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President of the Marylebone Spiritualist Association Vice
President of the Institute of Welfare Associate of the

Foreword by

First published 1952

This book is dedicated to

Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., C.M.G.
This book consists of a collection of addresses given on various occasions by Mr.
Hitchcock and brought up to date by only the minimum amount of editing.
It will best repay reading by being taken in small doses and digested piecemeal; it is
in fact a bedside book. Any attempt to absorb it on a wholesale scale may result in an
attack of mental indigestion and may cause the reader to miss the logical train of
reasoning by which the author reaches his conclusions.
It is difficult to generalise where so many subjects have been treated, but perhaps it
is not unfair to say that he is writing at priests and scientists and, by implication,
imploring them to come down off their perches for a little and listen to some crude
sense from a layman.
Shall I dishearten Mr. Hitchcock if I say that I think that he will convert few of the
bigoted scientists or clergy by his book? No, I do not think so; for he knows as well as
I that none of the bigoted fraternity will read it at all.
I have sometimes been asked what I would do in some particular connection if I
were the Archbishop of Canterbury.
To this I answer that it is impossible that a person of my character and mental
outlook should ever have been made Archbishop of Canterbury.
Anybody who rises to a position of eminence in any Church becomes almost
automatically an upholder of things as they are. Heaven knows it must be hard
enough to hang on to what they refer to as their convictions without going out of
their way to read books which produce against those convictions arguments which
they are unable to refute.
No. Mr. Hitchcock knows as well as I do that great changes in world thought do not
start at the top; in fact, they tend to be bitterly opposed by the powers that be.
Mr. Hitchcock will have made his contribution to the eventual discomfiture of the
Bishops and Fellows of the Royal Society by taking part in the widespread
conversion to sane thinking of the laity, leaving the pundits - a pathetic and
dwindling group - out on a limb.
Mr. Hitchcock, however, throughout all his simple and lucid treatment of his various
subjects, gives to his readers little indication of his personal activities in the field of
effort which is so close to his heart. Most of his readers may perhaps know him
better than I, but I hope that his book will achieve such a wide circulation beyond his
many friends that it will not be superfluous to state that Mr. Hitchcock is one of
those who has taken to heart the injunction, Be ye doers of the word, and not
hearers only.
As ex-president and treasurer and (I hope) president-again-to-be of the Marylebone
Spiritualist Association of 42, Russell Square, London, he devotes his life to the
cause which lies so close to his heart. He refers in generous terms to the work of
other pioneers of Spiritualism, but of his own contribution he is dumb. He does not
shirk the unpleasant task of collecting the funds necessary for the work and
maintenance of the Association, but he yet remains in intimate contact with the
spiritual side of its work.
Perhaps one day Mr. Hitchcock will give us another book dealing with this aspect of
his work and, if so, we hope that he will overcome his habitual modesty and let us
have a glimpse of his own personal share in the living work.

Picture taken from the front cover of the book.

At lunch on a hot July day many years ago in a hotel in Massachusetts, a friend
handed me a small card which stated that Madame So-and-So was a palmist. I had
no desire to consult her, but to please my friend I went along with him as I had a few
spare hours to while away.
When we entered the house the palmist was standing in the doorway between the
waiting-room and the reception-room. She immediately fixed her eyes on me and
without any preliminaries startled me by saying, You have a boy of nine years of
age. She then went on: In one, two, three, four (counting on her fingers) weeks
from now that boy will be so ill that the doctor will despair of his life and you will
receive a cable from your wife to that effect. Don't be worried about it, for in one,
two, three (once more counting on her fingers) days after, you will receive another
cable stating that he has got over the worst, but he will be on his back for six
She invited me into the reception-room and continued, The ship on which you go
back will be delayed in mid-Atlantic and you will arrive at Fishguard twenty-four
hours late. After she had told me other things I left her, feeling stunned. I had never
met this lady before; she could have known nothing of my personal affairs since I
had only recently reached the States, yet she had told me not only things I knew but
others which I did not know and could not verify for at least four weeks.
On leaving, I told the lady rather inanely that I would report to her in four weeks and
show her how wrong she was, at which she just smiled, full of confidence. Having
been brought up in a stern household I had been taught to regard fortune-telling
as among the attractive evils to be shunned if a man would wish to reach the
kingdom of heaven.
However, I awaited the fourth week with curiosity. I wasn't in the least anxious for I
think, on looking back, that I did not believe in this lady's prognostications. The
most uncanny moment of my life was certainly when, seated at dinner in the hotel, a
bell-boy came through the dining-room calling my name and then handing me a
cable on a salver. There it was, practically to the day, from my wife in London;
Doctor despairs of Sydney's life; can you come home?
It was a Tuesday, at that period one of the sailing days of the Cunard liners. I
discovered the outgoing boat that day was full; the next sailing was on the following
Friday. That also was full. Then I remembered the second cable predicted to come
three days after the first. That would be Friday. The following days dragged along.
On the Friday morning a second cable did come from my wife and reported that the
doctor had said our son had got over the worst but would be on his back for six
I was travelling with a business man who was planning to visit a certain railroad and
we went to see the extent of the line. After that visit, lasting about four days, we
returned to Chicago and caught the night train for New York arriving in the early
part of the morning in plenty of time to catch the Lusitania due to sail in the evening.
Three days out the Lusitania broke one of her propellers and we arrived at Fishguard
twenty-four hours late. And the palmist had foreseen it all!
How could she see something which at the time she saw it did not exist? What
happens when we see something with our normal sight? A material object is bathed
in light, some of which is absorbed and the rest reflected. A part of this reflected
light strikes my eye and I say I see the object. The cause is exterior - the effect
interior, and there can be no physical sight without exterior cause and the presence
of something objective which reflects. But in the case of the palmist she had seen
something which did not then exist and which could not, therefore, reflect. She had
seen the effect before the cause existed. I was nonplussed. Here was something new
to me about which I had never thought. But the subject was now of such absorbing
interest that I studied it at every opportunity.
In Paris, in May 1914, I met a Monsieur Fabro and immediately he saw me he
dashed off sentence after sentence foretelling what was going to happen in the
coming August. There would be un grand dplacement in Paris, in the process of
which I should meet at a railway station a lady accompanied by a young daughter
who would be sitting on the ground nursing a bottle of Vichy water. This struck me
as peculiar at the time, and a little improbable, for people did not as a rule allow
their daughters to sit on the ground at any railway station, but it was to prove
literally true. I, like many others, did not foresee the magnitude of the storm that
was to break over Europe. However, to avoid the risk of being stranded, three of us
decided to return to London.
There were hundreds of people at the Gare St. Lazare, and of us said, I'll show you
how to get through. He then began to elbow his way through to the French
Controller with the trumped-up excuse that we were Reservistes. The Controller
asked to see our calling-up papers and as we naturally did not have any we were
pressed back into the crowd. I tripped over some baggage and, in apologising to a
lady for the mishap, got into conversation with her. She told me that she had come
from Italy with her daughter, Patricia, and that they were going on to London. She
then drew my attention to a young girl, her daughter, seated on the ground nursing a
bottle of Vichy water. When the rush came the three of us encircled the lady and her
daughter and we all managed to get into a carriage together.
The usual three-hour journey to Dieppe took thirteen hours. During the long night
we dozed or talked at intervals. The lady, who was seated opposite me, had been
dozing when she suddenly awoke with a start. In a state of agitation she described a
vision she had had of a town in flames amid terrible confusion and loss of life. On
arrival at Dieppe I managed to get a copy of the Paris New York Herald and on the
front page was a description of the burning of Louvain amid terrible confusion and
loss of life. The Germans had already reached that town. The paper was dated the
day of our arrival in Dieppe and was being circulated in Paris that morning after the
lady had had her vision.
Had she seen a vision of the burning town or had she in some unknown way
contacted the office of the New -York Herald in Paris? Whatever the explanation, she
had described in detail an incident she had never seen with her physical eyes. I asked
myself if this had anything to do with religion.
We crossed to Newhaven and were eventually seated in a train for London. While
passing through East Croydon the lady said to me, I want to tell you something
before we separate. She then told me that she had a very weak heart and had
dreaded the strain of bringing her daughter from Rome to Paris. Arrived in Paris she
had reached the limit of her endurance and, in her room at the hotel, had asked God
to send her help. She ended, I feel you were sent in answer to my prayer.
Yet Monsieur Fabro had told me all this would happen three months before the lady
had decided to make her prayer. Did religion include the arrangement of
circumstances well before hand in order to permit a prayer to have an immediate
response? I pondered on the 65th chapter of Isaiah which promises new heavens
and a new earth and visualises God as saying, Before they call I will answer. If God
took such a personal interest in human beings as to adjust present events to meet
future needs I must revise my old ideas and start my study of religion all over again
from the beginning.
A further odd event was to occur which did not fit in with the scheme of things as I
had previously seen it. During the First World War I joined the King's Royal Rifles
and was sent to Sheerness to be trained. Before long I was conducting services in the
local Nonconformist church. The last day of my training was Sunday; we were to
move on Monday. Possibly the excitement aroused by the movement of many men
stirred me to the depths and led to what happened on the Sunday evening. I was
unexpectedly asked to give a farewell talk to the congregation. I had prepared
nothing but felt urged to consent. I asked the minister to begin the service and I
would arrive later. This would give me time to think out my talk.
I stood up to speak while still working out my theme, when I found I was no longer
the principal actor but merely an onlooker, listening to my own voice speaking,
seeing myself gesticulating and serenely gazing at my own back as though it were
someone else's. I seemed to be silent and quietly surveying a scene as if I were a
member of the audience sitting in the gallery behind the speaker. I did not know how
I had got outside myself and it did not trouble me that I had done so. It was certainly
one of the most impressive addresses I had ever listened to. When I became normal
again I found that others, too, were thinking highly of the address.
I could find a possible similarity to this incident only in the Second Epistle to the
Corinthians when the writer says he was caught up and did not know whether he
was in the body or out of the body. What then was this I which seemed detach-
able and able to roam about outside and go back without knowing how, without
either shock or emotional strain? The mechanics of it were beyond me.
Later, an experience which happened to my elder son confirmed my notion that
there was something not altogether normal in the family. The younger son came to
breakfast one morning full of merriment and with the story that his elder brother
had awakened him in the middle of the night with cries of, Ron, Ron, I've lost my
body! Ron awoke to see his brother kneeling beside his own bed apparently
searching for something among the bedclothes.
The elder boy's story was that he awoke in the night, got out of bed and walked out of
his bedroom along the passage when he became conscious that something was
amiss. He looked back and saw what appeared to be a thin cord of light going back
from himself into his bedroom. Anxiously he turned and followed the cord back and
was startled to see himself lying in his accustomed place fast asleep. He did not
know what happened next or how he got back into his body.
The uncommon nature of these experiences led me to examine my theological
beliefs. Were the people in the Bible, to whom similar things had happened, specially
privileged for the sake of posterity, so that posterity might believe in God? How did
such experiences affect belief in God or otherwise? Some of them had now happened
to me and I did not regard myself as being particularly favoured of the Lord. Was
there something wrong with my theology? Were these phenomena natural, and not
necessarily religious? Did they happen to people whether they were religious or not?
What remains from my first experience of a Spiritualist meeting is not any
demonstration of clairvoyance but the description of the return of a dead son to his
father. The boy, about six years old, was described as blowing three kisses to his
father just as he had done in life. My mind went back to the time when our private
grave had been opened for the burial of a relative. My father had dropped a pebble
into the grave and said, Your mother's down there, my boy. I was assured that she
would rise again at the Judgment, but until then she would remain asleep in Jesus
and awaiting the Second Coming.
The boy's three kisses did not fit in with this belief. They destroyed my previous
creed. Sometime after, my brother and I had the chance of a direct voice sitting and
we listened to the voices coming from the trumpet. Presently the trumpet stopped in
front of me and a gentle but eager voice spoke. I asked who spoke. Your mother,
was the reply. As simple as that! My father's words, Your mother's down there, my
boy and then this, Your mother! My mother was not down in the grave, she was
not awaiting the Second Coming, she was not asleep in Jesus. She appeared to be
very much alive - she could speak, therefore she could think, she could feel and do,
so she was still living an active life.
I experienced a violent reaction against the Church and the part the clergy played in
what now appeared to be a deception. It would be so simple for them to investigate
these phenomena of Spiritualism and, if they were found to be genuine, to say so and
give the laity the truth. They might admit that we had been misled about this matter
of death and that we had to make our creed consistent with the truth. It was the duty
and should be the pleasure of the Church to find out what happens after death.
Claims were being made at variance with the accepted creeds of the -time, claims
which had been investigated and seemed to be valid, but the Church remained stiff-
Ardent church-goers seemed to be the most intolerant of people. One man, religious
according to his lights, begged and prayed me in solemn tones to have nothing to do
with Spiritualism for my soul's sake. Another man, of a militant type, warned me
with flaming eye against the terrible sin of disobedience to the Lord who had said
that Spiritualism was an abomination to him. Other narrow-minded friends sank
into silence and ultimately ceased to interest themselves in my soul - Spiritualism
was like a plague, you were to be ostracised until you were free of it.
Thus my experiences drove me from the orbit of the Church with its faith based on
past authority, to the freedom of faith in Spiritualism, with its belief in continued
revelation and inspiration.

