, not 
understand, sentences and lifeless rites, can lead to nothing." 


ligion/' says Jules Bois but has nothing to do with positive 
science. To my mind, the word "occult" has therefore 
nothing in common with the words "concealed," "kept 
secret for initiated persons," "esoterical," or "hermetist." 

One can investigate occidt phenomena, even the most 
complicated, such as materializations, without being an oc- 
cultist according to the meaning which I have just indi- 
cated, and without being a theosophist; I may say also with- 
out being a spiritualist. This is a second difference. There 
must be no confusion between Spiritualism and Occultism, 
such as I describe. 

Spiritualism is a theory that I shall further discuss^ as 
admitted by some authors to explain the faults of occultism. 
But one may investigate the facts without submitting to 
the theory. One can make tables turn, or perhaps be a 
medium, one can try even transmissions of thought, or 
materializations, without raising up spirits. One of the 
ends of this book is precisely to prove how necessary it is 
for all to survey theories and parts separately. 

9. The Supernatural and Miracles. 

The question of the supernatural is quite unlike that of 
occultism. Not only the supernatural is not scientific (in 
that it resembles occultism), but it will never be so; it 
carmot be so; it is not prescientific, and in short, it utterly 
differs from occultism. As I have said elsewhere, the super- 
natural does not belong to biology and consequently is not 
within my department. I have always been absolutely in 
favor of separation between our various classes of knowl- 
edge. It is the theologian's business and not that of biol- 
ogists to assert whether in certain circumstances more or 
less analogous to those which I here examine, there is any 
interference from supernatural beings — angels, devils, or 

iPart 3rd— A. Chapter 7th. 


deity. GoupiP does not understand this conception and op- 
poses it. At first, he asserts, " Theologians have not further 
advanced than ourselves; they have not demonstrated 
a supernatural existence. The supernatural is unintelligi- 

It is exactly because the supernatural is not scientifically 
intelligible that I refuse to deal with it, wishing only to 
make science positive. It is no business of mine to know 
whether the theologians have proved a supernatural ex- 
istence or not, since I separate theology from biology. 

Any chapter that, from theology's department comes 
into that of biology, ceases, ipso facto, to belong to the super- 
natural. Therefore I can assert that the question of an- 
gels and devils remains a question of theology, and not at 
all of biology. Biology is not aware of them. I have 
therefore a right to maintain those water-tight divisions 
between our various groups of knowledge, those "Limites 
de la Biology "^ to which I am the more attached because for 
their sake I have received jests and sarcasm from different 
philosophical sects, — by Le Dantec^ and Gaston Mery* 
for instance. 

I may as well observe, that by so speaking, I take away 
nothing of the worth of our knowledge of the supernatural. 

'Goupil, "Quelques notes sue I'expose de M. Grassett, 'Le Spiritisme 
devant la science.' " 

'"Les Limites de la Biologie." Bibliotheque de Philosophie Contem- 
poraine, 5th edition, avec une preface de Paul Bourget, 1907. 

^Felix le Dantec, "Les Limites du connaissable la vie et des phe- 
nomenes naturels." Bibliotheque de Philosophie Contemporaine, 1903, 
p. 121. In La Revue Philosophique (September, 1906, p. 276), Le Dantec 
announces his intention to discuss this matter again (on monism) more 
minutely, in a larger volume, where he will one after another review the 
objections to M. Grasset's book, " Les Limites de la Biologie," the first 
chapter of which I have already answered and probably been the only 
one to answer, if I refer to the preface of the 2nd edition. 

^Gaston Mery, L'Echo du Merveilleux, February 15th and June 1st, 
1903. Gabriel Caramalo, ihid., March 15, 1903. 


I only say that this knowledge does not belong to the 
scientific order, and that were it to be possible one way or 
another to "explain" a miracle, it would be a miracle no 
more, that consequently supernatural and miracle* are 
neither scientific nor prescientifical; they arc not included 
within the range of the occult phenomena which I survey 
in this book. 

Though entitling his book "Le Miracle Moderne," Jules 
Bois adopts the same opinion.^ "I have kept the term 
' miracle,' " he says, *' because it spreads a special and poet- 
ical charm that comes from the past. But there is to be in- 
ferred no idea of religious or philosophical conviction." 
And he says further: ''In my opinion the documents sup- 
plied by modern miracles will not help to start a new re- 
ligion, I shall prove that the sanctuary of miracle is the 
person in whom the miracle operates; miracle works in the 
unconscious regions of our being. It is due to the inner 

Jules Bois is kind enough to add that this " psychological 
analysis is adapted to the principles illustrated by ''Les 
Limitcs de la Biologic"^ and concludes, "The miracles that 
I examine in this book are not miracles according to the 
Roman Catholic sense* of the word. They belong to laical 

'"Miracle," according to St. Thomas, "is a free interference of God; 
what has been done by God outside the regular course of Nature" 
(" L'Action franciscaine," quoted by I' Echo du Merveilleux, 1904, p. 480). 
As science investigates only what is in Nature's natural course, miracle 
is quite by definition outside of science to-day and forever ! 

^" Le Miracle Moderne," 3rd edition, 1907, by Jules Bois. 

^" It is good for each science to determine and know exactly its limits. 
It is a condition of growth and success." P. 9. 

*See further (Part III. A. Chapter 9th) what I say about the inde- 
pendence of occultism with regard to various religious and philosophical 
systems. See also Gaston Mery's and Jules Bois' controversy about the 
latter's opinions. Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, pp. 281, 321, 341, 364, 381. 


Now the ground seems to me to be clearly bounded and 
enclosed. I limit occultism to the investigation of phe- 
nomena that, first, does not belong to science, second, that 
may without logical hindrance belong to it later on. In 
a word, it is the prescientifical Wonders. 



I. Complexity of Determinism in Experiments. 

10. Occult phenomena cannot be reproduced at will. 

11. This experimental determinism is a fact, tho%igh, and must con,' 

sequently be investigated. 
II. The Frauds of Mediums. 

12. Frauds in general. 

13. Voluntary and conscious frauds. 

14. Frolicsome people ami nervous sufferers. 

15. Instances of fraud. Unconscious fraud. 

16. Conclusions. Caution to be observed. 


10. Occult Phenomen.\ Cannot be Reproduced at 

We have seen in the preceding chapter how the whole 
world has been engrossed by occultism, how everybody's 
attention has been attracted on every side to verify and 
criticize it. Why has the work of control not yet been 
achieved? How does there still remain something occult, 
since many facts have been asserted and observed, not only 
by men of unquestionable good faith, but by men who, like 
Willaim Crookes and Charles Richet for instance, are well- 
known scientists and are acquainted with what scientific 
method and experiment ought to be? How and why does 
the problem still appear so trying? 

The reason for all this is simple. Occult phenomena 
cannot be reproduced at will, and consequently one cannot 


apply to them the usual strict methods of scientific con- 

First, a medium is necessary; that is an individual of 
special aptitude. Therefore it is impossible to make ex- 
periments with anybody, in a laboratory, however so well 
arranged it may be. Moreover, when you have found a 
medium the experiment does not always succeed. There is 
a casualty in results, complexity, and let us say mystery 
in determinism, that makes failures numerous and takes 
away a part of the value of the results. 

Maxwell, who, more than any other person endeavors to 
submit a survey of those phenomena to scientific disci- 
pline, acknowledges that, apparently at least, these phe- 
nomena do not permit such a discipline. One may ob- 
serve, indeed, but not experience, "To test one must 
know the condition of fact whose existence and connection 
imply another fact in consequence; but we know very im- 
perfectly the conditions of fact necessarily preceding the 
phenomenon dealt with. We resemble the astronomer, 
who can apply his eye to the eyepiece of a telescope and 
observe the firmament, but cannot provoke any certain 
phenomenon." Let us add that such a comparison is 
available only when applied to the period when astronomy 
was not yet a mathematical science. If scientists " try, a 
priori, to set the conditions of their experiments, they run 
the risk of having no result worth mentioning.* 

Charles Richet^ also declares that he "was a long time 
disturbed by the difficulty of obtaining precise experiments," 
and he does not fear to assert "after long years that even 
now such a difl^iculty persists and is very serious." In fact, 
in proportion as precautions are multiplied it seems that 

'Maxwell, loc. cit. p. 1, 13, 27. 

'Charles Richet, faut-il 6tudier le Spiritisme? Annales des Sciences 
Psyrhiqiies, 1905. p 1, 23. 


the intenseness of the phenomena is increased. Scientific in- 
struments are indeed seldom used in experiments. One 
must not forget that by introducing a new instrumentation 
into a circle wherein without instruments regular expe- 
riences have happened, there occur great disturbances, and 
owing to this fact in most cases the phenomena ceases im- 
mediately. Any change in the surroundings paralyzes for 
a time the phenomena. It is also asserted that the coming 
of a new person into spiritualistic circles may cause the 
same disturbance as the introduction of a new instrument. 
It is even possible that the mind of another may decisively 
have influence over the psychismof phenomena. Ske£ticism, 
doubt, distrust of a medium's sincerity may bring a sort of 
paralyzing influence. The other objection, not less serious, is 
thaVunder identical conditions results may not be identical, 
so that the test cannot be reproduced at will. Spiritualism 
has not yet come to the period of scientific experimentation. 
Such uncertain conditions make science itself uncertain. 

11. This Experimental Determinism Is a Fact and 
Must Consequently Be Investigated. 

Charles Richet's declaration is quite correct. I have 
desired to show how carefully he has made it as one of those 
who seem to be indulgent towards Occultism. There lies, no 
doubt, a real difficulty in surveying occultism. But this is 
not a difficulty that cannot be overcome, nor is it a cause for 
definite failure. 

If these phenomena are real, they have their own deter- 
minism. Determinism is complex and in these matters as 
yet unknown; but if the facts are real, a solution exists. 
We must therefore not despair of finding things out. At 
any rate, we have a right to make investigations. 

In order to explain how it is so difficult to investigate 
these phenomena, Maxwell says, "People are inclined to 


persuade by indicating the precise conditions of the test. 
Those whom one is desirous of persuading are the very ones 
less prone to be persuaded and who will judge the con- 
ditions in which psychical research is successful. They 
are natural philosophers, or chemists; hving substance does 
not react as do inorganic or chemical substances. Nothing 
is more exact. They react in a different way, but they 
necessarily react according to a well-known determinism." 

There are many biological phenomena whose determinism 
is known and which we are quite able to provoke at will. 
The whole of physiology leans upon experimentation, more 
than upon observation. Biological determinism is conse- 
quently more complex; it is not so easy to analyze as phy- 
sico-chemical determinism. But it is not beyond the 
reach of investigation by positive science. Charles Richet 
knows it and has proved it more than any other person. 

Even among the biological phenomena, such psychical 
phenomena, as are much more complex, are apt to be sci- 
entifically investigated. 

Papus^ in the manner aforementioned, opposes the psy- 
chical fact to the physiological one. This is true, however, 
only when the word "occult" is used with the same mean- 
ing as " psychical." But this is a meaning which I refuse to 
accept.^ I think it better to preserve the traditional and 
classical meaning of the words "psychism" and "psy- 
chical." I call "psychical" an act, a phenomena in which 
reside thought and intelligence. By this you will see that 
I do not interpret it according to the manner of Max- 
well's book,^ or of the "Annales" of Dariex. 

'Papus, loc. cit., p. 436. 

^See " Le psychisme inf^rieur. Etude de physiopathologie clinique des 
centres psychiques. Bibliotheque de philosophie exp6rimentale, 1906, 
p. 7. 

^Elsewhere (Annales des Sciences Psychiques, T. 14, 1904, p. 2761) Max- 
well asserts that the term "psychical research" is a bad expression and 


By preserving the etymological sense of the word " psy- 
chical," it is impossible to oppose it to the word ''scien- 
tific," For we may say only what there is to say, on 
experimental and scientific ways of research as to "psych- 
ism," psychical facts and functions, and even psychical 

Besides, what has happened in earlier occultism (the one 
I shall investigate in the second part of this book) with 
phenomena formerly occult and now "disaffected," is singu- 
larly instructive. For hypnotism, for turning tables, for 
willing game with touch, a subject is needed, a medium. 
However, we have learned its experimental determinism 
and they have now entered the realm of positive science. 

In any case we must cease saying that there lies the 
hope for solving this problem of the existence of occult phe- 
nomena which might be scientifically and forever proved 
and their determinism explained as Charcot and Bernheim 
have done with hypnotism. 

Three or four years ago Charles Richet wrote me: "I 
have had, for a few months, some facts that seem to me to 
defy any investigation. But they lack something. They 
are unique and cannot happen again so that the scientific 
moment has not come yet and I do not publish them." 

One should be able to say more. We must be able to 
verify a fact that is scientifically respectable. Until that 
moment there is nothing done. 

12. Frauds in General. The Frauds of Mediums. 

Workers are discouraged by another difficulty and a most 

serious one: that is the frauds of mediums. We must ex- 

"that one should seek for another one." And Charles Richet, in his 
speech for the installation in the chairmanship of the Society for Psychi- 
cal Research (Revue de rHypnotiame, 1905, p. 258), has proposed the 
words already referred to — "metapscychism," "metapsj'chical," by 
analogy with "metaphysical." 


aggerate nothing, and it would be absurd to say, a priori, 
that all mediums deceive, and especially so to assert that 
they always deceive, even when it is proved that they have 
sometimes deceived- But the deceits of mediums exist and 
they are frequent. Some of them are conscious and volun- 
tary. Maxwell asserts that others are mixed. Indeed 
some are conscious and involuntary. A few mediums are 
willing to deceive and consciously do so. Some others de- 
ceive only through their lower disaggregated psychism when 
in trance. They are polygonal defrauders. Any bona fide 
person that makes a table turn is an unconscious de- 
frauder. Lastly, some others are polygonal deceivers but 
they notice it through their upper center. 

It may be gathered by this that in some cases I do not use 
"frauds" in its fine meaning. To speak exactly there is 
"fraud" only where there is intention to deceive. There- 
fore it is evident that the medium who deceives through its 
polygon has no intention whatever to deceive. It is the 
same with the juggler who hides his tricks the best he can, 
but does not pretend to occultism, and acknowledges that 
there is a trick in his case. 

I preserve this word under such restrictions because it 
is expedient to put into the same chapter all those causes 
of mistakes that constitute the most obstinate nightmare 
for all men examining these phenomena.^ 

13. Voluntary and Conscious Frauds. 

Voluntary and conscious deceit is that which we can see 
at fairs and theatrical meetings, that of the juggler, and of 
all those who practice tricks. When dealing with mind 

'One of the two Misses Fox above referred to, and who played such an 
important part in the history of Spirituahsm, has made a confession in 
which she acknowledges that she had cheated (Julea Bois, loc. cit,, 
p. 175). 


reading, I shall speak about some tests made under such 

As it is sometimes very hard for the bystander to find out 
those tricks even when the juggler himself acknowledges 
their existence,'^ all experiments made with such subjects 
must, a priori, be suspected. I shall recall here some 
facts well-known in that respect. In 1892 the Daily Tele- 
graph related tests absolutely astounding as made by 
Annie AbbottHhe " httle Georgia Magnet," which became 
conspicuous in the London Alhambra, and showed "a 
power, which, had she lived during the age of Inquisitors, 
would have directly led her to the pyre." 

The "little Magnet " shakes violently, on the right and on 
the left, a chair and a vigorous man that opposes her 
strongly; six men are unable to lift her up. Seizing with 
her two hands a billiard cue, she stands upon one foot, and 
seven men taking hold of the billiard cue, vainly attempt to 
make her lose her balance. Dr. Henri Goudard witnesses 

'Third Part. B. Chapter XI. I. 

^People of my generation remember the closet of the brothers Daven- 
port. Twenty years before, Babinet said ("Des tables tournantes au 
point de vue de la m^canique et de la physiologie ; les sciences occultes 
au XX® Siecle, les tables tournantes et les manifestations pretendues 
sumaturelles au point de vue de la science d'observation." Revue des 
Deux Mondes, January 15th and May 1st, 1854), "Is it not more surpris- 
ing to see taken out from a hat given to a juggler an omelet or a big, living 
rabbit than to make a light table move? " About these tests ascribed to 
spirits by the brothers Davenport, and the mechanism of which was un- 
covered by Robert Houdin, see Rouby, "Bien-Boa et Chas. Richet" 
{Bulletin Medical d' Alger, 1906, p. 668). 

^See "Une Femme Etrange," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1892, 
p. 60; Henri Goudard, "Apropos de Miss Abbott (The Little Georgia 
Magnet)". Ibid., 1895, p. 49; OUver Lodge, "Sur les tours de force de 
Miss Abbott, connue sous le nom de ' the Georgia Magnet.'" Roplique au 
Dr. H. Goudard. Ibid., p. 99 ; H. Goudard, " Notes et Reflexions Com- 
pl^mentaires sur Miss Abbott." Ibid., p. 174; James Hyslop, "A 
propos de Miss Abbott." Ibid., p. 395. 


these tests at the Casino de Paris and investigates them 
with care and comes to the conclusion that she is an active 
medium, voluntarily entrancing herself, and preserving dur- 
ing trances the outward look of waking-time, normal con- 
nections with the surrounding medium, and strong mag- 
netic power. 

The whole of Miss Abbott's tricks have been quite sci- 
entifically examined by Sir Oliver Lodge, and he has shown 
that in such tests there is nothing occult or magnetic. All 
depends on the subject's strength and skill. It belongs to 
legerdemain, not to occultism. Having very seriously sur- 
veyed the case, Hyslop confirmed Lodge's assertions, but 
came to a more scientific conclusion : "1 shall no longer deal 
with these tricks, I have said enough to establish that they 
are fraudulent, and we may be sorry that such men as Dr. 
Charcot were so utterly deceived as to suppoose that Miss 
Abbott possessed an unconscious hypnotic influence over 
those that took part in tests with her. Her tricks were 
nothing but common juggling with the laws of mechanics. 
According to my experience, there is no doubt that Miss 
Abbott usually told lies. I had many times the evidence 
of it. This alone would be sufl[icient to induce us not-to be 
deceived by her tricks, even if we cannot explain them. 

Kellar^ a well-known juggler, about 1895, made tests of 
direct writing in America and elsewhere with the English 
medium, W. Eglinton, a very successful imitator of hand- 
writing on slates, and finally offered " to imitate any me- 
diumical phenomena after having witnessed it two or three 
times." One of the most noteworthy instances of a juggler 
having perfectly imitated the mediumical phenomena is 

'See "L^vitation," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1895, p. 243. 
Information. Ibid., p. 318; Michel Petrovo-Solovovo, " A propos du 
prestidigitateur Kellar." Ibid., p. 373. 


certainly Davey.^ He has chiefly practised direct hand- 
writing on slates. 

Hodgson has chiefly surveyed Davey's work. I cannot 
describe it all here, but it will be found described in the 
work quoted in the under-mentioned notes, in the three 
following groups of tests: First, writing on the upper sur- 
face of a slate placed under a table. Second, writing on 
the upper surface of a lower slate, when two slates are 
placed together under the table. Third, writing on the 
slate locked up by Davey. Hodgson particularly described 
" the ordinary method used by Davey to substitute one of 
his locked up slates for another in this third group of tests 
which was his favorite invention. Maxwell speaking about 
the slates, says : " It is a phenomenon too easy to be imitated 
and this is the reason why I have not as yet seriously tried 
to obtain it. I have myself long since produced an imita- 
tion of the phenomenon by placing a pencil in a hole under 
the table, and moving the slate. When sufficiently used to 
it one can write quite well." 

Davey also fraudulently produced raps and materializa- 
tions. Hodgson gives an account of a very instructive 
"seance" in which himself (Hodgson) took part as a 
"pal," coming in barefoot, Hfting up a music-box, striking 
the ceiling with a long stick, touching the hands of the by- 
standers with his own hand previously drenched in cold 
water, making a gong sound, playing the part of a ghost 
after having assumed a mask made up of muslin with lu- 
minous paint, imitating himself a second ghost with a tur- 
ban, a false beard and a luminous book, and he issues the ac- 
count of that exciting seance by a confident witness who 

'See Richard Hodgson, "Comment M. Davey a imitd par la prestidigi- 
tation les pretendus phenomenes spirites." Trad. Marcel Mangin, 
Annalcs des Sciences Psychiques, 1893, pp. 167, 235, 287, 355; Maxwell. 
loc. cit., p. 263. 


strongly believed he had witnessed a real seance "of ma- 

In the same work Hodgson speaks also about W. S. Davis 
of New York who gave a few ''seances" which have been 
found by various spiritualists in New York and Brooklyn to 
be very remarkable. Several spiritualistic papers issued 
short reports of these seances. Davis exprest the wish to 
give a " seance" under very strict conditions of control, and 
appoint a committee to discuss it. This offer was accepted. 
The test took place and was absolutely successful. The re- 
port of it was published under the title, "A Success," but 
Davis himself declared that all had been fraud. He es- 
pecially described how to tie oneself up and to loosen one- 

All jugglers make such an impression on bystanders, and 
their tests so much resemble those of mediums, that some 
believers (like T. W. in Light of October 20th, 1891) as- 
sert without any hesitation that the jugglers have used 
"physical spiritualism." T. W. alludes to the trick of 
Bosco which he seems to consider as implying mediumity, 
and speaking about Dupuy the famous juggler, he says, 
"I witnessed several experiments a few years ago, and I 
believe he does not make a trick without being helped or 
supplanted by an invisible force." 

After these opinions which Hodgson declares to be " ab- 
surd," I simply came to the conclusion that the jugglers 
perfectly imitate and reproduce occult phenomena. 

Mr. Corney, a spiritualist well known in England, on a 
certain occasion, was alone in a room with a medium, when 
he saw, by the medium's side, ascending into the air, a 
volume of smoke which soon turned into a woman who 
crossed the room, took an apple from the table, and then 
disappeared. An account of this interesting event was given 
by Mr. Corney in the papers. A juggler named Mashenyn 


made a bet of 200 francs, that by means of the re- 
sources of his art, he would pubhcly reproduce the scene 
which had privately occurred before the spiritualist. Mr. 
Corney took the bet. When the day came, the juggler con- 
verted a volume of smoke into a woman and an apple for 
the benefit of an audience unable to understand anything 
whatever in the performance.* 

Paris has often had knowledge of "Dr. Comte de Sarak," 
or ''Rama," the "corn-grower" who first welcomed his 
guests with his breast studded with stars and grand-crosses, 
and who operated afterwards while attired in a Tibetan 
tunic, or in a kind of light, white sack overcoat, with broad 
sleeves, loose on the front. "I must," he said, "dress my- 
self for every experiment, in a robe whose color suits the 
waves, or vibrations, I have to use in my test." Bystanders 
would see a yucca growing up, or gold-fish brought forth, 
together with caviar. He was a vulgar juggler, hiding the 
stem of his yucca under his clothing, and the fish in a fish- 
pond that he squeezed behind his back with his hands tied. 

14. Frolicsome People and Neuropathic Sufferers. 

Besides professional jugglers, or conjurers, there are frol- 
icsome or neuropathic people who abuse other's confidence, 
either to make fun of them, or because they are not sound 
in mind. Such are: Prof. Bianchi, who, desiring to enjoy 
himself at the expense of Lombroso, his colleague, himself 
counterfeited a phenomenon during an experiment with 
Eusapia Palladino; and again the medical student fre- 
quently mentioned by Maxwell,^ who was an incorrigible 

^Journal des Dt'bats, October 19, 1906. I think that the tests above 
referred to are those made by Archdeacon Colley, of whom I shall speak 
again (3rd part, chapter X, iii, d. e., 2), in connection with Mashenyn, 
the juggler. 

'Maxwell, loc. cit., p. 302. / 


Indeed, we should strictly beware of any nervous disease 
whatever, as a frequent cause of lies and frauds : under this 
head, hysterics rank first. 

15. Instances of Fraud. — Unconscious Fraud. 

Either conscious, or unconscious, or both, mediums who 
have been convicted of fraud are innumerable. On De- 
cember 17, 1904, Anna Rothe,^ the flower medium died in 
Germany. She was far-famed on account of flowers and 
fruits. The Prussian police and the German Emperor 
brought an action against her. Her " mediumistic powers," 
which had disappeared while she was confined in jail, came 
back later; there were raps, and trances, and flowers were 
produced even at her bed three weeks before her death. 

Bailey,^ the Australian medium, had obtained, in his 
country, results so utterly astounding, that the Milan So- 
ciety for Psychical Research had him come to Europe at 
their expense. The spokesman of the Society, "Luce e 
Ombra" has related the experiments made in that city. 

Those experiments have been scrutinized by C. de Vesme, 
who says: ''This course of seventeen seances, apparently 
conducted in the best possible conditions, has produced 
little but unsteadiness and mistrust. Bailey was always 
operating through darkness, and never did he agree to be 
entirely undressed previous to the seances, fearing — as he 
said — to catch cold."^ 

'See "Anna Rothe's Death," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1904, 
p. 388; "comment mourut Mme. Rothe (cancer de I'oesophage)." Ibid., 
1905, p. 53; "Le President Sulzer." Ibid., p. 571. 

^ See Cesar de Vesme, "Etude critique des seances du medium Ch. 
Bailey a Milan et a Rome," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 
218; "L'examen archeologique des objets "apportes" dans les seances 
de Bailey." Ibid., p. 308; "Un peu de polemique au sujet de Bailey." 
Ibid., p. 309, and 1906, p. 396. 

^C. de Vesme is stern in his judgment concerning the medium "who, 
having come from the antipodes only to show us the would-be marvelous 


Once, he completely undressed himself in Australia, and 
fell sick. He was never tied up. He was placed in a very 
light, black-satin sack with sleeves, his arms being left free. 
One day, at Rome, some one, feeling about his body, be- 
lieved he detected an obdurate substance. Bailey said it was 
a wen which he had had for years. In the proceedings of the 
Milan Committee, mention of this wen has never been made. 
Besides, at Rome, at the conclusion of the seance, those in 
charge forgot to ascertain whether or not this wen was a fact. 
The birds said to have been brought from India were dead. 
It was impossible to get any animals different from those 
that were living in Italy. Paste said to have been brought 
by the spirit of an Hindoo woman, was made of flour, and 
was similar to the paste used in making common bread. A 
Babylonian inscription, ascribed to King Sargon (6,000 
B. c), was afterwards dated 7,500 or 7,600 b. c, i. e., 1,500 
years previous to the reign of its author. Terra-cotta 
tables with Babylonian print, or ancient coinage of Egypt 
or India, were declared, at the British Museum, to be value- 
less imitations, or things to be obtained anywhere for a few 

In case you were to deal warily with such mediums, you 
would have exceedingly deceiving seances. After one of 
them, Bailey feigned to be called away by private matters of 
interest, and sailed for Australia.* 

One may readily understand how the Italian novelist, 
Antonio Fogazzaro, who had been present at those seances, 
deemed such mediumistic phenomena nothing but trifling.' 

gift bestowed on him by Providence, pulls back from his subUme apostle- 
ship for fear of a cold in the head." 

*0n his way homewards, test seances had been first arranged with him 
in London. He agreed to the intended careful supervision, but later 
alleged that he had no time to make any more experiments. 

^However, I must record that the Revue Scientifique et Morale du 
Spiritisme is of the opinion that the charge of fraud is lacking in sufficient 


Slade/ one of the most prominent mediums ever known, 
in the second half of the nineteenth century, made experi- 
ments with Aksakoff that caused the '' conversion of Pro- 
fessors Zcellner, W. E. Weber, Scheibner, and E. H. Fichte," 
and were followed by polemics in which such men as 
Wundt, Helmholtz, etc., took part. 

His special achievement was direct handwriting on slates. 
Hodgson has shown how Bailey used practically the same 
tricks as Davey. Once, in London, the medium had scarcely 
placed a slate under the table, when Lankester took it from 
him, and showed that there was already handwriting on it. 
A suit at law was the consequence of this. 

Charles Eldred,^ of Clowne, succeeded in getting quite 
strange materializations. The fact was utterly astounding, 
since it was evident that he was not a professional medium. 

At Clowne, in the presence of M. and Mme. Letort, at 
every seance "Arthur," the medium's brother, long since 
deceased, who was his ordinary adviser, was really ma- 
terialized, and walked about from the room to an adjoining 
closet. Every evening he was amongst us for ten or fifteen 
minutes. He showed us both his arms uncovered, gave us 
a shake of hands, and asked us to touch his gorgeous white 
attire. He produced "two spirit-lights," luminous disks 

circumstantial evidence ; it asserts that the Milan seances were of value 
and illustrated to a most remarkable extent the theory that material can 
be brought by spirits. 

'See Hodgson, "Travail cite sur Davey," p. 204, and "La mort du 
m^ium Slade," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 569. 

*See " Une seance de materialisation avec le medium Eldred en Angle- 
terre," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 558; and "Le demas- 
quement du medium Eldred. Ibid., 1906, p. 184; Mme. Ellen Letort et 
C. de Vesme, " Les fraudes des mediums. A propos du demasquement 
d'Eldred." Ibid., p. 292. Photographies de spectres. Echo du Merveil- 
leux, 1905, p. 362. "Seances de materiahsation." Ibid., 1906, p. 73. 
"Les trues de M. Eldred." Ibid., p. 124. "A propos du medium 
Eldred." Ibid., p. 147. 


made of a material resembling alabaster, an obdurate sub- 
stance of about the size of a dollar piece," Sometimes he 
would dematcrialize himself and ''would look as sinking 
through the wood flooring. Eight or nine spirits were ma- 
terialized at each seance." Mme. Bosset identified her 
mother in one of them; in others M. Letort recognized his 
old nurse, his child, etc. Several photographs were taken,* 

With the same medium, at Nottingham, Rear Admiral 
W. Osborne Moore witnessed the materialization of two of 
his relatives, recently deceased, who had previously in- 
tended to appear unto him. 

Charles Eldred turned into a professional medium, con- 
ducted by a manager, and on March 5, 1906, was abashed 
by Dr. Abraham Wallace. With the help of Mr. Brailey, a 
"clairvoyant psychometer," the chair on which Eldred 
worked, underwent a minute examination; they detected, 
in its back, a small keyhole, deeply inserted and hidden in 
the stuff. A suitable key was procured, the lock was 
opened, and it was possible to take a photograph of it, show- 
ing a hidden compartment, fifteen inches long and two inches 
wide. The small box being unlocked in a seance, all the 
requisites for impersonating spiritualistic shapes were found, 
namely: a head of marl, with a mask of flesh color; six 
fragments of splendid white China silk about thirteen 
meters long; two fragments of very nice black stuff, very 
likely intended for the would-be dematerializations; three 
beards of various aspects; two wigs, one white, the other 
gray; a kind of metal frame that could be stretched out in 
any direction, and which, hidden by a cloth, was probably 
used to represent the second "ghost;" a small electric lamp 
with four meters of wire, so constructed as to enable the 
medium to emit spiritualistic lights within the closet, even 

'One of them was published on the front page of the Echo du Merveil- 
leux, Oct. 1, 1905. 


when he was not in there; a flask emitting odors; and finally, 
pins, etc. 

At the same time, a similar mischance befell Craddock,* 
who was another medium, renowned in England for his 
" materializing " powers. 

Lieut.-Colonel Mark Mayhew had suspected the fraud 
from the first, before finding it out.^ One or two ''ghosts" 
came near Mr. Mayhew, pretending to be a relative of his, 
whom he never had had ; a child came close to his wife, ad- 
dressing her as ''mother," though she never had had a 
child. At the same time, there were more ingenuous or 
confident bystanders. A lady looking at a "ghost," which 
was nearing her, exclaimed to her husband: "Look, here is 
your father." Her husband answered: "Yes, indeed," but 
soon correcting himself, added: "No, this is my mother." 

In the final seance, announcement was made of the spirit 
of a lady who, not only was alive, but also was then present. 
At a certain moment, a shape having on its upper lip a well 
turned white mustache, came close to the colonel who took 
a strong hold of its arms. 

The "ghost" made a fierce struggle, and failing to set it- 
self free, carried away its aggressor to the closet. Mr. May- 
hew, who knew that Mr. Carleton had a small electric lamp, 
asked him to light it, and so it was perceived that the 
would-be "ghost" was Mr. Craddock himself. 

Mr. Mark Mayhew and Rear-Admiral Moore, who as- 
sisted at this seance were, nevertheless, and still are, strong 
believers in the reality of most of the doctrines of spiritism.^ 

'See "Apres Eldred, Craddock," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1906, p. 320; "Le Proces de Craddock." Ihid., p. 448; "Decouverte 
d'un autre fraudeur." Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 125; "Le proces 
Craddock." Ihid., p. 249. 

^It was apparently for the third time that the medium was caught. 

^I relate this simply to give the above mentioned evidence its whole 
value; the sources from which such facts are borrowed, are likewise 


As a consequence Col. Mayhew brought an action against 
Craddock, before the Edgeware Pohce Court in London 
based on a law made in the time of George IV, that brands 
as a rogue and a vagabond, any one pretending to use cer- 
tain subtle stratagems of divination, in order to raise up the 
spirits of deceased persons. On June 21, 1906, the Court 
sentenced Craddock to a fine of £10, or one month in prison. 
Moreover the prisoner was commanded to pay £5, 5, for 
the expenses of the trial. 

A propos of Craddock, Paul Mathiex* records the three 
following facts: 

In 1894, Mrs. Williams, an American medium who had 
come to Paris, materialized a physician having thick whis- 
kers, and also his daughter who was dressed in a white cos- 
tume. Then, M. Leymarie, of the Revue Spirite made a 
sign, and while a bystander was seizing the manager, two 
others took hold of the "ghosts," At this moment, M. 
Leymarie was seen struggling with Mrs. Williams, who 
shouted wildly and made fierce efforts to escape. She had 
put on black clothes and stuck to her face a wig and super- 
added whiskers, so as to play the part of the physician's 
ghost. The young lady with her proved to be only a mask, 
from which was pending a long veil, held by Mrs. William's 
left hand, while with her right, she drew a rope that moved 
a luminous apparatus through which she obtained varying 
colored lights, while visions were going on.^ 

In the United States, a medium as famous as Mrs. 
Williams, Miss Cad wed, was ''caught" under identical cir- 
cumstances by reporters for the World. 

proof of the sound morality and the perfect plaindealing of all those 
who are nowadays seriously interested in those matters. 

'Paul Mathiex, "Les faux mediums," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, 
p. 249. 

^See Dariex, "Le flagrant d61it de la cdl^bre Mrs. Williams," Annales 
des Sciences Psychiques, 1894, p. 333. 


Col. Albert de Rochas had a medium named Valentine, 
whose essential faculty was to emit mysterious lights. 
During a seance which had taken place in a dark room 
whilst lights were gushing and sweeping through the dark- 
ness, Col. de Rochas suddenly lit an electric lamp and thus 
detected Valentine shaking in all directions her feet which 
had been previously uncovered and impregnated with 

The medium Ebstein, an American spiritualist, according 
to the Daily Telegraph of Nov. 14, 1905, was ready to raise 
up the spirits of the dead before a sympathetic circle in 
Berlin, in a well-known hotel. The bystanders were wait- 
ing in the utmost darkness, when an electric light was un- 
expectedly lit and everyone could see the material that was 
to be used for the experiment in a hamper painted with 
luminous color. 

Mrs. Piper' is the medium whose revelations have en- 
abled Hodgson to write his "Hints on another World," a 
record of which Light declares that, according to many, it is 
the most important ever derived from the investigations by 
the Society for Psychical Research. The absence of fraud 
has not been definitely verified in this case. Still, Podmore 
believes that there may be great presumptions of fraud. 
Dr. Berillon, in Paris, has acted with a wise circumspection 
regarding Mrs. Piper. Maxwell wonders why Hodgson does 
not deal with Eusapia as he did with Mrs. Piper, whose 
errors and whose dealings with her ''customers," have not 
separated him from her. Does he believe that there is no 
conscious or unconscious deceit in the celebrated American 
medium, and that Phinuit alone is to be held responsible 
for the errors and frauds ? 

'See Marsa, "A propos des experiences de Mr. Hodgson avec Mrs. 
Piper," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1896, p. 212; A. Erny, "Mrs. 
Piper et ses experiences (opinions diverses)." Ibid., 1899, p. 110; Max- 
well, loc. cit., p. 276. 


Interesting particulars respecting Mrs. Piper will be found 
in "Le Miracle Moderne" by Jules Bois. He declares that 
she converted Richard Hodgson, the terror of mediums, to 
Spiritualism, and he makes him declare: "I am henceforth 
fully persuaded that such communications (with the entity 
and individuality of the dead), are actually existing in Mrs. 
Piper's trances." 

One day she thought she had communication with Stain- 
ton Moses, "the Anglo-Saxon Allan Kardec," and with the 
spirits who were his advisers during his life as " Impera- 
tor," " Rector," and " Prudens." When alive, Stainton had 
told Myers — and Myers alone — the real names which, ac- 
cording to their own version, these persons, hidden under 
an assumed identity, had had during their earthly existence. 
But, unfortunately, Stainton Moses, the Imperator, the 
Rector, and the Prudens of Mrs. Piper, when questioned in 
America, while Myers was in England, boasted to be able to 
reveal those names. Not only were they unable to do so, 
but pretending to disclose them, they told lies, and gave 
names quite different. 

I borrow again from MaxwelP the following instances of 
deceits by mediums. 

In order to obtain physical phenomena (raps and move- 
ments without contact), Mrs. Sidgwick, her husband and 
some friends "had applied to Eglinton and Slade, and as 
regards direct handwriting on slates, to the Misses Wood 
and Fairlamb. Another medium, Haxby, had been en- 
gaged for materializations. 

The Misses Wood and Fairlamb produced only very sus- 
picious phenomena, to say nothing worse. As to Haxby, 
he made impudent frauds. Maxwell had an occasion to 
witness an experiment in materialization in Germany. 

»MaxweU, loc. cit., p. 263. 


His opinion is that the medium and the only vision he ever 
saw were identical. It is likely that Miss Fairlamb, Miss 
Wood, and another who was later a cause of lively contro- 
versy, "had been caught by various experimentalists in 
attitudes that allow one to mistrust their good faith." 

Miller^ has made quite remarkable experiments in San 

He wrote to A. de Rochas and requested him to come to 
California and scrutinize his experiments; his passage in 
first cabin to be paid there and back. He would be the 
guest of Baron and Baroness Zimmermann, At this period 
occurred the San Francisco disaster and a part of the works 
of art Miller used to sell were destroyed. In order to com- 
plete his stock, the medium went to Europe and arranged 
seances in London and Paris. In the latter city, Delanne 
and de Vesme were present at a suspicious seance, during 
which the medium's pockets were not searched; his hands 
were not held by a trustworthy experimentalist; the light 
was not full. De Vesme suspected some possible tricks, and 
Delanne asked Miller to prepare for a conclusive seance. 
At first Miller agreed to this offer, but later, he refused and 
sent back the money. "I do not want to be any longer 
suspected," said he. De Vesme remarked that so far was 
this from removing suspicions, that it could only make 
them occur to the minds of persons who had been most 
favorably imprest with regard to him. After Mr. Miller's 
strange decision, how could one not feel inclined to mistrust 

' Van der Naillen, " Les experiences de materialisation du medium 
Miller." Lettre a M. de. Rochas. Revue Spirite and Echo du Merveilleux, 
1905, p. 276 ; C. de. Vesme, " Miller a Paris. Compte, Rendu d'une seance 
de materialisation," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 501; 
"Miller et la presse spirite frangaise." Ibid., p. 591. See also (in the 
third part, chapter X, iii, 83, P, 7) what I say concerning Miller's 
recent experiments, according to Gaston Mery and Sage. Miller, " Les 
nouveaux horizons de la science et de la pensee," 1906, p. 457. 


also his shifts towards Col. de Rochas, who had spread his 
fame throughout Europe, and thought his powers worthy 
of a cross-examination by scientists especially appointed 
for that purpose? 

Finally, Eusapia Palladino,^ whose trances have been 
witnessed by first-grade scientists, has also been caught in 
the very act of fraud, namely, in Cambridge.^ 

In August, 1895, at Myer's house, the Society for Psy- 
chical Research had the mischance to witness fraud during 
twenty seances. Sidgwick and Hodgson insist on tricks by 
which one might counterfeit at least a part of the phenom- 
ena observed with Eusapia Palladino; the most important 
of those tricks is the substitution of hands which enables 
the medium to set free one of her hands believed by the 
investigators to be held still.' 

In a report (October 11, 1895) to the General Convention 
of the Society, Sidgwick declared that the medium had used 
before, or attempted to use, such frauds in the Cambridge 

'See also what I write further concerning the experiments at the Villa 
Carmen (third part. B. Chapter X, iii, 84, b, 7, 3rd) ; about Zuccarini the 
medium (Chapter XI, ii, 88, a., /3, 7, 5th) and about the Narbonne 
medium (iii, 91, 6.)- 

^Respecting Eusapia's frauds see Xavier Dariex, "Ce qu'on doit penser 
des phenomcnes medianiniques d'Eusapia Palladino?" Annales dcs 
Sciences Psychiques, 1896, p. 65; Ochorowicz, question de la fraude 
dans les experiences avec Eusapia Palladino. Ibid., p. 79; Max- 
well, Zoc. ctY., p. 263, 269 sqq. ; Albert de Rochas, " L'ext^riorisation 
delaMotricite,"4thed., 1906, p. 201. "In the case of Eusapia, who is the 
medium the most thoroughly investigated," writes Camille Flammarion 
(loc. cit., p. 262), "the fraud is unfortunately evident in more than one 
case." It is useless to say that fraud is not detected in all experiments. 
So I shall speak again about Eusapia Palladino (Part III, chapter XI. 
II, 88, a, /3, 1st). 

^In a test made in Paris, Dariex and Marcel Mangin have verified this 
fact. Besides, frauds of this kind have already been discust in 1892 by 
Torelli (Milan), by Charles Richet in 1893, and in 1894, at Warsaw, by 
Bronislas Reichman. 


seances, which should consequently be suspected. Myers 
confirmed Sidg wick's appreciation; Lodge also admitted 
that there had been fraud in one of the seances he had wit- 
nessed. In this seance Eusapia gave only one of her hands 
to be held by two persons (control was made by the con- 
tact of one hand) while the other was free. All this led the 
Society for Psychical Research to deny the insertion in 
their "Proceedings" of an account of these experiments, 
and to decide that they would hereafter ignore what was 
done by Eusapia, because they "take no notice whatever 
of the deeds of persons using such unfair methods." 

Such an appreciation was unjust. The decision was 
lacking in its scientific spirit. In fact, it would not be right 
to infer from those frauds of mediums (however numerous 
they may be), that a medium convicted of fraud in one in- 
stance, is always guilty of it.^ It would be unfair to con- 
clude that all mediums are cheats. 

The only conclusive thing (and in itself this is very im- 
portant) is that fraud will be frequently found in mediums, 
but it is sometimes very hard to detect. I imagine that 
nobody would deny this assertion made by Dariex: "All 
who have made many experiments, and managed such 
sensitive people as mediums, know that all mediums, or 
nearly all, are accustomed to cheat." Ochorowicz says : " It 
should not be forgotten that deceit is inseparable from a 

Tlammarion writes: "One may assert (La Revue, 1906, p. 29 and 329), 
that professional mediums are all defrauders, but they do not cheat 
always. I am in a position to declare that, for forty years, I have re- 
ceived visits from all the famous mediums, in my drawing-room of the 
Avenue de I'Observatoire, and nearly all of them have I caught in the 
very act of cheating. It does not imply that they are constantly cheat- 
ing, and people asserting such a thing make a blunder. But, either con- 
sciously or unconsciously they carry with them an element of confusion 
which one should always beware of, and that places the experimentalist 
imder circumstances utterly different from those required in a scientific 


mediumistic survey, just as simulation is obviously insepar- 
able from hypnotism." 

But, in order to maintain this assertion, we are bound to 
use the words fraud, deceit, or cheating in a broad (and 
somewhat inaccurate) sense. For example, we must ac- 
knowledge that there are unconscious frauds, for which the 
medium is not answerable. Here lies the Cambridge mis- 
take. While the experiments made there utterly testify to 
cheating, they do not testify to Eusapia's responsibiUty; 
in consequence they are not a sufficient basis for disqualify- 
ing the medium when charged with cheating. 

This fact, for instance, will illustrate Eusapia's irrespon- 
sibility. One day she requested Lodge, Myers and Ochoro- 
wicz to listen to raps originating within the table. They 
came readily to the conclusion that she was herself the 
author of the alleged raps, by using her boots. " When I 
hinted this," says Ochorowicz, "she drew back slightly, 
and denied it. 'It is queer, anyhow,' she said, 'some- 
thing is pushing my foot towards the table.' She was so 
sure of the reality of the phenomenon that she persisted in 
asking me to fasten my foot and hers with a string. This 
being done, I felt her pulling up the string by twisting her 
feet; she twisted the string so as to be able to knock the 
table with her heel. All of us could perceive that save her- 
self. I have seen mediums tapping walls with their fists, 
and who declared that a spirit was tapping. A law student, 
who was a medium of a lower class, gave himself a slap in 
the face, and was very much frightened. He was not con- 
stantly entranced, and was obstinately resolved upon mak- 
ing us believe that he had gotten an admonishment from 
the spirit of Xantippe, the wife of Socrates." 

Such frauds are polygonal. I shall deal with their psy- 
chological structure in the second part.^ 

•Part II. Chapter IV. 


Sometimes the medium may be led into deceit by the 
strength of his automatism segregated from himself during 
the trance. De Rochas would now and then warn Eu- 
sapia against an impending fraud/ 

A Swedish physician, Paul Bjerre, reports in his book, 
''The Karin case" that, in a seance, while raps were ex- 
pected they failed to come. Karin, the medium, unable to 
keep his peace, stood up suddenly and in the presence of the 
bystanders, knocked on the flooring himself. 

The fatidical attitude of people gathered around a 
table, for the purpose of making it turn, induces some of 
them to become unconscious cheats; likewise, the medium 
may be incUned to cheating in his trance. 

This is why C. de Vesme has been able to declare the prac- 
tise of mediumistic powers may be the occasion of serious 
moral dangers with regard to some individuals should they 
devote themselves to it under troublesome circumstances. 

A medium's unconscious fraud is usually a foolish act. 
Concerning the account of Eldred's deceit, above referred to, 
Mme. Letort and C. de Vesme observe: "It seems that the 
chairseized in London, had been ordered for the very purpose 
of being sent to Mr. Ronald Brailey's house, where it was left 
by the medium for fifteen days, and thus abandoned to un- 
friendly examination, though he was perfectly aware of 
suspicion on the part of this gentleman and others." 

The medium's responsibility appears void or attenuated, 
in many instances of fraud. But instances are recorded of 
mediums previously honest who leave off being so. This 
occurs when they become professional mediums. Then, 
they are taken advantage of by some manager, or a " Bar- 

*As Maxwell rightly observes, "experimentalists should help the 
medium to resist suggestion of fraud, and give him no chance to waste 
this strength which is likely to be changed into muscular movements. 
Such has been one of Mr. Hodgson's mistakes." 


num." In this case, they are urged to be always successful. 
Every day they must fulfil the program posted every- 
where, and when necessary, they may cheat. This has 
likely occurred in the case of mediums w^hose mediumistic 
life is really divided into two parts. 

16. Conclusions. Caution to Be Observed. 

In any case it is obvious that, owing to one cause or an- 
other, frauds are quite common in mediumistic experiments. 
"To make experiments with deceitful mediums is a hard 
task," says Charles Richet,^ and the results are frail. 

Let us imagine a skilful juggler operating in the dark, be- 
fore people absolutely believing in the reality of his work. 
We might be able to register wonders far more astounding 
than those of spiritism. I do not think it necessary, as a 
consequence of this, to found here, as has been done in 
America, an "Antifakirs' Society,"^ in order to abash de- 
frauding mediums. Still, one should remember a few prin- 
ciples, which I will sum up as follows : 

First. It is always necessary to beware strictly of me- 
diums managed by a '' Barnum." Hodgson is even so daring 
as to give this advice ''especially intended for American 
spiritualists," that nearly all professional mediums ''are a 
gang of vulgar rogues more or less closely associated with 
each other. Here and there will be found connected with 
them people that wish to become professional mediums, and 
that are, as a rule, not very trustworthy individuals." 
Sidgwick says that any test, made with such mediums, is to 
be prejudged, "and this opinion is right," declares Charles 
Richet. But, it is also possible to be of a dissimilar 

^Charles Richet, Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 36. 
' In several States of America, defrauding mediums are called "Fakirs" 
by Spiritualists. 


Second. As has been rightly observed by Maxwell/ "one 
should mistrust mediums who succeed in all their experi- 
ments, and obtain at once the results they had anticipated 
and foretold." Reversely, it is not to be taken as condem- 
natory when, now and then, a seance proves to be a failure. 

Third. It is, if possible, desirable to work in the full light, 
and, should it be possible, to have within reach an apparatus 
producing light suddenly, at a moment unexpected by the 
medium. It has been repeatedly insisted upon that griev- 
ous dangers may befall a medium should some one grasp the 
"ghosts." We have seen that, owing to those spirit-grab- 
bers,^ cheats have sometimes been detected. Such a mo- 
dus operandi will prove useful when one has sufficient cause 
for suspecting the medium's behaviour. 

Fourth. It is wise to try the medium's suggestibility, or, 
in other words, to ascertain how easily, when entranced, he 
obeys external suggestions, that is, how readily one might 
induce him to commit fraud, unknown to himself. 

Fifth. Lastly and above all, one must remember, in sur- 
veying such experiments, that a phenomenon, as C. de 
Vesme remarks, ''does not assume a scientifical mark just 
because it cannot be explained by means of a trick." 

As a consequence, it is not sufficient to investigate as to 
whether a phenomenon has been produced by a fraud, or 
not. One must ask one's self if it has not occurred in such 
conditions as to render impossible the hypothesis of fraud. 

In a word, as Ochorowicz says, knowledge of the existence 
of cheating of this kind should not hinder a survey — hardly 
yet started — of mediumistic phenomena, nor discourage 
a great number of those who are about to start one. Still, 
experience of frauds should lead to mighty circumspection, 
in discussing and appreciating the facts of occultism. 

'Maxwell, loc. cii., p. 267. 

'See, about the Spirit-grabbers, in the 3rd part (Chapter X, III, 84, 
b, y, 2nd). 


CHAPTER III.— Animal magnetism and hypnotism. 

CHAPTER IV.— Unconscious and involuntary move- 
ments, table-turning, exploring pendulum, con- 
jurer's wand, "willing-game" with contact. 

CHAPTER V. — Polygonal sensations and memory; 


CHAPTER VI. — Polygonal association of ideas and 
polygonal imagination. polygonal romances of 



I. 17, Historical Account. Braid, Charcot, Liebeault and Bern- 
II. Hypnotic Sleep and the condition of Suggestibility. 

18. Definition: hyper-polygonal disaggregation and polygonal malle- 


19. How to provoke hypnotic sleep and how to check it. 

III. Suggestion. 

20. Intrahypnotic suggestions: 

a. Motive. 

b. Sensory. 

c. Psychical and actual. 

d. Modifying the individuality of the person. 

e. Matters usually beyond the reach of volition. 

21. Posthypnotic suggestions: 

a. Suggestions at waking time. 

b. Suggestions to be fulfilled at a distant date. 

c. Psychical conditions when coming due; and between the 

suggestion and becoming due. 

d. Suggestions affecting memory. 

IV. The Use of Hypnotism in Forensic Medicine, Therapeutics 

AND Morals. 

22. Hypnotism and suggestion before Justice. 

a. The hypnotized as victim and accuser. 
6. The hypnotized as offender and accused, 
c. The hypnotized as witness. 

23. Hypnotism and suggestion from a therapeutical standpoint. 

a. Hypnotism and psychotherapy. — Higher and lower 


b. Modes of operating. — When is hypnotism indicated or 

not indicated. 

24. Hypnotism ami suggestion with reference to Morals. 

a. The immorality of non-medical hypnotism. 

6. The Lawfulness (according to morals) of medical hypnotism. 



17. I dropt my historical account of animal magnet- 
ism at the time when (in 1840) it was solemnly condemned 
by the Academic de Medecine, and given by them a place as 
little important as the squaring of the circle, or perpetual 
motion. At this very time, however, Braid^ came upon the 
stage and opened an epoch in which animal magnetism was 
disocculted by science.^ 

Braid knew Mesmerism merely through books and news- 
papers. He believed it to be wholly a system of collusion 
or illusion, when on November 18, 1841, he was present at a 
lecture given by Lafontaine, a French medium. During the 
first seances, his prejudices were only strengthened. Six 
days later, however, his attention was attracted by the 
fact that a subject was unable to open his eyelids. Braid, 
detecting reality in this phenomenon, entered into an in- 
vestigation of its physiological causes, and thought that it 
might be due to a continued fixed stare paralyzing the nerv- 
ous centers of the eyes and their appendages, and destroying 
the equilibrium of the nervous system. 

'Braid has published in England a work entitled : " Neurypnology, or 
the Rationale of Nervous Sleep, considered in relation to Animal Mag- 
netism," Illustrated by numerous cases of its successful application to 
the relief and cure of diseases (London and Edinburgh, 1843). A French 
translation of it has been issued in 1883, by Jules Simon: "Neurypnol- 
ogie — Traite du Sommeil Nerveux ou Hypnotisme." Besides the work 
quoted above, this book contains an Appendix giving the summary of 
Braid's subsequent publications up to 1860. This appendix was then 
addrest to the French Academie des Sciences, together with a preface 
by Brown-S^quard. This very year, 1860, he suddenly died, struck down 
with apoplexy, aged 65, while engaged in preparing a new edition of his 

^We will discuss further Boirac's opinion about it. Boirac is sticking 
to the term Animal Magnetism, but uses it with the meaning of psychical 


"With a view to proving this," he says, " I requested Mr. 
Walker, a young gentleman present, to sit down and main- 
tain a fixed stare at the top of a winc-bottlc, placed so much 
above him, as to produce a considerable strain on his eyes 
and eyelids in order to enable him to maintain a steady 
view of the object. In three minutes, his eyelids closed, a 
gush of tears ran down his cheeks, his head drooped, his face 
was slightly convulsed, he gave a groan, and instantly fell 
into profound sleep, the respiration becoming slow, deep 
and sibilant. This experiment, not only proved what I had 
expected, but also tended to prove to my mind that I had 
the key to the solution of Mesmerism." 

Hypnotism was found, the more or less occult influence 
of magnetism being annihilated, owing to the results ob- 
tained with the neck of the bottle. Animal fluid or a mag- 
netizer's will were no longer concerned. The whole action 
and interest was transferred to the person asleep. Lasegue* 
writes: "Braid's intervention has been authoritative, since, 
by removing the object he has thrown away anecdotes, 
driven back occult proverbs, and placed Magnetism within 
the range of objects easy for science to enter." 

After Braid, investigations became numerous. I have 
not to reckon them here. But, among the authors who 
have helped to make Hypnotism what it actually is, I must 
mention apart, on one side Charcot; on the other Liebeault 
and Bernheim. 

Charcot has entered into the investigation of hypnotism 
in a scientific way; he has carefully analyzed the symptoms 
that enable us to detect fraud; through him and with him 
Animal Magnetism has been triumphantly acknowledged 
by the Institute from which it had been disdainfully ex- 

'Ch. Lasegue, " Le Braidigme," Revue des Deux Mondes, October 15, 


pelled thirty years earlier. Liebeault and Bernheim have 
shown the momentous part played by Suggestion in produc- 
ing hypnosis and developing phenomena that happen before 
and after artificial sleep. 

I need not insist any longer in order to sum up the con- 
dition of this question, which has now become a branch of 


18. Definition : Hyperpolygonal Disaggregation 
AND Polygonal Malleableness. 

Let us assume that a person has been induced to sleep — it 
may be through any influence whatever. Hypnosis in- 
volves only one specific and invariable condition — the 
condition of suggestibility. The patient, when hypnotized, 
is by definition a person to whom suggestions could be 

This being said, it is well known,^ especially since Pierre 
Janet's researches,^ that psychical acts are divided into 
two groups : the former, voluntary and conscious, the latter, 
automatical and unconscious.^ 

'See, "Hypnotisme et Suggestion," Bibliotheque internationale de 
psychologie experimentale normale et pathologique, 2d ed., 1904. 

^See, "Le Psychisme inferieur," Etude de physio pathologie des centres 
psychiques. Bibliotheque de philosophie experimentale, 1906; also, 
" L'introduction physiologique a I'etude de la philosophie," meme Bib- 
liotheque, 1908. 

^Pierre Janet, " L'automatisme psychologique," " Essai de psychologie 
experimentale sur les formes inferieures de I'activite humaine." These 
de doctorat es lettres, Paris, 1889, 2d, 3d and 4th eds., 1903. Biblio- 
theque de philosophie contemporaine. 

^"Cryptosychy," says Boirac, "is any phenomenon in which a psychi- 
cal and intelligent act appears to be made manifest, although the indi- 
vidual in whom it is occurring is to no extent conscious of it." 


With those two heads of psychical acts, two groups of 
psychical centers and neurones, both located in the cerebral 
mind, are in correspondence: the upper centers, (0, in my 
schema, prefrontal lobe), and the lower centers (polygonal 
centers of my schema, zones of association of Flechsig). 
In the physiological state, the whole psychism is taking 
part in the general management of ordinary life. Both 
orders of psychical centers mingle and superpose their 
action. But, under certain circumstances, both orders of 
psychism are separated ; they are mingled no more and leave 
off superposing their action. For survey and investigation, 
absent-mindedness and natural sleep are very simple ex- 
amples of such physiological hyperpolygonal disaggrega- 

Hypnotic sleep or provoked sleep, is an extraphysiolog- 
ical condition of hyperpolygonal disaggregation. The up- 
per centers of the person asleep are annihilated, are sleep- 
ing, and do not interfere with active life. The polygon only 
keeps on being active. Such is the first feature of hypnosis. 

In the next place, the polygon of the subject asleep, being 
separated in this manner from its own center O, is abso- 
lutely malleable, and readily biased by the center of 
another person, chiefly by that of the magnetizer. Sug- 
gestion is precisely the influence exerted by the of the 
magnetizer over the disaggregated polygon of the mag- 
netized. Thus, the sense of the word "suggestion" re- 
mains narrow, strict and scientifically limited. I do not 
use this word as Bernheim does, as a substitute for the 
influence of one psychism over another; in my opinion, it is 
distinct from advice, teaching or preaching, which do not 
supply to a disaggregated polygon, but to the whole of a 
psychism, complete and one.^ 

'"In its new meaning," says Boirac, "the word suggestion implies the 
idea of an involuntary, or even automatic, obedience of a person to the 


Thus, hypnosis, or the condition of suggestibihty, is well 
established. It is a polygon emancipated from its own 
center 0, and obeying an external center 0. 

19. How TO Provoke Hypnotic Sleep and How to 
Check It. 

Any one is able to hypnotize, but not to be hypnotized. 
People liable to hypnotism, are nervous and sensitive; 
equally liable are those trained for it. All modes of 
hypnotizing rely upon the fixt stare (or a bright object), 
and suggestion. Both elements are usually combined; a 
fixt stare is maintained on the person intended for sleep 
and such person is strongly urged to sleep. There are, 
on some people's bodies " hypnogeneous zones," whose 
pressure leads to sleep; they are often the consequence of 
a suggestion, either actual or previous. 

Ordinary sleep may be altered into hypnosis by sugges- 
tions whispered into the sleeper's ear. When making a sug- 
gestion to a subject awake, one should first cause in him, 
through suggestion, a state of semi-hypnotic sleep, which 
is always a condition of hyperpolygonal disaggregation, 
and of obedience to the hypnotic center. 

A subject may be induced to sleep through autosugges- 
tion, and generally this occurs when one is unconsciously 
remembering a previous hypnogeneous suggestion, or 
under the influence of a sudden disorder of the nervous 

It is usual to blow on the eyes so as to check hypnosis. 

idea suggested; and what is most remarkable in this phenomenon is 
exactly that it is impossible for this person to do or not to believe what 
has been said. Thence, the term 'hypotaxy,' i.e. subordination, subjec- 
tion, applied by Durand de Gros, to the condition of the nervous system 
that renders possible this necessary obedience of the subject to sug- 


But suggestion is the best way. One bids the patient wake 
up, either at once, or by connecting the idea of waking with 
some indication to be given soon afterwards. 


20. Intrahypnotic Suggestions. 

I divide these into five groups: a. motor; h. sensory; c. 
psychical and actual; d. modifying personality; e. matters 
commonly out of the reach of volition. 

a. Motor Suggestions. 

1 command the subject asleep to lift up his arm. He 
does so; to walk, and he walks; to assume a funny attitude, 
to kneel down, to dance, and he obeys without minding 
people around him and in his presence, when well possest 
of his centre 0, he would never commit such deeds. This is 
verbal suggestion through hearing. This group contains 
the acts of imitation (Heidenbain), of movements ''heard," 
and the facts of echolalia (Berger). 

Should suggestion be visual, one obtains the movements 
that are seen and then imitated; the subject slavishly imi- 
tates any deed or speech of the magnetizer; he opens his 
mouth and puts out his tongue, when one lifts up his right 
arm, the other (opposite him) lifts up the left one (this is the 
specular imitation of Despine, the fascination of Bremaud). 
In these experiments, the gaze of the patient is seized and 
controlled by gestures. 

Suggestion may be induced through the muscular sys- 
tem (kinesthesia) ; the continuation of a movement started 
already (Charles Richet), or of an attitude (the sug- 
gestive catalepsy of Bernheim) is provoked. The motor 
suggestion may be negative, i. e., may lead to the absence or 
impossibility of movement, even to paralysis. 


h. Sensory Suggestions. 

In each sense, mere sensations, or association of sensa- 
tions, may be caused by suggestion. Thus, with regard to 
sight, a color or a portrait ; with regard to hearing, a sound, a 
tune or to abusive language ; with regard to taste and smell- 
ing, the taste of sugar (by means of salt), the taste of a 
peach (by means of a raw potato); the smell of a rose 
through a stick) ; to sensibihty at large, an itching or a burn. 

Negative suggestions may affect either one sense, or 
sensibility at large; they may be complete, or partial. In 
the latter case, the sight of certain colors or objects is sup- 
prest; or the faculty of perceiving through certain senses 
is suspended ; or anesthesia of a limb, or a fragment of limb 
is procured. Should those suggestions be systematized, a 
person present may be made to disappear. This is negative 
eledivity. Hallucinations suggested in this way have a phys- 
iological action as if the object suggested were really ex- 
isting (Binet and Fere). When anesthesia is suggested, 
the sensory impression which is not perceived by 0, finds 
very often its way to the polygon, and can be used by the 
subject in his automatist life. Thus a female patient an- 
esthetized in both her hands might quite naturally try to 
dress her hair, by sinking long hairpins in her neck below 
her head; or, having closed her eyes, might button and un- 
button her coat. Likewise a patient to whom suggestion 
has been made not to see red paint would not perceive it, 
but would substitute for it other colors in Newton's disk, 
which while rotating he sees white as anyone does. 

However, in the case of a patient whose field of vision is 
narrowed, luminous impressions find their way up to dark 
regions of the polygon. A patient of Janet, would fall as 
in a sudden attack, as soon as he saw a small blaze, and be- 
sides would have an appreciable narrowing of his field of 


vision. Should a match previously lit be placed in the 
dark spot of his field of vision, he would be seized with con- 
vulsions and cry "fire!" 

c. Psychical and Actual Suggestions. 

Verbal suggestion is the easiest. Bernheim said to a 
housewife who was a patient in his ward: "Now, you are 
healed ; get up and do your work." She got up at once, put 
on her dress, looked for a chair, climbed upon the sill of the 
window, which she opened, dipt her hand into the pitcher 
containing the contents which she imagined to be water for 
domestic purposes. She then undertook to wash the win- 
dows on both sides. She put her bed in order, and swept 
the floor of the room with a broom someone had brought 
for her. 

Acts may be complex, and may demonstrate plainly the 
self activity of the polygon disaggregated during hypnosis. 
Such complex suggestions may be obtained through sight 
(by seizing the subject's stare) ; through tactile or general 
sensibility, or through the kinesthetic sense. 

d. Modifying the Individuality of the Person. 

Without entering into a philosophical discussion of the 
idea of personality, it is possible to suggest a new person- 
ality to the disaggregated polygon of the hypnotized, and 
owing to polygonal activity and to his own only resources, the 
subject may be thinking and acting in a new personality. 

A suggestion is made to a subject while asleep, that he is 
a priest, or a general, a peasant or a painter. Then, he is 
thinking and speaking in his own opinion, as a priest, or a 
general, a peasant or a painter, ought to. 

By suggestion, a subject has been placed back in his own 
personality, ten or fifteen years. His polygon is then living 


and expressing the life he remembers from that time, long 
passed though it be. 

Some patients undergo what I may term " a dividing into 
two," (dedoublement) of their personality, i. e., they live, 
according to the moment, either in their own personality, 
or in an abnormal and polygonal personality. Felida, the 
curious medium of Azam, was a famous instance of this 
phenomenon as described in "Joseph Balsamo," by Alex- 
andre Dumas. Lorenza Feliciani lives in the former, she 
adores Balsamo, while she hates him in the latter. 

In somnambulism, either spontaneous or provoked, the 
patient likewise assumes, in his attack, a polygonal person- 
ahty quite different from his own physiological individuality. 
In ambulatory automatism, it is through his polygon that a 
patient falls asleep in Paris and wakes up at Brest, having 
traveled and eaten unconsciously and involuntarily.^ 

e. Matters Usually Beyond the Reach of Volition. 

Prima facie, these seem to be irrational, impossible and 
paradoxical, but they are quite true. A sick person may '**• o 
be purged through suggestion. By means of suggestion, an \ 
influence may be exerted over menstruation and other I 
hemorrhages. Blisters and vesication have been pro-'/ 
cured by suggestion. 

21. Posthypnotic Suggestions. 

The so-called posthypnotic suggestions are posthypnotic 
only as to their fulfilment. Concerning suggestion itself, 
they are intrahypnotic. Suggestion is always made during 
hypnosis. All the suggestions quoted above may be taken 
with reference to waking time. In this case, the subject 
awakes at the appointed moment. He has forgotten the 

'See further the paragraph deaUng with alterations undergone by the 
personality of mediums entranced (same part, chapter vi, p. 60). 



hypnosis and the orders given during the same, but still he 
faithfully fulfils them. This is a most remarkable example 
of polygonal or unconscious memory. 

The condition in which the patient is, when fulfilling a 
suggestion, is no longer hypnosis; nor is it the normal con- 
dition of waking. It is a condition of semi-hypnosis 
(Wundt), a condition of hyperpolygonal disaggregation, 
sufficient to arouse polygonal remembrance and keep up 
the subject's attention, and at the same time regulate his 
deportment. This does not occur in ordinary circum- 
stances. In fact, the patient's center O exerts neither cen- 
sure, nor inhibition over the acts of this period; he unwill- 
ingly obeys commands and should he be conscious of them 
he would be quite astounded to perceive that he is acting in 
this way. He does not realize the course of his behavior. 
However, this is not peremptory, and it is not impossible 
for a subject to resist suggestion, — at least in certain cir- 
cumstances. Opposition of this kind may possibly be 
made manifest during hypnosis at the moment when sug- 
gestion is exerted. Then it is merely a polygonal resistance. 
The polygon is resisting with its hereditary or acquired 
principles, in morals, religion, etc. Such opposition may 
also happen at waking time, at the very instant of fulfilling 
a suggestion. In such a case, the polygon is not alone re- 
sisting; disaggregated, but not absent, may interfere in 
this resistance should the nature of the commands given 
too strongly hurt its principles or belief. 

h. Suggestions to be Fulfilled at a Distant Date. 

During nervous sleep, suggestions to be fulfilled at a dis- 
tant date may be made. With one of my patients, the two 
longest that occurred have been — the former in 42 days (Sep- 
tember 26 to November 6), the latter in 43 days (Januaiy 
18 to March 1). But these figures have been very much 


surpassed. Bernheim quotes a case of 63 days (August 2 
to October 3); Beaunis, another of 172 days, and Liegeois 
a more curious one which lasted for one year. 

c. Psychical Condition when Becoming Due, between the 
suggestion and Becoming Due. 

When the moment of becoming due has arrived the patient 
spontaneously undergoes a condition of partial hypnosis, 
analogous to the condition I have already mentioned con- 
cerning suggestions to be fulfilled at waking time, and the 
command is automatically complied with by the polygon 
alone in the presence of which does not interfere, but often 
witnesses the acts, and is quite wondering at them, since it 
does not know their causes. The condition in which the 
subject is placed between suggestion and its becoming due 
is more whimsical to observe. He may be awake and not 
remember at all the order given, though he will faithfully 
comply with it when due. In fact, the order has been given 
to his polygon disaggregated by hypnosis, and has been 
stored there within memory. At waking, such remem- 
brances are latent. But, in any condition of hyperpoly- 
gonal disaggregation, they appear again ; during sleep, they 
very likely occur to the patient's mind, and by this keep up 
his memory. 

Such polygonal marks are common in ordinary life. 
Not only do we often wake up at the time when we desire so 
to do, but we know without pondering it through every 
time, what we have decided to do at a given day of the 
week, or at a certain date, and we do it automatically, 
through our polygon. We set out for the marketplace, or 
the fair; we go to a lecture at a certain given day; people 
abstain from meat, go to church or chapel on other ap- 
pointed days. The coming due of a certain fixed date or 
hour arouses a corresponding polygonal remembrance. 


The sight of the calendar, by a man, even one absent of 
mind, will keep up within his polygonal memory the re- 
membrance of a suggestion to be fulfilled and on the very 
day, the sight of a clock, or a watch, will remind him always 
unconsciously of the act he must perform. This is what 
W'undt calls rightly " mechanical association." 

d. Suggestions Affecting Memory. 

These are psychical, and always posthypnotic, as to their 
fulfilment. The remembrance of hypnosis at the time of 
waking, most commonly depends on suggestions made dur- 
ing sleep. If suggested the loss of memory may be partial, 
and affect only certain points of hypnosis. On the con- 
trary should there be preserved at waking only the re- 
membrance of nervous sleep as suggested, the patient 
might even be led to remember impressions which, because 
of suggestion, he did not perceive. 

Owing to suggestion, he will remember, when awake, an 
object he had not seen during sleep; this proves that his 
impression which had not been perceived had been all the 
time stored within a part of his lower psychical centers. 
One may also, through suggestion, pervert a patient's 
memory, and this is momentous in forensic medicine. 


I only mention this chapter here, having elsewhere devel- 
oped it. 

22. Hypnotism and Suggestion before Justice. 

a. The Hypnotized as Victim and Accuser. 

There is a series of criminal or felonious deeds perpe- 
trated during hypnosis, or owing to it, on patients while 
asleep. On the other hand any charge brought by a person 


liable to hypnotism, is suspicious and should be carefully 

b. The Hypnotized as an Offender and an Accused. 

At such times his responsibility is palliated, or annihilated, 
and should be transferred to the hypnotist/ 

c. The hypnotized may also be a witness, and like his ac- 
cuser, his evidence should be strictly cross-examined before 
being accepted. 

23. Hypnotism and Suggestion from a Therapeutical 

There are two branches in psychotherapy: lower psy- 
chotherapy (therapeutical hypnotism), and upper psy- 
chotherapy (persuasion, etc.). Each of these methods 
involves its modes of operating, its indications and 
contraindications, and its technics. 

24. Hypnotism and Suggestion in Morals. 

Non-medical hypnotism is a danger, and should be regu- 
lated. Medical hypnotism often proves to be useful, but 
should be cautiously and scientifically exerted. 

This chapter, referring as it does to matters very well 
known to-day, and discust everywhere requires little 
attention. But I have thought it good and instructive to 
point out how important is this question, which has now be- 
come scientific, altho it belongs to the occultism of 
yesterday. What a loss it would have been for the science 
of man, for human neurobiology, had the scientists of the 
second-half of the last century not overlooked the condem- 
nation of this subject by the Academic, and had they 
really placed occultism, far from their investigations and 
care, within the same category as the squaring of the circle, 
or perpetual motion. 

'See, " The Semi-Insane and the Semi-Responsible," and " La Respou- 
sabilite des Criminels," 1908. 



I. The Motor Function op the Polygon: Unconscious and In- 
voluntary Movements. 

25. Historical account. 

26. Distraction, absent-mindedness, somnambulism, ambulatory 

automatism and hypnosis. 

27. The reciprocal influence of ideas and movements. 
II, Table-Turning. 

28. The fact verified. 

29. Explanation of the fact. 

30. Psychological analysis of experiments. 

31. Practical requirements for success. 

32. The unequal aptitudes of various subjects. 

III. 33. The Exploring Pendulum. 

IV. 34. The Conjurer's Wand, or Divining Rod. 
V. 35. "Willing-Game" by Contact. 

25. Historical Account. 

On May 13, 1853, during the height of the fashion of 
table-turning, the Journal des Debats gave out a letter 
from Chevreul to Ampere, which had been issued twenty 
years earlier by the Reime des Deux Mondes.' It referred 
to facts which occurred about 1813. 