A friend of mine suddenly asked me whether the Bible did not condemn
Spiritualism. He put the question in such a way that I was sure he thought it did.
This surprised me a little as I did not think he was the least bit interested in the
Bible. I asked him when he had last looked at one and he said he had not the
remotest idea but that he had been brought up on it and had been taught that it was
the word of God and that it condemned Spiritualism. Early teaching had clashed
with present-day knowledge, and early teaching had won because my friend had not
troubled to find out the truth for himself.
I, too, was brought up on the Bible. I was taught that every word of it was God-
breathed, that every book of it, every chapter of it, every syllable of it, every letter
of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High . . . faultless, unerring, supreme. So it
was affirmed by Dean Burgon from the pulpit of St. Mary's, Oxford, just over a
hundred years ago. That is what we of the 19th century accepted on the authority of
those we felt should know.
My father accepted it and I was taught it. We had family prayers each morning. A
passage from the word of God was read by my father; then we all knelt down in
front of our chairs while he thanked God that we had got through another night
without incident. The fact that the porridge was getting cold during prayers seemed
to disturb no one but me and, being the youngest, I sometimes took liberties and
suggested that prayers should come after the porridge or that the porridge should
be kept hot. But my suggestion was dismissed on the ground that the porridge would
burn if left on the gas during prayers - it would not be reverent to eat first and pray
after. So the porridge continued to get cold during prayer time.
At an early stage I found the Bible entrancing. There were two reasons for this. Our
interests were more within the home than it is customary to-day; the two main social
centres were the Church and the public house; those who went to the one usually did
not go to the other. I remember the ripple of excitement that went throughout
Church when it was discovered that the organist spent sermon-time in the public
house opposite and his resignation was demanded. The telephone was an innovation
then and only the wealthy possessed it; there were no electric trams, motor buses,
tube railways, wireless sets, television sets, popular theatres or cinemas.
We were thrown on our own resources and I, being London born, loved by contrast
the cawing of rooks, the grunt of pigs, the creak of a five-barred gate and other rural
sounds and the Bible pictured for me delightful country scenes beginning with a
garden in which Adam and Eve roamed at will among the trees and flowers. I could
see Abram leaving city life to live in the country and wandering among the lanes and
by-paths of Hampshire and ultimately settling on Salisbury Plain. For me, David
played the harp with his hands and the outlaw in his spare time like Robin Hood in
Sherwood Forest and I found myself in sympathy with Moses as he grappled with
the problem of getting the Children of Israel out of Egypt. All this had the added
attraction that every book, every chapter, every syllable of the Bible was the
faultless, unerring, supreme word of God.
To tear a page out of the Bible was sacrilege - it was holy - it said so on the cover. At
Christmas and birthdays we gave Bibles to each other. They had hard covers, shiny
covers, soft leather Covers, all of them dark and a little sombre and these were
placed on a round parlour table with the family Bible generally covered with an
antimacassar in the middle. Each had a saintly wish inscribed on the fly-leaf that the
Holy Spirit might guide the recipient into the truth.
With this abundance of Bibles, what could be done with the worn-out ones? They
could not be burnt or torn up - they could not be thrown into the dustbin so they just
littered up the place. The Bible itself, apart from what was in it, was sacrosanct.' My
father caught me once standing on a Bible to hang a picture on the wall. I received
the appropriate chastisement. My father told me of two men travelling in a
dangerous country and coming across a woodcutter's house in the forest. They
cautiously approached and peeped through the window. Beckoning his friend he
whispered, It's all right, there's a Bible on the sideboard.
The story did not say whether the two men received a good square meal or had their
throats cut - but grey heads nodded with approval at their trustfulness. I once heard
the Rev. M. Rainsford tell a story in Bow Church one Tuesday at midday illustrating
the general attitude of believers in the Bible then. A man found himself in serious
financial difficulties. What should he do? that was the question. He could get no
guidance from his friends and so turned to the scriptures on the assurance that the
Holy Spirit would guide him.
He took down his Bible, dusted it and then, shutting his eyes, opened it and put his
finger on a spot. To his horror he read, And Judas went and hanged himself.
Feeling sure this was not the will of God for him he tried again. The second
injunction went further, Go and do thou likewise. In those days many people
believed that was how God made known His will to men.
I was always expected to read a chapter before going to bed - my Bible was propped
up on a chest of drawers with a candle beside it. I read and pondered what I read and
sometimes came across puzzling statementsAnd God hardened the heart of
Pharaoh. Why did God do a thing like that? I thought he had sent the ten plagues to
soften the heart of Pharaoh and yet, here He was, as soon as ever Pharaoh was a bit
softened, the Lord hardened him up again, so that Pharaoh was softened and
hardened at will - the will of God.
Every word of this book was the direct utterance of the most high and I could not
see a way out of the riddle. I had a monkey on a piece of elastic which did amusing
antics as I shook him up and down. I christened him Pharaoh for it seemed to me
that God was playing with Pharaoh as I was playing with this monkey.
But one evening I came across an appalling thing. I was standing by my chest of
drawers reading in the candle light Deuteronomy, 20: But of the cities of these
people which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance thou shalt save
nothing alive that breatheth.
Save nothing alive that breatheth! I had recently been to the Zoo and had been
entranced by the lovely delicate lines of a young gazelle and the soft look in its eyes.
That night I had a nightmare of fact and fancy. My mind saw the exquisite coat, soft
eyes and quivering nostrils of this lovely creature and it seemed to me that some
dark, sinister shape reached over and plunged a dagger into its side. The animal
shuddered, made a gurgling noise and slumped to the ground.
This dark, sinister shape filled me with fascinating horror. It shifted from the gazelle
to Deuteronomy 20, and I saw dreadful happenings while terror-filled eyes searched
for safety and found none. And then the gaunt and threatening figure of Moses stood
in the centre of this scene of carnage and mocked the soldiers whose ferocity had
flagged. What, said he, have you saved all the women alive! Go and kill every male
among the little ones and slaughter every mother.
I asked my father about this in the morning. There's something wrong, I said.
This does not fit in with what you've always told me about God.
My boy, he replied, when you have a haddock for breakfast what do you do?
I could not venture any response for such a treat for breakfast was rare. He went on
without waiting for my reply: You take out the bones you cannot eat and throw
them away. Do the same with those parts of the Bible you can't swallow. I began to
see my father in a new light.
Later I heard him give an address on Balaam's ass and he said the Lord spoke
through the mouth of the ass. I tackled him on it - he explained that this was an
allegory - of course it did not really happen but it was a convenient way of getting
home spiritual truths. So I listened to further addresses in which Samson shook
down a house by putting his arms round pillars and where Jonah abode three days
anD3 nights in the stomach of a whale. I saw a fanciful picture drawn to show how
easy it would be for Jonah to enter the whale's stomach. It was a picture of four
people sitting at tea on the tongue of a whale inside the open mouth.
Arguments arose regarding the jawbone of the ass and the formation of its larynx;
also regarding the internal equipment of the whale - all of them seemingly
impossible to permit of miracles happening. My father usually cleared up these argu-
ments with one sentence, God can do anything.
I was impressed by the case of a man standing in Fenchurch Street station carrying a
cylinder of oxygen to be used with a magic lantern. In an effort to light a cigarette
he dropped the cylinder which exploded and parts of the unfortunate man were
found all over the station, one leg, according to the newspaper, being thrown over
the station clock. I asked my father how that man could rise again from the dead at
the Second Coming of Christ if he had not got a body to rise with. The answer was
promptly forthcoming, God can do anything.
I ventured a question which my father took as ribaldry but about which I was quite
in earnest. Could God make a piece of rope so strong that He himself could not
break it? My father was shocked. A gulf sprang up between us and I did not know
how to bridge it. The reading of the Bible became distasteful to me - it had lost its
lustre and as I could find no one to take me seriously I left off praying, lost interest
in religious things and felt as if I were living on the waves of chance.
My father passed on. He had been a man of considerable character and ability, but I
could never get near enough in spirit to talk to him on friendly terms. I was probably
too young to grasp the problems he had to face and doubtless he tempered the wind
to the very shorn but argumentative lamb that I then was.
But as my mind matured it struck me forcibly that the Bible became an
understandable book if one cut God out of it as the author and judged it upon its
own merits. Everything then dropped into place. Here were books written by men in
the early ages of human historythe writer of each book might be a statesman, a
priest, a prophet, each told his tale according to his point of view. There were in the
Bible instances of barbarity, contradictions and discrepancies inexplicable if every
word of the Bible were God-breathed.
The human origin of the book was more and more confirmed to me as I read on: I
am the Lord and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness, I make
peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.
God create evil? Could that be true? Would God write a thing like that about
Himself? Yet this seemed to come into line with the alternate softening and
hardening of Pharaoh's heart. The only possible answer was that God did not write
it. This conclusion found support in another line of reasoning. God was depicted
with a character in each case very like the character of the writer of each book.
Coarse characters portrayed God with coarse attributes - fine characters portrayed
God with fine attributes. A description of God tallied approximately with that of the
men of the age in which the writer lived. So I was still further confirmed in the idea
of human authorship. Where did divine inspiration come in?
I studied the question at the British Museum. I found that many Jewish writers were
of opinion that all the sacred writings had been completely lost during the
Babylonian Captivity and that Ezra was divinely inspired to re-write them about four
hundred years before Christ. In the Second Book of Esdras, which is apocryphal,
Ezra is said to have dictated the whole of the Holy Scriptures to five scribes in forty
days and forty nights without stopping. I had been prepared to believe much, but
this was more than I could swallow.
I also found in the course of my reading that certain learned men of the Christian
Era had handled the Holy Scriptures with little scruple, adding and taking away
what they thought fit and altering some books to make them consistent with others.
The Talmud tells us that the canon of Jewish scripture was only finally fixed by an
assembly of rabbis about two hundred years before Christ, and that on that occasion
the Books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Ezekiel were only included on the
understanding that a certain rabbi should alter them and reconcile them with the
law. Clearly the authorities could not have believed in the divine inspiration of these
latter books.
The angels in the Bible with their sudden appearances and disappearances always
intrigued me. They came and went as unceremoniously as we go in and out of our
front door. Their existence was accepted as a matter of course and nobody thought
of explaining them or referring to them as psychic forces or extra-sensory
perception. This was to come and to throw a flood of light upon the spirit of the
I must confess to a sense of disappointment when I discovered that there is not one
instance of a visit from a female angel in the whole of the Bible. Angel is derived
from the Greek word for messenger and describes a being endowed with intellect
and free will distinct from and superior to man. Spiritualism has experiences of
many such angels or messengers and the Bible becomes a book revealing the fact
known to Spiritualists the world over, that living intelligences exist beyond the
confines of this life and that they are profoundly interested in what happens here.
The story of Jacob becomes more realistic when instead of saying an angel
appeared, an angel drew near, we say a messenger appeared, a messenger drew
near. The story of Balaam is a simple record of an ass seeing an apparition standing
in the roadway before its rider saw it. In more modern life there are similar incidents
on record.
A man was driving a horse and carriage along a cliff road. The horse suddenly pulled
up and it was only when the driver used the whip violently that the unfortunate
creature was persuaded to go forward while obviously in a state of terror. It just
cleared the spot before a landslide blocked the way behind. The horse was psychic;
the man was not.
In another case a horse was about to cross a bridge when it became agitated and
stopped still. Then the rider saw the spirit form of a man with his arm held up as a
warning - the bridge collapsed. In this case both man and horse were psychic, but
apparently the horse saw the phantom first.
The story of the boy Samuel is characteristic of Spiritualism. The people had lost
touch with invisible things - the word of God was rare in those days - there was no
open vision, says I Samuel 3. Communication between this world and the world of
spirit had become rare. We can fairly take this to mean that there were few
clairvoyants in those days. Samuel was a kind of youth of all work in the temple.
He had to open the doors in the morning, prepare the building for public worship
and at night close up the building.
He had just retired for the night when he heard a voice calling, Samuel. To him it
was an ordinary human voice - there is no indication that he thought it otherwise.
He, therefore, slips out to see what Eli wants. You called me, he says. Eli replied
that he had not and bade the youth lie down again.
He has hardly settled again when he hears the voice a second time and, mystified,
runs again to Eli. But you did call me, he says. Eli somewhat testily denies it and
once more sends the lad back to rest. But a third time the voice calls and a third time
Samuel returns to Eli and says, But you really did call me! Eli suddenly realises
that Samuel is psychic and tells him, if he hears the voice again, to say, Speak, for I
hear. The voice does speak again and holds conversation with Samuel which, when
repeated to Eli fills him with foreboding.
This incident is pure Spiritualism, communication with a discarnate entity. The
history of Samuel's life is that of a great psychic. Consider Samuel's place in the
incident of Saul and the lost asses. The asses have wandered or broken loose and
Saul's father has directed him to take an assistant and go to look for them. Searching
was, however, tiring and boring work. Saul was about to turn home when his servant
reminds him that there is a man of God in the next town who might help. It was
customary to give a present for services rendered and the two of them scrape
together a quarter of a shekel of silver. They eventually come across Samuel, who
opens the conversation by telling them their asses have been found but that their
father is worried about them. I daresay Saul was startled.
In the middle of the story, which is found in Chapter 9 of the first Book of Samuel,
there is a significant verse, the ninth, which reads: Beforetime in Israel when a man
went to inquire of God thus he spake, 'Come, let us go to the seer, for he that is now
called a prophet was beforetime called a seer.'
That is how they inquired of God by going to the seer, the clairvoyant, the medium.
Here, we are on all fours with present-day psychic experience, not always of the
highest order but nevertheless apparently useful in certain circumstances. This kind
of psychic experience is and has been common throughout history. The present day
can furnish innumerable instances of a similar nature and my own experience has
many of them. Samuel possessed all the marks of a great medium and the men with
mediumistic gifts became the priests of early times.
The story given in the sixth Chapter of the second Book of Kings is only satisfactorily
explained on psychic grounds. Israel is at war with Syria and the man of God, that
is the seer, the clairvoyant, sends warning to the King of Israel not to go near a
certain spot for the Syrians have set a trap to catch him. The trap was set two or
three times, but each time it failed and the Syrian King became suspicious. Was
there a spy in the camp? The answer was, No, my Lord, but Elisha the prophet who
is in Israel tells the King of Israel the very words you speak in the privacy of your
bedchamber. That is an interesting touch of extra-sensory perception.
The Old Testament has other instances of this kind which are clarified by the light of
modern Spiritualism. It was this revelation which once more aroused my interest in
the Bible. It became clear that probably most of the authors were psychics as well as
many of the biblical historical figures. Spiritualism became the key to many of the
obscure passages in this remarkable book.
I came to the further realisation that psychic phenomena were simply not a matter of
the exhibition of wonders but the means by which great revelations reached human
beings. The various books of the Old Testament were written at intervals of many
years. The isolated seers regarded themselves as having a mission for mankind
which they had to fulfill however unworthy they felt themselves to be. A superior
power compelled them to speak in the face of hostility and sometimes at great risk to
Micah the prophet denounces the low spiritual state of the people of Israel of his
time. Psychic faculties were the means of communication and the word of the Lord
came to him. The story is roughly similar to Samuel's ministry when the word of the
Lord had become rare, the priesthood was mechanical in the observance of
religious ritual and the people had sunk low in general conduct. The letter of the law
was being kept but not the spirit and, in the famous passage in the sixth Chapter of
Micah, the prophet sweeps aside mechanical rites and insists upon spiritual
Will God be pleased, he asks, with the slaughter of thousands of rams or with ten
thousand rivers of oil? No. What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to
love mercy and to walk humbly with God.
Extra-sensory perception has become not an end in itself but a channel for the
conveyance of higher moral and spiritual truths. Imbedded in much irrelevant
matter are jewels of lofty spiritual thought and feeling. What delightful intimacy
between the seen and the unseen gave birth to the 23rd Psalm, The Lord is my
Shepherd, I shall not want.
In that terrible Book of Deuteronomy we come across the jewel, The Eternal God is
thy refuge and underneath are the Everlasting Arms. Someone, somewhere at some
time in the face of great danger had an experience of the invisible, so real, so
poignant and so protective, that it could only be expressed in some such imagery. In
the pages of the Bible are found the noblest thoughts, the tenderest expressions; the
finest poetry. It is these which are the true revelation with everlasting life in them.
Thus the spirit of the Bible became intelligible and in spite of much that is of interest
only as history or as studies of human character, its lofty spiritual peaks rise higher
than anything surrounding them.

The mental impressions of youth permeate and colour the rest of our lives and sway
our thoughts and actions. A child brought up in military surroundings, unless he
resists by deliberate effort or reacts against a surfeit, sees everything with a military
eye. A child born near the sea uses nautical phrases in his ordinary talk.
I was brought up in a religious atmosphere. The words original sin and salvation
coloured my early days. When I became intelligent enough to investigate, I gathered
that before I could experience salvation, I must have a sense of sin. I knew what the
ordinary five senses were, but not the sense of sin, so I concluded that salvation
was not for me. This puzzled me.
I was intrigued by the case of a man who went to a theatre, and in the middle of the
play left the theatre, shouting as he went, that the actors on the stage were lost, as
they had no sense of sin. The question was how to acquire that sense in order to be
saved from it. It was like asking a doctor to give me a sense of pain so that he could
cure it. I would listen intently to discussions on the subject of salvation which had to
be preceded by this enigmatic sense of sin and I reached the conclusion that every
human being, already sinful at birth, would be cast into eternal hell-fire if he had no
sense of sin from which he could be saved.
Man was a sinner born; he was desperately wicked; the face of God was turned away
from him and, whatever he did, good or bad, when the Judgment Day came, if he
had not been saved, had not accepted Christ or been born again he would be cast
into eternal flames, where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I began to look critically at other members of our family. I weighed up the
possibilities of my brother. He did not seem to love God, whatever that meant, and
he had never told me he was saved; also, there were heretical currents in his make-
up from which I concluded that he had never experienced this wonderful change
called conversion. I sighed with relief for we slept in the same room, and if he had
accepted Christ, I was sure life in our bedroom would have become a battlefield
where he would have wrestled with God on my behalf.
On the other hand if my brother was not saved he must be desperately wicked,
and I searched in my mind for some indication of this. I thought I saw signs of it in
the way he treated our cat. He would give it a couple of yards start and then let the
dog loose; I shared with him the excitement of seeing the frantic rush of the cat to
climb the wall before the dog caught it, which it fortunately never did. I felt that one
would not chase cats with dogs if one were saved.
I was sure one of my sisters was saved because she had offered herself for the
mission field. She had tried to convert me, but I did not know what she meant.
However, I felt sure I must have somehow accepted Christ, and said so, and was a
little puzzled to see no expression of joy at the conversion of a sinner, which seemed
to call for a choir of angels and tears of joy in the eyes of my sister. What I did get
was a rather queer look expressive of doubt.
My mind, though serious, was always alive to fun; but deep down I was concerned
about this question of salvation with a sense of sin as a precursor, though it was an
objective matter so far as I was concerned. To me it was a problem to be solved
rather than a personal matter. What happened when one acquired a sense of sin? I
read the story of a missionary who had been saved and was telling the story of his
life, according to which he certainly was desperately wicked. He had served in the
American navy and had been strung up by his thumbs for 'nautical disobedience.
One day God called him and he fell on his knees and gave himself to his Saviour.
He had painted a truly terrible picture of his past life and certainly needed help from
outside himself.
These words sin and grace and their connections surrounded me. Grace
abounding, desperate wickedness, awful consequences of sin, gnashings of
teeth, and so on, were expressions of strong emotion. Men with an overwhelming
sense of sin wrestled with God sometimes apparently for hours until peace came to
them. Then they jumped from their knees and ran wild with joy proclaiming that
they were converted and offering their testimony.
There was a plan of salvation. My father had a piece of cardboard about twice the
size of a visiting card, divided into black, red and whiteblack representing sin, red
the blood of Christ and white resulting from the blood of Christ. The chemistry of all
this was beyond me. I could not see how black could be made white by passing
through blood. The idea repelled me and seemed childish, yet some great emotional
experience which seemed to uplift people was the reward for believing it.
Then my father died, the household broke up and interest in sin and salvation
subsided when I had to face up to the necessity of earning a living.
However, I still wanted to find out what lay behind these frantic emotional
experiences and decided to review the whole question by outside knowledge. Where
did these ideas come from? Why were they so overwhelming in their day and why
has theology since toned them down? There were the Fathers - they were the
guides and counsellors of the Church and although they had been dead many
centuries they still wielded unquestioned authority. Augustine, who lived at the end
of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century A.D. was a Father. His
conversion was of the type to which all conversions had to conform; great emotional
sense of sin, copious tears, followed by a sense of great peace. This emotional
experience, together with the writings of Paul, moulded his views of the relation
between God and man.
The Bible was accepted as verbally true - Adam and Eve did literally live in a garden
called Eden. They ate the forbidden fruit and became corrupt and this corruption
was passed on to posterity. Children being born in sin were only saved by baptism. If
they were not baptised they were cast into hell-fire. If every human being got his
deserts he would suffer unending torments, but God chose from the corrupt those
whom He would, and gave them grace to become sensible to sin and thus to obtain
salvation. The rest went to hell. This horrible doctrine was largely the outcome of the
times in which Augustine lived. Education was for the few and was restricted. Italy
was pseudo-pious and belligerent.
The period was one of upheaval. Constantine's throne was threatened, morals were
lax; religion was in dispute. Men were ruthless and fierce. Arius from Alexandria had
made his pronouncement that Christ was a very exalted personage but not equal
with the Father; this aroused the fury of the orthodox, who replied with the
Athanasian Creed. Incidentally it is generally believed that Athanasius died before
this creed was written. Possibly in his extended life he is horrified at the creed
having been ascribed to him: Whosoever will be saved: before all things it is
necessary that he held the Catholick faith. Which faith except every one do keep
whole and undefiled he shall perish everlastingly. The sin meriting eternal
punishment was that of not holding whole and undefiled the Catholic Faith.
Augustine gives us a personal view of sin and punishment. He, too, regards the Bible
as verbally and historically true. The medieval world was one of dualism - and was
influenced by the first chapter of Genesis in which the contrasts of the sun and
moon, heaven and earth, sea and land, man and woman, and so on, had been
presented. There was also the dualism of clergy and laity, Latin and Teuton, the
Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. The spirit was therefore in
opposition to the flesh - the flesh must be subjugated, the spirit exalted. In the fall
of man the sin lay in the choice of physical satisfaction rather than spiritual
holiness. Thus, to eat the forbidden fruit was a sin which spread the virus of sin
through the bloodstream of the entire human race - all have sinned and come short
of the glory of God.
Hence Augustine's shame and pleadings with God through several chapters of his
Confessions over what he regarded as one of the most terrible sins of his life. In his
youth, with a few companions, he had stolen some pears from an orchard belonging
to a friend of his father's. It was not as if he had needed them - his father had better
pears he tells us. The sin might have been remitted through penances if he had been
starving, but no, only the villainy of his wicked heart had urged him to break into the
orchard and steal those pears.
A man's thought could be divided into two, good and wicked, there were no half-
measures. Boys were not just mischievous, they were desperately wicked from birth
because they had been stained with the sin of Adam in plucking the forbidden fruit.
Thus Augustine deplores in his prayers that he found himself blythesome. Such a
feeling was obviously wicked as issuing from a heart that was totally depraved by
reason of the fall.
Greek philosophy was also regarded as sinful. It differed largely from prevailing
Christian views and regarded nobility of mind and action while on earth as leading
to ultimate happiness. To combat this, the Church laid down that what was virtue in
a Christian was vice in a pagan, so that goodness and evil depended upon whether
one was a Christian or not. If a Christian, one's actions were good, if a pagan, sinful.
So sin consisted of anything that was in opposition to the Church of Christ; salvation
was acceptance of the Christian creeds and belief in the literal truth of the
In refreshing contrast to this morbid outlook comes The Consolation of Philosophy
written in the early part of the sixth century. While St. Cyril could crack the
theological whip in Alexandria and authorise in his fanatical zeal the murder of
Hypatia, a distinguished lady who in an age of bigotry adhered to Greek Philosophy
and taught it in the Alexandrian schools, a man lying in jail and awaiting execution
could write:
No worldly thing can a continuance have unless love back again it bring unto the
cause which first the essence gave.
Such a notion was catalogued as sin by the Christian powers. During the rise of the
monastic orders, to be clean was considered abhorrent. Lice were regarded as a
mark of saintliness and it is recorded of Thomas a Becket that, as his murdered body
lay in Canterbury Cathedral, lice oozed from under his hair shirt.
It was in these times that the ideas of sin and salvation were formulated.

It is illuminating and fascinating to study the birth and growth of words. Some are
born to high estate to sink ultimately into insignificance; others are born to low
estate to rise ultimately to eminence. For example, the word Gothic today stands
for a style of architecture of rugged strength and majesty but was born of the
contempt felt by Italian twelfth century architects for what was then a new style of
architecture introducing the pointed arch.
The words Premier and Prime Minister were originally terms of abuse hurled at
Sir Robert Walpole in 1742 by the opposition and resented by him.
The word Christian was first jeeringly applied to the followers of Jesus and
rejected by them. It derives from the Greek word Christos, which had originally no
reference to Jesus and was roughly an equivalent of the Hebrew word Messiah.
Palestine, surrounded by the great powers of the world, had been the cockpit of the
nations. Its cities had been frequently destroyed and the inhabitants slaughtered or
enslaved during wars waged by Egyptians, Babylonians, Chaldaeans, Assyrians,
Persians, Greeks and Romans. Out of this unending misery and despair, there arose
in the Jews a yearning, gradually crystallising into hope, that, lacking all earthly
help, some great heavenly messenger, a military, political and religious genius,
would come to free them from the Roman rule, make their frontiers impregnable
and establish the Kingdom of Israel in Jerusalem, whence he would reign for a
thousand years.
It was this idea that animated the disciples when they followed Jesus, but Jesus did
not fulfil their hopes and, within three years of the beginning of his ministry, he was
crucified as a blasphemer. To label his followers as Christian was, therefore, to link
them up with Nationalist Jews and to dub them the enemies of Rome. The Roman
authorities knew all about these recurring Nationalist uprisings and had a rough way
of dealing with those who stirred them up, so the term Christian was resented by
the followers of Jesus because it aroused the suspicions of the Roman authorities
who were only too ready to classify the Gentile followers of Jesus with the
Nationalist Jews.
This suspicion was strengthened when they, both Jews and Gentiles, refused to bend
the knee before the bust of Caesar and repeat the formula, My Lord and My God,
the title adopted by Caesar. They were, therefore, considered unpatriotic and
atheistic and were consequently persecuted. They were crucified, burnt while on the
cross, or thrown to the wild beasts and every indignity was heaped upon them until
they groaned in agony of mind. Their leaders, men of great strength of character,
urged them to be strong and of good courage and not to mind being called
Christian - they were exhorted to remember their leader, Jesus, who, for the joy
that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame and was set down at
the right hand of God.
He knew what agony was; he had been buried, he had risen from the dead and had
ascended into heaven. Yes, but that was not the whole story - he was coming again
and shortly, maybe this very night, therefore, hold fast, be ready, for when he comes
he will bring with him legions of angels and he will wreak vengeance upon those who
have persecuted his followers. Thus, the word Christian became elevated from a
term of abuse and contempt to one of hope. To be a Christian was to believe that
Jesus was coming a second time, not as a lowly carpenter, but as a mighty lord
accompanied by a vast host of heavenly beings and, with his destroying power,
would blast their enemies into oblivion. For a thousand years this idea helped to
mould the life of the Christian Church and in the year A.D. 1000 it nearly destroyed
what was left of the civilisation of Europe.
The Nationalist hope of the Jews and the Christian hope of the Gentiles,
understandable as they both were in the light of the circumstances which gave them
birth, were full of vengeance and foreign to all the teachings of Jesus. Then, how do
we explain the influence of Jesus upon European history?
From the meagre information that we have about him we can come to certain
conclusions. Jesus possessed the profoundest spiritual insight into human life. He
gave to the world a vision of God surpassed by none. His life was a constant
insistence upon value not upon happiness. To search for happiness was to lose
value, but to search for value was to gain happiness. Jesus also possessed superlative
psychic gifts. It was this combination which exalted him in the minds of men. With
him psychic gifts were subservient to spiritual insight.
He gathered around him twelve men. They do not appear to have been remarkable
for intelligence or for education, and they totally misunderstood him in almost
everything he told them right up to the day of his death. They regarded his death as
the greatest catastrophe which could have happened, for it proved beyond doubt that
he was not the messiah they had so fervently hoped for. In the darkness of their
despair they thought there was only one thing left for them to do - return to their
fishing nets and bear as best they might the irony and scorn of their relatives and
They did not return. On the contrary, they went forward, for something happened
which changed the course of their lives and eventually the course of human history.
They had, at a distance it is true, seen Jesus die; they knew where he had been
buried and yet he walked with two of them along a road; he went into their lodging
with them; he sat down and ate with them; and, after a short conversation, he
disappeared. Other dejected men, leaderless and afraid, were hiding in a room for
fear of what the Jews might do to them; the door was locked, the window barred.
And Jesus stood in the midst of them. There could be no argument about it, it was
the self-same Jesus they had seen crucified and buried, for they recognised the
characteristics so familiar and so dear to them. He talked with them, encouraged
them and again disappeared.
It was just as if, last week, you and I had been to the funeral of a beloved friend; we
had seen the coffin containing his body lowered into the ground and heard the
hollow sound of earth thrown upon itand yet, this very afternoon we had run full
tilt into our friend in the street, alive and well. He had linked his arm in ours and
gone home with us, and, after a little cheery talk and a cup of tea, he had
disappeared from the armchair he was sitting in. That would shake you! it would
shake me! And it shook those disciples clean out of National Judaism into Inter-
national Spiritualism.
A great spiritual light shone upon all that Jesus had previously told them and for the
first time they understood what he had meant when he said, My kingdom is not of
this world. They began to see the universe as a great spiritual reality and it changed
their moral values. What previously to them had appeared of greatest worth now
sank into insignificance, and what had seemed of no consequence became of great
value. They were converted to a new way of living.
And so little communities of the followers of Jesus, calling themselves Nazarenes, or
Galileans, sprang up in and around Asia, North Africa and in Rome. Services,
conducted by laymen, were held in private houses, and their members exercised
those newly-found gifts of clairvoyance, healing, mediumship. In fact, if we divest
these early followers of Jesus of their oriental garments and bring them up to the
twentieth century they will be found to be perfectly at home in the services held by
Spiritualists Sunday by Sunday.
They would, however, be a little suspicious in studying Spiritualism today, to see the
constant use of the word Christian which has changed its meaning so profoundly
since they knew it - they would not understand the use of the triangle within the
circle and would doubtless be puzzled as to what it had to do with Spiritualism. In
their day Spiritualism had no temple, no altar, no bishop, no ordained ministry - all
these spelled danger to them - and they would have wondered what had happened to
Jesus, to them, stood for no religion but for an international way of life based upon
the principle of the Fatherhood of God, and consequently the brotherhood of man of
whatever nationality, colour, race or creed. Jesus was the focal point of a great
spiritual and psychic uprush, just as Spiritualism today is the focus of a similar
spiritual and psychic uprush - they are both one and the same power. But just as the
first became cluttered up with religious ritual when Christianity became the state
religion of the Roman Empire there is the danger that modern Spiritualism may
become cluttered up with religious and esoteric divergences and we lose the kernel
in clinging to the shell.
Spiritualism must not be limited to any particular creed or to any particular esoteric
mode of thought. It is international and universal. It belongs to no religion. It is not
Buddhist, Mohammedan or Christian. It is neither Catholic nor Protestant. It is a
way of lift. It speaks the common language of humanity. It sweeps away the greatest
dread in life and brings home to us the fact that God is the Father of the entire
human family of whatever race or colour.
This chapter consists of an address given by the author to the International
Spiritualist Congress at the Victoria Hall, London, on September 5th, 1948.

What a remarkable thing is water! It has, of itself, no shape; to give it a shape it must
be put into a container of sorts, otherwise it flows away, disappears from view and is
lost to us forever. Our thoughts are like that. Many of them flow into our minds and
then flow out again and are lost to us forever, which is perhaps just as well. Still we
do give shape to some of them and thus retain them.
We give shape to our political thoughts by joining the party that most appeals to our
sense of justice. Our religious thoughts find shape in the creed that most appeals to
our temperament. The Roman Church formulated its creed in the Middle Ages. The
Church of England has its Thirty-Nine Articles. The Church of Scotland has its
Westminster Confession, and so on. But Spiritualism has no creed because,
fundamentally, it is not a faith, though it has a few principles which some
Spiritualists like to regard as a creed. Foremost of these is the Fatherhood of God.
This principle is certainly in the realm of faith because the idea that God is our
Father requires some believing. In Victorian days, professing Christians regarded
themselves as worms, and many an apparently godly man prayed fervently for such
a worm as I, which does not say much for his idea of the Fatherhood of God and the
human race in the past does not seem generally to have had a better opinion of it.
Our ideas of God depend upon our ideas of the universe. In the material part of the
universe God does not appear to exist as a father. I once heard an earnest clergyman
using Paley's arguments to prove the existence of God. He took a watch from his
pocket and said: When I look at this watch and examine its mechanism I know
there must be a watchmaker. So when I look at the orderly processes of the universe
I know there must be a God. There certainly must be a watchmaker, but I do not
know him. My attitude would be quite different if I knew him personally and knew
where he lived. I would say: You need not examine the watch. I know the
watchmaker personally and I know where he lives. Come with me, I will introduce
you to him.
Upon superficially examining the material part of the universe I discover the
interaction of astonishing forces, but I do not find a father. If we look at the material
world only we shall come to one conclusion; if we look into, or through it, we shall
come to another. I was one day motoring through the lovely lanes of Dorsetshire. My
wife said, There's a bee on the inside of the windscreen. I do not like risking a sting
by a bee, so, for a brief moment, I looked at the windscreen and next found myself
running up a bank. I should have looked through the windscreen instead of at it. In
the same way, to get the right view of the universe we must look through the
material part of it to what lies behind.
For the early man the world was full of alarms, hostilities and dangers. The lightning
struck and destroyed him; floods washed away his dwellings; wild animals seized his
children; the very earth opened and swallowed him. Death was always a tragedy,
nothing was certain or stable or secure. In the sky at night he saw the same
uncertainty. Stars moved across the darkened background, shooting stars came and
went, the moon was sometimes full, sometimes less than full and sometimes not
there at all. All around him he found nothing he could consider to be the same
yesterday, today and forever.
But one day he made a momentous discovery. He noticed that one star did not move.
Away to the north one star shone fixed and changeless. Other stars moved; that one
did not. It could be trusted to be there always. So through the Pole Star the ancients
realised at the back of the material world a new quality, changelessness, a new
manifestation of the unseen. They worshipped the star and called it The One, The
Changeless One, The Supreme One.
They could very well have sung with us, Change and decay in all around I see, O
Thou Who changest not abide with me. But the Pole Star was remote, isolated, cold.
It could be worshipped but not loved. Human beings, in addition to changelessness,
craved for life and warmth. Their gods were capricious, jealous, self-centred and
needed much appeasement. They might flood the world or burn it up, or they might
even destroy the sun. An eclipse was terrifying. The sun had been blotted out in day
time - thank goodness it had reappeared later. Further the sun did not climb so high
in the heavens in the autumn and the days became colder and shorter.
It looked as if the gods were at it again. What if they did succeed in destroying the
sun? Mankind would die. So anxiety increased with the shortening of the days. Then
with relief they saw the sun once more climbing higher into the heavens and the days
becoming longer and warmer. The sun had again won his battle with the gods; he
could be trusted; he was stronger than his enemies, he would overcome them. Like
the Pole Star he was reliable and, in addition, he was warm and near. So the sun
became The One, The Mighty One, The Lord of Life.
These ancients could stand beside us and sing with us:
Sun of my soul, Thou Saviour dear, It is not night if Thou be near,
O may no earthborn cloud arise to hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes.
Through the sun the changeless heart of the universe seemed to draw near to the
heart of man.
Science, during the last four hundred years, has investigated the material part of the
universe. It has reduced material things to varying rates of motion, from the atoms
in the sky to the atoms forming a drop of water, all travelling at incredible speeds.
All things are matter in motion - movement is the basis of everything, nothing is
still. If we look at the material universe there is nothing stable enough to stand the
weight of our thoughts and mankind is tossed on the stormy waves of chance.
But science has also discovered something else. The same law which governs the
movements of a falling stone, or a rushing torrent of water, governs the movements
of the stars in their courses. The manifold diversities of speeding matter are shot
through with a unifying power which keeps all things from moving at random, so
that the universe is not a matter of chance. The falling stone, the rushing water, the
multitude of stars manifest something other than themselves, something behind
them, something unseen.
Behind all moving, visible things there is One anD1 Only, One Immovable, Invisible,
Incomprehensible reality binding all things in one majestic whole. A tree has roots,
trunk, branches, leaves and fruit; each part renewing itself. But that is not the tree.
The tree is a mysterious oneness embracing the ever-changing diversity of parts. A
man is a masterpiece of unification of parts. He has body, brain, organs, limbs, but
we identify him not by these but by the invisible, changeless unity which knits the
whole into the form of a man.
So, behind all material processes, there is one unifying reality. Hume, the great
philosopher of the eighteenth century, looking at the universe, called this unifying
reality a riddle, an inexplicable mystery. That is true, but if we can go no further
than that we are left in the darkness of a soulless universe. Jesus went further; he
looked into and ultimately through the universe and discovered that this
inexplicable mystery possessed personal attributes, the attributes of a father. He
said, I and my Father are One and he proceeded to draw the loveliest picture of
The Father ever given to man. The prodigal son, after having wasted his goods in
riotous living, was making his weary and shameful way back to his father's home.
Human judgment would likely be, he made his bed, let him lie on it, but when he
was yet a great way off his father saw him and was moved with compassion and ran
and fell on his neck and kissed him . . . this my son was dead and is alive again; he
was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.
Not a word of criticism, not a word in judgment, no mention of working his passage
back into favour by sacrifice and suffering. And when he was yet a great way off his
father saw him and was moved with compassion. I know nothing to touch the
simple beauty of this picture. The riddle, this inexplicable mystery of Hume's had
become in the mind of Jesus the compassionate father. I plead for the insertion of
one extra word into this principle of Spiritualism. Shall we call it the Compassionate
Fatherhood of God?

Modern Spiritualism was founded more than a hundred years ago and its existence
has coincided with the most marvellous period of scientific discovery in the history
of the world. We owe much to science even though it does take a materialistic trend,
for modern Spiritualism could not have existed without the development of scientific
thought. If the knocks on the wall of the Fox family's home in Hydesville in 1848 had
occurred in Europe in 1448, most likely those concerned would have been burnt at
the stake and nothing more would have been heard of them, for the Church of the
time ruthlessly suppressed so-called heresy.
The Renaissance ushered in a complete change in the approach to reality owing to
the release of science from the grip of the Church. Let us go back to Aristotle for a
moment. He lived in the fourth century B. C. and his history resembles that of a
modern scientist. Observation of the data, coupled, at any rate in biology, with
experimental research, was his procedure in all inquiries. He possessed the scientific
attitude of mind and if his method had then been adopted there might have been a
period of scientific discovery and development long before the Renaissance.
His writings, however, were virtually ignored until the thirteenth century A.D., when
relevant portions, particularly his geocentric view of the universe, were incorporated
into Church dogma in support of its doctrines. Some of Aristotle's writings were
revered almost as much as those of the New Testament, but his method of
observation of the data was suppressed.
The awakening desire for truth, in spite of opposition from the Church, demanded
observation and experiment as a means of arriving at reality. For over three hundred
years science followed this method of inquiry into material facts and the same has
been applied to Spiritualistic phenomena since 1848.
As the mind expands by discovery, invention, education and travel, religious dogmas
frequently cease to have their original significance and force is necessary to uphold
them, or they have to be revised in accordance with progress. But this does not apply
to Spiritualism, although the form of its expression may have to change with the
times. This is the true scientific attitude. Now, by this method of research,
Spiritualism has arrived at such certainty as to the reality of its phenomena that
James Hyslop, Professor of Logic and Ethics, Columbia University, New York, could
consider the existence of discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and that the
sceptic had no further right to speak upon the subject.
The Church, on the other hand, rests on faith. It says: Whosoever will be saved;
before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith. Which Faith except
every one do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
Science refuses to accept faith in place of observation and experiment. The Church
regarded observation as irreverent, and experiment - especially on the human body
for the purposes of medical science - an insult to the Deity who had made man in His
own image.
It is true, however, that science is often materialistic and opposed to Spiritualism
and the writings of some of the modern scientists show a tendency to the belief that
materialism is winning all along the line. It is this trend in science which
Spiritualism must change and, in order to do so, we must be clear as to the meaning
of materialism. Briefly, it is the result of the study of matter, inorganic and organic.
Materialists believe that all phenomena covering life, mind, form and purpose are
the result of the action of matter upon matter, and that there are no influences apart
from the material universe to affect the behaviour of matter.
The principal force which drove science towards materialism in the first place was
the hostility of the Church which was still powerful enough to restrict the activities of
science to the study of matter alone, claiming for itself what is called the soul of
man. Even Newton agreed to this division. The soul, which in religion was
regarded as spirit, became transferred to science as psychology and was treated
as an offshoot from matter. Henceforth, matter and motion alone existed in the
universe; everything arose out of matter and returned to matter. Consciousness, life,
mind, purpose, were all derivatives of matter in motion - there was no world of spirit
and no life apart from matter.
Spiritualism flung down its challenge. It had proof that there was life after death. Its
mediums communicated with discarnate intelligences who gave evidence of their
previous existence on this earth. There were materialisations of human forms, dis-
carnate voices could be heard; dead friends and relatives appeared to clairvoyants
and were described by them; there were newspaper tests, book tests and cross-
correspondence tests, in fact, masses of evidence leaving no room for doubt.
The human mind, however, is often hard to convince. Science saw only materialism.
The study of psychology, originating in the desire to investigate mental disturbances,
had revealed that deep down in human personality there was a subconscious area.
Science had not yet plumbed those depths and Spiritualism could not be accepted
until more was known about them. With rare exceptions the psychologists had based
their studies on the theory that mind arose out of matter and they were consequently
unwilling to study Spiritualist phenomena when they held that life and mind could
be stated in terms of physics and chemistry and that further examination could only
show that such Spiritualist phenomena were illusions arising from the subconscious
self of the medium.
The psychologist regarded all experience as the effect of matter acting upon matter
and, in his view, there was no essential difference between organic and inorganic
matter. The materialist thus asserts that living matter with its by-products of life,
mind, purpose, consciousness, etc., arises out of non-living matter and that when
living matter disintegrates at death into non-living matter, life, mind, purpose,
consciousness, etc., also disintegrate and cease to exist as such.
If, therefore, it could be proved that living substance does not arise from non-living
substance, then life and mind must have a non-material origin. Spiritualism has this
vindication additional to phenomena which cannot on psychological grounds be ex-
plained, such as the Rev. C. Drayton Thomas's newspaper and book tests and the
cross-correspondence tests. Even taking into account religion's pressure upon
science to leave spiritual things alone, it is difficult to see how science can maintain
its materialist attitude, since there is no evidence that living matter does arise or has
ever arisen out of non-living matter. There is no case on record that such has ever
happened; living organisms always arise from living organisms; and no scientist has
ever produced in the laboratory living matter from non-living matter. (This may no
longer be true J.H. 2011)
While both non-living and living matter are composed of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon,
etc., I suggest that the difference between them is so fundamental that the living
substance must possess something lacking in the non-living substance and we have
to look outside matter for the origin of that something. Non-living substance is static
and has three dimensions, while living substance is active and has four dimensions,
three in space anD1 in time. Non-living forms remain the same unless acted upon by
external forces; living forms alter from within throughout life. Non-living forms are
inorganic while living forms are organic; non-living forms assume shapes which can
be calculated mathematically, while living forms withstand the pressure of external
forces and hold their shape in spite of them.
For myself, I cannot accept the view that the active and formative principle in living
substance has its origin in nonliving substance which clearly does not possess the
active and formative principle. Yet, this is what the materialist means when he says
that life and mind and consciousness are the properties of a particular kind of matter
known as protoplasm. The materialist does not explain how protoplasm acquires
these peculiar properties. It cannot be from matter other than protoplasm. It must
therefore be from a source outside and beyond matter, from an influence other than
material, which is the case for Spiritualism.
Protoplasm incorporates the principle of life in its simplest form and through it the
world of consciousness, life and mind is able to function giving purpose and
meaning to the world of matter. Human life, at the moment, is in the throes of the
birth of a new order, a second Renaissance. The first finally broke the power of the
Church, but not before that Church had biased science towards materialism which
has robbed the universe of all purpose and left the human mind without a guide to
noble conduct and without sufficient reason for the exercise of restraint in its
Unrestrained materialism has resulted in two world wars, but we may hope for a
perpetual peace if the influences of a world of spirit are allowed to play their part in
the development of a new era in which the spiritual powers within ourselves may be
released for action, and in which misery, want, fear, disease, ignorance and blind
discipline of every kind shall be eliminated, the human character turning its noblest
powers into service here and ultimately into wider service in the world of spirit
which lies beyond the limitations of the body.