IE. Chevreul, " Lettre h M. Ampere sur certaines classes de mouve- 
ments musculaires," Revue des Deux Mondes, May 1, 1833. 


About 1813, the attention of the world for some time had 
been engrossed in the exploring pendulum which I shall 
speak of further/ 

Chevreul, after experiments, inferred that *' the thought 
movements in order to perforin something may start our 
muscles, without our being either willing to produce or con- 
scious of such movements." There lies the whole doctrine 
of involuntary and unconscious movements, instituted by 
Chevreul in 1833, and pubHshed anew in 1853.^ 

In the same year, 1853, Arago spoke likewise at the Paris 
Academic des Sciences and so did Faraday at the Royal 
Society in London. Then followed Babinet's work in the 
Revue des Deux Mondes, and those of the Abbe Moigno in 

A pamphlet, found by Pierre Janet, in the bookstalls of 
the quays of the Seine in Paris, was issued in 1855, under 
this title: "Second letter of Gros Jean to his Bishop Con- 
cerning Speaking Tables, Obsessions and other Deviltries," 
The author perfectly indicates how the connecting idea of 
vohtion and the Ego, is broken by sleep ; he then points out in 
table-turning, the more or less complete, and more or less 
prolonged suppression of the action of the will over the 
organism, sensibility and intelligence that still preserve 
their activity He makes an analysis of the psychism of the 
person who makes the table turn, receives a question and 
answers it without any interference on the part of the free 
and conscious will. Since Pierre Janet's works, the sub- 
ject has really entered on actual scientific stage. 

iSee, in this chapter, III, 32. 

^In 1854, Chevreul pubHshed a book: "De la baguette divinatoire, du 
pendule 'dit exploreur,' et des tables tournantes," an important 
critique of which has been made by Maxwell, Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1906, pp. 276, 337. 


26. Distraction, Absent-Mindedness, Somnambulism, 
Ambulatory Automatism and Hypnosis. 

When Archimedes got out of his bath, and ran over the 
city, shouting " Eureka," all the movements that were made 
by him in order to preserve his equilibrium' were involun- 
tary and unconscious. When Xavier de Maistre decided 
to go to the Court of Versailles, and found himself at the 
door of Mme. de Haut-Castel; when he put his stockings on 
the wrong way, and when, had M. Toanetti not warned 
him, he would have gone out without his sword, he was act- 
ing involuntarily and unconsciously. Similar things oc- 
cur to everyone of us in normal life when in the condition 
of absent-mindedness. When speaking or thinking about 
something else, we walk the streets. We keep away from 
hindrances, from passersby and from motor cars. Should 
there be any step, or a gutter, to get over, we mind it. 
Should rain be pouring down, we open skilfully our um- 
brella and hold it against the wind and rain. We avoid the 
umbrellas of passersby. Should we meet with a lady, we 
get aside on the sidewalk, and, if necessary, bow to her, etc. 
All those actions are not elementary reflex actions, analo- 
gous to the lifting of the leg by percussion of the sinew of 
the kneecap. They are coordinate, regulated psychical 
actions, though involuntary and unconscious.^ 

The hyperpolygonal disaggregations may be less com- 
plete, and consequently, in this case, are not so utterly in- 
voluntary and unconscious, but they are still automatic and 
polygonal to a more or less extent. Such are actions of 
habit, instinct and passion through a gregarious impulse. 

In natural sleep many people talk, shout, move and sit up 
on their beds. Those are involuntary and unconscious 
movements. But they are more perceivable and coor- 

'Crj-ptoid phenomena of Boirac. 


dinate in somnambulism. Lady Macbeth, in Shakes- 
peare's famous scene, dresses herself in clever manner, 
writes correctly and walks without stumbling though com- 
ing across people whom she does not see. As a physician 
says, the somnambulist is enjoying the privileges of sleep as if 
he were awake. From a certain point of view he is acting 
better than if awake. He can walk over a roof or cor- 
nices without any giddiness, since he has no consciousness 
of danger. He keeps an instinctive and automatical equi- 
librium far superior to the intelligent and conscious equi- 
librium preserved when awake. 

Instances given of ambulatory automatism are also 
strange. People are met with who not only walk in the 
streets without coming across hindrances or arousing any- 
one's attention, but who ride in a stage or a railway car in 
a regular manner after having procured a ticket at the office. 
They also eat during the journey. All this is done uncon- 
sciously and involuntarily. 

In the preceding chapter, I have dealt with intrahyp- 
notic and posthypnotic suggestions. All movements (and 
they are sometimes complex and numerous when performed 
by the subject in hypnosis, either total or partial), are in- 
voluntary and unconscious. 

Therefore an experimental demonstration is acquired. 
There are, in physiology and physiopathology — i. e. in 
human neurobiology apart from voluntary and conscious 
movements (that have been known), involuntary and un- 
conscious movements that have been well defined and 
analyzed since Pierre Janet's works were issued. 

27. The Reciprocal Influence of Ideas and Move- 

Such involuntary and unconscious, or automatical move- 
ments, are psychical like the others; their starting point is 


in the neurones of the cortex, hke the others. But this 
point Hes in the neurones of the lower psychism instead of 
being placed in the neurones of center 0. They are liable 
to the same principles as any other movements. 

One of those principles will prove quite useful when 
regarding our actual survey; it is the principle of the recip- 
rocal relations of movements to ideas. We are used to seeing 
an idea precede and cause movements. This is quite right. 
But, according to their constitution, there is in various de- 
grees an appreciable inclination in certain subjects to mani- 
fest their ideas by means of movements or acts. In refer- 
ence to mediums I shall discuss again this proposition 
which I merely mention here as a physiological principle. 
But an inverse relation may exist between an idea and an 
act, i. e. an action may precede and provoke the idea. 

Thus, ideas of anger or prayer are caused in the polygon 
of a subject in hypnosis by giving his limbs the usual atti- 
tude exprest by such psychical conditions. With some 
patients who are seized with an organic lesion of the brain, 
ideas of sadness may be caused by a fit of tears. ^ 

The matter is well settled, apart from hypnosis and nerv- 
ous pathology, as has been established by the famous passage 
from Dugald Stewart, quoted by Binet and Fere: ''In the 
same manner as any emotion of the soul may arouse a sensi- 
tive feeling in the body, likewise, when we give a violent 
expression to our countenance together with suitable ges- 
tures, we feel to some extent the emotion responsive to the 
artificial emotion given to our gestures. Mr. Burke de- 
clares that he has often felt the passion of anger aroused in 
him when he counterfeited the external symptoms of that 
passion. It is asserted, as Mr. Burke observes a little 

'C/. my lecture on " Ceux qui sont tristes parce qu'ils Pleurent, et Ceux 
qui Pleurent Parce qu'ils sont Tristes," Province Medicate, 1905, No. 2. 


further on, that when Campanella, a great philosopher and 
physiognomist, wished to know what was occurring in the 
mind of another person, he used to do his best to counterfeit ^ 
his actual attitude and countenance, while he was at the 
same time concentrating his attention on his own condition." 
St. Francis of Sales has said that " in barren moments it 
is sometimes convenient to stimulate one's heart by some 
attitude or movement of external devoutness." Georges 
Dumas^ adds: ''Has it not been repeatedly said by modern 
psychologists that when expressing a feeUng, one is already 
partially experiencing it?" 

This principle of the reciprocal relation of movements to 
ideas applies to the activity of the lower psychism, as well 
as to the activity of 0. The knowledge which has been 
scientifically settled nowadays of these involuntary and 
unconscious movements and of their laws, has enabled us to 
render scientific a part of occultism which I am going to 


28. The Fact Verified. 

One should at first convince one's self that in certain cases 
tables are really turned. Around the table are people of 
absolute good faith whose hands are placed upon it, i. e. 
people who are not voluntarily pushing, and so fail to per- 
ceive that they are involuntarily pushing it. The time has 
passed when it was right to assert that there was always 
delusion or imposture in table-turning. I myself made, 
long ago, very strict experiments with several of my col- 
leagues in a faculty laboratory, and may declare that no- 
body present was voluntarily and consciously pushing the 

'Georges Dumas, "Comment Aiment les Mystiques Chretiens," Revue 
des Deux Mondes, September 15, 1906, p. 319. 


table, although it was turning, and sometimes with an ex- 
treme speed. We also made hats and plates turn. I re- 
member the case of a skeptical young lady to whom I re- 
lated this. She thereupon held her hands in position upon 
a plate (she alone and without being held fast) . Soon after- 
ward she was very much frightened on finding that the 
plate was turning rapidly. We removed towards a wall, or 
a corner of the room, a table on coasters. We caused it to 
lift up a leg, give forth raps, and so answer our questions in 
spiritualistic language. Therefore, the table was turning 
without any juggling or tricks. None among the by- 
standers was believing or feeling that he pushed. And still, 
one was pushing, but unconsciously and involuntarily. 

29. Explanations of the Fact. 

In a book from which I have already quoted, ChevreuP 
declares that his own experiment proved that an uncon- 
scious muscular action may explain movements of tables 
that are turning, knocking or speaking. "As a conse- 
quence," he says, "the power to make a table knock with 
one leg or another being once acquired, together with a belief 
in the intelligence of this table, I can understand how a 
question asked of the table, will arouse in the operating 
person, unknown to himself a thought whose consequence 
is a muscular movement that makes one of the legs of the 
table knock, according to the answer which this person 
deems the most proper. It seems that Faraday was the first 
experimentalist who ever contrived to show acts done by the 
hands of operators. Between each hand and the table, he 
placed two very smooth pasteboard disks connected by 
means of a partly hardened paste. To the lower disk 
(the one next to the table) is fixed a piece of sandpaper. 

' See Maxwell, " Travail Cit6 des Annales," p. 351. 


After the rotation of the table it was found that the upper 
disk had moved on the lower one in the direction of the rota- 
tion of the table. Thus the impulsion had obviously orig- 
inated in the hands. The lower disk would have moved 
more than the upper one had the impulsion come from the 

At another time he placed mica between the hands and the 
table. When the mica was sticking fast to the table, the 
table was turning; in case the mica was not adhering to 
it, the table stood motionless. 

There is another experiment to be described. A disk 
having been placed between the hand and the table, was 
fixt to the lower part of a spindle, whose longer part indi- 
cated and amplified the smallest movements of the disk. 
Previous to the rotation of the table, the spindle revealed 
movements in the disk. 

At the same time (1854) Strombo of Athens, made the 
following experiments- a very unsteady layer of talc was 
spread over a table ; the fingers of the experimentalists when 
gliding on the table failed to put it in motion. Therefore, 
the hands were moving. But as Pierre Janet observes, 
with de Mirville, it was perhaps unnecessary to employ so 
many instruments in order to show us that the hand of the 
medium was moving. We suspected it somehow. The 
best mediums are those who need no tables, and hold their 
pencils themselves, so that everyone is able to see the move- 
ment of their hands. But we should explain how this 
movement may be involuntary and unconscious, although 
it is intelligent." 

We have thus, in our discussion, well-established the exist- 
ence of involuntary and unconscious movements. It 
seems to me that it has been worth while to verify the sci- 
entifical reality of these movements. The matter is itself 
quite interesting, and fifty years ago it did violence to many 


ideas that were prevalent. It can be understood how, 
previous to those explanations, such table movements, were 
able to stimulate the imagination, readily arouse an idea of 
divination or witchcraft, and become temptations to jug- 
glers and conjurers. 

30. Psychological Analysis of Experiments. 

We should investigate a little more closely the psychical 
phenomena in those experiments. A certain number of 
persons, all equals, gather around a table. Their hands 
make a chain after the familiar way. The center O of all the 
bystanders is very much occupied and makes no trifling 
possible. No one is talking. This is important. In each 
of the bystanders puts its polygon in expectant attention, 
i. e. the seance which has begun in a free and voluntary 
manner, is to go on polygonally; has presided over its 
management and later on will witness the results if any. 
But for the present it is not concerned in managing the ex- 
periments or censuring them. It is abstracted. The poly- 
gon alone is to superintend the continuation of the experi- 

After a period which at times is very short, an involun- 
tary and unconscious movement is made by one of the poly- 
gons (unknown to 0). One of the experimentalists, being 
more nervous than the others, and attracted by the idea of 
a rotation of the table (the only idea formed upon the poly- 
gon and preserved within it by 0), is involuntarily and un- 
consciously pushing. In consequence, all the other poly- 
gons, or at least a certain number of them, stimulated by 
the beginning of movements in the table, are pushing also, 
and in the same direction, but always unconsciously and in- 
voluntarily, with a strength that keeps on increasing. 

At this moment (this is the third degree), is astounded at 
seeing the table turn, since it does not realize, even after- 


wards that its disaggregated polygon is the agent of that 
queer phenomenon and the real motor of the table. 

In short, I may say that the phenomenon consists of two 
elements: First, disaggregation of the polygon, which being 
stimulated by but no longer connected by it, is acting 
through its own activity. Disaggregation is complete, 
especially as to the organs of recurrence — i. e. the organs 
which, when permeable make conscious of the polygonal 
activity. Second, spontaneous movements, unconscious in- 
voluntary movements of the polygon; movements that lead 
to the moving of the table which verifies, although it is 
not conscious of its mode of operating. 

Thus it may be perceived that hyperpolygonal disaggre- 
gation is not all that there is in the phenomenon. Hyper- 
polygonal disaggregation is occurring in many different 
conditions. Such different conditions are distinguishable 
owing to the second concomitant element. The second ele- 
ment here consists of those little minute movements which 
are superposed, and finally cause appreciable results, al- 
though they are unconscious and involuntary; i. e. having 
placed its polygon in the condition required, is no more con- 
cerned in the matter, and waits for the results, after having 
broken the chain by which it is connected with the polygon.* 

31. Practical Requirements for Success. 

One may readily infer that certain conditions for the suc- 
cess of experiments are necessarily required. Every one 
must give not only plaindealing, but also be very much con- 
cerned and attentive. Should an in any way whatever be 
skeptical, or make fun or lead astray the attention of others, 

'See also on this matter, Th. Flournoy, " Note sur une communication 
Typtologique " ; and de Luzemberger, "A propos des Communications 
Typtologiques," Journal de Psychologie Normale et Pathologique, 1905, 
t. II, No. 6, p. 481. 


the polygons will be no longer in that special condition 
of expectant attention which cannot be dispensed with as 
far as regards the production of the initial movement and 
the subsequent production of any consecutive movements. 

The code settled upon by famous experimentalists with 
table-turning, such as Agenor de Gasparin/ is quite 
curious. For example, we are told that in order to man- 
age the table in strict order, one should be confident. Again 
it is said : '' Bring here your whole intelligence and attention ; 
but do not come with a mind of doubt, or analysis, or of 
malevolent suspicion respecting things or persons. You would 
be overpowered, and at the same time you would paralyze the 
others. In case the tables meet with disfavor or nervous 
preoccupation, they will pout. Above all there must be no 
drawing-room experiments. Serious success is impossible 
in them. Amidst absent-mindedness, babbling or fun, 
operators obviously waste their fluid power. " Bystanders 
should not interfere with the matter; nor make any obser- 
vations aloud while it is going on. Operators whose fluid 
power has been tested are needed. One of the experimental- 
ists should manage the proceedings, and he alone should 
give the necessary signals or commands. If everyone inter- 
feres, nothing will come of it. One should unite and 
concentrate one's thoughts; this is an indispensable con- 
dition of success. Should there be a number to be guessed, 
he who knows it, must strongly think about it. Others have 
nothing to do, except to forget the table." 

Here may well be found the distinction between the poly- 
gons that are to provoke the initial movement, and the poly- 
gons that should passively comply with the movement 

'Comte Agenor de Gasparin, " Des tables tournantes, du surnaturel en 
g^n^ral et des esprits," 2d ed., 1885, t. I, p. 83. 


32. Unequal Aptitudes of Various Subjects. 

In order to simplify a psychological analysis of the experi- 
ment, I have assumed that all operators around a table are 
equal. They must at least be supposed to be so at the be- 
ginning of the experiments. But after a few attempts it 
soon becomes evident that if there are persons who hinder 
table-turning and make seances fail; there are on the con- 
trary others who make them succeed more readily and 
more quickly than their neighbors do. 

A polygon starts the movement, as I have said ; the others 
only following it. Therefore, one may perceive a difference 
between polygons in this circle of would-be equal individ- 
uals. It would formerly have been asserted that subjects 
had not an equal amount of fluid or magnetic power. We 
say nowadays that there are polygons more or less inclined 
to be put into action. Here the medium whom we may 
have already seen peeping in appears again.^ 

For the present I only verify the fact that makes an im- 
pression on any one taking interest in experiments of 
this kind. All are not equally qualified for making tables 
turn. One might find in a circle persons whose presence is 
a token of quick and complete success; they are minor me- 
diums who are more readily active than others and who are 
more easily stimulating to their neighbors. Subjects are 
frequently met with who find resources in themselves and 
act alone; these are real mediums. 


33. The exploring pendulum (Gerboin, Chevreul),'' con- 
sists of a heavy article hanging upon a flexible piece of 
thread. It is an instrument used at afl times for divination. 

'Chapter VI (and not IV) of this same 2nd part. 
* See Maxwell, work quoted in the Annales, p. 283. 


The thread is held, with two fingers, hanging over certain 
substances, and though the arm be motionless, the pendu- 
lum oscillates. The experiment is easily made by suspend- 
ing a button or a ring to a thread; the thread is fixt to your 
thumb while the button is pending in a glass. You con- 
centrate your attention and the button is seen to be knock- 
ing the glass.* 

The early experimenters and some among their modern 
followers used a ring in the middle of a circle on which were 
inscribed the letters of the alphabet. The ring was seen to 
be successively knocking various letters that formed words. 
In the eighteenth century and in the beginning of the nine- 
teenth, it was asserted that the ring moved in different ways 
when held over certain substances; that its movement 
stopt when a screen was introduced between it and the 
substance examined. Some experimentalists beheved they 
found the cause of this movement of the ring in an influence 
of the substance examined. Chevreul made various ex- 
periments in order to scrutinize this fact very closely. He 
saw at first the phenomenon occurring over water, or a bulk 
of metal, or a living animal. Later he succeeded with a 
basin filled with mercury, then with an anvil, and different 
animals. On the contrary, over glass or resin oscillations 
were less frequent and they stopt at last. Then Chevreul 
entered into a closer examination and leaned his arm more 
heavily upon the stand. The movement would diminish 
and cease while his fingers were leaning to whatever might 
be the substance placed underneath. Then he blindfolded 
himself and made the experiment anew. In this case the 
different powers of the various substances exerted no more 
influence over the making or the stopping of oscillations, 
because those substances had been removed from sight. 

*This is Herbert Mayo's odometer. 


He inlerred from these experiments that the movement 
of the pendulum was due to involuntary muscular action. 
The idea of movement was enough to produce it uncon- 
sciously. Besides "he had a remembrance, rather faint 
indeed, of having been in a peculiar state when his eyes were 
following the oscillations of the pendulum he held in his 

Chevreul adds this passage, also quoted by Maxwell: 
" The pendulum held by a bona fide person gave a certain 
number of knocks, according as I believe to a thought that 
was not a volition, but a mere presumption of the real time; 
or in case there was no presumption, a circumstance not 
depending upon a guess, determined the number of knock- 
ings; for instance, a physical disposition of fingers that 
lasted only a few moments, or a casual circumstance which 
the experimentalist did not exactly take notice of. What I 
say here is no mere allegation, but facts I have myself ob- 

I need not say, as I will repeat this concerning the divin- 
ing rod, that here I am only discussing, and taking from the 
domain of Occultism the immediate mechanism of the ex- 
ploring pendulum. The matter of divination is independ- 
ent and broader. But Chevreul has established, and it is 
still demonstrated, that the movements of the exploring 
pendulum belong no longer to Occultism, and are defini- 
tively classified by science under the head of involuntary 
and unconscious movements. 


34. The conjurer's wand, or divining rod, is a small stick 
made from the hazel-tree in the shape of a fork,^ which one 

'A missionary bishop spoken of by Cosmos (October 20, 1907), in order 
to avail himself of his remarkable powers as a spring finder, took a piece 
of metal (a silver or a steel watch, a golden cross, or a fragment of lead 


uses for detecting springs, hidden treasures, or even the 
tracks of offenders. 

The operator as a privileged person alone able to use this 
instrument, holds both sides of the fork with both his hands, 
and goes on the ground which he has to explore, taking care 
not to move voluntarily his arms. If, at a certain place 
during his journey the rod is oscillating and bowing down, 
so as to twist the wrist of the operator, who is unable to 
resist it, one should seek there in order to find springs and 

Previous to the prohibition issued by Cardinal Le Camus, 
says Le Brun,^ the conjurer's wand " was commonly used in 

Many country people — men, boys and girls — made a 
small income with their rods, and a good many quarrels re- 
specting boundaries were settled in this way. Application 
was frequently made to judges who carried in their hands 
their justice and their laws. In order to detect, far or near, 
the most hidden things, the wand was taken advice of, with 
regard to past, present, or future. It bowed down for 
"yes," and ascended for "no." One should read in Gas- 
parin's book^ the queer story of the famous Aymar, well 
known on account of his strange powers to detect springs, 
boundaries, and hidden metals. 

In consequence of a murder that happened at Lyons in 
1692, the sheriff summoned the operator. He was placed in 
a vault where the crime had taken place. His emotion was 
intense; his pulse began to get higher, and the rod (which he 

or copper), hanging upon a string, which he held between two fingers. 
The piece of metal began to describe a circle whose size was in propor- 
tion to the proximity and plentifulness of the spring. This proves how 
it is logical to compare the conjurer's wand with tlie exploring pendulum. 

'Pierre Janet, loc. cit., p. 367. 

^Le Brun, Citat Bersot, loc. cit., p. 99. 

'Ag6nor de Gasparin, loc. cit., t, II, p. 126. 


held by both sides of its fork), began to turn quickly. He 
followed his rod, walked the streets through which the 
murderers had gone, went out of the city by crossing the 
bridge over the Rhone and went up the left bank of the 
river. Then he reached a house in which he asserted that 
the criminals had stopt. The wand turned over a bottle 
which they had made empty. After this he went to the 
Rhone, detected their tracks on the sand, and got on board 
a boat. He landed in many villages, going through inns, 
and recognized the bed the villains had slept in, and the 
table on which they had eaten. After many vicissitudes 
he finally reached Beaucaire, where he found them in a cell 
among about fifteen prisoners. He pointed to a hunchback, 
whose confession soon ratified his discovery. From all this, 
says Bersot,* a poor fellow aged nineteen, who had been de- 
nounced by the wand, was crusht upon the wheel at 

Aymar was not continually so successful. After many 
triumphs, his failures became more and more numerous. 
In Paris, at the Prince de Conde's residence; at the palace 
of the Guises, and chiefly at Chantilly, where he was unable 
to recognize a river under an arch, and failed to discriminate 
different locked boxes in which there were respectively 
gold, silver, copper, stones, and nothing. At last he died as 
a beggar. MaxwelP relates how Chevreul was induced to 
investigate those phenomena. 

On March 4, 1853, the Academie (des Sciences), appointed 
a committee of three members " with the view to examining 
an account by M. Riondet, referring to the divining rod as 
used in detecting subterranean waters." Chevreul was in- 
trusted with the Account. A little later the Academy 

^Bersot, loc. cit., p. 101 

'Maxwell, work quoted in the Annates, p. 281. See also his book on 
"Les Phlnomenes Psychiques," p. 226. 


readdrest to the Committee a letter from M. Kappelin 
concerning table-turning. As Chevreul had long since af- 
forded an explanation of the rod and of the pendulum, and 
his explanation having been extended by others to table- 
turning, he abstained from issuing his account, as he did not 
wish to take part in the matter. However, "he disclosed 
his opinion to the world." He surveyed and censured the 
facts ascribed to Jacques Aymar, Bleton, Miles. Martin and 
Ollivet, and to Expie, Barde and de Pernan. 

If I set cheats or jokers aside, there remain still a good 
many plaindealing people in this group of spring or treas- 
urefinders. They make no voluntary movements; they 
are only moving involuntarily and unconsciously in an 
automatical or polygonal manner. Some hints inferred 
from different circumstances make the subject believe that 
there lies the spring, or treasure. His thought is involun- 
tarily and unconsciously transferred to his fingers, and the 
rod is turning. 

After long experiments, Sollas and Edward Pease came 
to the conclusion that " all tests with the diviner's perspi- 
cacity show that the rod is of no use. The influence of the 
hidden object does not affect the rod, but the diviner's 

As with the exploring pendulum and table-turning, the 
original startingpoint of the polygonal lies in 0, which 
concentrates its thought on a thing; puts the polygon in 
synergy with its thought, it sets it in the required condition 
for starting the movement, but does not give the voluntary 
command of movement. This movement happens, alone 
automatically, through the polygon, without being con- 
scious of the origin. The idea of making the rod turn is 
polygonal, or unconscious; so the movement is occurring in- 
voluntarily. sees it and makes inferences from it. 

Maxwell has made two serious objections to the preceding 


ideas which belong to Chevreul, and have been completed in 
Pierre Janet's works. First, he reproaches me personally, 
and in this he is quite right, with having overlooked Barrett 
(professor of experimental physics at the Royal College of 
Sciences for Ireland), who has published in the " Proceed- 
ings of the Society for Psychical Research" (t. XIII, p. 
2-282 and t. XV, p. 130-315) a long statement concerning this 
matter "which he has investigated as a sincere and com- 
petent man." In fact I did not hear of this work (besides, 
this likewise occurs to me respecting many other works), 
and I apologize here for it. In the next place, Maxwell de- 
clares that I stick to '' the obsolete and indefensible theory, 
if facts are to be taken notice of." Here, I have to answer. 
I thought I had, in this paragraph, plainly declared that I 
meant only to shed light on the immediate mechanism of the 
rotation of the wand, and to set apart divination at large as 
well as a discussion of its special qualifications as a spring- 
finder. Provided one understands what my intention to 
investigate was, I do not perceive the objections one might 
make to this theory. 

Maxwell himself tells us that Barrett, whose work is so 
important, "acknowledges that the movements of the rod 
are probably of an automatical order; that such movements 
are due to an unconscious muscular influence, and are to be 
included amongst motor automatisms, provoked by un- 
conscious perceptions." This is exactly what I meant, and 
I find it quite important in itself. 

In order to realize how momentous this question is, one 
should look back fifteen years upon the time when the rod 
belonged to Occultism. The rod was then taken advice of. 
It was thought that the spring or treasure had an influence 
over the rod. Nowadays, the matter has emerged from 
Occultism and entered the domain of Science, since it is 
known that the rod is directly put in motion, neither by a 


spring nor by a treasure; neither by a fluid nor by an occult 
action whatever, but only by the psychism of the seeker. 

In this matter now made scientific, if we investigate the 
reason why some subjects are more qualified than others for 
detecting a spring or a treasure, we have a second question, 
qmte distinct from the other. It is so different that some 
spring-finders, such as Bleton, usually dispense with a wand. 
Therefore both questions are absolutely distinct and inde- 
pendent. While discussing the mechanism of table-turn- 
ing, or automatical handwriting, I do not pretend to solve 
the whole matter of divination or premonitions. 

Consequently, I believe I am right in asserting that 
Chevreul's theory is still exact as regards the divining rod. 
It makes this fact, which was occult up to that time, enter 
the realm of physiological facts, scientifically known. It 
is old, indeed, but not so obsolete. I should rather say that 
it has been made new, owing to recent investigations In 
any case, it remains absolutely defensible in a scientific 

There is now another question to solve: i. e. the special 
psychical attitude by which certain persons are able to de- 
tect a spring. There is a French proverb that " It is not 
enough to wish to be a spring-finder in order to acquire the 
powTr of such."^ 

Any polygon is not fit for this function, just as we have 
seen already that any one is not able to make tables turn, 
and, as we are going to ascertain, not everybody is success- 
ful in "willing-game." 

According to Surbled, the spring-finders foresee springs. 
"Should presentiment be only a speedy and unconscious 

iThe Berlin Lokalanzeiger (Aug. 28, 1906) relates that queer experi- 
ments as to the detection of springs and hidden articles have been suc- 
cessfully made at Wilhelmshohe, by Prinz Hans von Carolath, while 
the German Emperor utterly failed in his attempts. 


adjustment of probabilities," as Pierre Weber writes, "still 
it is always a polygonal function that is at work. In Lau- 
rent's opinion, a good spring-finder ought to combine a real 
empiric knowledge of the fields, with a power of abstraction 
that may lead either to hysteria or to a stronger volition. 
They are frequently found in persons whose lonely lives 
have made them meditative, and who are given to indulging 
in dreams, faintly guided by hardly perceptible impressions. 
This lonely life leads, as a matter of course to a great in- 
crease in psychological automatism.^ 

All the facts (and they must be numerous), that are 
amenable to the preceding explanations, are consequently 
scientific and belong no more to occultism. If some facts 
like those quoted by Barrett, prove the existence in certain 
persons of transcendental powers more or less vague and 
mysterious, they belong still to the occultism of to-day with 
which I deal in the third part of this book. 


35. The well-known experiments of mind-readers may be 
made by professional people during theatrical performances 
or by amateurs. Some of my actual colleagues were quite 
successful with them when they were house-surgeons. 

An object is hidden, unknown to the experimenter, who 
has bhndfolded himself, A person who knows where this 
object lies comes in contact with him by touching his hand 
or his temple. This person, the conductor or guide, is then 

'See R. Warcolier and Prof. W. F. Barrett, "Experiences sur la 
baguette divinatoire," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 745; 
and a lecture by Prof. Barrett on the history and mystery of the divin- 
ing rod, ibid., 1907, p. 147. 

^"This practise, quite common in England, is called 'willing-game,' 
and in France, 'thought reading' or 'Cumberlandism,' after the name 
of the experimentalist who introduced it, a few years ago" (Pierre 


strongly thinking about the place where the object Ues; the 
experimenter then goes there at once and finds the object. 
This experiment may be made in many different manners. 
One thinks of a thing to do, or a number to guess. 

First, there is nothing in it of hypnotism or hypnosis, as 
some people imagine. There is no clairvoyance nor sight 
through handtouching over the eyes. It may be noth- 
ing but juggling. Indeed, apart from juggling without pro- 
fessional conjurers, complete success may be reached with 
bona fide people. Here we find automatical movements, 
involuntary and unconscious or polygonal movements. 

The'' conductor" concentrates strongly his thought on the 
act to be done, and at this instant his thought is transferred 
— unknown to himself to his fingers. The center of the 
conductor is thinking intensely. His polygon is acting, 
unknown to 0, performs movements and by pressure or 
unconscious and involuntary attraction, guides automati- 
cally the person who has blindfolded himself. I have my- 
self made some experiments in this line, blindfolding my- 
self, and have very clearly noticed pressure or guidance 
made by the finger of the guide, unknown to him. 

It is accordingly necessary for the purpose of success, for 
the guide to be very active and think intensely of the act he 
intends to perform; also that the conducted subject be quite 
passive, i. e. shall annihilate his center O, and allow his 
polygon automatically to comply with the impulsions given 
by the conducting polygon. Sometimes the movement of 
the conducted person ceases; he hesitates, he feels at a loss. 
This is because the guide has left off thinking of the pur- 
pose. Should the guide be absent-minded, or if he thinks 
about something else, the conducted subject will get no 
more impressions, stops, hesitates, or makes mistakes. 

As a consequence, the powers required to be a good con- 
ductor arc quite different from those necessary for being a 


good "conducted" subject; they are the reverse. The 
former shoidd be authoritative and active, the latter must 
be passive, and of course has not to go into an analysis of the 
experiment, as I have myself done in the experiments 
quoted above. Every one is not equally successful; some 
are getting better results when playing one of the parts; 
while some others succeed better in the other part. Besides, 
some people are better quahfied than others. 

Pierre Janet relates the case of Osip Feldmann, who was 
successful when placing between the guide and the guided a 
third individual, passive and unaware of the aims to be 
reached, who was in contact with both of them and was, 
obviously unknown to him, transferring the movements 
of the conductor to the conducted person. 

How is it that, with the conductor, the acts of pressure 
are unconscious, and at the same time involuntary? When 
his polygon is acting, why does his O not heed it, while it 
usually heeds polygonal movements? 

The voluntary attention of the conductor is concentrated 
on an idea, or an aim. By this he becomes abstracted from 
his polygon, like Archimedes in his bath, especially if he is a 
sensory subject (either visual or auditory), who takes 
usually but little notice of his motor images, or does not 
heed them at all, when O is intensely thinking of something. 
Therefore, it is still the emancipation of the polygon 
through a mechanism always identical : absent-mindedness, 
the attention of concentrated on one idea. This is still 
psychical, hyperpolygonal disaggregation. 

Respecting this opinion, Pierre Janet observes that the 
experiment is far more successful when the subject, with un- 
conscious movements, is naturally in a condition nearing 
psychical disaggregation, as is, for instance, an anesthetic 
hysteric. Besides, it is quite necessary that the conducting 
polygon be by nature, a good motor, making gestures read- 


ily and willingly (as we will see that the medium's polygon 

Things also occur in the conducted subject's polygon. 
He might heed them through (as stated above), should he 
analyze himself; but he may also obey automatically with- 
out taking notice of it. He may even not be conscious in the 
least of what he is ordered to do, although he readily com- 
plies with it. 

Besides, there is a queer thing in this case of unconscious- 
ness of acts performed; it is possible to hypnotize the sub- 
ject later on, and sometimes he meets again, in hypnosis, 
with the remembrance of the act he had been ordered to do, 
and of which he was not conscious through O. 

Therefore, this is an automatic function of the polygon 
which is forgotten in normal and complete psychical life; 
but whose remembrance is formed again in another scene 
of the isolated polygonal life, like some dreams in which we 
meet again with the remembrance of previous dreams, and 
as in some fits of hypnotism or somnambulism, we find again 
the remembrance of previous attacks. The polygonal per- 
sonality remembers itself as soon as it is emancipated from 
the censure and inhibition of 0. 

In all the facts of a "mind-reading," I have just discust 
and whose theory I have sketched, there is always a con- 
tact, whatever it may be, between the conductor and the 
conducted. It is therefore easy to perceive the real re- 
semblances between willing-game and table-turning. Here 
and there we find unconscious and involuntary movements, 
and in both cases, polygons that are more or less active, a 
guide and a guided subject or several. 

The experiments made with a horse, Hans,^ seem to be- 

'See "Le verdict de la Commission Scientifique sur le merveilleux 
cheval Hans," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1904, p. 3S4. Stumpf, 
Soci6t6 d'hypnologie et de psychologic, December 27, 1904. Discussion: 


long to the same group of phenomena. Hans answered 
questions referring to arithmetic, or to the most common 
matters of hfe, etc., by giving with his leg a certain number 
of stamps responsive to the place of a letter in the alphabet, 
or of a number in numeration exactly in the same manner as 
spiritistic tables do. The committee, presided over by Prof, 
Stumpf, of Berlin, asserted that they had noticed in the 
horse nothing similar to reason. Hans was acting accord- 
ing to signs made by his master. Those signs were per- 
formed in an unconscious manner, for the good faith of 
Herr von Hosten seemed obvious. Herr von Hosten's 
polygon was guiding Hans, unknown to 0, in the same 
manner as the conductor and the guided in the experiments 
with willing-game. 

Oskar Pfungst, a psychologist of the University of Ber- 
lin, made a very close investigation of the phenomenon, 
and established that Hans was playing at willing-game by 
sight. At the beginning of his researches Herr Pfungst 
imagined that Herr von Hosten made various little move- 
ments as soon as Hans had given the necessary number of 
stamps. But others — the committee for instance — failed to 
perceive such movements. Herr von Hosten, who had no 
consciousness whatever of their existence, denied them. 
This is the reason why Herr Pfungst invented an instru- 
ment, owing to which the smallest movements performed in 
any of the three dimensions by the person who had entered 
it, were immediately registered and amplified on a cylinder. 
This being done, Herr Pfiingst played the horse's part; an- 
other person (within the apparatus), acted as the "Barnum." 
Herr Pfungst gave accurate answers, and he experienced no 
difficulty after the experiment in showing printed in large 

B^rillon, Lionel, Dauriac, Binet-Sangle, Archives gencrales de Mideciiie, 
1905, p. 25. " Der Kluge Hans," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, 
p. 781. 


types on the cylinder the small signs that had helped him to 
answer. Should the horse be made unable to see owing to 
blindfolding or by any other method, he would be unable to 
answer. Hans "was only observing, but very minutely, 
and interpreting signs made unconsciously to him." This 
is willing-game by sight. ^ 

•See " Un autre cheval merveilleux: la 'princesse Trixie,' " Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1907, p. 145. 



I. 36. Polygonal sensibility and memory. 

37. The sensibility of the polygon. 

38. Memory in the polygon. 

39. Facts recently " disoccultated" which depend on this polygonal 

II. Polygonal Hallucinations and Crystal Vision. 
60. Polygonal Hallucinations. 

41. Crystal vision. 

a. Description of the phenomenon and historical account. 

b. How to produce the phenomenon. 

c. Psychological analysis. 

III. Polygonal Reminiscences and Misjudgments. 

42. Polygonal reminiscences. 

a. When absent of mind. 

b. When dreaming. 

c. Before the crystal mirror. 

d. When awake. 

e. Absence of mind and waking. 
/. Sleeping and waking. 

43. A sensation of "things seen previously or alreaay felt" or errone- 

ous recognition. 

a. Some attitudes of O respecting those polygonal reminis- 


b. Description of things previously seen. 

c. Psychophysiological analysis of the phenomenon. 

44. Pathology of polygonal memory. 

a. Polygonal hj^peramnesis. 

h. Total amnesia with preservation of the polygonal memory. 

c. Polygonal amnesise. 



What I have gaid in Chapter III concerning hypnotism, 
is already proof that the polygon has a sensibility and 
memory of its own. Sensations perceived by the subject 
asleep, during hypnosis, and the fulfilment, more or less 
slow, of suggestions given during hypnosis prove in a defi- 
nite manner that the polygon perceives and registers sug- 
gestions. This ought to be carefully investigated and gen- 

37. The Sensibility of the Polygon. 

Sensation is a psychical phenomenon caused by the com- 
ing of a centripetal impression to the upper neurones of 
consciousness. By connecting themselves together, sensa- 
tions produce an image and cause pleasure or pain, or an 
emotion — joy, or sadness. 

Such phenomena which most usually involve the neces- 
sary interference of consciousness, cannot occur to the 
lower psychism. Thus, strictly speaking, there is no polyg- 
onal sensation. But there are centripetal sensations that 
come to the lower psychism without going beyond it, that 
do not reach O, are not conscious, and produce in the neu- 
rones of the polygon a phenomenon analogous to the phe- 
nomenon called sensation when it occurs to the neurones of 0. 

Proof of this polygonal phenomenon is afforded, not 
through observation, which is by nature impossible here, 
but through the parts of memory, which I shall examine 
further on, and through motions or outward manifesta- 
tions, connected with this centripetal impression, whose 
growth thus establishes the reality of polygonal sensation — 
unconscious sensation to which Gerby alluded when he said 
in 1846: "One must get used to the thought that there may 
be sensation without perception of it." 


Those unconscious sensations, when connected produce 
polygonal images, or even unconscious emotions, which are 
perceived through at the end only. The patient becomes 
sad ; he does not know the reason why. Such polygonal sen- 
sations may be examined not only in hypnosis (see above), 
but also in absence of mind, somnambulism, ambulatory 
automatism (see above) and also in willing-game or even in 
table-moving, and very likely in the conjurer's wand. It is 
by means of polygonal sensations that dreams may be pro- 
voked or directed during natural sleep. The sound of a 
bell becomes a funeral kneU for yourself or one of your be- 
loved. A lighted candle will burn into a conflagration 
stirred by the heavenly fire; it may engulf you, and you 
will be very much in danger.^ 

Visceral impressions may likewise reach the polygon 
during sleep and direct dreams. Owing to an indigestion, 
one may dream of inward sores. A person subject to giddi- 
ness may dream of falling down, sailing or see-saw. An- 
other person laboring under dyspnea, may see beasts and 
monsters that lie heavy upon his breast. 

Thus a dream may reveal a peculiar somatical condition 
unknown up to that time. Men formerly derived from there 
divinatory interpretations and nowadays moderns derive 
from the same origin their semeiological inferences of 
dreams. Galen reports that a young man dreamt that 
he had a stony leg; soon afterwards he was struck with 
a paralysis of the same side. Vaschide and Pieron have 
shown that in many dreams there is a physical substratum, 
a pathological disorder, that dreaming helps to detect. This 
same polygonal sensibility is made manifest during certain 
diseases. Thus an anesthetic hysteria does not perceive, 

'See Alfred Maury, " Le sommeil et les reves," " Etudes psychologiques 
sur ces ph^nomenes, et les divers 6tats qui s'y rattachent," 4th ed., 


but uses sensations; they reach his psychical neurones (poly- 

In the same way a person suffering from aphasia reads 
aloud and does not understand ; he sees only what he is read- 
ing through his polygonal neurones. 

38. Memory in the Polygon. 

The meaning of the word memory has been excessively 
extended. Renault^ makes it a faculty of all neurones.^ 
Charles Richet describes as a kind of elementary memory, 
the persistence of excitability, after an excitation, in the 
spinal marrow of a frog. Sollier* compares the neurone 
which remembers with the magnetic bar that settles its 
magnetic power and provokes it as soon as it meets with 
filings. Likewise, in Van Biervliet's'^ opinion, "All the 
solid, or semi-solid parts of the organism preserve remem- 
brances as well as the cerebral cortex, or perhaps better 
than it." He sets forth the faculty of memory in the spine 
and says: "Germs have a memory . . . and that memory 
is spread all over our body." This is an exaggeration that 
utterly alters the nature of the meaning of the word " mem- 

It has been rightly observed by Pitres,® that we do not 
know "why one has left off going further. Why has it not 

'See p. 177 of my " Psychisme inferieur," a series of experiments which 
prove that, in certain circumstances, the impressions not perceived by O 
reach the polygon. 

^Renault, "Le neurone et la memoire cellulaire," Annates des Sciences 
Pfrychiques, 1899, p. 261. 

^The neurone is a partition mostly sensitive and it remembers. 

■•Paul Sollier, " Le probleme de la Memoire. Essai de psychom(f'ca- 
nique," Biblioth^que de philosophie contemporaine, 1900. 

^Van Biervliet, "La memoire," " Bibliotheque Internationale de psy- 
chologique," 1902. 

*Pitres, "L'aphasie amnesique et ses variet^s cliniques," Progris 
medical, 1898. 


been said that the inertia of a muscle severed from its 
motor nerves is an amnesia of contractiHty, and that the 
mortification of a limb is an amnesia of its nutrition?" 

Memory must be kept for psychical neurones. But it 
should not be asserted, as Sergi does, that " memory is a re- 
vival of the condition of consciousness." There is an un- 
conscious memory, a memory of unconscious phenomena, a 
polygonal memory; the neurones of lower psychism have 
also a memory. I have previously proved the existence of 
such a memory in hypnosis. Likewise, in absence of mind, 
reminiscences may be gathered that reach the polygon and 
are impressed there, unknown to 0. Such reminiscences 
reappear later on, as automatical acts, during subsequent 
periods of absence of mind. Some persons meet again 
during a subsequent sleep with reminiscences of a previous 
sleep, and their dreams return from one sleep to another, 
while in the time intervening between sleep and impres- 
sion a remembrance of such dreams has faded away. 
Thus Mme. de Rachilde goes on with her dream from one 
sleep to another as do the succeeding numbers of a feuille- 
ton.^ This alternative memory is frequently noticed in 
somnambulism, inebriation, etc. 

The main point in researches is to have an accurate knowl- 
edge of the laws of polygonal memory, and of the principles 
of raising up polygonal remembrances. 

In instances quoted above, the polygonal reminiscences 
were again met with from one condition to another of the 
same kind of hyperpolygonal disaggregation, from one 
condition of somnambulism to another; from one condition 
of hypnotic sleep to another. They may again be met 
with in a case involving any condition of hyperpolygonal 
disaggregation, or a crisis attended by a second dissimilar 

'See Paul Chabaneix, " Le subconscient chez les artistes, les savants 
et les ecrivains," Thdse de Bordeaux, 1897. 


condition of hyperpolygonal disaggregation. Thus, a revi- 
val would occur from an attack of hysterics to one of 
hypnosis, from an attack of somnambulism to one of alDsence 
of mind (automatical hand-writing); from one of absence 
of mind to normal sleep or crystal vision,* from normal 
sleep to hypnosis, or vice versa. 

In hypnosis, Auguste Voisin^ bids a patient murder, 
when aw^ake, a woman in bed in an adjoining room, and for- 
get everything. As soon as awake, the patient goes there 
and stabs a hamper which was at the appointed place. 
Magistrates who had witnessed the experiment, failed to 
get from him cither confession of the deed, or the name of 
the accomplice by whom the act had been suggested. 

But three days later the patient came back to the Salpe- 
tri5re. In his countenance were shown indisputable marks 
of mental suffering and sleeplessness which he had com- 
plained of since that time. He declared that he saw at 
night the vision of a woman who reproached him with 
having stabbed her. 

Lastly, when awake, may take hold and become con- 
scious of a remembrance impressed unknown to it in its 
polygon, in a previous condition of hyperpolygonal disag- 
gregation, like absence of mind, normal or artificial sleep or 
somnambulism. And then reacts in various ways 
against this reminiscence which occurs to him like a new 
fact, whose origin does not know; it may remain anxious, 
or believe itself to be the author of this reminiscence. 

39. A certain number of facts that were formerly occult 
have been removed from occultism since the minor psy- 
chical functions, which I have just recalled have become 
perfectly known. I divide them into two groups: polyg- 

■See further wliat I say later on of crystal vision. 
^Auguste Voi?in, "Les suggestions criminelles posthypnotiques," 
Revue de Vhypnotisme, 1891, t. V, p. 382. 


onal hallucinations and crystal vision and misjudgments 
due to polj^gonal reminiscences. Both orders of phenom- 
ena have been causes of erroneous divinations. 


40. Polygonal Hallucinations. 

Seglas, and many scientists with him, consider hallucina- 
tions as a pathological kind of perception. Indeed, there 
is a phenomenon of perception in hallucination, there has 
been perception of an impression without any real outward 
responsive stimulus. But there is also a phenomenon of 
imagination which is the cause, as well as the starting 
point of perception, a phenomenon of objectivation that is 
really initial. 

What is essential and noteworthy in hallucination, is not 
indeed the perception of a merely imaginative and unreal 
object; it is necessary to believe real and outward the object 
perceived. I can imagine a man riding on a horse ; I can see 
him very well in his proper attire; I can see also his horse's 
bridle. Tho I see the man I know that he is not really 
existing. This is no hallucination, but I have received ab- 
solutely the same perception as if it were and I believed in 
the rider's existence outside of myself, which would have 
been an hallucination. Thus, the distinctive element of an 
hallucination is the coming to perception of an image uncon- 
sciously originating within the polygon, and which is im- 
pressed there with such an intensity that the perceiving 
center believes in the real and outward existence of this 
object of its perception. 

This center of perception may be and very commonly is 
0. In this case the polygon is only interfering as an organ 
producing the image. But perception may also occur 


within the polygon, which is then alone to produce the en- 
tire hallucination. 

So, during sleep in hypnosis, or somnambulism, or me- 
diumistic trance, as often as the polygon is disaggregated 
from 0, in a physiological, extra-physiological or patho- 
logical manner, the image is made within the polygon, and 
the polygon perceives and exteriorizes it, with a power of 
objectivation sufficient to make it believe that this image 
is real. 

Therefore, in any hallucination, there is above all, a dis- 
order of polygonal imagination. But a great weakness of 
the perceiving intelligence is equally necessary, whatever 
may be the group of psychical centers that are perceiving. 
This second element which is the starting-point of the intel- 
lectual central theories of hallucination, is so utterly real 
that in certain serious cases hallucination bears an absolute 
likeness to real delirium, this word being used in its broad- 
est meaning." (Seglas.) 

There is always a touch of misjudgment in hallucination. 
However, one should not take hallucination for a misjudg- 
ment. Between both there is the same difference as be- 
tween perception and judgment. 

One should likewise go on distinguishing hallucination 
from illusion, tho a certain impression may usually ap- 
pear as having provoked the image of hallucination (there 
lies the starting-point of peripherical, or sensory, theories of 
hallucination). But hallucination is caused by an impres- 
sion that is not perceived in an erroneous manner as in il- 

In short, hallucination is, like most psychical symptoms, 
a complex phenomenon in which there are an element of 
sensation (or impression), and an element of perception, but 
the intermediate disorder of imagination seems to be the 
most prominent element of hallucination at large. 


It may be realized how hallucinations have frequently 
been a pretext for, or an apparent starting-point of, super- 
natural messages or divinations, especially should they be 
unconscious and polygonal, i. e. when they develop within 
a subject who is not insane, whose center is not injured, and 
must be consequently regarded as trustworthy. 

I am now going to insist upon one of the forms of hallu- 
cination most commonly prevalent in occultism. 

41. Crystal Vision.^ 

a. Descriptio7i of the Phenomena and Historical Account. 

In the study of a haunted house by Calmette^ and my- 
self, I said that the medium (Jeanne) and her mother went 
to take advice from a somnambulist who did not hesitate. 
Jeanne was hunted by somebody who had thrown a spell 
over her. In order to detect this person the somnambulist 
placed before Jeanne a glass filled with water, and standing 
on a white plate. 

"Look at the bottom of the glass," said the somnambu- 
list to Jeanne. " I am looking and see nothing." " Look 
more closely, what do you see?" "The white plate." 
"Look still more closely; don't you see a face?" "Yes, I 
beheve I see a face." " How is it?" " It is an old, wrinkled 
woman with a black bonnet ; her teeth are damaged ; she has 
a flat nose." "In case 3'ou met her would you know her?" 
" Yes." " At midnight," said the somnambulist to Jeanne's 
relatives, "cause her to repeat this experiment; she will 
better describe the old woman." 

At midnight Jeanne was placed before a glass of water 

'See Pierre Janet, "Sur la divination par les miroirs, et les hallucina- 
tions subconscientes," Conference faite a la Society des Amis de I'Uni- 
versite de Lyon, July, 1897; and, " Necroses et Id^es fixes," 1. 1, p. 407, 
Gaston M^ry, "La Vision dans le Cristal," L'Echo du Mervdlleux, 1904; 
pp. 441 and 461. 

^Lecons de cUnique medicale, "Le Spiritisme devant la science." 


standing on a white plate. She saw very distinctly, at the 
bottom of the glass, an old woman whom she described ex- 
actly; she went so far as to describe her dirty petticoat, her 
black bodice with red stripes, her checkered apron and even 
her rings, one of which was of garnet color. Through her 
description the family readily recognized an old woman who 
had thrown a spell over Jeanne's dying grandmother. The 
whole city had gathered in a mob against the sorceress and 
would have thrown her into the river had not the somnam- 
bulist advised them to burn a living cat, which was done 
accordingly at 11 p. m. 

Alexandre Dumas* says it was through a decanter, laid on 
a golden plate and placed in the dark recess of a semi-circu- 
lar vault where some factitious rocks imitate a grotto, that 
Joseph Balsamo, who was to become known as Cagliostro, 
showed to the Archduchess Marie Antoinette, later, queen 
of France, the terrible future that was in store for her. At 
this sight the Dauphiness^ knelt down, made unsuccessful 
attempts to stand up, staggered for awhile, fell down again, 
shouted fiercely and fainted. 

Joseph, the minister to Pharaoh, put his silver cup in 
Benjamin's sack and asked the steward of the house to tell 
his brother that the cup which he had stolen was the cup 
used by his master to drink and to prophesy with.^ 

^Alexandre Dumas, "Joseph Balsamo," "Memoires d'un Medecin," 
Nouvelle Edition en 5 vols., t. I, p. 175. 

^The Dauphiness was at first questioning what was to occur to her 
new family. The Royal family consisted of three princes, Due de Berry 
(Louis XVI), Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII), and Comte d'Artois 
(Charles X). They would be kings, all of them, said Balsamo. "How 
will my husband die?" "Without head." " How will Comte de Prov- 
ence die?" "Without legs." "How will Comte d'Artois die?" " With- 
out his court." "And myself?" Joseph Balsamo shook his head and 
refused to answer. Then being urged, he took Marie Antoinette to the 
decanter, where she fainted, struck with terror. 

'Gen., xliv, 5. 


This phenomenon has been known from remote times. 
According to Varro, this kind of divination originated in 
Persia, It was, as Pansandas asserts, practised at Palta, in 
the temple of Ceres. Spartianus declares that Didius Jul- 
ius, when Septimus Severus was marching against him, 
sought the divination exerted with a looking-glass, through 
which children, whose eyes had undergone a peculiar witch- 
craft, could see the future. The child chosen was able to 
see the coming of Severus and Julianus drawing off. This 
is what happened in fact shortly afterwards. In all works 
concerning magicians and sorcerers, mention is made of 
crystallomancy. In India, the priests of older times used 
to foretell the future by making people stare at a glittering 
leaf on a wall. Half a century ago an English traveler saw a 
child detecting robbers through this proceeding. He saw and 
described Nelson with his amputated arm, tho he made a mis- 
take with regard to the side the arm had been on. This is 
not difficult to realize, as he could see Nelson as in a mirror. 

In Greece, people used to look at spring-water, and 
images became visible (hydromancy), or through jars filled 
up with oil (lecanomancy). Ulysses questioned Tiresias in 
this manner, or through mirrors (catoptromancy), or 
through decanters filled with water, or with metal balls or 
any kind of glass (crystallomancy). Some people were 
simply made to stare at a nail of the finger on which a small 
quantity of oil had been laid (onycomancy). 

It is reported that Francis I of France, and Catherine of 
Medici kept in their palace mirrors adorned with stars 
through which they could detect secrets concerning politics, 
or the plots and conspiracies of their enemies. 

There was in the sixteenth century, a kind of small crys- 
tal that was used all over Europe by an Englishman named 
John Dee. Individuals visible through that magical stone 
talked and gave information to applicants. 


In a diffuse passage quoted by Gaston Mery, Saint Simon 
relates some disclosures made in 1706 to the Due d' Orleans, 
who was to become Regent of the Kingdom, by one of those 
''rogues constantly upon the watch for hidden curiosities, a 
good deal of which had been seen by M. le Due during his 
hfe," and who pretended to make appear in a glass of water, 
anything that might be wished. 

b. How to Produce the Phenomena. 

Pierre Janet describes in the following way a phenom- 
enon which may be successfully tested by many people. 
According to some English authors, ten persons out of fifty 
are successful with it. But Pierre Janet deems such a 
number exaggerated. 

You take a glass ball and place it in a special place. The 
best way is to set it in a place neither quite dark, nor abso- 
lutely luminous, with only a dim light skimming over it. 
The following is the most usual mode of acting: the 
experimentahst should place himself in broad daylight. 
The ball is to be surrounded with screens or dark cloth. 
After this the subject is comfortably placed and requested 
to stare at the ball. He must not fall asleep for this ex- 
periment has nothing to do with hypnotism. He perceives 
at first insignificant things around him, the colors of the 
rainbow, a luminous spot ; in short all reflections usually 
visible through a glass ball. 

After awhile things are altered: i. e. the ball gets darker; 
the patient sees nothing else; reflections as well as objects 
are blotted out; it seems that the ball is covered with mois- 
ture. This is the opportune moment. The cloud is quickly 
increasing, and amidst it drawings and sketches that are at 
first quite simple may be perceived, such as lines or stars, or 
black stripes on a white background, but also more interest- 
ing and more precise lines are appearing, such as letters, 


ciphers, etc. A little later colored shapes become visible, 
such as people, animals, trees, flowers. The patient, whose 
emotion is rather intense, keeps on looking; he is pleased 
with his vision, especially when there is variety in it. 

To some subjects motionless people appear; to others they 
are moving and they disappear, bow to each other or talk. 
Some subjects hsten to this kind of speech, which is quite 
strange. Sometimes, when tested by certain experimen- 
talists, the phenomenon becomes more precise, or more 
complex, and assumes a strange mark of stability. 

The patient makes vain attempts to turn his eyes away; 
should he begin his test again, he sees the same vision. In 
such a case images are usually quite distinct, and it is pos- 
sible to describe them with minute accuracy. This occurred 
to the patient above referred to. She was constantly seeing 
the same old woman whom she so exactly depicted that the 
whole city could identify her. 

Some persons leave the ball for a moment, and go for 
a magnifying glass. When coming back they see the same 
vision again. They look at it through the lens, and images 
are cleared up and become more precise. "I have even 
seen a person," says Pierre Janet, "who could extract 
images out of the ball, make them objective on a sheet of 
paper, and follow by means of a pencil the drawing that was 
produced by his hallucination.^ 

Finally, in order to complete the description of the phe- 
nomenon I quote here the summary of an autoobservation 
shown to Gaston Mery by Father Lescoeur. A young 
woman took a glass of water, "asked for the help of the 

'I shall speak further about Helen Smith, Flournoy's medium, who 
in her last cycle (described by Lemaitre) delineates her polygonal hal- 
lucination (the head of Christ). As Helen says, when making her draw- 
ing she had only to follow with a pencil the features of Christ who had 
bent his head over a sheet of paper (prepared by Helen), at the very 
moment when she fell into somnambulism. 


spirit of Aracra," and depicted the absent persons about 
whom she had been questioned. " Then," says the author, 
*' I was requested by her to look with her, as she was sure 
that in bidding me to see, I should see. In fact, after a 
short while of close attention (and a new call for Aracra's 
help) I gradually perceived a house, a kind of small man- 
sion, rather distant, and then trees and people. But I could 
see only half the scene which was much more visible to the 
seer. When alone I tried again the same experiment and, 
to my intense amazement, I saw emerging a head of Christ, 
who looked very much afflicted. I went away and uttered a 
cry of wonder; but, as I stared again, I could see plainly in 
profile the face of the ' Ecce Homo.' Then, lessened little 
by little, it faded away. This lasted hardly for one minute." 
A similar phenomenon is described by Guy de Maupassant 
in the '* Horla," where, looking in a mirror, he does not see 
himself, and has a prolonged hallucination.^ 

c. Psychological Analysis. 

Pierre Janet, who describes and analyzes this phenom- 
enon very clearly, deems it to be a subconscious hallucina- 
tion. It is indeed an hallucination that develops within 
what is called the subliminal, i. e. in the polygon disaggre- 
gated from its upper centers, but which in certain conditions, 
or at certain moments, can witness; then this hallucina- 
tion becomes conscious. 

As remarks Newbold, an American psychologist cited by 
Pierre Janet, when incompletely lighted the mirror is acting 
as a visual stimulus on the polygon in expectant attention; 
it offers an empty space and incites imagination to fill it up. 

'According to Ch. Lancelin {Journal du Magnctisme and Journal des 
Debats, 1907), there are three sorts of magical mirrors: first, solar mirrors 
(metallic) ; second, lunar mirrors (crystal ball); third, saturnian mirrors 
consisting of dark disks of polished graphite, or of thick ink in the left 
palm of a child, the mandel of the Arabs. 


does not take part in this; it does not say (which it is well 
aware of) to the polygon that there is nothing in the crys- 
tal. The polygon being not checked by 0, gets into an 
hallucination, sketches its creation, sees various things, 
makes associations of images, combines them together, 
settles them and so determines the definitive hallucination. 

The polygon determines alone this hallucination; it is by 
itself capable of describing it. We shall see further that it 
frequently meets again with unconscious reminiscences 
previously developed within the polygon. But 0, which 
has taken no part in creating the hallucination, and does 
not witness its growth, may, at a certain moment, detect 
the hallucination within its polygon; it may become con- 
scious of it, consider it as a reality and cooperate in its 

Such revelations of polygonal imagination will astonish 
you; you will esteem them marvelous or supernatural be- 
cause they will not point out to the bystanders or the sub- 
ject himself things which they did not believe they knew, 
or which were not thought known to them, but which were 
stored within the unconscious memory of the polygon. The 
conclusion of all this is precise and should not be disregarded 
or exaggerated. 

As with the divining rod and table-turning, the crystal 
vision has in itself nothing occult or extrascientific. It is a 
phenomenon belonging to a group of psychological facts 
already known and analyzed. 

Now, we may observe that this affords no explanation of 
the facts of divination or telepathy as occurring through 
crystal. Should those facts be real they evidently are not 
explained by polygonal activity, but they do not depend on 
the crystal any more than they depend on the rod or the 

The matter of telepathy at large, as well as the matter of 


clairvoyance or mental suggestion, belongs to the occultism 
of to-day, which I shall discuss in the third part. But crys- 
tal vision belongs no longer to occultism; neither does the 
conjurer's wand, the exploring pendulum, nor table-turn- 

This is all I intended to establish, and the conclusion 
being thus made precise and restrained, it is still quite im- 
portant, since for a long while a mysterious or even super- 
natural element has been imagined to exist in the very fact 
of crystal vision, and the letter cited above, of Father Les- 
coeur's correspondent, testifies that there are still individ- 
uals inclined to detect some marvelous oarticulars in such 
polygonal hallucinations. 


42. Polygonal Reminiscences. 

I have previously stated that the polygon has a memory 
of its own, and that unconscious reminiscences stored in the 
lower psychical neurones, may at a certain moment be ex- 
pressed to 0, which is not aware of their origin, and feels 
sometimes inclined to take them as a supernatural message, 
a divination, or a telepathical impression. 

In my opinion the term "reminiscence" is quite fit for 
such remembrances, which the subject again meets with, 
whilst he believes he finds them for the first time, as he is 
unaware that they are remembrances only. This O being 
unconscious of the origin of such reminiscences, they must 
have been acquired by it in a state of hyperpolygonal dis- 
aggregation, such as absent-mindedness, sleep or hypnosis. 
They may also be made manifest either at waking or in an- 
other condition of hyperpolygonal disaggregation identical 
with the first state or different from it. Post-hypnotic sug- 


gestions, more or less long-dated, are included under this 
head of polygonal reminiscences. The following are other 
instances which will verify the fact and make it more intelli- 

a. When Absent of Mind. 

A queer passage in ''Crime et Chatiment" has been indi- 
cated by Jules Soury to Pierre Janet. Dostoiewski ad- 
mirably describes in it the unconscious retention of im- 
pressions during absent-mindedness, and their subsequent 
revival as automatical acts, whose origin remains uncon- 
scious, and in consequence appears as more or less mys- 
terious and occult. 

*'I was going to your house," said Raskolnickoff, "but 
how is it that, when leaving the hay market, I passed through 
the Prospect? I never came that way; I always follow the 
way on the right when coming out of the haymarket; 
besides, it is not the way to your house. Hardly had I 
turned to that side when I saw you ; how strange ! " " But you 
have most likely slept all those days," answers Svidrigailoff ; 
"I have myself given you the address of this place, and no 
wonder you have directly come to it. I have told you the 
way and also the hours when I am to be found. Don't you 
remember?' ' " I had forgotten it, " said Raskolnickoff quite 
surprised. " I beheve so. Twice have I supplied you with 
this information. The address has been automatically im- 
prest on your memory, and has been your guide, un- 
known to you. Besides, when I was talking to you I could 
well notice that you were absent of mind.*" 

Of course Raskolnickoff was absent of mind. was con- 
centrated on something else, while SvidrigailofT had stored 
the information within its polygon. Raskolnickoff had not 
forgotten; he had remembered it, but through his polygon 

'Dostoiewski, "Crime et Chatiment," t. II, p. 219. 


that alone had been imprest on him. Having been 
aware of nothing he had nothing to forget. Should Svid- 
rigailoff and Raskolnickoff have been less learned, they 
would in this case have believed in an occult power pushing 
them towards one another. 

b. When Dreaming. 

In sleep, which is a state of hyperpolygonal disaggrega- 
tion when dreaming, reminiscences stored during another 
condition of hyperpolygonal disaggregation, such as absence 
of mind, are sometimes met with again. 

Maury is consecutively dreaming during several days of 
" a gentleman with a white neck-tie, a hat with broad edges 
and whose countenance is peculiar. He has about him 
something of an Anglo-American gentleman," He does 
not know this gentleman in the least. But, later on, he 
meets with him and finds him to be absolutely identical 
with the man of his dream, and in a quarter of the town 
where he had frequently gone before his dream, and in 
which he had certainly seen him without heeding it. This 
bestows on the dream the distinctive mark of a divination, 
or a premonition, but as a matter of fact it is only a revival 
of impressions unconsciously obtained and stored. 

Another time Maury dreamed of an association of three 
proper names with those of three towns in France. He did 
not understand such a dream, but subsequently found an 
old newspaper where this association had been mentioned 
in an advertisement. When absent of mind he had read it 
and had preserved it unknown to 0, within his polygon, and 
finally, during the hyperpolygonal disaggregation of sleep, 
again met with it. Sleep may thus disclose remembrances 
formerly, and with more or less absent-mindedness, stored by 
the subject within his polygon, but which he has forgotten. 

Delboeuf dreamed of the term " asplenium ruta muralis/' 


as if it were a familiar term. When awake he failed to ac- 
count for the origin of the words, which reminded him of 
nothing, and appeared as a mere creation of his polygon. 
A long while later he detected the term "asplenium ruta 
muralis," as written in his own hand for a collection of 
plants, xmder dictation from a friend who was a botanist. 
Brockelbank lost his penknife, tried in vain to find it again, 
and then thought no more about it. Six months after- 
wards he dreamed and saw it in the pocket of an old pair of 
trousers now out of use. He got up, went to the trousers 
and found it. Was this divination? No, it was polygonal 
reminiscence occurring during sleep. Myers,* from whom 
I borrow the following instances, mentions various cases of 
objects lost, detected in dreaming and ever through the 
same proceeding. The occasion becomes far more pleasant, 
but not more mysterious, when the polygon adorns its 
reminiscences with a little romance. 

A young girl lost a knife which she cared for a good deal and 
failed to find it. One night she was dreaming that a de- 
parted brother of hers whom she had dearly loved, was ap- 
pearing unto her, holding her hand and leading her to the 
very place where the knife was. She woke up, went there 
and found the knife. One may well guess how it will be 
hard to hinder that child from believing in a revelation from 
beyond the grave. Still, the case is merely a part of poly- 
gonal reminiscence. One may see from this the great care 
that should be taken when making an inquiry and before 
asserting that the case is supernatural. 

c. Before the Crystal Vision. 

The disclosure of polygonal reminiscence whose origin is 
unknown to because it has been stored away during ab- 

*Myers, "The human personality." See also the very remarkable 
book of Joseph Jastrow about " the subliminal." 


sence of mind, may be made in other conditions of hyper- 
polygonal disaggregation than sleep. For instance, in 
crystal vision, "Miss Goodrich Freer," says Myers, "sees 
through a crystal the announcement of the death of a 
friend of hers, a fact quite apart from her Ego, which is 
usually conscious. When reading The Times she finds in a 
sheet which she had used as a screen against the heat of the 
chimney, the announcement of the death of a person bearing 
the same name as her friend, so that the words had gone 
through her field of vision, but had failed to reach her mind 
when awake." 

That is indeed all the explanation there is to this phe- 
nomenon as assuming a bearing of divination or clairvoy- 
ance. When she was sitting before the chimney and think- 
ing of something else with her 0, this lady had read and 
preserved within her polygon that name which she recognized 
in The Times as then used by her as a screen. She had had 
no consciousness, no conscious reminiscence of the fact. 
But when her polygon was again disaggregated by crystal 
vision, it detected this name which belonged to a beloved 
person. It dramatized this remembrance and made it ap- 
pear in the crystal as the death of this friend.* 

d. When Awake. 

When awake, may also take hold of the polygonal 
reminiscences and become conscious of them, even without 
heeding their origin and the nature of the remembrances. 

*A person "saw appearing in a crystal a young lady who was her 
friend and was riding in a carriage and bowing to her. The hair of this 
young lady was erect, while up to that time, it had hung down. Dur- 
ing the day, the person to whom we refer had in fact passed by the 
carriage of her friend, but she says she had most certainly seen neither 
her friend nor her carriage. The following day she went to see her 
friend who asked her the reason why she had not recognized her, and 
she was surprised to see that her hair was dressed as was perceived 
through the crystal." Jastrow, loc. cit., p. 75. 


a. Absent-mindedness and Waki7ig. 

In absence of mind disaggregation is loose and incom- 
plete. By insisting a little may become conscious of an 
impression stored within its polygon. You ask a question 
of an absent-minded individual and he will ask, "What?" 
He has heard you are talking to him, but has taken no notice 
of the question asked. Without repeating your question, 
you insist and say, '' Think over it, I have asked you some- 
thing." "Oh, yes," he says. He then makes an effort, 
detects your question in his lower psychism, and answ^ers it. 

Likewise, in a spontaneous manner, or under the influence 
of a strong and new impression, gets out of its absence of 
mind, and while reassuming the management of the whole 
psychism, detects several polygonal reminiscences. On the 
threshold of Mme. de Haut Castel's house, Xavicr de 
Maistre was heeding his own absent-mindedness. 

Wliile talking it may happen that you notice too late and 
through that you have unconsciously used one word for 
another several times already. This is a polygonal remi- 
niscence abruptly heeded by O. The matter becomes more 
complex but remains of the same kind when a polygonal 
reminiscence has been received by 0. It is already modified 
by a polygonal argument, or by an unconscious association 
of ideas or images. 

Myers relates the instance of a botany student who was 
heedlessly passing in front of the signboard of a restaurant, 
and believed he read on it the words " verbascum thapsus." 
But the word really printed on it was "Bouillon," which is 
the French usual expression for the plant verbascum thap- 
sus. There occurred, as Myers says, a subliminal alteration 
of the actual optical perception and those words: "verbas- 
cum thapsus," became the message conveyed to the super- 
liminal absent-minded Ego by the subliminal Ego, which 
was more engaged in botany than in a dinner. 


Cases of undergoing such a polygonal and consequently 
unconscious alterations between a crime and the criminal 
court are numerous. How many perjurers are not guilty 
because their deceit is of the same order as the involuntary 
and unconscious and consequently not fraudulent deceits 
which we have discust in the second chapter of Part I. 
The original, real and really perceived, impression is altered 
by polygonal imagination (which we will investigate in the 
following chapter), and the upper centers express it con- 
sciously and voluntarily, under its new aspect, which has 
become unknown to them and is absolutely erroneous. 
You may declare that you have met with Mr. A. in such a 
place, at such a time, whilst you have actually seen Mr. B. 
there; the color of gloves or attire has associated the idea of 
Mr. A. with the idea of Mr. B. in your polygon, and has 
finally preserved the remembrance of Mr. A. 

The impulse of passion, gregarious impulse, as well as all 
conditions of hyperpolygonal semi-disaggrcgation lead thus 
into polygonal arguments whose conclusions are often quite 
dangerous when O asserts and maintains them in absolute 
sincerity and even upon oath. 

Without the above psychophysiological analysis one 
might easily ascribe to occult or supernatural powers the 
vision of transformation, apparently spontaneous, of im- 
pression and ideas, whose origin remains unconscious, and 
of course mysterious to 0. 

/8. Sleepiny and Waking. 

Reminiscences of sleep in waking, or vice versa, may in- 
volve similar interpretations. The revocation by O of poly- 
gonal memory from sleep to waking may be provoked by a 
sensory impression having a more or less direct relation to 
the dream in question. Sometimes revocation is due to a 
visual or auditory representation. The word "citizen" 


uttered in a dream, and again uttered on the following day, 
recalls the remembrance of this dream, and makes it live for 
a few moments. An odd suit of clothes, seen at waking, 
recalls a dream in which a person appears attired in a sim- 
ilar manner/ 

Reversely, it frequently happens that remembrance of 
waking encroaches upon sleep. Very often reminiscences of 
waking provoke and guide the subsequent dream. Such 
remembrances in dreams may even assume absolutely the 
bearing of a real hypermnesia. "This intensity," adds 
Tissie, " may render miracles credible." The clerk, cited by 
Abercrombie, remembered when asleep an act he had per- 
formed at waking nine months earlier, and in a similar con- 
dition a man of Bowland met again with a remembrance of 
his youth. This hypermnesia had been provoked by concen- 
tration of mind and undeniable work at the time of waking. 

These facts are very nearly identical with those of Myers 
cited above, in which the disaggregated polygon finds again, 
during sleep, polygonal reminiscences that are forgotten at 

43. A Sensation of "Things Previously Seen," 
"Previously Felt," or Erroneous Recognition. 

a. Some Attitudes of Regarding Polygonal Reminiscences. 

Various are the impressions made on by the more or less 
abrupt knowledge of a polygonal reminiscence, as well as the 
ideas aroused in by this reminiscence, whose existence up 
to that time was unknown to it. 

a. In the most frequent cases (these are of little interest 
here), the subject recognizes the nature and origin of the 
remembrance, without any surprise or mistake. 