Many Spiritualists believe that materialism is dead and that Spiritualism by evidence
of Survival has completely proved its case. However, materialism is not yet finally
disposed of. Official science is still based upon a materialistic interpretation of life,
mind, purpose and form which are regarded as by-products of matter. Everything
pertaining thereto, it is claimed, could be stated in terms of physics and chemistry if
more were known of these sciences.
Bastian, in the nineteenth century, in Nature and Origin of Living Matter, wrote,
The phenomena manifested by living things are dependent on the properties and
molecular activities of a particular kind of matter known as protoplasm.
In the twentieth century, Lancelot Hogben in The Nature of Living Substance could
write with assurance, Moral philosophy can no longer claim that there is any aspect
of the nature of life which is beyond the province of physiological inquiry, while J.
S. Haldane, of the same century, in his Materialism is equally confident when he
states, We can easily show by experiment or observation that all the phenomena
occurring within the body of a living organism are dependent upon surrounding
conditions. From this he concludes that vitalism is, therefore, inconsistent with
our experience.
It is also to be noted that when a biologist or a psychologist asserts that life can be
and is active apart from matter, he, more often than not, does so with an air of
apology. It is considered unscientific to postulate non-material influences and it is
certainly not fashionable. Evidence for Survival may be conclusive to the lay mind,
but it is refuted in scientific circles. Science is still based upon the assumption that
matter is the origin of everything; life, mind, purpose and form are still treated as
properties of matter; inorganic substance is potentially alive while organic substance
is actually so. Life is centred in matter and does not exist apart from it. There is no
place for the view that any kind of energy may exist apart from matter. This
assumption has worked well enough for physics and chemistry since they are both
concerned solely with matter and energy.
It is essential that Spiritualism should find the answer to scientific materialism and I
suggest for consideration the following line of thought as a solution.
Materialism asserts that all matter is one matter, that whether inorganic or organic,
it is composed of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen in different proportions
and that it is living either potentially or actually. Life must be explained somehow,
and if there are no non-material influences it must arise from material influences.
One does, of course, accept the findings of physics and chemistry regarding the
purely physical and chemical constituents of matter, when those findings are the
result of observation and experiment.
But the biologist is also experimenting with organic matter and has found not only
its physical and chemical properties but also a property which goes beyond the limits
of these and appears to obey laws of a different order. This is that mysterious
property of organisation found in protoplasm, which differentiates organic matter
from inorganic. Organic matter is organised matter. If we ask the materialist for the
origin of this organising principle he will answer matter - so matter organises
itself! This means, of course, that organic matter is organised by inorganic matter.
In the light of this idea consider the differences in the behaviour of inorganic and
organic matter. When we observe an object, what decides us that it is living or not
living? When it moves we might decide that it is living until we remember that dead
leaves move when blown by the wind. I was recently startled by what at a glance
looked like a spider running about on my bed. It turned out to be a feather caught by
a puff of air. If the object feels warm and soft it might be considered as living until
we remember that a pudding may be both warm and soft and yet not living. These
are not sufficient definite criteria to go by; both living and not living may move and
feel soft and warm. What then are the irreconcilable differences between inorganic
and organic substance?
One is that all movement of non-living objects (untouched by life) is movement at
random - exterior uncoordinated pulls and pushes; the clouds in the sky are driven
by the wind; water responds to gravity and flows downhill. Living objects, on the
other hand, are moved by inner decisions, by hopes and fears, by wants and
satisfactions. The wind may blow on a living body which resists it; until it decides to
move to a more sheltered spot; a faint noise may cause living movement; an animal
smell, carried on the wind, may produce living activity. A non-living body is moved
at random; a living body moves according to purpose.
It may also be noted that non-living substance interiorly remains the same while
exteriorly its shape is altered by the stress and strain of forces acting upon it and by
mechanical and chemical processes. But living substance, interiorly, does not remain
the same; it is constantly changing, while exteriorly its shape is not altered but
remains virtually the same. In nonliving substance the change is slow on the outside;
in living substance the change is swift on the inside. As fast as living matter is
destroyed within it is restored by the addition of new matter.
These differences are really startling. There are the opposites between random and
purposeful movement, and also the opposites, in construction of animate and
inanimate matter. What causes living matter to act in opposition to non-living
matter? The clue is the presence of protoplasm in living substance which is never
found in non-living substance. Wherever protoplasm is we find it organising matter
into some kind of form. It may be called the organising genius. It has been
designated the physical basis of life, the living matter of protoplasm, the
formative material of animal embryos. It exhibits all the properties of living beings;
it promotes physical and chemical activities and is fundamental in building up and
breaking down proteins and carbohydrates in the metabolism of the cell.
In spite of this formative or organising principle, protoplasm is undeniably matter.
How account for the presence in protoplasm of a property which is totally absent in
inorganic matter? Materialism answers, matter has a natural tendency to fall into
the form of organisms, that is, it is in the nature of inanimate matter to organise
itself. On this materialistic assumption we are forced to infer that life is potentially
resident in inorganic matter and becomes active in certain circumstances in the
same way as the combination of two gases will form a liquid and the combination of
two other gases will cause an explosion.
The engineering and building industries are concerned with the manipulation of
matter. They have had long experience of forcing upon matter some sort of form,
and have had to work against the natural tendency of matter to fly about at random.
The materialist's assumption regarding matter can only be justified if, when we
handle matter, there are signs that it has a natural tendency to fall into the form of
organisms, and the engineering and building industries have found no such signs.
On the contrary, they have found matter intractable and have been forced to build
costly machines to make it take the required shape, and always the substance so
shaped has immediately begun to wander back to its original tendency to fly about at
random when left to itself. This is the most we can say with certainty about matter
when left to itself.
When matter is organised, there is always an organiser apart from matter. The
organising principle of a motor car does not reside in any of its parts, but in the
mind of the maker or inventor. We never think a teleprinting machine is living
because we see it operating of its own accord and tapping out intelligence of what is
going on in another country. It is insisted, however, that there is a great difference
between a living organism and a mere machine. There are differences, of course, but
we are bound to ask which of these differences preclude the comparison?
The scientist tells us that the living body and the non-living machine are, basically
composed of the same constituents, atoms of hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen,
etc. Through the mind of a human being these are organised into machines. By
whom or by what is the living body organised? We do not know, which of course
leaves the way open for any sort of assumption. But any assumption must be
tempered by what we do know. From observation and experiment we do know,
without contradiction, that matter has no tendency to fall into any form - that its
natural tendency is to fly about at random and that it has never been known to
organise itself into either houses or machines. The supposition, therefore, that it has
a natural tendency to fall into the form of organisms has nothing to support it. I
submit, with respect, that this supposition has led science into the materialistic cul-
de-sac out of which it can only extricate itself by retracing some of its steps.
I want to suggest that if life, mind, purpose and form are treated as apart from
matter and as belonging to another order of things, a clarification will naturally
follow. Let us, therefore, make two assumptions:
That matter is never alive.
That the activities of organic matter are derived from a non-material organising
principle which uses matter for the manifestation of form.
Let us assume, therefore, that protoplasm is a non-living substance of itself, but that
it is infused or controlled or manipulated by a non-material principle which belongs
to another order of existence and which is governed by laws superior to those of
physics and chemistry. We can then say that all living organisms are
materialisations of spirit, life, mind and purpose, manifesting themselves in matter
through the organising principle of form operating in protoplasm. On this view,
organic matter does not arise from inorganic but from non-material sources.
This seems to be abundantly confirmed when we come to a consideration of
ectoplasm. Ectoplasm is a fact beyond dispute. It is a stuff which exudes from the
body of the medium and then forms itself into shapes. Its similarity to protoplasm is
striking and suggests a very close relation between the two. Both possess the
fundamental faculty of organising; both may be described as formative material
having the properties of movement, responsiveness and growth; both are essentially
unstable and can only be maintained by a continuous expenditure of energy. Both
are so delicate that a shock may destroy them and convert them into unorganised
non-living matter. In both, water is the most abundant single component. An
analysis of protoplasm confirms this relationship.
The egg of a bird may be regarded as a protoplasmic cell. In the egg, a nucleus
surrounded by a jelly-like substance, called nucleoplasm, is encased by a thin
membrane. This membrane keeps its contents separate from the remainder, usually
referred to as the white of the egg but scientifically identified as cytoplasm.
Biologists inform us that the nucleus in the yoke is primarily concerned with the
influence of heredity and the development of the embryo; the white or cytoplasm
concerns itself with respiration, growth, differentiation, nerve impulses, contraction
of muscles, etc. It would seem, therefore, that ectoplasm is externalised cytoplasm
and, in a materialisation, the ectoplasm is drawn from the cytoplasmic part of the
cells of the medium's and the sitters' bodies.
Ectoplasm has been described as a substance possessing a cloudy luminosity and to
have the colour of living brain matter. Its development proceeds from a thin fluid to
a condition of shivering like quicksilver and ultimately contracts into a more solid
state. An essential point to be remembered is that this substance is part of the
medium and that anything done to the materialised form is actually also done to the
medium. If ink were squirted into the face of a materialised spirit form, the marks
would be seen on the face of the medium. If a sitter struck a materialised form, the
blow would be felt with equal force by the medium, whatever distance lay between
The substance for the materialisation is clearly drawn from the medium's body, but
what explanation can be offered, on the basis of materialism, to account for the
building up of forms which are as different from the medium as it is possible to
imagine? Differences exist in age, sex, nationality, height, colour of eyes, hair and
skin, and language - pronounced differences which have enabled may sitters to
recognise dead relatives and friends. The materialisation of a young woman may be
followed by the materialisation of an old Negro or a Chinese.
The position is confused if we accept the materialist's assumption that matter has a
natural tendency to fall into the form of organisms - why these particular organisms
who have been clearly recognised by the sitters and friends or relatives and who
exhibit an intimate knowledge of the affairs of the sitter, a knowledge which seems
to be totally denied to the medium. But if we accept the view that the activities of
matter are derived from a non-material organising principle which uses matter for
the manifestation of form, everything falls into place. Intelligences in another state
of existence are using ectoplasm drawn from the protoplasm of the medium for the
purpose of manifesting themselves to friends and relatives on this earth, and
survival of human 'personality may at least be regarded as more than highly
The materialistic attitude of science is unfortunate in the light of Spiritualistic
phenomena. If the biologist would study ectoplasm with the same zeal as has been
accorded to protoplasm, there is little doubt that science would soon feel the need to
revise its suppositions in the light of the fuller knowledge acquired.
The general apathy of official science to Spiritualistic phenomena is largely due to
specialisation for the purpose of meeting industrial or military needs. We may,
however, continue to hope that one day the study of ectoplasm will become
obligatory in biology.
Some years ago I gave a lecture at the Marylebone Spiritualist Association on Is
Spiritualism scientific or religious? I was not so wise then as I hope I am today.
After the discussion, when the question was put to the vote, half the audience voted
for science and half for religion. Without raising the question again, I would point
out that the fundamental distinction between science and religion is that the former
is based upon knowledge while the latter is based upon faith. Faith has an important
place in life - much of the suffering of the world is due to the lack of it - but we must
make the distinction clear between science and religion.
Spiritualism is scientific in that it is based upon evidence arrived at by observation
and experiment. In the Middle Ages the human mind was overwhelmed by religious
thought; the faculty of criticism awaited the necessary education for its
development; consequently, with very few exceptions priestly authority was the
criterion of knowledge. If the priest said so, it was so. There were few rebels and
these went in constant fear of their lives.
In these days there is a higher standard of general education, so that no branch of
human thought can get the same stranglehold upon the minds of men, but, as nearly
as can be, science has displaced religion as the central authority. If science says a
thing is true, it is supposed to be true; if it says it is false, it is supposed to be false,
and the backing of great names is claimed in science as formerly in religion.
What is a scientist? A scientist is a person who bases his conclusions upon evidence;
a religious person bases his conclusions on faith. The scientist says, I want to
know; the religious person says, I want to believe. Personally I suggest the place
for faith is where you cannot get knowledge. Therefore, historians and lawyers may
be as good scientists as men who surround themselves with Bunsen burners and
retorts. You and I may be scientists if we base our conclusions upon evidence alone,
without any intermixture of prejudice or partiality.
So the fundamental question is evidence. If the evidence is sufficiently strong we
ought to accept it, although it may be contrary to our prejudices. Observation and
experiment are the key words for both science and Spiritualism. It is with
observation that we must take the greatest care, for it is here that we may deceive
Here is an illustration. One frosty morning, I was riding a bicycle along a narrow
country lane. Suddenly, across the road at the level of my throat I saw a stretched
wire. In a fright I just cleared it by ducking my head. I felt angry as I wondered what
fool had stretched a wire across the road to the danger of the public. But I was
wrong; it was the long end of a spider's web which had been blown across the road
and had got itself attached to the other side and it was so covered with frost that it
glistened like a wire.
If we analyse that incident we shall see that what we call observation was not
wholly observation. It was part perception and part inference. I saw something
across the road and I inferred that it was a wire when it was not a wire. My
inference was wrong. We have to separate perception from inference when we are
considering evidence. John Stuart Mill emphasises this point when he states the
condition for evidence from observation is that what we observe shall really be ob-
served and he cites the example of hearing a man's voice. This would pass in
common language for a direct perception, but the only real part of that perception is
that I hear a sound. The rest is inference. I infer that the sound is a man's voice. The
same applies to the incident I related. What I saw was not what I thought I saw.
There are thus two aspects of observation:
1. Its objective side - that which we have perceived.
2. Its subjective side - that which we infer from what we have perceived.
Evidence has further complications. While we may be correct in our perception we
may be wrong in our inferences. These may arise from an abnormal state of mind
and be equally abnormal. The following case of abnormal inference indicated a
mental upheaval. A man had voluntarily given up a lucrative position in public life.
Asked why he had done this when such possibilities lay before him, he replied that
the authorities were indulging in illegal practices - they were making counterfeit
money. This, he said, was being done, in the basement underneath the building. The
matter was investigated. Below the building was the central heating apparatus and a
number of bars of iron. The inference drawn from that perception was counterfeit
money was being manufactured.
This extreme case revealed the fact that, owing to mental illness, the man's mind was
incapable of drawing correct inferences. It is not necessary to be mentally ill to draw
incorrect inferences. We are all drawing inferences from the things we perceive,
many of them wrong. I hear a knock; from the quality of the sound I infer it is a
knock on the front door. I hear a sound behind me when out walking. From the
quality of that sound I infer that the person behind me is either a man or a woman. I
see something in the distance with a high top. I infer it is the bus I am waiting for.
While my perceptions may be right my inferences may be wrong - it may not have
been a knock at the front door, it may have been a child behind me; or it may not
have been the bus I had been waiting for.
Historians exercise this perception-cum-inference when they search the remains
of old civilisations or find a piece of ancient papyrus. The lawyer does it when he
searches for evidence of the guilt or innocence of the prisoner at the bar. Prosecution
and defence may agree that a certain person killed another person, but what has to
be decided is whether the killing is murder, manslaughter or self-defence, and the
decision is based mainly on inference drawn from the facts before them.
Take the case of the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. This shows the
interplay of fact and inference. The meagre facts were:
1. A baby had disappeared from the Lindbergh house.
2. A ladder was found leaning against the outside of the house.
3. A note was received by Lindbergh demanding 50,000 dollars as ransom.
Let us follow the police in their search for evidence. We begin with the note. It is
written in block lettering and there are no fingerprints. It looks pretty hopeless, but
the composition of the note has a German tinge. Inference, the writer of the note was
a German. If that inference is correct, it narrows down the search to the German
population of the United States.
During the construction of the case a man offered to act as go-between. This was
advertised in the newspapers and, remarkable as it may seem, accepted on both
sides. He handed the 50,000 dollars to a man and later in court stated that the man
was a German. Original inference strengthened.
Now let us look at the ladder. Examination by an expert revealed it to be made of
spruce which the expert stated had come from a certain forest. The timber of that
forest was sent to certain sawmills. The question was: Which one did the timber of
that ladder pass through? Certain microscopical marks on the wood showed that a
defective circular saw had been used. A search among a number of sawmills
discovered the defective saw; this sawmill served 250 retail timber merchants. One
of these timber merchants was able to say that the wood of the ladder had passed
through his yard. He also had a number of German customers.
The expert felt encouraged; now what had he to look for? A portion of the ladder
haD3 holes. Inferenceit had been screwed to another piece of wood with similar
holes. Therefore:
1. Look for a German.
2. Find place where piece of wood would fit.
Inquiries revealed a German who lived in the Bronx and who seemed never to work
yet possessed plenty of money. A visit to the garage in which he lived showed the
place where the three holes in the ladder coincided perfectly. A search in the garage
discovered a portion of the ransom money and a saw was found the teeth marks of
which corresponded to the marks upon the wood. The German was arrested,
charged, convicted and executed. Yet not a single person observed the abduction or
the murder of the baby. A few facts, many inferences, and the law concluded that the
inferences pointed conclusively to the prisoner.
That is evidence arrived at by perception and inference as far as possible removed
from emotion, prejudice and partiality. That is a scientific way of endeavouring to
arrive at truth. That is the kind of judgment we need in weighing the evidence for
And that is our problem. In our private judgments all of us have to be counsel for the
prosecution, counsel for the defence, judge and jury. It is essential, therefore, that
we come to our conclusions without emotion or prejudice. The way we deal with our
evidence exposes our character.
An incident came to my notice a few weeks ago. I met a man, his wife and daughter.
The daughter told me she was with her father and mother at a sance. The medium
went under control, approached the daughter and asked her to clasp her hands
together. She did so, wondering what would happen. The medium, still under
control, placed her hands, one above anD1 below the hands of the daughter. They
remained thus for about three minutes. During that time, the daughter states, she
felt slight prickings in the palms of her hands, like chicks pecking at seed. The
medium then removed her hands and the girl was asked to open up her own. There,
resting in the palm of her hand was a pearl necklace, subsequently valued at about
2. 10s.
I told this incident to a friend of mine who knows a good deal about Spiritualism and
he refused to believe it. In his judgment my friend was like most of us, the whole
court of law within himself. He was counsel for the prosecution, counsel for the
defence, judge and jury, and he allowed the jury to pass judgment without hearing
the evidence for or against. Let us be impartial and see what inferences are involved
in the evidence.
As I did not see the incident, the evidence for it, so far as I am concerned, is the
testimony of five witnesses - the father, the mother, the daughter, the medium and a
member of the M.S.A. council who was present, all of whom are highly esteemed.
The evidence against it is that it violates natural law and it is against our natural
instinct to accept such an apparently unnatural sequence of events.
But it is not so easy to dismiss the evidence, the testimony of the five witnesses,
without involving them in a charge of intent to deceive. If it were assumed that the
necklace was secreted in the hand of the daughter by subtle means before the event,
or after, then the inference would be that there was intent to deceive on the part of
the medium and the daughter, and that these two had acted together with intent to
deceive the father, mother and the member of the M.S.A. council, or that the whole
five were in collusion to deceive.
Now, however hard I may find it to accept the event as real, I find it much harder to
believe that the medium was in collusion with the daughter to deceive the latter's
father and mother, or that the whole five were in collusion to deceive the public. The
father holds a responsible public position and the member of the M.S.A. council is a
man of wide business experience, of great integrity and possesses a well-balanced
mind. The mother, daughter, and medium have characters beyond reproach.
In weighing the evidence for and against, I can only conclude that the event
happened as stated by the daughter to me.
When a new idea comes along an appropriate word must be invented to convey it.
With time the idea develops beyond the stationary word, which then frequently loses
its original meaning. This has happened, for instance, with the word tyrant. The
rulers of Greece, men of mild nature, were tyrants, that being their title. Later,
tyrant was applied to the Roman Emperor, Nero, and, as he abused his power, the
word came to mean the very opposite of its original intention.
The meaning of the word evolution has gradually been changing. It first became
prominent in relation to Darwin, but those who welcomed the original meaning
afterwards rejected the word because it had been seized upon to support a
materialist doctrine.
Darwin's theory comprised two main ideas:
1. Evolution was gradual and continuous.
2. Evolution was due to chance.
Science claims natural causes for things and events observed in the world; it refuses
to accept any divine or metaphysical cause. As everything that happens is supposed
to arise out of matter, the causes must be sought in matter. But it must be admitted
that events, at least, arising out of organic matter cannot be traced to material
The question of evolution is important to Spiritualism as the trend of thought is
away from the materialist conception to another in which Spiritualism has a place.
Evolution was first thought to be continuous and gradual. Darwin held that simple
types of animals gradually merged into more complicated types and eventually
branched off into new species. After an immense amount of work he was not
satisfied that his inferences were final but published them with the suggestion that
the study of fossils might show whether he was right or wrong. The study of fossils,
then in its infancy, became a science in itself, called Palaeontology, the study of the
remains of animals and plants in rocks.
There appears to be little evidence from fossils to support the view of a slow and
continuous change from one form to another. The genealogical tree constructed
from fossil material shows changes at unexpected places and not where the
formation of new groups would be expected to take place. Douglas Dewer points out
that fossil material in Europe is sufficient for all purposes, but that he has found no
fossils of any transitional forms at spots where they would have been, had such
transitional forms existed.
Further, there appears to be in nature a kind of preventive mechanism which makes
it usually impossible for one species to mate with another. Where it has happened
the result is a mule, which goes no further since a mule has no offspring. In the
Zoological Gardens a lion was mated with a tiger and the resultant animal was
named a lygon, but the experiment did not start a race of lygons.
However, changes do occur but within the limits of the species. The horse, originally
small, with five toes on each foot, has changed into a larger animal with hooves. The
elephant started with a short nose and protruding lower jaw. The giraffe had,
originally, a short neck. But these animals changed from time to time and, according
to the evidence drawn from fossils, suddenly rather than gradually.
The fossil of the first horse discovered shows him to have been a small animal - a
little bigger than a present-day large dog - with five toes on each foot. Its teeth had
no enamel and had worn down to the level of the jaw. Millions of such horses lived
and died. Then, suddenly, a horse appeared with four toes on each foot and with
enamel on its teeth. These features became permanent in the species for many
generations. Then a still larger horse appeared with three toes on each foot. After a
further long period, another sudden mutation produced a horse with only two toes
on each foot. Finally, the hooved horse of the present day arrived.
Evolution as a gradual change in the animal is not supported by the science of
palaeontology. Where then is evolution to be found? It is said that organic matter
has the power within itself of evolving to something higher and more complex. That
is true or not true according to the way we look at it. If it is suggested, as it often is,
that evolution is an actual property of matter and would be destroyed if matter were
destroyed, then the evidence seems to be against it. If, on the other hand, evolution
is regarded as the property of mind interacting with matter then the evidence
supports it.
Take the homely bicycle which, in my boyhood, was an aristocratic mechanical
device for purposes of locomotion. In no circumstances can it be said that the bicycle
has evolved from the penny-farthing type to the safety. It clearly has not. The penny-
farthing always remained the penny-farthing - the safety always remained the safety.
Each remained exactly what it was when it was built and at the end either rusted
away or was broken up. It never evolved. How then did the idea of a bicycle change
from the penny-farthing idea to the safety idea? First came the penny-farthing; a
bicycle with a large front wheel and a small back one. The front one had a diameter
of five feet and the back one foot. The value of the big front wheel was that every
time the rider turned his pedals he travelled over fifteen feet and if he was good at
trick riding he could at times dispense with the little back wheel.
That machine never altered - its parts might be renewed from time to time, but it
remained what it originally was, a bicycle with one large anD1 small wheel, and at
the end of its career it was broken up. But the inventor had studied the behaviour of
that machine over a period of time and saw how he could improve upon it. He
therefore made a new machine with a smaller front wheel and a larger back one.
This worked very well, but he discovered that what he had gained was offset by the
loss of speed, for a four-feet wheel carried the rider only a little over twelve feet
instead of a little over fifteen feet with the five-feet wheel. The inventor again made
another new machine with the driving force taken from the back wheel on the chain
drive, which restored to the rider the longer distance travelled in one turn of the
pedals. The inventor was therefore able to dispense with the large front wheel and
have both wheels the same size.
It is clear that there is no evolution in the bicycle itself. It has been a series of new
bicycles incorporating the experiences gained by the inventor from noticing the
behaviour of each type. The evolution has been in the mind of the maker. He studied
his invention, watched its behaviour, noticed its weaknesses, then prepared new
plans incorporating in a new type the experience he had gained in studying the old
type. The change in his mind was gradual; the change in the bicycle was sudden.
The same thing seems to take place in what we call the evolution of the horse,
elephant or giraffe. Mind designs, plans, and the plan becomes objective in matter.
Mind considers the result, corrects the faults and produces another design without
the faults of the previous one. The change in plan was gradual; the materialisation of
the changed plan, was sudden. We must get away from thinking of the mind only in
relation to the brain. We are so prone to think of the brain fathering the mind, but
difficulties disappear if we think of the mind as fathering the brain. Mind may
function apart from matter - that is the basic fact of Spiritualism and is the key to the
idea of evolution.
With regard to the possible relationship between evolution and chance, those who
exclude from the universe everything non-material, are bound to regard evolution as
the product of chance forces, the wind, rain, snow, ice, sun, etc. The pine trees on the
lower slopes of a mountain are taller than those on the upper slopes. External forces
may be fortuitous and if there were nothing else we should all be the children of
chance. A sense of depression filled me when I first read Darwin and thought that
after all chaos reigned where I had thought order was supreme. Life with such an
idea seemed to have no significance.
If, however, chance were supreme there would clearly be no science, for science is
the search for certainty in what appears to be a chancey world. Its search has
progressed far enough to show that the apparent chaos is shot through with laws
and, where laws reign, chance cannot.
Yet, there does appear to be a certain amount of chance in life. What is chance?
Something that has happened without intent or purpose. We talk of a chance
meeting or an accident, something that happens without intention. But we cannot
argue from this that there is no order. A car travelling along a road from east to west
hits a bus travelling from north to south at the spot where the roads intersect and
there is an accident. That chance meeting was not intended by either driver; each
driver was animated by a purpose though something went wrong with it. It was
purpose which may be said to have brought about the accident. Chance is within the
limits of purpose; purpose is always first.
Take another illustration. A building site at the beginning of operations looks
chaotic. Building materials lie about in apparent careless disorder and you think it
could do with a bit of tidying up. But the contractor smiles at your ignorance. Those
building materials have been placed there as part of the general plan. They are where
they will be needed when the building is in progress. The impression of chaos is
given because we do not know the mind of the contractor and we have not seen his
Human life often appears chancey, chaotic, disordered, fortuitous because we have
not seen the plan, but evolution, rightly understood, forces us to conclude that there
is a plan and that it is not to be found in matter. Evolution is a spiritual process. We
are evolving in spirit; the mutations which have happened in the body have resulted
from the evolution of the spirit. There are accidents, some of which we bring upon
ourselves, and others which are beyond our control. The purpose may be perfect but
the means of carrying it out may be faulty. In such a case we might do well to place
our trust in the higher intelligences who have the exalted task of evolving through
the use of matter the potentialities of spiritual life. That is how I think of evolution.