6. sometimes hesitates concerning the origin and real 

'Tissie, "Les Reves. Physiologie et Pathologic," Bibliotheque de 
Philosophie contemporaine, 2d ed., 1898. 


nature of the impression suddenly disclosed to it. For in- 
stance, on getting out of bed you ask yourself whether you 
are dreaming or awake, and whether the idea that occurs to 
your mind is a reality or a dream. This hesitation is per- 
sistent in some individuals. A soldier, cited by Tissie, was 
dreaming that he was tried before a court-martial and had 
given up his sword. When awake he put his hand on his 
sword at his side in order to ascertain whether it was still 

c. The polygonal reminiscence may appear to abso- 
lutely as a true reminiscence. In this case does not believe 
at all that it is a reminiscence, which it imagines to be the 
author of the idea. The act provoked in fact by memory 
seems to be a spontaneous act of the upper centers. Such a 
phenomenon occurred to Raskolnickoff in the scene cited 
above by Dostoievski. He beheved he had spontaneously 
walked to the right when leaving the haymarket, when he 
had in fact complied with a mere polygonal reminiscence. 

d. Finally, in more complex cases, by feeling a sensation 
recognizes it, because it is a reminiscence preserved by its 
polygon within its memory at large, and at the same time 
it is unable to account for the origin of this reminiscence- 
neither for the place where nor for the time when it acquired 
it. Consequently it recognizes a thing which it has never 
seen. These irreconcilable evidences, this failure of reason 
concerning the recognition of a sensation not previously 
felt, implies a very peculiar anguish, and then the subject 
meets with the queer sensation which I am going to set 
forth and analyze in the following paragraph. 

h. Description of "Things Previously Seen."^ 

One should not confine ''things previously seen" either 

>See " La Sensation du ' deja vu,' sensation ' du dejaentendu,' du ' d^'j^ 
6prouv6,' illusion de fausse reconnaissance," Journal de Psychologic 
normale et pathologique, 1904, t. I, No. 1. 


with reminiscence (in which there is no recognition, but on 
the contrary an ignorance of the mnemonic origin of the 
impression), or with the "things previously seen" of ahen- 
ists, which are hallucinations of 0. Thus, a patient of 
Arnaud detected in his memory remembrance of a sus- 
pended locomotive after an accident that happened at 
Montparnasse Station (i, e. he recognized a thing that he had 
never seen, either consciously or unconsciously). This inci- 
dent represents the " palingnostic " delirium of Mendel, in 
which a patient imagines he recognizes in what he sees for 
the first time in a milieu absolutely new objects, and indi- 
viduals that he would have previously known, and a milieu 
in which he might formerly have been placed/ This case 
belongs to alienation, and I need not deal with it here. 

On the contrary, physiological ''things previously seen" 
are really facts of lower psychism. They cannot be de- 
scribed better than by quoting this passage giving a per- 
sonal observation by Paul Bourget which I am permitted 
to print here. 

" The feeling of erroneous recognition is quite familiar to 
me. It usually happens as follows: Somebody utters a 
sentence, and before it is complete, I have a sudden and ir- 
resistible impression that I have already heard those very 
words as spoken by the same person with an identically 
same stress of voice. My illusion goes even farther. I 
immediately imagine I have already heard the answer 
which I have had no time yet to utter. Qr to speak more 
precisely, I am under the impression that I have already 
emitted the sounds which I am going to express, and this 
while I am expressing them. It is then, while I am speak- 
ing, that my illusion is at its height. I suddenly imagine 
that this sentence and my answer imply emotions that I 

»S6glas, "Traite de Pathologic mentale de Gilbert Ballet," p. 270. 


feel no more. It is as if a whole world of feelings, having 
occurred to my heart, were to occur again; they do not come 
forward, and still I feel them. I am seized in spite of my 
efforts with an anguish familiar to my most frequent dreams; 
i. e. to see living and moving a friend whom, even in my 
dream, I know to be dead. Likewise, during those instants 
of erroneous recognition, I know that the words spoken 
with the person I am talking to have never been expressed 
on a previous occasion. I know above all that my emo- 
tional relations to this person are actual, and I feel that 
those words have been spoken. This duality of irreconcil- 
able evidences is acting in the field of my conscience during 
a moment which is generally quite short, though it seems 
infinitely long to me. Then the phenomenon comes to an 
end and I have the same physical sensation as when getting 
out of a fit of complete absent-mindedness," 

c. Psychophysiological Analysis of the Phenomenon. 

My opinion is that in all these facts, or at least in most 
of them, recognition is real. The subject rightly recog- 
nizes an impression perceived before. But this impression, 
having reached the memory at large at a moment when the 
polygon w^as disaggregated, the person has not perceived the 
coming of the remembrance and fails to understand how 
this impresson has reached his brain for the first time. As 
Fernand Gregh^ remarks: "You feel that you are living a 
minute previously lived by yourself, but you are unable to 
place it definitely in the past." 

Regarding phenomena of this kind, Jules Lemaitre^ 

Ternand Gregh quoted by Leroy, "Etude sur I'illusion de fausse 
reconnaissance (identificirende Erinnerungstauschung) de Kroplin, chez 
les alien^s et les sujets normaux." Th(5se de Paris, 1898, No. 655. 

'Jules Lemaitre quoted by Charles M6r^, " La Sensation du 'd^ja vu,' " 
Mercure de France, 1903, t. XLVII, p. 73. 


rightly observes: "Our intellectual life is mostly uncon- 
scious. Objects make continuous impressions which we do 
not perceive. They are stored within us unknown to us." 

In a recent book Dromard and Abbes have expressed 
ideas concerning illusions of erroneous recognition, which I 
deem to be interesting to compare with those I have just set 
forth. " Invagination of attention '' is what they call a con- 
dition of absence of mind in which is not heeding the out- 
ward, being engrossed by an introspective observation. 
They add: "In such a state of invagination of attention, 
what is it that is going to occur in the presence of a con- 
dition of M? Usually the lower psychism (polygonal centers) 
would gather a series of sensations supplied by M, and the 
upper psychism (center 0) would accordingly convert such 
sensations into perception, which would involve a conscious 
representation of M together with a feeling of adaptation or 
effort for taking possession of reahty. If such should be 
the case, there would be no more cooperation between both 
psychisms (center and polygonal centers) for taking 
possession of M. The lower psychism (polygonal centers) 
is storing the representation of M without help of and un- 
known to 0. The upper psychism (center 0) is engrossed, 
as we are aware of, by introspection and cut off from reality. 
The distinctive mark of the representation thus stored is 
automatism: i. e. it is accompanied by no feeling of effort 
in view of an adaptation of the Ego to the non-Ego, Dur- 
ing that time the upper psychism (center 0) uses its activity 
contrary to what may be observed in a dreamer's mind. 
But instead of adapting to M this activity it adapts it on the 
image of M, gathered by the lower psychism (polygonal 
centers) in the conditions above mentioned and with the 
marks just pointed out. 

"Thus the operation observed as a whole implies two 
elements: a. presence in the subhminal of a representation 


of M as stored exclusive of any effort of adaptation; b. ap- 
plication of conscious activity to this representation of M. 

"In short, we have on one side automatical fixation of 
representations, and on the other side application of a con- 
scious activity to those representations. Such are the ele- 
ments on which most likely depends, in our opinion, the 
illusion of things previously seen. Such conditions are ful- 
filled in certain states of absence of mind, when those states 
induce in an unconscious manner a kind of invagination of 
attention instead of ceasing merely by a recurrence of 
normal activity of mind."* 

44. Pathology of Polygonal Memory. 

The various phenomena of polygonal memory I have just 
spoken of correspond with physiological or at most extra- 
physiological conditions. The pathological conditions of 
polygonal memory may also involve phenomena which an 
incomplete survey formerly placed within the range of 
occult and mysterious facts. 

a. Polygonal Hypermnesia. 

I do not think that the total of memory can be increased 
in a pathological condition. There is no pathological hy- 
permnesia that can be generalized and made real. But in 
certain conditions of generalized paramnesia, disease may 
bestow on polygonal memory a morbid predominance. We 
must understand in this way hypermnesia as suggested dur- 
ing hypnosis. Besides, in any case, the faculty of poly- 
gonal memory is not increased. In such polygonal hyperm- 
nesia an easier revival or a sounder fixation only is possible. 

b. Total Amnesia with Preservation of Polygonal Memory. 
Polygonal memorj^ may be preserved in general amnesia. 

'Dromard and Albes, "Essai theorique sur I'illusion dite de fausse 
reconnaissance," Journal de Psychologic normale et pathologiqite, 1905, 
p. 216. 


At waking time the subject offers the same particulars as 
one suffering from general and total amnesia; but, should it 
be possible to survey him in a condition (either spontaneous 
or provols;ed) of hyperpolygonal disaggregation, he will 
utterly differ from others. The remembrance, which 
seemed to be completely expelled from his brain, is detected 
and revealed within his disaggregated polygon. It is con- 
sequently possible to arouse in the mind of those suffering 
from amnesia remembrances that had faded away by ques- 
tioning directl}^ their emancipated polygon — for instance, 
during sleep or during fits of hysterics, automatical hand- 
writing, or hypnosis. 

Pierre Janet cites the case of a female patient who, being 
questioned as to the name of the house-surgeon, did not 
know it. During a conversation her attention was en- 
grossed by some other topic ; a pencil was placed in her hand. 
She was requested to write down the name of the house- 
surgeon, and she did so accordingly. Everyone has some- 
times forgotten the right spelling of a word and found it 
again by writing it automatically. 

The most typical instance of this phenomenon is the case 
of a patient dealt with by Charcot^ in his lecture of Decem- 
ber 22, 1891. 

After a violent fit, provoked by an emotion on August 28, 
1891, she forgot all that had happened since the evening of 
July 14 (a case of retrograde amnesia). She could not reg- 
ister or preserve any remembrance. Indeed, the facts she 
so quickly forgot at waking and which she was unable to 
make appear within her consciousness, she had really reg- 
istered. As a proof of this it was found that she was able to 
recall them at night during sleep. She had been watched by 
two patients next to her bed, and information had been 

'Charcot, "Sur un cas d'amn^sie retroanterograde probablement 
d'origine hysterique," Revue de Medecine, 1892, t. XII, p. 81. 


given by them that she used to dream aloud. During her 
dreams she sometimes alluded to facts that had occurred on 
previous days. She thus recalled in her sleep facts that she 
failed to remember at waking. But the best proof was as 
follows: this woman, on beLig hypnotized, found again, in 
the hypnotic sleep, any fact that had happened up to that 
time. All reminiscences thus registered come to life again 
during hypnosis, combined, systematized, without an}'- 
interruption, so as to make a continuous course and a kind 
of second Ego, but a hidden, unconscious Ego, quite differ- 
ent from the usual Ego whose total amnesia is well known to 

Bernheim^ had before established that it is possible to 
arouse during hypnosis remembrances that seemed to have 
absolutely faded away. 

He has shown that it is in the same manner possible to 
recall negative hallucinations, i. e. to blot out during hyp- 
nosis amnesia previously suggested. If led in this direction 
the subject will remember all he ought not to feel, or see, 
or hear. It may be easily gathered how, before such inves- 
tigations were made, owing to little power of imagination, 
one was inclined to see in those facts proof of an occult 
influence or of a mysterious fluid. 

c. Polygonal Amnesia. 

Finally, in certain circumstances, amnesia may exclu- 
sively affect polygonal ideas. The lower psychical life is 
much disturbed in such a case, while the upper psychical 
life, which is conscious and voluntary, may be acting quite 
right. Pierre Janet is right when he asserts that in such 
amnesia the hysteric does not become stupid as he ought to 
do, and as he would should he suffer from total amnesia. 

'Bemheim, " Hypnotisme, Suggestion, Psychoth^rapie," 1891, p.l33. 


The intelligence and reasoning are preserved, although 
the intellectual operation is usually connected with the 
preservation of memory. In the upper intelligence is 
untouched, because in those cases amnesia is exclusively 




I. Polygonal Imagination and the Linking of Ideas. 

45. General definitions and analysis. 

46. The polygon and inspiration. 
II. Mediums. 

47. The exteriorization of polygonal ideas. 

48. Definition of a medium. 

49. Trances in relation to nervous sufferers. 

50. Alterations of personality. Mediumistic individualities. 

51. Stages of mediumship. 

III. The Polygonal Novels of Mediums. 

52. Helen Smith's novels. 

a. Royal Cycle. 

&. The Martian novel. 

53. Mme. Snead's Martian novel. 

IV. Conclusions. 

54. Reality of the polygonal imagination. 

55. Limits to the polygonal imagination. 

a. Inferior characteristics of polygonal novels. 
h. Inferiority of polygonal conceptions at large. 

56. The productions of mediums by polygonal memory easily coun- 

terfeit exogenic supernatural messages. 


45. General Definitions and Analysis. 
It is impossible to assert with Claparede* that association 
always means " association of facts of consciousness." One 

'Clapar^de, " L'Association des Id^es," Bibhoth^que Internationale 
de psychologie nonnale et pathologique, 1903. 


should say " association of psychical facts. For if there is 
an association of ideas and images stored within conscious- 
ness, there is also an association of ideas and images stored 
within the polygonal unconscious centers. This polygonal 
association is subject to the same principles as the upper 
association, and establishes the personal activity of the 
lower psychical centers. 

Neurones do not remain passive in the presence of ideas 
and images that come from outside. Stimulated by a new 
idea or image, the centers evoke within memory remem- 
brances somewhat related to the stimulating impression. 
The centers are the elements of association as well as the 
means of heeding and remembering. Ideas and images do 
not attract one reciprocally as the magnet attracts filings; 
the personal nature of the subject is interfering with the 
function. Claparede with reason found " quite inade- 
quate." Rabier's opinion is that the origin of association 
lies in preceding ideas. He termed this active element a 
"power of association" on which the evocation of a new 
idea in any case depends. 

As regards imagination nobody any longer denies the 
personal activity of the neuronic centers. Neither is any 
one still inclined to accept imagination solely as a "mental 
imagery." Bain finds in imagination " constructiveness, a 
function either plastic or poetical, according to the etymo- 
logical sense of the term." Ribot^ investigated creative 
imagination. Dugas^ inferred that imagination was the 
cooperation, uneasily performed, of two distinct elements^ 
the power of objectivation and the power of combina- 

^Ribot, "Essai sur Timagination crlatrice," Bibliotheque de philo- 
sophie contemporaine, 1900. 

^Dugas, "L'Imagination," Bibliotheque internationale de psychologic 
normale et pathologique, 1903. 


Imagination in fact consists of two elements: objectiva- 
tion and creation. I have already afforded proofs of asso- 
ciation of polygonal ideas or images, and polygonal imag- 
ination in absent-mindedness (as in the botany student), 
in sleep (as in dreams), in hypnosis,' and in somnambu- 

Here is the unconscious or polygonal association which 
explains the association termed mediate or latent (Ham- 

Hobbes relates that, while a conversation was going on 
about the Civil War in England, some one suddenly asked 
the value of a certain Roman coin — a denarius. The link 
connecting both ideas (i. e. the Civil War during the reign 
of Charles I when Charles I was betrayed by the Scotch 
people for £200,000, and Jesus Christ who was betrayed by 
Judas for thirty denarii) was seen when after meditation 
for a few moments the correct answer was given. 

F6re reports that a man laboring under migraine had as- 
sociated the idea of Joan of Arc with the word biscuit; this 
term had successively aroused the idea of plates of biscuits 
placed as superimposed quadrilaterals. Then came the idea 
of a funeral pile, and lastly that of Joan of Arc. 

'Charles Richet {UHomme et Vlntelligence, p. 178) said to a female 
patient of Beaujon Hospital: "Come with me. Wo are going out to 
travel." And then, siie "successively described the places she went 
through, the galleries of the hospital, the streets which she passed on 
her way to the station, which she finally reached. She did not know 
all the places, but she indicated their particulars with sufficient accuracy; 
her imagination and memory equally stimulated, represented them to 
her under real aspects. Then, she was abruptly carried off" to a remote 
place which she had not seen — the lake of Como for instance, or the 
frozen countries of the North. Her imagination being unchecked was 
given to concepts that were not absolutely lacking in charm, and were 
interesting, owing to th^ir factitious precision. We were constantly 
surprised at her perceiving so quickly erroneous sensations." 


Does it not occur frequently to us when thinking of some 
one that we see emerging suddenly the figure of another 
individual, and we very well realize that a kind of Uke- 
ness is the basal cause of the association? But we are un- 
able to detect the common mark which constitutes this like- 
ness, or at least it is only after a while that we find it out. 

With these mediatory associations may be compared the 
phenomena of synesthesia which are sometimes the result 
of a subjacent association whose mediatory link would be 
effective according to Floumoy. 

46. The Polygon and Inspiration. 

Polygonal imagination is so real, and plays so important 
a part in psychical life at large that some philosophers have 
been inclined to make it the basis of inspiration. Ribot 
uses the term, "unconscious factor" of the imagination 
for what in common language is called inspiration. Those 
advocating such doctrines have been peculiarly surprised at 
the suddenness that marks the coming of the impression, 
as well as at the accompanying unconsciousness. It seems 
to the inspired subject that he receives an outward mes- 
sage, so that he frequently exteriorizes its origin — for ex- 
ample in using the symbol of the Muse. 

The same authors very strongly insist on the part sleep 
plays with certain subjects, and cite for instance with 
Chabaneix, Tartini, who, hearing during sleep the devil 
playing unto him the famous "Sonata of the Devil," wakes 
up and writes it down; or Schumann receiving from Schu- 
bert the theme in E-flat major; or Coleridge writing poetry 
during his sleep. Mozart, in describing his mode of com- 
position, says, "All that (the intervention and execution) 
occurs to me as a very distinct and beautiful dream." 
Ribot develops this theory, saying that inspiration "re- 
sembles a ciphered message transferred by unconscious 


activity to the conscious one, which translates it." He 
concludes that "what seems to be acquired is that a certain 
geniality, or at least opulence of invention shall depend on 
subliminal imagination rather than on the other, which is 
superficial by nature and promptly exhausted. Inspiration 
means unconscious imagination and is a peculiar form of 
it. Conscious imagination is an agent of improvement. 
Despite the authority of its apologists, it seems to me that 
this polygonal doctrine of inspiration somehow throws down 
the respective features of both psychisms. 

No doubt there is constructiveness and creative work 
in polygonal activity; the romances of mediums, which will 
be discussed further, give proof of it. Polygonal imagina- 
tion is also complete in itself; that is to say there is an ele- 
ment of association, objectivation and creation. But its 
distinctive mark is disfigured when it is given the first and 
exclusive part in inspiration. 

The two great attributes of suddenness and imperson- 
ality cited by authors to establish the unconscious nature of 
inspiration prove nothing either for or against the poly- 
gonal theory. These are mysterious elements that may be 
unfolded in both psychisms — in the lower psychism as well 
as in the upper one. They are new and quick associations 
whose structure we do not perceive. Ribot points out cer- 
tain queer habits in some authors as acquired in order to 
make inspiration easy .^ And he adds : " All those processes 
have the same object in view: making a peculiar physiolog- 
ical condition, the increase of cerebral circulation in order to 
provoke or maintain unconscious activity." 

'To walk quickly; to be stretched out upon one's bed; to be fond of 
complete darkness, or full light; to hold one's feet in water or on ice; 
have one's head in bright sunshine, make use of wine, alcohol or 
aromatic drinks of hashish and other substances poisoning to the intelli- 
gence. — Ribot, "Psychologic du sentiment" (citat. Chabaneix). 


I consent to all this endeavor to make a peculiar physio- 
logical condition, perhaps even to the increase of cerebral cir- 
culation and to provoking or maintaining psychical activity. 
But how are we to believe that this stimulates or preserves 
better unconscious activity? Why would not those va- 
rious acts as well stimulate or maintain the activity of 
and of all psychical activities at the same time? 

In fact, I believe that physiologically, with sound people, 
inspiration and creative imagination have for aids, both 
orders of psychical centers united at the same time into 
daily cooperation. In most of the clearly investigated 
cases of inspiration proof is found of such cooperation. 

"From this amalgam," says Goethe, "from this mixture 
and chemistry, at the same time conscious and unconscious, 
follows finally a harmonious whole at which everyone is 
marveling." Remy de Gourmont^ acknowledges the co- 
operation of both psychisms; he proclaims their unity, 
owing to which most notable works are achieved, having 
been first thought of either by volition (0), or in a dream 

In this cooperation is creating while the polygon is 
"ruminating" and contributing mightily to the invention 
of expression. Ribot describes quite accurately uncon- 
scious or polygonal ''rumination." 

One novel theory, which appears to be quite indefensible, 
places either in alone, or only in the polygon, the center of 
inspiration. Should there be any disaggregation in the 
inspiration, it is not the hyperpolygonal disaggregation be- 
tween and the polygon, but rather hyperpolygonal dis- 
aggregation. When an author is engrossed in doing his 
work he is not cut off from himself. On the contrary he 

'Remy de Gourmont, "La creation subconsciente," La culture des 
Idees, 1900, p. 47. 


concentrates all his psychical powers. He is solely cut 
off from the external world. 

Therefore, in normal psychism of inspiration and creative 
imagination, both centers are interfering. Provided you 
intend to make an analysis of both psychisms, or to establish 
the distinct part played by each, you must say that in a 
person is the symbol of the creative power of genius in the 
higher thought that it unfolds and expresses. 

Besides, according to temperament, the absolute and 
relative power of various psychical centers is exceedingly 
unsettled; some have in their polygon an intellectual power 
much greater than others in their whole psychism. Some 
are more polygonal ; others have still more of 0. The part of 
the polygonal element in inspiration, will, of course be 
quite different according to the subject's temperament, — 
whether the person inspired have in excess the polygonal, 
or the 0, or is one having equal powers in both psychisms. 

Thus, it may be seen that the analysis of physiological 
constitutions, classified according to polygonal association 
and imagination, necessarily completes the survey of the 
respective part of psychisms in the working of imaginative 
creation and inspiration. 

There is, lastly, a final argument, which is to prove that 
the polygonal element is not all in inspiration. Should 
Ribot's theory be real, the acme of inspiration would be 
found in merely polygonal works, such as those of mediums. 
In fact, in order to establish his theory, Ribot quotes as an 
example of subliminal creative imagination, the Martian 
romance by Helen Smith, the medium of Flournoy. But, 
in the following paragraphs, we are going to see how trifling 
and childish imagination is in those cases. 



47. The Exteriorization of Polygonal Ideas. 

We have shown above that certain persons are more 
quahfied than others as regards table-turning and wilUng- 
game; that every one is not a good spring-finder. This is a 
first and elementary definition of a medium. A medium is 
a subject who succeeds more easily than others in occult 
experiments. In order to make the matter more precise, 
and to get into the psychophysiological analysis of the me- 
dium, we must at first remember the influence of the poly- 
gon in the exteriorization of an idea in a given mental 
process, and also the principles of the eccentric moving of 
those polygonal ideas. 

Paulhan^ has plainly shed light on the part of automa- 
tism in the achievement of a determination. He shows 
that deliberation and decision are usually distinct from 
automatism, while in achievement automatism is predomi- 
nant. If now and then the fulfilment leaves off being 
automatical, it is because it needs in order to be continued 
and completed a new deliberation and a new decision. 
When I have determined to go out of a room the rest follows 
almost spontaneously. Almost without thinking of it and 
without a new act of (upper) volition, I put my overcoat on, 
take my hat, look through the window to see whether I 
should take an umbrella, open my door, close it again, and 
go down the stairs. When my decision has been taken, all 
these phenomena automatically follow in logical sequence 
and I may say as an organic conclusion. 

Inferring from this first principle that any mental process 
of volition is ready to manifest itself through a movement 

'Paulhan, "La volonte," Bibliotheque internationale de psychologic 
exp^rimentale, normale et pathologique, 1903. 


or an act, Ribot divides ideas into tkrce groups, — whether 
the tendency to be converted into acts is strong, moderate, 
weak, or under certain circumstances non-existent. 

First. The first head includes intellectual conditions that 
are exceedingly intense; ideas "that move us;" i. e., that 
are accompanied with sensitive phenomena (ideas with 
emotion, passion). 

Second. Under the second head are classified common and 
ordinary ideas whose power of exteriorization is moderate. 

Third. The third group comprises abstract ideas (with 
the lowest power of exteriorization). 

In short, we may declare that the strongest stimuli come 
from the polygonal psychism. The moderate impulses are 
given by both psychisms combined, and the weakest from 
the centers O cut off and working by themselves; or in other 
words, the polygonal psychism is much more related to the 
motor act than is the upper psychism. 

48. Definition of a Medium. 

It is known that the lower psychism is readily made 
manifest by acts equally unconscious. But any polygon is 
not apt, to the same extent, to show such readiness of ex- 
teriorization. The medium is a subject whose polygon is 
more active and more easily exteriorized than other peo- 
ple's; or at least converts its psychism into acts more 

Some polygons exteriorize more quickly and more strongly 
their inner condition. They are those that succeed in ex- 
periments of table-turning and are the best guides at 
willing-game. Experiments of various orders may be tried 
with such mediums. Usually questions are asked of them. 
Their polygon thinks a more or less complex answer, and 
expresses it, always unconsciously, and involuntarily. 

The means used by the medium to express his answer are 


many. Formerly the medium was placed at his table, and 
he may even now be placed there. He answers by using 
the legs of the table as his interpreters, and the raps knock 
as an alphabet. But in case of long conversation with 
experienced mediums, such a process is tedious and uncom- 
fortable with regard to words spoken as well as the inter- 
pretation. Such a process is rudimentary. Later a pencil 
was fixed to the leg of the table, and the medium answered 
the questions asked by writing through those means, which 
were too complex. Still later the table was replaced by a 
planchette furnished with a pencil, which was a far easier 
way. Some people wrote with a top or other utensils. 

Finally the pencil was placed in the medium's hand, and 
it worked alone, or at least wrote unknown to of the sub- 
ject, being unwilling to it. This is the automatic hand- 
writing quite well observed in hysterics, or in subjects 
merely absent-minded. It is handwriting tlirough a dis- 
aggregated polygon. The medium writes on the right or on 
the wrong side. He also uses mirror writing. Some others 
make drawings, their hand wandering at random. The 
house of Mozart on the planet Mars is sketched in notes of 
music. In 1876, the Reviie Spirits presented its subscribers 
with a mediumistic drawing representing the head of 

The polygonal activity of mediums is not restricted to 
tal^le-turning, planchettes or pencils. Speech is possible 
through the polygon. There are speaking mediums who 
use automatical, involuntar}'^ and unconscious speech. 

Apart from the writing and speaking mediums, there are 
also gesticulating mediums. They answer questions by 
gestures of the head or the hand, or putting their fingers on 
letters of the alphabet with excessive speed. ^ The type- 

»Bersot, loc. cit., p. 130. 


writer is often a serviceable instrument to such mediums. 
Many of them mimic personages in whom they become incar- 
nate, or whom they embody. 

The New York Herald has related instances of mediums 
playing the harp or the piano. The name of a great com- 
poser of the past was whispered into the ear of Mrs. Mac- 
Allister Spencer of Chicago. She was heard suddenly play- 
ing extempore in the departed artist's style. She was sure 
to get inspiration from the spirit of Mozart. She added: 
" A little while after I acquired the strange gift of playing 
extempore on the piano, although I had never learned it, 
my sister exprest a wish to play the harp. Never in her 
life had she touched this instrument. My father bought 
one for her, and she immediately played it as if she had 
practised it for years. We often play duets, and, without 
any previous agreement between us, we play extempore in 
perfect time." 

Thus one may see how various and numerous are the 
means used by mediums in order to exteriorize ideas from 
their disaggregated polygon. In short, according to what 
has just been stated, mediums appear as subjects whose poly- 
gonal life and activity are notably intense and become easily 
disaggregated from their upper psychical life and activity. 

"When they are perfect," says Pierre Janet, ''mediums 
are instances of partition in which both personalities abso- 
lutely ignore each other, and are developing quite inde- 
pendently of each other." This is quite right, but it is 
perhaps an incomplete statement. The medium's polygon 
is really cut off from 0. It should be added, however, that 
when the medium is at work, if, on the one hand, is taking 
rest, on the other the polygon is exercising great personal 

The polygonal activity has been set forth already in 
several experiments I have quoted. It becomes far more 


obvious when the medium instead of merely answering a 
question, describes things perceived by him. We shall have 
to discuss this when surveying the ''dividing into two" of 
personality in Section V of this chapter. 

Hyperpolygonal disaggregation and remarkable poly- 
gonal activity occur therefore to the medium at the same 
time. The medium's value is in proportion to such poly- 
gonal activity. Briefly, the medium is a subject endowed 
with a lively polygonal imagination, and at the same time 
with a great power of hyperpolygonal disaggregation.^ 

49. Trances in Relation to Nervous Sufferers, 
The medium is not constantly found in this condition of 
hyperpolygonal disaggregation which makes him fit for 

*It is worth while to compare here, with this conception of the 
medium, the definition recently set forth by Papus ("L'initiation," 
Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 400) by first remembering that the author 
places the lower, unconscious, or polygonal psychism in the field of the 
great sympathetic. " Physiologically, the most remarkable feature of the 
mediumistic condition is the predominance of the sympathetic system 
over the conscious, nervous system. In proportion as the sympathetic 
system takes for itself a portion of the power designed for the conscious 
system, the tension of the centers of organic life increases and the inten- 
sity of the cerebral functions diminish. When the taking of power 
by the sympathetic functions becomes still greater, the working of the 
cerebral centers comes to an end, and sleep supervenes. What has been 
termed subliminal consciousness, unconscious intelligence, etc., is 
precisely the replacing of cerebral consciousness by the intelligence of 
the sympathetic." In the work of Jules Bois will be found many eluci- 
dations of the doctrine of lower psychism in explanation of occultism. 
"The seer is the maker of his own vision, the diviner of his divination, 
the prophet of his prophecy. Likewise, in a condition of minor uncon- 
sciousness, the poet makes his poem. We now enter into the occult, 
or rather into what was termed the occult up to now. Those powers 
originating in the living beings, but disaggregated, unchecked by voli- 
tion, memory or consciousness, will be, as we are going to see, ascribed 
to the dead, owing to an error that appeals to our feelings, or because 
of a shameful quackery." He asserts that the explanation afforded by 
Myers and Pierre Janet is his own. See also his interview quoted in the 
Matin, March, 1908, and the book of Jastrow, above mentioned. 


success in experiments. When he intends to give a seance, 
he has to put himself in a pecuHar condition; he gets into a 
trance; he somehow divides into two his personality. He 
momentarily suppresses and Uves, at least apparently, 
only with his polygon. Charles Richct^ has plainly delin- 
eated this state in passages quoted by Pierre Janet : 

''The consciousness of the individual persists as to its 
apparent integrity. Nevertheless very complex operations 
are to take place outside of consciousness, without the 
voluntary and conscious Ego seeming to feel any change 
whatever. Another person will resist within him, acting, 
thinking and willing, but unknown to his consciousness, i. e., 
to his reflective and conscious Ego. 

" Such unconscious movements do not happen haphazard; 
they follow, at least with certain mediums, a logical course 
that enables them to establish, besides the regular, normal 
and conscious thought of the medium, the simultaneous ex- 
periment of another collateral thought going through stages 
of its own. It probably does not appear to the conscious- 
ness when not externally unfolded through this queer regis- 
tering process." 

When the medium is thus in a trance his polygonal ac- 
tivity becomes manifest to a most intense degree. Sensa- 
tions are associated and connected with each other. They 
are externally made manifest so that the medium gets into 
hallucinations and exteriorizes them tlirough various move- 
ments. Such a condition of polygonal hyperactivity is 
obviously abnormal and extraphysiological. A whole chap- 
ter has been devoted by Pierre Janet to the demonstration 
of analogies between the trance and the fits of somnambu- 
lism either spontaneous or provoked. 

'Charles Richet, "La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabi- 
lites," Revue Philosophiqiie, 1S84, t. II, p. 650, and "Les Mouvements 
Inconscients, Hommage a M. Chevreul," 1886. 


" At first," says he, " the generality of mediums, if not all, 
offer nervous phenomena and are neuropathic when not 
merely hysterical." ^^ 

In my account of haunted houses cited above in which 
the medium answered questions asked concerning the old 
woman, it was seen that an interruption had taken place 
in that case because of a violent fit of hysterics. The young 
girl was nursed in February, 1902, in my ward of clinical 
medicine, at St. Eloi Hospital, and my assistant, Dr. Cal- 
mette, and myself undoubtedly ascertained that she was 
hysterical. Three important fits of hysteria occurred in my 
ward and minor fits of globus hystericus, together with 
spasms, a feeling of strangulation, various and momentary 
anesthesia with use of sensations not perceived with her 
left hand anesthetized, so that she could learn the shape of 
objects and recognize them, a narrowing of the field of vision, 
dyschromatopsia, dermography, etc. Pierre Janet quotes 
numerous analogous instances borrowed from Mirville, 
Myers, Silas, Baragnon, etc. 

Charcot has published an account of a whole family who 
became hysterical owing to spiritistic habits. He establishes 
the reciprocal relations of hysteria to mediumship. If ex- 
periments in Spiritism are made to involve neuropathic 
phenomena, one may, through suggestion, reciprocally in 
certain circumstances, turn a fit of hysteria into a fit of 
spiritism, accompanied by automatic acts. The change 
may also spontaneously appear. Fits of spiritism and of 
somnambulism then get entangled and succeed one another. 
A medium may fall asleep on the table, and a magnetizer 
will be needed to wake him. 

What is known as electiveness is frequently met with in 
spiritism as well as in somnambulism. In the same man- 
ner as a subject in somnambulism will hear only certain 
persons, and obey only certain voices, so the medium does 


not work before every one and will not fulfil every com- 
mand, Pierre Janet cites many instances of this. 

A good many mediums become insane; this is what Allan 
Kardec terms "subjugation." Gilbert Ballet^ has pub- 
lished his observations of subjects who having become spir- 
itualists after a seance, or after having taken advice from 
mediums, have been led into chronic dehrium.^ 

In fact, the relations between mediumship and nervous 
disorders are evident. One may say that mediums belong 
to the neuropathic family^ or, to be more precise, that the 
medium's trance is graphic, verbal, or gesticulating auto- 
matism, in the same manner as somnambulism is ambula- 
tory automatism. 

50. Alterations of Personality, Mediumistic Per- 
Alterations of personality are predominant phenomena 
in the trances of mediums. Nothing relates them better to 

'Gilbert Ballet et Dheur, "Sur un cas de delire de m6diumnit6," 
Societe medico-psychologique, Annales Medico-psychologiquea, 1903, t. 
XVIII, p. 264. — Gilbert Ballet et Monier Vinard, "Delire hallucinatoire 
avec idees de persecution consecutif a des phenomenes de mediumnite," 
Ibid., p. 271. {Revue neurologique, 1904, pp. 304 and 447.) 

^Quite recently newspapers have dealt with the case of a family whose 
habits of Spiritism led into mental alienation. 

^I shall further discuss hysteria and neuropathic imperfections in 
Eusapia Palladino. Here follows what has been reported by Patrizi 
(Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 324) concerning a new medium, Amedeus 
Zuccarini, of Bologne: "His neurological countenance is that of an 
hysterical person. One may even suppose him to be liable, during the 
night, to epileptoid phenomena. During his childhood, very often his 
mother found him, in the morning, at the foot of his bed wrapped 
in his blankets, and this, owing to an unaccountable cause, want of 
symmetry in his face, which even his photograph now verifies, together 
with a lesser growth of the left half of the face and related to a differ- 
ence in the visual function of the eyes. Ilis left-handedness is mentioned 
or rather his being ambidextrous, besides an exaggerated development 
of his upper limbs as compared with his stature. His sensitiveness to 


the fits of somnambulism or hypnosis. A medium evoked 
Napoleon's spirit and wrote messages from his dictation: 
" All of a sudden the medium, who was speaking freely while 
his hand was writing, ceased abruptly; his face became pale, 
his eyes had a fixed stare, he stood erect again, assumed a 
haughty and meditative air, and paced the room according 
to the attitude ascribed by tradition to the Emperor." Then 
he lay down and fell soundly asleep. The medium had 
become Napoleon, i. e., he had been transferred from his own 
condition of medium to one of those states of somnambu- 
lism accompanied with an alteration of personality so accu- 
rately known and described according to Charles Richet in 
artificial somnambulism. Concerning this there is nothing 
more demonstrative than the following observation con- 
cerning Mme. Hugo d'Alesi, which is made in order to show 
the successive incarnations of a medium, i. e., alterations of 
personality, or objectivations of types, exactly as in arti- 
ficial somnambulism. Pierre Janet has borrowed this ob- 
servation from the Revue Spirite: 

"Mme. Hugo d'Alesi is a perfect medium. She readily 
cooperates with any of the spirits wishing to communicate 
with us. Owing to her a great number of souls, like Eliane, 
Philippe, Gustave and many others, have written messages 
regarding their occupations in the next world. But this 
lady is possessed of a far more marvelous faculty; she can 
lend to Spirits not only her arm but also her mouth and her 
whole body. She can herself disappear, make room for 
them, and embody them within her brain. For such a pur- 
pose it is sufficient to lead her into slumber. A magnetizer 
manages it. After a first stage of common somnambulism, 
in which she is speaking in her own name, she remains stifT 

pain was low to an appreciable extent. Acknowledgment is made of 
the hallucinations he has experienced. He has a habit of speaking aloud 
when asleep." 


for awhile and then everything is altered. Mme. Hugo 
d'Alesi is no more addressing us. A spirit has taken hold 
of her body. 

"This is Eliane, a young lady whose pronunciation is 
slightly affected, a whimsical little thing, a temper that 
should be tenderly dealt with. Then a new condition oc- 
curs; the scene is again changed, and we have Philippe, or 
M. Tetard, chewing tobacco or drinking ordinary wine; or 
the Abbe Gerard, who intends to deliver a sermon, but 
whose head is thick and mouth sticky because of the preced- 
ing incarnation; or M. Aster, a rough and obscene fellow, 
promptly dismist; or a baby, a little girl three years old. 
'What is your name, darhng?' 'Jeanne.' 'What do you 
want?' 'Look for my dad and mamma and my little 
brother.' She is playing and refuses to go away. Then 
occurs another scene. Here is Gustave coming in. Gus- 
tave is well worth mention. He is requested to produce a 
painting, as he had been a dauber during his life. 'Listen,' 
says he through the poor medium still asleep, 'I should 
want time to make some nice work. It would be too long 
and you would get impatient while waiting. So often have 
I attempted to come forth, but fluids are necessary for that 
purpose. It is rather hard to have intercourse with friends 
on earth. Up there we are like little birds. I am very sorry 
to be dead.'" 

Pierre Janet incidentally observes that this is a remark 
common to spirits. The report continues: "Gustave pro- 
ceeds : ' We have gotten rid of a heap of unpleasant things 
up here, however. No more oflfice work or early rising; no 
more boots and corns on one's feet. Besides, my stay on 
earth had not been long enough. I left exactly when I was 
beginning to enjoy myself. Should I come back to life 
again, I want to be a painter and go to the School of Fine 
Arts; also to make a row with my fellows, and amuse my- 


self with little models. This being said, I bid you good 
night.' Who is coming next to Gustave? Forsooth! the 
poet Stop will conclude the stance, since Stop is a name 
quite fit in the circumstances. He is gloomy and his stress 
is musical when he says : ' My soul sought for Love and did 
not find it. Had I had a little more time I should have 
made with it poetry. I know prose is not so fine, but it is 
late and I have done my best.' " 

" After this seance, which was most likely tiresome to her, 
the medium was aroused, and then we had Mme. Hugo 
d'Alesi as before." 

Pierre Janet is right when he asserts that such observa- 
tions are those of objective types, and alterations of per- 
sonality as described by Charles Richet and many others, 
in hypnotism and artificial somnambuHsm. To such "di- 
viding into two" (dedoublement) of personality or to such 
formations of new personalities we should join those familiar 
spirits that are supposed to inspire the generality of me- 
diums. As an example of the fact, a quite important one 
regarding a medium's psychology, I shall cite first Mile. 
Couesdon,* who readily and without any effort emancipates 
her polygon. 

" She would speak unto you in a very artless and reason- 
able manner. Then after awhile she would say : ' I believe 
my eyes are going to close.' And, in fact, her eyes did 
close. Her stress of voice was then altered, became deeper, 
and a psychical personality called the 'Angel Gabriel ' was 
addressing you in a language implying the frequent recur- 
rence of words whose last syllable is 6, so as to make false 

This is automatical language involving echolalia as to the 
letter 6. Mile. Couesdon considers her emancipated poly- 

'SeeXavierDariex, "LeCas deMlle. Couesdon," ArmoZes des Sciences 
Psijchiques, 1896, p. 124. 


gon as a new individuality, different from herself. She 
terms it the "Angel Gabriel." 

Mrs. Piper/ whom I quote as my second example, is a 
famous American medium, to whom Paul Bourget paid a 
visit near Boston. She gets into a trance with much more 
difficulty. He \vrites of her: "She looses her hair, moans, 
twists her fingers, heaves deep sighs, has contortions of her 
chest. At this moment, when she is in a subliminal con- 
dition, which is a state of disaggregated and emancipated 
polygon, Dr. Phinnit is embodied in her body, and replaces 
her own personality. He uses her organs and speaks 
through her mouth. Mrs. Piper considers her emancipated 
polygon, which is acting with its own activity, as the spirit 
of the departed Dr. Phinnit. Besides, there are friendly 
spirits whom Dr. Phinnit takes advice of before speaking 
thi'ough Mrs. Piper's mouth. Sometimes some of them would 
not only inspire Phinnit but take his place within the me- 
dium's body. Something stranger is now and then occurring : 
the disaggregated polygon is divided into two, i. e., partly con- 
verted into Phinnit and partly into another spirit. So Phin- 
nit spoke, during certain experiments, tlirough Mrs. Piper's 
mouth, while another spirit was writing with theright hand of 
the same medium. Both hands of Mrs. Piper, entranced, have 
been seen simultaneously WTiting, guided as they were, each 
of them by a different spirit, whilst Phinnit used the voice 
of the same medium. Very singular is this dissociation of 
polygonal centers into three distinct groups: centers of 
speech, centers of handwriting with right hand, and centers 
of handwriting with left hand."^ 

>(See Marsa, "Apropos des experiences de M. Hodgson avec Mrs. 
Piper," and Marcel Mangin, " Compte rendu analitique des exp<5riences 
de Mr. Hodgson avec Mrs. Piper," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1896, p. 222, and 1898, p. 231. 

'This last, in particular, shows us that we have polygonal centers in 
both hemispheres. Thus, the right hemisphere is not, as some authors 


Such momentary or partial substitutions of an unfamiliar 
spirit for the usual one may induce change in this spirit. 
Thus, in 1892 died George Robinson, or George Pelham, a 
barrister who had taken a wide interest in literature and 
philosophy. He was an unbeliever and deemed a future 
life inconceivable. Two years before his death he had told 
one of his friends that, in case he died before him and should 
he exist after death, he would do his utmost to prove the 
fact of such a continuation of existence. Foui' months 
after his death, Mrs. Piper was entranced at the home of one 
of Robinson's best friends. Phinnit declared that George 
Robinson wished to give a message. After that moment 
this spirit was present at most of Mrs, Piper's seances, there 
acting as a second familiar spirit. 

The famous medium of Floiu-noy, Helen Smith^ (whose 
polygonal romances I shall further elucidate) has a guide 
that is a spirit that is manifest to her and connects her 
through knockings on a table or by direct revelations. In 
the beginning the only guide was Victor Hugo. He made 
for Helen trifling rhymes after the style of chiu^ch hymns, or 
of "reed-pipe" poetry, that is childish poetry such as the 
following : 

"Do not repel Love, this divine substance and unfathom- 
able mystery. It is heaven on earth! Love and charity 
will be all of thy life; enjoy thyself and make others happy; 
but never be proud of it."^ 

declare, the exclusive center of the lower psychism, nor the left one 
the center of the upper psychism. 

'See Floumoy, "Des Indes a la Planete Mars. Etude sur un cas de 
somnambuhsme avec glossologie," 1900; " Nouvelles observations sur un 
cas de somnambulisme avec glossologie," Archives de psychologie, 1901, 
t. I, p. 301; V.Henry, "Le langage martien"; Aug. Lemaitre, "Un 
nouveau cycle somnambuHque de Mile Smith. Les peintures reli- 
gieuses," Archives de psychologie, 1907, t. VII, p. 63. Cf. E. Lom- 
bard, "Essai d'une classification des glossologies," Ibid., p. 1. 

^These lines of Victor Hugo as an evoked spirit have been opportunely 


Then follows a transitory period that lasts for about a 
year, during which Victor Hugo's influence fails to defend 
Helen against the irruptions of an intruder called Leopold, 
who may have been mysteriously connected with the me- 
dium in a previous existence. 

This stage of the struggle is odd. Victor Hugo is there, and 
Helen is at rest. But, at once, a spirit is announced; that is 
Leopold, who says abruptly: "I wish to be alone here and 
to be the master from this moment." In fact, while Victor 
Hugo tries to keep Helen awake, Leopold wants to induce 
her to sleep. Neither pain nor rebukes make Leopold dis- 
continue his intrusion. He teases everybody and takes 
Helen's chair away from her so that she falls heavily down 
and her knee is hurt. He assumes gradually an increasing 
authority and finally supplants Victor Hugo, who disap- 
pears, vanquished. In surveying mediumistic polygonal 
romances we shall meet with subsequent incarnations of 
Helen Smith's spirit. 

These facts evidently prove that in all such cases (on one 
side, the medium's trance, on the other, fits of somnambu- 
lism or hypnosis), the "dividing into two," or alterations of 
personality, are reaUy polygonal phenomena. As I have 
stated above, the only real personality is still 0, which is 
always identical with itself. Polygonal personalities are 
subject to change, according to the inspiration of the mo- 
ment, or to inward or outward suggestion. They are extra- 
physiological, or even pathological, personalities. 

In all cases in which alienation does not exist — i. e., if O 
is not disordered in itself — such morbid personalities are 
constituted by a certain degree of hyperpolygonal disaggre- 

compared by Emile Faguet to those written by "Victor Hugo as a 
medium" (see the book of Jules Bois): "One may infer that anyone at 
Victor Hugo's house, is a better poet than the spirit of Victor Hugo at 
anyone's house." 


gation, and by various but special conditions of the polygon 
more or less emancipated from its 0. A medium within 
whom a spirit becomes incarnate, and who is converted 
into that spirit is a subject whose personahty is altered. 
But as regards hypnotism, the polygonal personahty is 
changed and applies to hypotheses that are successively 
inspired or imagined. Mme. Hugo d'Alesi's center re- 
mains what it was before her trance, and is the same when 
she wakes up/ 

During trance the medium's polygon successively adapts 
itself to various hypotheses, lives and realizes in its auto- 
matical acts those various hypotheses, and speaks as if the 
polygon were conducted by the of a little girl, of a student, 
or of a poet. My belief is that a survey of these facts would 
shed light on the philosophical concept of the idea of per- 
sonality at large. 

At first philosophers consider such alterations, or "divid- 
ings into two" of personality, as illogical and contradictory. 
When I say individuality or personality, I mean unity, in- 
divisibility, unchangeableness. In all these phenomena we 
have been always dealing with "dividing into two," multi- 
plicity and transformation. 

Thus, on one side, Duprat^ borrows this sentence from 
Lachelier : " Our Ego cannot really cease to have an identity, 
but it may cease to appear to us as having an identity." 
He does not consent to making "a distinction between the 
nominal Ego and the phenomenal." He says : " The nature 
of our Self can be altered after a long while, but it is never 
absolutely changed." 

'Such is not the case when the medium becomes insane, as in the above- 
mentioned observations of Gilbert Ballet. 

^Duprat, " L'Instabilit6 Mentale. Essai sur les donn^es de la Psy- 
chopathologie." Bibliotheque de philosophie contemporaine, 1899, 
p. 179. 


On the other hand Binet* declares: "We have long been 
accustomed by habits of speech, fictions of law, and also by 
the results of introspection, to consider each person as con- 
stituting an indivisible unity. Actual researches utterly 
modify this current notion. It seems to be well proven 
nowadays that if the unity of the Ego be real, a quite 
different definition should be applied to it. It is not a 
simple entity ; but if it were one could not understand how 
in certain circumstances some patients by exaggerating a 
phenomenon, which obviously belongs to normal life, can 
unfold several different personalities. A thing that can be 
divided must consist of several parts. Should a personality 
be able to become double or triple, this would be proof that 
it is compound, a grouping of and a resultant from several 

As far as I am concerned, I suppose (and this seems to me 
to enable us to bring into accord opinions apparently 
contradictory) that there is in every one of us a polygonal 
individuality, and an upper one, 0. The latter alone con- 
stitutes human personality, at the same time moral, con- 
scious and responsible. It is altered or modified in mental 
disorders only. The polygon constitutes a real individuality, 
but an inferior one, quite sufficient for creating the morbid 
personalities which we have siu-veyed. Polygonal activity 
is sufficient in playing the part of a general, or an arch- 
bishop (after the style of the subject transformed in this 
manner). Normally, in a physiologcial condition, both 
personalities (0 and the polygon) cooperate and are mingled 
in their activities so as to make one and to become insepar- 
able. This makes the normal person. 

With patients, or in the physiological conditions I have 
spoken of, the polygonal individuality appears separate and 

'Alfred Binet, "Les Alterations de la personnalit^." Bibliothdque 
scientifique Internationale, 1892, p. 316. 


distinct from the upper personality. In such cases there is 
an apparent "dividing into two" of the personahty; in fact 
it marks the coming of a morbid polygonal personality ab- 
normally separate and apart from the personality that 
remains the identical and intangible Ego. The disaggre- 
gated polygonal personality may undergo changes; it is not 
settled and fixed like the personality 0. 

I believe that this conception of phenomena removes the 
contradictions mentioned above and will satisfy philosophers 
as well as medical men. 

With Duprat, I acknowledge that the Ego is not utterly 
altered in such experiments; remains untouched provided 
we have not to do with insane people. Like Binet, I ac- 
knowledge that personality is divided, i. e., can perceive of 
one or several new personalities coming forth, which during 
a more or less prolonged period may act exclusively. At 
the same time, with Gyel,* I believe that dissimilar facts in 
disorders of personality have been confused, and I separate 
the facts of "dividing into two" and alternative facts from 
those of transformation. Anyhow, I think it is unfair, as 
has been done, that I should be reproached with multiplying 
hindrances in this matter. 

Alfred Binet says: "What becomes of this center in 
'dividings into two' of personality, similar to those of 
Felida, who has lived for months in one mental condition 
and then in another? Is it possible to assert that the 
former of those two existences is an automatical life (poly- 
gonal, without relation to 0), and that the latter is a 
complete life (with the polygon and O synthetized)? Of 
course not, and Grasset's perplexity to express his opinion 
on that point shows us how imperfect his theory is." The 
"of course not" I have insisted upon (in italics) does not 

'Gyel, "L'etre subconscient," 1899, p. 35. 


appear to me to be plainly established, and does not appear 
to be the only possible answer to the question asked by 
Binet. This distinction between polygonal life and the 
whole upper psychical life seems to me to be the sole pos- 
sible explanation of those strange phenomena. The con- 
ception of lower psychism helps us to a large extent to 
understand them. Certainly a good many particulars are 
still left in darkness by my doctrine, but it evidently does 
not make deeper the difficulties of the question. 

51. Stages of Mediumship. 

We are now in possession of all the necessary elements 
that enable us to investigate again, in a synthetical manner, 
the psychophysiological history of mediums so as to analyze 
and set forth mediumistic psychology. We must in this 
analysis separate and consider successively various stages 
of mediumistic life that are summed up in the following 
table : 


1st stage. — The medium makes a table turn, or moves an object 
when touching it (as a pendulum, rod) — hyperpolygonal disaggregation, 
quite simple polygonal auto activity, without interference from by- 

2nd stage. — The medium is obeying a bystander whose orders he ful- 
fils: the medium's disaggregated polygon is obeying O of the by- 

3rd stage. — The medium obeys another medium (as in willing-game, 
and mind-reading by contact). The disaggregated polygon of the first 
medium obeys another person's disaggregated polygon, the former in 
the 2nd stage, the latter in the 1st stage. 

4th stage. — The medium answers a question: his disaggregated poly- 
gon, instead of fulfilling passively an order, answers and acts with its 
own activity. 

5th stage. — The medium answers as in the 4th stage, but his answers, 
while he is speaking or writing, are far more complex. 

6th stage. — The auto activity of the medium's polygon is at its 
height. There is spontaneity and imagination of the lower psychism 
with polygonal romances from mediums. 


1. First Stage. 

The medium in the first stage is simply making a table 
turn, or moving an object that he touches. I have already 
analyzed table-turning. O puts its polygon in expectant 
attention. The polygon is attracted by the exclusive idea 
of the movement expected. The polygon readily exte- 
riorizes its psychism, its predominant idea, and is soon push- 
ing the. table or leaning upon one side in order to lift up the 
opposite leg. Having directed its polygon in this way, O 
has disaggregated itself and is no longer intervening. It 
does not attend the acts of its polygon and does not register 
them; it has no consciousness of them, does not control 
them but ignores them. It is aware of the result only when 
it perceives that the table is tm*ning. 

To this same initial and minor stage belong also the 
exploring-pendulum and the conjurer's wand. O is always 
setting its polygon on one idea (the idea of oscillation of the 
pendulum) or on the idea of rotation of the rod. Then it 
takes part in it no longer, and the polygon, only through its 
own powers, using its special knowledge or aptitudes (as 
with the spring-finder), makes the rod turn, or the pendulum 
oscillate. This is the first stage in mediumship, a stage in 
which bystanders are by no means interfering. It is a poly- 
gonal, endogenic, or intrinsical art of the medium. 

2. Second Stage. 

In the second stage the medium's polygon is no longer 
alone. The bystander is intervening and gives him orders 
and the polygon is obeying unknown to 0. The of the 
medium has been disaggregated from its polygon, has given 
up its control and management as does the medium in the 
first stage. But instead of first concentrating the whole 
attention of the polygon on the idea of a movement that is 
soon to happen, it concentrates it on the idea of an order to 


receive passively and to fulfil without any personal modifi- 
cation. The polygon of the medium being thus emancipated 
and disaggregated from its own 0, is waiting for the order. 

The order comes and the polygon answers. "Strike" is 
the word and a certain number of knockings come. " Lift 
up this leg of the table" is the order and it is lifted up. 
"Make the table dance," and it dances. 

As in the first stage the polygon is obeying directly, auto- 
matically, without consideration even internal. It is pas- 
sively obeying and apparently takes no part in what is oc- 
curring. Its has no consciousness of the mechanism of 
this obedience whose results it is only verifying. 

3. Third Stage. 

In the third stage things happen in the same manner. 
The polygon of the medium is still yielding to another per- 
son. But here the other person, instead of being only a by- 
stander, is also a medium, who gives orders through special 
methods. This is willing-game or mind-reading by contact. 
Here we have two mediums whose psychology must be 
separately investigated— a conducting medium who is acting 
as in the first stage, and a conducted medium who is acting 
as in our second stage. 

With the conducting medium things happen as in the 
first stage. is strongly concentrating its polygonal 
psychism on the problem of solving the polygon disaggre- 
gated from O, and transfers its psychism into the fingers so 
that it is thinking through fingers; it is gesticulating its 
thought, and unknown to 0, it pushes or attracts in one 
direction or another the conducted medium till the problem 
is solved. 

With the conducted medium things happen as in the 
second stage. is disaggregated from its polygon, and is 
with the conductor medium. But in the present case, in- 


stead of concentrating its polygon on an idea, it puts it in 
expectant attention in relation to orders to be given by the 
conducting medium. The polygon of the conducted me- 
dium is thus guided by the conducting polygon. As a matter 
of fact, in those three stages the polygon merely obeys, hav- 
ing no activity of its own. 

In the first stage (table-turning) and with the conductor 
in the third stage, the polygon yields to the idea suggested 
by its own 0; in the second stage (a table that is obeying) 
and with the conducted medium in the third stage, it obeys 
another person, that is, the whole psychism of the bystander, 
or the polygon of another conducting medium. 

4. Fourth Stage. 

In the fourth stage there enters another element; this is 
the autopsychical act of the medium more completely de- 
veloped. Instead of obeying an order given by a by- 
stander the medium answers the question asked. It is still 
polygonal and consequently automatical, but it is more 
intelligent, more psychical and more personal. There is 
only one medium here. From the bystander there is need 
for no special aptitude, nor is there need for trance. It is 
also unnecessary to concentrate or preserve thought. He 
simply asks a question as he would do of anyone. As for 
the medium conducted in the third stage, the medium dis- 
aggregates his polygon from 0, and the polygon disaggre- 
gated, isolated and reduced to its own powers, expects the 
question that is going to be asked. The question having 
come, the polygon answers through the table, striking once 
or twice, whether he means yes or no. 

This is still a polygonal act: the medium's polygon an- 
swers directly, automatically, with the help of its own psy- 
chism, unknown to its own 0, which is not conscious of this 


The of the medium simply registers results, and may 
express as much wonder as the bystanders at the answer of 
its polygon. Is there a spirit? Is it the spirit of a de- 
ceased person? Is the person that was buried now here? 
The medium's polygon answers; yes or no, without inter- 
fering. So that the medium hears in his conscious O from 
his polygon that there is a spirit ; that the person is dead, and 
learns where is his grave. 

It is thus possible to perceive the autopsychism of the 
polygon in this stage. The polygon is no longer yielding 
passively to an order; it is intervening. It answers a ques- 
tion response to which is not inevitable. Its psychical 
individuality and its own activity are plainly manifest. 

5. Fifth Stage. 

In the fifth stage the medium answers questions by 
speaking or writing. Frequently his answers are complex. 
Not only comes yes or no, but sentences. Absolutely the 
same mechanism prevails as in the preceding stage. But the 
psychism is here much more complex, although it is still as 
automatic as any polygonal act, i. e., the medium's is now 
more closely related to the experiment than are the by- 
standers, and it feels quite surprised at hearing what has 
been written by its polygon. This is so utterly true that the 
Abbe Almignana " can hardly believe in the abusive lan- 
guage traced by his own hand, and he fails to understand 
how two beings, so utterly antipathetical, can exist within 

Pierre Janet cites mediums whom Myers had observed. 
They were unable to read their own handwriting, and felt 
compelled to beg of the spirit that he would wTite more 
plainly. Or they would make mistakes when reading the 
message in their own hands. 

Thus from this may be gathered how intensely the me- 


dium's polygon is disaggregated in those successive stages, 
and how it manifests to a greater extent freedom and per- 
sonal activity. Here follows an example of answers made 
by the medium's polygon in a seance of this stage/ The 
medium is questioned about stars. "Stars," it says, "are 
exactly like our globe." "Is there any air on the moon?" 
"There is no an- on the moon, else men would have lived 
there." "But God prevents us from getting out of our 
sphere." "The inhabitants of the moon — what are they 
like? " " They are Hke us, only they are unable to live with 
ail' and we cannot live without it." "Are there any in- 
habitants on the sun?" "Yes." "How is it that they are 
not burnt to ashes? " " God has provided them with a body 
that is able to endure continuous heat." 

All this is not very clever because the medium lacks 
knowledge. But there is psychism in it anyhow. He 
tells all that is known in his defective polygon. This is 
psychism (lower), although it is automatism. 

One should place within the same range many mediums 
who give medical advice. Questions are asked regarding 
diseases from which one is suffering. The polygon answers, 
giving a diagnosis and treatment, in case the polygon imag- 
ines itself to possess the necessary gifts. Some others act in 
a similar manner. They become " merchants of hope " and 
are bona-fide soothsayers. Questions are asked of their poly- 
gon and the polygon, doing its best to consider the case, 
gives the most likely answer, according to the data at hand. 
Sometimes the answer may come seasonably and correctly. 

Likewise genuine spring-finders, those really qualified for 
detecting springs, are to be included under this head. Their 
polygon by its own powers answers the question asked. 

'Surbled, "Spirites et Mediums. Choses de I'autre monde," 1901, p. 


6. Sixth Stage. 

In all that has been previously stated there is a good deal 
of psychism. But it is always provoked psychism, that is 
the polygon is acting only with a view to answering ques- 
tions. In the sixth stage the polygonal psychism of the me- 
dium as entranced, becomes even more complex, and most 
of all more spontaneous. 

The bystander asks no questions of the medium, who gets 
into a frame spontaneously or at someone's request. All 
possible freedom is then given to this emancipated polygon; 
it is allowed to say, write or do what it likes. Imagination 
is a necessity for the medium's polygon if it is to be success- 
ful in an experiment of this class. Intelligence and memory 
formerly were needed in order to conform answers to in- 
terrogations. Now, spontaneity and liveliness in associat- 
ing ideas and images are more requisite. 

In this stage the seance is interesting in proportion to the 
amount of imagination stored within the polygon of the sub- 
ject. Should he possess a good deal one may obtain mo- 
mentous results. Bersot reports that in 1853 a tale written 
by the leg of a chair and entitled, " Juanita," was secured at 
Guadeloupe, together with a story and other choice works 
of the same author. The chair was only the speaking- 
trumpet, or the penholder of the medium's polygon as en- 
dowed with a lively imagination. 

In order to show how far the imagination of a medium of 
this stage may go, one should be familiar with the polygonal 
romances constructed by certain mediums. A siu-vey of 
them is of so much importance that I will devote a special 
section to them. 



52. Helen Smith's Romances. 

Helen Smith is the renowned medium of Geneva, who has 
been so admirably described by Prof. Flournoy in a book 
already mentioned, and from which I borrow this whole 
section. Nothing could give a better idea of the extent and 
limits of mediumistic imagination than the summary of the 
two prominent polygonal romances of this medium: "The 
Royal Cycle," and ''The Martian Romance." 

a. The Royal Cycle. 

I have said above how Helen Smith had for her familiar 
spirit, next to Victor Hugo, a Leopold who was a rather in- 
distinct personage. One failed to know of whom he was the 

Helen was giving seances at the home of Mme. B., who 
had long taken interest in Spiritism. Joseph Balsamo was 
one of the disincarnated spirits that frequently visited her. 
Balsamo, as is well known, was Cagliostro's real name. A 
story has been built up regarding him. He was supposed to 
have been closely connected with Marie Antoinette and to 
have played a prominent part in preparing the French Revo- 
lution. This story has been given credit among com- 
mon readers, especially owing to Alexandre Dumas's book, 
an accoimt of which begins with ''Les Memoires d'un 
Medecin," the conclusion being "Joseph Balsamo." 

One day at Mme. B's house, where Joseph Balsamo's 
spirit was a frequent visitor, Leopold showed Helen a de- 
canter. Mrs. B. immediately thought of the famous scene 
in Cagliostro's life — "The well-known decanter scene be- 
tween Balsamo and the Dauphiness at Taverney Castle," 


and offered Helen an engraving cut from an illustrated 
edition of Dumas representing that scene/ 

One may guess how this scene, which is a work of mere 
imagination on Alexandre Dumas's part, could strongly im- 
press those who consider the soothsaying nature and super- 
natural features of it. At the very time when she showed 
Helen this image, Mme. B. expressed the idea that Helen's 
guide (Leopold) might be the spirit of Joseph Balsamo under 
an assumed name. In fact, a little later, Leopold said 
through the table, during a seance, that Joseph Balsamo 
was his real name. 

As a consequence Mme. B. observed that Helen must be 
the embodiment of the medium of the great soothsayer 
Cagliostro — Lorenza Feliciani. For a few weeks, indeed, 
Helen believed herself to be such. But later on another 
lady proved to Helen that such an embodiment was impos- 
sible, as Lorenza Feliciani had existed only in Alexandre 
Dumas's imagination. Afterwards, through the table, 
Helen asserted herself to be, not Lorenza Feliciani, but 
Marie Antoinette. 

So begins the story of the royal romance of Helen Smith. 
Such a beginning and this genesis of a double personality, 
Joseph Balsamo and Marie Antoinette — through the scries 
of suggestions they contain are instructive and charming. 
In this initial period the mediumistic story resembles a 
story of hypnotism; the trance in the beginning was similar 
to a seance of suggestive hypnosis. But afterwards the 
polygonal imagination of the medium appeared as more 
personal and threw off all restraint. 

All this would be worth mentioning in Helen's "Royal 
Romance," in order to establish the power of the polygonal 
activity of a medium and the limits beyond which this ac- 

'I have mentioned this already as an example of crystal vision. 


tivity cannot go. Leopold appears to Helen as attired 
after the eighteenth-century style, with a countenance re- 
sembling that of Louis XVL He is in his laboratory with 
his alchemy utensils, and looks like a sorcerer or a phy- 
sician selling secret elixirs to the sick, and talking poetical 
philosophy in an ignorant manner that reminds us of Victor 
Hugo, his predecessor. 

At first he talks through the table, and then as per advice 
of Flournoy, with his hand or his finger. Then he dictates 
messages to Helen, who \\Tites them out. Finally he writes 
directly through Helen's hand. He writes according to the 
spelling of the eighteenth century, using ''o" instead of 
"a" in ''j'aurais." Then he speaks with Helen's voice, 
which assumed a deep and hollow tone with an Italian pro- 
nunciation. At those moments Helen is seen proudly stand- 
ing up, or even throwing herself back, having her arms 
either set across on her breast in a majestic manner or one 
of them hanging along the body while the other is lifted 
up towards the sky, her fingers making a side sign always 
the same. 

On her chimney Helen has a portrait of Cagliostro in this 
attitude, with extracts from a book on Balsamo's life. 
In speech she has a burr and lisps; she pronounces "u" Uke 
"ou"; uses obsolete words : "fiole" instead of "bouteille," 
"omnibus" for "tramway." Her eyelids are generally 
shut. She lifted them, however, when her photograph was 
taken in the flashlight. 

Flournoy took the trouble to seek out Balsamo's manu- 
scripts and signatures, and has shown absolute differences 
perceivable between them and the handwriting of Balsamo 
as embodied by the Leopold of Helen Smith. These auto- 
graphs were pubhshed by Flournoy. In her speech Helen 
well imitates the Italian accent. Her father, who was 
Hungarian, was a polyglot, and often talked Italian with 


friends. But Balsamo as Leopold refused to answer ques- 
tions when asked in Italian. Helen did not know this lan- 
guage. As to the Balsamo-Leopold medical prescriptions, 
they were only popular remedies in which Helen's mother 
was very much experienced. 

Such was the first part of "the beautiful subliminal 
poem " ^ (according to Flournoy's expression), as constructed 
by Helen within her polygon as entranced. Next comes 
the second character — Marie Antoinette. At first the in- 
carnation was made manifest solely through the ordinary 
language of the table. Later, Helen embodied the queen 
in speechless pantomimes whose meaning was indicated by 
Leopold tlirough digital signals. In the following year (for 
all this evolution was slow) she spoke as she played her part, 
and again one year later. 

One should, in Flournoy's opinion, always divide this in- 
carnation into two groups of phenomena, or features — first, 
objectivation of the general bearing of a queen, or at least 
of a majestic lady; second, realization of the individual fea- 
tures of Marie Antoinette of Austria. 

The first case is satisfactory in nearly all respects. It is 
evident that Helen's polygon has its own view of a queen 
and expresses it quite right. It is interesting to notice the 
gracefulness, elegance, refinement and, at times, majesty 
that are visible in Helen's attitude and gestures. Her walk 

^At that time, a song prevailed at Geneva whose title was: "The deeds 
of the subliminal," the tune being after Beranger's song: "Hommes 
noirs, d'ou sortez-vous?" The initial verses of this song were: 

The hj-pothesis of Flournoy 

Upsets me and makes me perplexed. 

According to him, man would have a second Ego 

Very complex by nature. 

This subjacent Ego would outdo the natural Ego. 

This is astonishing. It would disguise itself and change its sex. 

Indeed, this is not common for an Ego. 

This queer fellow has been termed "the subliminal." 


is really like the walk of a queen; her hands are playing with 
a real handkerchief and fictitious accessories; a fan, a long 
handled double eyeglass, the smelling bottle placed in her 
girdle, her bows, her easy bearing when throwing back the 
train of her gown/ 

Would not one after this believe the scenes of suggestion 
and of personaUty suggested in hypnosis, as so perfectly 
surveyed and described by Charles Richet and many others? 

The objectivation of this particular queen, Marie Antoi- 
nette, is far less perfect. Flournoy has printed autographs 
by Marie Antoinette, and manuscripts ascribed to the same 
queen as embodied by Helen. There is no likeness what- 
ever between them. 

But (and this is a prominent feature of a very intense 
polygonal psychism), Helen writes: instans, enfans, etois, ac- 
cording to the spelling of the eighteenth century. Helen 
speaks with a foreign accent; rather an English accent than 
an Austrian one, while she embodies Marie Antoinette. 

Besides (this is another queer particular), when awake in 
any other condition than the condition of a queen, Marie 
Antoinette's handwriting, spelling and stress of voice may 
be momentarily introduced into another life. Helen's poly- 
gon makes also historical blunders which must be excused. 

The day before her death Marie Antoinette, as Helen, 
when confined in her cell, addresses touching exhortations 
to a lady present whom she imagines to be the Princess 
de Lamballe. This princess had been killed three months 
previous to that date. 

Many scenes usually take place at the Petite Trianon. 
The furniture described is constantly of the best Louis XVI 
period. The interlocutors are at first Balsamo-Leopold, 
"my sorcerer," or " that dear sorcerer " ; then Louis-Philippe 

'Better than "Madame Sans-Gene." 


d'Orl^ans (Egalite), or the old Marquis de Mirabeau whom 
she perceives to be really embodied in two persons present, 
M. Eugene Demole, and M. Auguste de Morsier. She sees 
one of these gentlemen. "Well, Marquis," says she, "you 
are here and I had not seen you before." She then begins a 
conversation with them all. They do their best to play other 
parts. She eats and drinks with them. 

One day she goes so far as to accept a cigaret from 
Philippe Egalite and smokes it (a thing she never does at 
waking). A bystander observes that this is an unlikely 
practice, which has probably been indulged in by Marie 
Antoinette since her death. She subsequently accepts to- 
bacco but only from a snuffbox. Sometimes gentlemen 
would set snares. Should these snares be gross she eludes 
them very skilfully. Thus, in case Mirabeau or Egalite is 
talking to her about the telephone, bicycle or locomotive, 
she looks astounded, and this with great simplicity; she 
expresses anxiety as to the mental condition of her inter- 
locutors. But she does not escape from little mistakes more 
difficult to detect. She uses the expression, *' to run off the 
track," in its figurative meaning, or "meter" and "centi- 
meter." It is only after a while that she wonders at the 
words "tramway" and "photograph." At first she let 
them pass by. Like the hypnotized, Helen sees these gen- 
tlemen only; she fails to perceive the other bystanders. 
Still, she keeps away from them when walking, as somnam- 
bulists do. 

I shall quote a few more scenes from this royal romance of 
Helen. In these the medium Marie Antoinette, Helen evokes 
oiu- great Barthez. Barthez had the title of physician to 
the Due d'Orleans (the father of Philippe Egalite), and the 
merely honorary title of consulting physician to ^e 'king. 
It is very unlikely that he ever met Marie Antoinette, and 
most of all that he ever was in love with her. When he 


appears in Marie Antoinette's company during Helen's 
stances, he recalls the days when he watched the coming of 
the queen on the Boulevard du Temple, and he keeps on re- 
peating: "Where are those days when, toddling along the 
Boulevard du Temple, I had but one aim and wish; it was 
to have a look at your coach and glance at your profile ? 
Where have they gone, those happy moments in which my 
soul was so utterly enraptured?" 

It seems that, when personating Barthez, Helen is rather 
thinking of young dandies, who, in the streets of Geneva, 
follow the shop-ladies, than of the great chancellor of the 
University of Montpellier. She even lends him her style of 
speech; for "so utterly enraptm-ed," are words found in 
Helen's correspondence, but not in the books of Barthez. 
Lemaitre has taken the trouble of comparing the writing of 
the mediumistic messages ascribed to Barthez with genuine 
autographs of that physician as furnished by Kuhnholtz- 
Lordat, the adopted son of Lordat. No likeness whatever 
has been found in them. 

According to Lordat, Barthez had an ordinary stature. 
In her visions Helen sees him rather tall. She signs Bar- 
thes, whilst his name was Barthez. This might be ex- 
plained by admitting that the learned doctor had forgotten 
the real spelling of his own name, as he has been dead about 
a century.^ 

There is a good deal of intelligence, and apparent inven- 
tion and creation in this royal romance. Perhaps there is 
much more of it in the Martian romance so accurately scru- 
tinized by the same Prof. Flournoy. 

b. The Martian Novel. 

This is a romance with its scene on the planet Mars. 
Everyone knows how much that planet was dealt with in 

»Barthez died in October, 1806. 


1892. It had been repeatedly wondered whether there 
were inhabitants on it, and the question of possible subse- 
quent communications with its inhabitants had already 
been much discust. In publications (widely read at Geneva 
and among Helen's relations) Flammarion had discust 
the conditions of Hfe on Mars, and had prophetically 
described the future wonders of communications between 
the inhabitants of the earth and Mars. Very much spoken 
about even at that time were the famous canals on Mars, and 
the inundations on that planet. All this was a common 
topic in Helen's cu-cle. 

In 1894 Helen gave seances at Prof. Lcmaitre's before a 
lady whose eyes were grieviously defective. This lady hav- 
ing lost her son Alexis three years earlier, wishes to evoke 
him. In the first seance Alexis is announced accordingly, 
coming in company with Raspail, who prescribes camphor 
treatment for the mother's eyes. The camphor treatment 
is advised in Raspail's "Manuel de Sante." The follovving 
month, in the beginning of her trance, Helen perceives far 
away and at a considerable height a bright glimpse; then she 
is rocking in a dense fog which is at first blue, then dark 
pink, gray and black. She is floating, and after that she 
sees a star whose size gradually increases. Finally the star 
becomes bigger than a house. I^ater she feels that she is 
lifted up, and the table says: "Look here, Lemaitre, here 
comes what you so much longed for!" Helen, quite un- 
easy, is feeling better; she sees three enormous spheres; one 
of them is magnificent. She asks herself: "On what am I 
treading?" And the table answers: "On a sphere, on 

Thus was fulfilled what had been for Lemaitre the dream 
of the previous summer, when he said to some one among 
Helen's relatives: "How interesting it would be to know 
what is occurring on other planets! " 


Helen describes next all things visible to her on Mars: 
carriages \^^thout horses and wheels and which by gliding 
throw out sparks; houses with jets of water playing on their 
roofs; a cradle whose curtains are an angel made of iron, with 
wings unfolded. The people are quite similar to us except 
that both men and women are attired in long blouses with 
the waist brightened and trimmed with ornaments. Ras- 
pail, in a vast hall, is giving a lecture; Alexis is in the first 
row of hearers. 

Such, according to Lemaitre and the lady with the sore 
eyes who had lost her son, was the origin of this Martian 
romance, which extends over the long period of fifteen 
months of polygonal meditation. Raspail then disappears 
and at the same moment Alexis comes to the foreground. 
He had spoken French before, but now understands it no 
more; he talks only the "Martian" language. 

In a first seance Helen converses with an imaginary 
woman, who tries to make her enter a queer little wagon 
without wheels or horse. This woman expresses herself 
in a strange dialect. Leopold, still present, like a crony or a 
music-hall "revue," explains through his finger that "this is 
the language spoken on the planet Mars. This woman is the 
actual mother of Alexis reincarnated on that planet, and 
will herself speak Martian." Helen jumps on a car. She 
reaches Mars, and gives account of the welcome accorded 
her on her arrival, or rather she mimics it with "odd ges- 
tures of hands and fingers; fillips of one hand on the other; 
slaps of fingers on the nose, lips or chin; distorted or gliding 
bows, and rotation of feet on the floor." 

The romance continues to go on and contains very touch- 
ing episodes. For instance, the mother of Alexis sees him 
tlirough Helen; she kneels down and moans before her. 
Her son, through Helen's mouth, comforts her in Martian 
language with gestures so soft, and a stress of voice so ten- 


der that the poor mother is utterly overcome. Helen 
describes and sketches^ Martian landscapes (her drawings 
are reproduced in Flom-noy's book) — a pink bridge; yellow 
stiles immersed in a blue and pale pink lake; reddish banks 
and creeks with no verdure at all. All trees are brown, or 
violet-colored, or purple. 

She describes and sketches the inhabitants on Mars; As- 
tane, for instance, her complexion yellow, her hair dark 
brown. She wears brown sandals; she holds a white roller 
in her hand. Her costume is striped in gold, red and blue. 
The edge and girdle of her dress are brown. 

Then is found ''the vague and nameless crowd" that 
usually occupies the background in Martian visions — dif- 
ferent from earthly multitudes solely as to the ample robes 
worn by both sexes, the flat hats and fencing shoes fastened 
with straps. The people have at their disposal instruments 
(described and sketched by Helen), making yellow and red 
flames. They use them to fly with through the air. She 
also makes a drawing of Astane's house. A series of 
images shows us specimens of the flora of Mars. There is no 
green at all. Their shapes as well as those of the trees in the 
Martian landscapes show the vegetation up there is not 
absolutely different from ours. Still nothing plainly imi- 
tates any sample of ours. 

What has been most interesting in these experiments, and 
I insist upon it, is indeed the Martian language so perfectly 
investigated and analyzed by Flournoy and V. Henry. In 
the beginning this dialect is rough and wTongly made up. 
It is a "pseudomartian language"; a balderdash, a childish 
counterfeiting of French. In fact it retains from French in 
every word the same number of syllables and some promi- 

'In her most recent incarnation (described by Lemaitre in his work 
already quoted) Helen has strongly improved and better exerted her 


nent letters. It is analogous to the gibberish used by chil- 
dren when they imagine they talk Chinese or Indian. Half 
a year is necessary for ''the subliminal making-up of a lan- 
guage properly so called." When the Martian dialect was 
made up, it was necessary in order to understand it and have 
a translation to provide a dictionary. Flom-noy wrote to 
Leopold for this purpose "a letter in which with considera- 
tions about the high range of thought in the phenomena 
presented by Mile. Smith," he appealed to him and his 
knowledge for a few hints concerning that strange language. 
Two days later Helen, entranced, wrote automatically an 
answer in eighteen alexandrine Hnes. The conclusion was 
as foUows: 

" When his unsteady soul has taken wings; at the moment 
when he will be looking down on Mars and its magnificent 
colors, in case you desire to get explanations from him, 
place softly your hand on his pale forehead and whisper 
Esenale's sweet name." 

This was done accordingly and Esenale (such was the 
Martian surname of Alexis as reincarnated) when thus called 
upon in Martian visions, translated words and sentences. 
The construction of a Martian language, to be complete, 
required a special handwriting with special letters, which 
after many improvements were fixed upon definitively, or 
at least for a long while. Every letter has its equivalent 
in our own. alphabet. 

Flournoy has thus patiently reproduced, translated and 
analyzed forty-one Martian texts. He has been able to 
come to the conclusion that Martian is nothing but a puerile 
imitation of French. 

One should first notice that in this relation Martian is a 
language and not merely a jargon, or a lingo of any sounds 
whatever uttered haphazard. There are words and words 
expressing ideas and the relation of words to ideas is con- 


stant; the meaning of Martian terms is likewise unvarying. 
The language has its own consonances, accent, and favorite 
letters. Thus it is possible to recognize it while Helen 
speaks it, although it is not understood. As with French, 
there is superabundance of "e," or "e, " and "i." Diph- 
thongs and nasals are quite uncommon. 

Therefore it is a language, and one might say "a natural 
dialect," as it is automatically made up, without any con- 
scious interference on Mile. Smith's part. It is not a vol- 
untary invention for jest or juggling. But here follows 
proof that this language is not a new one, but merely a 
trifling and puerile alteration of French. The Martian lan- 
guage ''consists of sounds uttered, and all of them, either 
consonants or vowels, exist in French." But this is not 
natural in languages geographically next to ours, and a 
fortiori, in languages geographically quite remote from ours. 
Peculiar sounds are always to be found that especially be- 
long to each (English, German, Spanish). "The language 
on the planet Mars does not permit such phonetic eccen- 
tricities." When there is a difference it is poorer than 
French; it is lacking in articulate sounds. Likewise as re- 
gards handwTiting, all Martian and French letters in ac- 
curate correspondence are the same. 

Moreover, "a good many exceptions to rule, equivocations 
and u-regulari'ties are usual in Martian; the same letter may 
have dissimilar pronunciations under different circum- 
stances, and reciprocally, the same word may be written in 
different ways without any rational cause for such incon- 
sistencies." All this is identical as in French. 

In other words, " in that so-called extraterrestrial idiom 
a great number of peculiarities and caprices are found, 
which, after due reflection, set at defiance a theory of chance 
origin, and constitute a sign which it is impossible to mis- 
interpret." This leads to the following conclusion: "Mar- 


tian is simply French that has been altered. Should one 
investigate it through texts known to us, and try to ar- 
range a Martian grammar, it would be seen that the rules of 
this grammar, if ever pubHshed, were simply a parody of 
the principles of French grammar." 

We have in French words that have various meanings; 
for instance, the preposition "a," and the verb "a"; the 
article and the pronoun "le." Similar auditory analogies, 
with no relation whatever to the real meaning, are met with 
in the Martian idiom. Thus "a" and "a," analogous in 
sound, but so different in meaning in French, are trans- 
lated in Martian by the same word, ''e"; "le" (article or 
pronoun) is always "ze"; "que" (used with many a mean- 
ing) is always ''ke." Still more curious, our word "si" 
(whose sense is "yes," and "so much") becomes "ii." 

The order of words in sentences is absolutely the same 
in Martian as in French. And this, in the most trifling 
matters, as in the division or amputation of "ne pas," or a 
letter brought into Martian, such as "t" in "quand revien- 
dra-t-il" (Kevi berimir m'heb). 

Such possibilities in juxtalinear translation, and such an 
absolute correspondence word for word, are "an extraor- 
dinary fact — one never known in languages here below." 
Flournoy observes, "There is not one language in which 
each term of a French sentence is rendered by only one 
term (neither more nor less) of the foreign language." Be- 
sides, an appreciable proportion of Martian words "repro- 
duce in a suspicious manner the number of syllables or 
letters of their French equivalents, and sometimes the dis- 
position of consonants and vowels." 

It becomes more and more evident that "this fancy id- 
iom is the work of a naive and somewhat childish imagina- 
tion (i. e. polygonal) that has undertaken to make up a new 
language, and though giving its lucubrations odd and in- 


edited appearances, has east them unknown to it in the 
ordinary molds of the only language that it knew." The 
words, however, are as different as possible from the French 
words. The author has provided for a dictionary, but not 
for a grammar. "The mode of creation of Martian appears 
as taking French sentences, such as they are, and replacing 
each word in them by another word, no matter what it may 
be, and made up haphazard." 

In its continuation the story of the Martian romance is 
still quite queer and satisfies the above deductions. 

Flournoy, who is of opinion that he has sufficiently an- 
alyzed the Martian language^ an examination of which be- 
comes monotonous, discloses to Helen all his objections 
respecting the genuineness of the Martian dialect and gives 
his proofs. At first Helen resists, but after a while she 
answers objections by improving, or rather complicating, 
her idiom, which she places on another unnamed planet. 
This is the ultramartian cycle with a new personge. Ramie. 
Seventeen days after Flournoy's suggestion Helen creates 
this new embodiment of her beautiful polygonal romance. 

The pathogenic influence of suggestions appears obvious 
here. Flournoy remarks: ''I had charged the Martian 
dream with being only an imitation, a varnish, with bright 
Oriental colors, of the surrounding civilized world. Now 
we look at a world horribly strange up there; the soil is 
black and without any vegetation. Its inhabitants are 
stupid beings, resembling animals rather than men. I had 
hinted that things and people up there might be of sizes and 
proportions different from ours; and I find that they are 
on that rudimentary sphere pygmies whose heads are twice 
broader than high. Their houses are likewise queer. I had 
alluded to the probable existence of other idioms and 
pointed out the frequent recurrence of 'i' and 'c' in 
Martian. I had accused its syntax and its 'ch,' borrowed 


from French. But now I find a language absolutely new, 
whose rhythm is pecuUar and implies frequent use of *a' 
without any 'ch;' its texture is so utterly dissimilar to 
ours that I fail to find my way in it." 

This experiment by Flournoy is really wonderful. It 
completes admirably his observations to establish that in 
Helen all is a polygonal romance created and guided by 

53. Mme. Smead's Martian Novels.^ 

With the medium, Mme. Smead (this is a pseudonym), 
Prof. Hyslop has most carefully observed and analyzed an- 
other Martian romance in which, like Flournoy, he plainly 
shows the subliminal or polygonal starting-point. In the 
present case the interlocutors are the deceased childi'en of 
the medium. "At first a geographical map was obtained. 
It was very precise ; the names of zones into which the planet 
was divided were mentioned upon it. The people up there are 
taller than those on earth and not so numerous. They look 
rather like Indians. They cut canals from one ocean to 
another. Ships (seretrevir) made of trunks of trees have 
names on them (cristiril). At another time a sketch of a 
'temple-house of dogs' was made. Men wore dresscoats 
and trousers; women sack-shirts and ridiculous bonnets, 
their hair loose. Men tiu-n up their hair and wear it long 
under their hats. The planchette traced the drawing of a 
robe trimmed with lace and flowers printed on it in a sym- 
metrical order. When this sketch was completed a mar- 
ginal indication of colors was given; it was a series of pink, 
white, green, yellow, brown and pale mauve tints." A 

'I do not insist upon the other astral romances of Helen: uranian and 
lunar romances. I deem my demonstration satisfactory. 

^"La IMediumnite de Mme. Smead," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 
1906, p. 461. 


description of a Martian's clock (Trivenniul) and one of a 
strange airship were also given, 

" The planchette traced a Martian observatory on the top 
of a hill through which there were tunnels whose bottom 
was almost in the shape of a pipe." Hyslop points out a 
queer coincidence between this drawing and another men- 
tioned in Flournoy's case. In fact, Helen has sketched a 
Martian observatory with a tunnel. Mme. Smead pre- 
tended to ignore Flournoy's book, but this book was in her 
house. There is no doubt about Mme. Smead's sincerity; it is 
obvious that she had read it unconsciously, in absent-mind- 
edness. Her polygon had stored its images unknown to 0. 

Hyslop concludes this part of his work with the following 
passage, which I take the liberty to quote at full length 
because it is the very expression of the doctrine of my 
present book: 

"Persons taking interest in psychological and psychical 
investigations will experience no difficulty whatever in as- 
certaining the true nature of such phenomena. There is no 
proof that they are really what they pretend to be. In such 
conditions the only possible hypothesis is the one related 
to the subliminal personality (polygonal personality). In 
the drawings delineated with a planchette, indications rati- 
fying this doctrine are met with even when other proofs are 
missing. For instance, the mechanical impossibilities re- 
garding airships, the obvious confusion between propellers 
and rudders; the deficiency at large of such unconscious 
lucubrations that place on other planets phenomena re- 
sembling those of earth to such an extent as to make them 
suspicious; all this is reason why one should set Martian 
messages absolutely outside the range of spiritualistic mes- 
sages, provided better proofs should not ratify their trans- 
cendental nature."* 

•Another French somnambuUst, Adele Maginot, has mp,de polar and 



54. Reality of Polygonal Imagination. 

From this chapter proof has been first offered of the auto- 
activity of the lower psychism — activity which expresses 
itself by association of ideas and images, also by polygonal 
imagination, of which I have offered many conclusive 

We have seen the part played by suggestion and exogenic 
imagination in the origin and growth of mediumistic ro- 
mances. But once led into this way the disaggregated 
polygon of the medium being entranced has imagined all the 
rest by its own powers. 

Such polygonal imaginations, so clearly established in 
mediums,^ are also occmTing in hypnosis and other extra- 
physiological conditions of hyperpolygonal disaggregation. 
They are even occurring in a physiological condition, in 
dreams or in states of crepuscular consciousness. 

Miss Frank Miller^ has published very interesting facts 
concerning this matter. Miss Miller, whose mind is ex- 
ceedingly auto-suggestive and at the same time auto-observ- 
ing, would have been an excellent medium. The simple 
sight of a conical cloth over her head "arouses in her a 
remembrance of Egyptian statues, induces her to a kind of 
total kinaesthetic hallucination, which is, in fact, the first 

lunar excursions which the good woman (who was lunatic, indeed), as 
Jules Bois says, has performed, or rather related, with as much ease as 

'"What is certain," says Jules Bois, "is the strange power of the 
medium to gather, vivify, concentrate and personate those scattered 
residuums of ancestral memory, the dust of the dead. 

^Miss Frank Miller, "Quelques faits d'imagination creatrice subcon- 
sciente," Archives de -psychologie, 1905, t. V, p. 36, together with an 
Introduction by Flournoy. 


stage of an alteration of personality." Flournoy adds: 
"As a spirit medium Miss Miller would have certainly be- 
lieved in the embodiment of a princess (or even of several 
princesses) of historical and prehistorical antiquity. She 
would have disclosed to us queer particulars as to her 
previous existences in Egypt or Assyria." 

One should especially read Observation IV, entitled 
" Chirvantopel, a drame hypnogogique," which thus begins: 
''Borderland phenomena, or if you prefer, half-dream 
cerebral compositions, concern me to a great extent, and I 
think that a minute and intelligent investigation of them 
would mightily help to enlighten mysteries and upset super- 
stitions regarding the so-called spirits. This is the reason 
why I send you a case, which in the hands of a person taking 
great care for truth, or for not hesitating to indulge in 
embellishments or amplifications, would have been suffi- 
cient ground for a fancy romance comparable with the 
fictitious cycles of yom* mediums." 

Observation II is the story of a little poem dreamt by 
Mile. M. early in the morning, during an excursion on sea. 
Waking up at the same moment because of a call from her 
mother, she immediately told that lady her dream. Then 
she wished to relate it, but dm"ing the time which she spent 
in looking for a pencil, the absence of mind caused already 
by her mother's presence, was enough to make certain pas- 
sages vague. A few months later, as she was at leisure, she 
again took her poem and modified it with the intention 
of changing it into accurate compliance with the original 
text she had dreamt. It may be considered most likely 
that during the intervening time a subconscious work of 
correction had been done on the original poem, so as to 
render it in its second text which is far more perfect. 
Such are creative imagination and polygonal memory and 


In the fragment III, we have " a poetry that arises auto- 
matically." It occurred to Miss Miller's mind during a rail- 
way journey by night in the special condition intermediate 
between waking and sleeping, so often experienced by worn- 
out passengers, always on the verge of falling asleep, but 
who never lose sight of themselves. The last instance was 
a sort of short lyrical drama displaying itself spontaneously 
within her imagination in visual and auditory images, during 
the hypnotic stage preceding profound sleep. 

In his conclusion, Flom-noy recalls " a charming study of 
the psychology of dreams, ' ' which is little known, and in which 
Stevenson confesses that for all he is indebted to anonymous 
cooperation of a " mysterious little people," the " Brownies," 
who so kindly sketched the novelist's work, and supplied 
him, free of charge, with so many ready-made scenes. But, 
we are serious people, and prefer to replace Stevenson's 
Brownies, or even the muse of the classical poets, by 
scientific law, such as mechanical association of ideas, or 
nocturnal dynamism of neurones, polygonal activity of 
lower psychism, unconscious factor, or the subliminal, etc. 
We are thus brought back to the question of alterations 
and various modalities of human personality, which, owing 
to observations of irrefutably accumulated facts, will be 
sufficiently elucidated. Miss Miller has made perfect guesses 
without applying to hypotheses that are complex and 
trifling as the}'^ prevail in spirit circles. 

55. The Limits of Polygonal Imagination. 

If aU the facts cited above testify to the existence of poly- 
gonal imagination, they also establish the limits and inferi- 
ority of the same. 

a. The Inferior Character of Polygonal Romances. 
It has been possible, owing to particulars given regarding 
Helen Smith's Royal Cycle, and the Martian romances of 


Helen Smith and Mme. Smead, to ascertain how such poly- 
gonal lucubrations are lacking in originality and newness, 
and how they are erroneous and childish. Hyslop has 
plainly established that on planets (and especially on Jupi- 
ter, "children's heaven") all messages gotten by the me- 
dium " revealed the influence of the instruction Mme. Smead 
had received in former times. They were probably remem- 
brances of teaching given when she was attending Sunday 
School, and completed by a puerile imagination concerning 
the nature of stars." 

I have not insisted upon all the contradictions and im- 
possibilities included in Helen Smith's Martian romance. 
Leopold, on Mars, is at first acquainted with the French 
language ; then he forgets it completely, but later has a suffi- 
cient knowledge of it to be able to translate it into Martian. 
He died in July 1891, and was five or six years old in 1896. 
But " years on that planet are twice longer than oiu*s." This 
has been overlooked by Helen, as well as any other scientific 
question whatever concerning Mars, of which she is utterly 
ignorant. The famous canals in which astronomers have 
taken such interest are never mentioned. Nothing is said 
with regard to biology or sociology on Mars. Up there life 
is identical with fife on earth, and the manners follow ours. 
There is less difference between Martian habits and oiu" 
European habits than between ours and the Mussulman's 
civiUzation, or the habits of the savage. 

What has been told by Flournoy concerning his medium 
might be applied to all those polygonal romances. They 
are produced by a young imagination aged about 10 or 12, 
that thinks quite oddly enough in supposing that people up 
there are eating from square plates with a little fm-row for 
gravy; that an ugly one-eyed animal is charged with carry- 
ing Astane's eye-glass ; that it is common to write with a tack 
fixt to the nail of the forefinger instead of using a pen- 


holder; that babies are sucking through pipes tied on the 
breasts of beasts looking like hinds. Nothing in those ro- 
mances is analogous to Ovid's "Metamorphoses," "The 
Arabian Nights," the "Fairy Tales," or "GulHver's Trav- 
els."^ In this cycle no trace whatever of ogres, giants or 
genuine sorcerers is to be found. It looks rather like the 
work of a schoolboy who has attempted to imagine a world, 
a real one, as different as possible from ours, and has adapted 
it to familiar frames, as he could not perceive the possibility 
of an existence constructed otherwise, but, on the contrary, 
as if he had let his imagination have its own way respecting 
a heap of trifles, and this, in the limits of what seems to him 
to be admissible, according to his own narrow and short 

h. Inferiority of Polygonal Concepts at Large. 

The mediumistic romances whose inferior character I have 
just established, may be considered the most eminent and 
sparkling expression we have of polygonal imagination. 
Ribot cites them as the best examples and proofs of the sub- 
conscious, or unconscious, element in inspiration. And 
still, we have seen of what little value they are. 

A fortiori, inferiority is to be detected in any other ex- 
pression of polygonal imagination, for as soon as polygonal 
imagination is let loose, it really becomes foolish, "a 
maker of error and duplicity," as Pascal said. 

Most dreams are absurd and illogical. As to hypnosis, 
we have ascertained how the imaginative powers of a sub- 
ject are limited when he becomes a preacher in general. In 
such a case he will embody a very plain Bossuet, or a some- 

' Nothing in those romances is analogous to the queer novels by H. G. 
Wells, and chiefly his Martian novels, the " Crystal Egg " and the " War 
of the Worlds." See Charles Derennes, "H. G. Wells et le peuple mar- 
sien," Mercure de France, March 1, 1907, p. 48. 


what ridiculous Napoleon. His creations are always put 
forth in compliance with the abilities of his polygon. 
When discussing the spirit hypothesis (see first paragraph 
of part 3), I shall offer new proofs of this principle. So 
it may be understood clearly that I mean to ascribe to un- 
conscious psychism only a background part in inspiration 
and creative imagination, and that I keep on deeming it 
of a lower class. 

At the congress of Grenoble in 1902, Gilbert Ballet— 
although he thought my distinction between both lower and 
upper psychism to be of interest — exprest the idea that 
lower psychism should rather be termed "upper," as it ex- 
hibits an improvement on the upper psychism, and is the 
coming to a head of the faculties of the upper psychism. 
A person playing on the piano through his polygon, is much 
more clever than when playing with his center 0. Gou- 
dard* has said likewise that " This hidden world is contin- 
ually acting, following its way in a logical direction, par- 
allel to consciousness. Is it really inferior?" Such is also 
Ribot's opinion in his theory of inspiration. - 

I answer in this way: The education of the polygon is 
made by O. Consequently remains superior. The poly- 
gonal activity apart, is following the simultaneous activity 
of both psychisms. But the really creative power, and the 
authority of censure and condition still belong to 0, which 
remains the upper center of intellectual activity. In short, 
I may assert that the activity of is superior to polygonal 
or automatical activity. 

*Goudard, Bulletin de la Societe d' Etudes Psychiques de Marseille, 1903, 
p. 48. 

^" In such conditions, it is impossible to say whether, with the average 
subject and among each one of us, the subliminal part of our personality 
is really higher or lower than the subliminal part which is known to us." 
Henry de Varigny, "Causerie scientifique du Temps," Independance 
Edge, December 31, 1904. 


56. The Productions of Mediums by Polygonal Imagi- 
nation ARE easily Imitated by Supernatural 

The final and most important conclusion of this chapter 
is that polygonal imagination may, through its easy action 
in the medium entranced, cause results so astonishing, ap- 
parently so strange, and of an origin so utterly unconscious, 
that it is possible to deem them exogenic messages origi- 
nating outside of the subject; and, since it is easy to make an 
objectivation and materiahzation of the external cause of a 
momentous phenomenon, those polygonal romances may 
be readily ascribed to messages from beyond the grave, or 
to evocations of reincarnated spirits. 

It is absolutely natural for Helen Smith or Mme. Smead 
to ascribe to real inhabitants on Mars, all the particulars af- 
forded by them when entranced, since they would have been 
unable to give them at waking-time when out of trance. 
Such is, in my opinion, the most important consequence of 
recent investigations with regard to lower psychisms, not 
only the disaggregated polygon is preserving a great psy- 
chical activity, but even, in certain cases with certain sub- 
jects (mediums), owing to the very fact of this disaggrega- 
tion, it acquires a power of remarkable hyperactivity, and of 
far greater imaginative faculty. 

As Flournoy^ has rightly observed, " the unconscious Ego 
of mediums is absolutely capable of entirely inventing 
productions bearing an apparently absolute similarity to 
messages from beyond, and it is not sparing of it." The 
same author makes conspicuous this truth which is too much 
overlooked in certain circles, that with normal individuals 
absolutely sound in body and mind, by the simple fact of 

'Flournoy, "Genese de quelques pretendus messages spirites," Revue 
philosophique and Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1899, pp. 200 and 216. 


taking interest in mediumistic experiments, their psychical 
equilibrium may be upset, unknown to them, thus leading 
to the production of an automatical activity whose mani- 
festations are perfectl}^ imitating messages from beyond the 
grave, although they are in fact only a consequence of the 
subliminal working of the subject's ordinary powers. 




CHAPTER VII —Spiritualism. 

CHAPTER VIII. — Psychical radiations: perispirit, 


CHAPTER IX.— The independence of occultism with 



CHAPTER X.— Cases whose proof, should it be pos- 

I. Telepathy and premonitions. 

II. Material brought from long distances. 
in. Materializations. 

CHAPTER XL— Cases whose proof seems to be nearer 

AT hand, and should IN ANY CASE BE SOUGHT FIRST. 

I. Mental suggestion and direct communica- 
tion OF thought. 

II. Removals of objects within reach, without 

contact; levitation; raps. 
III. Clairvoyance. 


57. I have contrived in the second part to establish that 
recent works on lower psychism have helped to " disoccult" 
and render scientific many phenomena that had been up to 
now considered as occult. The survey of the condition of 
suggestibility in certain polygons disaggregated in hypno- 
sis, has removed from occultism the important chapter of 
Animal Magnetism. The survey of unconscious and invol- 
untary movements of the polygon has caused automatical 
handwriting, table-turning, the divining rod, the exploring 
pendulum, and willing-game by contact, to enter the do- 
minion of science. Since polygonal sensibility and memory 
have been analyzed, a heap of facts of erroneous divination 
have been " disocculted " as being merely hallucinations or 
reminiscences of a lower psychism. Finally, the siu'vey of the 
polygonal association of ideas and polygonal imagination 
has indicated the intrinsic and natural origin of many me- 
diumistic phenomena that were previously considered to be 
supernatural. In short, the investigation of lower psy- 
chism has plainly removed and extended the limits of Oc- 
cultism. Still, it has not supprest Occultism. 

The subject-matter of this third part is an examination 
and discussion of phenomena that are occult as yet, and at 
the same time a criticism of the Occultism of to-day. My 
opinion is that the best way to make such a critique is to view 
separately and successively theories and facts.^ Theories 

'"One should always make a difference between facts and doctrine, 
and as such a difference has not been made, disorder is prevailing in the 
minds of many." Surbled, "Spirites et mediums," Choses de I'autre 
monde, 1901, p. 166. 


are not in the least conjointly liable to facts; nor are facts 
conjointly liable to theories. One should not contest or 
support facts by means of arguments that are suitable to 

As Charles Richet observes: "The foolishness of an hy- 
pothesis is not sufficient reason why one should deny the 
facts on which it rests. There is nothing more untrue to 
logic — even to rudimental logic — than the negation of a 
phenomenon because hypotheses derived from this phe- 
nomenon are implying very httle likeUhood." And re- 
versely, one must not infer that a fact is, or is not, real, 
because it is either in comphance or in contradiction with 
a given theory. 

Therefore, I am going to look successively upon theories 
and facts, and previous to this, I declare again that the con- 
clusions of the former part of my examination (as to theo- 
ries) miLst in no wise forebode the conclusions of the latter 
part (concerning facts). 


58. Classification of Theories. Plan of Their 

The most prominent theories that are usually current in 
publications referring to Occultism, may be included under 
two heads: Spmtism and " psychical radiations" (perispirit, 
astral body and radiant psychical power). In a separate 
chapter (Chapter IX), I shall discuss a matter connected 
with the survey of theories, i. e., the relations of Occultism 
to various philosophical or reUgious doctrines. 


I. Definition and Account of the Spiritualistic Doctrine. 

59. Meaning of the word "Spiritualism." 

60. Account of the Theory. 

II. Discussion of the Theory of Spiritualism. 

61. This theory unlikely. 

62. Spiritualism must bring forth its proofs. 

63. The ideas exprest during trances are those of the mediums and 

not of the spirits evoked. 

64. Errors of the mediums. The deceitful spirits. 

65. The spiritualists do not agree together. 
III. 66. Conclusions. 


I take here the word "spiritualism" in its etymological 
sense, i. e. in its narrow and true sense. I had used this 
word in the first edition of this book ('' Le Spiritisme devant 
la Science") in its widest meaning, including under that 
term the whole of Occultism, that is all the occult phe- 
nomena. I have ah-eady said that I have been rightly re- 
proached with it. MaxwelP has reproached both Pierre 
Janet and myself with the meaning ascribed to the word 

"Spiritualism is a religion;^ it is not a science." It is a 
systematic explanation of a whole series of facts, imperfectly 

'Maxwell, loc. cit., p. 229. 

^"Spiritualism is really a religion, the religion of spirits" (Surbled, 
"Spirites et mediums," Choses de I'autre monde, p. 165). "Spiritism is 
only one of numerous religions that have come forward in flue time to 
answer to a need of mankind. Spiritism is only a systematic explana- 


known as yet, but it is not a mere assertion of those facts. 
Spiritism, i. e, the summary of metaphysical doctrines, rest- 
ing upon revelations by spirits, should not for the present at 
least be considered as belonging to biology." I adopt this 
definition and now ascribe to spiritualism its real meaning 
as a theory. 

I term spiritualism the theory that ascribes to spirits the 
various phenomena of Occultism as well as mediumistic 
phenomena. I am referring to disembodied spirits of de- 
ceased persons who, upon the call of the medium, are mo- 
mentarily reincarnated in his body, and who give him mes- 
sages and information. I insist upon the precise meaning 
of the word "spirits," since it is more obscure in the singu- 
lar, or rather implies another meaning. If I say there is 
"spirit," i. e. psychism, in mediumistic phenomena, this is 
a commonplace that nobody denies. In order to admit that 
experiments made with mediums are of a psychical order, 
it is quite unnecessary to be a believer in the doctrine of 
Spiritualism. This question is well asserted by Flournoy^ 
when he writes concerning Madame Z., a medium. 

"The message of M. R., who, in a short composition that 
does not lack a certain quality, is relating the last moments 
of his earthly life, his passage to the next world and his first 
impressions with regard to his new existence, indubitably 
imphes a spirit as its author. Still with greater force, it is 
the same with the series of messages of the same alleged 
origin, that have followed one another during several days 
under the pencil of Mme. Z. ; all bear the stamp of the same 

tion of phenomena." (Mme. Laura Finch, "Spiritisme et th^osophie. 
Du droit d'evoquer les morts," Annates des Sciences Psychiqties, 1905, 
p. 279.) 

'Flournoy, Travail cit6 des Annales des Sciences Psychiqties, 1899, 
p. 208. 


" The question is only to know whether the principle of this 
continuous and increasing systematization must be sought 
for in an independent spirit, different from the spirit of Mme. 
Z. herself, according to the spiritistic doctrine, and as she is 
inclined to believe it; or whether on the contrary this spu-it 
is one with her, so that the personality made manifest 
through those messages would be only a temporary func- 
tion, an act, a momentary projection, or creation, of her in- 
dividuality, in the same manner as people whom we see and 
who are talking to us dm'ing sleep are created by ourselves." 

So the meaning is made precise; what we are about to in- 
vestigate under the name of spiritualism is a theory that 
ascribes occult phenomena to the calhng of spirits, 

60. Account of the Theory. 

The meaning of the word is made more precise in an out- 
line of the doctrine as made by spiritualists themselves. 
In his book, whose title is a program in itself, Leon Denis^ 
says: " A thorough and frequent intercourse has been estab- 
lished since fifty years or so between mankind and the spirit 
world. The veil of death has been half opened. Souls have 
spoken (in experimentation). There is no possible success, 
no secure result without assistance and help from above. 
By narrowing spirituahsm, by giving it an exclusively experi- 
mental character, one chiefly succeeds in coming in contact 
with the low^er elements of the beyond, with the multi- 

*L^on Denis, "Dans I'invisible." "Spiritisme et m^diumnit^." 
"Traite de spiritualisme experimental." " Les faits et les lois." " PM- 
nomenes spontanes." "Tj^tologie et psychographie." "Lesfantomes 
des vivants et les esprits des morts." " Incorporation et materialisations 
des defunts." " M^thode d'experimentation." " Formation et direction 
des groupes." "Identity des esprits." "La m^diumnite i t ravers les 
^ges." Paris, 1904. — See also Edmond Dupouy, "Sciences occultes et 
physiologic psychique," 1898 (the whole chapter: "Plu'nom^nes spiri- 
tiques," p. 151). 


tude of rudimental spirits whose fatal influence is surround- 
ing and overwhelming mediums; they lead them into fraud; 
they spread mischievous effluvia over experimentalists, and, 
at the same time, are the frequent cause of errors or mystifica- 
tion. The frivolous spirits that pullulate our surroundings, 
are attracted because of the humor with which experi- 
ments are sometimes made. Modes of correspondence con- 
necting men on earth are gradually extended to inhabitants 
of the invisible world until, owing to new methods, they 
reach the human race on spheres in space. Spiritualism is 
not only a proof of survival; it also becomes a channel 
through which inspirations from the upper world come down 
to mankind. For this reason it becomes more than a 
science ; it is the teaching of Heaven to earth. In fact, there 
are two spiritisms. The former brings us into contact with 
higher intelligences, and also with the beloved spirits whom 
we have known on earth and who were the joy of our life. 
There is also another, a frivolous and worldly mode of ex- 
perimentation, through which we have intercourse with the 
lower elements of the invisible world; it leads to lessening 
the reverence due to the world beyond. The vast realm of 
souls is crowded with benevolent or malignant entities ; they 
are found at any grade of the infinite ladder, from the mean- 
est and rudest souls bordering upon animal life to the noblest 
and pm-est spirits, heralds of light, who belong to any 
regions of time and share the radiations of divine thought." 

By this it may be seen that there is a whole theory, a real 
doctrine, that tries to explain everything by mediumship, 
even as to its errors and frauds. Such is the doctrine orig- 
inated in America (see above), whose gospel has been de- 
lineated by Allan Kardec, " according to the teaching given 
by upper spirits through different mediums." 

In a book whose title is a promise of " irrefutable proofs 
regarding our intercourse with the spirit world," Gabriel 


Delannc^ says, "The whole of experimental and philosophi- 
cal spiritualism has its basis in the possibility of our having 
intercourse with spirits, i. e. with souls of persons who have 
lived on earth." The author hopes to demonstrate in his 
book " that real mediumship is truly caused by the action of 
disembodied intelligence." 

Finally, Dr. Lapponi^ " Archiatro della Santita di Leone 
Xin^ di Pio X," says: " I am bound to look upon spiritual- 
istic phenomena as upon phenomena of a supernatural order. 
It seems necessary to admit, as causing the analyzed facts, 
incorporeal beings who certify and prove their existence by 
means of those phenomena. From a philosophical point of 
view, it is credible, and even almost logically obvious, that 
above man among a series of created beings are other 
beings more perfect than he, more intelligent, and endowed 
also with greater physical power. To such beings, accord- 
ing to our miserable language, we give only the name of 
'spirits.' There are, among those beings, some spirits 
who, having passed through their existence on earth, leave 
their body in the visible world and go with what is the spark, 
the operating principle, the spirit of their life, towards hap- 
pier regions. Between the magic and necromancy of the 
past and the spiritualism of the present, I find no essential 
difference. On the contrary, I perceive in it resemblances 
that make me infer that there is a complete identity. Spir- 
itualism is the expression of an activity of a preternatural 

'Gabriel Delanne, "Recherches sur la mfidiumnit^." "Etudes des 
travaux des savants." "L'^criture automatique des hyst^riques." 
" L'^criture m6canique des mddiums." " Preuves absolues de nos com- 
munications avec le monde des esprits." Paris, 1902. 

-Dott — Giuseppe Lapponi, "Ipnotismo e spiritismo. Studio medico- 
critico," Roma, 1906. — All passages from this book, quoted here, were 
kindly translated into French by Miss Rix. (A French translation was 
issued by Perrin, a little previous to Lapponi's death.) 



There is in my opinion nothing so imperfectly estabhshed 
as the spiritistic doctrine, the ''systematical" explanation 
of occult facts by spirits. 

61. This Theory Unlikely. 

First of all the actual evocation of spirits is absolutely un- 
likely. "I do not beheve," says Morin, " that, after having 
been extricated from the hindrances of the human body, a 
soul may be so stupid as to creep into a piece of wood in 
order to express its presence there by means of the practise 
of so absurd a manifestation! " 

Babinet, who quotes the above passage, declares that at 
the moment when he was writing, there were in America 
60,000 mediums, and that all the dead, more or less famous, 
must constantly be at their disposal. One must add that, 
after such periods of posthumous activity, there are in com- 
pensation long stages of enforced idleness. 

Lapponi observes that since experiments were instituted 
in this matter the education of spirits has improved, and 
that they are now admirably capable of fitting the medium 
{milieu). He says: "There is a queer particular in all this. 
One would readily believe that the spirits have had to look to 
themselves for ways of expressing themselves and improving 
their knowledge of the habits of their fellow-creatures, 
through lessons taken at home in the next world. Another 
astonishing fact is the possibility for spirits to adapt their 
tastes to those of the experimentalists who cultivate their 
acquaintance {dei hro devoti cidtari). One would think 
that, like the pythoness who took the part of Eng Philip 
when issuing her oracles, the spirits of to-day share the opin- 
ions of those who take advice of them; they are pious when 


dealing with pious persons, affectionate towards people that 
are fond of then* relatives; they take interest in poHtics with 
politicians; they are business men with merchants, learned 
with men of science, vulgar and common with the lower 
class of individuals. This is the reason why spirits arc, in 
England, skeptical, talkers, avvediUi. In Germany they 
are mystical, theorists, and transcendental. In France, 
they appear as idle, Hberal, careless and frivolous. In the 
United States of America they are matter-of-fact, dogmatic, 
and daring; they proclaim their belief in metempsychosis, 
whilst elsewhere, and especially among us in Italy, they de- 
clare themselves to be pantheists, atheists, or materialists." 
By diminishing the strength of his objections, Lapponi 
himself attempts to establish that these give no absolute dis- 
proof of Spirituahsm. Quite so, but one may say that they 
indicate its unlikelihood. 

62. Spiritualism Must Bring Forth Its Proofs. 

Still, an unlikely doctrine may be true. But, previous to 
being accepted it should afford its own proofs. Spirits 
should supply us with numerous and irrefutable proofs as 
to their presence and identity if they want us, in spite of 
their improbability, to believe in them. 

Flom-noy says that ''it is necessary, in the complete 
critique of a mediumistic experience, to establish first that 
the contents of the message may have been issued by the 
medium, and lastly, that it is impossible they should have 
come from somewhere else." I transpose the proposition 
and say that in order to make us believe in the reality of 
spiritism spiritualists should first prove that it is impossible 
for the medium to be the author of the contents of the mes- 
sage, and then, that they have certainly originated elsewhere.* 

'Flouraoy, work cited in the Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1899, 
p. 201. 


As Flournoy observes rightly: " In case sufficient reason for 
a message is found in the medium, we have no right to 
infer into the bargain, even in virtue of hypothesis, the 
existence of another agent, different from the medium and 
involving a useless repetition of him." Therefore, Spirit- 
ualism should afford its own proofs, and it scarcely ever, 
or seldom does this. 

Charles Richet* writes: "To speak the truth — for one 
should be righteous even towards those who are not so with 
us — spirituahsts make a hard trial of the patience of scien- 
tists. Their assertions are lacking in proofs ; their researches 
are as little methodical as possible; they mix together doc- 
trine and experiments, poetical prayers and minute pre- 
caution, advice in morals and conditions of observation; 
they believe in the good faith of any one, and suppose every 
one to be equally qualified to make a good observation; they 
most frequently look like people whose conviction is settled 
in advance, whilst conviction ought to come as the con- 
clusion of their experiments." 

63. The Ideas Exprest During Trance are Those 
OF Mediums, and not Those of Evoked Spirits. 
Here is the really leading argument against Spiritualism. 
In order to prove their existence and identify in medium- 
istic seances, spirits ought to think and speak like the indi- 
viduals whom they represent, but as a matter of fact, they 
merely think and speak like the mediums themselves, who in 
those cases seem to be the sole authors of the messages ex- 
prest. The matter is perfectly settled in Lapponi's pas- 
sage cited above. If evocations are made easier and more 
perfect, and if spirits themselves apply to the evoking milieu, 
it is because the whole experience depends solely on the 

1 Charles Richet, article cited in the Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1905, p. 12. 


medium and not on the evoked person. Every one has 
been wondering at this. Pierre Janet has admirably illus- 
trated it when, speaking about messages sent to earth by 
more or less famous spirits, tlirough mediums, he has 
said: "How is it possible that readers of such messages 
should not have seen that those lucubrations, although they 
offer some intelligent combinations, are in the main utterly 
absurd, and that it is unnecessary to scrutinize mysteries 
beyond the grave in order to write such nonsense ? " 

When speaking tln-ough a medium, Corneille only writes 
childish poetry, and Bossuet delivers such puerile sermons 
that a country clergyman would be ashamed to speak of 
them. After a spiritualistic seance Wundt bitterly com- 
plains of the degeneracy undergone by the spirits of the 
most renowned personages; they talk exactly as the in- 
sane and idiots do. Allan Kardec, who is over-confident, 
evokes successively the souls of people dwelling on various 
spheres, and asks them questions concerning Heaven, Hell 
and Pm-gatory. He is right, after all, since it is the only 
way of getting information on these interesting questions. 
But in case you read either the information of M. Samson 
or M. Jobard, or that of poor Auguste Michel, or of Prince 
Oiu-an, you will find that those good spirits are not better 
informed than we are, and that they would greatly need to 
read the descriptions of Hell and Paradise as given by the 
poets in order to know a little about the matter. We had 
better give up wishing for a future Hfe if we have to spend it 
with such individuals. 

Surbled,* speaking likewise with regard to messages got- 
ten through tables on the part of spirits, says: "Most fre- 
quently they are only notions, commonplaces that reach us 
from beyond the grave. An evocation of this kind would 

^Surbled, "Spirites et Mediums," Choses dc I'autre monde, 1901, p. 31. 


be striking if it were real— if we could see such men as 
Galileo or Copernicus rising from the next world in order to 
teach us. But the fact of the medium summoning in our 
presence a scientist of the past and acting as his spokesman, 
involves nothing extraordinary; it even becomes suspicious 
in case we notice a strange Ukeness between this medium's 
ideas and those exprest by the spu-its evoked. One 
might believe that the medium is not interpreting thoughts, 
but rather ascribing thoughts to the disembodied persons, by 
using at the same time imagination and a good memory. 
" Man is betrayed by his speech." The author quotes this 
sentence of Santini : '' For instance, during the course of the 
same seance, the spirit of Voltaire would speak like a carman 
in case the medium (or more simply the operator) belongs to 
that class of society, or to any other similar station in life, 
or perhaps it would express itself ten minutes later as would 
a gentleman provided the medium is a well-bred or learned 

Camille Flammarion relates in La Revue (1906, p. 189) 
his former experiments with Allan Kardec which estab- 
lished that the message signed " Bernard Palissy, on Jupi- 
ter," was not sent by a spirit dwelling on that sphere; 
neither was Galileo any way related to the messages ascribed 
to him, they were unconsciously written by Flammarion. 

- In most of the experiments one might find this unlikelihood 
and strangeness, or puerility of mediumistic messages — 
even in those recently obtained. Abelard, the unhappy and 
famous husband of Heloise, has issued a book of conversa- 
tions from beyond the grave,^ through the channels of two 
kind women and a devoted disciple. 

At first Annette the house-maid and Mme. de V. were 

^"Entretiens posthumes du philosophe Pierre de B^renger (dit Abai- 
lard)," 8vo. (Georges Malet, "Entretiens posthumes d'Abailard avec 
deux Parisiennes," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 246.) Cf. a lecture by 


evoking a spirit who pretended that his only name was 
Pierre Laberon, but he disclosed that Pierre was Abelard. 
He usually came forth when Mme. de V. had joined with 
Mme. Blanche C. — "an author well known under a nom-de- 
plume by readers that are fond of feuillctons." "I find in 
you, dear Blanche, w^hat in Annette was absolutely lacking, 
i. e. notions of spelling and French." So WTites Abelard, and 
he asserts that the work he is going to dictate " will be an 
irrefutable proof of an interference on the part of the in- 
visible world, "for," he adds, " although you are very acute, 
there will be in the course of this volume matters so utterly 
transcendental that it will be impossible to ascribe them to 
a woman's mind, no matter how sharp it may be." And in 
spite of all, " apart from a neat hand which is most likely due 
to the medium's literary personality, nothing is found there- 
n that may differ from the usual spiritualistic reasonings." 
A circle of English spiritualists addrest to the Ternps^ a 
posthumous interview with the Imperial Prince. One 
might infer from it that "Napoleon III had retained in the 
next world a household perfectly organized. He has ser- 
vants and a Court, at the same time civil and military. 
Thus the next world would be merely a mirror of our sub- 
lunar sphere. I wish I did not have to die, since it is use- 
less to change." The Prince is questioned as to the number 
of the regiment in which he served when killed. He an- 
swers, "I do not remember; I believe it was an Irish regi- 
ment." Pierre Mille remarks: "If Napoleon I has not put 
his grand-nephew under arrest, since he has forgotten the 
number of his regiment, there is no discipline in the armies 
of the beyond." 

Gabriel Delanne on "The teachings of the beyond," made at the French 
Society for Psychical Researches (Echo du Merveillmx, 1907, p. 437). 

'Pierre Mille, "Un message de I'au-del^," Le Temps (Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 308). 


Signor di Santa Prassede* describes " six psychical seances 
that took place last summer at the Villa Albaro." 

" The various spirits evoked, emitted a scent of their own: 
the shipwrecked little girl smelt like violets; Captain Jones 
was exhaUng an odor of tobacco ; Abdul Aziz gave a perfume 
of ottar; the invisible soul of a young lady ran over the 
piano with fingers resembling the wings of a butterfly; one 
soul was distilling a sweet and delicious fragrance, unknown 
till then, which Signor di Santa Prassede unhesitatingly as- 
serted to be the perfume of innocence; Tobias emitted no 
odor whatever, and this is a quality scarcely to be found in a 
a dog, but as is the habit of its congeners, it scented other 
souls quite easily. Abdul Aziz, who smelled of ottar, was a 
good-tempered fellow and described Mohammed's paradise. 
Napoleon came forth and played a rather poor pasquinade 
by evoking the battle of Wagram and imitating the noise of 
bullets that flattened against his snuff-box." 

Perhaps this pamphlet is an ironical pasticcio, issued only 
to hoax ingenuous folk.^ 

What I have said concerning mediums who are earnest, 
may be set in opposition to those grotesque seances. Among 
them the seance of Mme. Hugo d'Alesy, taken from Pierre 
Janet (who had borrowed it from the Revue Spirite), is not 
less ridiculous and does not bear any more than others the 
stamp of the beyond. 

The medium whose experiments I have recalled, according 
to Surbled, is not more intelligent when he declares that the 

'Martino di Santa Prassede, Apres la Villa Carmen, Journal des Debats 
Aug. 2, 1906. 

^People were wondering at the nature of this pamphlet. In fact, they 
were troubled to perceive whether the author intended to make a satire, 
without success, or if he was so stupid as to imagine that persons deal- 
ing with psychical research would believe in the reality of his stories. 
Letters dated from Genoa allow us to think that this hypothesis is the 
true one {Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 592). 


inhabitants of the moon are hke us except that they cannot 
live with air, while we are unable to dispense with it. 
Helen Smith and Mme. Smead, who are earnest mediums, 
have not afforded us as regards Mars more sensational and 
likely revelations. Behind the manifestations of Marie 
Antoinette or Cagliostro, or behind those of the inhabitants 
of Mars we always meet with the medium's peculiar mental 

The most intelligent and complex romances of mediums — 
should they be surveyed by men like Flournoy or Hyslop 
— contain nothing except matters previously stored within 
the disaggregated polygon of the medium entranced, or were 
exclusively derived from that inner place of origin. There is 
nothing that might seem to come only from the beyond.* 

Flournoy demonstrates in his work already quoted from 
the Revue Philosophique that "the would-be spiritualistic 
messages are merely caused by the medium's subconscious 
imagination working on latent remembrances or preoccu- 
patioiLS," and in order to ratify this opinion he cites cases 
that are absolutely noteworthy. I am going to sum up the 
first one. 

Mme. Z.'s father and one of her brothers have had pro- 
phetic dreams, and her son has practised automatical hand- 
writing. She is herself fond of reading Allan Kardec, 
Gibier, etc. During one month she tries experiments with 
a table; next she produces automatic handwriting, and after 
eight days (April 21) she gets the names of departed rela- 
tives and friends, together with philosophical and religious 
messages that are continued on the following days. On 
April 24, as she had already wTitten various messages, 
her pencil is suddenly tracing the name of a Mr. R,, a young 
Frenchman whom she knew, and who recently entered into 

*C/. the whole interesting chapter on " Les Tables de Jersey," by Jules 
Bois, loc. cit., p. 101. 


holy orders. This sph-it informs her that it has been dis- 
embodied on the previous day; it gives a description of his 
last illness, relates that death has come without any suffering 
whatever; that he has recommendations by letters, and has 
finally awakened near God amongst relatives and friends. 
"Your father has led me into your presence; I did not 
know that such an intercourse was possible. I have at once 
thought of my beloved. My wish would have been to speak 
with them, but I can communicate with you only. I re- 
main with you and see you, but still I look only at your 
spirit." Nothing is more precise than this evocation, which 
happened every day for a week. Every one would have 
been bound to see in this an irrefutable proof of the reality 
of spiritualism had not a letter arrived on April 30 from Mr. 
R., who, far from being dead, still enjoyed perfect health.* 

Although Charles Richet does not deem it " very mighty," 
he mentions and debates an objection to spiritualism "in- 
ferred from the strange characters of personalities."^ 
For instance, " It has been asserted that it was stupid on the 
part of Aristotle's personahty to come back and speak 
French or English, and give warnings as transcendental in 
spirit as the following: 'Be persevering; owing to patience, 
you will succeed,' or ' You will get better results to-morrow.' 
Should any personality manifest its existence through auto- 
matical handwriting, it uses the medium's writing and 
makes the same mistakes in spelling as the medium himself 
would make. When persons less famous than Aristotle are 
concerned, they have forgotten certain characteristics. 
For instance, they fail to remember their surname, or the 
place where they used to live. Phinuit, Mrs. Piper's familiar 
spirit, pretended to have been a French physician at 

^When discussing telepathy, I shall further deal with this fact. 
^'Charles Richet, works cited in the Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1905, p. 32. 


Motz ; he talked English as he had forgotten the French lan- 
guage because he attended so many English people dwelling 
up there. It would be easy to detect numerous similar in- 
stances of this absurdity. ' ' Charles Richet says : " Many un- 
likely assertions are met with in Spiritualism — spirits of 
Englishmen that talk French, ghosts that, when material- 
ized, materialize their hat, their stick or their eyeglass at the 
same time." 

Of course, Charles Richet is quoting these objections only 
that he may show he does not believe them to be of value. 
But he disregards them merely because he wants to deal ex- 
clusively with facts. He does not affirm the doctrine of 
personal survival; neither does he assert the theory of 
spiritualism which I am discussing in this paragraph. 

"The matter is not," as he observes, "to decide in this 
moment if it is Aristotle who is really coming back and 
speaking French unto us, only to tell us : 'be persevering 
and patient.' One should know whether an intelligence is 
made manifest according to modalities unknown as yet, in 
objects that seem to be inert, and by the interference of a 
new power not previously thought of. Whether the first 
be true or false, such is all the question and it is not suffi- 
cient in denying the fact of an intelligent power, to say 
that this power is falsely asserted to be Aristotle — provided 
that faith not be deniable in itself. One may question 
Aristotle's presence, but it is undeniable that there is an 

We absolutely agree. When setting the question of facts 
apart from theories, Charles Richet is quite right. He as- 
serts that the above-mentioned objection is of no value as 
regards facts. But, in case one should survey, as I am do- 
ing, not facts, but the spiritualistic hypothesis, this objec- 
tion is still very mighty, and it is interesting to have it ex- 
prest by Charles Richet. In order for a spirit to afford, in 


u scaiice, real proof of his presence and identity, he should 
give information quite new and which the medium has never 
heard of. I do not think this has ever been done. 

It has been recently asserted that Dr. Hodgson fulfilled a 
little while after his death the promise he made to the So- 
ciety for Psychical Research, and has come back and given 
his impressions of the other world. ^ ''The world had no 
right to ask for more striking proof. "^ However, Prof. 
Hyslop unhappily is said to have refuted this pretended 
promise.^ Dr. Funk, however, has declared that this 
statement is " utterly false." In any case, the proof so 
much longed for has eluded us. 

Myers offered to members of the S. F. P. R. an oppor- 

nVhen about to die, Canius Junius said to his friends: " If you ask me 
if the soul is immortal, I am going to know it, and in case it is possible, 
I shall come back and let you know" (Citat. Maxwell, loc. cit., p. 232). 

^"L'esprit du docteur Hodgson se serait manifeste." Annates des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 124. 

^"Une pretendue promesse du Dr. Hodgson," Annates des Sciences 
P^chiques, 1906, p. 392. Hyslop remarks that "the constant inter- 
course Dr. Hodgson had with Mrs. Piper for about twenty years" 
should hinder us from taking "as irrefutable proof spiritualistic messages 
originating there and exprest through this channel." It should be added 
here that the medium quoted by Dr. Funk was Mrs. May Pepper, 
" whom one should not confuse with the well-known Mrs. Piper described 
by Mr. Hodgson himself and whose mediumistic powers are the same." 

Editor's Note. — The statements here made with regard to Dr. Hodg- 
son have been shown to Prof. Hyslop, who writes as follows regarding 
them: "I would say that Dr. Funk is quite right about my position. 
I have never refuted the 'pretended promise' to return. On the con- 
trary, I regard it as having been fulfilled, and so well fulfilled that only 
ignorance or prejudice would fail to appreciate the evidence. In my 
articles on Hodgson's communications I merely said that he might have 
said various things about his life, which would appear in the trance. 
I did not say that this applied to all the communications, but merely 
remarked that the eighteen years of his work were exposed to suspicion. 
Tho I did not express myself exactly in the language used by Grasset, 
the general idea was implied in what I did say. I mean by it that con- 
clusive evidence would not come, for the hardened skeptic, through the 
Piper case alone, but that with other cases it would be sati; factory." 


tunity to write under a sealed envelope, statements 
known only to them. The envelope was to be opened only 
after a medium pretending to have intercourse with a dis- 
embodied spirit should have claimed to know the contents of 
the letter. The experiment has not yet been made. Mariel 
Mangin has perfectly set forth all the precautions that should 
be taken when making it, so as to prevent it from becoming 

Camille Flammarion relates that " Mme. Werner, to 
whom he had been related for more than thirty years by a 
close friendship, and who had been dead one year, had many 
times promised him with the most express intention to 
come after her death and complete his psychical researches 
by a manifestation, should this be possible." Flammarion 
accordingly attempted to secure this embodiment with Eu- 
sapia at the house of Dr. Ostwalt, Mme. Werner's son-in- 
law. " In spite of all our efforts," he says, " we have failed 
to obtain even one proof of identity." It would have been 
very easy — so it seems — for Mme. Werner to give one, as she 
had so formally promised to do. In spite of the announce- 
ment (by raps) of an apparition that would enable us to iden- 
tify her, we only perceived a whitish shape lacking definite 
outlines, even after we had made the darkness almost com- 
plete." He infers: "Most certainly those phenomena are 
caused by a power emanating from the medium, for they all 
occm- immediately near the medium. This power is intelli- 
gent, but it is possible that the intelligence complying with 
our questions is not distinct from the medium's intelligence. 
Nothing shows that the spirit evoked has any influence 
whatever in the matter. Therefore, I conclude that spirits 
have brought forth no proof as to their real presence and 
identity.' Mediumistic messages, in trances, merely ex- 

'Commenting on a report addrest to the Societe d'Etude des Ph6- 
nomenes Tsychiques of Nancy, on October 21, 1906, by M. X., in the 


press the inediuni's polygonal thought and involve the evo- 
lution of no spirit whatever/ 

Quite recently a book was issued on "La Genese de 
I'Ame." It is only a "coui'se of mediumistic messages." 
Its author is a "Parisian lady" whose nom-de-plume is 
Ch. d'Orino. Previous to this book one would vainly- 
even in Allan Kardec's works— have tried to find a com- 
plete theory of the soul, of its origin and fate, gotten through 
revelation. "La Genese de I'Ame" supplements this. It 
is a complete rationale of the doctrine as wholly written out 
by a number of spirits such as " Renan, Harlowe, Father 
Henri, Zola, Monsignor Dupanloup, Father Didon, Mau- 
passant, and the cure d'Ars."^ 

Gaston Mery asserts that " the intelligences which bor- 
rowed those famous names and called the personalities forth 
certainly have nothing in conmion with the deceased. ' ' The 

matter of the identity of psychical personahties, Gaston M^ry concludes: 
" I have attentively read the text in question. I have analyzed it ; I 
have for a long while thought it over, and I feel obliged to confess to 
my correspondent that he has not altered my ideas on the matter. I 
admit that the facts quoted are strange, or even — according to my cor- 
respondent's expression — moving. However, I believe I am in a posi- 
tion to assert that they are not real proofs. In my opinion they are not 
even semblances of proofs. I shall readily go so far as to say that, far 
from establishing the possibility of the identification of spirits, they 
prove the impossibility" (Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, pp.81, 101, 166). 

'De Rochas at first had seen in his experiments on "the retrogression 
of memory" "a proof of reincarnation." His recent studies have en- 
abled him to put the matter in its proper place. He declares that his 
experiments "throw a new light upon the subconscious"; they show 
how cautiously one should accept the subjects' revelations, even in case 
their good faith is unquestioned, and when such revelations are accom- 
panied by somatical particulars that seem to prove their reality, in a 
complete manner (Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 131). 

^Gaston M6ry, "La Genese de I'Ame," Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, pp. 
221-241 ; "Une lettre de Ch. d'Orino," Ibidem., p. 261 ; "Une lettre du 
R. P. Gaffre," Ibidem, p. 284, Jules Bois says (p. 264) : " Absolute proof 
of the identity of a spirit has never been afforded." 


doctrine suggested by them "is not only contrary to tradi- 
tional ideas, but it depends upon no positive data, and, 
though having some semblance of truth, is merely a de- 
ceptive delusion." Those theories, as attributed to the 
teaching of spu-its, are obviously contrary to verified facts, 
or rest upon erroneous reasoning. This illustrates '' once 
more, and at the same time, the whole sum of vain imagina- 
tion and idle fancy that is to be detected in spiritualism." 
The same author^ discusses, with much good sense in 
a lecture delivered at the Nancy Society for Psychical Re- 
searches,^ the identity of spirits. He compares, with much 
irreverence, those experiments' with a joke made by Al- 
phonse Allais, who for a long time hoaxed a countryman. 
Having seen, in a cafe, this man's hat, he mentioned to him 
the place where he lived and the name of his hatter, and 
then, after having looked into a directory, the names of a 
druggist, butcher and baker there. 

64. Errors of Mediums. Deceitful Spirits. 

A new confirmation of the theory exprest is afforded 
by the errors frequently made by mediums when delivering 
messages. In Maxwell's* book will be found the distressing 
relation of a mediumistic error that almost became a trag- 
edy. M. V. is making with various mediums — and espe- 
cially with Mme. V. — very queer experiments relating to 
raps, material brought in, removals of objects, and tele- 
pathical or divinatory messages. One day, the spirit gives 
orders by wire to sell in Paris 6,000 fr. of three per cent. 

'Gaston M^ry, Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, pp. 81-101. Gabriel 
Jeanne, Revue du Monde Invisible {Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 218). 

^Echo du Merveilleux, Nov. 1 and 15, 1907; "Reponse a Gaston 
Mery," May, 1907, p. 421. 

'"Les 'Alphonse Allais' de I'au-dela," Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 

^Maxwell, loc. cit., p. 232. 


stock, and to invest 10,000 fr. in Italian funds. Although 
Mme. v., who was a stock-broker's wife, had never dealt 
with business matters, the very words used in dictating the 
arbitrage, showed that the transaction had been imagined 
by a mind well acquainted with this kind of business. The 
spirit was speculating on a rising in the Italian funds and on 
a fall in the French stock; all this proved successful. Then, 
the spu'it undertakes to manage M. V.'s business. ''You 
must no longer be concerned with business," says he, "It is 
mine. I shall see to it. You have only to obey me and let 
me have my own way and you will be rewarded." In fact, 
the arbitrage moved along perfectly, as he was able to fore- 
see the future. The anonymous financier sold the Italian 
funds at the highest price, whilst he waited during a few 
days in order to repurchase his three per cent, stock on bet- 
ter conditions. Such a gift of forecast was exceedingly 
striking. With such a power at his service the chance for 
luck appeared boundless. The profit involved in both trans- 
actions was about 3,000 fr., use of which was directed in a ju- 
dicious manner by the spirit himself. He induced M. V. to 
adopt the dangerous system of non-realization. Instead of 
taking his profits at every liquidation, he was denied any 
conversion into money. On January 1, 1870, the market 
price indicated a profit of 30,000 fr. In spite of repeated 
entreaties, the stock-broker failed to secure from the spirit 
permission to convert the account into money. M. V.'s 
quietude remained untouched up to the moment when com- 
plications with Germany first appeared. From the first 
day, when in line with his former experience, the stock- 
broker wished to convert his profits into money, the spirit 
resisted. "Now you are again feeling the same terrors as 
when difficulties happened regarding Luxembourg. I as- 
sure you there will be no war. Believe in me, I am your 
master and have never deceived you these three years." 


Despite those assertions, two days later the war was about 
to begin. " By taking hold of the telegraphic lines the light- 
hearted Secretary of State achieved my downfall. I was 
put in a place where it was impossible to wire to Paris so as 
to circumscribe my ruin." The spirit became absolutely 
dumb and answered ({uestions no longer. "And still the 
hour was of importance, for twenty years of work were sink- 
ing into the abyss." 

The spirit had obviously been failing ever since the dis- 
aggregated polygon of the stock-broker's wife had been over- 
whelmed in its activities and deceived in its reasonings by 
events that surpassed its psychical ken. Errors of this kind 
are numerous and frequent. But many people feel more in- 
clined to trumpet forth success than failure in mediumistic 

I have related above the error of the spirit who reported 
to Mme. Z. (the medium of Flom-noy)^ all particulars re- 
specting the death of M. R. (whom he embodied) although 
M. R. was perfectly alive. Another strange story of a fal- 
lacious spirit who deceived Mme. Smead, a plaindealing 
medium, is termed by Hyslop^ "the joke of Harrison 
Clarke." He discusses his death in such a battle, such a 
regiment, and gives all the particulars, which are subse- 
quently discovered to be false. When one of his errors was 
indicated to him he tried to cover it up. Most usually sin- 
cere believers in spirits are not shaken by gross and obvious 
errors made by their mediums. 

The stock-broker quoted l)y Maxwell was convinced that 
the mistake had been desired by the spirit, and that his 
mind had been intended and prepared by him during two 

•Flournoy, Travail cit<; des Annales des Sciences Psrjchiqxies, 1899, 
p. 199. 

'Prof. Hyslop, Travail cit^ des Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, 
p. 479. 


years and a half. Finally, when all was accomplished, he 
said sternly unto him: '' You meant to come to this point." 
The abashed spirit stammered an answer, of which M. V. 
could understand only the word " trials." When Flournoy's 
second medium went to his son's master and got positive 
and official evidence of the error made by the spirit, he did 
not give up his belief. While the director was speaking, his 
hand was writing on the desk, always with slowness due to 
crumpled paper. He heard the words: "I have deceived 
you, Michel; forgive me." That spirit he had thought to 
be so utterly benevolent, and whom he had candidly chosen 
as his guide, as his second conscience, had scandalously de- 
ceived him! It was a shame. So he said, instead of detect- 
ing in those facts evidence of falsehood in the spiritualistic 
hypothesis. Sincere believers are preserving such faith and 
now admit the existence of fallacious spirits. Allan Kardec 
had already acknowledged that "some spirits are frivolous, 
deceitful and malignant."^ Quite recently the Annates 
were saying of Craddock ■? " Still we should refuse to accept 
as proofs — or even as hints — unfavorable to mediums the 
false information given with regard to their identity by 
spu-its that are made manifest. Such inaccuracies, more or 
less radical, have been verified by all experimentalists in 
mediumistic messages, and it is impossible to infer from 
them that the medium's phetiomena are objectively fraud- 
ulent. In order to admit as unfavorable evidences those in- 
accuracies, it would first be necessary to approve of this 
strange theory: that mediumistic messages are always is- 
sued by spirits; and next, that spirits are in all cases the 
very entities they pretend to be." 

In spite of all these efforts, I think the objections to the 
theory of spiritualism based on the errors of mediums are 

'C/. Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, Nos. 215 and 217. 
^Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 323. 


still very strong. In order to prove its reality, spiritualism 
ought not only to speak the truth always, but also to put 
forth verities that are beyond the usual ken of earthly psy- 
chisms. But instead spirits are found to be mistaken, or, if 
they deceive, where is the evidence that they really exist? 
Are we to believe that spirits are deceiving us as to theu* 
identity, or playing comedies or farces in order to wrong us, 
or to make fun of us? If some of the spirits evoked are de- 
ceitful and malignant, how are we to trust the experiments 
of spiritualism at large?* 

As Flournoy rightly observes : " If you ascribe to a deceit- 
ful spirit — as spirit-believers would readily do — erroneous 
messages for which there is sufficient explanation in the 
psychical mood of the subject, you transgress a principle 
according to which causes should not unnecessarily be 
multipHed." The hypothesis of fallacious spirits is only a 
" clever shift enabling spiritualism to make the most — even 
for its own benefit — of messages formally contradicted by 
facts. In this special case Mme. Z. has believed for a long 
time (and is yet inclined to believe a little, as I think) that 
a fairy player from the spirit world indulged in a vulgar 
pleasantry when sitting in her presence as if he were really 
M. R. It would be quite necessary for this independent 
spirit to be perfectly acquainted with the most secret 
thought, either conscious or subliminal, entertained by 
Mme. Z., at this moment, with regard to remembrances, 
preoccupations, feelings or inclinations concerning M. R. 

" In order to compose his apocryphal messages this spirit 
has chosen what most exactly fitted in with the ideas of 

'"The conclusion is that all spiritualistic experiments are deceptive 
at least, since, should they afford us the possibility of evoking deceitful 
spirits, they only give us a presumption as to the possibility of raising 
up truthful spirits." — Gaston Mdrj", "Une protestation des spirites," 
Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 24. 


Mme. Z. respecting her young friend, or with the impressions 
she preserved about him, also with the contents of letters 
wTitten by both. In other words, this skilful forger would 
have taken from Mme. Z, the complex and systematical no- 
tion she had at that time of M. R. He would have interpo- 
lated nothing except what she had herself added, owing to 
the natural and spontaneous working of her powers of imag- 
ination and reasoning. He would have merely reproduced, 
as in an exact mirror, the features of M. R., such as they 
were, imprest upon her mind, and interpreted, as an 
obedient secretary, what was whispere(i by her fanciful 
dreams, the wishes or fears of her heart, or the scruples of 
her conscience. 

" But now, how would this kind spirit be different from 
Mme. Z. herself? What would be the meaning of such an 
independent individuality, that is solely an echo, a reflection, 
a particle of another person, and what is the use of such a 
duplicate of reality? Is it not stupid and childish to imag- 
ine, in order to explain a synthesis and a psychological co- 
ordination, another true principle of synthesis and co- 
ordination, another individual or spirit different from the 
very individual or mind which already contains all the 
elements gathered, and whose nature is exerting an influence 
over the grouping in order to carry this out?" 

65. Spiritualists Do Not Agree Together. 

A final argument may be inferred against spiritualism 
from the fact that various circles of believers do not agree 
as to reincarnation. MaxwelP sets forth in the following 
manner an objection to the teaching of spirits which he 
deems irrefutable. In all countries of the* Continent they 
are declaring their belief in reincarnation. They frequently 
announce the moment when they are going to be embodied 
•Maxwell, he. cit., p. 7. 


again in a new human wrapper. They even more readily 
relate adventures on the part of their followers. On the 
contrary, in England, spirits afhrm that there is no reincar- 

This is a formal, absolute and irreconcilable contradiction. 
How are we to have a judicious opinion? Who is speaking 
the truth? Who is right, the Anglo-Saxon spirits or the 
continental entities? It is likely that messages are not 
emitted by well-informed witnesses. AksakofT, one of the 
most learned believers, is indirectly coming to this conclu- 
sion. He acknowledges that one is never sure of the iden- 
tity of the being made manifest during a seance.* 


66. I think a conclusion is easily drawn from what I have 
just stated. The theory of spiritualism (evocation of 
spirits so as to explain occult facts) is unlikely. Before be- 
ing admitted as true it should afford positive proof. But 
such proof has not been given as yet. Mediumistic mes- 
sages include nothing that may not come from the me- 
dium's' disaggregated polygon, and bear no mark whatever 
of an outward influence. 

'"Should the medium be of American or English origin, the spirit 
does not believe in reincarnation; on the contrary, he admits it, in case 
he is French, or German, or Italian, i.e. in countries where Allan Kar- 
dec's influence is prevailing, as well as the doctrine of reincarnation." — 
Charles Richet, work quoted in Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, 
p. 33. 

*To this question: "Is it possible for a spirit evoked to afford proofs 
of his identity?" Gaston M^ry gives the following answer: "As far as I 
am concerned, I do not think so" (Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 23). 

'From this may be inferred that, if I am sticking, throughout this 
book, to the word "medium," like Flammarion,! use it no longer accord- 
ing to its etymological meaning, "as it had been imagined when spirit- 
ualistic theories were first taught, asserting that the subject — man or 


They frequently contain gross mistakes and have failed 
as yet to formulate doctrines concerning the life of the 
beyond that are unanimously adopted by believers. 

As has been rightly said by Flom-noy, "Anything that 
may be explained (according to the empiric and phenomenal 
sense of the word) by certain individuals — Mr. So-and-so, 
or Mrs. Z., or by their past, their actual condition, their 
known faculties — should be ascribed to them, and it would be 
unfair to attribute these groundlessly to another unknown 
being. The so-called 'mediumistic messages' are merely 
caused by the medium's subconscious imagination, working 
on latent preoccupations or reminiscences. Even in a case 
when for want of satisfactory evidence it would be impos- 
sible to prove that messages are not exclusively issued by 
the medium, we ought to presume so till proof of the reverse 
is given. The practical conclusion to be drawn from it is 
that it is puerile and imprudent to deal with spiritualism as 
showing real intercourse with disembodied spirits." 

Camille Flammarion in commenting on answers obtained 
with a table writes (La Revue, 1906, p. 37) : "The medium's 
mind and the mind of experimentalists have certainly a 
part in it. The answers obtained are usually in correspond- 
ence with this intellectual condition, as if the powers of 
experimentalists had been exteriorized from their brains 
and had an influence over the table, though such persons 
may not be conscious of it.^ 

woman, endowed with such powers — was an intermediate agent between 
spirits and experimentalists." 

'According to Jules Bois (Le Matin, March 30, 1908), phenomena 
called mystical, occult, spiritualistic or theosophical — i.e. the wonderful 
or the modem miracle — have no connection whatever with the beyond 
or with the existence of God and the survival of the soul. Those facts 
are the work — either conscious or unconscious — of man himself, of living 
man. They are caused by powers unknown as yet, or by a combination 
of powers known already. No external interference is necessary, except 
as a stimulus, but never as a cause. 


Charles Richet says, after having indicated the absurd- 
ities of spirituahsm: "But should the facts be real, and this 
is possible, after all, I should feel obliged to turn over the 
proposition, and assert that it was absurd to deny those 
facts. ' ' There is no proposition to turn over. An absurdity 
it would be to maintain the theory of spiritualism and to 
infer from the downfall of this theory that facts are not 
really existing. For the present my conclusion is against 
the theory of spiritualism, the criticism of facts remain- 
ing untouched.^ 

'There is not one man of " science, even though he be an adept in the 
soul theory, who is a believer ia spiritualistic, theosophical or occult 
doctrine; to him, the fact only is of value" (Jules Bois, p. 10). 