The passing of the Fraudulent Mediums Act was a red-letter day for Spiritualism,
which has been a Cinderella ignored by her two sisters, science and theology.
Though, in the end, Cinderella comes into her own, it is likely that her two sisters
will long continue to ignore her and they will not willingly acknowledge her equality
with themselves.
Spiritualists can no longer regard themselves as happy-go-lucky vagrants. It must be
remembered that religious tradition and non-experimental science both go back
thousands of years, and experimental science at least four hundred years, and pre-
judice colours their judgment because they are on the defensive. To many the idea
that science is on the defensive comes as a shock and will be challenged by them.
Religion - yes: science - no; nonetheless, it is true.
Malcolm Scott writes in A New Argument for God and Survival: It is a pity that both
about the detail and generality of modern occult phenomena the issue should be in
the hands of the scientists, for history shows, I think, that scientists as a class are in-
tensely conservative in spirit, indifferent philosophers and good thinkers only in
their own particular branches. Scientific opinion always tends to act as a drag on
contemporary speculation and discovery, even in science and investigation proper.
Years ago, Alfred Russel Wallace in Miracles and Modern Spiritualism complained
that consistent and unimpeachable evidence for Survival had been met with
absurd and inadequate suppositions which had not disproved or explained away
one weighty fact. He also mentioned the trivial reasoning and the discourtesies
and intellectual dishonesties which were used to discredit the evidence for psychic
Sir David Brewster, Fellow of the Royal Society, was one of a group of scientific men
who formed the British Association for the Advancement of Science. It may be
assumed, therefore, that he would be well qualified to investigate psychic
phenomena and ready to bear witness to the facts if he was satisfied that they were
indeed facts. The account of his investigation given by Madame Home, wife of the
medium D. D. Home, states, I assert that Sir David, in the fullness of his
astonishment, made use of the expression, 'this upsets the philosophy of fifty years.'

The Earl of Dunraven wrote: I was struck with what Sir David Brewster told me . . .
he spoke most earnestly stating that the impression left on his mind from what he
had seen was that the manifestations were to him quite inexplicable by fraud or by
any physical laws with which we were acquainted.
Yet, when a U.S.A. newspaper perhaps rashly stated that Sir David Brewster had
been converted to Spiritualism, Sir David at once wrote to the paper concerned to
disclaim all belief in Spiritualism and to set down to imposture the very phenomena
that he had assured Lord Dunraven could not have been produced by trickery and
were inexplicable by any physical laws with which he was acquainted. The Spectator
of the time remarked that the hero of science does not acquit himself as well as we
could wish or expect.
A. Campbell Holms in The Facts of Psychic Science refers to certain cures stated to
have taken place at the tomb of the Abbe Paris. The genuineness of the cures was
attested by many eminent men of unquestioned integrity and distinction. David
Hume, the British philosopher and economist, admitted the genuineness of the
evidence but stated that such evidence must necessarily be false because the facts
attested to were impossible. A writer in The Criterion denied the actuality of the
cures and is charged with falsehoods penned in the very face of the most
remarkable, the most irrefutable mass of official and other evidence perhaps ever
brought together.
G. N. M. Tyrrell in The Personality of Man has two chapters on the attitude of the
scientific mind to psychical research. He asks, Are men of science impersonal about
facts? and proceeds to show that they are not. He remarks that the investigators of
hypnotism were referred to by the Lancet as quacks and impostors who should be
hooted out of professional society and refers to Lord Kelvin as saying that one half
of hypnotism and clairvoyance is imposture and the rest bad observation. From
these two chapters one gathers that the scientific mind is hostile to the unfamiliar.
We are all a little suspicious of the unfamiliar. We can face up to known dangers but
are scared by unknown ones. A watchdog is useful because of his natural fear of the
unknown and his readiness to fight it. The dog's slogan is, leave things as they are.
He is suspicious of anything unusual. He barks and shows his teeth at a new sound,
a new step outside the house, a new man on the farm, a new machine. Human beings
also fight the new and regard it as dangerous. Among tribes the cake of custom
kept the tribes repeating the habits of their forefathers, for in that they thought lay
safety. The aim of religion has been to hold tribes or nations together so the ritual
must not change. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be is their cry.
Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou Who changest not, abide with me
expresses their fear.
One would conclude from all this that science is based wholly on facts and religion
wholly on faith. This is a fallacy. There is almost as much faith in science as there is
in religion and a great deal of fact in religion as well as faith. There are great gaps in
science which have so far only been filled with a temporary stopping. Assumptions,
hypotheses, theories; sometimes these work. If they do they are allowed to remain
until further discoveries either prove the assumption to be a fact or make it
untenable. Gravity, ether, the second law of Thermo-dynamics are all assumptions -
acts of faith. Scientists believe they may be facts, but evidence is not yet strong
enough to prove them so.
Science is like a sponge full of holes which scientists plug with hypotheses or
theories to keep scientific mechanism stable until a fact is found, when out comes
the hypothesis and in goes the fact. An hypothesis may work even if it is not true. In
the early days the flat earth theory, later known to be false, worked well enough to
allow the astronomer to calculate the eclipses of the moon. Scientific fictions and
facts are bound together by the term natural law which in its turn is an
assumption. It is assumed that anything which does not conform to law as at present
known to scientists is fraud or fake because it is impossible. Thus hypnotism,
clairvoyance, precognition, because they do not conform to so-called natural law,
are deemed impossible and must therefore be fraudulent.
Evidence is ignored if the subject is considered outside natural law, although
natural law is only an arbitrary line drawn by the scientist inside which
investigation is useful and outside which investigation is futile. This attitude swayed
the judgment of Hume on the psychic healing in Paris. It is the same in theology:
anything within the creed is accepted, anything outside refuted. If healing is effected
by agents outside the Church its source is evil; if from within the Church, its source
is good. Science and the Church are at one in condemning anything outside the
barriers which they themselves have erected. The evidence for anything within the
bounds of natural law or of a creed is closely investigated, but evidence, however
conclusive, outside such bounds is ignored or condemned. So we are inclined to
think a little harshly of science and religion and to criticise them for their hostility
towards Spiritualism.
It is well, however, to keep in mind that any more advanced outlook is liable to
arouse the enmity of those holding traditional views on any subject. To them, the old
must be true since it has lasted so long, and the new must be misguided. They forget
that for two thousand years ideas which had originated four hundred years before
Jesus and had been accepted by the educated in Europe were subsequently found to
be false. However long an idea may last, if it is not true to begin with time will not
make it so. Scientific truth depends upon evidence; artistic truth upon intuition.
There is sufficient of both with regard to Spiritualism to satisfy the most exacting
mind. The critics have unwittingly served the cause of Spiritualism. It could not have
reached its present stage if the critics had not pursued their own lines of study.
The work of a scientist is primarily to analyse. Gases when broken down are found to
be composed of molecules. In the molecule is the specialisation of atomic structure.
It is an incredibly tiny particle which cannot be divided further without ceasing to be
the substance built up. A molecule of sugar is built up of twelve atoms of carbon,
twenty-two atoms of hydrogen and eleven atoms of oxygen, i.e., forty-five different
atoms linked together in a particular way. There are many ways of linking forty-five
atoms together, but only one way to produce the properties which make up sugar. By
means of X-ray, photographs of the interior of a molecule have been taken and these
show that the molecule resembles the models and diagrams made by the chemist.
Here is a case where investigation has proved an assumption to be a fact.
The atom in the nineteenth century was considered impossible of analysis. The
assumption was that all material substances were composed of small indivisible and
indestructible particles known as atoms. But the atom has been divided and found to
be composed of electrons. But if we are to believe the scientist, the atom is found to
be composed far more of space than electrons. To get some idea of the composition
of an atom it is said that if the nucleus of the atom were magnified to the same
diameter as that of the sun the orbit of the outermost revolving electrons would be
3,600,00o miles away from the nucleus. Thus inside the atom is mostly space. It is
hard to believe that nearly all that we touch, see, taste or smell consists of mostly
space, but so science affirms.
We had counted on the scientist analysing from the complex to the simple, but, on
the contrary, he has been analysing from the complex to the more complex. The
name electron gives a hint at further complexities, for evidence shows that the
composition of matter is an enormous amount of space to a minute proportion of
electricity. Scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the atom as pictured;
electricity, positive and negative electrons, small charges of electricity, which, if
balanced, neutralise each other and form a stable element, which, in turn, according
to the laws of chemistry, build up to molecules and thus into the different forms of
solids, liquids and gases familiar to us.
Then, what is electricity? We do not know. In the problem of atomic constitution we
come across the dualism which is puzzling. Matter seems finally to contain particles
of electricity. Yet matter is finally composed of waves of something unknown and it
appears the problem is not a three-dimensional one but one which operates with a
number of dimensions equal to the number of degrees of freedom of the atom.
Matter is composed of space and electricity, and shows evidence of action in more
dimensions than expected. An electron will disappear from one of the rings round
the proton, and an electron will appear on another ring round the same proton, but
there is no evidence as to how one disappears and the other appears.
We find ourselves at the end of our mental scientific resources in this respect for the
time being at least. Physics, also, for the moment, cannot carry us further. Biology,
fundamentally concerned with the manifestation of life in matter, is a similar case.
As far as possible, biology has followed the same technique of analysis as physics and
has arrived at the living cell. This living cell is matter composed of atomsthe atoms
of the physicist, so that living and non-living matter are composed of the same units,
atoms, but with the addition of something called life, which appears to have the
power of impregnating the nonliving atoms with certain organising powers -
division, growth, purpose and form.
Biologists are puzzled by the presence of form in living matter. All forms of non-
living matter are impressed from without; living matter develops itself into the form
of a bird, a fish, an animal or a man. Nowhere has the biologist been able to find a
clue to the birth of form in substance. The physicist submits that matter is composed
of immense spaces dotted with infinitely small foci of electricity in which there is no
form. So we must conclude that form resides in something which has yet to be
determined. It will do for the time being to call it ether. This is of the utmost
importance to Spiritualists, for it means that form exists apart from matter and is
therefore not subject to death or disintegration. This can surely be regarded as
evidence that there exists another state of being where form is equally persistent.
Physics has, therefore, reached a critical point in regard to the origin of matter, and
the biologist has reached a critical point in regard to the origin of form. Both physics
and biology are gradually becoming metaphysical.
Physics is also aware that psychology has played a large part in the deliberations of
the physicist. Science is the result of our awareness of an exterior universe which can
be more or less weighed and measured. But what has weighed and measured it? The
mind of the scientist. What has been happening is that physics has become
tainted with psychology; the inner and outer have merged into one. For example, I
see a bus coming. This is apparently true by the ultimate arrival of the bus. In reality
I do not see the actual bus, but the picture of the bus formed on the retina of my eye
and only knowledge of light and air and eyesight enables me to arrive at a correct
This inner world is only now being universally studied and it is at this point that
physics reaches its limits. The outer world can be measured and weighed but the
inner world cannot. One cannot weigh sight or sound, taste or touch. I sit in front of
a fire, the fire sets up vibrations in the atmosphere which in turn sets up vibrations
in my body which cause warmth. My chair feels no warmth although the same
vibrations are beating upon it. This can be explained only by the fact that I have
something more than nerves which vibrate; the nerves are the scientific cause of my
feeling of warmth - the actual feeling is beyond science. The same applies to sight,
hearing, etc.
A blind man may grasp that each colour is a vibration at a certain speed - change the
speed and the colour is changed. But this explanation does not enable the blind man
to experience the delights of witnessing colour. Similarly a deaf man, born deaf and
remaining deaf all his life, cannot experience the mystery of sound. No scientific
explanation of colour or of sound will enable us to imagine either colour or sound
and that is the limitation of science to date.
What an advance it would be if one mind could communicate with another mind
without the intervention of the senses. Or if one mind could build a picture in
another mind to convey information at a distance. It would certainly be of assistance
to a doctor though rather a painful ordeal for him, if he could in himself feel his
patients' actual pain. Yet it appears that this can happen.
Campbell Holmes in The Facts of Psychic Science states A hypnotic subject in
whom the telepathic sense is developed, not only knows the thoughts of the
operator, but shares with him his sense of pain, taste or smell.
He quotes this experience: A large number of strong-tasting substances were
collected and placed outside the test room. An operator, having procureD1 of these,
put it in his mouth and, approaching the percipient, who was blindfolded, placed his
hand on her shoulder, whereupon she described her taste sensations or named the
substance tasted. Care was taken that she should not smell the substance; strong
smelling things not being used. In the experiments made to ascertain if pain could
be conveyed telepathically, the percipient sat blindfolded with her back to three
agents, none of whom touched her. Each agent then simultaneously hurt himself in
the same place; various parts of the body were pricked, the hair pulled, the tongue
bit, etc., and in ten out of twenty trials the percipient localised the pain precisely in
her body, in six the localisation was not exact, the rest were failures.
There are other cases of this kind on record and they establish beyond doubt that in
certain conditions one mind can enter into the experiences of another mind without
the use of the physical senses. These faculties of simultaneous experience by two
people of the same sensations do not appear to be affected by space or time and we
are thus face to face with an area of experience which has only recently been
considered scientifically, but when so considered has been found to be true.
In spite of the tardy recognition of Spiritualism, science is beginning to investigate
telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and the like. It is hoped that considerable and
rapid advance will be made along these lines and ultimately lead to a full scientific
investigation of the technique through which survival after death is proved.
I was speaking to a doctor recently about the human body and he immediately forgot
to be a doctor and became an artist.
His face lit up with emotion as he said, You know, the human body is most
miraculous; it is like a house which is alive. Let us compare the methods of building
used by a building contractor and those used by nature, or, if you like it better, by
When a building contractor wishes to erect a house he first prepares a plan. He then
gets together the necessary labour and materials, and the labourers, bricklayers,
carpenters, joiners, fitters, painters, etc., to use the materials to carry out the plan.
Living men are using non-living materials.
But nature does not work like that. Nature first endows the building materials with
life, then gives each cell a purpose and says, Now go and build a house, and the
living materials do the rest. No labourers, bricklayers, carpenters, joiners or
painters. If it were possible for the building contractor to do the same thing with his
building materials we should have the amusing and astonishing spectacle of bricks
arriving of their own accord and jumping into place; sand and cement mixing
accurately by themselves; doors hanging themselves correctly; windows glazing
themselves; the staircase erecting and fixing itself; the bath mounting to the
bathroom, fixing itself and then doing the necessary plumbing to connect itself to
the water main.
That is exactly what is going on in the building of the human body. The principal
building materials are atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. These are
found in all material substances, whether living or non-living, whether organic or
inorganic. They are the bricks and mortar, timber, etc., which go to build the human
body. When these chemical constituents compose a living organism they become
touched with celestial fire and are endowed with life and purpose.
Millions of these living cells, containing these building materials, go to build the tiny
body of a child in the womb of its mother. The mystery of it is that each of these
living cells has a special job to do. Without being told, some set about building a
heart, others rush off to build the brain and spinal column, others the lungs, others
the nerves and still others the muscular tissues. All of them work at their separate
jobs in perfect harmony and, when the little one is born, no hand will have fashioned
it. In the darkness and the silence the living materials fashioned themselves into the
organs of that little body and, when all was complete and ready, the final wonder
took place. The tiny heart began to beat of its own accord.
Here lies the difference between living and non-living substances, between organic
and inorganic matter. Inorganic matter stands alone; it remains what it is and no
more. When it moves, it does so because of external pressure. The clouds drive
across the sky by reason of the wind; the rain falls because of the force of gravity; the
river runs to the sea because of the fall in its bed. All inorganic matter is moved by
external force.
Living substance, on the other hand, is the temporary fusion of the living universe of
spirit with the non-living universe of matter, endowing it with purpose and power
and transfiguring it with the life and purpose of God. Living substance is spirit
shining through matter, and, at death, the glory goes out of matter which returns to
its non-living conditions, until it is seized upon by some other form of life.
All through our temporary sojourn this miraculous process of building with living
materials is going on in the human body. One of the nearest counterparts to a living
organism is a great city. Could we imagine and visit a city with all the activities of a
city but without a single human inhabitant we should be amazed at the results and
puzzled as to how it carried on. We should see parcels and letters, bearing no name
or address, being delivered correctly without a postman. We should see each
omnibus running up or down the street, stopping at the right places, and arriving at
the correct terminus, without a driver or conductor. We should find telephone
connections correctly made without an operator. Old houses would fall down and
new ones build themselves up as required. In this fantasy there would be no lord
mayor, no councillors or officials, no postmen, no bus drivers or conductors, no
railway officials, no train drivers or guards and no signalmen. Yet all the affairs of
the city would go on with perfect regularity and timing without the touch of a single
human hand or the sound of a single human voice. This does not overstate the facts
regarding the human body.
But this is not all. Some of these living cells may go on strike and we get ill, or we
have demanded too much of them and the doctor has to step in.
The medical profession has known for some years that the human body has a
radiation from itself going outwards which can be measured. The latest development
is that the doctors claim they can diagnose the physical state of a person by studying
only the radiation and ignoring the body itself. But that is just what the healer has
been doing ever since there were healers. It is along these lines of radiation that
healing has been effected.
I have had my physical troubles exactly defined by a healer with his eyes shut, while
under control, and to whom I have not spoken a word as to my condition. The
difference between a spiritual healer and myself, for example, is that I have only one
radiation whereas the spiritual healer has two. One is his own, the other is a glow
arising from the combined emanations or radiations extending from unseen
intelligences who are banded together to use him as a focus for their power. Their
healing power joins the living body of the patient through the spiritual healer.
The difference between organic and inorganic matter has exercised many of our
greatest minds. But none has come to a wholly satisfactory conclusion. In the
mechanistic hypothesis current in the nineteenth century life is said to have got
started upon the surface of this mechanical world by a kind of biological accident.
Upon this hypothesis the inorganic alone was basic and permanent. Thus, life and
mind were temporary phases in this world's development and would ultimately fade
away and be no more. As life, mind and purpose were regarded as by-products of
matter they were wholly subject to the laws of the exact sciences, physics, chemistry,
etc. In such circumstances there could not possibly be life after death, as life could
not exist apart from matter; hence the materialism of the nineteenth century.
The organic hypothesis, on the other hand, held that the world has never been a
merely purposeless mechanical thing. Matter was not regarded as an independent
substance in its own right, but as the material through which life works. Julian
Huxley emphasises this view when he says in his Essays of a Biologist, There can be
no reasonable doubt that living matter, in process of time, originated from non-
living matter; and, if that be so, we must push our conclusion farther, and believe
that not only living matter, but all matter is associated with something of the same
general description as mind in the higher animals.
In this view life and mind are not accidents but are basic and permanent with
inorganic matter as well as organic. We are liable to find ourselves again arriving at
the same conclusions that we arrived at through a consideration of the mechanistic
hypothesis of the nineteenth century. For it suggests that life, mind and purpose are
so imbedded in both organic and inorganic matter that they cannot exist apart from
it and thus there can be no life of the spirit after death.
Sir Oliver Lodge, on the other hand, expressed a view in which the phenomena of
Spiritualism not only become possible but necessary. He wrote, The faint
beginnings of consciousness, and the fundamental rudiments of matter . . . may have
arisen from something which was neither conscious nor material but which had
within it the potentiality of the development of both attributes.
He presupposes the preparation of a plan whereby this something which was
neither conscious nor material should split into two - one part becoming inert
matter wholly dependent upon the past and upon environment, the other part
becoming life looking to the future and guided by perceptions rather than urged by
force - part becoming degraded into inorganic matter and part elevated into life,
mind, purpose and form.
Thus, he pointed out, we get freedom and mechanism interlaced, comprising an
arena of conflict resulting in a vigorous vitality appearing in the universe.
There is a grandeur about that conception which I do not think is reached in the
organic hypothesis, and certainly not in the mechanistic hypothesis of the
nineteenth century. The intuitions of poetry are at home in such a view.
Life, with all its potentialities, has, for millions of years interacted with matter. It has
developed through stress and strain, suffering and joy until it is able to extricate
itself from matter and take its place in the exalted environment of spirit.