I. Account of the Theory. 

67. The occultist doctrine; Perispirit; Astral Body. 

68. Other scientific forms of the doctrine. 

a. Psychical radiations. 

b. The apparatus to measure them. 
II. Discussion of Theories. 

69. Most of them bring forth as proofs only the power of exterioriza- 

tion, which they try to explain. 

70. The biometers have not proved the existence of a power irreducible 

to the other known forms of power (heat, electricity). 

71. Should this new power be proved, nothing would yet demonstrate 

that it is a connecting agent between two separate psychisms. 
III. 72. Conclusions. 

Opposed to the doctrine of Spiritualism is the theory of 
human radiations, which, under its actual aspect, is cer- 
tainly far more conformable to reason and science than the 


67. The Occultist Doctrine, Perispirit, Astral 

This doctrine has been set forth in its occultistic form, 
with great skill by Dr. Encausse (Papus) in his book al- 
ready quoted: '' L'Occultisme et le Spiritualisme." It is a 
modern revival, an outline written in actual scientific lan- 
guage of the old occultistic doctrine whose origins, vener- 
able by its antiquity, I have stated above. There is be- 
tween the Ego and the non-Ego, between the Mind and 


Body, one or several iiileniu'diatc principles. As a rule, 
the Trinity prevails over all secondar}- divisions (doctrine 
of the Tri- Unity); there are three plans in nature, and, in 
man, tliree principles; this is the theory of the plastic me- 

In man, between the innnortal mind and the physical 
body, there is an intermediate agent, which has organs and 
faculties that are absolutely peculiar. This intermediate 
principle, special to Occultists, is the astral body, twice 
polarized and connecting the inferior physical with the su- 
perior spiritual. Man is thus compared to an equipage 
whose carriage is represented by the physical body, the 
horse being the astral body, and the coachman the mind. 
This image perfectly shows us the characteristics of the 
astral body, which is really the horse of the organism : it puts 
it to motion, but does not manage it. The great sympa- 
thetic is as the horse of the organism : it manages alone when 
the driver is asleep, 

"The astral body being like a housewife in the human 
being, presides over the making of all the organic forces, and 
especially the nervous force. This nervous force is acting 
as regards the mind in the same manner as electricity to- 
wards the telegraph operator; the material brain resembling 
the telegraph." Such is the beginning — not utterly as- 
tounding as yet — of this theory, which only makes an exces- 
sive use of comparisons and images.* 

But here follows something more momentous and neces- 
sary for the making of the theory of exteriorization. This 
astral body, or plastic mediator (the horse of the organism) 
is luminous when seen apart from material organs: i. e. this 

'In the same manner as carbonate of soda combines oil with water 
(which are contrary to each other) so as to make a perfectly homogene- 
ous soap, so the astral body unites the incorporeal oil with material 
water and makes a vital soap of them. 


principle may radiate around the body in which it is nor- 
mally enclosed. This coming out of the astral body, as it 
is technically termed, may be incomplete, i. e. partial or 
total. From this are derived occult phenomena, up to ma- 
terializations and telepathies. Thus this astral body may 
radiate around the individual, constituting a sort of invis- 
ible atmosphere termed ''astral aura," and it may even be 
absolutely exteriorized. 

This intermediate agent is the luminous body (Kha) of the 
Egyptians, the carriage of the Psyche of the Pythagoreans, 
the plastic mediator and universal mercm-y of Hermetists, 
the astral body of Paracelsus, This latter name (adopted 
by Encausse Papus) was given because this element de- 
rived its principle from an interplanetary or astral sub- 

" The astral body is an organic reality ; one may, in this 
respect, compare it with the photograph ; the astral plan is 
merely, in the occultist's view, the plan of negative plates or 
molds, and physical objects are only proofs printed, every 
one of them, in various numbers of copies by special spirit- 
ual agents." 

Besides, on the astral plan, the evolution from one type to 
another immediately superior is taking place. Thus, for 
instance, " the mold of the body of a dog after the suffer- 
ings of an earthly incarnation (or a physical incarnation on 
any planet whatever) becomes the mold or astral body of 
the future body of a monkey. As to mind, reincarnation 
consists in coming back several times on the physical plan, 
without any necessity of time or place, i. e. the spirit may 
come either ten years or two hundred years after the physi- 
cal death, and its return may happen on any planet what- 
ever of a material solar system." 

Moreover, in the astral plan, are also found entities en- 
dowed with consciousness, the "spirits" of spirit-believers, 


and the " elementaries " of occultists. Those are the resi- 
dences of men who have just departed this hfe and whose 
souls have not undergone all the necessary evolutions. 
Therefore, the elementaries are human entities that have 
performed evolutions, while the elementals have not yet 
passed tlirough mankind. Thus, there are several classes 
of spirits: 

First. The elementals inferior to human beings are 
mortal, but may acquire immortality by rising to human 
nature. Under this head are included the sylphs (spirits of 
air); the salamanders (spirits of fire); the undines (spirits 
of water) ; the gnomes (spirits of earth) of the ancients and of 
the Rose Croix. These are spirits who are neither good nor 
bad in themselves, and who, during seances, enjoy them- 
selves at the expense of the bystanders or mediums, pre- 
tending to be Charlemagne or Victor Hugo. 

Second. These are the spirits equal or superior to human 
nature: '' elementa,ries, planetary spirits of the cabala, an- 
gels, demons, astral spirits. They have a will of their own 
and come at the time of evolutions or conjurations only when 
willing or when compelled to do so." At death " the physi- 
cal body or carnal wrapper goes back to earth, to the 
physical world from which it had come. The astral body 
and the physical being, illuminated by the memory, intelli- 
gence and will of earthly remembrances and actions, move 
on the astral plan, especially to upper regions where they 
become an elementary being or a spirit." 

Let us suppose that our reflection in a mirror is persisting 
after our departm'e, with its color, its features, and all the 
appearance of reality. We will then have an idea of what 
may be meant by the astral image of a human being. Be- 
sides, any object might relate a part of the facts it has wit- 
nessed. Psychometry consists in placing an object on 
someone's forehead; then his soul is perceiving directly a 


series of images related to the most momentous facts in 
whicii the object played a part. 

Likewise, regarding man, "Every one of us is carrying 
around him a radiance which the carnal eye fails to per- 
ceive, but it is visible to the soul that is used to it. This 
radiance is termed 'aura,' From this is derived 'the reg- 
istering of ideas in the invisible.'" 

It seems that we do not find our way through the outline 
of those ideas; still I am not going beyond my subject- 
matter. For it should be known that in occult facts the 
modern occultist does not view an influence of the spirits, 
but merely an action at a distance on the part of the me- 
dium's astral body. Besides, says Encausse, " The substance 
constituting those fluids surrounding the being evoked, is 
very similar to electricity. This is the reason why metallic 
tacks were used in this sort of evocation.^ The use of a 
sword, a cup, or of talismen, as well as the use of words 
loudly spoken, are intended for action upon the astral of 
nature, and upon beings that live in it." 

Such is a summary of the occult doctrine in its most re- 
cent synthesis. There is discoverable a deep preoccupation 
in efforts to make a scientific matter of it. "Once more," 

'In the case of the haunted house I have described with Calmette, 
someone writes to the Echo du Merveilleux in order to get advice, and 
here is the answer: "As a rule, the medium is a kind of human voltaic 
battery that emits something analogous to electricity. The best way 
to check the phenomena, is to pierce through the air with iron tacks or 
swords, for instance, not — as was formerly asserted — in order to cleave 
spirits, but so as to obtain the electric clouds caused by mediums, in 
the same manner as we draw, through lightning conductors, the electric 
clouds that are floating through the air." 

"And in fact, a few days later, the noise and the removals having 
occurred again, the medium's grandfather took a stick fitted with a 
spear, held it at rest, ready to cleave asunder, and then he whirled his 
sword about, cutting and thrusting fiercely, in every direction, around 
the bed and imder it. Finally he ceased, as he was worn out. The 
bed was still shaking." 


says Papus, "there is nothing supernatural about aU these 
matters; they are merely natural questions, a little more 
eminent than those usually known to us and that is all. 
The more we investigate, the more we may notice that there 
is nothing contrary to the positive teachings of actual 

In a subsequent work, Phaneg^ has insisted upon the 
** coming out in the astral body." By this experiment the 
double fluid is made to go out of the coarse organism and is 
replaced by consciousness. The material body is apparently 
motionless and lifeless, and om" mind acts with the help of 
the astral body. The adept, in his conscious astral " com- 
ing out," may meet with a metallic tack that will dissolve 
the fluidic agglomeration and cause a repercussion on the 
physical body. Should the vital center be touched, death is 
undoubtedly forthcoming. Then the astral world in which 
one is evolving is dwelt in. Many of its inhabitants are 
quite inferior and long for a physical life. They may com- 
pletely enter a rough body, and on coming back the spirit 
may find that its place is occupied. Then, madness or 
death is at hand. The adept would readily reach a beau- 
tiful country whose dangers he has been able to avoid, but 
he would fail to remember the beauties he had viewed, the 
information received, unless his physical brain has been 
trained to reflect impressions plainly." 

UEcho du Merreilleux is of opinion that this matter is 
interesting, but that (with some probable proof) it does not 
fulfill all that its title anticipated.^ 

•C/. also Papus, " Trait e" (quoted), de Science OccuUe, and "La 
Physiologic du Medium." " L'Initiation " (Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, 
p. 400). 

'Phaneg, " La sortie en corps astral." " L'Initiation" ( Echo du Mer- 
veilleux, 1904, p. 479). 

"C/. also Georges Meuiiier, ' Les sorties en astral." " Les experiences 
de M. Pierre Piobb," Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 269. 


68. Other Scientific Forms of the Doctrine. 
a. Psychical Radiations. 

Leon Denis says in his account given to the congress held 
in Paris^ in 1900 : '' The psychical being is not confined within 
the limits of the body; it is capable of eccentric moving and 
of being released. One might compare man with a fire- 
grate from which are issued radiations and effluvia that are 
capable of being exteriorized into strata concentric to the 
physical body, and even in certain circumstances may be 
condensed to various extents and be materialized so as to 
impress photographic plates and registering apparatus. 
The vibrations of thought may be diffused throughout space, 
such as light or sound, and impress another organism con- 
genial to the experimentalist's organism. Psychical waves, 
like hertzian waves in wu'eless telegraphy, are spread far 
away and arouse within sensitive people impressions that 
are different by nature, according to the dynamic condition 
of such persons: visions, voices or movements. Sometimes 
the psychical being will come off its corporeal wrapper and 
appear at a distance." 

This reminds us of Charles von Rechenbach.^ This 
author first proceeds from the sensible influence exerted by 
the magnet over the human organism. "This is," he says, 

^Leon Denis, " Psychologie experimentale." " Phenomenes d'ext^ 
riorisation et de dedoublement," IV Congres international de psy- 
chologie, Paris, 1900, p. 614. 

^Baron Charles de Reichenbach, " Les Phenomenes odiques ou Recher- 
ches physiques et physiologiques sur les dynamides du magnetisme, de 
Telectricite, de la chaleiir,de la lumiere, delacristallisationetdel'affinite 
chimique, consideres dans leurs rapports avec la force vitale." Trad. 
Ernest Lacoste, preface d'Albert de Rochas. Collection des meilleurs 
ouvrages etrangers relatifs aux sciences psychiques traduits et publies 
sous la direction du Colonel de Rochas, 1904. The first edition was issued 
at Brunswick, 1845; a second edition appeared in 1849. An English 
translation has been published in London, 1851, by John Ashburner. 


" a fact absolutely verified, a physico-physiological principle 
obviously included in natiu'e. Perceptions of this influence 
are chiefly obtained from touch and sight. This action is 
also exerted by our globe, by the moon, by any crystal what- 
ever (natural or artificial), by heat or rubbing, by electricity, 
light, sunbeams and stars, by chemical force, by an organic 
vital force (as well in plants as in animals, especially in man), 
and by the whole of the material world. The course of such 
phenomena is a peculiar natural force that is extended to 
the whole universe, and differs from all forces known up to 
the present. Here I term it ' odum.' "^ 

In his book already quoted, Edmond Dupouy writes: 
" Magnetic fluid, odic or vital fluid wholly satm*ates the organ- 
ism of living beings. The psychical body lies exactly in the 
middle between the matter and the spiritual soul. The 
nervous fluid is made manifest by physical phenomena that 
our senses are able to perceive — luminous effects through 
the tubes of Geissler, or through the tube and ampulla of 
Crookes ; the growth in om' organism of Rontgen rays, even 
without contact, the transference of sonorous waves; the 
issue of effluvia that become visible and may be photo- 
graphed." His conclusion is that "there are three ele- 
ments in the human body : the soul, the psychical body and 
the organized matter. The limits of the psychical body are 
not fixed by the cutaneous wrapper. It is continually 
smTounded by luminous effluvia, visible to sensitive sub- 
jects or to mediums. It may be exteriorized in them within 
an unlimited neurodynamic field, and be made manifest in 
peculiar circumstances by various psychological or me- 
diumistic phenomena." 

*C/. also Barety, "La force neurique," Revue de Vhypiwtisme, 1888, 
and "Le Magn^tisme animal ^tudie sous le nom de force neurique," 
Pierre Janet, Revue Philosophique, 1888, and Albert de Rochas, "Les 
propri6t6s nhysiques de la force psychique," "Les fronti^res de la 
science," 1902. 


Siu'bled^ says that by "magnetic fluid" is usually meant 
"a subtle and impalpable fluid, analogous to the fluid of 
mineral magnetism, but peculiar to living beings. It depends 
on volition and is capable of being transferred to others of 
our own accord, or through the laying on of hands and the 
performance of swift movements called ' passes '(?)"• He 
believes that it will be possible to prove that the magnetic 
fluid is nothing but the vital electric fluid. He finally 
comes to this conclusion: "I am sure that the so-called 
magnetic fluid is nothing but the vital electric fluid, whose 
existence will be soon verified and settled." Dr. Baraduc^ 
has recently stated to the Court of Justice at St. Quentin 
that, in his opinion, ''Each segment in our organism — 
cerebral segment, pulmonary segment, gastric segment, 
genital segment — has a radioactivity of its own, an area of 
vibrations varying in nature; that, owing to their power of 
emanation, they may exert a telepathical influence, a kind 
of wireless telegraphic action over the passive radioactivity 
of another person in a condition of vital hypotension." 

L'Echo du Merveilleux^ quotes the following passage of a 
book of Bue ("Le Magnetisme curatif"): "One may easily 
get a clear idea of the impression made on plants by our 
radiant action, by operating with hyacinth or tulip bulbs. 
By affording proof of the real influence of man over animals 
and plants, those facts undeniably show us that this ac- 
tion, merely dynamic or physical, depends on the natural 
power of man to regulate, condense or extend, owing to his 
force of volition, his magnetic or neiu-ic radiations on all 
substances around him, and even to modify their waves." 

'Surbled, " Spiritualisme et spiritisme," Bibliotheque des science, 
psychiques, 2d ed., 1898, p. 160. 

2"Sur les rayons humains d'apres Baraduc"; cf. Jules Bois, he. cit., 
p. 38 and seq. 

^Echo du Merveilleux, 1905, p. 33. Cf. also the number of July 15, 


Stenson Hooker^ has studied the spectrum of human rays. 
The violent and passionate man emits dark red-brown 
radiations. Pink radiations are issued by the man whose 
constant aim is kindness and benevolence. The ambitious 
man produces orange-colored rays. A proverbial thinker 
emits dark blue rays. Yellow rays are perceivable in the in- 
dividual fond of art and of refined things. An anxious and 
deprest person emits gray radiations. The man leading 
an abject existence emits dull brown rays. In an individual 
steeped in devotion and good feelings light blue rays are 
glowing. He whose mind is fond of improvements emits 
light green rays. Those sick in body or mind produce dark 
green rays, etc. 

Phaneg^ says : " Occultism testifies to the existence of a 
principle more subtle than ether, over which time and space 
exert an action that is almost void, in relation, of course, to 
our actual concepts. Besides, man has organs that are 
quite fit for answering the vibrations of the astral matter. 
When a human being causes another to feel a sensation at 
a distance, his physical organs are not the first to experience 
this influence, but his fluid body. The latter is so strictly 
going through the rough vehicle that when interactions take 
place between both individuals, and when one of them is 
feeling a sting, the other body experiences it also and at the 
same place." Albert de Rochas declares that "among the 
numerous theories that attempt an explanation of psychical 
phenomena, the one which actually appears as being next 
to the truth, is the theory of the astral body." 

Boirac also views the matter in this way, and he discusses 
as a ** mere supposition, how the human organism is able to 

•J. Stenson Hooker, "Sur les radiations humaines," The Lancet, Nov., 
1905, Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 315. 

'Phaneg, " Etude sur I'envoutement," lecture delivered at the Society 
for Psychical Researches, at Nancy. Eclio du Merveilleux, 190G, p. 74. 


exert, at a distance, over other organisms and perhaps over 
material objects also, an influence more or less analogous 
to that of psychical radiant forces, such as heat, light, elec- 
tricity." A general problem is coming before us, i. e., the 
unity of psychical force. He acknowledges the hypothesis 
of human radiation and various stages of condensation of 
the psychical force. Under this theorem he tries to pre- 
serve, or rather revive, animal magnetism. His conclusion 
is: " I am unable to deny that magnetic or nervous radiation 
is as much a fact as the radiation of light or heat." 

He discusses the relations of telepathy to animal magnet- 
ism, according to the book of Gasc Desfosses on "Le Ma- 
gnetisme vital." He says that in case will and thought are 
able to keep in correspondence with each other, from one 
brain to another, all these analogies not only will enable us, 
but also oblige us, to view in this phenomenon only a pe- 
culiar consequence of any general essential faculty of cere- 
bral and nervous cells that are, so to speak, anterior to will 
and thought themselves. What could such a faculty con- 
sist of except of a kind of expansion or radiation of the nerv- 
ous force, easier to understand owing to the phenomena of 
heat, light and electricity? Boirac cites also certain ex- 
periments he has made and which he thinks to be " cardi- 
nal." He sums them up as follows : 

First Experiment. — A subject who has blindfolded him- 
self, is given advice that he must without any question what- 
ever declare all the contacts he is to experience, and all the 
impressions at large he is to receive. Without a word an 
experimentalist places his hand before some or any part 
whatever of the subject's body, at a distance of five or ten 
centimeters. Without speaking, another person touches the 
subject's body with a rod in several parts; the spot pointed 
out by the experimentalist's hand being included. After a 
rather short while (thirty to sixty seconds) the subject goes 


on declaring that all parts of his body were touched with 
the exception of the spot indicated by the experimentalist. 
In case one replaced the operator by a neuter individual (i. e. 
by one who does not exert a magnetic or psychical action) 
and who holds out his hand in the same manner, no result 
will be produced, even after five or ten minutes. In other 
words the subject will keep on declaring the touches indis- 

One may infer from that first experiment at least an 
hypothetical conclusion to be ratified by subsequent ex- 
periments : First, that the human organism is radiating at a 
distance, at least through the hand, or through an influence 
that can have an action over another organism, at least the 
organism of the subject, and to cause in it an appreciable 
modification— anesthesia, for instance. Second, that this 
influence is not issued by all human organisms, or rather, is 
not emitted by all with a strength sufficient to cause an 
appreciable result. 

Second Experiment. — A subject being placed in the same 
conditions as before, a neuter individual is operating on 
him, as has been previously stated. As soon as it has been 
perfectly proven that his individual influence is apparently 
of no force — i. e. fails to cause an appreciable result — an- 
other operator gets into contact with him either by taking 
hold of his hand, or in any other manner whatever. It is 
then shown that after from thirty to sixty seconds or a 
little more, the subject ceases to declare that blows are 
struck on the spot indicated by the neuter individual's 

" One may infer from this experiment at least, as a hypo- 
thetical conclusion to be ratified by subsequent experi- 
ments: First, that radiations issued by active persons are 
received by neuter individuals, and that they go tlirough 
theu- organism, although it is exprest therein by no ap- 


preciable result. Second, that they are externally trans- 
ferred by those neuter individuals and, after having gone 
through them, still preserve their faculty of exerting an 
influence over subjects and causing in them an appreciable 
result, i. e. an anesthesia." 

Such experiments may be compared to those which fol- 
low as regards the exteriorization of sensibility. 

With an individual having undergone anesthesia on a part 
of his body, owing to an influence, as in the experiments 
above quoted, the air is griped at a distance, a little above 
the anesthetized spot; the subject's hand suddenly makes an 
abrupt movement* although the subject has no conscious 
sensation of it. 

" The experimentalist holds in both hands for a while 
(about five minutes) a glass half filled with water ; one of his 
hands is placed underneath and the other above it ; then he 
goes toward the subject who previous to this has been placed 
in a condition of somnambulism and closely blindfolded ; he 
gives him the glass of water to hold with one hand, and en- 
joins him to dip one or two fingers of the other hand in it. 
This being done, he comes back to his own place at the other 
end of the room, and without a word requests by signs one of 
the bystanders to pinch or prick the hand he has placed over 
the glass. As often as the experimentalist is pinched or 
pricked the subject trembles, and spontaneously declares 
that he has been stung or pricked on the responsive part of 
his own hand. 

" In the next place the experimentalist, after having held 
for a while a glass of water between his hands as in the 
previous experiment, places it on a table within reach of one 
of the bystanders ; then he goes to the other end of the room 

*De Rochas was the first to survey the facts of exteriorization of sensi- 
biUty. Cf. Boirac, loc. cit., pp. 252, 264, 271. See also Paul Joire's work 
in the Revue de I'Hypnotisme, Jan., 1898 (cit. Boirac, p. 329). 


towards the subject who has before been placed in a con- 
dition of somnambulism and has blindfolded himself, and 
he takes one of the hands of the subject between his own. 
From this moment, as often as the onlooker is making a 
sting or a pinching, or any contact whatever over the water 
in the glass or in the air above it, the subject is trembling 
and spontaneously declares that he feels responsive sensa- 

I have thought convenient to quote here these strange 
experiments, though Boirac himself is of the opinion that 
they should be methodically reproduced and verified by 
many experimentalists, and though he feels regret that de 
Rochas has swerved from the strict method which he had so 
admirably practised up to that time. 

With regard to the experiments of Colonel de Rochas, 
who transfers the sensibility of a subject to a small statue, 
Maurice de Fleury has shown that the experiment was not- 
withstanding successful, in case the statuette which had been 
deemed to be loaded with sensibility was replaced by a new 
one. " As far as I am concerned," adds Jules Bois, " I have 
proven that it was sufficient previously to make to the sub- 
ject a suggestion that the experiment would be successful, 
so as to make it succeed indeed." And further he writes: 
" As to his so-called discoveries of the eccentric projection of 
sensibility and movement,^ whose theories he has set forth, 
they should be given up, either because they rely upon du- 
bious facts, or because they interpret by means of a physical 
illusion, a phenomenon that is absolutely mental only. 

b. Apparatus Used to Measure Them. 

Various kinds of apparatus have been devised in order 
to establish or measure this radiant psychical force. They 
all lean upon the essential faculty some subjects have of 

'See further part III, chapter XI, II. 


exerting an influence, either attractive or repulsive, over 
objects surrounding them, .\rago in 1846 and Dr. Pineau 
in 1858 observed such a faculty with certain patients. In 
1868 Bailly asserted in a thesis the existence of a nervous 
radiant force, and Barety of Nice outlined in 1887 the char- 
acter of this force. In 1887 and 1895 de Rochas investi- 
gated the effluvia issuing from the human body in his books 
on "Les Forces non definies," and " Exteriorisation de la 
sensibilite." ^ 

Papus^ says the first apparatus ever devised to measure 
this radiant force was the marvelous biometer of Louis 
Lucas, whose basis is the galvanometer. Next came the 
biometer of Abbe Fortin, who first laid down biometrical 
formulae, and extended his researches to meteorology. Dr. 
Baraduc devised another biometer after Abbe Fortin with a 
slight modification. Finally, Dr. Andollent brought for- 
ward a biometer-galvanometer with a plentiful rolling up of 
thread. The power acting over those biometers passed 
through cold water. Far from passing through metals, it is 
on the contrary repelled by them, since the rotation of the 
metallic needle is regulated by the blow of eflfluvia on the 
needle suspended by a cotton thread. 

In the middle of the nineteenth centiu-y Lafontaine,^ a 
magnetizer said: " One should take a needle made of copper, 
or platinum, or gold, or silver, and bored in the middle, then 
hang it horizontally with a silk thread in a glass receptacle 
being about 20 or 30 centimeters high and absolutely closed. 
Then one should seek to produce action on that needle by 
bringing close to one of its ends through the glass the finger- 

'Jules Regnault, "Phenomenes odiques et radiations nouvelles,"i4n- 
nales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 174. 

^Papus, "Le radium, les raj^ons N et I'occultisme," L'Initiation; 
quoted by L'Echo du Merveilleux, 1904, p. 119. 

^Cit. Surbled, loc. cit., p. 233. 


ends at a distance of about 5 or 10 centimeters. Under the 
magnetic influence one would see the needle turn on the 
right or on the left, according to the experimentalist's 
wishes. Since 1840 I have made experiments on the gal- 
vanometer, and I have been able to ascertain that the action 
of the animal magnetic fluid over the magnetic hand is the 
same as that of the mineral magnetic fluid." 

Here follows a description of the magnetometer of Abbe 
Fortin.' The condenser that is du^ectly communicating 
with the ground at its basis is resting on the pedestal. It is 
made of twisted tinfoils, but set apart by an insulating 
body. There is over it a metallic multiplier made of a long 
thread whose windings are insulated. Lastly a magnetic, 
but not magnetized, hand is moving over a dial divided into 
a certain number of partitions. The biometer of Baraduc^ is, 
as the author himself declares, the magnetometer of Abbe 
Fortin, as it was designed for him. 

In 1904 Dr. Jou-e^ described in the following manner a 
sthenometer that enabled him to assert the existence of a 
special force which, being transferred to a distance, originates 
in the living organism, and seems to be specially dependent 
on the nervous system. " The apparatus consists of a ped- 
estal made of any suitable substance whatever. Its surface 
is divided into 360 degrees like a dial. In its center the 
pedestal is bored, and in the middle of the hole is fixed ver- 

'Foveau de Courmelles, Revue Universelle des Inventions nouvelles, 
1890, p. 104 (citat. Siu-bled). 

^Baraduc, "La force vitale." "L'ame humaine, ses mouvements," 
etc., (citat. Surbled). See also Dupouy, loc. cit., p. 32. 

^Joire, "Etude d'une force exteriorisee par I'organisme vivant, et 
observations faites au moyen du sthenometre," Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1904, p. 243; and "De Temmagasinement de la force ner- 
veuse extdriorisee dans diff^rents corps," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 
167. See also, some attacks made on the sthdnometre and the reply 
made by Dr. Joire, Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 752. 


tically a glass pillai' whose end is hollow. A very light 
needle, usually made of straw, is placed over the dial. A 
tack or metallic point makes a kind of needle attached to 
the pedestal. One of the ends of the needle bears a counter- 
poise suspended by means of a tliread so as to maintain the 
needle in a horizontal position. The pedestal is fitted with 
a shade that shelters the needle from the movements of the 


I have thought well here to group these various theories, 
as they all involve serious objections. 

69. Most of them (astral body and perispirit) afford as 
proofs nothing more than the very facts of the exterioriza- 
tion of the force which they try to explain. Therefore they 
merely express in other words those very facts. In conse- 
quence they cannot be established in another manner than 
by an explanation of the facts which I shall examine in the 
following pages (B of this same part). 

When Papus (see above) comes to the conclusion that 
"there is nothing in his doctrine that is contrary to the 
positive teaching of oiu- actual sciences," one may say that 
such an assertion gives signs of over confidence. It is, at 
least, impossible to declare that all in this doctrine from that 
moment has become scientific. First, there is in it a part 
that undeniably belongs to philosophy or religion, and is 
accordingly absolutely outside positive science. Such is the 
astral part of the theory (according to the etymological 
sense of the word)— the notion of incarnations and rein- 
carnations of the astral body as well as the notion of the 
coming out in the astral body, and of spirits superior and in- 
ferior to man. A whole system of philosophy is included 

*See also Albert Joumet, "Resurrection" {Echo du Merveilletix, 1905, 
p. 379). 


therein— one might even say a whole rehgion which I do 
not discuss (such is not my business here), but which does 
not belong to positive science. 

The author is obviously mixing the various modes of 
understanding when he proclaims that, " owing to the arche- 
ometer framed by Saint- Yves d'Aveydre, the artist and the 
scientist will, at last, l3c able to communicate under the 
same elements the Word of God as coming from Christ 
speaking freely throughout the universe, while human 
brains are registering with due reverence the waves of 
divine life that are disclosed to mankind." Such language 
can apply only to extra-scientifical ideas. It is a part of 
occultistic theories which is absolutely beyond my prov- 

But there is, aside from this, another part that requires an 
explanation owing to its scientific way of proceeding — 
scientific, that is, in spite of strange terms which remind us 
to an excessive extent of magic. This is the part concerning 
the possible eccentric projection of the individual. There 
are real facts in it — facts that involve scientific investiga- 
tions; such is the notion of the astral body, i. e. the horse of 
oui' organism, whose part is played by the great sympathetic 
nature and which alone manages our organism during sleep, 
while the driver is taking a rest. We find here a somewhat 
peculiar conception of physical automatism, such as I have 
studied and applied in the second part. 

But this notion is at once completed by the idea of the 
outward radiance of this astral body, and of its coming off 
from the organism. I beheve I am in a position to declare 
plainly that this necessary part of the occult theory is not 
in the least scientifically verified. 

Encausse asserts that his whole system is resting on facts 
" that are related to intuition, telepathy, prophetical dreams 
and alterations of the matter under the influence of this 


force issued by man, which is termed psychical force." 
Now, there is nothing in all this that has been scientifically 
verified, although the author says that "on all those points 
one should be convinced that the astral body is an organic 
reality" ; and although he tries to ascribe a positive and ana- 
tomical basis to his proof by recaUing the disposition of the 
sympathetic. His description of the plexuses is right, but 
he makes a tremendous leap when he says that the plexuses 
are "the organic centers of action of the astral body and fit 
for exteriorization," This is not verified at all, but is still 
new and important. 

Occultists have had a propitious occasion in which 
to mount the scientific rostrum and bring forth their facts 
and submit them for survey by true and impartial scien- 
tists. This was at the Fourth International Congress of 
Psychology, held in Paris in 1900, Ribot acting as chair- 
man and Pierre Janet as secretary. The fifth committee, 
presided over by Bernheim with Hartenberg as its secre- 
tary, was devoted to the "psychology of hypnotism, sug- 
gestion and connected matters." All the occultists had an 
opportunity to set forth their facts and submit them to the 
estimation of the most eminent and competent scientists 
of the whole world.^ 

Gabriel Delanne, the editor of the Reviw scientifique et 
morale dii Spiritisme; Leon Denis, the chairman of the So- 
ciety for Psychical Research at Tours; Gerard Encausse, the 
editor of the Initiation; Dariex, the editor of the Annates des 
Science Psychiqnes; Durand de Gros, Paul Gibier, Mme. 
Verrall were allowed to speak. By a wide and lawful liber- 
alism the platform was made accessible to all occultists, and 
the most famous and eminent among them made state- 
ments. The unanimous conclusion was that in this whole 

'C/. " Le Compte rendu du IV Congres International de Psycholo- 
gie," Paris, 1900, p. 609. 


range of exteriorization nothing had been scientifically veri- 
fied as yet outside facts known already. 

Vaschide declares that he listened with the most careful 
attention to those statements, "and although we are in a 
scientific circle here, I only find words, words, and nothing 
else but words. It is not enough to say that a fact has 
been vaguely observed and to set it forth as if it had been 
scientifically observed. On this point our methods are un- 
relenting and words are of no value." Oskar Vogt of Ber- 
lin made a statement against occultists as invaders who 
cause peril " owing to the production of anti-scientific docu- 

Bernheim concluded this discussion in the following 
words, which his eminent standing makes peculiarly 
weighty: "As to the matter of psychical or paranormal 
phenomena, I deem it prudent to defer the expression of my 
opinion. Those advocating their reality should afford us 
irrefutable proofs. I shall be only too glad to admit facts. 
But, for this purpose, facts should be brought forth and veri- 
fied as to their reality. Afterwards only, it would be possi- 
ble to draw conclusions and frame theories from them. 
As far as I am concerned, I confess I am not yet convinced. 
I have seen many subjects and mediums. I have been 
present at many experiments, but I have always found 
ground for errors that prevented me from getting something 

Such is the opinion of competent science respecting occult 
science as synthetized by Papus-Encausse in the book 
above referred to. Occultists moreover have not com- 
plied with the position taken by the Congress of 1900. 
Beckeri says: "It was impossible to refuse admission at the 
Congress of 1900 to writers of our sect, and we were cheered 

^Becker, article quoted in Revue Scientifique et Morale du Spiritisme, 
p. 734. 


when we saw that the most daring gaiiisayers either did not 
answer us at all, or, in case they ventiu'ed to dispute us, 
failed to make the most of the opportunity. One may say 
that only the momentous sittings were devoted to that 
prominent topic, 

Papus' writes also: "Those who were present at the 
Fourth International Congress of Psychology will be as- 
tounded when reading that 'the unanimous conclusion is 
that nothing has been scientifically verified as yet.' We are 
still enjoying ourselves at the bewilderment of this pseudo- 
scientist, who gave out as original and personal discoveries 
some that were made five hundred years before Clirist, and 
was put back into his old place by occultists tlirough quota- 
tions of texts, and we cannot help making fun of one who, 
having imagined that neurones are able to stretch out, pro- 
tested against occultistic hypotheses. In fact, no answer has 
):)een given to the many facts submitted by spiritualists. 
The actual lectures of Dr. Grasset' are, on the contrary, the 
best proof that occultists were successful at that Congress." 

This congress (and my lectures, in a more modest man- 
ner), obviously testified to the increasing interest taken by 
scientists in those matters. Nobody has denied this, as no- 
body has denied the "sensational" bearing of the sittings 
devoted to this topic. Still, I believe there is nothing in the 
above quotations to upset what I have stated regarding the 
failure of this congress from an occultistic or spiritualistic 
point of view. 

Papus acknowledges that there is still something better 
to be done for those sciences in congresses since, speaking 
further about experiments made so as to register words and 
thoughts on gelatine-bromide plates, he says : " Therefore, 
we advise all experimentalists in psychology to prepare 

'Papus, article quoted in L'lnitiation, p. 244. 
*Grasset, "Legons de Clinique M^dicale," 4th series. 


experiments of this kind for members of congresses to be 
held in the future. This is a manner quite scientific, as it 
makes it possible at pleasure to answer questions on the 
part of polygonal psychologists." 

It is certain that a congress in which such proof were 
afforded, would far better contribute to the advance of the 
matter of the exteriorization of thought than did the Con- 
gress of Psychology held in 1900. Thus, the question is 
still laid down in the same manner. One should not say 
with GoupiP that the spiritualistic hypothesis in its essen- 
tial conception is absolutely scientific because it implies 
nothing irrational with regard to positive science." 

This conception is not irrational, but it has not been 
proven; it is not a scientific conception as yet. Goupil ac- 
knowledges this when he says fm'ther: "The irrefutable and 
scientific proof of E (exteriorization of the psychical force) 
is not easily afforded; but it would be still more difficult to 
deny it." I do not deny the possible existence of this proof 
in future; but I deny its actual existence now. 

It is equally impossible for me to accept the opinion of 
Goudard^ when he says : " He who has surveyed spiritual- 
ism without any foregone conclusions is perfectly well 
aware of the fact that the words spirit and perispirit, 
soul and astral body, consciousness and unconsciousness 
(or subconsciousness, or subliminal consciousness), polygon 
and center 0, etc. are only various coatings of the same con- 
cept." On the contrar}^, those terms are quite dissimilar, 
and should be applied, every one of them, to different con- 
cepts. The words "polygon" and "center O" apply to 

'Goupil terms sjnntidic an hypothesis analogous to that exprest 
by Papus, of exterior psychical forces. "The essential conception" 
of the spiritualistic hypothesis is, as he declares, a material fluid factor 
which is a particular condition of matter spiritually organized. 

'Goudard, article quoted, p. 68. 


neurones of the cerebral cortex and have nothing to do 
either with spirit or perispirit, or with soul and astral body. 

Papus is equally mistaken (although in a reverse man- 
ner) when, in a series of paragraphs, he opposes the polygon 
to the astral body, as if we were obliged to choose between 
both hypotheses. Thus, he says : '^ Now, since we are deal- 
ing with Occultism, I like our notion of the astral body, 
which is traditional and simple as well for us as for the 
Hindoos, far better than those stilted geometrobiological 

This is a misunderstanding and I want to clear it away. 
There is neither opposition nor solidarity between the 
scheme of the polygon and the conception of the astral body. 
They are things quite different. The scheme of the polygon 
applies to both psychisms, even to the inferior or subcon- 
scious psychism; the astral body applies to the exterioriza- 
tion of the psychical or nervous force. 

The two conceptions have no coimection whatever. One 
of them may be true, while the other may be erroneous; 
they may both be true, or both false. A definitive disproof 
of the polygon would not afford even a slight touch of proof 
in favor of the astral body theory. In other words, the ar- 
guments advocating the astral body are not of more value 
against the polygon theory than arguments supporting the 
polygon are of value against the astral body. When I dis- 
cuss the astral body, I do not make use of the polygon hy- 
pothesis at all. 

Therefore, in case one might succeed in proving the exte- 
riorization of psychism in a new manner unknown as yet, it 
will be a fresh acquisition for science; it will be another 
piece of knowledge to add to those we have already, and not 
one to replace another and previous piece of knowledge. 
This is the reason why I do not accept at all the opinion un- 
folded by Papus in the following words (p. 252): "The 


main point of the debate is thought transference. It is 
readily perceived that there lies the vulnerable part of the 
polygon theory. This 'poor' thought transference (with- 
out contact of course) is very much like M. Prudhomme's 
saber; it is now used to explain disquieting spiritistic facts 
by scientific censurers, and then strongly denied when it 
comes unseasonably to upset theories laboriously framed 
by leading scientists. In fact, should the possibility of 
psychical force acting outside the human being and without 
contact be once established, the polygon and its 'wonder- 
ful' adaptations would immediately break down." I con- 
fess that I fail to perceive how this conclusion may be log- 
ical. The scheme of the polygon is applied to the human 
psychism in its special, intrinsic and inner manifestation. 
Should a psychical force capable of being exteriorized be 
detected, it would be another chapter to aid, and a promi- 
nent one, but this would not alter anything in the principles 
already known of a lower psychism. 

Goupil has so utterly understood this, that, in order to 
adapt the polygon hypothesis to his doctrine of radiant 
fluid, he ascribes to it a sort of emissive power which he 
calls E. 

In fact, when the exteriorization shall be subsequently 
verified, all previous theories of psychism will have to I)e 
completed, but none of them will be either ratified or in- 
validated by this fresh discovery. 

Therefore, in aiming to conclude this chapter, which has 
been exceedingly extended, I do so neither in order to stick 
to my scheme, nor to prevent the academical skittle-ground 
from being devastated ; it is not even because I take pleasm-e 
in denying ''with vengeance,"^ that I contest the theory of 
astral body and perispirit; it is only because I understand 

'See Gabriel Caramalo, "Manifestations Spirites," Echo du Mervcil- 
leux, March 15, 1903. 


that it is leaning upon no scientific proof, and as I said above, 
that it is nothing else than a duplicate of the facts them- 
selves. Now, we have no profit in framing a theory of 
facts already known and sorted. 

70. Researches made with biometers, or with the sthe- 
nometer, try to give those theories an experimental basis 
different from the facts to be explained. In this respect 
they are far more scientific. Still, I do not think they have 
led as yet to definite conclusions. 

The first (and principal) proof of this failure, is inferred 
from the fact that those various apparatuses have not 
yet established the existence of a new force, unknown up 
to the present, that is irreducilDle to other known modes 
of physical force (heat, electricity). This is precisely the 
main point to establish. 

The principle of all these apparatuses is a light and un- 
steady needle repelled or attracted (tlirough a glass shade) by 
the approach of fingers. We have no positive proof of a new 
physical radiation within. Some of these apparatuses even 
illustrate the electric nature of the influence; such is Dr. 
Puyfontaine's apparatus,^ with which experiments have' 
been made in Charcot's ward at the Salpetriere. They con- 
sist of two astatic galvanometers, built by Ruhmkorff, 
"with a silver wire of 30 kilometers for the former, and of 80 
kilometers for the latter. Their sensibility is obviously far 
superior to that of usual galvanometers whose wire, made of 
copper, is only 300 to 400 meters long." By means of two 
metallic insulated wires that come, each of them, to a mile- 
stone with a pressure screw, two electrodes (hollow metallic 
cylinders of about 3 or 4 centimeters in diameter) are held 
in the experimentalist's hands; in certain circumstances he 
sees deviations of the needle occurring. 

'Gasc Desfoss^s, " Magn^tisme Vital; experiences recentes d'enregis- 
trement," 1897 (citat. Surbled). 


According to Surbled's* opinion, this is merely proof that 
"the organism does not act without emitting electric or ca- 
lorific forces sufficient to stir a very sensible galvanometer." 
All the other apparatuses do not give us more useful infor- 
mation. " There is in all of them the same essentially vul- 
nerable part; thoy do not comply with necessary conditions; 
they do not eliminate causes of errors: i. e. electric or ca- 
lorific influences. The results verified are equivocal, and 
may always be ascribed to a fluid merely physical, electric 
or of another kind known already," Siu-bled concludes, 
after an analysis of Baraduc's works : '' This vital force which 
he imagines, and tries to register with his apparatus, is it not 
simply a physical force, heat or electricity? This is most 
likely. What becomes then of the great preparations so 
laboriously displayed? They break down. The biometer 
would be used only to verify the physicochcmical mani- 
festations of life; and Dr. Baraduc's perplexed ai)ologies are 
not to undeceive us. Neither the cosmical influences nor 
the physicochcmical phenomena of life are put out of the 
question, or absolutely made free from blame by the pre- 
cautions so solemnly called upon by our colleague." 

Joire, whose sthenometer is the most recent, and in con- 
sequence very likely the best of biometers, has multiplied 
precautions in order to anticipate objections, but it seems 
that he has failed. 

Jounet- writes : *' This author declares that the needle of 
his sthenometer is not influenced by a red-hot iron, A can- 
dle placed opposite the needle of the sthenometer exerted, 
in fact, a rather inappreciable action, while the needle 
exerted an attraction of about 30°. But whether it be a 
red-hot iron or the flame of a candle, it is always dry heat. 

'Surbled, " Spiritualisme et Spiritisme," p. 221. 
^Albert Jounet, "Experiences u reprendre et a vt'iifuT." R^svrrec- 
tion {Echo du Merveilletix, 1905, p. 370). 


I wondered if a moist heat, which is more analogous to a 
living l^eing's heat, would not exert a more powerful in- 
fluence over the instruments. This idea was ratified by the 
experiment. By placing near the sthenometer a kettle 
filled with hot water the needle was attracted by twenty 
degrees. Therefore, none of those apparatuses have estab- 
lished the existence of a new force, or a new aspect of a 
physical force already known. 

71. Besides, should a demonstration be made of a new 
human radiation unknown before, it would be no proof that 
this new force was really a psychical force, or in fact an 
agent of direct communication between two separate 
psychisms. Now, as long as this has not been verified, 
nothing has been done. 

Many a new radiation has been found quite recently, 
such as the hertzian waves of wireless telegraphy, X rays 
and N rays. Perhaps some of them have been declared too 
early; but there is a sufficient number of them that have 
been verified to enable us to think that there may be many 
more unknown radiations. When these new groups were 
detected occultists were in great joy; they believed they 
perceived therein the much longed-for scientific proof of 
their ideas. Such is not the case. It is not enough to de- 
tect new human radiations ; one should also settle the work- 
ings of those radiations in cases of direct thought trans- 
ference and their objectivation in cases of materialization. 
Such a demonstration has never been made or tried. 

Dupouy has groundlessly made the following enumera- 
tion: " Luminous effects through Geissler's pipes, or through 
the pipe and ampulla of Crookes; growth in one organism, 
even without contact of Rontgen rays ; transference of son- 
orous waves; issue of effluvia that become visible and may 
be photographed." From the undeniably scientific reality 
of some of these phenomena, one should not infer the reality 


of others, and the analogy of these various radiations may 
not be involved by a simple assertion or a clever enumera- 

Jules Regnault^ compares the odic radiations of Reichen- 
bach with the new radiations (radium, N rays, etc.) and 
adds: "Is not the origin of all these radiations the same as 
the origin of Reichenbach's odum? Have they not, at 
large, the same essential qualities?" It is obvious that all 
new radiations and all those which are in store for us in the 
future "have the same origin as Reichenbach's odum." 
But I cannot insist too much upon the fact that the dis- 
covery of any new physical radiations whatever, does not 
help us in the least to detect the psychical radiations we are 
looking for, in the same manner as the invention of wireless 
telegraphy has not caused even a slight advance of the mat- 
ter of telepathy. 

In order to establish that a new radiation is really psy- 
chical, it would not even be sufficient to demonstrate that the 
more or less intense issue of this radiation is related to the 
psychical activity itself. The influence of a cerebral work 
over a thermoelectrical battery was siu-veyed long since. 
Therefore, in case the existence of N rays is a fact, their issue 
might be somewhat related to psychical activity, and no one 
should see there the demonstration of psj^chical radia- 
tions necessary to telepathy, or simply to mental suggestion. 

De Puyfontaine pretended to exert an influence over his 
galvanometer by means of his will, and to manage volun- 
tarily its needle on the right or on the left. The experiment 
has not been made again and the fact remains quite de- 
batable.^ But even should it be established, it would prove 

'Jules Regnault article quoted (p. 175). 

^" M. de Puyfontaine's experiments are neither conclusive nor defini- 
tive. They should be made again and developed, previous to being 
accepted by science" (Surbled, loc. ciL, p. 229). 


nothing ; one might understand that an intense psychical act 
is hkely to have an electric influence over the needle, i. f . 
be related to a special issue of electrical forces as well as be- 
come likely to have an electric influence over the needle, 
i. e. be related to a special issue of electrical forces just as one 
might understand that all psychisms are not equal before 
the galvanometer. 


72. From all that I have just stated, I think I am in a 
position to conclude that the theory of psychical radiations 
is, for the present, not better verified than the theory of 

Still, one should maintain a distinction between the two 
theories. The matter of spirits, their survey and their 
evocation, imply the existence of a spirit, and at the same 
time its sm-vival to the body. Those are prominent ques- 
tions that are arising within our mind, but they are not 
within the subject-matter of science, such as I view it here, 
i. e. biological science. Therefore, they are outside science, 
even the science of to-morrow. 

On the contrary, the matter of the perispirit, of the fluid, 
and of the eccentric projection of sensibility and movement, 
which has not yet been solved by actual science, may be 
settled by futiu-e science. It is not outside the range of 
possible biological science. 

Therefore, let us suppose that when the exteriorization 
of the psychical force shall be absolutely verified, it will be 
easy to frame theories in order to explain it in the group of 
psychical radiations; but one should first establish that the 

'"It is said that spirits of the deceased, or angels, or demons, are 
intervening during stances. I do not think this credible. It is said also 
that there are human effluvia. I do not believe this either" (Jules Bois, 
loc. rit., p. 92). 


facts are real. Is such a group of facts actually possible? 
There lies the main point of the cjuestion which I intend to 
discuss, after having dealt briefly with the independence of 
Occultism regarding various philosophical or religious doc- 

Dr. Bonnayme has (April 9, 1907) delivered before the 
French Society for Psychical Researches an important lecture 
on "the psychical force and the apparatus used to meas- 
ure it."^ In my opinion the lecturer does not avoid the 
errors of ratiocination of which I have spoken above, when 
he infers, from Blondlot and Charpentier's experiments on 
the N rays, from those of colleagues on dynamoscopy and 
bioscopy, and from those of Joire with the sthenometer, 
that " we are gradually marching on towards knowledge of 
the soul owing to experimentation, and we may imagine 
that the day is coming when the sublime hope of a survival 
and of an indefinite improvement amongst people of the be- 
yond will be utterly ratified by science." 

I fail to perceive how Collongues' and Joire's experiments 
(even in case they are ratified by those of Blondlot and 
Charpentier) would help us to advance towards knowledge 
of the soul and how they could satisfy the "sublime 
hope" of a survival! 

^Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 309. 



73. Knowledge of occult phenomena can help neither the triumph nor 

the ruin of any philosophical or religious doctrine. 

74. Opinions of people who try to mix Occultism with philosophy 

or religion. 

75. Refutation of this doctrine. 

a. Authors who try to mix Occultism with philosophy or 

religion come to contradictory conclusions disproving 

b. One could give to Occultism a philosophical strength only 

by accepting the spiritualistic doctrine, which, as we 
have seen, is not proved. 

c. Occultism is a prescientifical chapter open to all, what- 

ever their philosophical or religious creed may be. 

73. The Argument to be Elucidated. 

Previous to entering upon a critical survey of occult facts 
I should make here an important remark. My opinion is 
that one should give up, once for all, a hope upon which 
many most honorable authors have set their heart. This 
hope, which I deem to be an illusion, is the opinion that it 
is possible to apply knowledge of occult phenomena to the 
apologetics and success, or to the confutation and downfall 
of any philosophical or religious doctrine whatever. 

I lay doTVTi as a principle that no philosophical or religious 
doctrine is in any way concerned in the success or failure of 
such researches. The futiu-e of none of them is connected 
with the manner in which will be settled the conclusions of 
to-day as well as those of to-morrow after the inquest I 
undertake here.^ 

*"No philosophical or religious doctrine is questioned here, except the 


This is very fortunate for those doctrines, for facts so 
utterly controvertible and debated could afford only very 
frail arguments and bases for philosophy or religion/ 

74. Opinions against this Thesis. 

Many authors have thought that "the soul theory" has a 
sort of peculiar experimental proof in spiritualism. The 
book of Leon Denis on "Le Spiritisme et la Mediumnite," 
bears as under-title, " Traite de Spiritualisme experimental." 
He says: "Spiritualism has already exerted a prominent in- 
fluence over the minds of our contemporaries. Owing to 
it, thoughts have been directed toward the beyond. It has 
aroused the feeling of immortality within men of om* epoch 
whose conscience had become misty or was asleep. It has 
made more lively, more real, and more tangible the belief in 
a survival of the departed. It has brought forth certitudes 
where we had only hopes and presumptions. By uniting 
reason with feeling, spiritualism becomes the scientifical 
religion of the futiu'c. In fact, disembodied and incarnated 
spirits are often walking together, side by side, through joy 
and sorrow, amidst successes and failm'es. The affection 
of our beloved is surrounding us ; it is a comfort and a help 
to us. We are fearing death no longer. Any belief should 
rely upon facts. We should ask of the manifestations, of 
souls that are made free from the flesh, and not of obscure 
and obsolete texts, the secret of principles presiding over 

gross spiritualistic superstition, which is obviously contrary to facts" 
(Jules Bois, "Le Miracle Moclerne," 3rd ed., 1907, p. iii). 

*" Spiritualistic manifestations are not the matter here," says Fogaz- 
zaro; "I do not ne?d a now doctrine to believe in a survival of souls, 
and in a possibiHtyof communication with those that have left off mortal 
life: therefore I do not evoke or perceive ghosts; I do not listen to the 
whisperings of the invisible; neither do I hear them. I have no myste- 
rious contacts with fantasms. What I have is much better; it is real 
life and power." Citation by Robert Leger, "Les Idces d'.\ntonio 
Fogazzaro," Revue des Deux Mondes, Feb. 15, 1907, p. 834. 


future life and the improvement of spirits. Thus, owing to 
the revelations of spirits, the great sun of kindness, har- 
mony and truth is shining over the world." ^ 

"What is spiritualism?" asks Delanne.^ Spirituahsm, in 
the opinion of l^elievers, is an experimental proof of the ex- 
istence of the soul and of its immortality. Numerous and 
varying are the manifestations by which the soul proves its 
survival after death. The narrow positivism of our time 
was believing that it had banished the soul of spiritualists 
to the kingdom of fancy by declining to deal with all that 
which is not self-evident; and now its followers are bound 
to prove that the soul theory is a fact. The experiments 
made by mediums "are to become the basis of a demon- 
stration of survival." 

Authors have been induced in this manner to confuse 
both words, "spirituahsm" and "soul theory," as being 
nearly synonymous.^ Marcel Mangin* says: "It is ob- 
viously easy for an adept of the ' soul theory ' to become a 
spirit believer," and Gaston Mery^ has gone so far as to speak 
of "experimental cathohcism."® In this respect the last 
chapter (Conclusion) of Myers' book is quite remarkable. 

'L6on Denis, loc. cit., pp. 128 et seq. 

^Gabriel Delanne, loc. cit., pp. 1 and seq., and "Conference sur le 
monde invisible," delivered at the Society for Psychical Researches, in 
Marseilles, 1903, p. 26. 

^The book already quoted by Encausse, is entitled : " L' Occultisme et 
le Spiritualisme." 

^Marcel Mangin, "Compte Rendu analytique du livre de Myers sur la 
personnalite humaine," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1904, p. 39. 

^Gaston Mery, " Une protestation des spirites," L'Echo du Merveilleux, 
1906, p. 21: "Among the many theories framed in order to explain 
those facts, the theory that is establishing the greatest number of them, 
and coasequently the best for the present, is the catholic theory." 

^F. W. H. Myers, "La personnalite humaine. Sa r.urvivance. Ses 
manifestations supranormales." Traduction et adaptation par le Dr. S. 
Jankelevitch, bibliotheque de philosophic contemporaine, 1905, p. 401. 


He writes: "I pretend that there is a method for reaching 
knowledge of divine things with the same certitude, the 
same quiet safety, as that to which we are indebted for our 
advance in the knowledge of terrestrial things. The au- 
thority of religions and churches will be thus replaced by 
the authority of observation and experience. It is through 
our souls that we are connected with our fellow men. The 
body is dividing us, even when it appears to unite us." 

He then delineates the " provisional sketch of a religious 
synthesis that affords sound confirmation of Christian 
revelation. All the demonstrable data included in Jesus 
Christ's message are demonstrated here : all his promises of 
undemonstrable things are repeated. Owing to new data 
that we possess, all reasonable men will believe, before a 
century has elapsed, in the resurrection of Christ, whilst 
without those data nobody would any more believe in it in 
a century. Our epoch of science gets more and more con- 
vinced of this truth, that the relations between the material 
world and the spiritual may not exclusively assume an 
emotional and moral bearing. As regards especially this 
main assertion, the life of the soul expressing itself after 
death, it is obvious that it should less and less prevail from 
tradition only, and should seek for its confii-mation in 
modern experimentation and investigations. Had the re- 
sults of psychical researches been merely negative, would 
the data (I do not say the emotion) of Christianity have not 
received an irreparable blow? In my personal opinion, our 
researches have afforded us results quite different and abso- 
lutely positive. Thus the main assertion of Christianity is 
verified in a striking manner. The vague and defective 
assertion of revelation and resurrection is nowadays ratified 
by new discoveries and revelations. The revelations in- 
cluded in messages originating in disembodied spirits estab- 
lish in a direct manner what philosophy had only been able 


to surmise — the existence of a spiritual world and the in- 
fluence it is exerting over us." 

All those facts, observed and interpreted, are definitely 
leading Myers to corroborate in part the foundations of the 
Christian religion, and on the other hand to ratify in the 
future "the Buddhist conception of an infinite spiritual 
evolution to which the whole cosmos is liable. This pro- 
cess, occurring in a different way to each soul particularly, 
is itself continuous and cosmical, all life being derived from 
the original force so as to become the supreme joy."^ 

Thus, one may understand the meaning of this remark of 
Bourdeau:^ "The originality of Myers consists in the reno- 
vation of old animism, which he tries to place upon a scien- 
tific set of theories," 

Ernest Bozzano^ contrives to show " how the very fact of 
the existence of metaphysical phenomena, considered as re- 
lated to the principle of evolution — the spiritualistic hypoth- 
esis being left aside— is sufficient to establish the survival of 
the spirit after it has come from the body." And he con- 
cludes: "The pick of the intelligences that have surveyed, 
or are still investigating metapsychical phenomena, are 
agreeing with Myers regarding the fact that, owing to the 
proof of the existence of supernormal faculties on the sub- 
conscious plan of the Ego, the question of survival should 
be considered as solved in the affirmative." He cites : Aris- 
totle, Alexandre Aksakoff, W. F. Barrett, Hyslop, Thomas 
Jay Hudson, Charles de Prel, Brofferio, Frank Podmore, 

'" Prof. Flournoy has been able to say that the rehgious theories ex- 
prest by Mr. Myers, compared with those that had prevailed till now 
among spirit believers, are like a modern palace amidst the huts of 
savages." (Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1904, p. 322, note.) 

^J. Bourdeau, Journal des Dcbats, Aug. 18, 1906. 

^Ernest Bozzano, "Mrs. Piper et la conscience subliminale," Annales 
des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p, 529. 


The Luce e Omhro} says: " If Cesarc Lonibroso was able to 
tell us a few days ago in the office of oiir editor, that he 
henceforth believed in the survival of a part at least of the 
human personality, thanks are due to the admirable 
tenaciousness of Ercole Chiaia, who was so clever as to take 
advantage of the scientist's \irtuous conscience, and lead 
him that way, owing, so to speak, to the obviousness of 
the facts." 

Maxwell writes (p. 10) : " Eminent intelligences, such as 
those of Myers, Sidgwick and Gurney, to speak only of the 
dead, have entered into investigations of occult phenomena 
with the desire to find the proof of a future life. Myers died 
after having found, or believed he had found, the proof he 
had longed for." 

I may also compare a sentence by 0, Courier^ with the 
doctrine of Myers: "When the arches of our magnificent 
cathedrals shall resound with the admirable teachings of 
spiritualism, scientific morals will check base living and 
restore the reign of fraternity, for this reign, founded by 
Christ, has been pulled down by those who pretend to be his 

Edouard Drumont writes, in the preface to a book quoted 
already, by Dupouy: "I can imagine the feehngs of a Vol- 
tairian of 1825, provided he was intelligent and plaindeal- 
ing, if he could read the work of our friend. Dr. Dupouy. 
He would be able to find in it, that hardly a centm-y after 
the apotheosis of the unbeliever who played the part of the 
goddess of reason, science is everywhere testifying to the ex- 
istence of the supernatural, that it is more and more coming 
to conclusions unutterably spiritualistic, and is day by day, 
establishing the subordination of matter to mind. What is 

'Le professeur Lombroso et la Survivance de TAme," Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. G46. 

^O. Courier, "La Vie Nouvelle," 1906, p. 256. 


strange is to see science using the fanious method of ex- 
perimentation formerly so much spoken of, and testifying 
to the reahty of facts that were in the beginning of the 
nineteenth century deemed as illusions and deceits. Sci- 
entists, who by different ways are trying to widen the hori- 
zon of their contemporaries and to bring back their fellow 
men to the notion of the supernatural, to preoccupations 
of the beyond, are doing their country an immediate service 
by forcing it out of materialism, which is a sort of hemi- 
plegia, a paralysis of one whole side of the individual." 
Likewise, Monsignor Elie Meric, in his prefaces to Surbled's^ 
books, and to those of the Rev. Pie Michel Rolfi,^ expresses 
the opinion that, owing to these researches materialism has 
been vanquished.^ "Writers who are most adverse to the 
Christian religion or to any religion whatever, and the most 
independent and sincere in their experimental investiga- 
tions, are bound to acknowledge nowadays that, even to 
explain vital activity, psychochemical forces are not suffi- 
cient. And we see the soul in the shape of the human body 
peeping in. It is actually a great comfort to see that the 
experimental and natural sciences, which had been exceed- 
ingly boasted of by men of our time, now ratify the presenti- 
ments of conscience and the teaching of philosophy. It is 
a great joy for the mind to see, at last, metaphysics, phil- 
osophy and sciences combined in order to upset material- 
ism and to testify as you so perfectly do to the existence 
of the soul and to its immortality." 

'Surbled, book quoted on "Le Spiritualisme et le Spiritisme," 1898. 

2R. P. Pie Michel Rolfi, O.F.M., "La Magie Moderae ou I'Hypnotisme 
de nos jours." Traduction (sur la 3rd edition) par I'abbe H. Dorangeon. 
Introduction de Mgr. M^ric, 1902. 

^"Materialism has given way," is the conclusion of Dupouy in his book 
already quoted, in front of which he has inscribed this sentence of Richet, 
"The supernatural becomes natural, as soon as our ignorance of the 
cause is cleared up." 


The same author relates the case of the female seer of the 
Place Saint Georges and adds: "Therefore, we are observing 
a spiritualistic phenomenon, and we detect here experimen- 
tal proof of the teaching of theology concerning spirits, 
their nature, their lightness, their acute intelligence, their 
wonderful evolutions, their presence in space, their irrup- 
tion into certain individuals whose responsibility they mo- 
mentarily impound; but I do not admit that materialists and 
scientists take possession of cases of this kind, which they 
pretend to compare with phenomena of physics or chem- 
istry, or connect with the principles presiding over the 
material world, either organic or inorganic. Neither do I 
admit that they speak here unto us about cathodic rays, 
hertzian or cerebral waves; they mix together facts which 
ought to be kept absolutely distinct." 

In the Rev. Pie Michel Rolfi's opinion, ''the devil, who 
has always been jealous of men, tries to lead them into 
error, and in order to succeed, he comes forth and has inter- 
course with them. Such is the basis of spiritualism. 
There are, indeed, invisible beings who are acting through 
mediums. These are the evoked spirits whose answers are 
registered by speaking or turning-tables, or by any other 
proceeding whatever. Spiritualism, or, in other words, 
intercourse between men and invisible beings, is a fact and 
an undeniable one. And ULre is another fact which is not 
less irrefutable : those invisible beings are demons and spirit- 
ualism is unlawful. God, the angels, the spirits of the 
dead, are obviously not connected at all with speaking- 
tables; therefore spiritualism is dealing only with demons. 
The proof is evident. The devil makes tables speak or 
turn. Consequently he who witnesses such things is having 
intercourse with the devil and ipso facto doing him honor." 

The author recalls here the decree issued on July 28, 1847, 
by the Holy Congregation of the Inquisition, in which it was 


stated that " it is not allowed to apply merely physical prin- 
ciples or powers to things and results merely supernatural 
in order to cause their physical manifestation; for it would 
be a very illicit fraud on the verge of heresy." The author 
adds: ''Is this not precisely the case with speaking-tables 
and analogous witchcrafts?" He cites a sentence passed 
on a believer who positively kept from any agreement with 
the evil one, " but evoked the spirits of the dead, by first 
making a prayer unto the prince of the heavenly militia in 
order to get permission to have intercourse with such or such 
spirit. The answers were absolutely conformable to the 
belief and teaching of the Chiu-ch regarding futm-e life. 
Usually those answers disclosed the condition in which 
the soul of such or such deceased person was and the need 
it had of support ; also its complaints as to the ingratitude 
of relatives, etc." The final conclusion of the book is : "In 
reference to telepathical phenomena, presence of spirits, 
visions of souls, etc., here follows that which is ordinarily 
happening. First, should the presence of angelical spirits, 
or of souls not evoked by us be really verified, those are 
' good ' spirits. Second, in case we have evoked them in any 
manner whatever, we may be sure that they are demons."* 
Here follow the conclusions of the book of Dr. Lapponi 
already referred to : " Spiritualism is the manifestation of 

'On March 1, 1908, a canon of Brignoles wrote me, after having read 
the first edition of this book: "I liear tliat you are a believer, a sincere 
Christian, and a churchgoer, and I am astounded ; hypnosis is nothing 
but the momentary occupation of a human being by an outward spiritual 
power. Magnetism, hypnosis, somnambuhsm, spiritism and all matters 
comiected with them, are but various names and different modes of only 
one thing, as old as mankind, whose origin it has stained: it is not 
souls of the dead that move the table or the pen of the spirit believer; 
neither do they speak through the somnambulist and the hypnotized, 
or request men to have intercourse with them. They are merely demons 
who usurp their speech, handwriting, style, secrets, and even their 


activities of a supernatural order. The spiritualism of 
to-day is identical with the magic and necromancy of the 
Greeks, the Romans, and of the Middle Ages. . . . 
Spiritualism is always dangerous, hurtful, and blamable. 
It should be condemned, and forbidden in the severest 
way, without exception, in all its degrees, in all its forms, 
and in all its manifestations!" 

This recalls the condemnation of hypnotism by the 
Bishop of Madrid, Monsignor Sancha Hervas, in his pastoral 
letter of March 19, 1888.' Outside Catholicism,' the rabbi, 
Dante A, Lattes, in an article ''Al di la" (beyond) in the 
Corricre Israelitico" of Trieste, expresses the opinion that 
"Spiritualism, which has become a wide and serious ex- 
perimental doctrine, nearly discloses unto us the mysteries 
of the beyond, by altering into an exact covenant that 
which was formerly only faith. Its phenomena and hy- 
pothesis are a help to religious feelings and afford a great 
profit and a good deal of light to the facts of (Jewish) his- 
tory, and to the usages and creeds of the (Jewish) religion." 

Reversely, Mr. Godfrey Raupert, who is a Protestant, 
declared in the Daily Mail that the results of spiritualism 
are deplorable from a mental, moral and physical point of 
view. He wondered at the silence kept by leading clergy- 
men of the Church of England regarding the danger, which, 
in his opinion, was threatening faith. He was justifying 
" orthodox religions for their condemnation of the evocation 
of spirits, as a transgression of secrets the Almighty has 
thought convenient to conceal from man." The Yen. Arch- 
deacon Colley answered that: "Spiritualism is coming to 

*As regards hypnotism, I may observe that the Rev. Pie Michel Rolfi 
says: "We could not, and would not, condemn the opinion of Catholics 
who pretend to have the right sometimes to use hypnotism. In fact, 
the Holy See has not condemned hj-pnotism, but only its abuse." 

'"Les MinLstres des Cultes et le Spiritisme," Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1906, p. 118. 


millions of Christians who aro not satisfied with their re- 
ligion, as a real herald of God, in order to save mankind 
from the Sadducean materialism which perceives nothing 
beyond the grave. Spiritualism is a healing to those who 
lack faith, especially because it affords scientific proof that 
life is continued beyond the grave." The Ven. Colley goes 
on to say that, in his opinion, " Spiritualism is the crown of 
all that is most precious in each religion." 

75. Disproof of Opinions whose Tendency Is to Mix 
Occultism with any Philosophical or Religious 

a. From the brief outline given above, I believe I may 
first infer that authors wishing to mix Occultism with a re- 
ligious or a philosophical doctrine, are led to contrary and 
inconsistent opinions that are refuting each other. Some of 
them pretend to find in Occultism an experimental demon- 
stration of Catholicism (Gaston Mery), or a proof without 
which the Christian religion would be quite deficient 
(Myers). Some others view it as a transformation into 
science of the Jewish faith (Dante A. Lattes), while others 
deem it a great danger to religion (Godfrey Raupert), and 
others a new creed for those who are not satisfied with their 
own faith (Colley). Lapponi considers it the almost con- 
stant working of the devil. Rolfi makes a difference be- 
tween cases of angels and those of demons. Drumont ex- 
presses the opinion that, owing to it, the supernatural is 
established by science, and Monsignor Elie Meric^ remarks in 
it evidence of the lightness and acute intelligence of spirits. 
Myers infers from it a buddhistic conception of the cosmos, 
and Courier proclaims the coming accession of spiritualism 

^Drumont and Monsignor Elie M^ric seem to arrive at very analogous 
conclusions in setting forth books whose tendencies are quite different, 
if not contrary (the works of Dupouy and Rolfi). 


to oiu" magnificent cathedrals, instead of Catholicism, which 
has become obsolete. I need not insist on the fact that such 
contradictory conclusions, inferred from the same source, 
are refuting each other, and that in case they leave the facts 
untouched, they annihilate all religious deductions. A re- 
ligion leaning upon such foundations would be rather weak, 
and none of them has profit in claiming bases so valueless. 
A religion could only be weakened or imperiled by becom- 
ing connected with Occultism. 

Sm-bled^ has perfectly understood this, and has rightly 
blamed " the attitude of some people who do not realize the 
true meaning of spiritualism, but perceive there, if not a 
way towards Faith, at least new and precious evidence in 
favor of the supernatural." He adds: "We declare it 
plainly, there is no basis for apologetics in it; on the con- 
trary, we deem it a dangerous illusion as well as an error of 

At the same time those researches are not instrumental in 
fighting religious doctrines. I do not agree with Charles 
Richet, who writes: "After those investigations the super- 
natural has become a natural phenomenon." Not at all. 
As I have said above, the Occult has nothing to do with the 
supernatural, either to support or upset it. As soon as our 
ignorance of the cause has been cleared up, the Occult has 
become scientific; but by definition the supernatm-al will 
never enter the dominion of Science. It is impossible to 
see, as Drumont does, a contradiction between Science 
to-day surveying Occultism, and philosophical systems 
which a century ago deemed all supernatural facts deceits 
and frauds. Religion remains superior to, if not uncon- 
cerned in, the hesitations, researches and conclusions of 

'Surbled, "Spirites et mediums," p. 5. 


h. Contradictions are apparently removed and unity is 
established when it is asserted that Occultism has van- 
quished Materialism, and has proclaimed the definitive vic- 
tory of the soul theory, as well as irrefutable proof of the 
survival of the soul. Although authors who agree in this 
assertion are many, and although their value is unquestion- 
able, I do not think they are right. I do not believe either 
that it is possible to include Occultism in a philosophical 
theory rather than in a religious doctrine. 

In order to view Occultism as a new evidence in favor of 
the soul theory, one should be bound to make it conjointly 
liable to the spiritualistic hypothesis. The fears and illu- 
sions set by every one of us, according to his own mood, 
upon Occultism, are all giving way, if, as I am absolutely 
convinced, there is nothing established and proved in 
spiritualism in the etymological sense of the word. We 
must and may discuss the facts upon which this theory is 
leaning; but should those facts be absolutely established, 
they would not in the least imply the evocation of spirits, 
nor prove the survival of the human soul and the existence 
of angels or demons. 

Maxwell WTites in reference to spirit believers strongly 
persuaded in their faith: "I am longing for their ready be-, 
lief, but I cannot absolutely partake of it. Om- individ- 
uality is growing during a period of time which is infinitely 
longer than human life. I am sure of it, but I have not de- 
rived my faith from spiritualistic seances. My creed is a 
philosophical one. My opinion is not inferred from spirit- 
ualistic messages; those messages have most likely another 
source than that ascribed to them by Allan Kardec's fol- 

The conclusion is as formal with regard to philosophical 
deductions as it is concerning the religious deductions of 
Occultism; a philosophical scope might be ascribed to Oc- 


cultism only if the spiritistic hypothesis v/as accepted, but 
it is, as we have seen, far from being verified. 

c. Therefore, in a doctrinal and metaphysical respect, 
Occultism deserves neither reprobation nor canonizationi 
It remains merely a prescientific chapter in which the facts 
are waiting for " theu* scientific naturalization." 

To those who feel inclined to follow the Rev. Rolfi or Dr. 
Lapponi in their solenm condemnations, I could not too 
much recall what has happened to hypnotism ; yesterday it 
was in the realm of occultism; it has now entered that of 
actual science. One had the right to condemn it yesterday 
(and this was done). It would not be possible to condemn 
it to-day, since it has been transferred to the positive field 
and is now outside metaphysical or religious discussion. 

Consequently — and such is the conclusion of this chap- 
ter — a criticism of Occultism is not and never will be in- 
strumental in apologetics to anybody* and at the same time 
it is neither a hindrance nor an objection to anyone. It 
is accessible to all, believers or unbelievers, followers of the 
soul theory or materialists, since it is by nature neither con- 
tradictory nor conformable to any philosophical or religious 
doctrine whatever.^ 


76. One Must Prove the Existence of the Facts. 
Classification and Plan of Survey. 

We may infer from all that I have previously stated that a 
criticism of Occultism should not be an outline of more or 

1" Above all, one should not share the illusion of several scientists or 
journalists, whether they be Catholic, Protestant, or Jew, who have 
made haste to frame new apologetics according to the data of Occult- 
ism, and who would feel readily inclined to confuse the soul theory 
with spii-itualLsm " (Pierre Castillan, Nouvelle Revue Thiologique, Feb., 
1907, No. 2, p. 110). 

^C/. the discussion of this opinion by Dr. A. Goix, "La laicisation des 
phenom^nes occultes," Revue du monde invisible, 1907, p. 257. 


less probable theories, but an analysis and a critique of the 
facts. As has been rightly observed by Charles Richet/ 
by themselves "the facts are never absurd. They are, or 
they are not. In case they are real, a survey of the phe- 
nomena should go before the critique of the theories." 

Babinet referred in 1854 to facts "which are not at all 
to be explained, but on the contrary are wholly to be veri- 
fied." Many authors acknowledge this to-day, and this is 
the reason why the works of actual investigators deserve 
to retain the attention and provoke the judgment of the 
scientific world. The duty is at first to know whether the 
facts exist or not, and if they are positively established. 

In case — as is true in my opinion, and as I shall try to 
prove — they are not verified, it would be convenient to say 
so, in order to specify the problems to be solved, and to 
make easier and more precise the work of investigators. 
When the facts shall have been established, all will be done, 
and it will not be difficult to frame a theory of them ; this is 
quite accessory, and in any case much easier. 

Previous to entering upon a survey of these facts,^ I 
must, if not set forth a classification of the occult phenom- 
ena, at least point out, in a logical enumeration, the order 
in which I am going to review them. 

All those facts, enumeration of which is given in the table 
herewith, are obviously liable to a phenomenon of exterior- 
ization of the psychism by new proceedings, under various 
aspects, in the form of thought (mind reading and mental 
suggestion) in the form of movement (levitation, move- 
ments without contact), or in the form of sensation (raps, 
materializations, visions, luminous objects). \^Tien all 

•Charles Richet, Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 33. 

*Many of those facts will be found either in the Echo du Merveil- 
leux of Gaston Mery, or in the Annales des Sciences Psychiques of Dariex. 
The documentation of this book is mostly borrowed from that collection. 






According to Maxwell 

1st. Knockings on furniture, on walls, on floorings, or on 
experimentalists; raps. 

2nd. Various noises, except raps. 

Movements provoked with- 

3rd. Movements of objects 
without contacts sufficient to 
explain such movements. 

out any contact: teleki- 
Movements provoked with 
contacts not sufficient to 
explain them : parakinesia. 

4th. Material. 

5th. The penetrability of matter into matter. 

f a. Vision of the odic effluvium. 

! b. Amorphous lights. 
6th. Visual phenomena j ^ Luminous, or obscure, shapes. 

[ d. Materializations. 
7th. Phenomena leaving permanent vestiges: prints, mold- 
ings, drawings. 

8th. Changes in the weights of persons or objects. 
9th. Changes in temperature. 
10th. Puffs of air, usually cold. 

1st. Typtology: knockings, struck by the leg of a table. 

a. Enumeration at a loud voice, of 
the letters of the alphabet, with an 
interruption caused by a rap. 

h. Pointing out (owing to a rap) of 
letters, with a pencil or a stylet, on a 
written alphabet. 

c. Index on a spindle, moving, with 
or without contact, on an alphabet 
inscribed in a circle. 
3rd. Automatical handwriting: mediate or immediate. 
4th. Direct handwriting (sudden, without pencil). 
5th. Incarnations: the subject asleep speaks in the name of 
the entity which he embodies. 

6th. Direct voices, issued by vocal organs that do not belong 
to bystanders. 

7th. Other automatisms and various hallucinations: crystal, 
telepathy, t^lesthesia, clairvoyance, voyance, clairaudience. 

2nd. Grammatology 
(sentences spelt). 


those facts shall be scientific their classification will most, 
likely be in this manner. To-day, at the prescientific 
epoch and when the very existence of those facts is still 
questioned, I prefer to sort them according to the more or 
less great portion of the marvelous included in them, and ac- 
cording to the more or less long distance which lies between 
them and science. 

Therefore, I am dividing them into two groups: The 
first group includes the facts whose demonstration, should 
this ever become possible, is in any case remote (telepathy, 
premonitions, material brought from a long distance and 
materializations). The second head comprises facts whose 
demonstration is perhaps nearer at hand and ought to be 
first sought for (mental suggestion and direct thought 
transference, removals of objects within reach without con- 
tact, levitation, raps and clairvoyance). 

I thus begin with the survey of the most intricate facts, 
those which are less probable and the most distant from a 
scientific demonstration, and I conclude with a survey of 
the facts more accessible to a scientific investigation — 
those to which, in my opinion, the actual efforts and the 
precise experimental researches should be exclusively re- 



I. Telepathy and Premonitions. 

77. Definitions. 

78. Account of the farts. 

a. Telepathy and telesthesia. 

b. Premonitions and forebodings (divination and prophecy). 

c. Telepathicul influence of the dead and of things; retro- 

cognitive telepathy (psychometry), 

79. Discussion. 

a. Instances of telepathy and hallucination. Their scientific 

existence not proven. 

b. No fact proves divination or prophecy. 

c. Many telepathical facts are " disoccultated ' ' by our actual 

knowledge respecting the lower psychism. 

d. Coincidences explain the others. 

e. How should experimentation be established to become 

II. Material from a Long Distance. 

80. Instances. 

a. Anna Rothe and Henry Melzer. 

b. Mac Nab. 

c. Charles Bailey. 

81. Discussion. 

a. Conscious deceits. 

b. Unconscious deceits. 
III. Materializations. 

82. How the question stands. 

83. Instances. 

a. Luminous phenomena. 

b. Fantasms. 

c. Photographs and moldings. 

84. Discussion. 

a. Hallucination. 

b. Conscious or unconscious deceits, 
a. Photographs and impressions. 


p. Luminous phenomena. 
y. Fantasms. 

1. Tricks. 

2. Spirit-grabbers. 

3. Experiments at the Villa Carmen. 

4. Miller's recent experiments, 


77. Definitions. 

Telepathy is a sensation felt by a subject A, when a 
momentous event (illness, accident, death) is occurring at a 
great distance to a subject B, who is connected actually 
with A, by none of the means of psychical communication 
yet known. Thus, during the war of 1870, the wife of a 
soldier saw her husband fall (he was at a distance of about 
520 miles), his trousers being stained with blood, and, in 
fact, on the following day she heard that he had both legs 
taken away by a cannon ball. This is telepathy. This 
word was employed in 1882 by Myers, who has defined it as 
follows: " The transference of impressions of any kind what- 
ever between one brain and another apart from any sensory 
mode already known."^ 

The word telesthesia^ would perhaps be better, at least in 
cases when there is only a sensation, the word telepathy 
would then be restricted to cases which are more frequent, 
when A is reaUy feeling an emotion. 

''Telepathy," writes Maxwell (p. 24), "if the subject 

^Vide Ernest Bozzano, "Mrs. Piper et la Conscience subliminale, et 
M. J. Arthur Hill," "Qu'est-ce que la telepathie?" Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1906, pp. 527 and 618. See also Maxwell, "Psychologie et 
metapsychique," Annee psychologique, t. XIII, 1907, p. 100. 

''" Telepsychie ' ' has also been used. Boirac combines under this term, 
"all phenomena in which, in one way or another, is made manifest, 
under one aspect or another, but always apart from any verbal sugges- 
tion, the influence exerted by one human being over another one, at a 
more or less long distance." 


seems to be influenced by a remote agent, ' telesthesia, ' if he 
seems to be feeling impressions at a distance." Marcel 
Mangin^ restricts ''telepathy," "whose half means rather 
suffering than feeling, to spontaneous and involuntary 
transferences of emotions or sufferings." In his opinion 
telesthesia is synonymous with lucidness. 

The same author calls "telepathy" retarded influence 
remaining unconscious and latent, which is aroused a little 
while after the impression. Thus, the impression may be 
aroused in A only after the death of B. Whatever may be 
the value of this explanation, the subject A may be influ- 
enced by a corpse, or by an object lost, which the sensation 
he is feeling enables him to detect. A may also get reveal- 
ing impressions from a subject B, dead long since; this is 
psychometry or recognitive telepathy. Reversely, if the 
sensation felt by A is preceding and somewhat foretelling of 
the fact to which it is related, this becomes a premonition 
or a presentiment. 

In any case the subject B (exerting the influence) is not 
intervening in the growth of the sensation felt by A (in- 
fluenced). He is even unaware of the fact. This is that 
which with distance makes differences between telepathy, 
thought transference and mental suggestion, which I shall 
examine further.^ 

If I speak sometimes in this chapter about divination or 
prophec}^ it will be solely to cite facts published under those 
names; but in my opinion they do not deserve such a quali- 
fication. For, as I have no intention whatever to deal with 
the supernatural (see above), I cannot properly speak about 

^Marcel Mangin, "Lettre a M. le Dr. Ch. Richet sur la Tel^pathie," 
Annales des Sciences Psychiqnes, 1905, p. 354. 

^Chapter XI. I. It is only at this moment that I am to survey the 
telepathy called experimental in which both subjects A and B are 


real diviners and prophets. Science is examining the prin- 
ciples of the phenomena. The words "divination" and 
" prophecy/' as well as the word " miracle," can apply to 
exceptions only, and to facts beyond the ordinary prin- 
ciples; consequently those facts are not conjointly objects 
of science. 

Flournoy^ has reproached me with having placed divina- 
tion not only outside actual science (what he thinks to be 
proven), but also outside science at large, and consequently 
outside the science of the future. I believe he is contesting 
with words only. 

When dealing with divination, one is dealing with an anti- 
scientific, or at least extrascientific process. In science it 
is possible to foresee or to have presentiments, i. e. to point 
out things of the future by rationally leaning (either con- 
sciously or unconsciously) upon things known, either past 
or present; but this is no divination or prophecy. He who 
is foreseeing or foretelling is arguing polygonally at least. 
Therefore, when a divination becomes scientific, it ceases to 
be a divination and becomes a presumption or a rational 
prevision. This is the reason why I believe that divination 
is without the range of science, even of the future, and con- 
sequently beyond the subject-matter of this book. 

Reversely, as regards telepathy, despite the strangeness 
of some phenomena, there is nothing, a priori, contradictory 
to a scientific demonstration more or less near at hand. 
Alfred Fouill^e^ said in 1891 : "It is possible that there may 
be, or rather it is impossible that there is not, through 
space, modes of communication imknown to us as yet. We 
may build up telegraphs without the usual wires." 

Goethe writes : " Owing to its very presence, a soul may 

Tlournoy, Archives de Psychologie, 1903, p. 311. 
'" Le physique et le mental k propos de I'hypnotisme," Revue des Deux 
Mondes, May 15, 1891; "La psychologie des id^es forces," 1893, t. II, 


also exert a strong influence over another soul," and Tenny- 
son remarks that light is spread by vibrations from star to 
star. Why would it not be possible for the soul to send also 
to another soul a more subtle particle of itself. ^ 

Therefore, telepathy is possible; it is not antiscientific. 
If it is a part, we need not ascribe it to reincarnated spirits, 
or to the supernatural so as to explain it. The question is 
only to know if it really exists. 

78. Account of the Facts. 

a. Telepathy and Telesthesia. 

The facts of telepathy that have been recorded are ex- 
ceedingly numerous. Many of them will be found in 
special periodicals, in the book of Dupouy,' and chiefly in 
the work of Gurney, Myers and Podmore.^ Charles Richet 
writes in the preface to a translation of this latter book: 
"I have not handled this work without a sneering incredu- 
lity, but as I had no fetishism for the science called 'offi- 
cial,' I have gradually come to the conclusion that most of 
those reports were true. The long and patient efforts of 
Gurney, Myers and Podmore have been to gather evidence, 
to investigate the alleged facts and to verify dates, hours 
and places by official documents. The authors have per- 
fectly given the limitation of the aim of their book, the sur- 
vey of any kind of phenomena that may afford us a reason 
to suppose that the mind of one man had been acting over 
the mind of another without having written or spoken a 
word or made a sign." 

p. 394; and "Telepathie et T^l^graphie sans fil," Bulletin de I'Institut 
general psychologique, 1904, t. IV, p. 509. 

'Citations by Jules Bois, pp. 6 and 7. 

^Dupouy, loc. cit., p. 140. 

'Gurney, Myers and Podmore, "The Phantasms of the Living." See 
also Jules Bois, "Le Miracle Moderne. La telepathie," Le Figaro, May 
11, 1907. 


Here follows a remarkable instance of telepathy related 
by Paul Bourget/ " In 188-, I was in Italy, I had a dream 
that was real Jto an intolerable extent, in which I saw one 
of my colleagues of the press, Leon Chapron, on his death- 
bed. I w^as afterwards witnessing all the circumstances fol- 
lowing his death, namely, a debate dealing with replacing 
him as dramatic critic in the office of the editor of a news- 
paper. Such was the influence of this dream that I could 
not help coming back to Paris, where I had a talk about it 
with Maupassant, who asked me: 'But you knew he was 
ill?' Now, I had never heard of his illness. Chapron died 
eight days after this conversation." During his journey, 
Bourget received a note from Chapron without any indica- 
tion or hint that he w^as ill. Such facts are so frequent 
that it has recently been possible to assert^ that " we cannot ^ 
deny to-day the power of vision at a distance, as well as 
presentiments, so great is the number of similar facts 

Vastness of distance to overcome is not a hindrance to ex- 
periments. In order to quote a typical example, Myers 
says: "On January 12, A, being in India, saw at 8 o'clock 
p. M. the fantasm or shape of his brother B, who was in 
England, and whom he had no reason to believe unwell or 
in danger. Now, B died precisely on January 12, a few 
hours before, a fact of which A could have no knowledge." 

The Light of Truth has published a story, recorded by 
Prof. James Hyslop, then of Columbia University, of a 
message transferred (through the channel of Mrs. Eleanora 
Piper) from North America to England. "This message 
was forwarded in English, and consisted of four words, but 
the medium who got it in England wrote it out in Latin. 

'Paul Bourget, Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1895, p. 74. 
^Xavier Pelletier, "Telegraphie humaine," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, 
p. 274. 


Prof. Hyslop is absolutely convinced that the message was 
transferred by means of a op iw ^. As far as we can imagine, 
the conditions of space are not to be viewed in the spirit 
world; one thousand miles are not more than one inch to 

b. Premonitions and Forebodings {Divination and 

Many cases of premonitory, divining, or prophetical 
telepathy are recorded in which the event is '' felt" previous 
to its occurrence. The Annates des Sciences Psychiques 
have frequently dealt with Mile. Couesdon.^ " After a short 
conversation," she says, ''I feel that my eyes are going to 
close, the angel is about to speak with you." And indeed, 
her eyes do close, the stress of her voice is changed, it be- 
comes deeper, and a new psychical personality, whose name 
is Gabriel the Angel, is talking to you in a language involv- 
ing the frequent reciu-rence of words whose last syllable is e, 
which tend to produce false rhymes. Her messages are of a 
general order, usually facts are not considered apart or made 
precise, so that this vague language may lead either to an 
excessive skepticism or to an extreme credence, according to 
the peculiar mood of the hearer. It is obvious that by speak- 
ing in a vague manner one may say things in which every 
one will be somehow concerned. Our first visit to Mile. 
Couesdon enabled us to determine as probable the hypoth- 
esis of lucidness ; our second visit has been less favorable 
to this hypothesis." 

'"Transmission supranormale d'lm message d'Amerique en Europe," 
Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1904, p. 386. 

^Xavier Dariex, "Le cas de Mile. Couesdon"; "A propos de Mile. 
Couesdon"; and Le Menant des Chesnais, "Le cas de Mile. Couesdon," 
Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1896, pp. 124, 191, 280 and 300. See 
also L'Echo du Merveilleux, passim, and chiefly, R. L. B., "Les Pr^ic- 
tions de Mile. Couesdon" (1904, p. 4.54), and TimotWe, "Proph^tie de 
Mile. Couesdon sur la Separation de I'Eglise et de I'Etat " (1906, p. 129). 


Le Menant dcs Chesnais has scrutinized in a very witty 
manner the growth of Mile. Couesdon's mediumship. In 
1884 or 1885, Mme. Orsat had a niece, Eglantine, who, suf- 
fering from consumption, had seen an angel sitting on the 
edge of her bed and who told her he was waiting for her in 
the next world. Eglantine promised before her death to 
watch over the safety of her aunt. After the death of her 
niece, Mme. Orsat was led to spiritualistic seances; she 
proved to be a perfect medium, and soon pretended to get 
inspiration from a tutelary angel (or from Eglantine's spirit), 
and later — this was made precise — from Gabriel the angel. 
For eleven years Mme. Orsat permitted her "customers" to 
take advantage of Gabriel's inspirations. M. Couesdon 
was among the applicants. There were around Mme. 
Orsat some of her friends who had also their visions, while 
others took interest in table-turning or spiritualism. Mile. 
Couesdon was led into this milieu by her parents, and there 
she was trained, undergoing autosuggestion during three 
years. Mme. Couesdon wished her daughter to resemble 
Mme. Orsat. In August, 1894, at Mme. Orsat's house Mile. 
Couesdon had a fit of somnambulism, after which she hoped 
that Eglantine would take possession of her. Mme. Orsat 
experienced then some failures in her predictions, and set out 
for Switzerland (August, 1895) . Two days later Mile. Coues- 
don had, at her father's home, her first important incarna- 
tion of Gabriel the angel. She was fast gathering around 
her Mme. Orsat's "customers," whose number went on in- 
creasing. Amidst the enthusiasm and joy of her father 
and mother she gradually imitated Mme. Orsat's experi- 

In the number for April 1, 1906, of the Echo du Merveil- 
leux, there is a prophecy of Mile. Couesdon (dated Nov. 5, 
1896), concerning the separation between Church and State, 
together with a prophecy of Nostradamus (1566) in refer- 


ence to the Courrieres disaster. In the number for March I 
of the same periodical Mme. Maurecy relates a visit paid by 
her to two female seers who had, both of them, a vision of a 
probable war. One of them declared that we were to be 
victorious, and the other made a contradictory assertion. 
"What is more strange," remarks Baron de Vovaye (March 
15) " is that such a contradiction, apparently irreconcilable, 
may be perfectly explained by those who have investigated 
prophecies." Jules Claretie recalls in the Temps for Aug. 
24, 1906, that " the famous Comte de Boulainvilliers and an 
Italian named Colonna, who was well known in Paris, had 
presaged to Voltaire that he was unmistakably to die at the 
age of 32. In a paragraph already quoted, Xavier Pelletier 
reminds us of "the strange clairvoyance which enabled a 
lady residing in London to foretell several months previous 
to the event that King Alexander and Queen Draga were on 
the verge of death. ^ 
Paul Bourgct has reported in Outre-Mer,^ two seances 

with Mrs. P (Piper), of Boston : " The window-shutters 

were closed, the lights were put out except a candle set under 
the table ; she loosed her hah' so as to be more at ease, put on 
a petticoat bodice. Then she seized the hand of one of us. 
A few minutes of silence and waiting elapsed ; then she be- 
gan to moan and moan; she twisted her fingers which es- 
caped from the clasping and rambled through her hair; 

'Charles Richet relates ("Notes sur un cas particulier de lucidite," 
Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 161) that on June 10, 1903, 
between 10.45 and 11 p.m., a message reading as follows was received: 
" Banca, death awaits family." On the following day, news was received 
of the attempt upon the life of King " Alexander and his consort Draga. 
Later, it was disclosed that Draga's father, who had died a few months 
before, was called Panta or Panza. . . . Were there not great presump- 
tions that, this very night at the same hour, death was awaiting a family 
whose name was analogous to Banca, at least as much as to Panta?" 

^Paul Bourget, "Outre-Mer," t. II, p. 176 (citat. Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1895, p. 65). 


sighs were emitted, heavy and prolonged, sighs apparently 
originating in the inmost of her being; there was more and 
more a noticeable bending of the head that was drooping, and 
we could perceive distortions of all her chest, as if she was 
struggling with an intruder; then a pause took place. She 
was asleep. Her open hands were stretched out so as to feel 
about the face, shoulders and arms of the person opposite 
her. Next to this she began to speak with a voice that 
was no longer her own voice, and with an Irish accent. Her 
real Ego had disappeared and been replaced by another one. 
She was no longer Mrs. P., whose abode is near Boston, but 
a certain French physician, who died at Lyons " (Dr. Phin- 
uit). "A strange man, this doctor," said some one who 
had been present at several seances of this American py- 
thoness, "you know him, he knows you. He is obliging to 
an excessive extent, always at yoiu* disposal. He is a 
hanger-on who appears as apologizing for living at the ex- 
pense of others, and somewhat fond of hoaxing." 

"I never knew," adds Bourget, "if the friend who spoke 
in this way was in earnest or if he made fun. I believe that 
the American who took an interest in these phenomena of 
clairvoyance, does not know it either. When she awoke 
from her sleep she took my companion's arm and mine in a 
tragical gestm-e. It was obvious that for a few seconds she 
failed to recognize us. Then she smiled faintly. The seer 
was replaced by the New England lady, who offered us 
some tea. Her voice was sweet again. She seemed to have 
forgotten, or perhaps she had in fact forgotten, the queer 
doctor with the Irish accent who dwells in a remote 

^Mrs. Piper's prophecies will be found iii R. Hodgson's publications 
("Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research," t. VIII and 
XIII). See also the work, quoted, of Ernest Bozzano (Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 537). 


Maxwell {loc. cil., p. 181) has recorded several facts of 
premonition with the crystal ball; I shall discuss some of 
them farther on. Mme. de Thebes issues every year in 
December an almanac which contains prophecies for the 
following year/ 

Persons capable of succeeding in such experiments and to 
forecast the future are so many, that a Congress of Prophets 
was announced by newspapers to be held in London in 
May 1906 at Exeter Hall, and about the same time a '' trust 
of witches" was to meet at Molfetta in the province of Bari. 
It was resolved by the majority of the Congress of Prophets 
that " the world will come to an end on May 3, 1929, while 
the minority, a little less pessimistic, believed it would be 
on April 9, 1931. 

" In seven or eight years Europe will be divided into ten 
confederate kingdoms. But those ten kingdom.s will be 
wrong when welcoming the succession of another Christ 
who shall bear the predestinated name of Napoleon. He 
shall come into the world as King of Syria, and shall do 
France the honor of a first visit. He will subdue her and 
then extend his dominion over the ten other kingdoms. But 
soon this Napoleon will expect to be worshipt like God; 
hence the establishment of a new religion."'^ 

As to the "trust of witches," the word has been used by 
Clarctie, I believe, in the Temps. The trust came to an end 
before courts of justice, which had to register 134 swindlings 
and made a museum of witchcraft with all the objects 
found — playing cards, lemons crowned with pins, black 
ribbons, barrels of tar, powder, bottles of alcohol, plants of 
every description, hair, nails of men and animals, and a 
good many other mysterious utensils.^ 

Wide namely, L'Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 199. 

^Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 199. 

'Annales des Sciences Psijchiques, 1906, p. 259. 


c. Telepathical Influence of the Dead and of Things; 
Retrocognitive Telepathy (Psychometry) . 

In all instances of properly so-called telepathy which I 
have just referred to, the medium is influenced by a livmg 
subject. This requirement does not appear indispensable, 
and some mediums have to be used in order to detect 
corpses. It seems that a medium has recently helped to 
find the body of Dr. Petersen at the bottom of a preci- 
pice in Savoy.^ On October 5, 1904, the doctor left Aix- 
les-Bains for an outing and never came back. On or about 
October 20 searches were started at the Mont du Chat, at 
the Revard, and in the Lake of Bom*get. On October 26 
an anonymous letter was sent to the police superintendent. 
It stated the finding of the corpse of " the doctor in a perpen- 
dicular precipice imder a hollow of the Revard, near a house 
used during bad weather as a shelter for cattle." 

This letter was written by Mme. Vuagniaux, a strongly- 
convinced believer, who had thus related to the justice of the 
peace the contents of a mediumistic message received on the 
same day through knockings of the table ''without any 
question on the part of those ladies." There were three 
messages. The first researches made by the gendarmerie, 
according to indications, gave no results whatever. In May 
the body was accidentally found by a farmer of Mouxy in a 
place that almost agreed with the indications of the message 
which, however, was written in rather vague language. The 
theory thought by Anastay the most probable is telepathy 
exerted previous to death, persisting and remaining latent 
after it, and finally, later on, active. 

At the moment when I was engaged in writing an article 
for the Revue des Deux Mondes (Aug., 1906), much attention 

^"Le cas de disparition du docteur Petersen," Bulletin de la Societe 
d'Efudes Psychiques de Marseille {Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, 
p. 310). 


was given to researches made in order to discover the rector 
of Chatenay. A police magistrate, several gendarmes, a 
Hindoo spirit believer, Devah, and his female necromancers, 
the magicians Ramana, Pickmann and Carlos, were coop- 
erating in the attempts made. Diu'ing the workings of proph- 
ets called "inquiry diviners" by Emile Faguet, the rector 
was in Belgium preparing for the publication of his " M^- 
moires," and le Cri de Paris said (Aug. 26, 1C06) : 

Devah, Pickmann and Ramana 

Are three famous diviners : 

Every one of them, in his turn, searched 

The fields, and found out nothing but . . . credulous people.* 

The same mediumistic mode of action has been used in 
order to find lost property. Some professional diviners 
derive large incomes from this source. 

Instances of still stranger facts have been recorded. The 
medium may be influenced by a subject who died some time 
ago, even years ago. This is psychometry. The medium 
may reconstitute in this way a person who long since dis- 
appeared, provided he touches and handles an object used by 
this person during his life. This constitutes a whole chapter 
of mediumship. The person needs not be dead in order to 
provoke these phenomena of " psychometrical voyance." 
Occultists declare that impressions and images may be 
registered by objects which had witnessed them, to such a 
degree that, with a jewel for instance in the hand, a sensitive 
person may view scenes of the past in which the owner of 
the jewel took a part.^ 

'Gaston Mery is right when he observes, "One should not say that 
the marvelous is a failure, because Devah, Ramana and Alvis are, 
above all, ignorant and unskilful people." He adds further, "Far from 
protesting, we would have approved, if serious experiments with well- 
known mediiims had been instituted in order to solve the mystery of 
the Abbe D.'s disappearance." 

'Louis Maurecy, " Experiences de psychom^trie," Echo du Merveilleux, 
1906, p. 33. 


"As I had with me a small carriage-clock," says Paul 
Bourget/ " Mrs. P. was able to tell me to whom it had for- 
merly belonged and how he died (a suicide by immersion, in 
a fit of madness)." In Ernest Bozzano's work, already 
quoted {Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 543), will 
be found six experiments in psychometry by the same 
medium, Mrs. Piper; they have been described by Hodgson. 

The Bulletin de la Societe d' Etudes Psychiques de Nancy 
(No. of Nov., Dec, 1904) records queer experiments made 
by the French "medium psychometer", known under the 
assumed name of Phaneg. Mme. V. gives a handkerchief to 
her husband ; Phaneg diagnoses that he is ill (this is true) ; 
he perceives that the patient's condition is getting worse, 
especially regarding the bowels. " Nine days later my hus- 
band was seized with a cerebral congestion and paralysis 
was extended to the intestine."^ 

Mme. Louise Maurecy relates in the Echo duMerveilleux of 
Jan. 15, 1906, analogous experiments successively made at 
the house of M. Dace, "the well-known young occultist," 
by foiu- "medium psychometers." The object used was a 
revolver carefully wrapped up in brown paper so as to con- 
ceal its shape." It had belonged to a young man, who 
after a first unsuccessful attempt had committed suicide 
near Paris. 

The first medium sees a woman asleep, who is seized with 
fever and sets out for a journey to an unknown country 
with great fear; she gets up, perceives that her condition is 
getting worse and that she is about to die. The second sees 
a man in a street blocked by vehicles; he enters a tram- 
way car; beyond the fortifications tliree detonations are 
heard ; he is wounded ; a lady meets him, then a young lady 

^PaulBourget, "Lettre h M. Ch. R.," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1895, p. 72. 

^Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 49. 


comes near him and is led away by an officer; he fires at his 
left temple (the medium soon makes an correction — at the 
right temple), he is dead. The third medium sees fog 
around him and feels that electricity is pricking 
him. A man has used this revolver during an assault at 
night; he runs away, having killed some one on the spot. 
He makes a careful examination of indications of every 
description; he pays a visit to Paris and writes down many 
remarks about it. The fourth has an impression of a pene- 
trating wound caused by a shot; he sees a shop and a man 
with a white blouse giving orders to workmen who whistle ; 
he sees also heaps of iron, and a stout gentleman whose waist 
is girt with a sash ; and blood that runs from a head as from 
a hole; ''the same man as before, his arms crosswise, is 
stretched on the ground as if beaten to death." 

M, Dace knew vaguely what was the matter. Mme. Louise 
Maurecy concludes : " The triflings do not annihilate the fact 
itself, i. e. the probability that, in certain conditions, it is 
possible to evoke the memory of things and to make them 
speak. Thus walls and stones on our way, old trees and 
trinkets, spring into a fanciful life; they have witnessed 
many things which they will perhaps be able to tell us some 

Information was given in July, 1906, by daily newspapers 
{U Eclair, Le Matin) — " and every one was wondering at it" 
— that M. Gayet, the erudite, indefatigable and witty super- 
intendent of the excavations at Antinoe, had brought back 
the gilt mummy of one of the concubines of Antinoiis; he 
had trusted to a psychometer a ring found in the same 
sepulcher, so as to get a clear idea concerning the life of this 
Bacchante, the priestess of the worship of Dionysios, and a 
great royal favorite. " First the psychometer stared at the 
ring; then he closed his eyes and placed it on his forehead. 
After a while his face was altered, wrinkled with nervous 


contractions. Sometimes his features were distorted as 
when the vision was too frightful or tragical." He then 
describes a gorgeous procession of Bacchantes, their dances, 
the objects they carry (which have been found by M. Gayet 
in the sarcophagus). M, Gayet declares that the vision of 
this man is absolutely conformable to old manuscripts ; that 
he most accurately and most minutely related history told 
by the dead woman, as well as by the object I found in her 

The psychometer, a M. P., not only described the pro- 
cession of Dionysia, but also " the orgies and private Hf e of the 
favorite, who, by way of amusement, carried the hearts of 
doves on her long golden hairpin." And M. Gayet adds, 
" He has told me her name, a sweet one, Arteminisia."^ 

Queer experiments in psychometry will also be found 
described in McClure's Magazine, as related by Carl Schurz 
of New York. With a lock of hair belonging to the author, 
the clairvoyant gave a full account of his temper, mood, 
and mental faculties, with so much accuracy that Mr. 
Schiu-z was surprised. Even some particulars of his own 
mind which he did not know, were disclosed to him. Through 
a fragment of a letter written by some general, she revealed 
that he was having a lark at Brussels " with a person whom 
he loved fondly."^ 

79. Discussion of Cases. 

a. Cases of Telepathy are not Hallucinations, hut their 

Scientific Existence is not Established. 
One may infer from the preceding paragraph that the 
matter of telepathy, under its various aspects, is quite in- 

'Gaston M^ry, "La Psychom^trie. A propos de la Bacchante d'An- 
tins^," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 261. 

^"La momie dor^e. Favorite d'Antinoiis," Le Matin, July 4, 1906. 
'See also, "La psychographie," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 360. 


teresting, and that facts about it are accumulating. It 
would be childish to deny, a priori, all these experiments, 
and to deem them at large to be frauds and tricks. I go 
even so far as to believe that they ought not to be sorted in 
the same range as hallucinations. 

As Armand Bussy^ remarks: "While hallucination is a 
perception with no outward object to cause it, the tele- 
pathical vision is, on the contrary, responsive to a simul- 
taneous and precise material fact, occurring in such con- 
ditions as to be capable of exerting a direct impression over 
the sense organs." By adding the word ''veracious" to 
hallucination, Charles Richet is merely joining two contra- 
dictory terms. For a veracious hallucination is no longer 
a hallucination; it is either a sensation or a real impression. 

Therefore, should telepathical facts be real, they are not 
to be sorted among hallucinations. The main point is to 
know whether they exist or not — that is, in case their 
scientific existence has not been established. As far as I 
am concerned, I do not think so, and I am not alone in 
expressing this opinion. 

Charles Richet, whose generous ideas and scientific lib- 
eralism are well known, writes in his preface to the French 
version of Gurney, Myers and Podmore's book (pp. VIII 
and IX) in reference to facts so conscientiously gathered by 
these authors: "The conviction afforded by such reports is 
quite frail. The experimental demonstrations are unfor- 
tunately defective enough to enable us to remain incredu- 
lous. It is obvious that, now and then, beautiful results 
have been obtained, and for my part, I deem them very 
conclusive without pretending that they are definitive. 
Alchemists were longing for the supreme experiment, ex- 
perinienhim cruets, which they thought to crown their ef- 

' Armand Bussy, "La question spirite et les m^decins," Mcdicina, 
April-May, 1906, p. 21, 


forts. Now, no one has succeeded as yet in making this 
experimentum criicis. There have been remarkable ex- 
periments, also some attempts that have been 'almost' 
successful, but which, in spite of their success, have always 
left too much room for skepticism and unbelief, like a 
'caput mortuum,' to use the alchemist's expression, which 
allows us to doubt and hinders us from being utterly con- 

I hope this opinion will appear more plain and more pre- 
cise after the following brief considerations. 

h. No Oase Verifies Divination or Prophecy. 

I have said above that from a scientific standpoint, i. e. 
without the supernatural, there is no room for divination or 
prophecy. There is only a possibility of existence for pre- 
sentiments leaning upon unconscious and more or less 
complex ratiocinations. None of the facts disclosed as 
divinations or prophecies seem to be so demonstrative as to 
invalidate this opinion. 

Dariex has correctly said with regard to Mile. Couesdon, 
that nearly all prophecies are given out in a vague manner, 
allowing us to believe that they are fulfilled by the most 
reverse and contradictory events. If they are referring to 
war or to other disaster, they do not mention the country 
in which it is to happen, neither do they declare who will be 
victorious, nor the exact date of the event. Now, within an 
unlimited space of time there is always a war somewhere, or 
an event of some kind which it would be possible to call a 

In fact, diviners are merely telling what their psychism, 
more or less trained, what their more or less disaggregated 
polygonal psychism enables them to say, or what it inspires 
in them. The growth of the prophetic vocation of Mile. 
Couesdon (such as I have related above, according to Le 


Menant des Chesiiais) is very instructive in this respect, and 
seems to be pretty similar to Helen Smith's case. 

In order to verify some prophecies we have to make 
wonders of ingenuousness. Here is, for instance, the ques- 
tion written by Nostradamus in which some authors have 
thought to find a forecast of the Com-rieres disaster: 


Fathers and mothers dead after immense bereavements: 
Women in mourning, a monstrous pestilence. 
The great man is no more: the whole world comes to an end 
In peace, rest, all sorrows being swept away. 

The following interpretation has been given: deul (old 
French for "deuil," mourning), indicates a momentous 
mom-ning that is to take place on the banks of the Deide 
river (near Courrieres); a monstrous pestilence will be 
caused by corpses ; the great man signifies President Loubet, 
whose seven years are coming to a close; the whole world 
ending, means that the House of the Deputies are com- 
pleting their charge. If circumstances had required it, 
would it have not been easier to apply this quatrain to the 
Russo-Japanese war, to the war of 1870, to the Martinique 
disaster, to the loss of the submarine "Lutin," or to the 
blowing up of the battleship "Jena?" 

We have seen that Baron de Novaye pretended to ex- 
plain and reconcile two prophecies which foretold a reverse 
result of war, and the success of a prediction made to Vol- 
taire. In Mme. de Thebes's Almanac for 1905, one could 
read for instance: "Dm-ing the first season of 1905, kings 
will be talked of much more than usually, and I hope it will 
not be the same with their consorts. I fear lest we should 
in the beginning of 1905 be driven into a dangerous war. 
I believe 1905 will be a red year after a gray one. England 
will have her share of fears. Germany also will be plunged 
into grief. 1905 will afford us the compensation of a fresh 
victory in the realm of thought." 


Scarce are the years in which it would be impossible, 
with a little skill, to detect proof of the reahty of proph- 
ecies so utterly vague. She says further that "a violent 
agitation will occur in Belgium during the second half of 
1905 ; the future there is quite dark, and this small country 
will be the cause of a general conflagration in Europe much 
earlier than those famous Balkans so frequently referred to." 
This is a precise prediction which has been fulfilled neither 
during the second half-year of 1905, nor during the whole 
year of 1906. I do not insist upon the date of the end of the 
world, such as has been settled by the Congress of Prophets. 

I believe I am in a position to assert that the power of 
divination or prophecy has not yet been scientifically veri- 
fied by anybody (I always set the supernatural aside), and 
this is true of all conditions of trances, hypnosis, etc. 
Neither hypnotism nor somnambulism nor mediumship is 
developing or growing such a power in anyone. 

c. Many Telepathical Cases are Disocculted, Owing to 
our Actual Knowledge of the Lower Psychism. 

The matter of telepathy, which has already been released 
from the domain of divination and prophecy, will be still 
more cleared up if we consider all the facts which the physi- 
ology as known to-day of unconscious and involuntary or 
lower psychism enables us to explain, and consequently to 

Thus, if, as I believe, there are spring-finders, i. e. persons 
specially qualified for detecting springs — there is nothing 
occult or marvellous in it, even when they make their hazel- 
tree wand turn. Likewise, as regards the researches of a 
different kind, some subjects are more successful than 
others. Even in cases when it is sure that subjects are 
able to "scent" and detect corpses, this does not prove the 
reality of telepathy. Besides, many notions are stored 


within our unconscious or lower memory, and we do not 
know theii- origin; they may, at a given moment, afford us 
the illusion of a discovery or of a revelation. 

Is it impossible to appeal to such an explanation in the 
case (quoted by Maxwell) of the lady who saw through a 
crystal ball the shape of a little dog that she did not know 
at all. She was, a few days later, presented with a little 
dog exactly similar (?) to the one she had seen through the 
crystal ball. All cases quoted above, and they are many,^ 
are, as a matter of fact, things unconsciously seen already, 
or rather are polygonal reminiscences,^ removed from the 
range of telepathy and premonition. 

d. Others Explained by Coincidences. 

Apart from the previous restrictions, there still remain a 
good many other instances of telepathy or remote premo- 
nition. Concerning them I must repeat the objection so 
frequently made, but nevertheless very weighty. I mean 
coincidence. I have often listened to the strange case 
(cited aheady) of the wife of the soldier who was killed on 
the Eastern frontier, and how she received at Montpellier 
telepathical impression of his death. But no one has heeded 
the previous hours of anxiety during which she had, many a 
time, thought of her husband's violent death. One has 
remembered only the case that was coincident with reality.^ 

Wide " Le Psychisme Inferieur," by Dr. J. Grasset ; " Etude dephysio- 
pathologie clinique des centres nerveux," Bibliotheque de philosophic 
experimentale (1906), pp. 193 and seq. Paris, Chevalier et Riviere. 

2See above, Part III, 42. 

^In the course of a conversation on motor cars, and the accidents 
caused by them, M. Juttet says : " I have a fright over motor cars. I have 
a presentiment that my death will be provoked by a motor car. " Indeed 
M. Juttet died in a motor-car accident {Echo du Merveilleux, 1905, p. 
377). In order to ascribe a value to this evidence, one should think of 
the many persons who have had presentiments of this kind, as to motor 
cars, carriages, or railways, and who have experienced no accident at all. 


In many circumstances a casual coincidence may be 
thought of. Bourdeau^ says: " If there are a few instances 
in which presentiments and hallucinations are coincident 
with death or sickness, we find a great number of cases when 
such a concordance is not fulfilled. .Let us suppose that a 
regiment practises target-firing during the night. It may 
happen that a few bullets reach the mark shot at, but 
it is impossible to infer from it that some soldiers have a 
power of clairvoyance." 

A psychologist cited by Gurney, Myers, and Podmore has 
asserted that " facts ascribed to telepathy may be explained 
by this consideration: that one person at least out of a 
hundred is liable to have dreams, illusions, visions, etc. 
of remarkable precision, and each of those persons has a 
dream or a vision once a week, Gurney, Myers, and Pod- 
more acknowledge that. As to groups of those who see 
their friends appear once a week, the evidence of one of 
these hallucinations with the death of the person appearing, 
would be of no interest. But, we have never verified a fact 
of this kind." This is quite true, this has not been estab- 
lished because a dream becomes important only when it is 
fulfilled. For this reason one should not, like Gurney, 
Myers and Podmore, call "superficial" any arguing which 
'' lumps dreams, hallucinations, impressions, monitions and 
premonitions." A differentiation of the terms of this lump- 
ing is only made afterwards, owing to the result. 

The following question has recently been very much dis- 
cust '? " Why, after having wrongly believed one has recog- 
nized a passerby, do we often meet a little later with the 
person we had imagined that we saw?" This is a very 

'Bourdeau, Journal des Debats, Aug. 28, 1906. 

^Cf. Dr. G. C. Ferrari, "Provision ou premonition a rappel," Annales 
des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 585; and Dr. Roch, "Note sur les pro- 
visions de rencontre," Archives de Psycliologie, 1905, t. V, p. 149. 


common fact, exprest by folks saying in all languages: 
"quand on croit voir le loup, c'est qu'il n'est pas loin," 
or "qiiand on croit voir Ic loup, on en voit la queue"; 
''talk of the devil and he will appear"; "quand si parla 
del sole, il sole spunta " ; " roba nominata e per la strada," etc. 

Many authors are interpreting this fact by a telepathical 
and premonitory influence of the person one is about to 
meet. But here follow Roch's quite judicious remarks. 
He makes of those cases an act of the lower psychism, or a 
coincidence; it seems to me that both explanations are 
destroying a good part of the telepathical question. 

"In short, we frequently think of a person in the place 
where we are accustomed to meet him, or in a place where he 
might otherwise be, because of his tastes, habits, etc. No 
wonder, then, that we believe we see him ; no wonder, cither, 
that we really see him. Out of ten instances, this explana- 
tion has six times proved satisfactory to me. Besides, it 
happens that we unconsciously have a glimpse of him at a 
distance, and then we imagine we recognize him near us. 
It is no wonder then, if a little after such a mistake we meet 
with this person. Tlu-ee times out of ten I have been able 
to recall such a fact of subconscious vision, and with 
great probability. Finally, a mere coincidence may per- 
fectly explain facts that cannot be included in both catego- 
ries just stated. For, it is more frequent than we usually 
think, that the image of a person known, is evoked by a 
vague likeness. Besides, only once out of ten times do I 
consider that there has been a mere coincidence. Conse- 
quently I do not think it necessary to appeal to telepathy, 
induction at a distance, etc."^ 

'As I do not wish to mangle this citation, I give here the final sen- 
tence: "I shall, however, abstain from denying that actions of this kind 
may cause the phenomenon I am dealing with, but I have no reason to 
admit it either." 


Besides, the concordance between the sensation called 
telepathical and the event wliich would be the starting- 
point, is not always perfect. Some sensations of this kind 
are not veracious, but false, and are not fulfilled. Some 
others, and they are many, are vague ;V they admit of va- 
rious interpretations, and are subsequently applied to the 
facts owing to complex and contestable reasonings. 

When, years ago, I set out for Paris in order to undergo 
my examination for the degree of assistant professor, I had 
a distinct presentiment that I was to catch typhoid fever 
there. What a fine instance of telepathy this would have 
been in case my presentiment had been fulfilled! I never 
had typhoid fever. The result deceived my expectation. 
I have dismissed this case from my mind, or rather, it has 
been of value no longer. The mother of a relative of mine 
whose telepathical impressions I have stated regarding the 
death of her husband, had, a few years ago, a very distinct 
presentiment that she would no more see her grandson, 
who was then setting out for a rather long absence. Al- 
though she was very old, she saw her grandson again, but 
every one in the family has abstained from talking of this 
failure, but we have often referred to the incident of the 
war as above quoted, 

A woman said to Cardinal Langenieux when he was seven 
years old: "My child, you will be a bishop, and you will 
anoint the king." The child became bishop of Tarbes, then 
Archbishop of Reims, but he died without having anointed 
the king.^ 

Candargy^ has related the strange story of a stolen fur 

*C/. as I have said above in reference to Mile. Couesdon. 

^"Monseigneur Langenieux et le Roi de France," Echo du Merveilleux, 
1904, p. 451. 

^P. C. Candargy, " Histoire d'une fourrure volee," Annates des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1906, p. 624. 


garment which was found tlii-ough a round table. If we in- 
vestigate the case, we find that the table indicated No. 39 
of the rue du Lou^Te, Paris. There is no such number. At 
No. 15 there is a fur merchant; Ulmann. The table called 
him Llunis. The place of this Ulmann, who had died five 
years earlier, had l)een taken by a M. Goldsmith, who ac- 
knowledged that the stolen fiu- had been brought to him, but 
he did not have it; it was with a broker; there, the owner of 
the sable fur declared that it was not his."* 

Charles Richet received a message quoted above : " Banca, 
death awaits family" at the ver}^ day and horn* when Queen 
Draga was murdered. Is it enough that the unfortunate 
queen's father was called Panta in order to make this fact 
worthy of note? 

I have cited experiments in psychometry as related by 
Mme. Louise Maurecy, A revolver was brought to mediums 
and they made fanciful descriptions of all possible manner of 
deaths, of the struggle, of ruffians, of nightly assault, as well 
as of suicide. Likewise, concerning Phaneg's experiments; 
prediction was made to a patient that he would grievously 
suffer from intestinal trouble; he soon died from cerebral 
congestion. Indeed, it appeared that he had at the same 
time paralysis of the intestine, but he most likely had also 
paralysis of the bladder and of one arm or leg, so that the 
medium would have been equally right in foretelling death 
by means of a disorder of one of those organs or even of the 
lungs or the heart. 

This reminds me of descriptions of diseases for which the 
" Pink pills for pale people" are recommended, and in which 
every patient recognizes all the symptoms of his own case.^ 

*"It does not much matter," as the author remarks, "if the myste- 
rious detective was mistaken in following on the track of the sable fur, 
and if the fur he found was another, similar to it." 

^Here is. for instance, a diagnosis by Phaneg: "This person is suffering 


Floiirnoy relates in a work already quoted, the Annates 
(1899) some incidents of erroneous telepathy. He scruti- 
nizes them in a remarkable manner. As to Mme. Z., who per- 
ceives clearly the death of M. R., " It is evident that the idea 
of M. R.'s possible death, with all its concomitant circum- 
stances and consequences has at least floated over her 
mind, especially because of her feelings toward him. Is 
there not more than one mother who has been anxious 
for the fate of an absent child, more than one spiritual guide, 
minding the eternal destiny of a beloved soul, to whom 
imagination has many a time sho^vn the tragical and solemn 
pictiu-e of the beloved one's last moments? And if we look 
among the group of remembrances, reasonings, fears and 
suppositions involved in such an idea occurring to the mind 
of Mme. Z., do we not unavoidably meet again with the so- 
called messages of M. R.?" 

One should read in the same work the genesis of a slan- 
derous message which led M. Til to charge his son with a 
theft at his employer's house. The young man's dismissal 
ensued, but there was absolutely nothing true in the state- 

e. How Experimentation Ought to he Instituted in Order 
to Become Demonstrative. 

I think I may lay down as a principle that incidents alone 
prove nothing, even when, as has been done by Gurney, 
Myers and Podmore, a great number of them have been 
gathered. In such cases, a long cross-examination, with the 
same subject, is necessary, i. e. the same person dm'ing 

from the head. I see him staggering upon his legs. There is general 
depression. The stomach is working badly. The person is paralyzed." 
After this description, which might be applied to many sick people, 
from the neuropathic up to the organic paralytic, the woman exclaims: 
"This is absolutely the condition of my poor husband!" 


months and years ought to note down accurately all the im- 
pressions he feels which are liable to telepathical interpreta- 
tions; he should also take an account of the concordance, 
or the non-concordance, of the event, and it should conse- 
quently be possible to ascertain if the proportion of coinci- 
dences is really, with certain subjects, greater than is al- 
lowed by the theory of probability and coincidences. 

I have thus, now and then, indicated at some length all 
the impressions which I deem to be of the telepathical 

When traveling, especially, I have many a time thought 
that my children were ill, or that an accident had occurred. 
I felt sure I would find, when coming back, a messenger of 
this bad news. Never was my expectation verified. Once, 
only, I suddenly woke up at the very time when one of my 
near relations was dying. I was very fond of her, as she had 
educated me. She was very old. I had spent long hours 
by day and night near her, and the whole previous evening, 
since I knew she was very ill. ^Vhat importance should I 
ascribe to so simple and natural a coincidence? One might 
object that I am not a medium. Quite so. But I have 
cited many instances that are not more conclusive. 

Gurney, Myers and Podmore relate that, as the Rev. 
Frederick Barker was going to bed, he saw his aunt near 
him. She smiled and disappeared. This person died that 
very night at a far distance. What shall we infer from the 
coincidence between this momentous event and a super- 
ficial and commonplace dream, similar to hundreds or 
thousands of dreams the reverend gentleman had, without 
their being coincident with any misfortune whatever? 

The same authors^ declare that the theory of coincidences 
cannot be sustained because these surprising coincidences 

^Gurney, Myers and Podmore, "The Phantasms of the Living," and 
the whole chapter, "Theory of fortuitous coincidence." 


are repeated. The argument would be of importance if 
such coincidences were frequently repeated in the same 
person. But a collection of incidents whose origin is 
utterly different is no proof against the theory of coin- 

Marillier perfectly states the matter in his preface to a well- 
known report when he says that the inquiry, simultaneously 
instituted in England, France and the United States/ had 
three objects in view. First, to gather documents referring 
to telepathy. Second, to establish the proportion of hallu- 
cinations that are coincident with a real event to the total 
number of hallucinations with normal subjects. Third, to 
verify the proportion of persons who have experienced one, 
or several, hallucinations, to the number of the whole popu- 
lation. ''And," he adds, "I need not say that in order to 
give those returns all their value, negative answers should 
be given as well as positive ones." ^ He adds some precise 
warnings as to the manner in which those documents should 
be gathered. 

I wish extended observations of this kind could be institu- 
ted with mediums and with any bona fide persons, who 
would take part in them. I wish also that a great number 
of incidents, either negative or positive, with the same 
person, could be given. We would then be able to criticize 
them. As long as this work has not been achieved, I assert 

^The inquest was conducted in France by a committee consisting of 
Messrs. Sully-Prudhomme, Gilbert Ballet, Beaunis, Charles Richet, de 
Rochas and Marillier. 

^This has not been universally understood. Fabius de Champville 
has made a proposal to the "Societe Magnetique de France," to gather 
all "predictions" under sealed envelopes, which could be subsequently 
opened at a given date, and "the contents faithfully rewritten in a 
return especially made, and given the widest notoriety by the Society, 
when such predictions should have been fulfilled." The proposal of 
M. Fabius de Champville was unanimously adopted {Armales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 460). 


that the existence of telepathy and premonitions is not as 
yet scientifically verified/ 

As the conclusion of this section, I repeat that above all, 
we ought to abstain from reasoning by analogy in those 
matters, as for instance, that wireless telegraphy is a 
proof that telepathy is real. Not in the least. Wireless 
telegraphy proves what we knew before, that telepathy is 
not impossible, but it does not prove its reality at all.^ 


After these sensory phenomena we will now discuss motor 
phenomena, always at a long distance. These are flowers, 
fruit, letters, or other objects brought from places far away. 

80. Cases. 

a. Anna Rothe and Heinrich Melzer. 

I have already mentioned the "flower medium," Arma 
Rothe, and her vicissitudes. One year after her death, 
Heinrich Melzer, of Dresden, repeated her experiments at 

On November 29, 1905, after nightfall, " the lamps were 
lit and the medium was seen standing and holding in his 

'Gaston Mery {L'Echo du McrveiUeux, 1907) cites a sentence of 
Camille Flammarion: "The action of one mind over another at a dis- 
tance, without the help of sight, of touch or hearing, without the help 
of any of our five senses, is a fact as certain as the existence of elec- 
tricity, of oxygen, or of Sirius"; and he (Gaston Merj-) adds: "This 
assertion is perhaps somewhat peremptorj^; I should even say very 

Wide also, with regard to telepathy, Vaschide and Pieron, "Contri- 
bution h I'etude expcrimentale des ph6nomcnes de la telepathic, " Bul- 
letin de I'Institut general psj/chologique, 1902, t. II, p. 116; Melinand, 
C. R. de Dumas, Ibid., p. 139; and Vaschide, "Quelques mots sur les 
ph6nomenes t^lepathiques," Ibid., p. 240. 

^"Un nouveau 'medium aux fleurs' en Allemagne," Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 458 (after " Uebersinnliche Welt"). 


hands a small jar containing one flower, while the onlooker 
on the left had a little myrtle in his hand." A little later, 
under analogous circumstances, the floor was covered with 
leaves and flowers of the lily of the valley. On February 13, 
1906, the light was put out, and a little later many leaves and 
flowers of the Italian lily of the valley were discovered. On 
March 17, 1906, as soon as the lamps were lit, Mr. Fielder 
found that he had a beautiful orchid in his hand, and Mr. 
Horra was holding a small bunch of three white roses." 

6. Donald MacNab' (1888). 

On September 18, 1888, when MacNab was with a me- 
dium at the Rue Lepic, Montmartre, he wrote a letter, traced 
M. C.'s name on the envelope, and placed it at 2 o'clock 
p. M. on a table, with a sheet of paper over it. At half-past 
two the letter had disappeared. At 2:45 M. C. found it on a 
shelf near him, at his home in the Place Wagram (which is 
at a distance of four kilometers from the Rue Lepic. The 
ride in a tramway car occupies half an hour). This experi- 
ment has been repeatedly made. Says MacNab: 

" It frequently occurred that things belonging to none of 
us, were found on the table at dinner time, or fell down upon 
it. At first we found an Indian perfuming pan, a terra- 
cotta Jewish lamp, then a humerus — a numbered anatom- 
ical fragment — which was put in my pocket when nobody 
was near; a gilt-copper compass, which was thrown to me, 
although nobody had made a movement, a small knife which 
fell down by my side. At last I succeeded in learning who 
was the owner of those objects. He was a printer whom we 
knew. When I brought them back to M. S., he flew into a 
passion, and said I had obtained a double key of his home 

'Donald MacNab, " Etude experimentale de quelques phenomenes de 
psychique," Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, pp. Ill and 132 (after the 
"Lotus Rouge"). Vide also de Rochas, "L'ext^riorisation de la 


in order to rob him. Next he was very much surprised and 
promised to WTite me a letter which he would place on the 
table. On the following Monday he did so, and the day 
after we heard raps caused by the table. We spelt out the 
word 'letter,' and I immediately saw on the napkin before 
me the letter written on the previous day by M. S. Then 
I wrote him a note which I placed on a piece of furniture, 
and on the same evening M. S, found it on his chimney over 
a candlestick." 

" At another time," says the same author, " I had warned 
absolutely nobody, either at the starting-point or the place 
of arrival. I penned my letter, which I placed under a 
mourning envelope, together with a sheet of blank paper. 
The letter was in the pocket of a medium, and almost at 
once it disappeared. I went to the addressee's house, ap- 
plied directly to him, and asked him to search the inner 
pocket of his riding-coat, which was tightly buttoned. He 
did so accordingly, and was very much sm-prised to take my 
envelope out of it. He ascertained that it bore marks of 
burning, and found my letter with the second sheet on which 
were traced in black ink the following words as an answer 
to my letter: We take notice of this arrival at 8.5, and we 
are here" (the handwriting was very similar to that of the 

One evening in Australia, while Bailey was entranced, it 
was asserted that a piece of sandstone, still wet with salt 
water, and of a weight of six pounds, had mysteriously 
fallen down on a table near him; from that day articles 
brought in were frequently found. 

At Milan, on March 1, 1904, after the darkness, a red 
light was lit. At this moment it was possible to see in the 
medium's left hand a small nest about ten centimeters 

'Cesar de Vesme, "Memoires cites," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1905, pp. 218-308 and 309; and 1906, p. 396. 


wide, and four centimeters deep, made of small straw mixed 
with flocks of cotton. This nest, warm to the touch, con- 
tained a small egg of the size of a hazelnut. The spirit ex- 
plained that this was a nest of " munies," little white birds of 
Australia, known also in Italy. 

On March 4, the spirit gave profuse explanations respect- 
ing tables at Babylon covered with cuneiform inscriptions. 
Another spirit was going to Babylon to dig up a table. 
In the darkness "a sharp noise was heard as if a stone 
had fallen accidentally on the table. The red light was lit; 
the onlookers came nearer and found on the round table 
something wrapt up in a rather obdurate layer of sand. 
It was wiped, and then cuneiform inscriptions were dis- 
covered on one of its surfaces." On March 25, 1905, in the 
darkness, "almost all the bystanders smell a bitter ma- 
rine odor, while from the table, then on the floor came dull 
knockings, like slaps on the face. The same spirit required 
more bright red light, and exhibited a fish whose tail he 
held; a fish about 15 centimeters long and resembling a 
mullet. Everyone was able to verify the existence of the 
fish, and it was much debated, without any conclusion, 
whatever, whether he was dead or not," 

On March 8, 1905, at the red light, every one was able to 
see that from the medium's clenched ?ight hand, " the head 
of a little bird was emerging. It was of an almost dark 
color, absolutely soft to the touch. Its eyes were spark- 
ling. A small, black wing streaked with yellow showed 
between the medium's fingers." 

81. Discussion. 

a. Conscious Frauds. 

It seems that usually in experiments of this kind the con- 
trol is quite imperfect and defective, or that when made in 
better conditions, it makes frauds conspicuous. 


I do not speak again about Anna Rothe and Sarak. As 
to Melzer, he does not operate in full light as does Anna 
Rothe. "With this medium we are drawing back a little 
in this respect, at least." The critic of the Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques adds: "It will be impossible to ascribe 
a value to these seances as long as the medium is not in any 
manner whatever set apart from the bystanders. The 
reality of these phenomena should not depend upon the 
trust we may have in all experimentalists without excep- 
tion, chiefly because all of them are not perfectly known." 

MacNab observes rightly concerning the phenomena of 
material mysteriously convoyed; "All conjiu'ers do this, and 
we ought to remark that when a medium finds himself in the 
condition in which the phenomenon is taking place, he ac- 
quires a skill fai- superior to the dexterity of the most cap- 
able conjurers, and still, he does not seem to be asleep." 
In reference to his own experiments with "objects trans- 
ferred to long distances," he declares that they are nu- 
merous, but lack strict control. Respecting the case quoted 
above of things brought from the Rue Lepic to the Place 
Wagram, he honestly asserts that he lost sight of the me- 
dium while he was absent somewhere giving lessons, and 
this takes away a good deal of the value of the experiment. 
Further, he says: "All this lacks control." 

I have already dealt with the critique of Ch. Bailey's 
experiments, made by C. de Vesme: this is quite interesting. 
We have seen here that the medium would never agree to 
undress himself completely, fearing lest he should catch 
cold. Now "when we are dealing with phenomena such 
as those of material mysteriously conveyed, a personal 
seai'ch of the medium's body becomes obviously essential." 
All those physical phenomena are happening in the dark- 
ness. The medium is entirely at liberty to brew mischief 
in his sackcloth, while "the leai-ned Prof. Robinson," or 


"the fierce Nana Sahib" is talking through his mouth. 
Reversely, with Mr, Bailey, when the light is turned on the 
phenomenon is achieved. There remain only the ob- 
jects mysteriously brought. 

During an experiment, when a bird appears in the me- 
dium's hand a bystander opens a door to let a sparkling light 
enter the room. The medium makes a strong protest, turns 
his back on the light, and at the same time Dr. Clericetti, 
who had not lost sight of the bird, ascertains that it is dis- 
appearing amid this torrent of light, although the hand has 
not been open and the bird's escape has not been heeded. 
This episode shows us, for the first and last time, an object 
that disappears before the light, under the eyes of an ex- 
perimentalist. Conjm-ers make objects even larger get out 
of the way, and this, in conditions far superior for investiga- 
tion, whilst every one is looking at them in full light. In 
fact, it is rather wonderful that it should be possible to con- 
ceal living birds without suffocating or crushing them. My 
admiration has always been aroused by it diu-ing exhibi- 
tions of juggling that I have witnessed. 

I have already indicated many improbabilities in the 
archeological material brought to light. " Prof. Denton, 
thi'ough Bailey's mouth, is in a position to tell us that, 
contrary to all data of the paleontological or paleographical 
critique of om' epoch, the age of the world (or even of man- 
kind) is now six thousand years." 

C. de Vesme, at the end of his statement, in which he tries 
"to stick to perfect impartiality," asks of his readers whether 
they are not of opinion that a quite peculiar brain power, 
an absolute longing for the triumph of spiritualism, is 
necessary in order to establish upon such proofs, the belief 
in so extraordinary and so much debated a phenomenon, of 
which psychologists of a high standard of scientific knowl- 
edge, such as Sir Oliver Lodge, assert they have never 


witnessed only one instance that can be scientifically 
established. We feel an almost irreducible dislike for be- 
lieving that during a seance the "so-called fluidic body of 
the medium was freed to such an extent as to go to Baby- 
lon and make archeological researches there, or that it was 
running after birds in Australian forests in order to bring 
back the spoils of his researches or fowling to the members 
of the Milan Society for Physical Researches." 

b. Unconscious Frauds. 

Here also the lower psychism may be interfering and 
cause unconscious frauds. Such is the following case re- 
ported by Pierre Janet in his preface to my book, "Le 
Spiritisme devant la Science":^ 

"Two years ago, a young woman aged 26, was led to Prof. 
Reymond's ward at the Salpetriere, As had been asserted, 
painful fantasms were unhinging her; this patient (let us 
call her M.) was led by two ladies, her mother and her aunt, 
who belonged to the middle class, and had been pretty well 
educated. Her father, who had died a few years earlier, 
was an officer. The family had preserved a good many ac- 
quaintances among officers and merchants. This young 
woman was well dressed; she spoke well and without diffi- 
culty, as her education and instruction had been rather 
above the average. She went to the Salpetriere in order to 
take advice because troubled with hysterical hallucinations. 

"After having verified the natiu-e of the actual phenome- 
non, I insisted on being told her by relatives what had pre- 
ceded or prepared such remarkable hallucinations. I hinted 
that she had most likely had nervous attacks — fits in sleep, 
for instance. Both ladies were shocked and made strong 
protests, declaring that the young woman had never expe- 

•This observation was brought before the Paris Soci^te de Psy- 
chologie in December, 1902. 


rienced anything of the sort. Next, I asked if there had been 
any visual hallucinations before. At this moment the 
family seemed to be rather at a loss ; the aunt answered in 
the negative whilst the mother made denal. Then both 
ladies had a quarrel and the mother said : ' This is not the 
doctor's business.' My curiosity was aroused by this, and 
by interrogating separately each lady and the patient, I suc- 
ceeded in disclosing a rather queer adventure. 

"The patient, whose father had been addicted to drinking 
absinthe and died in a lunatic asylum, had always been 
strange. She had long experienced hallucinations. At the 
age of eight she had visions of angels attired in gorgeous 
white robes, and she could see them even by daylight. At 
the time of puberty (from 10 to 12 years), she was very 
much disturbed by those images, which were constantly of 
a religious character. She had also numerous auditory 
hallucinations, for the angels were giving her verbal teach- 
ings, and she learned from them her catechism. She had a 
custom of calling one of them St. Philomena, without others 
ever knowing the reason why, and afterwards the little saint 
played a prominent part in her life. When twelve years old 
her catamenia were normal, and it seems that her hallu- 
cinations ceased until the age of seventeen. At this mo- 
ment different emotions, disappointed love, the illness and 
confinement of her father, upset her, and she again had 
hallucinations, which in fact did not vanish until her actual 
disease, at the age of twenty-six. 

"About this same period, the mother, who had become a 
widow, being unhappy and very likely predisposed to it, 
took refuge in the spirit doctrine. She was accordingly 
marveling at her daughter's hallucinations, and most sin- 
cerely believed in the interference of angels and spirits. As I 
attempted to offer a few objections, the three ladies be- 
came indignant, and readily declared that they had irrefu- 


table evidence of the reality of St. Philornena and the 

" Those were objects brought by the saint from heaven. I 
thus knew and was very much surprised to know that those 
hallucinations were complicated by phenomena of material 

" In order to convince me, the young woman brought me a 
collection of objects as miraculously given to her by the 
saint. I have a box full of them. There were feathers of 
birds, especially down, which most likely had been taken 
out of her eider-down; a few withered flowers; pebbles of a 
strange color; some fragments of glass; a few common silver 
jewels; a small angel with wings unfolded, which was ap- 
parently a fragment of a broken brooch. M. told me that 
she had a chest of drawers full of such objects which she kept 
carefully because she believed earnestly that they had been 
carried to her by the saint. All her family and chiefly a 
cousin of hers venerated those relics and took part in her 

" The patient very candidly placed herself at my disposal, 
so that I might detect the modes of acting used by the 
saint; she helped me to make conspicuous the error. She 
experienced much wonder when I pointed out to her the 
truth and readily gave up her fancies.* 

" First of all, M. has related as accurately as possible how 
things occurred. Now and then, in any place whatever, 
but chiefly the staircase, in her lodgings, or in her room, she 
found objects which were not in their proper places at all. 
This is the main point: objects found in abnormal and 
strange places, for instance sparkling flint stones on the stair- 
case, or on the landing of the second floor ; bird feathers on 
the table of the dining-room; a small jewel which she did not 

'Actually in this gi-oup of spirit-believers, the mother alone remained 
confident ; she was unshaken. 


own, within her eiderdown; steel pens or glass fragments 
placed so as to make a cross on a small table of her bed- 
room. Those objects, or rather the places where she found 
them, sm-prised her, and she was quickly believing — without 
knowing the reason why — that the saint had brought them 
there. She could not always tell from what she had derived 
her belief, but it was strong in her, and so imparted to the 
others. Sometimes things would publicly happen and every- 
one would marvel at them. Thus, dm-ing a family dinner, 
feathers fell from the ceiling down on to the table. All were 
surprised and agreed, previous to having spoken, that those 
feathers had not come in a natiu-al way, but must have been 
brought by the saint. 

" In order to go further I tried to arouse the subject's re- 
membrances, either at waking or during the hypnotic sleep. 
It was enough to concentrate her attention on the moment 
preceding or following the discovery of the objects. M. 
found remembrances which astounded her, and I was able 
to ascertain that in her case the material was not always 
brought in the same manner. One should make a dis- 
tinction between three stages of the phenomenon which 
are, however, connected with each other and with an in- 
creasing intricacy. 

" The first stage is the simplest. The object reached its 
place accidentally; it is a sparkling pebble on the side- 
walk or on the staircase; every one would be wondering 
for awhile at this fact, which strikes far more the patient 
whose mind is engrossed by objects found in an abnormal 
place. This causes an emotion and consequently a short 
stupor, a kind of depression of the mental level, in which she 
gets a clear idea of her real circumstances, and then finds 
herself again involved in hallucinations. At this moment 
the saint is appearing, and she tells M. that she herself placed 
the pebble there so as to give her pleasure. The idea of 


things delivered, already deeply imprest in the patient's 
mind because of the spiritualistic opinions of her friends, 
grows into a subconscious phenomenon provoking a visual 
and auditory hallucination. The alteration of the idea into 
an hallucination provokes a conviction in the mind of this 
suggestible hysteric. Such a conviction is contagious, 
and the whole small group is marveling at this pebble found 

"Tliis is the most common case. Intricate conditions 
supervene when objects not usually found in the patient's 
bedroom are concerned. Hallucinations here mostly hap- 
pen during the night. M. is a somnambulist. Everyone 
knows it; she herself would get up dimng the night when 
asleep, take a small blue stone, in the shape of a heart, and 
hide it in the pocket of her pinafore, or she would place on 
the table some fragments of glass, together with feathers 
taken out of her eiderdown. When awake the patient was 
astounded to see them, and whether Philomena interfered or 
not, by hallucination the belief of M. was the same. 

"Finally, in the last group the fit of somnambulism hap- 
pened in the daytime. The patient asleep was herself sur- 
prised. 'In fact,' she said, 'I have myself taken this little 
silver angel out of the jewel casket, and have brought it to 
the middle of the room. It is too bad. I also picked some 
feathers out of my eider-down and spread them on the steps 
of the staircase.' I aroused in her the remembrance of a 
very queer scene. Before the family dinner she saw herself 
climbing on the table, placing a footstool over it so as to be 
able to reach the ceiling and fix some feathers up there with 
wet flour. Next she quietly came down, put everything in 
order and went to her room to dress herself without remem- 
bering in the least this vulgar pleasantry. At dinner it is 
most likely that some feathers got loose, owing to the heat of 
the lamp, and she was sincerely marveling at it. ' But,' she 


said, ' how is it that I have been led to do that? ' In fact 
one may wonder why she tried to deceive during her trifling 
fits of somnambuUsm; this is very easy to explain; it was 
sufficient to induce her to repeat the scene. She brought us 
pebbles in this manner for the ' museum ' of the Salpetriere, 
and quite sincerely prepared the deceit. During this her 
face was quiet and smiling. She went on repeating sen- 
tences from her catechism or admonitions issued by the 
saint; in a word she believed herself to be St. Philomena." 

It is impossible to make a more cunning analysis of un- 
conscious frauds in phenomena of things thus transported. 

In fact, as to things brought from long distances, as well 
as concerning telepathy or premonitions, not only the sci- 
entific proof of their reality is not established, but it does not 
seem to be near at hand ; the scientific solution is apparently 
remote, in case it can be ever reached. 


82. How THE Question Stands. 

I include in this section all luminous phenomena and ap- 
paritions of ghosts provoked by mediums, and also experi- 
ments responsive to them, such as photographs, stamps or 
images of ghosts. After the survey which we have just 
made of the exteriorization of the motor force, we are about 
to make a siu-vey and objectivation of the psychical force. 
For, and I insist upon it, I am not to enter again into a dis- 
cussion already made of spiritualism. The question is a 
different one. 

The downfall of spiritualism as a theory does not neces- 
sarily imply the destruction of the theory of the material- 
ization of ghosts. In case the fact of materializations be 
established some day, it will not in the least testify to the 
reincarnation of spirits, but only to a mighty objectivation 


of the medium's thought leading to an object that might 
impress our senses or the photogi-aphic plate. 

With this theory — which was, or still is, the theory of 
MacNab, Lombroso,* Charles Richet, Segard,^ Maxwell — it 
would be impossible to reproach ghosts with the cutting or 
shape of their clothes,^ or with their language and mental 
condition. All this is only the expression of the medium's 
psychism. The ghost is seen exactly as the medium imag- 
ines it to be. 

83. Cases. 

a. Luminous Phenomena. 

Many authors have observed luminous phenomena 
under certain special circumstances of experimentation, 
MaxwelP has verified in a physiological condition luminous 
effluvia between finger-tips brought together and then sepa- 
rated. This " somewhat grayish steam " was seen as colored 
by persons gifted "with psychical powers." The same au- 
thor remarks: "Sometimes the effluvium is not visible, but 
the hand itself is phosphorescent." He has seen big phos- 
phorescent drops gliding on Eusapia's bodice. 

MacNab^ has observed in all well carried-out experiments, 
the growth of luminous spots resembling ignis fatuus. They 
are moving like small comets and run after one another like 

'Ernest Bozzano, "Cesar Lombroso et la Psychologic Supemormale," 
Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 403. 

Charles Segard, "Quelques reflexions k propos des ph^nomenes dits 
de mat^rialisatioa," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 96. 

^Vide Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 440: "Le r^sultat du 
concours ouvert par 1' Occult Review entre ses lecteurs 'pour la meilleur 
solution de la question des vetements des fant6mes."' 

^Maxwell, he. cit., p. 118 (the whole of chapter IV). 

^MacNab, Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 87; and de Rochas, work 
quoted, p. 532. 

^Vide also Reichenbach 's eiglith report, loc. cit., p. 301 ; and Dupouy, 
loc. cit., pp. 49 et seq. 


h. Ghosts. 

In reference to ghosts, everybody has heard of Katie 
King, as observed by William Crookes, with his medium 
Florence Cook/ Aksakoff, MacNab,^ de Rochas, Charles 
Richet, Archdeacon Colley,^ Reichel with the California 
medium Miller, Fotherby, with the medium, Cecil Husk, 
Van Velsen with a student, and many others, have observed 
analogous phenomena, and Charles Richet wrote in the 
Figaro of October 9, 1905 : " At the risk of being considered a 
fool by my contemporaries, I believe in the existence of 

Sometimes incomplete materializations are obtained; it 
is an arm, or a hand, or a head which is seen or felt. Some- 
times a complete ghost is obtained; it may resemble the 
medium or be quite different from him. It may assume a 
form or be dissolved within a few seconds. In the Paris 
Eclair of December 24, 1905, Georges Montorgueil gave an 
account of the struggle he had at MacNab's house, with a 
ghost that melted under his fingers when the light was lit 

When discussing these facts I shall relate an analogous 
experiment made by Colley with a fantom which also 
melted and disappeared, but left his clothes in the arch- 
deacon's hands. Instead of being outside the medium, the 
ghost may be mingled with the medium, "transfigured." 

'Concerning Crookes' experiments, either with Home, or with Flor- 
ence Cook (Katie Kjng), vide Albert Lacoste, loc. cit., p. 173. 

2Mac Nab, loc. cit., p. 136. 

3" L'Archidiacre Colley et les materialisations dont il fut t^moin; 
comment se formaient les fantomes, en pleine lumiere; les mysterieux 
rapports le corps du fantome et celui du medium; comment s'explique- 
raient certains pr^tendus demasquements ; la pomme mangee par le 
fantome," Annales des Sciences Psychiqties, 1906, p. 26. 

^Vide also Surbled, "Spirites et Mediums," pp. 41 et seq. 

^"Comment un fantome se serait degage de I'etreinte d'un exp^ri- 
mentateui'," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 54. 