When I was young I believed, in my simplicity, that if a fact were intelligently stated,
with reasons given, it would be accepted. Produce sound evidence that a new truth
had been revealed and it would be universally welcomed. But years sometimes open
one's eyes and I now know that the stronger the evidence the greater the opposition
to it. The great truth about truth is that, at first, few accept it. Most will refuse the
evidence and supply their own explanations to refute it.
About 400 B.C. a man lived who, if he were alive today, would undoubtedly be
regarded as great. Meagre as was the information at his disposal, he nevertheless
established many remarkable hypotheses in most branches of scientific thought,
physics, chemistry, the natural sciences, physiology, etc. He was far ahead of his
times, so far, in fact, that there were few who could criticise his findings. So an aura
of sanctity shone around his writings and the Christian Church incorporated some of
them into their views of life.
The New Testament was the standard authority on the unseen; Aristotle was the
standard authority on the seen. So for two thousand years his word was accepted,
which saveD1 the trouble of finding things out for oneself. Aristotle knew all the
answers. A comparison of what he said then with what naturalists, physiologists,
astronomers, etc., said sixteen hundred years after Christ, reveals a startling
similarity of view. There had been little progress during that long period because it
lacked observation and experiment.
One day a professor of physics at the University of Pisa made a statement which was
a shock to both religious and scientific worlds. He said, I can prove that Aristotle
was wrong. He was certainly asking for trouble. Imagine the rumpus aroused! But
Galileo did prove that Aristotle was wrong. His experiment with two weights is so
well known as to require no description here. His proof was irrefutable - there was
no question about that.
The experiment was conducted before all the professors and students of the
university, so that they had ocular demonstration that bodies of different weights fall
with the same speed. Yet the professors refused to be convinced and became very
angry. Who was this upstart who dared to criticise the findings of the great Aristotle?
If the modern way for getting round evidence had been known it would not have
been necessary to ostracise Galileo and confine him under house arrest. His
evidence would have been quietly explained as hypnotism, hallucination,
antecedent improbability or mal-observation, but Hume had not as yet lived.
The strongest evidence does not inevitably carry conviction, for conviction depends
as much on character as on evidence, and that word character infers the courage,
steadfastness and sincerity necessary to stand by a decision made in the face of great
opposition. It takes character to follow truth wherever it may lead, and most of us
are likely to be attached to some pet idea which we are not readily persuaded to give
up. Hence a search for alternatives. It has not happened before, why should it now?
Possibly there is something wrong with the evidence, or a point inaccurately
observed or possible trickery. One eminent investigator, who had long taken all
precautions against fraud, was aggravatingly asked Have you thought that you may
have been hoaxed?
In the case of Galileo, his fellow-professors were, like himself, attached to the
Christian Church of the time, but they viewed his experiments in the light of the
decisions of the Church to allow no denial of Aristotle. Its effect on Church doctrine
might be disastrous.
Today we face this same problem of evidence. The evidence for the truth of
Spiritualism is of such volume as to convince any open mind.
Sir William Crookes is described in The Dictionary of National Biography as
possessing a remarkable gift as an investigator of new facts. He affirmed toward the
end of his life that he retracted nothing of his assertions about the marvellous things
he had witnessed in Spiritualistic phenomena.
Sir Oliver Lodge, the holder of many honours for science, states in his book Phantom
Walls, I should not have known the truth about the friendly co-operation of a
spiritual world - existing under conditions beyond our normal perception - had I not
received indubitable proof of the persistent continuity of individual personal
Russel Wallace, the British naturalist, who hit upon the idea of evolution at the same
time as Darwin, wrote a strong defence of Spiritualism. C. F. Varley, Dr. Chambers,
Prof. de Morgan, Dr. Lockhart Robertson and others, gifted men and women,
supported them.
Professor J. H. Hyslop, one-time Professor of Logic and Ethics, Columbia
University, U.S.A. states in his book Life after Death, I regard the existence of
discarnate spirits as scientifically proved and I no longer refer to the sceptic as
having any right to speak upon the subject.
Professor Robert Hare, the first chemist in America, confirms the reality of
Spiritualistic phenomena; as did also Judge Edmonds, a leading American lawyer.
Count A. de Gasperin and various French astronomers, mathematicians and
chemists, together with Professor Thury of Geneva, and many others on the
Continent and elsewhere also confirmed them.
While many of the keenest minds in Europe, at home and America had publicly
avowed their acceptance of the phenomena of Spiritualism as proving the survival of
human personality, Sir William Barrett had difficulty in obtaining a hearing when
he brought the subject of Spiritualism before the British Association for the
advancement of Science.
The stable thing is the evidence. The evidence for ectoplasm (which may be better
understood as externalised protoplasm) is utterly complete. Malcolm Scott in A
New Argument for God and Survival says: It has come before committees, it has
been photographed, weighed, analysed, put into boxes, netted, trapped, tricked,
pinched, teased, and, in general, observed under the conditions of the most fiendish
ingenuity; with the result that, for its reality, the scientists are where you and I
should be, or Mad Tom - the stuff is real and not produced by trickery - and, for its
nature, there is not a hint of law.
The same writer further says, I can think of nothing among occult phenomena . . .
more improbable but nevertheless more firmly established than ectoplasm.
Mal-observation, fraud, subconscious mind, telepathy - it is almost suggested that
men I have named, who gave years of study to this subject, could not have been
aware that there was the possibility that observation might be faulty, or people
might want to trick them or that there were such things as the subconscious mind
and telepathy. But even if we have surmounted all those hurdles there is still one
It has been stated that the technique of investigation was in its infancy between 188o
and the end of the nineteenth century: but if we accept that statement as true, what
difference could it make to the kind of experiments being observed? At that time
physical phenomena, which did not require the use of a microscope were most in
evidence for Sir William Crookes states: It was a common thing for the seven or
eight of us in the laboratory to see Miss Cook (the medium) and Katie (the spirit
form) at the same time, under the full blaze of the electric light. He also says that
Miss Cook's pulse beat steadily at 90 while Katie's beat steadily at 75.
It cannot be urged that any special technique is required to state truthfully what one
sees under the full blaze of the electric light or to take the pulse beat correctly.
If two tigers, without an attendant, were to cross Piccadilly Circus at the rush hour,
the evidence for the truth of such an occurrence would be overwhelming. Piccadilly
Circus would be cleared of pedestrians in the twinkling of an eye, and no amount of
argument about the infancy of the technique of investigation, mal-observation, or
antecedent improbability, would suffice to persuade those hiding down in the
Underground that those two tigers were, after all, not tigers but dogs.
Inflexible obstinacy may wave aside with lordly air the well-founded judgments of
famous men even though such men have been on their guard against trickery,
imperfect observation, distortion, influence of the subconscious mind and other
possible self-deceptions. Must it be assumed, when I am communicating with my
dead sister through a medium and she reminds me of something that is known to
both of us, that, of course, it is not my sister speaking to me but the medium reading
my subconscious mind and that my dead sister does not come into it? Why should it
not be my sister speaking to me if we both know the same occurrence? When
someone telephones and I do not recognise his voice, I am in doubt as to his identity
until he reminds me of some occurrence concerning us both. Then I recall the face of
my forgotten friend and express my pleasure at listening to his voice. But, because
both my friend and I know of the same occurrence I do not think the voice at the
other end of the telephone is impersonating my old friend or reading my
subconscious mind!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his History of Spiritualism, writes: It is interesting to
note that when on his sixteenth interview Professor Hyslop adopted the methods of
the Spiritualists, chatting freely and without tests, he obtained more actual corro-
boration than in all the fifteen sittings in which he had adopted every precaution.
The incident confirms the opinion that the less restraint there is at such interviews
the more successful are the results and that the meticulous researcher often ruins his
own sitting. Hyslop has left it on record that out of 205 incidents mentioned in these
conversations he had been able to verify no fewer than 152.
In an admirable article in the August 195o number of Light written by J. Cecil Maby,
B.Sc., A.R.C.S., F.R.A.S., B.S.D., he confirms the quotation above referred to by Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle:
To my mind the spontaneous phenomena, with their intense vividness, dramatic
content and (in good instances) veridicity, capable of conveying absolute personal
conviction, greatly outweigh and overshadow the relatively dull, amateurish
simplicity of the average laboratory experiment, when judged - as they are surely
intended to be - by humane and vital standards of ethics and philosophy. Indeed, no
other age but our own, with its materialistic bias and lack of metaphysical acumen,
would have thought to make the reverse assessment.

I daresay some of us have a rather muddled idea of the development of the human
species. We assume that mankind has reached the limit of his development and is
now fitting himself for heaven or elsewhere according to his deserts. This view has
been fostered by the theologian who would have us believe that mankind was the
finished product from the hand of God as a statue is a finished product from the
hand of the sculptor; that in the past man fell from perfection, but that he has only
to get right with God in order to be restored to his original state.
Experience of life does not support this view. It is true that there are few signs of
further physical development, but mentally, psychically and spiritually man is a
mere babe as evidenced by irresponsibility and inability to make wise decisions or to
arrive at reasonable conclusions. Man, spiritually, has only just been born; he is a
squalling, fighting, struggling infant at the dawn of his history. But there are signs
which suggest that if he can only, in the meantime, be prevented from destroying
himself, he has, in his spiritual constitution, the making of a god.
In his growth he will have to go through many vicissitudes and, by his sufferings,
learn what not to do in the future. The last hundred and fifty years have shown great
industrial prosperity and, in some parts of the world, a decline in moral conduct. A
little more than a century ago, when we were at war with France, Sir Humphry Davy
was invited to go to Paris to give lectures on science. Although an ardent patriot, he
went, gave his lectures and was received with every courtesy. This would not be
possible in our relations with an enemy today. And the question arises, what is the
cause of this decline? I think it is that the almost total concentration of attention
upon material things in this last century has blinded mankind to the path of true
This is most evident in science. The average scientific mind, in its studies of the
material universe, has been rendered spiritually unconscious by the anaesthetic of
materialism. In this state, the geologist has studied the rocks of the earth and
discovered only rocks; the astronomer has coded the stars: the chemist has dis-
covered the affinities between the various gases; the biologist, the attraction of the
sexes; but they have failed to discover the spiritual reality which surrounds and
interpenetrates the physical universe. Physics, politics and economics have been
built up upon a materialistic view of the universe, a view which is devoid of purpose
and meaning. No man has ever been able to discover a purpose or a meaning in the
physical universe alone, and you must have these to support morals. It is the
function of religion to provide them.
The prime danger of materialism is its insidiousness, for it comes in the garb of
material comforts and physicial attractions. It is only when we examine it in the light
of Spiritualism that we are shocked into a recognition of the fact that it has a strong
fifth column within the citadel of our daily lives.
The popular conceptions of human sight and of time are both materialistic travesties
of the facts regarding them. Every motorist knows the value of human sight; without
it he could not drive; with it he knows that his actions are governed not by his
immediate surroundings but by what he sees ahead of him. If he sees the red light he
slows down the car; if he sees the green light he accelerates. Further, other things
being equal, the longer the sight the better the driver, because the long-sighted
person is able to see sufficiently far ahead to take immediate steps to avoid any
danger he may see there; while the shortsighted person is not in that happy position.
Long sight gives confidence, while short sight breeds anxiety and fear. Sight has a
direct effect on character, for a variation in sight brings about a variation in action
and in emotion.
That is as far as human sight has got, but not as far as it should have got, for it
should have been extended into the psychical. We ought all to be able to see
psychically as well as physically, but two factors in the last five hundred years have
conspired to prevent this. First, the wholesale destruction of thousands of psychics,
clairvoyants, sensitives and mediums from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century;
all classified by the ignorance of the times as witches. So thorough was the purge
that when in the seventeenth century an alleged case of witchcraft was brought
before the magistrate, it was laughed out of court because no medium or clairvoyant
remained alive to demonstrate that such could exist. Secondly, the rise of modern
science which confined its attention to the material universe. The drive was along
physical lines alone, so that it was oblivious to any other than physical sight. Thus
psychic sight could not exist in late nineteenth or early twentieth century science.
Psychic sight is the power to penetrate backward and forward in time as physical
sight penetrates backward and forward in space. The psychic eye sees pictures in
time as the physical eye sees them in space. This immediately destroys the
materialistic conception of both sight and time which regards sight as limited to the
physical and time as non-existent in the future. The materialist's conception of time
is that of a one-way track commencing at birth and only existing in the past and
present, not in the future. He conceives of time as a succession of events which goes
only forward and blindly.
This view of time is inadequate and in the light of Spiritualism false. It is as if we
were to ask an organist to play the upward scale beginning at the lowest note on the
left hand side and playing the notes in sequence up to the middle of the keyboard. A
materialist would be as one who might deny that there were any notes above the
middle of the keyboard; he certainly could not do much in the way of music with
only half the keyboard and limited to a one-way track from the base to the middle C.
To produce music from that organ we must permit the organist to have freedom of
action over the whole keyboard and also not tie him down to a sequence of notes
only. He must, further, be at liberty to strike simultaneously various notes on any
part of the keyboard at the same moment, so that he would produce a sequence, not
of notes only but of chords both up and down the scale, above and below, right and
left, before and after, past and future, in order to make a tune.
Spiritualism offers abundant evidence that the human mind can and does go into the
past and also into the future and that it can and does roam up and down the
keyboard of time without any materialist-time sequence. A lady in London described
to me a lady I had met in New York four months before, giving exact details of her
personality, the dress she wore, etc. The clairvoyant did not go down the scale from
today through yesterday and then the day before; she jumped right back to my
experience in the past as an organist might jump from a higher note to a lower one.
My memory recalls a man I knew in Wimbledon when I was a youth. That memory is
linked with another of the same man whom I met in the lift of a New York hotel.
That memory also links with a third experience with this man on a cross-Channel
steamer when he was going to Switzerland. Wimbledon; New York; Channel
steamer. These are not in sequence of time, as we know it, for I find it difficult to
remember whether the New York episode comes after or before the cross-Channel
steamer episode. These three episodes stand side by side as if they had been cut out
of a film and pasted together. They are taken out of time relating to the same man
and joined in my memory. If time were restricted to the materialist's conception of a
one-way track, memory would be impossible and personality would shrink to the
level of a worm for personality depends upon memory.
Even the events of the moment are not always subject to time as we know it. One
evening, when I arrived home my wife informed me that my brother had appeared to
her in the sitting room and had stood where the table was. He had conveyed to my
wife the details of certain events which were happening at that moment in his office.
The time was 3.3o p.m. I immediately wrote down the experience as related and
posted it to my brother. Later, I received his confirmation.
Here we have personality being in two places at the same time, a scientifically
impossible feat in the materialist's conception of time as a one-way track. We have
trained our minds to think of time in this way, but memory does not follow that
sequence. We are now discovering that human consciousness can reach forward into
the future as well as dive back into the past. Prevision, precognition and prophecy
are long-established facts in life, so the future also refuses to accept the limitations
of the materialist.
When I was living in Paris I dreameD1 June 15th that my brother came to me and
said, You will be in London on the 19th. I saw no possibility of that coming about,
but on the 17th, I was asked to proceed to London to attend a meeting on the 19th.
My psychic vision had jumped four days ahead not in sequence of days but as our
organist might jump from a low note to a higher one; my mind jumped, not to a
certain time, but to a certain event.
As we have seen, memory, the backward psychic vision, has raised man from
insignificance to power and personality. Man through his memory has achieved
appalling power. Man by the aid of memory has controlled the earth so that today it
brings forth abundance; he controls the sea so that it carries him where he will; he
controls the air and annihilates space by annihilating time.
Perhaps, with the development of his psychic power to see into the future, he may
learn to control his destiny. Certain it is that we are only at the beginning of the
development of human powers, but those that have become manifest are so startling
as to suggest a new and more promising way of life.
Recently I examined a piece of ground that was being offered for sale for the erection
of houses and I found myself reflecting what kind of house I would erect upon that
land if it belonged to me. If I ever built a house, I should accomplish more than the
mere building, for, as I put up the walls upon the foundations and the doors into the
walls, with proper locking devices, I should enclose a space which would take on the
symbol of security and rest.
Every building is a symbol. In the distance is the town hall, which is a symbol of civic
pride and social feeling; nearer is a public house, the symbol of conviviality; while
opposite is an orthodox Christian church, the symbol of human faith.
A Spiritualist church is a symbol of something which found little or no expression
before the seventeenth century. As the nearby church is the symbol of faith, the
Spiritualist church is the symbol of doubt, that quality of the human mind which
demands knowledge rather than faith and which is not satisfied until it has
observed, probed, criticised, experimented with, and, by this means, winnowed the
chaff of falsity from the wheat of truth. Having probed, criticised, experimented with
the data and information at its disposal, it has, at last, discovered another country
into which we all enter at what we call death, and which is more real than this world.
Christopher Columbus supplies an illustration of the difference between faith and
doubt. When Columbus set out upon his voyage across the Atlantic he hoped to
discover a western route to India. Spain found it difficult to trade between the
Mediterranean and India, and a western route would remove the problems
encountered by the Spaniards in the voyage to Genoa and transhipment across
hostile country to India.
After great trials, Columbus discovered land and, going on shore, fell on his knees
and thanked God that he had discovered India. Afterwards he returned to Spain with
various supposed proofs. He had perfect faith that he had discovered a western route
to India. But some doubted and examined his proofs. They criticised his findings and
it took thirty years to prove that what Columbus had discovered was not India but
another continent thousands of miles from India. Faith believed that he had dis-
covered India; doubt proved he had not.
The world we now live in has been developed through doubt, not through faith. In
the seventeenth century men began to doubt their politics, their science and their
religion and this culminated in the Renaissance, the rebirth. By doubt, question and
experiment, men discovered the art of navigation; the power of steam; the power of
petrol; the internal combustion engine and the uses of electricity. By these means,
life has been revolutionised.
The spirit of doubt has given us good sanitation, better houses, easier means of
transport. It has revolutionised the medical and dental professions and, in many
other ways, has altered the face of the earth. All this was brought about by doubt. A
Spiritualist church stands for the spirit of the Renaissance - the rebirth of life based
not upon a vague faith in the hereafter but on a knowledge of its existence based
upon doubt, experiment and observation.
This spirit has always existed, but for three thousand years of recorded history the
world was governed by dictators. A dictator is one who has supreme unquestioned
authority. Democracy is authority by representation. Theological dictatorships, such
as Europe knew for fifteen hundred years, presented us with merciless creeds; God
so loved the world that he consigned ninety per cent of its inhabitants to eternal
torment! Political and military dictatorships divided the world; theological
dictatorship kept scientific thought within theological limits. The consequence was
that Spiritualism could not spread, for the basis of dictatorship, whether theological
or political, is obedience before individual thought, while the basis of Spiritualism is
individual thought before obedience.
Science, at present, is on top of the world and men turn to it as the touchstone and
cure for all ills. A friend told me he would believe in Spiritualism if there were
scientific proofs. Note, he would believe if he had proof! What scientific proofs? The
one basic proof of science is prognostication, the ability to forecast what a substance
will do in certain circumstances. In the exact sciences, physics, chemistry and such
like, this is possible and occurs, but in organic and mental sciences this does not
occur with the same ease. The dream of every biologist and psychologist is to
prognosticate occurrences in their own fields, as the physicist and the chemist do in
theirs. But the basis of life and mind is not the circle, it is the straight line; it is
creative not mechanical.
Let us suppose a hundred artists are gathered together dressed as their exuberant
fancy takes them, and they all join the army. The drill sergeant takes them in hand.
After the barber has finished with them they are shorn of their whiskers and long
hair, they are all put into uniform, they are called to stand to attention where they
look as near as possible like each other, and they act together like parts of a machine.
Later, they are demobilised and, because the drill sergeant has been so successful in
transforming the artists into soldiers, he is called upon to retransform them back
again into artists. So he makes them all wear long hair and grow beards, he puts
them into corduroys and drills them. Afterwards he puts an inferior painting in front
of them and orders each to paint an exact copy of it.
What would be the result? The artists would be insulted and the drill sergeant would
fail ignominiously. The reason is clear. We are dealing with entirely different things.
The soldier is made proficient by doing what he is told; the artist is made proficient
by doing what he wants to do. The dream of a good soldier is good team work, to
work with other soldiers. The dream of every artist is to work alone and produce a
masterpiece, to paint a picture that no one else could ever have painted. In the one
case there is mechanical repetition, in the other originality and uniqueness.
It is not possible to take a hundred mediums and drill them like so many soldiers.
Because one medium produces a certain type of phenomena, it does not follow that
every other medium must produce the same type. If we are to understand
Spiritualism we must grasp the fact that the evidence for it is not of the mechanical
type. The mechanical sciences are dealing with one thing, while psychological and
psychic sciences are dealing with another.
The mechanical sciences handle inorganic substance, matter and motion. The
scientist is deliberately isolating those processes in nature which act according to
law and, having discovered their repetitive processes, he is able to prognosticate
more or less certainly. But, in Spiritualism, he is not dealing with mechanical and
repetitive processes. He is dealing with originality and uniqueness. In psychic
matters there does not seem to be the slightest hint of a law of any kind - this is one
of the reasons why science is reluctant to consider them. A medium may give
remarkable evidence to one sitter and the next sitting may be a total failure. He or
she may rise to great heights on the public platform and then suddenly lose power
and have to discontinue.
Spiritualism is unique. In its make-up it has organic and inorganic matter to deal
with, but it also has that which comes under neither heading yet includes both, that
which is beyond the space-time continuum but operates through it. We call it spirit;
and the evidences for spirit are of a different order from those for matter. Some of
the very best evidence comes to us like a thief in the night, unexpectedly, when we
are not searching for it, out of the blue, as it were.
Consider the case of Miss Dallas's will, cited by Mr. Howgrave-Graham in This
Antecedent Improbability. The prominent feature about this case is not any search
for proof of Survival; it is a will wrongly prepared, and the proof is quite secondary
to the anxiety to have the mistake rectified. The lawyer who had drawn up the will
did not find out his mistake until after he was dead, and then took steps to rectify it.
The very human urge was not to give proof of Survival but to correct an error and in
following the urge the lawyer gave irrefutable proof of his own survival of death.
We must always beware of the spirit of dictatorship which at times rears its head in
scientific circles; by reason of its immense success the tendency is to have faith in
science and surrender our right to doubt. It is necessary to remember that
Spiritualism rises beyond the low levels of science into an area of experience that
science, by its very nature, can never reach. Let us hold our doubt in right proportion
and hold the right to doubt until such time as doubt merges into knowledge.
There are two ways of looking at the universe - the common sense and the scientific.
Most people look at things the common-sense way, and if science sees something
which runs counter to it they are inclined to dismiss it as ridiculous and fantastic.
When, for example, science began to say that the world was round, both the scholar
and the theologian repudiated it, the scholar on the common-sense ground that if it
were round people on the underside would fall off, the theologian, also on the
common-sense ground, that if it were round, the Second Coming of Christ, which he
expected any minute, would have to happen twice, once on the top and once
underneath. Both these arguments showed how futile it was to say that the world
was round. Yet we know today that the common-sense view was wrong and science
There are many common-sense people to whom the idea of an invisible world is
equally ridiculous and fantastic. They regard it as foolish to assert that people who
have died can come back. It is just not common sense to believe that dead people are
as real and as alive as ourselves. They are right, it is not common sense, but it is
nevertheless true.
Common sense is limited. It is the result of the use of our five senses. It is the
interpretation we give to life through the senses. It is common sense to say that steel
is hard, that water is wet, that the sky is blue, that trees are green, and that we see in
the physical world forms of every shape. But science does not work like that. It no
longer works from the senses only. It works also from mathematics and makes its
deductions from mathematical concepts, with the consequence that the scientific
universe is altogether different from the universe of common sense. In the world of
physics, science says there is no colour, no sound, no form, no life, no mind, no
purpose. In physics, all you have is sightless, soundless, shapeless force.
The scientific world is topsy-turvy to common sense. Science says a thing may
appear solid but it is not, for it is composed of a very tiny proportion of matter and
an overwhelmingly large proportion of space in which forces are strained against
each other. Science will show you a large piece of ice. Common sense says it is hard,
and white and solid. Science applies a little heat to it and that hardness, whiteness
and solidity disappear, for the thing has begun to run and is now a liquid. Apply
more heat and the liquid disappears in the form of vapour rising into the air. Where
is this hard, white solid? Gone into the air. What has the scientist done? He has
raised the vibration of the solid until it has reached the speed of a liquid; he has
raised the vibration of the liquid until it has reached the speed of a gas. It is all a
matter of degrees of vibration. We are in a physical universe of vibration, nothing
but vibration.
It is the same story with sound. Sound is also vibration but in air. The organ-builder
knows this very well. When he is building an organ he is not concerned with sounds
but with vibrations. He can use vibration in air ranging from twenty cycles a second
to 30,00o a second and he has to make pipes large or small enough to produce these
When we look at colour and form in the world around us we are looking at different
degrees of vibration. When we listen to the sounds of the world around us we are
also listening to different degrees of vibration. A vibration can never be anything else
but a vibration.
Here, then, is the difference between common sense and science. Common sense has
blended the world of colour, sound, form, life, mind and purpose into the world of
matter and called it one physical world. Physics has extracted the material world of
vibrations and left the remainder with the human mind. Colour, sound and form are
the interpretation which life and mind give to these various degrees of vibration.
Colour, sound and form are not part of the physical world; they are in the spiritual
make-up of the human being and he will take these powers with him when he dies.
The proper relation between human beings and the material world is illustrated by
the relation between the organ and the organist. The organist is not part of the organ
(which is a machine for the production of vibrations), he is outside it and is using it.
He is selecting certain vibrations and blending them to produce vibrations in the air
which may or may not be interpreted as beautiful sounds.
Every human being may be regarded as outside the physical world - he is not part of
it except insofar as his body is concerned. The physical world is his organ and by
selection, interpretation and manipulation he learns lessons and builds character.
The material world is only a fraction of the great spiritual world to which we all
belong and every human being is spirit operating on matter like the organist on the
organ to produce beauty or ugliness, joy or sorrow, happiness or misery, nobility or