Maxwell reported a case of this sort in the Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques (1906, p. 34). Ernest Bozzano* has 
particularly investigated apparitions at the hour of death, 
and perceivable by the dying person alone or by onlookers 
only, or even by all of them at the same time. In the An- 
nales des Sciences Psychiques (1906, p. 609), Camille Flam- 
marion reported from the English Mechanic (July 20, 1906) 
the Tweedale case, where a deceased person appeared to 
three people a little after his death. 

c. Photographs and Moldings. 

Photographs and moldings of ghosts have been taken. 
Surbled^ has well recapitulated the first stages of ghost- 
photography, together with the first publications of Mum- 
ler, Beattie, Wagner and Buguct; then the photography of 
human effluvia by Narkiewicz, lodko, de Rochas, Baraduc, 
Luys and David. "More recently," as Delanne^ says, 
"Captain Volpi obtained a photograph of his betrothed, 
who was ill then and kept her bed. M, Istrati and Dr. 
Hasden got, at a long distance, a photograph of one of 
them who was ill at that time and in bed. Prof. Wagner 
took a photograph in which the hand of the apparition was 
emerging out of a cuff whose edge was embroidered identi- 
cally like that actually worn by the medium." Albert de 
Rochas^ has given out photographs of "doubles." On the 
foreground there is a young lady whose likeness is striking. 
In the background is a sort of ghost-fantom, showing her 
in a similar manner, but thin, old, sick, and on the verge of 

'Ernest Bozzano, "Des apparitions des defunts au lit de mort," 
Anmtks des Sciences Psychiques, 1900, p. 144. 

'Surbled, " Spirites et Mediums," pp. 44 and 55. 

'Delanne, "Conference sur le monde invisible," Bulletin delaSodit6 
d' Etudes Psychiques de Marseille, 1903, p. 29. 

■•Albert de Rochas, "Photographic spirite," Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1905, p. 581. 


death. This fantom is a transparent shadow, since, 
through it, the folds of the canvas used as a background are 

Commandant Darget, of Tours, sent me on November 22, 
1906, a single photograph of two persons taken by himself, 
together with this note: "The fluidic double (June, 1901). 
The two daughters of M. P., a powerful medium healer, 
photographed by Commandant Darget in his garden, have 
their doubles, their astral bodies on their left sides. My 
apparatus did not stir, neither did the children; the feet are 
missing in the doubles. Commandant Darget had caused 
them to be magnetized by their father at the distance of one 

The same experimentalist forwarded me also some 
"thought photographs." A proof dated May 27, 1896, ex- 
hibits a bottle which had been obtained by Commandant 
Darget, by thinking intensely of a bottle he had just been 
looking at. " On June 5 following he was requested to get 
another bottle, and this was done in a photograph in the 
presence of six onlookers who signed the record, which was 
inserted in the Revue Scientifiqiie du Spiritisme in January 
1897, together with two engravings of both bottles. An- 
other proof showing a stick, was obtained by M. Darget, 
by thinking of a walking-stick he had just been looking 
at, in the red Hght of his dark-room. Another proof of a 
' thought photograph ' was obtained by placing for ten min- 
utes a plate over the forehead of Mme. D. when asleep. It 
showed the image of an eagle." 

It has been said that Dr. A. M. Le Veeder,^ a scientist of 
Lyons, near Rochester, N. Y., has solved equally well the 
problem of the photography or waves originating in the 
brain. The photographic apparatus provided with plates 

'"Les photographies de la pensee," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1906, p. 125 (from the Chicago Tribune). 


was closed and placed on a table. Each person known to l)c 
able to exert supersensitive powers — which are usually- 
latent — placed one hand about four inches above the plate 
with the other hand under the plate and table. Everyone 
was requested to concentrate his or her thought on an ob- 
ject which was specified. When developed the plate ex- 
hibited the object the experimentalists had thought of."^ 
Moldings in paraffin, clay or loam, have been secured 
through Eusapia Palladino. In the book (quoted) of Al- 
bert de Rochas, will be found the photograph of a print of 
fingers and a print of a face made at a distance by this 
famous medium. Since 1875, as MacNab says, Aksakoff 
had taken moldings of the feet and hands of ghosts in one 
piece without patches.^ 

84. Discussion. 

Many of these cases are in fact disquieting and rather hard 
to explain. Still I do not believe that any of them is of 
such an order as to produce scientific conviction. 

a. Hallucination. 

I shall not insist upon the objection to hallucination. 
Although there are hallucinations that have been simul- 
taneously experienced by several people, such explanations 
can be applied only to experimentalists operating alone 
(this is an exception), or to investigators not much used to 
scientific researches. Such an objection may be raised in 
cases like that of Tweedale, cited above and about which 
Flammarion writes: "An illusion, or hallucination, of three 
onlookers, independent of each other, is hardly allowable. 

'Baraduc has recently said in Le Matin ("Le Grand Doute, Photo- 
graphie des ames") that he had taken a photograph of the soul, and 
the double, or astral body, of his wife and son, at the moment of their 

Wide also on this matter, Surbled, loc. cit., p. 65. 


But is it impossible? Have we no right to imagine that the 
family was anxious as to the grandmother's health, and that 
thi-ee of them had been able to dream of her, and had subse- 
quently the same hallucination?" 

Likewise concerning the instance of "transfiguration" 
also quoted above, according to Maxwell, who, however, 
had not observed it himself. On a certain evening a young 
lady was seated on an armchair opposite her father, who 
was slumbering by the fire. She looked at him and grad- 
ually saw his face altered into the features of her mother 
(who died three years before). " I should perhaps not have 
ascribed much importance to this apparition," said she, 
" and I should very likely have considered it an hallucination 
if, while it was happening, my father's servant had not en- 
tered the room and perceived it as well as I did. When she 
came I only said to her: 'Jane, look how soundly father is 
sleeping ! ' She came near me and exclaimed : ' Oh ! he quite 
looks like poor Madame! It is striking! It is absolutely 
wonderful!' Is it impossible to suppose that a more or less 
accurate likeness, caused by the semi-darkness and in- 
creased by the imagination of two women, as well as by 
their faithful remembrance of the deceased lady, was enough 
to lead the servant to such an exclamation, and the young 
lady to an hallucination of this order?" 

6. Conscious, or Unconscious Fraud. 

The main objection remains: that of fraud — either con- 
scious or unconscious (but more frequently conscious). 
Cheating has not been verified in all cases, but it has been 
observed in so many instances that it has become a cause 
of disrepute and suspicion for all others.^ 

a. Photographs and Moldings. 

As to photographs, fraud has been verified in the first 
'See above (chapter II, ii, 12). 


period, namely in the case of Mumler in America and of 
Buguet in Paris. An action was brought against both on 
account of this. 

Gu^bhard imprest plates by means of an artificial finger 
made of rubber and filled up with sand, water or granulated 
metal, and thus imitated the action of human effluvia, and 
showed that errors are possible in case the "revealer" has 
not been shaken.^ 

As regards Commandant Darget's plaindealing, there is 
no doubt; it cannot be questioned. But has not a definite 
cause of error been insinuated there? Referring to Dr. Le 
Veeder's experiments quoted above, Les Annates des Sciences 
Psychiques asserts: "In fact, those results as proclaimed by 
an American newspaper as a momentous question of the hour, 
would seem to be obsolete — at least in the opinion of some 
French occultists or spirit-believers, who cite photographs 
of the same kind, taken by Commandant Darget and other 
experimentalists. Still, the many investigators who have 
attempted to repeat these experiments have failed to succeed 
as yet.^'^ 

In the letter sent me, together with the photographs 
above referred to. Commandant Darget wrote: "You may 
say that phenomena cannot, unfortunately, be repeated at 
pleasure. This is true. I have made more than 3,000 
photos within twelve years, and even in placing myself in 
the same conditions diu-ing the same space of time, I have 
never obtained two photographs absolutely alike. The 
human fluid is as whimsical as electricity." We might even 
say, a little more whimsical. 

In his work quoted above on spiritualistic photographs, 
Albert de Rochas writes : " Unluckily photographs may be 
tampered with, and it is certain that Buguet was given to 

^Vide Surbled, "Spirites et Mediums," pp. 52, 59 et seq. 
^I am myself underlining this. — Author. 


such cheating in order to draw customers." In the special 
case which he relates according to M. B., he adds: "It has 
sometimes been asserted against phenomena of this order, 
that individuals considered as spirits or astral doubles, were 
caused by casual images, due to smaU holes in the case of the 
apparatus. Such might be the case in the plate 3, in which 
an old lady's face is repeated on her right side."^ 

The same author^ has recently related how suspicion oc- 
curred to his mind (and how it was subseqeutly confirmed) 
as to the scientific reality of some photographs of human 
effluvia (or astral bodies), made with M. de Jodko (who had 
also made experiments with Monsignor Meric). 

De Rochas discreetly took advice of Paul Nadar.^ M. 
Nadar, in investigating the photographs I showed him, got 
a clear idea of the trick used in order to get analogous re- 
sults. He covered one of his helpers with a large white 
cloth and took a photograph of him in a very short sitting 
and a dim light. He thus imprest very slightly a plate, 
which he left in its frame. Then he requested me to sit, in 
my turn, and used this plate during the normal time of 
sitting. Thus he obtained the plate 8. The experiment 
was successfully repeated on several occasions. From that 
time I knew to what extent I could trust M. de Jodko's 

As to Eusapia's prints, Surbled says: "The two first ex- 
periments lead to the opinion that she has herself made the 
print of her fingers on the cement, and the last does not 
prove that she had no part in it. 

^Vide in Jules Bois, p. 33, the story of a ghost photograph on which 
he says : " We are more surprised than convinced, after this exceptional 

^Albert de Rochas, "Mes experiences avec M. de Jodko, en 1896, oil 
commence la fraude?" Anmiles des Sciences Psychiques, 1908, p. 9. 

^A well-known photographer in Paris (Translator's note). 


fi. Luminoui Phenomena. 

The darkness that is obviously necessary for luminous 
phenomena, and the closet with its cm-tain, indispensable 
in materialization seances, are a cause of suspicion whose 
value is not much lessened by the Revue Spirite when it ob- 
serves that photographers cannot dispense with a dark 
room, and that from the moment of conception the vital 
principle needs the darkness of the maternal womb in order 
to spread out.^ 

Maxwell says: ''Luminous phenomena admit easily of 
cheating; phosphorated oil and certain sulphurets^ enable 
one to imitate hands or shapes." A phosphoric odor is 
frequently observed in those experiments. Some authors, 
however, have rather smelt ozone. 

y. Ghosts. 

1. Tricks. 

I have already mentioned various examples of tricks used 
by certain mediums in order to imitate ghosts: namely, 
Ebstein, who made a ghost with a hamper daubed with 
luminous paint, and Charles Eldi-ed, who kept a whole train 
of beards, white silk, electric lamps, etc., in a hidden com- 
partment of his chair. Maxwell writes: ''I know of a 
photograph taken during a seance by the light of mag- 
nesium. The medium had a false beard and a white towel 
around his neck so as to make a sort of vestment. Person;^ 
who were present at this seance, did not believe they were 
deceived. One of them who was my friend takes a great 
interest in psychical matters, but his good faith prevented 

'Jean Rouxel, article in the Revue Spirite, quoted by the Echo du 
Merveilleux, 1906, p. 140. 

^I have already mentioned the medium Valentine, who produced 
luminous phenomena. She used to take off her boots, and shake in 
every direction her feet, which had previously been impregnated with 


him from suspecting fraud. He would not agree with me 
concerning this photograph. It was necessary that Papus, 
the well-known occultist, should ratify my opinion. As to 
contacts, everyone knows how easy it is to counterfeit them 
in the darkness and how important is the part played by 
disguise, dolls, or pals in materializing seances. The 
imagination of swindlers is never at a loss." 

2. Spirit-grabbers. 

Many a time suspicious experimentalists have tried to 
seize ghosts in their arms and hold them strongly until the 
light was tm"ned on and their identity verified. Such ex- 
periments, which are quite rational, have not been made as 
often as necessary, because a belief has been promulgated 
that those spirit-grabbers were grievously hiu-ting the me- 
dium and were even running the risk of killing him. 

Up to the present the fame of ghosts has been destroyed 
only when experimentalists have used this violent method. 
I have related above the case of Craddock, who was seized 
by Lieut. Col. Mark Matthew while he was playing the part 
of a ghost, and the story of Mrs. Williams who counterfeited 
an apparition by means of a wig, a false beard and black 
fleshings, while her left hand held a mask to which a long 
veil was fixt. In these cases the medium's cheating has 
been found out by the daring of the experimentalist. Some- 
times the medium succeeds in escaping. Such a misfortune 
occiu-red to Montorgueil in an experiment made at Mac 
Nab's house '(vide, same part, 83 b). The following story of 
Archdeacon Colley is so instructive as to phenomena of 
this sort that I think it appropriate to give here the whole 
paragraph together with the author's comment:^ 

"Those who allow themselves to seize abruptly a ma- 
terialized shape — the spirit-grabbers — understand abso- 

*Work cited by the Annales des Sciences Psijchiques, 1906, p. 31. 


lutcly nothing of occult truth when, after having taken hold 
of the clothes of a materialized ghost, they find in their 
hands only a white cloth or a fragment of muslin, and inside 
it the medium, who is quite out of countenance. Of course, 
he is rather rudely dealt with and every one thinks him a 
cheat. A closer knowledge of this psychical chemico- 
material making of a vestment would alter our not very 
charitable opinion concerning spiritualistic drapery, when, 
in our ignorance, we are suspecting the reality of those phe- 
nomena. In fact, in a seance by daylight (February 18, 
1878), we decided to make a dangerous experiment. I was 
to take hold of the Egyptian — although he was attired in 
white, and attempt to prevent him from sinking into the 
body of the medium (who was then under Samuel's influ- 
ence). What occurred to me at this moment has always 
caused me to think of St. Paul's words: 'in the body, or 
without it, I cannot say, God knows ' (II Cor. XII, 3) . It 
seems to me that an irresistible force lifted me up and im- 
mediately I was thrown down at a distance of about six 
yards, i. e. from the door of my drawing-room to the place 
where the medium was standing. 

"I found suddenly in my arms the medium, who had a 
piece of white muslin over his frock coat. I held him in my 
arms, as I had thought to hold the Mahedi. The material- 
ized shape had disappeared, and the psychical vestment 
which had got clear with it on the left of my friend, had 
most likely taken the same way to the invisible with the 
suddenness of thought. But where did the stuff now cover- 
ing my friend come from, since it was not there a moment 
earlier? The shock of our collision — for it was a collision, as 
I have related in my diary, a dowmfall, a shaking — removed 
from us the wish to repeat the experiment which had nearly 
killed us. The mystery of the clothes still remains un- 


One may assert that Providence favored this medium,, 
who did not die from the experiment, but met with an in- 
vestigator whose strong faith produced a feeling of inex- 
haustible charity/ 

3. Experiments at the Villa Carmen. 

I cannot help mentioning the case from the Villa Carmen, 
which has been so much debated of late, and in which it 
seems that the value of the experimentalists and all the pre- 
cautions they had taken ought to have rendered deceit and 
cheating quite impossible. Charles Richet^ gave informa- 
tion in November, 1905, after much hesitation, of experi- 
ments made during August of the same year at the Villa 
Carmen, near Algiers, at the house of General and Mme. 
Noel, with Mile. Marthe B. as medium. 

The fantom, B. B., or Bien-Boa, which he repeatedly 
saw, is neither an image reflected by a mirror, nor a doll, 

Wide also, "Le defi de I'Archidiacre Colley au prestidigitateur Mas- 
kel5Tie," Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 714; and "Le presti- 
digitateur Maskelyne et ses demasquements," Ibid., 1907, p. 127. 
Vide further (Part III, chapter XI, ii, 88, a. )3. 5th), "Experiments 
made by the ItaUan scientists with the medium Zuccarini." 

^Charles Richet, "De quelques phenomenes dits de materialisation" 
(avec 6 photographies). Annates des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 649; 
Oliver Lodge, "SUr les photogi-aphies alg(5riennes du professeur Richet," 
ibid., p. 713; Mademoiselle X., "A propos des recentes experiences 
d'Alger," ibid., p. 724; C. de Vesme, "L'oeuvre des amateurs et 
I'oeuvre des savants," ibid., 1906, p. 1; X. and Y., "Les stances de 
materialisation de la villa Carmen (Comptes rendus des deux autres 
experimentateurs, avec plusieurs figures)," ibid., p. 65; "Une lettre 
du general Noel," i6{d., p. 103; Charles Richet and C. de Vesme, "Les 
polemiques au sujet des seances de la villa Carmen," ibid., p. 129; 
Maxwell, "Les seances de la villa Carmen et leurs critiques," ibid., p, 
197; "Les demieres stances de la villa Carmen," ibid., p. 252; De- 
crequy, "Les phenomenes de la villa Carmen en 1902 et 1903," ibid., 
p. 335; Bormann, Peter, Richet and Deinhard, "L'hypothese du peintre 
G. von Max sur les vetements de B. B. (avec 2 gravures hors texte)," 
ibid., p. 348. Vide aho, Marsault, "Mon temoignage concernant Bien 
Boa," Nouveaux horizons, November, 1906, 


nor a hamper. He " enjoyed all the attributes of life. I 
have seen him come out of the closet, walk, pace the room 
up and down. I have heard the noise of his steps, his 
breathing, his voice. I have touched his hand several 
times. It was soft, articulate and lively. B. B. blows 
through a pipe on water of baryta, and as bystanders ex- 
claim : ' well done, ' the ghost appears again and bows to us 
three times. It was repeatedly photographed during the 
sudden deflagration of a mixtm-e of chlorate of potash and 
of magnesium. Since February, 1902, the same fantom 
has appeared many a time with other mediums." 

Charles Richet, who had, of course, taken all the pre- 
cautions of a well-informed experimentalist, and who himself 
made the most minute investigations before and after every 
seance, debates all the hypotheses before admitting such 
extraordinary facts, and declares that: ''up to now experi- 
mentalists have not produced a strong conviction as to the 
reality of phenomena." He concludes that the main point is 
to know whether there has been fraud or not. Unfortu- 
nately, it seems that there has been fraud, or at least proof 
has not been afforded that the manifestator was free from 

According to the works of Dr. Rouby in Algiers, Les Nou- 
vdles, of Dr. Valentin in Paris, la Vie Normale, of the painter 
von Max, at Leipzig, Psychische Studien, it seems that fraud 
had been voluntarily practised in many experiments an- 
terior to those of Richet,^ namely, with the Arabian driver 

^Vide Valentin, "La m^tapsychique et la psychologie positive"; 
"Lettre ouverte au Dr. Charles Richet"; "Apparitions et mystificar- 
tions, les fantomes de la Villa Carmen; Dans quel esprit je desire abor- 
der I'etude des esprits." 

^In reference to experiments anterior to those of Richet, I have re- 
ceived the following letter from Dr. Decr^quy (the author of letters to 
Richet, given out by the Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 335) : 
"... I was in Algiers at that time. I have followed for five years the 


Areski; and in Richet's experiments there has been fraud, 
either conscious or unconscious, on the medium's part, at 
least in a sufficient number of seances to enable us to trust 
others no longer. 

In spite of the rather disheartening conclusions which we 
have to come to, I think we must tender our best thanks to 
Charles Richet for his narration of this case, and for having 
provoked such a controversy. In this respect I utterly 
agree with Flournoy^ who writes: "I am of opinion that, 

experiments at the Villa Carmen. I never cheated there, neither did 
any physician. Dr. Denis witnessed the stances during three months ; 
it was the epoch when the medium Vincente Garcia had apparently lost 
his mediumistic powers. As he could see nothing, he remained unbe- 
lieving. After that I ceased being present at the seances — the expe- 
rienced medium having been replaced by another who had up to that 
time obtained no results whatever — as I did not want to waste my time. 
Dr. Denis stayed a few more weeks. An apparition took place on a day 
when he had missed the seance. Dr. Denis has never cheated. He only 
put himself in the wrong by witnessing a practical joke, made by M. H., 
who, seeing nothing occur, tried to have a good time, and decided to 
learn by heart an English sentence so as to make Mme. Noel believe that 
he was a medium. I was not there. As to the phenomena I am going 
to relate in the Remie des Sciences Psijchiques, in order to answer the 
charge of cheating brought against me, they happened in the absence 
of Dr. Denis, of M. H. and Areski, who was not one of General Noel's 
servants at the time when I witnessed seances. Some trustworthy 
friends and myself have verified the phenomena, and caused Prof. 
Richet to come to Algiers. When Prof. Richet arrived, I was there 
no longer. There was another medium than Vincente Garcia, but I 
shall have to deal only with facts which took place with Vincente 
Garcia" (Nov. 8, 1906). 

'Flournoy, Archives de psychologic, 1906. 

"Our great ItaUan poet," as Cesare Lombroso wrote, "Dante, said, 
a few centuries ago, with the somewhat impudent skepticism of La 
Fontaine : 

' Sempre a quel ver ch'ha faccia di menzogna 
Dee I'uom chiuder le labbra quanto ei puote 
Pero che senza colpa fa vergogna.' 

We should conceal, as much as possible, those truths which resemble 
lies, because they wrong us, without our being responsible for them." 


far from reproaching II. Richet with his publication, we 
must be thankful to him who, being the head of one of the 
most prominent professorships in the civilized world, has had 
the heart to investigate a range of phenomena whose repu- 
tation is as bad as that of occult phenomena, and this, 
without having foregone conclusions, at the risk of imperil- 
ing, not science, which is in no danger whatever, but his 
own personal character, his official prestige as well as his 
authority among his colleagues and at the same time 
among the best class of the public." 

As far as I am concerned, I have never felt regret that I 
presided in 1893 at the Faculty of Montpellier over the en- 
dorsement of Albert Coste's thesis, " On psychical occult 
phenomena," although this fact was at that time — I should 
not say a revolution, but an innovation in the university. 
Neither do I repent that I have made known the experiment 
in clairvoyance I shall further speak of.' 

Therefore, we must be glad that Charles Richet has pub- 
licly dealt with this case. But we should infer from the 
contradictory works wTitten on that point that it does not 
afford the so much longed-for scientific proof of materializa- 
tions. Besides, since Charles Richet himself has told us in 
the same work that, previous to Bien-Boa, those ghost ap- 
paritions had not been verified, we are bound to think that 
such proof is not established as yet, unless Miller's recent ex- 
periments afford it to us. 

4. Miller's Recent Experiments.^ 

I have already mentioned the medium Miller. But since 
publishing the works there dealt with in reference to the 

'Chapter XI, iii. 

'Gaston Mery, "Nouvelles experiences de materialisation. Le m6- 
dium Miller. Ce que j'ai vu. Ce que je croi?," L'Echo du MenviUciix, 
1906, pp. 381, 401, 421 and 441; Charles and Ellen Letort, "Nouvelles 


frauds of mediums, Miller has made new experiments in 
Paris/ Papus asserted that they would make a great noise 
in Europe. C. de Vesme wTites : '' In case Mr. Miller's ex- 
periments are genuine, they are beyond compare in the 
realm of metapsychism. Here, it would not be one human 
shape only which would be laboriously materialized, as 
those of Katie King and B. B. used to be; apparitions follow 
one another, and are not always the same; they run back- 
wards and forwards; they come into contact with by- 
standers; they are speaking and even singing. While some 
of those phenomena are occurring the medium is not in the 
closet. In short, as Papus, an experimentalist well used 
to such matters, has said 'the other mediums are novices 
in comparison with Miller.' He went so far as to declare 
that with mediums of his power spiritualistic ideas would be 
speedily improving." 

Gaston Mery made a report and critique on the most 
recent of those experiments^ which are obviously very queer, 
but do not provoke as yet scientific evidence of the reality 
of materializations. 

seances de Miller," ibid., pp. 385, 406, 425, 446 and 463; C. de Vesme, 
"Nouvelles seances de Miller a Paris," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 

1906, p. 696, and "Toujours la polemique sur Miller." "LettresdeG. 
DelanneetCh. Letort. Response de C. de Vesme," ibid., p. 756. Vide 
also, Jules Bouyer, "La Conference Delanne (du 17 f^vrier 1907 sur 
Miller)," Les nouveavx horizons de la science et de la pensce, 1907, p. 85; 
de Vesme, " Un dernier mot sur Miller," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 

1907, p. 35; M. Delanne and M. Miller, ibid., p. 128; Ecfio du Mer- 
veilleux, 1907, p. 69. 

'Before setting off again to America, and after a journey in Germany, 
in which he had given at Munich, "only one seance at Mme. Rufina 
Noeggerath's," the granny of the Paris spirit-believers who was at that 
time in the chief city of Bavaria, with relatives of hers," and died 

'Those stances occurred on October 5, 1906, at M. Letort's, on Octo- 
ber 11 at Gaston Mery's, and two others, on the same day, at Mile. 
Gourson's and Mme. Noeggerath's. 


The first conclusion of Gaston Mery's investigation is that 
there is no proof of a demoniac influence, or of a survival. 
He then states the following objections to the reality of 
these phenomena: "I had the impression that all was man- 
aged by a clever impresario. The interest of onlookers was 
graduated regularly as at a theatrical performance; it is 
possible to ascribe the faith to the medium's training; no 
sign of weariness whatever was visible later on." It seems 
that the medium had only a limited number of apparitions 
at his disposal; they bore different Christian names or were 
hesitating as to their surnames (in case they were not abso- 
lutely ignorant of them). One may wonder whether the 
fact of striking up songs between apparitions is not intended 
to annihilate the noise made by the preparations. It is 
openly asserted that a ''chain" is made up in order to con- 
tribute to the condensation of fluids. But is it not formed 
for another secret purpose, especially since its necessity 
lasts only while shapes come out of the closet and draw 
near the bystanders? Is it not to prevent inquisitive 
people from taking hold of the floating woolen cloths or even 
of the hands of the apparitions? The various auditory 
sensations that have been experienced might perhaps be 
emitted by a skilful ventriloquist? 

One may infer from all this that to any unbiased witness 
these phenomena have not afforded a sensation of obvious- 
ness. None of the shapes that have been produced in our 
presence " has given any proof whatever as to its identity. 
It seemed that they wavered as to the words they should 
utter or that they tried to catch words on bystanders lips. 
They looked to be in want of help from the onlookers con- 
cerning the choice of personalities which they were to em- 
body. None of the numerous apparitions which came 
forward disclosed a fact unknown to the medium. Among 
fantoms those that were very precise .were always imper- 


sonating individuals whom the bystanders did not know; on 
the contrary, vague were the apparitions that personified 
well-known people." 

Therefore, in case they are neither demons nor reincar- 
nated spirits, "there is only one possible explanation; it is 
MiUer, who is speaking and acting through the 'spirits.' 
In order to infer tricks from all this there is only a step. 
Gaston Mery declines to take it. But I imagine that many 
of us will, and that they will conclude with C. de Vesme, who 
has very shrewdly undertaken a critique as follows: "The 
seances given in Paris by M. Miller are of the same value as 
those he made in San Francisco. The same statu quo ante 
is still left in the dominion of metaphysical researches. In 
the opinion of those who take a serious interest in meta- 
physical researches, the Paris seances are of exactly the 
same scientific importance as those made in San Francisco, 
i. e. something dreadfully similar to nothing. They have 
been 'drawing-room experiments,' and not tests made by 
well-known scientists. Believers and unbelievers have wit- 
nessed them; the public succeeded each other as at the 
theater. People of every description were granted admit- 
tance, provided they were able to procure a letter of introduc- 
tion. Now, no one will induce me to believe that at such 
seances, always made among ill-matched elements, Mr. Miller 
and his ' controls ' were able to obtain their phenomena when 
they failed to produce them before an audience consisting 
exclusively of scientists perfectly acquainted with meta- 
physical matters, and above any suspicion of hostility to 
mediums, since they have already made investigations with 
Eusapia Palladino, Politi, etc." 

The recent experiments of Miller in Paris, no more than 
those made at the Villa Carmen, are of such an order as to 
establish in a scientific manner the reality of materializa- 


tions and of fantom apparitions. Therefore, I adhere in 
this summary to my conclusions in preceding sections: 
First, the scientific demonstration of materiahzations has 
not been made as yet. Second, it seems that the subject is 
not even ripe for an actual scientific survey. 



I. Mental Suggestion and Direct Communication of Thought. 

85. Definition; documents and cases. 

a. How the question stands. 

b. Recent cases. 

c. D'Ardenne; Pax; Paul SoUier. 

d. Lombroso. 

e. Joseph Venzano. 

/. Miss Hermione Ramsden. 
g. Kotik. 

86. Why experimentation is sometimes erroneous; tricks. 

87. How to establish scientific proof of mental suggestion. 

II. Removal of Things without Touch (Levitation). Raps. 

88. Removals vnthout touch. 

a. Instances. 
a. Haunted houses. 
/8. Removal of things. 

1. Eusapia Palladino. 

2. William Crookes and MacNab. 

3. Maxwell. 

4. Flammarion, 

5. Zuccarini. 
a. Discussion. 

p. Advice. 

y. The recent inquest of The Matin. 

89. Raps. 

a. Cases. 

b. Discussion. 

c. Conclusion. 
III. Clairvoyance. 

90. Definitions clairvoyants and female seers. 

a. Definitions. 

6. The female seer of St. Quentin. 


91. Cases and discussion, 
a. A few cases. 
h. Personal instances. 
c. Conclusions. Rules for further experiments. 


85. Definition — Documents and Cases. 

a. How the Question Stands. 

Mental suggestion is a direct transference of the thought 
of a subject to another person without a word or a gestiu"e, 
and without any of the usual ways of psychical communica- 
tion. It is an exteriorization of thought by a new way. It 
is "willing game" without contact. 

It is easy to perceive the resemblances, as well as the dif- 
ferences, existing between mental suggestion and telepathy. 
Telepathy is also a thought transference, but it is a trans- 
ference at a long distance, whilst in mental suggestion, both 
subjects are quite near each other. Besides (and this is 
more important) in mental suggestion the transmitting 
subject is active; he does not interfere in telepathy. This is 
so important that we shall see cases in which mental sug- 
gestion is practised at a more or less great distance, although' 
it does not become telepathy because the psychical effort is 
made by the suggesting subject.^ 

"We may declare," writes Venzano,^ " that the phenom- 
enon of thought transference has unreservedly entered the 
scientific dominion." In fact, many persons believe that 
mental suggestion is established in a scientific way, and that, 

'There is in mental suggestion what Jules Bois terms "tdl^boulia." 
It is missing in telepathy. 

'Dr. Joseph Venzano, " Des ph^nomenes de transmission de la pens^e 
en rapport avec la medianit^," Annales des Sciences Psychiqiies, 1905, 
p. 672. 


for instance, to a subject induced to an artificial sleep in 
provoked hypnosis, the hypnotizer may suggest an idea, 
without talking to him; without using any of the usual 
modes of communication between both psychisms. On the 
contrary, I think that scientific evidence of mental sugges- 
tion has not been obtained as yet. 

Charles Richet writes in Ochorowicz's^ book: "I do not 
mean that mental suggestion is strictly verified. Most 
certainly not. Although M. Ochorowicz and others before 
him have gathered evidences, they do not lead to an entire 
and irrefutable belief, but only to presumptions." 

Since that time (1887) many have imagined that they 
had found this demonstration. But in spite of the experi- 
ments made by Liebeault and Beaunis, by Boirac,^ Paul 
Joire, Fotherby, in spite also of the documents included in 
Geraud Bonnet's^ book, I do not think that anyone has ever 

Once I imagined I had arrived at this demonstration with 
an hysteric in my ward. I even entered my name for a re- 
port on mental suggestion at a congress which was held a 
few months later. But afterwards a course of failures 
showed me that the previous successful experiments were 
not sufficient to establish the scientific demonstration of the 
matter and put off my relation, sine die. Bernheim and 
Pitres, like Charcot formerly, have never positively demon- 
strated mental suggestion. 

'Ochorowicz. "De la suggestion mentale," avec une Preface de 
Charles Richet, 1887. 

'In "La Psychologie inconnue," pp. 161, 218 and 268, Boirac says: 
"As far as I am concerned, I have always failed in my attempts to 
suggest a definite idea to my subjects, though I have tried it many a 
time, and I have been able to cause them to sleep or to awake, by a 
mere effort of will; and I have never noticed that any of them could 
ever spontaneously guess thoughts or intentions I had not exprest." 

^Geraud Bonnet, "Transmission de pens^," 1906. 


6. Recent Cases. 

a. My comrade, Dr. D'Ardenne/ on my advice, published 
the very queer case of a hysteric woman with whom he has 
made satisfactory experiments in attraction, by laying his 
hands on her, without contact, and by keeping a fixt stare, 
always behind the subject. Pax^ has given out analogous 

The main objection to this mode of operating is the use of 
gestures by the experimentalist. We are never SLU"e that 
the 'subject does not perceive them, either through sight 
when his eyes are closed and if the experimentalist is in 
front of him, or through hearing or a displacement of air if 
the investigator is behind him. "It may be said," WTites 
Pax, " that the medium asleep has constantly kept the eyes 
closed; she has certainly not cheated either consciously or 
unconsciously, but I am not sure enough that there has been 
no unconscious perception, as in 'willing game' without 

It may be of interest to compare with these cases the 
observation published by Paul Sollier^ (cases verified with 
Duhem and Boissier). The patient being busy and having 
tiu*ned her back on him, Sollier made a sign with his hand 
stretched out and then brought back as if he were pulling 
her. Immediately the patient left off her work, turned and 
came straight to the doctor. The experiment was success- 
fully repeated at a distance of four meters with an inter- 
posed curtain. Another time the study of the experiment- 

'D'Ardenne, " L'attraction a distance sans parole ni contact," Annales 
des Sciences Psychiques, 1903, p. 193. 

=Pax, "Experiences d'attractions a distances, sans paroles ni contact, 
sur des sujets a I'etat de veille," L'Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, pp. 257 
and 278. 

^Paul Sollier, "Ph(5nomenes de perception a distance," Bulletin de 
I'Institut general psychologique, 1904, t. IV, p. 509; and Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 178. 


alist was separated from the laboratory where the patient 
was, by a passage which was five meters in width, and by a 
wall forty centimeters thick, preceded by a small passage 
leading to a hall closed by a glass door." 

" There is in it," as Sollier adds, " no phenomenon of divi- 
nation or intuition, or of a direct thought transference with 
the hypnotizer, and the proof of it is that other experi- 
mentalists have not only obtained at once the same result, 
but also that her movement was caused by the impression 
she got, or rather by the gesture of the experimentalist, and 
not by his thought." Therefore, it seems that a peculiar 
acuteness of sensibility was the cause and that auditory 
sensations were not concerned. In experiments at a short 
distance it is possible to believe that the impression is 
caused by the displacement of air. But in tests with a wall 
interposed the explanation is difficult to express. "I am 
led to suppose," says Sollier, "that either the spread of the 
vibrations given to air occurs through obstacles which were, 
till now, deemed insuperable, or vibrations of an unknown 
order were the causes." * 

*Dr. Boissier, from whom I had asked for a continuation of this 
strange case, has been kind enough to answer me: "There have been 
no fresh experiments — either pubUshed or unpubHshed — as regards the 
case we observed with SolUer in 1904. The subject was a patient whom 
you well know, since you recommended her to us. She was a great 
hysteriotraumatic. She offered those phenomena during a rather short 
space of time, at a precise stage of the evolution of her progressive awak- 
ing. Scarcely a few weeks out of the fourteen months were involved in 
her coming back to complete waking. I was present and was engaged with 
the subject, at a moment when, merely by accident, we detected the 
phenomenon. We have closely observed it, and taken notice of it until 
its disappearance, which was definitive a few daj's later. We made vain 
attempts to repeat it, v-ith the same patient, during the following stages 
of her treatment. I subsequently tried to find it out with two other 
female patients, at the same period of their retrogression, but failed. 
With regard to D., we have investigated her case, on a favorable occa- 
sion, with the greatest care and accuracy, and with all the self-diffidence 


p. Lombroso* has made with Pickmann, in his laboratory, 
his first experiments in thought transference, together with 
Drs. Roncorini and Ottolengui and the barrister ZerbogHo. 
" The most frequent experiment was to hold out from ten 
to twenty times, five or six playing cards or tickets bearing 
numbers. They were held out upside do^vn so as to pre- 
vent him from seeing the inscription on them. Some one 
marked down how often the subject succeeded in guessing 
the card or ticket chosen mentally by one of us. With 
various subjects we noted from none to 10, 12, 40 and even 
44 successful attempts out of 100." 

Once, Lombroso wrote " Pickerel " on a slate. " M. R^gis 
being in a condition of ' monoideism,' with a bandage on his 
eyes and ears, at a distance of more than ten meters from 
me, WTote the word Titche' on another slate. He was 
enjoined (by a note placed under a sealed envelope) to 
kneel down and pray. He placed the envelope between the 
palms of his hands in an attitude of prayer, but knelt down 
only when it had been observed to him that he did not com- 
ply at all with the order given. With cards he was suc- 
cessful only twice out of sixteen times. More queer and 
better carried out were the experiments of M. E. B. of 
Nocera, a hysteric and a somnambulist, a typographer by 
trade. Once, as he was in a condition of somnambulism, he 
set up a whole page without any wrong letter." 

If they have not led to definitive conclusions, those in- 
vestigations of Lombroso are at least instances of simple and 
well carried-out experiments which ought to be imitated. 

we were capable of, and the incidents, in spite of the strictest control, 
occurred, such as you have heard them related." 

'Cesar Lombroso, "Mon enquete sur la transmission de la pens^e," 
Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1904, p. 257. Vide also, Ernest Boz- 
zano, "Cesar Lombroso et la psychologie supernormale," ibidem, 1906, 
p. 397, 


y. Joseph Venzano* has made experimentations far more 
complex. He made tests with various mediums, mostly 
with Eusapia Palladino. Owing to mental suggestion, the 
table^ was made to give a certain number of knockings so 
as to warn one of the bystanders that it was time for him to 
take the train, or a fan was seen that moved and touched 
the shoulder of one of the experimentalists. A penny was 
taken out of someone's pocket and given to another person. 

Venzano infers from his experiments that ''the reality 
of the phenomenon of thought transference shines out in the 
most luminous and convincing manner, owing to the in- 
stances related, which have been selected from among many 
others whose importance is not inferior. These cases may 
unreservedly undergo the examination of criticism." 

I think that such conclusions are somewhat premature, 
and do not agree, for the present, with the author, who adds : 
"The conscientious censurer has merely to lay down his 
arms. ' ' I must state the reason why such is not my opinion. 
Those experiments are too complex to admit of the strict 
control necessary to a scientific survey; the things thought 
and performed are too vague; they are usual enough to have 
a chance to occur throughout a seance in which many other 
things (which have not been mentally suggested) are also 
performed. Besides, and I deem this quite important, the 
accuracy of orders fulfilled is verified after the act only. 
There is no proof at all that the plaindealing experimental- 
ist's thought has not been influenced by the act the medium 
was performing. Under certain circumstances it happens 

^Joseph Venzano, work quoted by the Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 
1905, p. 672. 

^"MacNab (Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 136), has been able, as he 
was alone with a medium, M. Ch., and without making a sign, to stop 
or begin again, or regulate at his pleasure, knockings that were due to 
bis mediumship." 


that the investigator does not first recognize his thought in 
the medium's act, or detects it after due reflection owing to 
rather complex ratiocinations. The medium surpasses and 
exceeds sometimes the experimentalist's intention. In the 
course of a complex seance implying multiplied manifesta- 
tions it will be now and then found that a mere embryo of 
thought on the experimentalist's part has been fulfilled. 

All this enables me to believe that such experiments 
afford no scientific evidence of mental suggestion. 

8. According to the definition stated above, the experi- 
ments referred to in Miss Hermione Ramsden's^ work are 
mental suggestions rather than telepathy, although there is 
a long distance between both experimentalists, since the 
subject transmitting thought is really playing an active 
part; this is mental suggestion at a great distance.^ 

The author describes quite frankly a series of failures, or 
at least of semi-success (which are not sufficient for inducing 
in us absolute belief), with a friend at Christiania and an- 
other at Newmarket. The experiments made with Miss 
Clarissa Miles are more queer; but they are generally too 
complex and not precise enough. They ought to have been 
more strictly limited ; the thought fulfilled was lost among 
so many others that the attempt might have been successful 
if something else had been thought of. Thus, Miss Miles 
thinks of the word sphinx. Miss Ramsden (at a distance of 
about twenty miles) gets eight words, and among them the 
following : hour-glass, arm-socket, suspension bridge, sphinx, 

'Miss Hermione Ramsden, "Telepathic exp6rimentale," Annates des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 272. 

'The observation of magical charm ought to be included under this 
head ; but it seems to me that the matter is not yet ready for a scientific 
investigation. Vide G. Phaneg, " Etude sur I'envoutement. Conference 
a la Society d'^tudes psychiques de Nancy," L'Echo du Merveilleux, 
1906, p. 74. 


etc. She adds: "It is a word with an s, but I fail to catch 
it." At another time the former thought of a watch and the 
latter guessed an oval locket. The transmitting subject 
had thought of lockets in the forenoon. 

Miss Miles selects as a topic of thought transference, 
"futiu-e life and any spiritual matter." Miss Ramsden 
thinks of a daisy, of a swan, of a masonic emblem between 
two triangles twisted, a pair of angel wings, a bridge, a lily. 
Miss Miles intends to make her see the face of Monaco Pal- 
ace, Miss Ramsden thinks of a statue, or perhaps a foun- 
tain, or something else with water in it. 

Here follows one of the most remarkable experiments. 
Miss Miles sees and tries to transfer "a, sunset on a chapel." 
Miss Ramsden describes in this manner what she perceived : 
"At first it was the sun with its beams and a face that was 
peeping in through beams. Then I saw something which 
kept on turning like a wheel. Both things seemed to melt 
together, and I then thought of a windmill — a windmill on a 
hill where it was dark while the wind was raging. There 
were black clouds. Next it was the crucifixion ; I perceived 
three crosses on the left side of the hill ; they were facing the 
right side; it was dark, windy and stormy. I am sure it 
was like that. It was the most lively emotion I ever felt. 
I have hardly visualized these ideas; they were quite 
vague, but the suggestion was very lively." 

We find here a train of many ideas, and among them is the 
sun, but no hint of sunset. There is also darkness and night. 
Crosses and a remembrance of Golgotha are mentioned with- 
out any idea of church or chapel. The author adds that 
Miss Miles saw a cross on the top of the church. There was 
a weathercock (which was subsequently found) on the 
horizon. It was windy; the sun was illuminating the face 
of MacNab, whose portrait she was painting. But the sky 
was orange-colored. In this instance thought transference 


was so dim that Miss Ramsden believed Priiss Miles had in- 
tended to show her a pictm-e of, the crucifixion. 

I have found in this conscientious work only one interest- 
ing experiment. On October 27, 1906, at from four to six 
p. M. Miss Miles was thinking of the odd spectacles used 
by a gentleman seated by her side. At seven o'clock (Miss 
Miles being engaged in thoughts quite different) Miss Rams- 
den, who was expecting the coming of an impression, caught 
the thought of "spectacles," That was all. It is not 
enough to frame a scientific demonstration of mental sug- 

c. Kotik^ has just published an interesting work on "im- 
mediate thought transference," He made his experiments 
with two persons: "Their lower psychism was in a condition 
of immediate receptivity regarding the psychophysical force 
of another agent. The transference — without the sense 
organs taking part in it — as well as the receipt of the psycho- 
physical force emitted, occurs most likely in the lower 
psychism, but with a certain knowledge on the part of the 
agent's upper consciousness," The analysis of this book 
which I have read, refers much more to the theory of the 
phenomenon than to the experimental and scientific proof 
of its existence. 

86, Causes of Errors in Experimentation; Tricks. 

I should give the following advice to those wishing to 
make in the future experiments in this matter: Do not 
apply to a professonal thought reader. Like many others, 

'I am not in a position to express an opinion concerning the case — 
which seems to be unlikely — of a man, at the same time blind, deaf and 
dumb, whose education could be secured by means of thought trans- 
ference (Annales des Science/f Pnyck'iqiie-'^. 1S06, p. 656). 

'N. H. Kotik, "Immediate thought-transference" (in Russian), 1907. 
Analyzed by Elise Soukhanoff Pokotillo, Revue de Psychiatrie, 1908, p. 


I have made frequent attempts and have constantly failed, 
or at least I have never succeeded when the Barnum was 
not aware of my thought. Everyone knows that it is usual 
at fairs, or in some cafes, to see two persons practising 
"thought transference." The former makes his partner 
guess the number inscribed inside of watches, or the name 
of hatters printed inside of hats. The tricks are more or less 
clever and more or less understood; but they are still tricks 
in all cases. 

Some jugglers ask questions in different words, according 
to the meaning of the answer wished for. Robert Houdin^ 
operated in this way, by means of a book of questions, or 
rather of a special and conventional vocabulary known only 
to the subject and to himself, and which the public was 
absolutely ignorant of. He had trained his subject to 
answer the questions asked, and to guess, at a distance, 
either the sort, shape or color of an object, or the value, date 
and effigy of a gold or silver coin, or even the time indicated 
by a watch. For instance, if he said: "What do you see?" 
the subject was to answer, "a hat," or: "Tell me what you 
see," it was a stick, and so on. To each question corre- 
sponded an answer agreed upon in advance. 

Other jugglers point out to their subjects the number to 
guess by means of the place in a certain term of the first 
letter of the words used in their question. 

Thus with the word : 'Washington' here follow a 
1 234567890 
few instances of questions and answers : 

How much? — 4. 

l^hat number do you see? — 16. 

What is the number? — 158. 

■pFhat is the number to gruess?— 158,687. 

Wide G6raud Bonnet, loc. cit., p. 94. 


Some others manage to disclose the words, syllable by 
syllable. In this respect -I remember a female seer who 
made too much haste in uttering the word " hippopotamus," 
whilst the bystander had said "Hippocrates." Hints are 
also given by gestures or attitudes. 

Geraud Bonnet quotes another instance. "It was suffi- 
cient to whisper one's wish to the Barnum. Without 
moving, this man looked at the young lady, who was at a 
distance of five or six meters, and she immediately came for- 
ward and did what had been wished. There was a speech- 
less dialogue between both performers, and this dialogue 
was made easier by the fact that the attention of the whole 
audience was engrossed by the subject, whilst it failed to 
heed the juggler, but in observing him it was possible to see 
that his positive attitude and movements were intentional 
and varied in every case according to the questions asked, 
although he looked to be almost motionless and inactive 
diu-ing the subject's action. There was a trick of gestures, 
but it was so cleverly concealed that the most skeptical 
among the onlookers were deceived. All such instances of 
thought transference are caused by tricks."* 

I have already quoted the queer experiments of Paul 

'Here is a novelette of direct thought transference. "An action 
brought by two music-hall artists — of those who guess the bystanders' 
thoughts, as well as the number of their watches — against one of their 
former employees, has disclosed pretty and diverting tri'^ks. It appears 
that a telephone was especially set up in the upper galleries of the 
theater, and connected with the 'seer's' chair. A confederate kept 
the blindfolded lady on the stage, who seemed to be in hypnosis, con- 
stantly advised of what was occurring, and indicated to her the person 
concerned. Suddenly amidst a round of cheering on the part of the 
audience, the 'seer' exclaimed, 'This is a fair-haired lady, with a green 
bonnet, a ruby ring, etc' Another trick was to have persons who were 
coming to hire a box for the evening performance, followed by a con- 
federate. Thus an account of what they had done was given to them, 
to their extreme surprise." (Le Petit Meridional, December 30, 1906). 


Sollier in this last element of sensory hyperesthesia. In 
the same way Dr. Laurent^ has been so kind as to impart to 
me some amusing tests in which he surveyed and imitated 
those made by Pickmann. 

Our colleague has been able to fulfil at a distance of about 
four meters orders given by certain persons — very simple 
orders, of course, such as the choice of an object on a table. 
He has very well investigated the matter and has come to 
the conclusion that there is hyperaconsia on the subject's 
part, as well as perception of words unconsciously uttered 
by the transmitting agent — "on the left," "on the right," 
"yes," "no."2 

Charles H. Pedley, the mayor of Crewe, has related to 
Prof. Lodge^ the case of a Barnum who made signs to his 
subject by lifting up his right toe; thence he made a slight 
movement of the shoe, which acute eyes were able to per- 
ceive, even at a distance of twenty yards, and with blind- 
folded persons. 

Albert Bonjean,* who in his book on "L'Hypnotisme" 
had detected the fraud of a female seer L., has recently dis- 
closed the trick of another, B. de P. : " The mode of action 
employed by both is based on the same principle. To enable 
the seer to see it is necessary for the Barnum to know the 
thing or the thought to be guessed. Since the Barnum 
must be advised of the word or of the thing in question, 

'Laurent, "Les precedes des liseurs de pensee; cumberlandisme sans 
contact." Vide also L. Laurent, "Des procedes des liseurs de pensee," 
Journal de Psychologie normale et pathologique, 1905, t. II, No. 6, p. 48L 

Wide also Alfred Graffe, professor of Psychology at the University 
of Liege, "Un nouveau liseur de pensee. Contribution a I'^tude de 
I'hyperesthesie . " 

^Lodge, "Un true devoile," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1899, 
p. 176. 

^Albert Bonjean, "La transmission de la pens6e," L'Union libre d? 
Viviers, October 2, 4, 9 and 13, 1906. 


there is no difficulty at all in imparting this thing or this 
word to the subject by means of a conventional alphabet or 
of a special language, which for the subject concerned as- 
sumes a precise and mathematical meaning. I know the 
tricks used. I am able to counterfeit, with my good friend 
and colleague Leon Mallar, he being the Barnum and my- 
self the subject, all the phenomena obtained by Mme. de P." 
Ernest J. A. Bodson has made to the same medium a 
proposal to write on a visiting card a number of five figures 
and to show it to the Barnum, who would only ask his sub- 
ject: "WTiat is the number written on the card?" The 
Barnum declined to do so. 

87. Rules to Observe in Trying to Establish a 
Scientific Demonstration of Mental Sugges- 

I infer from all that I have just stated that the scientific 
demonstration of mental suggestion and of thought trans- 
iference by a new mode of action has not yet been made, but 
that there are experiments, like those of Lombroso and 
Charles Richet for instance, which indicate that the matter 
should not be given up, and that perhaps a solution will be 
arrived at in case the experimentation is carefully and me- 
thodically made, without professional thought readers, pro- 
vided very simple experiments are first organized. 

I remind those who may feel inclined to undertake in- 
vestigations of this order, that it is necessary to have : First, 
a subject, for, if mental suggestion is real, it does not exist 
for and with anyone. A subject liable to hypnotism, a me- 
dium, is indispensable. Second, one should try very simple 
tests, without gestures or speech or grimaces; request a 
subject to lift up an arm, to open his mouth or take up his 
foot. Third, one should make many experiments and repeat 
them, and take note with great accuracy of all incidents. 


It is even advisable to place previously in a well locked-up 
drawer the orders one is about to give; the bystanders, not 
very numerous, ought to be ignorant of them. All the acts 
of the subject must be recorded as soon as they occur, by a 
bystander who is not aware of the orders given. The com- 
parison between both written statements will be subse- 
quently made. 

In case thought transference is to be really tried, it is 
necessary, with a group of a limited number of persons, 
knowing absolutely each other, and of an unquestionable 
good faith, to make the little experiment given below. It 
resembles a drawing-room game, and has, besides, been 
tried many a time by serious scientists. 

The experimentalist shuffles a pack of cards. He then 
selects one card, thinks very intensely of it, and the wit- 
nesses (who do not know this) write down on a sheet of 
paper the card they are themselves thinking of at this 
moment. They do not impart their decisions to one an- 
other. The experimentalist takes a second card, and so on 
up to ten or twenty times at each seance. The cards are 
then taken up again and those that have come out are pro- 
claimed aloud in the order in which they had been thought 
of, and every one marks down his or her successes, i. e. his 
or her coincidences. Experiments are repeated, and should 
any one succeed in reaching or even surpassing twenty or 
thirty per cent, of successful attempts, one should not boast 
of it. Subsequent experiments will be repeated and made 
more precise after the subject has been found out in this 

*M. l'Abb6 P., of Aix-en- Provence, has just told about the queer 
experiments following: "It was always very easy for me to detect an 
object that had been hidden, and this even when bUndfolded. Without 
seeing I felt that I was attracted by M. M. I was blindfolded, and M. 
M., when behind me, was intensely thinking of a movement he wished 



The facts dealt with in this paragraph are, with regard 
to objects brought from a long distance and to material- 
izations, what the facts referred to in the preceding para- 
graph are with regard to telepathy. They are a reduction 
of them. As they are made simple, they should be first 
viewed in the scientific survey of this chapter. 

88. Re:\iovals without Contact. 

Under the head of removals of objects within reach with- 
out contact, I include the rotation of a table which nobody 
touches, the displacement of a piece of furniture in a room 
or even an apartment, the levitation of an object, the rising 
of the scale of a letter- weigher without any contact with the 
medium who is present.^ 

a. Instances. 

a. Haunted Houses. 

The subject of haunted houses belongs to this paragraph. 
For, if we set aside practical jokes in this matter, which are 
quite common (such as the case of the stronghold of Vin- 

me to make. In this instance I was to wheel to the right. I felt, posi- 
tively felt, an influence that was taking hold of all the upper and middle 
part of my right shoulder, so as to make me wheel. It was a soft influ- 
ence, analogous to that of a puff or to the influence of a magnet, which 
was exerted directly, not over my brain, but over my shoulder. When 
M. M. wished me to bend over, I had in my back the impression of an 
extraordinary weight. I was constantly at a distance of two meters 
from him. I thought I had a weight of fifty kg. I must tell you also 
that, during the same seance, I experienced influences which M. M. had 
no intention of exerting over me. ..." 

'One might comprise in this group experiments dealing with attrac- 
tion between persons at a distance, which I have mentioned above in 
the section devoted to Mental Suggestion. 


cennes' for instance), there is always a medium in a haunted 
house. The point is always to know whether the medium 
touches the objects that are moving. I have carefully in- 
vestigated a case^ with Dr. Calmette (my assistant in clin- 
ical medicine, who is a regular member of the Faculty of 
Beyrouth) in which very queer removals were noticed, 
up to the day when a young hysterical girl, aged fifteen, 
was sent from the house to undergo treatment in my ward 
at St. Eloi Hospital, Montpellier. 

Many instances of haunted houses will be found in Du- 
pouy's^ book (from the time of Pliny the Younger to the 
haunted closet of Dr. Dariex) and also in special periodicals 
I have frequently mentioned. Lombroso* has recently 
referred, in the Annales, to haunted houses he had investi- 
gated. I quote here an observation perfectly outlined by 
the professor, of a family in which occurred the extraor- 
dinary phenomena of the Strada Pescatori at Turin. "It 
was a quiet family of workers. Signor Pavarino was a 
healthy man, but his temper was strange. His wife, on the 
contrary, was hysteroepileptic and sufTering from anemia. 
She paid frequent visits to so-called female medium healers. 
Her father had died from consumption contracted in war; 
her mother was scrofulous. She had a sister who was a 
medium, and gave birth to four children with supernum- 
erary fingers. Our hysteric was then a girl of twenty-one, 
rickety, sickly and neuropathic. She frequently caused 
spontaneous removals of objects."^ 

Wide L'Echo du Merveilleux, 1906, p. 98 ; and Les Annales des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1906, p. 115. 

^"Le Spiritisme devant la Science," p. 11. 

^Dupouy, loc. cit., p. 273. 

*C6sa,T Lombroso, "Les maisons hant^s que j'ai ^tudi6es," Annales 
des Sciences Psychiques, 1906, p. 258. 

^Vide the observations of Karin by Hjalmar Wijk (I shall deal with 
it again in discussing raps), and "Maisons hant^es en Angleterre et en 


p. Removals of Objects. 

In reference to the removals of objects, it is convenient to 
read the fine book devoted by Albert de Rochas to " the ex- 
teriorization of the motor force," a fourth edition of which 
quite recently appeared/ 

1. Eusapia Palladino. 

Prof. Chiaia had already made a very accurate description 
of these phenomena when, in August, 1888, he wrote to ■ 
Lombroso and requested him to make experiments with the 
new medium, Eusapia Palladino. " While she is fastened on 
a seat, or strongly held by onlookers, she exerts an attrac- 
tion on the surrounding pieces of furniture; she raises 
them and holds them up like Mahomet's coffin: then she 
makes them come down with undulatory movements, as if 
this were due to the influence of an external will. She in- 
creases their weight or renders them lighter at her pleasure. 
She knocks and hammers walls, ceiling or flooring with 
rhythm and cadence. This woman ascends in the air in 
spite of her bonds ; she remains there, and looks to be lying 
down in empty space, contradictory to all principles of 
statics. She is apparently free of the laws of gravity. She 
makes instruments of music, such as organs, bells, drums 
sound as if they had been touched by hands or shaken by 
the breathing of invisible gnomes." 

It was only in 1891 that Lombroso agreed to witness ex- 
periments in Naples with Ciolfi. Experiments next took 
place at Milan (1892) with Aksakoff, Schiaparelli, Charles 
Richet, Lombroso, and others; at Naples (1893) with Wag- 
ner; at Rome (1893-94) with Siemiradski, Richet, de 

France," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1907, p. 137; "Les maisons 
hantdes," EcJio du Merveilleux, 1907, pp. 53, 71, 154, 253 and 291. 

^Vide also Dr. Becour, " Histoire de fantomes, d'une femme et de cent 
savants," edition de la "Vie Nouvelle," 1906, and Surbled, loc. cit., 
p. 107. 


Schrcnck Notzing; at Warsaw with Ochorowicz; at 
Carqueiranne and Roubaud Island (1894) with Richet, 
Sidgwick, Lodge, Ochorowicz, Myers, de Schrenck Notzing 
and Segard; at Naples (1895) with Visani Scozzi; at 
Cambridge (Eng.) with Myers; at the London Society for 
Psychical Researches; at I'Agnelas with de Rochas, Dariex, 
Maxwell, Sabatier and de Watteville; at Tremezzo, Auteuil 
and Choisy-Itrac (1896); at Naples, Paris, Montfort and 
Bordeaux (1897); at Genoa and Palermo (1901 and 1902); 
and finally in Rome and Paris (1905 and 1906) with Flam- 
marion and Pierre Curie. 

Because of the number and importance of these experi- 
ments, and also of the value of the experimentalists, it is 
well to know about Eusapia Palladino's case, as marked 
down by De Rochas. 

Eusapia^ was born in 1854. She is affected with hysteria 
and erotic inclinations, together with a slight palsy and a 
superficial hyperesthesia of the right half of her body. She 
frequently experiences the sensation of the globus hyster- 
icus. Her intelligence is remarkable but not much 
developed. It is unstable owing to fatal influences. Her 
temperament is changeable and irritable. She has an im- 
moderate ambition, an appreciable intoxication due to her 
mediumistic fame, and great self-denial. This will give us 
a clear idea of this Italian woman's mental condition, which 
is a queer compound of sincerity and double-dealing. Dur- 
ing her childhood she witnessed dreadful scenes (murders 
and thefts) . At the age of eight years she had a tormenting 
hallucination at waking. Expressive eyes were looking at 

Wide also Mile. Paola Lombroso. "L'Existence privee du celebre 
m(?dium napolitain Eusapia Palladino," Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 
229; and Cesar Lombroso, "Eusapia Palladino et ses tares nevro- 
pathiques"; "Eusapia Palladino et le Spiritisme," Annates des Sciences 
Psychiques, 1908, p. 29. 


her from behind a pile of stones or a tree, and always from 
the right. 

The &-st mediumistic manifestations were coincident 
with the initial coming of her catamenia/ when she was 
about thirteen or fourteen years old. 

The spiritualistic training of Eusapia, undertaken by a 
fervent believer, Signor Damiani, began when she was 
twenty-two or twenty-thi'ee years old. John King, who 
then took hold of her, is asserted to be the brother of Katie 
King, the medium of Crookes. She is liable to hypnotism. 
Her sensibility may be exteriorized (de Rochas) and it is 
possible to attract her by gestures without contact. One 
day, she acquired with contact, M. de Gramont's headache. 
She herself gets into trance when she takes part in the chain 
of hands. Her trances are very similar to fits of hysteria, 
after which she is quite exhausted and becomes nearly un- 

Here follows what she herself relates of her impressions 
when she wishes to cause a movement at a distance. At 
first she most earnestly wishes to produce the phenomena. 
She next feels a numbness and goose-flesh in her fingers. 
These sensations keep on increasing, and at the same time 
she experiences in the lower part of her spine a current 
which is speedily running through her arm, up to the elbow, 
where it ceases softly. The phenomenon happens at this 
moment. During and after the levitation of tables her 
knees are sore; during and after other phenomena her el- 
bows and her whole arms give her pain. 

Since my previous edition, new and noteworthy experi- 

*Dr. Laurent (Annales des Sciences PsycMques, 1897, p. 265) has sur- 
veyed curious mechanical phenomena provoked, without contact, by 
some woman, at the time of catamenia. The G of a gentleman's 
double-bass broke as often as his wife had her menses. A harpist had 
the strings of her instrument (always the same) broken at every cata- 


ments have been made with Eusapia Palladino/ namely 
in Italy. The most recent instance, which has been much 
spoken of, is the registration by Marey of barrels of material 
removed by Eusapia without contact, at a distance. Thus 
was an instrument influenced and the oscillations of its arm 
registered. The facts are consequently unquestionable. 

At this time it was declared that this marked a momen- 
tous improvement ; it supprest in those experiments the sub- 
jective human factor and implied conclusions that would be 
henceforth unobjectionable. I do not think the idea is as 
new as it has been asserted to be. Some such phenomena 
had been registered already. But I acknowledge that at this 
time there was an improvement of technics, which led to 
giving to some of those phenomena the value of a new fact. 

I shall observe (and this seems very important to me) that 
this improvement affects the least debatable and debated 
part of the experiment; the gross fact of a removal of an 
object. Nobody is denying that tables are lifted up, that 
some objects move. What is discusst is the way in which 

menial period. A servant stopt the clock, when at the same time 
she was dusting it and the chimney ; the latter was perhaps owing to a 
nervous excitation of the fingers. 

^Vide "Importantes experiences avec Eusapia Palladino a Genes," 
Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1907, p. 54; "Les dernieres seances 
avec Eusapia Palladino a Genes," ibid., p. 152; Morselli, "Eusapia 
Palladino et la realite des phenomenes mediumiques," ibid., pp. 225 
and 326; "Ce que le Professeur Foa, de I'Universite de Turin, et trois 
docteurs, assistants du Professeur Mosso, ont constate avec Eusapia 
Palladino," ibid., p. 265; Pio Foa, "L'opinion publique et les phe- 
nomenes dits spirites," ibid., p. 305; "Eusapiana," ibid., p. 448; 
Joseph Venzano, "Contribution k I'etude des materialisations," ibid., 
pp. 473 and 572 ; Bottazzi, " Dans les regions inexplor^es de la biologic 
humaine. Observations et experiences sur Eusapia Palladino," ibid., 
pp. 553, 645, 681 and 749; Cesar Lombroso, "Eusapia Palladino et le 
Spiritisme," ibid., 1908, p. 29; G. A., "Experiences medianiques a 1' 
University de Naples, controlees au moyen d'instruments scientifiques," 
Echo du Merveilleux, 1907, p. 352. 


those movements are produced. It is the intermediate 
agents between the subject and the object that appear to 
be very far from one another. What ought to be noted 
with registering apparatus, i. e. without any human and 
subjective factor, is the zone of air and ether between the 
whole subject and the object moved. Now, nothing has 
been done in experiments with Eusapia to make a scientific 
investigation of this zone. We shall see that tests have 
been made for this purpose with Zuccarini, but they have 
not given very striking results. 

Therefore, the ingenuousness displayed by Italian ex- 
perimentalists has failed to render unquestionable those 
experiments. We know with a greater certitude than be- 
fore that objects are moving. We know that there is no 
hallucination or illusion on the onlookers' part, but we do 
not yet know that there has been no hidden contact, no 
clever trick or unconscious fraud. ^ 

There is a curious fact to observe: the experimentalists 
are amenable to a sort of impulse when they have once 
started to make investigations of this order, and at the same 
time their mental condition is in a state of evolution. They 
start — as scientists ought — very strict, precise and limited 
experiments, which are of such a kind as should lead to quite 
scientific conclusions. Then they expand their scope of 
observations, generalize their conclusions, and quote besides 
their experiments some other facts that are far less scientific. 

Bottazzi himself acknowledges and deplores this. It is a 
real misfortune that, in phenomena of this order, the state- 
ment of facts observed may not be simple, quiet and ob- 
jective, but that it assumes a polemical character or leads to 
personal remarks. This is quite right. But now, why 
does he observe, in his conclusion, that there is only one 

'Far superior, from a scientific standpoint, are the experiments (men- 
tioned further) with the medium Zuccarini. 


thing to do for incredulous people; it is ''to charge him, 
Prof. Bottazzi, with fraud and quackery." This is not 
scientific language. In concluding a report for the Academic 
des Sciences, I should not make use of such an expression. 

When discussing Eusapia's frauds, he asserts that he sets 
aside the "unconscious tricks." But they are the only 
ones which any scientist (experimentalist or critic) has, not 
only the right, but also the duty, to think of. Likewise, 
Lombroso, who begins his report by very precise and limited 
experiments with the cardiographer, deals further, in the 
same work with fantoms and apparitions of the dead, with 
auto-Ievitations, like that of Home, '' who horizontally turns 
around all the windows of a palace," or that of the two little 
brothers of Ruvo, "who run over nearly thirty miles in 
fifteen minutes;" or he refers to " beings," or "residences of 
beings" which, in order to become "perfectly compact," 
must "so as to become incarnate," borrow " momentarily a 
part of the substance of the medium, who is actually slum- 
bering and in a dying condition." 

When I see men such as these allowing their scientific 
mind to be led astray in experiments so methodically 
started, I venture so far as to wonder whether it would not 
be better to scrutinize with documents the experiments of 
others rather than to discuss my own tests. 

Another instance of this not very scientific impulse has 
just been afforded in a circular signed by most eminent 
scientists.^ The purpose is to offer an important reward to 
any one making a good photograph of radiations unknown 
at the present. There is nothing more scientific or more 
praiseworthy than such an initiative. But why is it wasted 
in the "call" by considerations (absolutely out of the ques- 
tion) on "the idea of immortality" that is always "more or 

'"Une importante souscription pour favoriser la photographie de 
I'invisible," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1908, p. 43. 


less prevalent in the human brain," or by assertions such 
as this : " We ought to knock at the door of Science in order 
to get proof of the immortality of thesoul." A photographer 
may be easily upset in his researches with a new '' bath," or 
with an unpublished invention, provided he is overcome by 
the idea that in the bottom of his basin he is about to 
find ''irrefutable proof of immortality." This is most cer- 
tainly one of the reasons why a survey of Occultism is so 
slowly making progress. By such methods the best ex- 
perimentalists forget the elementary laws of the scientific 

More recently Eusapia made fui'ther experiments in 
Paris, but they did not give better results. Pierre Mille,^ 
who reported them in the Temps (Feb. 6, 1908) writes 
wisely: " I fail to perceive the agent or trick that causes the 
sensation in the hands that we have felt. However, I can- 
not dismiss from my mind the hypothesis of an agent or of a 
trick. Those hands were human to an excessive extent. 
And those noises and that uproar in a dark corner — all that 
was too much or too httle. We are obviously far from the 
simple and quiet test such as is made in a laboratory." 

Besides, Pierre Mille adds that he prefers this unknown 
force " that lifts up a weight of a tenth of gram to a chain 
of hands, whatever those hands may be, that are able to 
raise a dining-room table. I do not know much about it, 
but I think that, in order to remove any hypothesis of fraud, 
we ought to come to this." This is also my opinion. 

2. William Crookes and MacNab. 
Previous to Eusapia Palladino's phenomena, I must cite 
those of William Crookes,^ with the medium Douglas 

'Pierre Mille, "Eusapia Palladino a Paris," Echo du Merveilleux, 1908, 
p. 74. 

Wide de Rochas, loc. cit., p. 471, after William Crookes, "Recherches 
BUT les ph^nomenes du spiritualisme." 


Home/ especially cases of Icvitation. These very remark- 
able experiments have been made with various kinds of 
apparatus which arc, in fact, letter-weighers of every de- 
scription. I should also compare the apparatus with the 
sthenometer formerly mentioned, with this difference, that 
a horizontal force capable of being attracted by the hand 
from below to above (without contact of the medium), re- 
places here the movable needle at the lower end of a thread. 
These are very simple and scientific experiments, and I 
shall cite them further on as samples of attempts to be re- 
peated in order to investigate this part of the exteriorization 
of the motor force. We may put in comparison with 
them the experiment of the stick, given out by MacNab •? 

"The medium sat down, holding upright a stick between 
his legs and rubbed it with his hands. Then setting his legs 
apart, he held them motionless. The stick kept upright 
— not absolutely in a vertical way, but somewhat bent to- 
w^ards the medium's breast — and shaking a little, like 
needles that are held upright on a magnetic pole. He kept 
quite motionless and the stick bent at his pleasure, on the 
right, on the left, forward or backward. The upper part 
came to touch his breast. The stick was then forming with 
the ground an angle of 60°. It went slowly straight again, 
at his will, up to a vertical position. During this experi- 
ment the medium kept cpite motionless and the stick com- 
plied with all the impulses given by his will, without any 
visible linking with his muscles, so that it looked to be cap- 
able of spontaneous movement." 

These are less striking, but more interesting, experiments, 
more conformable to scientific accm'acy than those in which, 
under the same medium's influence, '' a saber was taken out 
of its packed-up case in a corner of the room, and was found 

^Yide Surbled, loc. cit., pp. 81 and 93. 
^MacNab, in Rochas, loc. cit., p. 524. 


on the floor at the experimentaHst's feet; or in which the 
whole furniture of a room was noisily displaced or moved 
towards the investigator or up to the ceiling." MacNab 
has also witnessed personal levitations of the mediums (loco, 
cit., p. 536). 

3. Maxwell. 

MaxwelP makes a difference between parakinesia, "a 
production of movements such that the contacts observed 
are not sufficient causes for them," and telekinesia, or 
"movements without contact." He only surveyed in the 
fii-st group and under favorable circumstances the levi- 
tation of tables, "by a pretty clear light," especially with 
Eusapia. Telekinesia is one of the phenomena that has been 
most carefully and most accurately investigated by Max- 
well. First came levitations of the table with Eusapia and 
by a sufficient light. At the same time the curtains of the 
closet were frequently cast forward to the table, as if a 
strong wind was pushing them. Often were the experi- 
mentalists' chairs displaced or shaken and lifted up, or 
carried over the table. 

" I ascribe a peculiar importance to experiments with the 
letter-weigher. We operated with a light clear enough to 
enable us to read the rather faint divisions stamped on the 
scale. Eusapia, in our presence, repeatedly caused it to go 
down or to ascend by letting her hands fall, or by raising 
them up several times, the palms facing the ground. Eu- 
sapia's hands were at a distance of about twelve or fifteen 
centimeters above the scale. By turning them upside 
down, i. e. by placing their palmar face above, Mme. Palla- 
dino raised up the scale, the instrument having been pre- 
viously weighted with a pocket-book. These facts observed 

'Maxwell, loc cit., pp. 86 and 195. 


with Eusapia have been verified with various non-pro- 
fessional mediums." 

I deem this to be of much more interest than an experi- 
ment made in a restaurant. In that case the medium 
caused his neighbors' table to draw nearer by thirty centi- 

Maxwell infers the three following statements from his 
tests : First, there is a certain connection between the move- 
ments made by the medium or the onlookers, and those of 
the object concerned. Second, certain peculiar sensations 
occur at the same time when the force in question is made 
use of. Third, this force is probably connected with the or- 
ganism of the bystanders. 

4. Flammarion} 

In his last book, which has been mentioned many times, 
Flammarion refers again to strange experiments undertaken 
with Eusapia. There will be found curious instances of the 
removal of objects, or of fiu-nitiu-e, of the heaving of curtains, 
of touch felt by the onlookers, of rhythmical movements of 
an accordion.^ Again a table is broken; or a book is appar- 
ently running through an opaque curtain, etc. In my opin- 
ion, all these experiments are too complex. Levitations are 
far more important. 

Flammarion writes : " I believe that the levitation of ob- 
jects should not be any more questioned than the attraction 
of a pair of scissors by a magnet. On a certain evening," 
he adds, " I requested Eusapia to place her hands with mine 
on a table. It was rather quickly raised to a height of about 

'Camille Flammarion, "Les forces naturelles inconnues," 1907. 

^J. S. Goebel reported in the Annales des Sciences Psychiques (1907, 
p. 631), musical stances in which, while the medium Shepard was play- 
ing on the piano with both hands, a harp placed on the piano was Bpon- 
taneously playing and moving, and touched the shoulder or the knee 
of experimentalists. 


thirty or forty centimeters, while we were both standing. 
At the moment when the phenomenon was occurring the 
medium placed one of her hands on one of mine which she 
shook warmly. Diu'ing this time our two other hands were 
close to one another, and there was, on her part as well as on 
mine, an act of will which was exprest by words or orders 
to the spirit, such as 'Now then! lift up the table! ' 'Cheer 
up,' ' Make an effort! ' " This experiment was repeated for 
three consecutive times on that day in the full light of a gas 
lamp, and in the same conditions of apparent reality. 