When a man says he has an open mind on any subject under discussion we can feel
hopeful because the doubts in his mind do not blind him to the possibilities of
opposing facts. But we seldom hear a man boast of a closed mind. Yet I imagine the
closed mind is much more prevalent than the open.
I met a friend and we got talking about Spiritualism. I happened to mention
something about the spirit body. He looked at me as if I were bereft of my senses and
quizzed me, Do you mean to tell me that spirits have hands like mine?
I sincerely hope not, I replied, but they have hands. To him that was bunk.
There was no demand for evidence, no weighing of possibilities or probabilities.
The difficulty is that theological argument has so often been along similar lines
regarding Spiritualism when facts run counter to the prevailing theological
orthodoxy of the times. Even in the twentieth century closed minds quote texts of
scripture which they interpret as condemning Spiritualism.
Spiritualism is at bottom so simple that I marvel at this condemnation by fanatics
with closed minds. It is assumed by both theologians and orthodox scientists that an
extraordinary change takes place at death. With science it is assumed that at death
we cease to exist; with theology it is assumed that we sleep or go to purgatory until
Judgment Day, when we either go spotless to Heaven or join the devils. Spiritualism
has shown repeatedly by experiment and communication with those who have left
the body, that neither assumption is true. For a hundred years communication has
occurred, but the closed mind says bunk and continues to throw theological
Here is an illustration. A man is born in London; he grows up in London and for 3o
years he moves and has his being in London. Then it dawns upon him that he is also
an Englishman. It further dawns upon him that because he is an Englishman he
belongs to the country as a whole as well as to the city of his birth. Having got hold of
that fact, he wants to move in wider circles and explore not only his native city but
his native country. He has thus widened his area of mind.
This world is like London; it is cosmopolitan and full of interest but it is only a tithe
of the great country to which we belong and which lies outside and around this
world. Thousands of people die every hour and pass into the greater world. Some
come back and have a talk with us, but many of them never wish to return.
London could not continue for long without contact with the rest of England and, in
fact; with the rest of the world. The railways and lorries are continually moving
goods to and from London; steamships and airplanes continually bring goods from
other countries to London. The rest of the world might be able to exist without
London, but London could not exist without the rest of the world. It draws its life-
blood from the rest of the world. This world exists by continual contact with the rest
of the universe as London exists by contact with the rest of this world. Children are
born into it every hour and people leave it every hour. They go to a greater country
and get a wider experience.
I put this analogy to a friend of mine and he replied, I like the idea, but the analogy
breaks down because while London has evidence of continual contact with the larger
life around it the world has no evidence of contact with a larger life except through
What is the reply to that? Sir James Jeans used to tell us that the only feasible
explanation of the origin of this world was that at some remote period an enormous
fiery star flashed past our sun, tore out fiery portions and tossed them around the
universe. Hoyle has recently put another view, but whichever view we prefer the
result is the same. These fiery portions cooled and coagulated until we have this
world and the rest of the planets. When the earth was torn out of whichever theory
you prefer, its temperature was inconceivably high and, for millions of years it was
impossible for life to exist upon it. There is abundant evidence that the centre of the
earth is still very hot, as witness volcanoes and hot springs. We are assured that life
cannot exist in relation with matter above or below a certain temperature.
As is to be expected, there are differences of opinion as to how life first appeared on
the earth. One school holds that life is an integration of physical and chemical
processes and that one need not postulate any such thing as vital force. The
vitalists, on the other hand, do postulate such a force as the only possible explana-
tion of life on the earth. With them life associates with matter and emerges in
conditions of extreme complexity. Another view which appeals to me is that both
matter and life have arisen from something which is neither but was potentially
both, life becoming upgraded and matter degraded. Thus matter becomes the stage
upon which life plays its drama.
But what is matter, this substance which is sometimes hard as steel, solid as granite,
runs as liquid and disappears as gas? It is said that an atom of matter may be
illustrated by a space as large as Waterloo Station, London, which has been cleared
of everything except five or six specks of dust. These specks represent the matter in
an atom, the rest of Waterloo Station represents space in which forces are at work
keeping the specks of dust in steady relation with one another. Add a little heat and
we begin to change the co-ordination of forces in that space; we urge to greater
activity the forces of expansion over the forces of cohesion and the solid becomes
liquid; more heat and the liquid disappears in a cloud of gas. Solids, liquids, gasall
mainly space under different strains and stresses, some stronger and more cohesive,
some so weak that the cohesive property is almost absent.
I hold in my hand a lump of sugar. It has colour and shape; it is white and square. I
pop it into a cup of tea and the colour and shape disappear. A change in the relation
of the forces operating in the sugar has occurred breaking down the shape - and the
colour? It is all in my eye, for colour is a vibration of light shot off the object into my
eye and diagnosed by me, in this case as white. Sound is rather similar, being a
vibration in air shot off some object into my ear and which I may infer to be a shot,
or a burst tyre, or a crack of thunder.
It is here that the cleavage between science and religion occurred during the
sixteenth century. By a tacit understanding science confined itself to matter and
motion, it being dangerous to do otherwise. The Church's interest was centred in the
soul of man. It was not greatly interested in his body; that was but a temporary
vehicle at the best. The soul was important, so important, in fact, that the Church
was willing to sacrifice the body to secure the salvation of the soul. Purely material
matters did not interest them much and they saw no harm in allowing the scientist
to fiddle about with them. It was a most unwise decision, for science, confining itself
strictly to physics and chemistry, built up a theory of the universe based upon
material things alone, which became so formidable that it overshadowed Church
doctrine and ultimately destroyed much of it.
Science left colour and sound strictly alone for the time being, as they seemed to be
much closer to the soul of man than matter alone; so its world was a world without
colour and without sound, a world of vibratory machinery whose only purpose
seemed to be to complete a circle and start again. Life, mind, purpose and form were
obvious; they must therefore arise out of matter. But always there have been great
minds who have looked across the valleys of human thought and have caught the
glint of the sunlight on the next hilltop. These saw that there was much more in
matter than could be explained by physics and chemistry and, today, the whole
materialistic conception is fast breaking up before this onslaught of new knowledge.
Gerald Heard writes: Analysis of the atom had led to the discovery of the electron
and the proton. Analysis of these had shown them to be not matter but charges of
electricity. This was the end of materialism. So the ultimate composition of matter
is invisible force!
I offer these suggestions for the consideration of those who, like my friend, feel the
only link with the unseen is the medium. The more we know of matter, life and form,
the more are we forced to revise our notions regarding them. Matter seems to be a
temporary outcrop of a non-material world, bearing the imprint of some of the
attributes of that world, life, mind, form, purpose. Matter ultimately disintegrates;
life, mind, purpose and form remain.

A question which has troubled many genuine inquirers after Spiritualistic knowledge
is: Why do we hear so little of Spiritualism before about a hundred years ago?
Surely, seeing that millions of people have died before that time, we should have
heard something of their return to earth, if it were true.
That question is natural but savours of doubt as to the truth of Spiritualistic
phenomena. No doubt can be cast upon the facts of science, as it is primarily
responsible for our way of living, our modes of travel, the steam engine, the internal
combustion engine, the telegraph, telephone, wireless, etc., all of which remove any
doubt as to the validity of the claims for science. It is in operation in everything we
touch. Yet the query casting doubt upon the facts of Spiritualism may also be applied
to science, for science had little influence upon daily life until after the Renaissance.
Five hundred years ago, science was a tiny rivulet of thought, the pastime of men of
wealth, and Spiritualism was in bondage under political and religious hierarchies.
The Renaissance was the dividing line between two underlying principles, secrecy
and publicity. Before the Renaissance, every new idea, invention and free way of
thought were kept secret. After the Renaissance, freedom expanded more than it had
ever done before.
Business men have found for the last two hundred years or so that it pays to
advertise. Before the Renaissance, it paid to be secret. If you got hold of a new idea
or a new invention it was well for your peace of mind to keep it secret. No man in his
senses will advertise a new invention or idea if it entails religious persecution or
political punishment. Before the Renaissance, you were never free from the fear of
one or the other, for the world was constantly under some form of theological or
political dictatorship.
In the early period of human history, the various branches of human thought were
centralised in one man or group of men, the priest or the priests. The priest was the
first scientist, the first civil servant, the first economist, the first medium. It was the
priest who studied the stars and ordered the times for sowing the corn in the spring.
He governed the season's occupations and decided on peace or war. He made the
laws of the country, some good, some harsh. He decided on the death penalty if he
thought fit. He ruled as the dictator of the tribe or nation to which he belonged.
There was little or no freedom of thought or speech, no ownership of property, no
means of national expression or of popular debate. The dictator was master of life
and death and woe to him who challenged his authority.
Uneasy lies the head of a dictator. He must be always on guard, for a new idea, a new
invention, a new way of looking at things, however innocent in appearance, may be
the means of his own destruction and the destruction of his people. How innocuous
are a pair of spectacles, yet the discovery that glass when cut at an angle, magnifies
dealt a mortal blow to the dogmas of the Church of the time. It was found that by
taking the two lenses of a pair of spectacles and putting one in front of the other,
objects were enlarged, and thus the telescope was born. In the hands of men of
learning, the telescope refuted the theological dogma that the earth was the centre of
the universe, for Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter and was bold enough to ad-
vertise the fact. For this he suffered ostracism and persecution. Bruno, who came
after him, was burnt at the stake, and many others followed in the line of
martyrdom. But the Church never recovered from the blow dealt it by a pair of
spectacles, and gradually the Renaissance came into being.
In the last five hundred years, there have been various attempts to return to
dictatorial rule, some political, some theological. The Church became a dictator.
What the Church said was right. Woe to him who challenged it, he would be
excommunicated. When Protestantism arose that also became dictatorial and said
all authority resided in a book. The Bible was the word of God; woe to him who
challenged it! Every sort of interpretation or misinterpretation was put upon its
sayings to suit the times.
Both dictatorships created a gulf between human life and every other form of life
and robbed a man of his pre-human history and of any meaning for his existence.
Man was a thing apart, and an entirely artificial product. He was placed - a perfect
being - in a garden, an exalted product of the mind of God. After his fall, the next
life was only to be approached through the hierarchy of the priesthood. They held
the monopoly; man could hold shares in heaven only through the priesthood. Both
science and Spiritualism again suffered.
Simpson introduced the use of chloroform as a general anaesthetic in surgery, and
the Church rose in arms. The Almighty, they said, intended men to suffer on the
operating table. To attempt to banish agony was against the divine will. Only a few
years ago, an inoffensive teacher in an American school was sacked and persecuted
because he dared to suggest that there might, after all, be some truth in the
Darwinian theory. From the fifteenth to the seventeenth century thousands of un-
fortunate people were done to death in this country, their only fault being that they
possessed psychic faculties or, at least, that they were possessed by psychic faculties
and could not make a secret of it.
But as the telescope triumphed over the dogma that the world was the centre of the
universe and, therefore, the apple of God's eye, so the microscope revealed that the
human kingdom was not separate from the animal kingdom but was its crowning
glory. Astronomy and medicine triumphed over theology and paved the way for
Spiritualism. The microscope revealed the triumphant march of life from its feeble
grip of matter in the form of protoplasm to the victory of man over the forces of
nature. The way has been long and arduous; the amoeba is a tiny bit of protoplasm
without organs of any kind, yet it eats and digests and propagates its kind.
Life had gripped hold of matter at the bottom of the seas, and from there you have
the fascinating story of its onward march, fashioning organs to suit its environment,
a stomach to digest food, a heart to pump blood and fins for locomotion, until you
come to the tiger of the seas - the shark - the most appalling of all fish. The shark's
efficiency destroyed its chance of further progress and it was a much humbler type
that scrambled out of the sea on to the shore. Ages passed while this amphibian was
developing lungs in place of gills, and then, for ages, this type lived in two worlds -
the world of the sea and the world of the air. The strain of transfer from sea to land
was immense, but life has abundant stores of energy. The fins of the fish became
limbs for movement on land.
Gigantic land animals followed, but it was a small type that learned the art of
standing on its hind legs. The front feet became hands, and man was born,
seemingly defenceless, into a world of gigantic land animals. But the battle is not
always to the strong. It is the spirit that counts, and the heavily armoured animals
disappeared, overcome, mastered by puny man. Man went from strength to
strength, conquered the forces of nature and then history progresses still further.
As it had been forced into the consciousness of the humble fish that there was a
world of sunlight and air above the water, so it was forced into the mind of man that
he did not belong only to this material world. Intuition came to him, voices reached
him, urging him to strive to a higher world than this. He discovered a greater life and
knew that he also was the denizen of two worlds. Thus Spiritualism was born.
The struggle the humble fish made to change its environment from water to air is
unimaginable. How often it must have failed, how often slipped back into the sea,
and, when successful, been forced to return to its original environment because it
could not breathe. Yet it felt a compelling urge. Over a long period, it changed its
gills for lungs and died to the sea as it was born to the land. Mankind has felt a
similar urge. Life is forcing him on through struggles, and sometimes pain, to use his
strength towards a greater life.