Another time five levitations of the table occiu-red within 
a quarter of an hour. Its four legs came off the floor at a 
height of about fifteen centimeters for a few seconds. Diu*- 
ing a levitation the onlookers ceased to touch the table, 
and made a chain in the air above the table, and Eusapia 
did so in the same manner. "Therefore, an object may be 
lifted, contrary to the laws of gravity, without any contact 
whatever of the hands that had just influenced it." 

5. The Medium Zuccarini} 

Very much has been said in the last year of the medium 
Zuccarini's levitations. He elevates tables, makes con- 
tacts at a distance and lifts himself up (auto levitations). 
This is the first time that a photograph " has testified to the 
astounding phenomenon of the levitation of a medium's 
body." These photographs, like Bottazzi registering appa- 
ratus, are proof of the removal, but they fail to explain the 
mechanism of the removal. This is the main point, though. 
Besides, after the reports given out by Prof. Murani and 
Patrizi, the Annales des Sciences Psychiqiies asserted that 
those articles and photographs " can only leave a doubt in 

^Vide Murani and Patrizi, " Les Levitations du medium Zuccarini," 
Annaleii des Sciences Psychiques, 1907, p. 528; "Les experiences de 
Padoue, avec le medium k Invitation M. Zuccarini," ibid., 1907, p. 674. 


the minds of readers who are accustomed to accept the irrefu- 
table genuineness of a phenomenon, only when all possible 
causes of errors have been definitively removed." 

Prof. Vicentini aud Lari have framed a very ingenious 
apparatus of control. They placed on the two legs of the 
table, which were nearer the medium, two special interrupters 
who interrupted the respective circuits while the pressure of 
the foot was more than 10 kgs. When a person ascended 
the table, unless he made a pressure very near the other 
two legs of the table, the circuits were intercepted. Re- 
versely, when he made a pressure quite near one of the legs 
provided with an interrupter, only one circuit was inter- 
cepted. Special apparatus placed in the adjoining room 
showed by means of diagrams the moment of the interrup- 
tion and how long it lasted. In the adjoining room were 
also two bystanders whose business it was to watch and look 
through a hole. We were speaking aloud in mentioning 
the medium's attitudes and movements. Both onlookers 
marked down our sentences and the exact time when we 
uttered them. Those were experiments prepared in a per- 
fectly scientific manner. 

Now note what occurred: "The result of diagrams ob- 
tained in the second and third seances was as follows: 
the diagram was coincident with those that would have been 
traced had anyone ascended the table and stood, now upon 
one leg and now upon the other, or, had he been taking a 
leap, in falling again on the table." After these observa- 
tions, Prof. Lori comes to conclusions that are against the 

Prof. Severi adds: "Therefore, the apparatus has made 
a record, and we have proved the case: First, that the 
medium has never lifted from the table both his feet at the 
same time dm'ing the darkness, or as long as the light was 
not asked for in an explicit manner. Second, that when light 


was asked for in such a way that M. Zuccarini himself (or 
rather his mediumistic personaHty) was able to understand, 
he hfted himself up, but remained in the air for less than half 
a second, i. e. diu-ing the time any of us might have also 
remaiiied there — without being rope-dancers — by means of 
a very common leap." 

Prof, de Marchi says: "As often as the experimentalists, 
when thinking erroneously that the medium was really 
hovering above, asked for light, by a conventional word 
which M. Zuccarini was unable to understand, light was 
made; but the medium was detected merely standing on the 
table." This spirit-grabber^ was quite lucky. 

In the same respect, "Prof. Vicentini, having felt another 
contact similar to one experienced during the first seance, 
the light was lit. It was then found that the hand of the 
medium had caused this contact by shaking, although con- 
stantly held by one of the experimentalists." The Italian 
scientists set apart from others these conscious and voluntary 
tricks as not longer in question ; it is enough that these ex- 
periments do not establish a new unknown force. 

a. Discussion. 

From these various documents — and a good many of 
them are commendable and have been gathered with 
complete good faith — have we a right to infer that the scien- 
tific demonstration of movements without contact, at a 
short distance, is established? I do not think so. I first 
eliminate haunted houses, because conditions are there far 
too complex to involve a quite scientific survey. 

In the experiments properly so-called, the most earnest 
acknowledge that control is exceedingly difficult. Re- 
movals of objects from one corner of a room to another, are 
the easiest phenomena to produce, and also the hardest to 

Wide above, Part I, 15, and Part III, 84, y, 2nd. 


verify. MaxwelP declares that some tests are quite con- 
clusive: "When I have witnessed, for instance, the re- 
moval of a piece of furniture by daylight in a cafe, or a 
restaurant, or in a railway refreshment room, I have the 
right to imagine that I have not to do with trickery on the 
part of those objects." 

Many jugglers operate in cafes or restaurants that are not 
arranged in advance for the purpose of cheating. Besides, 
control there is not always so easy, or it discloses frauds. 
Maxwell wi-ites also: "In a series of experiments which 
have afforded me results that deserve careful examination, 
I have obtained levitations of tables on somewhat better 
conditions. But some among the onlookers were so un- 
consciously cheating that I do not think it convenient to 
record the parakinetic movements I have gotten, although 
my opinion is that they did not cheat at all. However, the 
not very satisfactory circumstances under which I have 
made that course of experiments led me to leave them off." 
He adds further : " We must not forget that there is nothing 
easier to counterfeit than a levitation of the table." He 
next indicates some of the ways used : " As soon as the light 
is attenuated it is impossible to make sure of the reciprocal 
examination necessary when experimentalists are seated 
around the table. ^Yhen hands are leaning with force upon 
the table, it is quite easy in case the table is light to intro- 
duce the end of the shoe under one of the legs of this table 
and to lift it up. This working is made easier owing to the 
rockings of the table, whose legs are alternately coming off 
the floor, so that nobody is able to heed it. I need not in- 
sist upon the fact that hooks fastened to the wrist or arm- 
lets of a special shape, enable one also to lift a table and to 
keep it lifted." Maxwell indicates further another kind of 

'Maxwell, loc. cit., pp. 26, 88 and 89. 


fraud observed with some professional mediums: " The me- 
dium places himself on the smaller side of the table, provokes 
various oscillations, and as soon as he has succeeded in lift- 
ing up the side opposite to which he is seated, he sets his legs 
aside so as to exert a strong pressure on the legs of the table 
between which he is placed. This pressure being once made, 
it is sufficient to lean very heavily with one's hands, from 
above to below, over the face of the table, on the side where 
the medium is seated, so as to produce a levitation. It is 
easily understood that the table, sustained by the knees or 
the chest, performs a movement of rotation around an axis 
passing tlirough the spots determined by the pressure of the 
knees, and that its face becomes parallel with the ground. 
Then it seems to be in levitation. This fraud may be suc- 
cessfully carried out by placing on the table a person seated 
on a chair. Under pretence of control the medium seizes 
this person's hands and finds in him the point of support 
necessary to provoke the rotation of the table around the 
axis. Especially in the darkness this trick is quite easy." 
Here follows another instance of fraud given by Ochoro- 
wicz:^ In an experiment with Eusapia, Charles Richet and 
Ochorowicz were repeatedly holding a hand and foot of the 
medium under their hand and foot. Eusapia declared that 
she was about to try a levitation. At a certain moment 
Ochorowicz perceived that the medium's left foot, which he 
was holding, came away from him in order to lift up the leg 
of the table; at the same time she made her right foot, which 
Richet was holding, turn, and leaned simultaneously with 
the end and heel of this foot upon Richet's and Ochoro- 
wicz 's foot. The latter indicated by a movement of his foot 
that he had felt the removal; Eusapia's foot then came back 
in place, and the levitation did not occur. Ochorowicz 

'Ochorowicz, "La question de la fraude dans les experiences avec 
Eusapia Palladino," Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1896, p. 79. 


himself made, one day, a seance of this sort that was cen- 
sured by Richet and Bellier. The latter would not believe 
in a fraud. He substituted one foot for another, extricated 
that one and lifted the table, 

Flammarion has perfectly set forth the objections to such 
experiments: "Why this dark closet?" The medium says 
it is indispensable in the making of phenomena for the con- 
densation of fluids. I should prefer nothing at all. It is 
strange and absolutely deplorable that the light prevents 
one from getting certain results. The accounts are numerous 
and at times contradictory. 

M. Antoniadi, in his account, for instance, asserts that 
" everything is a trick from the beginning to the end. The 
matter is complex. It is hard to reach a formal conviction 
or a quite scientific certainty. There are some phenomena 
which are absolutely unquestionable and real; some others 
are ambiguous and we may ascribe them to conscious or un- 
conscious frauds; also to some illusions on the part of the 
experimentalists. Of course, the case of an object running 
thi'ough a ciu-tain would have great .value if we WTre sure of 
the medium's absolute plaindealing ; if, for instance, this 
medium was a scientist, a natiu-al philosopher, a chemist, or 
an astronomer, whose scientific probity is beyond sus- 

"The mere fact of the possibility of a fraud removes 
ninety-nine hundredths of the value of an observation, and 
compels us to witness it a hundred times before being certain 
of its reality. The conditions of certainty ought to be 
understood by all investigators, and it is wonderful to see 
intelligent people marveling at our doubts and at the 
strict scientific necessity for such conditions." 

In short, most usually, experiments are far too complex, 
and at times too much unforeseen to prevent the attention 

'This, however, would not be sufficient to prevent unconscious frauds. 


from being led astray, and to admit of a quite scientific 
examination. Moreover, most of them are carried out suc- 
cessfully only in darkness or semi-darkness, and nearly all 
mediums have been, one time or another, caught in the 
very act of fraud. I very well know, as I have already 
stated, that this is no proof that they are constantly cheat- 
ing. But this is enough to imply a serious suspicion; and in 
science there must be no room for doubt. I believe I am 
able to infer that, despite the many efforts made and the 
cm'ious experiments described, one has not yet afforded 
scientific final proof of the reality of movements provoked 
by mediums at a distance and without contact. 

Babinet relates the case of a young woman who moved 
chairs with frightful speed, owing to a contraction of the 
muscles of her leg, which no body suspected. The move- 
ment seemed to be spontaneous.^ In concluding his arti- 
cle, he demands that a subject shall come and say before the 
Academie des Sciences that "with as many mediums as 
may be thought convenient, but without any contact what- 
ever, and at a distance, he throws into the air without any 
other support than will, a weighty substance, denser than 
the air, and quite at rest. Should this assertion be found to 
be real, the subject would be acknowledged as the first 
scientist of the whole world." This challenge, issued half a 
century ago in the Revue des Deux Mondes, has not yet been 

Such were my conclusions in the preceding edition of this 
book. The experiments recently made with Eusapia Palla- 
dino and Zuccarini, as stated and debated above, do not 
seem to me" to imply a modification of my opinion.^ 

•We might compare with this the deeds of IMiss Annie Abbott (the 
little Georgia Magnet), which I have described (Part T, 13). 

"I do not think either that my conclusions should be altered, after the 
quite recent inquiry made by the Matin. 


/?. Warnings against Further Experiments. 

If scientific proof of the exteriorization of motor force 
has not been given yet (in my opinion), I do not mean by 
this that it is a matter to be given up, like the squaring of the 
circle. I believe, on the contrary, that it is one of the chap- 
ters of occultism which is soon to be verified, and on the 
whole, one should accumulate researches and experiments 
by using strictly scientific methods. 

My most earnest entreaties are, for the present, that in- 
vestigations be confined to very simple experiments in full 
light. Besides, in a seance, only one result ought to be 
sought for, and no notice should be taken of an unexpected 
fact, because such a fact is not verified. A touch on the 
shoulder or the knee, for instance, means nothing because it 
was not looked for, and consequently cautions were not 
scientifically taken to investigate it, or make it precise. 
Moreover, the attention should not be led astray by some- 
thing else — music or songs, for instance. 

The most perfect experiments, which in everyone's 
opinion appear as the most conclusive, and \o which it 
would be convenient to restrict experimentation until 
further notice, are the phenomena of levitation without 
contact (letter-weigher or table) ^ by full light. This being 
once acquired, a great advance will be made, and it will 
be possible to make progress to another point. 

If any one wishes to start again those tests, in a simple 
but quite safe manner, I advise him to look first for someone 
able to move a table, to make it turn, or to displace it and 
then to lift it without contact.^ One might first attract the 

*I only refer here to levitations of objects. The medium's levita- 
tion is a complex phenomenon whose survey should not first be 
sought for. 

^One might begin by investigating the influence exerted by subjects 
over the apparatus described above (Part III, Chapter VIII, 68, b) 


table without contact, as everyone does; then one should see 
the displacement of the piece of furniture or object going on 
while nobody is any longer in contact with it. 

The subject capable of moving an object at a distance 
being once found, the game will be won. He will then be 
caused to repeat a very simple experiment (with the letter- 
weigher for instance) in full light. ^ Babinet's wish will be 
fulfilled and the experimentalist proclaimed "the first of 
scientists in the whole world." 

y. The Inquiry of the " Matin."^ 

The Matin has just given out f while I was correcting these 
proofs) interesting documents referring to Occultism, and 
more particularly to removals of objects without contact. 

D'Arsonval witnessed about fifteen seances with Eusapia 
Palladino. He says: ''During those fifteen seances, which 
have been quite enough to enable me to have an opinion on 
the matter, we have many a time caught Eusapia in the very 
act of cheating. Still some phenomena remain mysterious 
and unexplained. Among these I will mention the case of 
the levitation of a table of ordinary weight. Eusapia, 
whose knees were held and whose hands were placed above 
the table, was seated on a chau- resting on scales. Those 
scales indicated the change of weight in the adjoining room. 
When the table was lifted Eusapia's weight was increased 
by that of the table." D'Arsonval concludes: "At the 
present no verification enables us, either to assert or to deny, 
in a strictly scientific manner, the genuineness of the phe- 
nomena of levitation. Eusapia is a bad subject for this 

under the name of biometer and sthenometer. It is not yet proved, 
however, that both orders of removal at a distance are of the same kind. 

*In case the experiment must be started in darkness, there shoukl be 
a possibiHty of making Hght at once, by giving a signal, intelligible to 
the medium. 

*"Le grand doute," Le Matin, March, April and May, 1908. 


kind of research. She constantly manages to render im- 
possible any permanent scientific control." 

On the contrary, in Morselli's opinion phenomena of 
levitation of tables are the rudiments of spiritualism. 
" There is no doubt at all about it. The table is lifted by 
itself, without tricks or frauds, and remains suspended for 
seventy-eight seconds, I shall even say that here, at Genoa, 
a young poet has made a case move weighing 180 kgs." 
Lombroso asserts also that "the levitation of a table, as 
well as objects brought from a distance, occurs without any 
tricks whatever. But Eusapia 'gets weaker,' and makes 
'more frequent frauds.' Her spiritualistic powers are 
slowly but progressively diminishing." 

Gustave Le Bon says that this inquiry has led to no ap- 
preciable result and that it repeats, in a more modern 
manner, Babinet's challenge (above mentioned). He offers 
a prize of 500 francs to the medium who will cause a levita- 
tion of objects without contact, on scientific conditions 
which he states. Prince Roland Bonaparte adds the sum of 
1,000 francs. The gifts reach a total of 2,000 francs owing 
to Dariex. Albert Jounet adds another sum of 500 francs 
to Le Bon, if proof is afforded " that the movements, with- 
out contact and by full light, of the needle of Joire's sthe- 
nometer, obtained through a bell-glass, under the influence of 
a human hand, are solely due to an hallucination on the part 
of the audience or to fraud;" and in another newspaper 
(U Eclair de Paris, April 29, 1908), Georges Montorgueil 
promises 500 francs to the conjm-er who will come to the 
Edair " and deceive us by counterfeiting with his tricks all 
the phenomena of Occultism." This reminds one of Arch- 
deacon Colley's challenge to Maskelyne, the juggler. (Chap- 
ter X, 84, y 2nd) . 

Papus reproaches Le Bon with asking for levitations in 
full light, while according to his own investigations, "a 

RAPS 357 

power forty-five 'times stronger is needed to produce a 
phenomenon by white hght than to cause the same phe- 
nomenon by the dim light of Crookes's phosphorus lamp, or 
by the red light of photographers.* 

Harduin answers with his far-famed humor: "The me- 
dium, being present in a room illuminated by the red light 
of photographers, would lift up a table. Then the light 
being made, the same medium would be requested to re- 
move, at a distance, any object whatever whose weight 
would be forty-five times lighter than that of the table. 
Thus the amount of fluid spent would be identical and the 
medium would get quite easily the 2,000 francs promised. 
This is tempting." 

This inquiry gave proof of the keen interest taken by the 
most prominent scientists in these matters, and at the same 
time it testified to the really scientific way in which they 
are actually investigated, but I do not deem it to be con- 
clusive enough to alter any of the conclusions of this book. 

89. Raps. 

a. Cases. 

Another experiment which one should attempt to make, 
because it is simple and implies scientific control (although 
its determinism is less precise than that of the letter- 
weigher), is the experiment of raps. Raps are knockings 
given on the face of a table, on the floor or ground, on on- 
lookers, the walls or furniture, or even on the ceiling, and 
are heard by the bystanders. These are the phenomena 
observed by the Misses Fox (see above, chapter I, 4) that 
became the startingpoint of the whole modern period of 

•The proposal of M. Le Bon is equivalent to giving 500 francs to a 
photographer who will impress a plate after having left it during ten 
minutes in full light. 

358 RAPS 

Spiritualism. MaxwelP has accurately investigated them.' 
In order to cause raps in the simplest manner, " experi- 
mentalists seated around a table are leaning their palms 
upon the face of the table. I have obtained raps in full 
light. I have even so frequently obtained them by full 
light, that I wonder whether the darkness promotes them to 
the same extent as other phenomena. Besides, the contact 
of hands is not indispensable in the production of raps. 
With certain mediums I experienced no difficulty in pro- 
ducing raps without contact. In case raps are obtained 
with contact, one of the best ways to get them without 
further contact, is to keep one's hands leaning upon the 
table for a certain while, then to lift them up very slowly 
and keep the palms facing the table, the fingers being slightly 
extended without any stiffness. With certain mediums 
the force emitted is sufficient to exert an action at a distance. 
I had an opportunity to listen to raps pounding on a table 
which was at a distance of about two meters from the 

Maxwell has obtained sonorous raps with a medium in a 
restaurant and in railway refreshment rooms. " The queer 
noise made by these raps attracted the attention of persons 
present and annoyed me very much," He has also heard 
remarkable raps in museums, before masterpieces of paint- 
ing, and especially religious pictures, and in a house ren- 
dered famous by a man of genius who dwelt in it. In the 
room where this writer died, the suspicious housekeeper's 
attention was aroused by raps. A rap most usually con- 
sists of a sharp knocking of varying intensity. It is " very 
analogous to the tonality of an electric spark (this is true 
of raps in tables, at least), but this is only the ordinary 
standard of raps, whose variations are innumerable." 

'Maxwell, loc. cit., p. 67 (the whole chapter). 

Wide also Flammarion, article quoted in the Revw, p. 32. 

RAPS 359 

Besides, the tonality of raps is varying according to the 
substance of the objects on which they are clanging; they 
may resemble the faint noise made by a mouse, or a saw, 
or that of nails striking on wood, or grating on a fragment 
of cloth. Raps may vary according to the various per- 
sonalities of mediums. " Each embodied individuality ex- 
presses itself by raps of its own." Maxwell mentions very 
queer instances of raps which become quite complex phe- 
nomena in respect of a scientific survey.' 

The author reports these facts, although he acknowledges 
that these mediumistic personifications have not convinced 
him as to their identity. Moreover, in surveying complex 
and strange raps, Maxwell comes to this conclusion: "They 
are closely connected with the onlookers' muscular move- 
ments," and he states the three following principles: " First, 
any muscular movement, even a faint one, usually pre- 
cedes a rap. Second, the intensity of a rap does not seem to 
be suited to the movement performed. Third, I believe the 
intensity of a rap does not vary in proportion to the me- 
dium's remoteness." 

Raps cause in the medium a slight fatigue, which is also 
experienced by the onlookers themselves. 

b. Discussion. 

Such phenomena are, apparently, still occult and ought to 
become the subject-matter of investigations and scientific 
surveys by experimentalists in the future. But for this pm- 
pose it is quite necessary to comply with very strict condi- 
tions as well as to give close examinations and to have a 

'Sometimes, raps imitate a shout of laughter. This is coincident 
either with a funny story told by one of the bystanders, or with teasing. 
Another entity embodies a man whom I was very fond of. The knock- 
ings become deeper. This personality seemed to have the strange 
perspicacity and absolute kindness of the person with whom I was 

360 RAPS 

perfect knowledge of the many causes of error. Haunted 
houses, in which raps are so often and so easily heard, are, 
as I have said above (same chapter, II, 88, b), of such an 
order that they do not involve a satisfactory scientific sur- 
vey; in these cases phenomena are too complex, and the at- 
tention is too much scattered. Hjalmar Wijk and Bjerre* 
have, however, established that hypnosis might in certain 
circumstances, become a valuable help for scientific investi- 

By leading into sleep Karin, the hysteric medium of a 
haunted house in southern Sweden, the inquiry did not suc- 
ceed in detecting the mechanism of raps, as Pierre Janet did 
regarding obj ects brought in the experiment mentioned above 
(Chapter X, 81, b), but they attained their ends in managing 
and provoking raps at an appointed time, by suggestion in 
hypnosis. This is quite important in reference to the poly- 
gonal natiu*e of raps — at least in those instances. This 
would be an example of involuntary and unconscious frauds 
in raps. But there are also conscious and voluntary deceits 
in them. 

Thus they have been referred to clattering movements of 
the toes, and to a " contraction of the sinew of the fibula, 
which has been conjectiu'ed by Jobert de Lamballe, and has 
been the matter of a momentous debate at the Academie.^ 

'* Dr. Schift, who was called upon by a German young lady 
who pretended to be posscst of a spirit-rapper, found out 
the secret ; he ascertained that this noise happened on a level 
with the anklebone in the place where passes the sinew of 
one of the muscles of the leg. The young German woman 
displaced this sinew at her pleasure, and made it noisily fall 
into the bottom of its groove. Dr. Schift himself practised 

'Hjalmar Wijk. "Karin, Etude experimentale sur les ph^nomenes 
de frappement spontane," Annales des Sciences Psychiqites, 1905, p. 517. 
"Pierre Janet, loc. cit., p. 401. 

RAPS 361 

this working and became rather clever at it.* At Cam- 
bridge, Hodgson ascribed some of the raps produced by 
Eusapia Palladino to " knockings made by the medium's 
head on the face of the table." 

Maxwell/ who so perfectly scrutinized these phenomena, 
"has detected positive frauds with some of his mediums." 
Moreover, he has stated and counterfeited various imita- 
tions of raps. He asserts that there are many kinds. The 
simplest and most perfect way to counterfeit them, is to 
make slide very slowly, by an imperceptible movement, the 
end of the finger when leaning upon the table. Far better 
results are obtained when the finger is quite dry and doc- 
tored with turpentine and benzine. 

Raps may also be imitated by using a finger nail. Again 
in the darkness the cheat " is able to counterfeit raps on the 
floor — dull raps — by cleverly striking the floor or legs of the 
table — sharp raps by letting his shoe slide very slowly 
along the legs of the table or of a chair. The very slow rub- 
bing of clothes or linen, namely of cuffs, may lead to the be- 
lief in the reality of raps." It is equally possible "to lean 
with a varying force upon the face of the table if the top is 
quite thin, or when the table is not well joined, when its parts 
have too much play; variations in the pressure of the hand 
will then provoke cracks that counterfeit raps." 

" I have seen a young medium who had been able to hide a 
stick, and owing to it could imitate raps on the ceiling. I 
have known two others who fought with fisticuffs against a 
table; others were striking it underneath with their feet. 
All is possible in the darkness with confident onlookers. 
Some persons, by leaning the foot in a certain manner and 
by shrinking the muscles of the leg or of the fibula, are able 
to counterfeit knocks on the floor. This fact has been es- 

'Bersot, loc. cit., p. 130. 

»Maxwell, loc. cit., pp. 68, 79, 84, 257 et seq. 

362 RAPS 

pecially noticed as regards the sinew of the long side muscle 
of the fibula. 

Maxwell adds, "I have observed a medical student, a 
neuropathic and incorrigible defrauder, who obtained 
knockings pretty similar to raps by leaning his elbow 
upon the table, and making peculiar movements with his 
shoulder. There are also people who are able to make 
their joints creak at their pleasure." ^ 

Maxwell writes further in reference to raps and to the ease 
with which they may be counterfeited : " By full light I most 
easily present the illusion of them to persons who are cau- 
tioned that I am cheating. It is very hard to observe at the 
same time the ten fingers, the arm, leg and feet." 

c. Conclusion. 

We may infer from all that has just been stated that raps 
are still to be included under the head of occult phenomena. 
But those phenomena are subject to a verification, and their 
experimental survey ought to be continued so as to try and 
establish their scientific reality. But, in this survey, simple 
raps only ought to be attempted in a limited circle of ex- 
perimentalists, and by full light. 

Even in such cases absolute supervision is quite difficult. 
The attention is somewhat hesitating, since nobody knows 

'The working of the kneejoint has been impeached by Mrs. Sidgwick, 
in her article, "The phj'^sical phenomena of Spirituahsm" (Proceedings 
of the Society for Psychical Research, t. XIII, p. 45). She recalls the 
interpretations given by Drs. Flint, Lee, and Coventry, who have sur- 
veyed Mrs. Kane and Mrs. Underhill, two of the well-known sisters Fox. 
Mrs. Sidgwick has made experiment with the third, Mrs. Jencken, and 
admits the explanation of the American doctors. In their opinion the 
double raps were due to a quick movement of disjointing and setting 
of the knee. By placing the medium so as to render impossible this 
voluntary dislocation (for instance, the medium being seated, the legs 
extended, and the heels leaning upon a soft cushion), there was no rap 


how and where the rap is to occur. This is the reason why I 
deem it to be more conformable to reason to start the in- 
vestigation of movements without contact, making the sur- 
vey of mere levitations of objects, by full light, as I have 
stated above (same chapter, 88 c). 


9. Definitions; Clairvoyants and Female Seers. 

a. Definition. 

If I mention clairvoyance here along with the phenomena 
whose scientific demonstration seems to be, if not very near 
at hand, at least quite possible, it is because I ascribe to this 
word no idea of divination or prophecy, nor even any idea 
of telesthesia or telepathy. I use the word clairvoyance 
only in its etymological meaning, and I view it solely as a 
faculty to see through opaque substances; in the same manner 
we have " clairaudience " and ''clairesthesia," as in Paul 
SoUier's instance above mentioned (same chapter, 85 c). 
Therefore, I eliminate from this paragraph the subjects 
popularly called "voyantes" (female seers). 

In case clairvoyance be ever verified, the subject gifted 
with this power will possibly be able to detect the presence 
of an extraneous body in the stomach (after the manner of 
Rontgen's rays). In case he has previous knowledge of nor- 
mal anatomy, he will be able to ascertain the increase in the 
bulk of a liver, and should he be experienced in medicine, he 
might possibly ascertain if there is some liquid in the pleura, 
or stones in the biliary vesicle; but he will be unable to diag- 
nose a disease unknown to him, and far less, to indicate its 
remedy ; nor will he be in a position to find treasures or fore- 
tell the future. 

Even if clairvoyance should be later on verified, it would 
be possible to ascribe only to a deceitful quack, or to a 


swindler, advertisements such as the one below, taken from 
the Petit Marseillais (December 27, 1906) : 

/ advise, guide and comfort. 

Spiritistic Somnambidist 


Fortune-teller by Cards and Medium Healer 
O! you who are suffering and in despair, apply to Mme. 

M , she will cure and comfort you, owing to her magical 

secrets. She breaks spells, and makes everything successful. 
Apply to her, or write in all confidence. 

(Here follows the address) 
The author of the two following statements in the Sau- 
veur des Malades (October, November, December, 1906) is 
perhaps more unconscious, but not less noxious : 

"All the recipes-used up to the present day by M. de S. R. in the heal- 
ing of the sick who applied to her, so as to make them free from their 
bodily sufTerings, and from their social and mental sorrows, are of no 
effect, from this day of Christmas, 1906; neither for the salvation of 
any one; the great Spirits who presided over them, have entered a 
psychical Rest. The new Spirits who have succeeded them with M. de 
S. R., in her mission of universal salvation, have disclosed as curative 
possibilities only the positive will whose expression is included in the 
above call. The truth spoken by the tip of the tongue would be a mere 
form. To have in the brain the desire of wishes exprest, will prove 
useful to our dear patients, poor victims of civil or religious legislators." 
L. C. C. P. D. U.i 

"M. de. S. R., founder and editor of the newspaper le Sauveur des 
Malades, is at home [here is the address] on Fridays and Saturdays. 
She may be taken advice of by letter. Notice is hereby given to patients 
given up by doctors. Hope is still possible for them." 

In the same number (No. 3 "from Raphaelle's birth") 
dedicated " to all wives who died victims to syphilis and to 
the misconduct of their husbands"), M. de S. R. declared 
that " she has been already sent to prison eight times for un- 
lawful practise of medicine, but she has promised to stick to 

'Such a bit of prose, as turned into English, will seem somewhat 
ambiguous to readers. It is not more intelligible in French. I chiefly 
refer hereto the sentence which I have italicized. (Translator's note.) 


her mission, even before the executioner. It will be impos- 
sible to dispirit or dishearten her." 

Therefore I do not use the word "clairvoyance" in the 
meaning ascribed by most authors to it, or to the word 

I have dealt in the chapter devoted to telepathy (Chap- 
ter X, 78 b.) with Mile. Couesdon, and various prophets, 
psychometers and diviners, and also with premonitions and 
forecasts. I believe I may say that the opinion exprest 
here is shared by the whole world of scientists. Therefore, 
scientists were rather surprised to hear a few years ago of 
the Saint Quentin (female seer's) trial. ^ 

b. The Female Seer of Saint Quentin. 

Near Saint Quentin, Estelle B., a female seer of the sub- 
urb of Isle, is induced to sleep by her father or brother; then 
she is put into contact with the patient ; she diagnoses the 
disease and writes a prescription in due form. The Annates 
des Sciences Psychiques wonders whether there is an "in- 
ward alloscopia" in the case. The doctors there are quite 
upset. The office of the public prosecutor at Saint Quentin 
takes proceedings for unlawful practice of medicine and 
swindling, and M. Dorigny, the examining magistrate, is 
trusted with the inquest, while Maitre Cornet, the counsel for 
the defense, requests the judge to make a magnetic experi- 
ment with the seer, and if necessary, to appoint one or sev- 
eral physicians for the purpose of investigating Estelle B. 

Wide Charles Richet, "Note sur un cas particulier de lucidity," Arv- 
nales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 161; and H. A. Fotherby, 
"L'^ther, v^hicule de la conscience subliminale. La clairvoyance," 
ibid., 1906, p. 410. 

'Vide Les Annales des Sciences Psychiques, 1905, p. 709, and 1906, 
pp. 112 and 385; L'Echo du Merveilleux, 1905, pp. 183 and 205; Les 
Archives generales de Mrdecine, 1906, p. 1853; la Revue de VHypnotisme, 
1906, p. 146; Le Journal, January 7, 1906; Le Matin, May 10, 1906. 


Dr. Paul Magnin, professor of the School of Psychology, is 
appointed and works on this experiment, " in the office of the 
examining magistrate, the public prosecutor and his assist- 
ant being present, as well as the judge and his clerk, 
Maitre Cornet, the counsel for the defense, and Dr. Moutin 
whom he has introduced . " The expert finds in Mile . B . very 
noticeable stigmas of hysteria (general and special anes- 
thesia, amyosthenia, etc.). He makes her sleep and awaken 
near her father, then he hypnotizes her quite easily, estab- 
lishes that there is no feigning whatever, and concludes that 
she belongs to this class of " hysterics easily liable to hypno- 
tism in any manner, whose number is pretty appreciable 
and among whom somnambulists are to be found." But, 
from this verification in Mile. B. " one should not infer at all 
a special qualification for interpreting physiological or 
psychological conditions or phenomena, either on individ- 
uals present with whom she was in direct contact with the 
hand, or at a distance, on persons remote from her, with 
whom she was in immediate communication by touching an 
object used personally by them (undercloth, scarf, etc.) or a 
lock of hair. The hypnotic condition, even in case it is very 
sound, bestows on those who are involved in it no extraor- 
dinary faculty, no peculiar qualification. A hypnotized 
subject does not acquire by the fact of his sleep the faculty 
of painting a portrait if he does not understand drawing and 
painting ; in short, he is unable, by the fact of his sleep, to 
perform an act which he could not perform at waking. A 
fortiori, it is quite impossible for him to diagnose or make 
forecasts and write prescriptions, things which are already so 
hard to do after long theoretical and practical investiga- 

At^the same time. Dr. Paul Magnin refused to be present 
when Mile. B. was giving medical advice to her patients, and 
he concluded: " In the actual period of Science, I may assert 


that no somnambulist is able in any circumstances what^ f// 
ever to know the disease of a person or to state the suitable / 
remedy without having made medical studies. This asser- 
tion is not the expression of my personal opinion only. It 
is ratified by the authority of the most prominent scientists." 
After this the barrister asked for a cross-examination by Dr. 
Baraduc. In his report this physician traces an outline of 
psychometry "after the peculiar ideas adopted by himself on 
the matter — ideas which have not been shared by many, 
even among occultists and followers of the soul theory* 
— rather than according to well-established experimental 
data." He makes with Mile. B. experiments as little con- 
clusive as they are little scientific, in which he causes the 
subject to guess the temper, the disease or the sex of a per- 
son, by the contact of a lock of hair, by a handkerchief or a 
waistcoat, and concludes that she is " a living psychometri- 
cal instrument, whose veracity must be acknowledged by jus- 
tice in case it would be thought convenient to circumscribe 
the use of such a power." 

On May 17, 1906, the police court of Saint Quentin 
nearly sanctioned by their sentence, the momentous pas- 
sage I have italicized, and almost discharged the prisoner.^ 
They made diffuse quotations from the ideas exprcst by 
Baraduc, relying upon the disagreement existing between 
professors and doctors in the matter of occult phenomena. 

The fact is important and has deeply imprest the scien- 
tific world, as I have said above. Indeed, one should re- 
member that Baraduc's ideas are quite his own; I have dis- 
cust them (Chapter VIII, ii, 70) when dealing with the 
theory of the radiant psychical force — and it is usually con- 

^Annales des Sciences Psychiqiies, 1906, p. 385. 

*The Court sentences Mile. B. to a fine of 40 frs; her father to a fine 
of 100 frs.; and her brother to 20 frs.; (the latter with reprieve, as he 
had never been tried before) for unlawful practice of medicine. 


sidered that they have not become as yet a matter of real 
scientific demonstration, and that, on the contrary, the 
state of positive science on that point has been very clearly 
established in this statement unanimously adopted on June 
19, 1906, by the Society d'hypnologie et de psychologie, 
under the chairmanship of M. Georges Rocher (formerly a 
member of the Committee of the Corporation of Barristers, 
and vice-chairman of the Societe de Medecine Legale), 
after the reading of Paul Magnin's report, and a debate in 
which Paul Farez, Rocher, E. Favre, Felix Regnault, 
Berillon and Jules Voisin took part : 

" The production of the hypnotic condition enables one to 
obtain the making of definite acts, the growth of emotions, 
feelings or opinions, and also a modification of certain mo- 
dalities of temper; but in no circumstance whatever is the 
subject hypnotized endowed with aptitude or qualifications 
only afforded by science and experience. Especially as re- 
gards the medical profession, the so-called clairvoyance con- 
cerning the diagnostic or cure of diseases is contrary to facts 
perfectly verified and must be viewed as of no value." 

91. Cases and Discussion. 

Since I have cleared the chapter on clairvoyance from all 
that does not belong to it, I fu'st wonder whether there are 
subjects capable of seeing through opaque substances. This 
would, a priori, involve nothing antiscientific ; opaqueness 
and transparency being things absolutely relative, as has 
been shown by the facts detected and surveyed by Rontgen. 

a. A Few Cases. 

Dupouy* relates that Trajan, "who was very skeptical 
regarding somnambulists in his era, sent to the oracle of 
Heliopolis written questions under a sealed envelope. The 

'Dupouy, loc. cit., p. 115. 


god gave directions that blank paper be sent back to him. 
Trajan was surprised. Indeed, he had forwarded only a 
notebook without any writing." A cataleptic subject of 
Petetin " could see the contents of a letter which strongly 
leaned upon her fingers; another was able to see a portrait 
placed over her epigastrium, " Dr. Bertrand was very much 
surprised to see a subject who could detect through gowns a 
herpetic disease of the genital organs. Another saw a bullet 
hidden in the head, and found it out quite easily." In all 
these facts, there is only the beginning of a scientific demon- 
stration of clairvoyance. 

Richard Hodgson* gives, after the "Revelations d'un 
medium spirite" the following description of a trick used in 
order to counterfeit clairvoyance : 

" The onlooker is provided with a strong white envelope 
of small size, and with a blank card, of about the size of an 
ordinary visiting card . He is requested to write on this card 
the name of a friendly spirit, and one or two questions, at 
most. When he has written what has been asked of him, 
he is requested to place the card under the envelope, the 
handwriting being on the smooth side and remote from the 
glue. When this is done, he is supplied with sealing wax so 
as to close the envelope and prevent it from being opened. 
At this moment the medium takes a seat opposite the on- 
looker and near a window. He places the envelope on a 
slate and both are put under the table. After a sufficient 
time so as to enable him to do his work, knockings are heard 
on the slate, which he withdraws and holds out to the by- 
standers. The envelope is still on the slate and nothing 
shows that it has been touched. The seals are intact with- 
out any marks or laceration. Answers to the questions 

•Richard Hodgson, "Comment M. Davey a imit6 par la prestidigita- 
tion les pr^tendus ph^nom^nes spirites," Annales des Sciences Psy- 
chiques, 1894, p. 364, note. 


asked are written on the slate and the name of the spirit to 
whom they had been made is signed at the end of the mes- 
sage. An experienced man, in ascertaining whether an en- 
velope has been opened or not, would infer rightly that the 
envelope has not been touched, and in case he should give 
no scope to his ignorance of peculiar inventions, he would 
readily ascribe the phenomenon to a power of clairvoyance. 
In order to make this trick one should do exactly what the 
medium did before he placed the slate under the table. 
Instead of holding it there with your hand, slide one of the 
corners between your leg and your chair. Then, you are at 
liberty to do what you please with your hand. The on- 
looker is unable to see your movements, since the table is 
between you. You take a small sponge saturated with al- 
cohol from the pocket of your coat. By moistening the en- 
velope on the card you will quite easily read the name as 
well as the question. You write the answer and sign the 
name to which the question was addrest. You may be 
sure that the bystander will be utterly astonished. Alcohol 
only is suitable for moistening the envelope. Nothing else 
would enable you to read the writing on the enclosed card; 
nothing else would dry quickly enough without leaving any 
mark of manipulation. Water would dry too slowly and 
wrinkle the envelope at the place where it was used, and by 
this the onlooker would guess that you had not been dealing 

There are, however, more serious experiments.^ Richet 
places drawings under an opaque envelope, and next makes 
a somnambulist depict or reproduce them. In some cases 
bystanders had no knowledge of drawing whatever; 30 ex- 
periments of this kind out of 180 have been more or less 
successful. According to M. Richet, this indicates the aver- 

'Albert Coste, loc. cit., p. 100. 


age number of days of lucidness. Only for one day out of 
six do somnambulists have flashes of lucidness, and even 
during that day lucidness is quite varying and unsettled." 
Mrs. Sidgwick's^ experiments are only "guesses at cards 
taken out of a pack without having been seen by anyone. 
My friend has attempted about 2585 experiments of this 
order, and in 187 instances she accurately guessed the cards; 
at the same time she guessed to their suit and number. 
However, in 75 instances it has been necessary to repeat the 
trial (for instance, so as to know whether the three of hearts 
or of spades was the one) . By registering these instances as 
semi-successes, we reach a total of 49 successful trials, thrice 
superior to the number ascribed to chance by the computa- 
tion of probabilities." 

b. Personal Instances.^ 

I thought I had found a conclusive instance of vision 
through opaque substances with a subject whom my col- 
league, Dr. Ferroul of Narbonne, had very much talked of 
to me, and on whom interesting reports had already been 
issued in the Annales des Sciences PsycMques} 

A first experiment was perfectly successful. The subject 
read through a sealed envelope and a sheet of tin^ a few lines 
I had written in French; he also indicated Russian prints 
marked underneath. , But a second experiment instituted 
with very strict supervision by a Committee of the "Acad- 

*Mrs. Sidgwick, "Experiences sur la clairvoyance," Annales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1891, p. 157. 

^"Une experience de lecture a travers les corps opaques," Semaine 
medicale, December, 1897, No. 56, p. 44.3; "Rapport de la Commission 
de I'Acad^mie des Sciences et lettres de Montpellier, sur la vue a travers 
les corps opaques," ilnd., 1898. 

^A. Goupil, "Lucidity. Experiences du Dr. Ferroul," Arinales des 
Sciences Psychiques, 1896, pp. 139 and 193. 

*This hindered the trick pointed out by Hodgson. 


emie des Sciences et Lettres de Montpellier,"* proved a com- 
plete failure, and even photographic plates were found im- 
prest by light, although it had been asserted that they had 
been kept inside their frame. Those were perhaps uncon- 
scious frauds. Anyhow, it was an absolute failure. 

c. Conclusions. Rules for Further Experiments. 

Therefore, this is the newest matter which Science has 
not brought to light.^ Still, it is rational and even conven- 
ient to make a scientific survey of the question, and to know 
how experiments of this kind ought to be instituted. 

I think it is interesting to give in this respect a few partic- 
ulars as to the manner in which my colleagues Bertin-Sans 
and Meslin had prepared the Narbonne experiment men- 
tioned above. Dr. Ferroul and the two other members of 
the committee were not in the secret of the preparations in 
order that they might preserve greater independence in 
registering results. 

Three experiments were prepared: ''The first was the 
reading of a letter stitched inside the coat of one of us, and 
whose contents was unknown to us; the second was the 
reading of an analogous letter which we might hold out to 
the subject whilst we were leaving it, under no pretence 
whatever, in his hands. Lastly, we had provided for the 
case in which, owing to any cause whatever, both experi- 
ences just mentioned, having been rendered impossible, we 
would have been led to leave in the subject's hands, whende- 

*This committee consisted of MM. Henry Bertin-Sans, superintendent 
of the studies of psychics at the Faculty of Medicine (now Professor of 
Hygiene at the same faculty) ; Grasset, Professor of Clmical Medicine 
at the same faculty; Louis Guibal, Chairman of the Corporation of 
Barristers, and Meslin, Professor of Physics at the Faculty of Sciences. 

*"We only declare," says Boirac, {loc. cit., p. 257) "that, at least in 
the case I have surveyed, the transposition of lenses is solely apparent, 
and consists, in fact, of a supernormal and subconscious interpretation 
of tactile sensations usually unperceived." 


parting from Narbonnc, a letter he was to forward back to 
us, untouched, and whose contents he was to disclose to us 
by correspondence." 

In order to carry out this program, "we took a new 
pack of 32 cards, and wrote a different word on every card; 
besides, we used 32 tickets and wrote on each of them a 
special sentence and number from 1 to 32. We next in- 
scribed on a sheet of paper opposite each of the numbers, 
1, 2, 3, . . .32, the sentence corresponding to one on our 
tickets, and opposite each playing-card, the word written on 
it. The schedules being thus filled up, were placed under an 
envelope sealed with five seals of black wax; moreover, the 
middle seal was dissimilar to those on the corners. 

" After this we mixed up oiu- cards and tickets and en- 
closed them, two by two, in distinct envelopes. Those 
thirty-two envelopes were mingled, and we selected three 
of them haphazard in order to use them in the intended ex- 
periments. The twenty-nine envelopes left were enclosed in 
a larger one, which was sealed by black wax seals as above. 
Each of the three envelopes selected was folded in a sheet of 
tin and next placed in another envelope. Two of them were 
sealed with black wax in the manner already stated. Both 
envelopes were then ready for the first two experiments. 
The third envelope, destined for the third experiment, was 
fixt against half a photographic plate of 13 x 18 cm., and 
care was taken to insert a sheet of black paper between the 
letter and the gelatinous face of the plate. The whole was 
then wrapt up in eight folds of black paper and locked up 
between two layers of shavings in a wooden box which was 
itself covered with strong paper, and sealed with ton seals of 
black wax, in the same manner as the envelopes. The other 
half of the photographic plate was disposed in a similar way, 
with a sheet of blank paper (instead of the letter). The 
plate had been previously imprest in the dark room : we 


had taken the photograph of a monument and one of us had 
stood towards one of the ends of the field, and a workman 
unknown to us at the opposite end. One of those invisible 
images was on a half of a plate and the other on the second 
half." Therefore, it was impossible, unless operating in a 
room illuminated only with red light, to read the contents of 
the letter, and especially the characters marked on the plate, 
without coloring it. This cloud would be easily detected 
when developing this half of the plate by comparing it with 
the other half. 

The schedules were placed inside one of the lower com- 
partments of a safe belonging to one of us. M. Bertin-Sans 
kept the outward key of the safe, whilst M. Meslin had the 
keys of the inner compartment. As to the twenty-nine en- 
velopes placed under the same sealed envelope, they were 
placed together with the two envelopes to be used in the 
first two experiments and the box prepared for the third 
one, in a safe hired at the Credit Lyonnais. The key 
was taken by M. Bertin-Sans, and M. Meslin, for his part, 
locked it up with a secret key which he alone understood. 
I think it is rather hard to imagine better and more 
multiplied precautions to avoid fraud, and really make an 
experiment of clairvoyance or vision through opaque 

Dariex* made the objection that nobody knew what the 
subject was to read, and he deemed it to be a defective con- 
dition of experimentation. " For, until the contrary proof is 
afforded, especially because of the whole of the experiments 
previously made with this subject, and also because of our 
actual knowledge of what might be called the phenomenon 
of thought-reading, or of unconscious mental suggestion, it 

'Xavier Dariex, "Analyse et critique du Rapport de la Commission 
de I'Acad^mie des Sciences et Lettres de Montpellier," Annales de& 
Sciences Psychiques, 1898, p. 20. 


was far more rational to conjecture a faculty of mental 
reception than a power of objective vision through space and 
opaque substances." 

I answer that oiu- purpose was to try, not thought-reading 
or mental suggestion, but vision tlirough opaque substances. 
And if I mention all the precautions instituted and taken by 
Meslin and Bertin-Sans, it is because they accurately pro- 
vide the requisites of our aim, and because I think that the 
scientific fate of all those matters is connected with strict 
and limited experiments instituted for a well-known pur- 


1. Occult phenomena and psychical phenomena are of a 
pre-historic character, that is to say, they do not as yet be- 
long to science, but they may some day enter its domain; 
they cease to be wonderful and occult when once they be- 
come scientific. Occultism is therefore a sort of promised 
land, which science is constantly attempting to approach 
and invade. 

This pre-scientific character distinguishes occult phe- 
nomena and Occultism from the supernatural, from miracle 
and from the traditional science of the magi and of theos- 
ophy, which are and will always continue to be by their very 
division quite out of the range of science. 

2. That which makes the difficulty of studying Occultism 
and retards our progress is (a) on one side the complexity of 
experimental determinism which distinguishes phenomena 
which are not easily capable of repetition at the will and in 
the laboratory of the explorer; (b) on the other side, the ne- 
cessity of always having a medium in order to make ex- 
periments and, consequently, the frequency of fraud, con- 
scious or unconscious, in these mediums. 

These difficulties are not, however, insuperable and science 
is constantly making conquests in the domain of Occultism 
and rendering a certain number of its phenomena no longer 
occult. Thus it happens that the boundaries of Occultism 
are changing and constantly becoming narrowed, so that 
the Occultism of yesterday is no longer the Occultism of to- 

3. The phenomena which at present have been re- 


deemed from the domain of Occultism, and which consti- 
tute the Occultism of yesterday, may be grouped under 
three heads: first, animal magnetism, now known aw hypno- 
tism; secondly, the involuntary and unconscious move- 
ments which are revealed in turning tables, etc.; thirdly, the 
sensation of memory, so-called polygonal, and resulting in 
false divination, polygonal hallucination and crystallomancy , 
reminiscences and false judgments of a so-called polygonal 
character; fom'th, the association of ideas and imaginations 
which are cognizable in the trances of the mediums. 

4. In order to study the occultism of the present day it is 
indispensable to make a clear distinction between the study 
and discussion of theories and the study and discussion of 

5. What we call a theory is that which has not been es- 
tablished and is not yet irrefragable. Neither spiritism nor 
psychical radiations have yet been demonstrated as facts. 
If their existence as facts is some day actually established it 
will be easy to discover the theory that underlies them, and 
that too, without any recourse to the evocation or reincar- 
nation of spirits. 

We should not therefore expect to find in the facts of Oc- 
cultism any new proof of a future life and of the inmiortality 
of the soul any more than we ought to see in them argu- 
ments against spiritualism. The study of Occultism is abso- 
lutely independent of all the philosophical or religious doc- 
trines which look on from their tower of ivory, with interest 
indeed, but without personal danger, at the experimenta- 
tions and the discussions of the neiu-obiologists : the exist- 
ence or development of any philosophical or religious doc- 
trines does not depend at all upon the solution which the 
future may sometime yield to the unanswered questions of 

6. The facts which used to belong to Occultism may be 


divided into two groups; I., the group of facts whose demon- 
stration, if it is possible, seems in their case to be very far 
off; it comprises (a) telepathy and presentiments; (b) com- 
munication between persons at long distances ; (c) material- 
ization; II., the group of facts the demonstration of which 
appears to be less out of our reach and ought at once to be 
investigated ; it comprises : (a) mental suggestion and direct 
communication of all thought; (b) the movement of objects 
without human contact, levitation and rappings; (c) clair- 

7. There is still another form of Occultism to be discust; 
there are occult phenomena which still remain far beyond 
the range of positive science and whose scientific demon- 
stration has not yet been accomplished. But it is none the 
less evident that this demonstration is not rationally im- 
possible, and it is reasonable that scientific men should in- 
vestigate these grave questions. It is even their duty to 
study them, and we may look forward to the moment when 
certain of these facts will cease to be occult and will be recog- 
nized as scientific. 

8. In order to obtain these results and expedite the reali- 
zation of this program, it is desirable that all these experi- 
ments be conducted with a most rigorous method. 

It would be a good thing to lay aside for the moment all 
complicated researches or extraordinary experiences in 
which the elements of definiteness and finality are too nu- 
merous and too complex for scientific control. Such are the 
experiments in distant telepathy, of communications at a 
long distance, or materialization. However intense may be 
the caution of those making the experiments, no one yet 
knows beforehand on what particular point of the investi- 
gation scientific control should be concentrated; a com- 
munication will sometimes come from the left when the 
experimenter has his attention fixt on the right; a telepathic 


communication will not seem to be of much importance 
until later on the event to which it refers has become mani- 
fest; a fantom may rise in such darkness as renders im- 
possible precise observation, and when it is forbidden to 
touch suddenly the button of the electric light, which 
ought to be allowable in every such scientific experiment. 

Experimenters of the present day should confine them- 
selves simply to things, and should investigate under a full 
light, or at any rate with the option of suddenly turning on 
the light. They should define their single object and it 
should be fully recognized before they begin. It seems to 
me that in this group of experiments should be classed the 
movement of objects and the Icvitation of furniture, tables 
or paper-weights without human contact, experiments 
of mental suggestion, or of the transmission of thought 
without contact, experiments of clairvoyants and the per- 
ception of objects through opaque bodies. 

These are the three points which, in spite of all contra- 
diction, are still occult, and whose elimination from Occult- 
ism would mark an immense advance and a great triumph 
in the domain of positive science. 

The End. 


Abbott, Annie, the "little Georgia 
magnet," 35; her tricks ex- 
amined by Sir Oliver Lodge, 30 

Absent-mindedness, 73; an inci- 
dent of, told by Dostoiewski, 
112; conditions during, 116 

Aksakoff, a medium, experiments 
with, 42 

Amnesia, general and polygonal, 

Arago, , on table-turning, 72 

Astral body, the, 215-219; what is 
proved by it, 230-242 ; mistakes 
as to the term, 235; leaning 
upon no scientific proof, 237- 

Aymar, a conjurer, his use of the 
divining rod, 85-86 

Babinet, — — , his disbelief in spir- 
itualism, 192 

Bailey, the Australian medium, 

Bain, , on imagination, 128 

Balsamo, Joseph, see Cagliostro 

Barker, Frederick, case of, 287 

Barthez, Dr., court physician, 
summoned in Helen Smith's 
seances, 103-164 

Bernheim, , conclusions of as 

to psychical radiations, 233 

Besant, Mrs. Annie, 24 

Bianchi, Prof., 39 

Blavatsky, Madame, 16; her re- 
ligion, 24 

Boirac, , on psychical radia- 
tions, 223-225 

Bois, Jules, his book on spiritual- 
ism, 27 ; on suggestion, 227 

Boissier, Dr., on cases reported by 
Sollier, 324 

Bonjean, Albert, detects frauds, 

Bon7iayme, Dr., on the apparatus 
usedi with psychical radiations, 

Bonnet, Geraud, case quoted by, 

Bossuet, -, puerile sermons at- 
tributed to, 195 
Bourget, Paul, a report by, 52 ; per- 
sonal observation by, 120; his 
seances with Mrs. Piper, 269- 
Bozzano, Ernest, quoted, 248 

Braid, , on mesmerism, 58 

Burke, Edmund, on being angry, 75 

Cadwed, Miss, the medium, ex- 
posed, 45 

Cagliostro and Marie Antoinette, 
105; and Helen Smith's seances, 
158, 160 

Cambridge, England, exposure of 
Palladino at, 49-50 

Chapron, Lion, appears to Bour- 
get, 266 

Charcot, M., experiments by, 20; 
his investigation of hypnotism, 
59; case of amnesia cited by, 
124-125; his account of an hys- 
terical family, 140 

Chevreul, on table-turning, 71-72; 
experiments of, with the explor- 
ing pendulum, 83; investigates 
the divining rod, 86; his scienti- 
fic explanation of the divining 
rod, 89 

Clairvoyance, defined and dis- 
cust, 363-375 ; experiments 
with, 371; rules for experiments 
with, 372-375 

Cloparede, , his views of sensa- 
tion, 128 

Colley, Archdeacon, his welcome to 
spiritualism, 253; his story of a 
ghost, 310-311 

Couesdon, Mile., emancipation of 
her polygon, 144; her account 
of an angel speaking to her, 267 ; 
her mediumship, 208; vague- 
ness of prophecies by, 278 



Congress of prophets, the, resolu- 
tions of, 271 

Conjuror's wand, the, see Divin- 
ing Rod 

Corneille, the dramatist, childish 
poetry attributed to, 195 

Carney, the English spiritualist, 38 

Coste, Albert, treatise by, 18 

Craddock, the medium, exposed, 
44 ; seized while playing the part 
of a ghost, 310 

Crookes, William, observations 
by, 29; experiments by, with 
ghosts, 302; experiments by, 
vdth Douglas Home, 343 

Crystal vision, described, 104-107 ; 
how to produce it, 107-109; 
analyzed, 109-111 

D'Alesi, Mme. Hugo, alterations of 
personality in, 142-143 

Damiani, Signer, trains Palladino, 

Dantec, Felix le, quoted, 26 

D'Ardenne, Dr., reports a case, 

Dariex, M., founds a periodical, 
18 ; on fraud in mediums, 50 

Davenport brothers, the, 35 

Davis, W. S., stances given by, 38 

Dee, John, practises crystal vision, 

Delanne, Gabriel, his book on spir- 
itualism, 190-191 

Delboeuf, dreams by, 113 

Denis, Leon, his book on spiritual- 
ism, 189; his account of psy- 
chical radiations, 220; quoted, 

Divining rod, the, explained, 84- 
90; uses of, 85; now in the do- 
main of science, 88 

D'Orino, Ch., her book on the 
genesis of the soul, 204 

Dostoiewski, an incident described 
by, 112 

Dreams, curiosities of, 98 ; those of 
Delboeuf, 113 

Drumont, Eduoard, quoted, 249 

Dubois, , his report made in 

1837, 9 

Dumas, Alexander, pere, a story of 
Cagliostro by, 105 

Duprat, , on mental instabil- 
ity, 148 

Dupouy, Edmond, on psychical 
radiations, 221 

Eldred, Charles, obtains materiali- 
zations, 42; exposed as a pro- 
fessional medium, 43 ; his ghost 
tricks, 309 

Encausse, Dr. (Papers), criticises 
Dr. Grasset, 22-23 ; quoted, 23, 
32 ; his account of the psychical 
radiations theory, 214-219 ; con- 
clusions of as to psychical radi- 
ations, 230-231 

Epstein, the medium, exposed in 
Berlin, 46 

Exploring pendulum, the, ex- 
plained, 82-84 

Faguet, Emile, introduction by, 

Faria, Abbe de, makes people 
sleep, 8 

Farraday, Michael, on table-turn- 
ing, 72; exposes fraud, 77 

Fere, , an anecdote related 

by, 129 

Flammarion, Camille, at stances, 
14; his experiments with Kar- 
dec, 196; as to the case of Mme. 
Werner, 203 ; his conclusions as 
to spiritualism, 212; his report 
on a ghost, 303 ; on experiments 
with Palladino, 346-347 

Flournoy, comments by, on Miss 
Frank Miller, 175-176; on Spir- 
itualism, 193; on spiritualistic 
messages as caused by the medi- 
um's imagination, 199 ; on errors 
by mediums, 207-209; conclu- 
sions of, against spiritualism, 212 

Fogazzaro, Antonio, at seances, 41 

Fortin, Abbe, his apparatus for 
measuring psychical radiations, 

Fox, John, of Hydeville, N. Y., 
raps in house of, 10 

Fox sisters, the, as pioneers in 
spiritualism, 10-12; confession 
by one of them, 34 

France, Anatole, his tribute to 
Grasset, xx 

France, spiritualism in, in 1853, 

Francis, St., of Sales, on stimu- 
lating emotions, 76 



Francis I., of France, resorts to 
crystal vision, 106 

Frauds, conscious and unconsci- 
ous, 34-35; conclusions as to, 
53-54; conscious, in motor phe- 
nomena, 292-295; unconscious, 
295-300; at the Villa Carmen, 

Funk, Dr. Isaac K., as to Dr. 
Hodgson's promise to communi- 
cate with the Society for Psy- 
chical Research, 202 

Gabriel the angel, incarnation of, 

Gasparin, Agenor de, his code used 
in experiments, 81 

Gayet, M., his discovery of a Bac- 
chante, 275 

Germany, spiritualism reaches, 12 

Ghosts, the cases of Katie King 
and others, 302; photographs 
and moldings of, 303 ; tricks by, 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 
quoted, 132 

Grasset, Joseph, presides at a 
meeting to consider occult phe- 
nomena, 18; premonition by, 

Greece, divination practised in an- 
cient, 106 

Groes, Jean, on speaking-tables, 72 

Hallucinations, polygonal, 102- 
104 ; discust, 305-306 

Hans, a horse, experiments with, 

Haunted houses, 10; studied by 
Calmette, 104; 140; a medium 
always in one, 335 ; cases of, 366 

Haxby, frauds by, 47 

Hervas, Mons. Sancho, his con- 
demnation of hypnotism, 253 

Hobhes, Thomas, an anecdote 
recorded by, 129 

Hodgson, Dr. Richard, investiga- 
tions l)y, 37; his revelations 
from Mrs. Piper, 46-47 ; on frauds 
in mediums, 53; his promise to 
communicate with the Society 
for Psychical Research, 202; 
Prof. Hyslop's stat(!ment as to, 
202; his description of a trick 

used to counterfeit clairvoy- 
ance, 369-370 

Home, Douglas, the medium, 
Crookes' experiments with, 343- 

Hooker, Stenson, on the spectrum 
of the human rays, 223 

Houdin, Robert, his methods in 
juggling, 330 

Hugo, Victor, as the "guide" of 
Helen Smith, 146-147 

Husson, , his report made in 

1831, 8 

Hyslop, James H., conclusions as 
to Miss Abbott's tricks, 36; 
analyzes the "Martian ro- 
mance," 172-173; as to Mme. 
Smead, 177; statement by, as to 
Dr. Hodgson's promise to com- 
municate with his society, 202; 
his report of a message from 
America to England, 266 

Hypnosis, ridiculous representa- 
tions of great men in, 178 

Hypnotic sleep, defined, 60-61; 
how to provoke it, 62 

Hypnotism, historical account of, 

Janet, Pierre, experiments by, 20; 
his researches as to hypnotism, 
60; on table-turning, 72; on ex- 
periments with willing-game, 
92; tells how crystal vision may 
be practised, 107; case cited by, 
124; on mediums, 137; on spir- 
itualism, 195; a case reported 
by, 295-300 

J aire. Dr., his apparatus for 
measuring psychical radiations, 

Joseph, Pharaoh's minister, the 
story of the cup, 105 

Jounet, his apparatus for measur- 
ing psychical radiations, 239- 

Kardec, Allen, stances at the 
house of, 14; his over-confidence 
in spiritualism, 195; admits de- 
ceit in mediums, 208 

Kellar, the juggler, offers to imi- 
tate spiritualistic phenomena, 



Lafontaine, the magnetizer, 228 

Lappa ni, Dr., his book on spiritual- 
ism, 191, 192; his conclusions 
as to spirituaUsm, 252 

Lattes, Dante A., quoted, 253 

Laurent, Dr., tests made by, 332 

Leopold, a spirit, and the medium 
Helen Smith, 147, 158, 166; his 
knowledge of the French lan- 
guage, 177 

Lcmaitre, Jules, on the intellectual 
life as unconscious, 121; seances 
at his house, 165 

Le Veeder, Dr. A. M., his investi- 
gations of ghost photographs, 

Levitation, discust, 335-336; dis- 
cussion of the results of experi- 
ments in, 349-355; instances of 
fraud in, 351-352; documents 
relating to, 355; prizes offered 
for, 356 

Lodge, Sir Oliver, examines Miss 
Abbott's tricks, 36; assists in an 
exposure of Palladino, 50 

Lombroso, Prof., experiments by, 
with thought transference, 325; 
experiments with Palladino, 
337; a report by, 342 

Lucas, Louis, his apparatus for 
measuring psychical radiations, 

MacNab, Donald, his report on 
experiments, 290-293 

Magnin, Dr. Paul, investigates 
the seer of Saint Quentin, 366 

Maistre, Xavier de, anecdote of, 

Mangin, Marcell, quoted, 246 

Marie Antoinette, Cagliostro's pre- 
diction to, 105; and Helen 
Smith's "Royal Romance," 
159, 161-164 

Marrillier, M., his comments on 
investigations, 288 

Mars, the planet, a novel dealing 
with life on, 164-172; canals 
and animal life on, 177 

"Martin Novel, the," described, 
164-172; French language coun- 
terfeited in, 167-f71; Flour- 
noy's conclusions as to, 172; 
power of imagination in pro- 
ducing, 177-178 

Mashenyn, the juggler, tricks by, 

Materializations, discust, 300-319 

Matthews, Colonel, seizes a ghost, 

Maupassant, Guy de, describes 
phenomena, 109 

Maurecy, Mme. Louise, her ac- 
count of experiments, 274-275 

Maury, dreams by, 113 

Maxwell, M., quoted, 24; con- 
clusions by, 30; quoted, 31-37; 
on frauds in mediums, 53; on 
the divining rod, 87-88; on the 
errors of mediums, 205-206; ob- 
jections to spirits regarded by 
him as irrefutable, 210; his in- 
vestigations of Palladino, 345- 

Mayhew, Lieutenant-Colonel, ex- 
poses Craddock the medium, 44 

Medicine, use of hypnotism in, 

Mediums, the need for, 33; frauds 
by, 34-52, 134; definition of, 
135-138; trances of, 138-141; 
personalities of, 141-143; famil- 
iar spirits of, 144-151; stages 
of, 151-157; those who become 
insane, 141; the polygonal 
novels of 158-173; polygonal 
imagination in, 174; produc- 
tions of easily imitated, 180; 
some who are earnest, 198; ideas 
exprest by, in trances those of 
the mediums themselves, 194- 
204; errors made by, 205-211 

Memory, elementary kinds of, 99; 
unconscious, 100 

Mental suggestion, discust, 321- 
334; definition of, 331 ; advice as 
to experiments in, 329; rules to 
observe in investigating, 333- 

Mery, Gaston, phenomena in crys- 
tal vision shown by, 108; on the 
materialization of famous per- 
sons, 204; as to Miller's experi- 
ments, 316-317 

Mesmer, , his arrival in Paris, 


Mesmerism, report on, 7 

Miles, Clarisa, experiments made 
with, 327-328 

Miller, the San Francisco mediima. 



exposed, 48; new experiments 
by, 315-318 

Miller, Miss Frank, on polygonal 
imagination, 174-175 

Miracles, 25-28 

Montorgueil, Georges, his struggle 
with a ghost, 302 

Moore, Hear- Admiral, witnesses 
materializations, 42 

Morin, , his disbelief in spirit- 
ualism, 192 

Motor 'phenomena, discust, 289- 
300; conscious fraud in, 292- 
295; unconscious fraud in, 295- 
300; soon to be scientifically 
explained, 354 

Myers, F. W. H., comments by, 
on crystal vision, 115-116; 
quoted, 246-247 

Newbolt, , coimnents on crys- 
tal vision, 109 

Noel, General, experiments at the 
house of, 312 

Nostradamus, a prophecy of dis- 
aster by, 279 

Occultism, defined, 3; historical 
account of, 5 et seq.; as the 
promised land of science, 19-21 ; 
what it is not, 22; phenomena 
of, cannot be reproduced at will, 
29-31 ; its independent position, 
244-257; various views of, 254; 
has nothing to do with the Su- 
pernatural, 255; not philosophi- 
cal, 256; criticism of should be 
analytical, 257; a list of the phe- 
nomena of, 259; two groups of, 
260; the promised lanrl of 
science, 376; phenomena in 
which have been reduced to 
science, 377; those which have 
not, 378 

Ochorovricz, on frauds in mediums, 
50; gathers evidence as to men- 
tal suggestion, 322 

Olcott, Col., 24: 

Palladino, Eusapia, an experi- 
ment with, 39; exposed at Cam- 
bridge, 49; her irresponsibility, 
51; Flammarion's failure with, 
203; fraud by, 308; experiments 
with, 337-343; an account of, 

338, 339; experiments with, in 
Paris, 343; frequently caught in 
cheating, 355 

Papus, , see Encausse 

Paulhan, M., quoted, 17; on au- 
tomatism, 134 

Pavey, M., imitates spiritualistic 
phenomena, 37 

Pease, Edward, conclusions of, as 
to the divining rod, 87 

Pedley, Charles H., a case reported 
by, 332 

Persia, divination practised in 
ancient, 106 

Petetin, description by, 8 

Petersen, Dr., his body found 
through a medium's help, 272 

Pfungst, Oskar, investigates the 
horse Hans, 94 

Phaneg, the medium, on psychical 
radiations, 223; experiments by 

Piper, Mrs., her revelations to 
Dr. Hodgson, 46; Paul Bour- 
get's report on, 145; a message 
received through, 266; Paul 
Bourget on the seances of, 269- 
270, 274 

Place Saint Georges, the seer of 

Polygonal hallucinations, discust, 
102-103; disorders that account 
for, 103 

Polygonal inspiration, 129-133 

Polygonal ityiagination, 128-130; 
reality of, 174-179 

Polygonal reminiscences, examples 
of when absent of mind, 111- 
112; when dreaming, 113; be- 
fore crystal vision, 114; when 
awake, 115; conditions of, 118, 
126; recognition of as real, 121 

Polygonal romances, the inferior 
character of, 176-178 

Polygonal sensibility and memory, 

97 ; 102; proof of the phenomena 

of, 97; a kind of elementary 

memory, 99 

Prevost, Marcel, quoted, 17 

Prince Imperial, the, of France, as 

materialized by a medium, 197 
Psychical radiations, more con- 
formable to reason than spirit- 
ualism is, 214; account of the 
theory of, 214-243; Rechenbach 



on, 220-221 ; apparatus to meas- 
ure, 227-230; nothing yet scien- 
tifically verified as to, 232, 234- 
236; and wireless telegraphy, 
240; not yet better verified 
than spiritualism, 242 
Puysigur, Marquis de, facts found 
out by, 7 

Ramsden, Miss Hermione, her 
book quoted, 327 

Raps, experiments with, 357-363; 
how obtained, 358; Maxwell's 
experiments with, 358; not yet 
understood, 359; frauds in, 361; 
supervision of difficult, 362 

Raupert, Godfrey, deplores spiritu- 
alism, 253 

Rechenbach, Charles von, on psy- 
chical radiations, 220, 221 

Regnault, Jules, quoted as to psy- 
chical radiations, 241 

Ribof, on polygonal inspiration, 

Richet, Charles, quoted, 3, 4, 6, 18, 
21, 30; on experiments with de- 
ceitful mediums, 53; on spiritu- 
alism, 194; cites an objection to 
spiritualism, 200-201; his con- 
clusions as to spiritualism, 213; 
as to telepathy, 277; as to frauds 
at the Villa Carmen, 313; in 
praise of his work, 314-315 

Robinson, George, anecdotes of, 

Rochester, N. Y., the Fox sisters 
at, 11 

Rochas, Col. Albert de, exposes 
Valentine the medium, 46; his 
experiments, 227 

Rolfi, Pie Michel, his opinion 
quoted, 251 

Rothe, Anna, the "flower me- 
dium," 40, 289 

"Royal Circle, the," a polygonal 
novel, 158-164 

Saint Quentin, the female seer of, 

Santa Prassede, Signor di, de- 
scribes stances, 198 

Sarak, Comte de, tricks by, 39 

Sardou, Victorien, present at 
seances, 14, 15, 16 

Schema, or diagram, the author's, 

Schurz, Carl, his account of ex- 
periments, 276 

Septimus Severus, resorts to di- 
vination, 106 

Sidgwick, , assists in exposure 

of Palladino, 50 

Slade, Dr., the medium, experi- 
ments by, 42 

Smead, , the Martian novel 

of, 172-173 

Smith, Helen, the medium, Victor 
Hugo as her "guide," 146-147; 
her polygonal novels, 158-172 

Sollier, Paul, cases reported by, 

Somnambidism, 74 

Spencer, Mrs. MacAlister, of Chi- 
cago, as a medium, 137 

Spiritualism, ancient cases of, 10; 
definition and outline of, 187- 
189; the theory of, 189-192; 
proofs it should bring forth, 193; 
conclusions unfavorable to, 211- 
213; various comments on, 246- 
254; downfall of, as a theory, 

Stainton, Moses, communications 
with, 47 

Strombo of Athens, exposes fraud, 

Suggestion, various kinds of, de- 
fined, 63-68 

Supernatural, the, 25-28 

Surbled, , on the divining rod, 

89; on spirits and mediums, 156; 
his comments on spiritualism, 
195-196; on the magnetic fluid 
of himian beings, 222 ; on ghosts, 

Table-turning, 71 ; the subject dis- 
cust, 76-81; unconscious fraud 
in, 79, 80 

Telepathy, its relation to animal 
magnetism, 224; defined, 262, 
263 ; the scientific demonstration 
of, near at hand, 264; recorded 
facts about, 265; case recorded 
by Bourget, 266; mediums in- 
fluenced by the living subject, 
272; instances of discust, 265- 
288; cases of, not hallucina- 
tions, 276-278; no case proves 



divination, 278; many cases of, 
already disoccultated, 280-286; 
erroneous instances of, 286; how 
cases of should be investigated, 

Thebes, Madame de, her prophe- 
cies, 279-280 

Trajan, his interest in somnambu- 
hsts, 368 

Trance, in nervous sufferers, 138- 

" Trust of witches," the, 271 

Valentine, the medium, exposed, 

Venzano, Joseph, comments by, 
on thought transference, 321; 
experiments with Palladino, 

Vesme, C. de, experiments scru- 
tinized by, 40; serious moral 
dangers that beset mediums, 52; 

quoted, 294; as to Miller's ex- 
periments, 316-318 

Vicentini, Prof., apparatus de- 
signed by, 348 

Villa Carmen, experiments at the, 

Vinet, Alfred, on alterations in the 
personality, 149-150 

Voisin, Auguste, experiments by, 

Vuagniaux, Madame, and the find- 
ing of Dr. Petersen's body, 272 

Wallace, Dr. Abraham, exposes the 
medium Eldred, 43 

Williams, Mrs., frauds by, ex- 
posed in Paris, 45 

Willing-game, explained, 90-95; 
may be nothing but juggling, 91 

Zuccarini, the medium, levitations 
by, 347-349 





"P\R. GRASSET has had a most extensive experi- 
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"At the present time, when ' the unwritten law,' sanity and semi-insanity are 
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" Prof. Grasset has a decidedly practical motive as the inspiration for this book, 
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