Does life continue or cease at the point of death? We regard life as an underground
passage through which we must pass. During our journey, we are cut off from all
other influences and because of our ignorance we are inclined to dread what we shall
find when we emerge. So we concentrate our attention on that moment. But death is
not only a final event when the entire physical organism collapses and disintegrates;
partial death is with us from birth, and it is friendly because we could not live
without its ministrations. The living tissues of the body are continually deteriorating
and being removed.
The author of Science versus Materialism says that in a town representing a living
body . . . the labour of keeping houses in repair would be enormous. Many thousands
of tons of building material would pass daily down our streets.
The human body is not, like a machine, a static construction, but a constantly
changing organisation of functional activities. This is so true that by the time we
have arrived at middle-age we have changed the material of our bodies, including
the bone structure, several times. The bodies we have now will not be the bodies we
shall have in a few years' time. Life uses matter, throws it aside and builds anew, and
this is a constant and rapid process. Matter obeys the demand of life; in the absence
of life, matter moves at random and only in response to exterior forces. In the midst
of this constant flux, this ever-changing, flowing, vanishing material world, there is
something which controls matter and weaves out of it a form. We call it life.
The similarities and differences in the organisations of matter by life and by the
human mind are worthy of study. In life, some organising principle interpenetrates
matter and works the form up from within through the use of protoplasm; the
human mind works upon matter from without; it impresses form on the exterior.
Human operations upon matter are three-dimensional, whereas life's operations
appear to be four-dimensional. The effect of an additional dimension upon a
previous one is always to superimpose wider vision, subtler action and inner move-
If it were possible for people to live in one dimension only their vision would be
restricted to a line stretching in front of them. If we regard Dimension One as
expressed by a line running north to south, Dimension Two would cover the space
east and west. The denizens of D1 could move only forward or backward, but the
denizens of D2 would move not only forward or backward but also sideways; the
sideways movement of D2 would not be visible to D1, so that every time a D2
stepped sideways he would vanish from the sight of D1 people, who would cry: We
were speaking to a man in front of us; a second later he just disappeared. He must
have been a spirit!
D2s would also have their ghosts. D2s could move at right angles to D1s, not only
north to south, but also east to west. Being two dimensions only they could not move
up or down. Whenever a person or a thing moved from the second to the third
dimension, he or it would immediately vanish from the sight of D2s for just as D1
cannot comprehend a second dimension, the second dimension cannot comprehend
a third.
To a being, who had started life in D1, the transfer to D2 would be a wonderful
experience. The effect would be new penetrating powers of vision (seeing the inside
of things in D1), marvellous freedom of motion denied to D1 (motion in two
directions instead of one) and the power of appearing to and disappearing from D1
by merely stepping sideways. D2 would be heaven to D1.
In the third dimension, there are not only the powers of D1 and D2 but additional
powers belonging to D3; the power, for example, of going up and down as well as
sideways and backward and forward. The power of vision in D3 would be to see the
insides of D2 and D1. The sign of D1 would be the line, of D2 the square, and of D3
the cube. As D1 would not comprehend the square, so also D2 would not
comprehend the cube. To D2, anything up or down, would be invisible. D2 could
never see a spiralit would see something going round and round on the flat, but
the spiral itself would vanish immediately it rose above the flat. Thus D2 would live
in D2 houses. Although such houses had no roofs, no D2 could see into themthere
would be perfect privacy from all other D2s.
There would, however, be no privacy from any three-dimensional inhabitants, for
everything would be open and plain to the vision of a D3, who would only have to
look down into the roofless houses of D2 and see all that was going on. Of course, if
D3 was a gentleman he would not invade the privacy of any D2 uninvited. If,
however, he was not a gentleman, he might pick up a few D2 stones and drop them
from the third dimension on to the inhabitants of D2 and they would say, not
knowing anything about the third dimension, There is a wretched poltergeist
haunting our house.
They might hold a sance in their D2 house. It would be very simple for a D3 person
to provide a few apports by moving a bell, or a box, or a tambourine from one D2
room into another without going through the D2 walls, merely by raising the bell,
box or tambourine out of the second dimension into the third, and letting it fall back
again into another place in D2. And the denizens of D2 would think they had had a
wonderful sance with their spirit friends.
Each dimension has wider powers than the previous one; the powers of motion
denied the previous one; the power to see the inside of the previous dimension and
the power to vanish at will.
We three-dimensional people have wide powers of activity, but we have limitations,
too. For example, we cannot do with matter what life can. We cannot work on matter
from the inside. Further, we cannot organise matter, we can only impress form on
inorganic matter. We work in three dimensions. Life, I suggest, works in four, not
only in our three, but also in another which includes higher powers of motion, a
probable time factor which flows at right angles to our own, wider vision which
enables its denizens to see the interiors of D3 and the power of manipulating three-
dimensional matter from the inside. D4 might turn out to be a heaven to D3.
This dimensional view of matter seems to me to give a new twist to things. I find
myself rapidly moving away from the materialistic conception of matter. The
mechanistic view was, of course, that the only permanent thing in the universe is
matter and, although in constant flux, it gives birth to life, mind and the rest. These,
after an interval, cease to function and matter returns to its original inorganic state.
The organic view, on the other hand, holds that life, mind, purpose and form are also
permanent but do not change with the same rapidity as matter. In this view, matter
is regarded as the means through which life and mind operate. The constant
changeability of matter is not always appreciated.
Lord Rutherford spoke of the atom as a very empty affair; Lord Russell talks of the
evaporation of matter. Professor Knapp says that cells are born and cells die just
as new houses are built and old ones pulled down. He makes a comparison between
houses and human bodies and says that while buildings are fairly durable, living
tissues are continuously falling to pieces and being repaired. The suggestion is an
almost frantic changeability. For example, he writes: Imagine a town which is as
close as possible a counterpart of a living organism. . . . We should be amazed at its
activity . . . as fast as wardrobes and fireplaces tumbled out of the flimsy houses
others would be cast up by some propelling means.
The fine structure of living matter is extremely unstable and subject to violent forces
around it. It is consequently always on the move, being constantly built up, knocked
down and built up again. It is out of the question to assume that this fantastically
changeable and unstable substance can hold a form in position for any length of
time. We are forced to conclude that the stable element in matter is not material; its
rigidity is born of life and mind, the powers of another dimension. Life expresses
itself in matter, in one aspect as shape in space; in another aspect as motion in time.
It follows, then, that we need not wait until death to investigate what happens after
it. The conditions of death and after are with us every day and can be investigated as
we go along. The change called death may be regarded as a switch from a three-
dimensional habitat to a four-dimensional one, with consequent wider powers of
vision, motion, etc. If there had been no evidence for Survival we should still have to
infer it from our daily experiences, if sufficient thought were given to the subject.
There is another line of thought drawn from our common life which seems to me to
be a strong inference for Survival. It is the fact of human language. There is a
significant statement to be found in the Bible: And Adam gave names to all cattle
and to the fowl of the air and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was
found no helpmeet. Genesis 2. 20.
It is hinted that Adam was searching among the animal kingdom for one to share his
life but was unsuccessful. The picture is interesting for two reasons. First, Adam
named the animals; secondly, there was already a recognised difference between the
mind of Adam and the animal mind. This difference is strongly emphasised when we
remember that animals have never named themselves. A lion does not regard
himself as a lion; a monkey does not know what the word monkey stands for, a
cat is quite unaware of the name cat. Animals are not conscious of names. These
have been imposed upon them by man.
The animal world is nameless and wordless. The antelope does not fear a tiger; it
fears a great rushing shape. Elephants are not afraid of mice as such; they are afraid
of a tiny moving object which may try to slip up the lips of their trunk. To get some
idea of the animal world we have to cease to think of animals by the names we have
imposed upon them. Animals, to other animals, are objects of curiosity or fear to be
investigated warily as possible food, or to be avoided at all hazards.
There is an immense difference between the animal mind and the human mind, and
this is emphasised by human languages. We think in pictures to which we have
assigned an equivalent in words. We may argue, I think correctly, No words, no
pictures, and conclude that the animal mind is a vague one of shapes mostly
without clear-cut edges. The forms of communication between animals seem to
support this. Darwin and others have shown that communication between animals is
conditioned by immediate physical needs or emotional moods, and are of three
kinds - calls relating to food, warning calls and calls of joy or pain. This applies also
to the parrot and similar birds, as the bird's formation of words is to the bird merely
sounds conveying no meaning. Sailor's language has no moral effect upon the
conduct of the bird. These cries sum up the vocal correspondence between animals.
In the communication between human beings there is infinitely more than sounds
registering demands for food or warnings of danger or expressions of joy or pain. We
find astonishingly narrow limits to the mental life of animals, and we have to ask
ourselves whether or not something of a dramatic nature happened to mankind to
fix the gulf between animal and human life. Since Darwin many attempts have been
made to show that man is only an elaboration of previous forms of animal life. This
appears to be true if we remove the word only, for it is certain that mankind is
more than only an improvement upon an animal. This is seen when we contrast
the language of the highest form of animal with the lowest form of human life.
The chimpanzee, for example, generally regarded as the most human type of
animal, expresses itself in a few cries mainly of an emotional character. The lowest
form of savage known, the native of Tierra del Fuego, at the foot of South America,
had, at the time of his least social development, a vocabulary of 30,00o words,
compiled in a dictionary by a missionary on the spot. The author of The Miraculous
Birth of Language compares the effect of twenty years of education in an English-
speaking home upon a six months' old chimpanzee, and a six months' old human
baby taken from a Fueggian home. The chimpanzee, during those twenty years,
would make little or no progress in learning, while the Fueggian child would stand in
much the same position as an English boy after the same period of training.
It is clear that something debars the highest animal but not the lowest human being,
from assimilating the essentials of an English boy's education. Something appears to
be present in the lowest human being which is absent from the highest animal. What
is it? The development of a living organism from the simple to the complex seems to
be in every case the response to an inner urge. Hunger called for the provision of a
stomach; the urge to see demanded an eye, the urge to hear, an ear, and so on. The
urge to communicate as between animals developed a system of vague animal
The language of the animal is in response to the urge to communicate. We are in a
position to judge the depth and clarity of the mind by the language used. Vague calls
express vague minds; clear-cut words express clear-cut minds. The animal mind has
no urge to go beyond its natural cries expressing hunger, fear or the like. The animal
mind cannot grow into a human mind; there is some sort of barrier between them.
With the animal there can be no elaborate language expressing thoughts about
science, art, politics, religion, etc. In the chimpanzee we have so far reached the
limits of the animal mind.
Once, in an armchair, I sat ruminating, with a cat upon my knee. It purred its
apparent pleasure at being there. When I considered this soft ball of fur and purr I
asked myself: Was it conscious, when on the tiles, that it was assisting in the
perpetuation of the cat race? Did it know that it was probably the father of a
multitude of kittens distributed over the neighbourhood? Was it aware that it had
been born of a mother and that some day it would die? Did it realise that it came
from a race of tailless cats known as Manx?
Was it surprised when it came across a cat with a tail and did it ask questions about
tails? Did its mind reach out to the heavens and ask who made the stars? Had it
any conception that it was on a giant ball revolving on its axis at over a thousand
miles an hour?
The answer to these queries is clear. All these things, more or less known to me,
were absolutely non-existent for my tailless cat. Its memory extended back into its
own past, not in a sequence of time, but in vague forms wherein I sometimes fitted.
Its future was conditioned by its urge to eat, drink and sleep. It knew nothing about
its birth or its eventual death. Its mind was held within the limits of its immediate
wants. It climbed on my knee because it wished to avoid the draught upon the floor;
it subsequently got off to satisfy some urge from within. Its mind was held strictly in
the compass of its own life-span; my mind was not. I could think backward far
beyond my own birth into the history of England, Europe, or the world.
I could think forward beyond my own demise. I could make provision for the time
when my dependents would have to face life without me. I could think into space as
well as time. I could compute from a map the mileage from one town to another.
My mind could browse among the stars. I could think of the whole universe and of
many other universes in space. I could think of science, art, literature, religion, God
and beauty. My mind had broken through the cat's time and space limits into a
freedom of thought never contemplated by a cat.
This dramatic breakout into freedom, pictured in Genesis, a breakaway from a
garden of animal irresponsibility to the contemplation of man as a focus of the
universe, by its very nature demanded a much more exact and flexible mode of
communication between human beings than the cries of animals. The cat could purr
its pleasure on my knee. It could not discuss with me the causes of war or the inner
meaning of religion.
Thus for Adam there was not found a helpmeet among the animals. So, according
to the story, one had to be created for him. And because both fell upward they left
this zoological garden, this playground for animals, and entered an environment of
strain and struggle, eminently suitable for the full development of the human mind,
and they took their language with them. Human language is the evidence that
mankind is confronting the universe not with the vagueness of the animal but with
the concise mind of the human being.
All material things are composed of the same substance, differentiated according to
texture and form. If my cat's body is the same as my own, whence the difference
between the cat and me? Surely not in matter. Language is the expression in matter
of the non-material mind, and we gauge the quality of that mind by the richness of
the language. Language is the evidence of spirit, the evidence of a world other than
matter. The cat's cries are the evidence of a mind held tightly within the limits of
time and space. Human language is the evidence of a free mind able to roam over the
past and the future and able to reach the very confines of space. The world of spirit is
thrusting into matter every day of our lives and pressing through for recognition by
We die every night and are born every morning. We live in spirit as much as in
matter. At the end, it will be no hardship to be released from the confines of the
animal body and establish ourselves in a subtler one. It is here that Spiritualism
links on. Clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition link on. They function outside the
limits of space and time in the third dimension. We get a glimpse of the kind of life
which might be more fully developed here once we 'mastered the laws which govern
extrasensory modes of perception.
We are today in a position similar to when the human mind broke away from its
animal conditions and limitations. We are now breaking away from material
conditions as well, and we shall be forced to create a new language for this new
world of mind.
All that I have said seems to me to support the evidence of Survival. We temporarily
clothe ourselves with a substance which is for ever changing, being made and
destroyed and, at death, we enter what is best described as home.

Not many of us are aware of the intimate and interactive relationship between the
material world and the world of spirit. We separate them in our minds by a dividing
line which we call death, with ourselves on this side and the departed on that, and
we vaguely know that we shall pass from one side to the other at the moment when
we pass through the gate of death. All this is far from reality. The two worlds are
Both these facts stand out when we consider that it has been estimated that seventy
people pass out of this world every minute, over four thousand every hour and
hundred thousand every day. Without intermission, in ten days something like one
million people have passed from this side to the other. We do not notice it because
the area covered is so vast, but if the angel of death were to concentrate his efforts on
the average-sized towns in England he could wipe out one each day, for most of the
towns in England have a population of under one hundred thousand.
We lay a great burden on the higher intelligences in the spirit world by the condition
of the majority arriving on that side, as the only thing a man can take with him into
the world of spirit is his character. His position, his possessions, his wealth count for
nothing. What counts is what he is, not what he had. That character depends largely
upon the social order into which he has been born and in which he has lived. If such
a social order has been of a primitive character he would probably have suffered
from want or disease, almost certainly from ignorance, squalor and possibly from
unemployment. His character would have become warped from constant anxiety
and dread.
A woman doctor, recently returned from the Middle East told of a mother who did
not know whether she had five or six children - she did not know how to count. This
woman, like all others around her, thought that disease was sent by God and had to
be endured. Where she lived there was no running water or sanitation, but plenty of
want, disease and squalor. These evils become embedded in the characters of those
who have to suffer them and are not left behind when they pass into the world of
The close relation between human character, and the social order makes it of vital
importance that Spiritualism at its highest shall become a force in every social
system. In higher organisms, parts lose their independence and are governed from
the existing central position in the brain of the organism. Consequently there is no
freedom of action apart from the central authority. It has been suggested that
societies are like that, but this does not take into account that they are made up of
units called human beings, each of which is a centre in himself, so that in societies a
much more complicated position exists than in an organism. In societies there are
many human centres, each regarding himself as his own authority for his actions.
Human society, therefore, differs from an organism in this respect, that while an
organism centralises all authority in the brain, it is the business of human societies
to see that each unit has as much freedom as possible.
But it was not like that in ancient times. Ancient civilisations were more like
organisms, they, had central authority, the king or the priest, whose word was law
and the general public were mostly slaves, with a thin crust of freedom at the top.
Egypt, Chaldaea, Assyria, Rome and Greece were slave states. The great buildings of
those countries were erected by slave labour. The so-called democracy of Greece
referred to about ten per cent only of the population. The remaining ninety per cent
had no say in the government of the country. Greek philosophers divided their
communities into two, the freemen, who had rights and did little work, and the
slaves who had no rights and did much work.
The work of the community in the houses, streets and fields was done by slave
labour so was considered degrading. No freeman did it if he could avoid it. His job
was fighting and wars necessarily arose out of this type of society. It was the work of
the freeman to get more slaves. He went to war to get more land for the increasing
number of freemen growing up in the community to get more slaves to work the land
thus obtained and to replace the diminishing supply of slaves due to accident,
disease and death.
The scientific minds of ancient Greece were probably just as alert as those of today,
but there was little result because the economic urge of the present day was lacking
in the ancient states. Science today is mostly concerned with the production of
machines for agricultural and industrial purposes and, unfortunately, for the
production of war materials, such machinery being necessary to take the place of the
mass slave labour of ancient times. Slavery was part of the social order and the idea
that work was degrading inhibited scientific thought. In Greek literature there is no
protest against slavery except in the case of Greeks enslaving Greeks.
The dominant social forces operating in ancient civilisations were militarism, slavery
and religion in that order of importance. Imagine that host of slaves passing from
the influence of such a social order into the unseen. Spiritually paralysed, they arrive
stunted in mind, warped in judgment, ignorant of the meaning of life, with ideas
about God and man totally at variance with the facts as they are obtainable. They
have to counteract their experiences of servitude, throw off their fears and remodel
their lives to the new environment.
In the Middle Ages in Europe were somewhat similar social conditions, but it was no
longer possible to get masses of slaves. Slaves were allowed to marry and hold small
portions of land, but they were tied both to the land and to the owner of it. All this
led to the fostering of existing slaves and slavery gradually gave place to serfdom.
Consequently, the relationship of the social forces in Europe at that time was
somewhat different from that of ancient civilisations.
In Europe, religion was dominant, followed by politics, militarism and serfdom in
that order of importance. The underdog still remained ignorant and subservient for
the soldier at the top had been merely exchanged for the priest at the top. He was
bound to the Church, he lived under the smile or frown of the Church; he did what
the Church as his lord required of him and he believed what the Church told him to
believe. If by chance he had a mind of his own, he stood in danger of excom-
munication, which was not only a disaster for him in the next life, according to the
Church, but a certain disaster for him in this.
He was cut off from friends and neighbours; he was shut out of his own house; he
could not obtain food; he was an outcast from the only social order that he knew.
Anyone who, in sympathy, gave him food or shelter was liable also to
excommunication. He was thus robbed of his freedom here and his hope of heaven
hereafter. Here was a social order based not on military but on ecclesiastical force,
the latter as ruthless as the former and as productive of ignorance and fear.
Nurtured in belief in a God as ruthless as his ecclesiastical masters, who claimed
authority to cast him into eternal fire, he was supposed to be comforted by a vision
of Dante's inferno and a Church which claimed sole right to give him absolution.
Imagine this host of serfs eventually passing into the unseen with minds stunted by
terror and ignorance. Nothing could be done until they had unlearned what the
Church had taught them. Imagine the feelings of those higher intelligences
responsible for receiving these unfortunate, frightened people arriving in their
Nowadays an additional force exists. Neither militarism nor religion is at the top,
except during war. In time of peace the forces are in the following order of
importance - industry and commerce, science, politics, religion. Our present position
demands that everyone works if the country is to survive. Industry therefore comes
first, science second, for science is mostly pressed into the service of industry;
politics regulate industry and religion comes last.
According to Spiritualism the most important thing in life here is the development of
character. We take nothing else with us when we die. How much do present-day
forces of social life contribute to the development of fine individual characters?
The history of the rise and growth of industry in this country is one of intense and
bitter struggle. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the wool trade arose
centred mainly in Yorkshire. Wool became the financial life-blood of England; for
the purpose of maintaining sheep large tracts of land ceased to be agricultural and
became pastoral. The increase of the population from ten millions to thirteen
millions, together with the decrease of agricultural land, doubled the profits of the
farmer and reduced the labourer to poverty. The introduction of machinery drove
the poor into the factories under appalling conditions. The demand for labour
became phenomenal; orphan children were sent from the poor-houses; the over-
crowded towns were unable to cope with the influx of factory workers and as many
as fifty people would live in one house with one lavatory.
The factory hours were as long as the strength of the worker lasted and longer. A law
was passed which forced the children of paupers to go to work in factories or be
punished by being chained to the machins; a foreman stood whip in hand to awaken
those who fell asleep. Thousands died under such conditions. Want, disease,
ignorance and squalor were the only things these people knew. Robert Owen, one of
the leading industrialists of the time, and, ultimately, a convinced Spiritualist, made
stupendous efforts to improve conditions and maintained that in industry, as in
everything else, the human being must come before consideration of machinery or
profits. Such an idea was Utopian - one could only run a business on realist lines.
Machines were costly, labour was cheap. But Robert Owen was in the right.
The average employers today or, for that matter, the average employees, consider
the manufacture of commodities the most important thing in industry. Spiritualism
considers the development of individual character more important. Some of the
most progressive industrialists have accepted this outlook. Spiritualism must
become a social force throughout industry. It must change the motive from profit to
full development of the individual worker.
Labour shortage today has forced industry to husband its labour resources and a
new profession has arisen, that of the personnel manager, whose job it is to take a
personal interest in the welfare of the men and women in the business. But, as long
as the motive is to increase profit, the movement may be endangered if ever
economic pressure ceases.
It is the task confronting Spiritualism to direct the industrial mind to the new idea of
building the human character for service not only here but in the larger life as well.
Spiritualism must become a strong socialising force.
In trying to understand the materialistic trend of science two things must be
remembered. First, that the Church was hostile to science. Secondly, that its method
of contacting reality was an innovation. It exchanged the traditional method of
authority for the more enlightened method of observation and experiment. The
doctrine of materialism is roughly that there are only matter and motion in the
universe and that all influences are material. Life, mind, purpose, form arise out of
matter and, when matter disintegrates so also do these and that is the end. What we
have to consider is the social effect of this doctrine.
Europe in the Middle Ages was in a practically continuous state of turmoil; the years
of war were many more than the years of peace and life at its best was precarious.
Starvation was widespread and there was little security in life. Against this the
Church offered an incentive to their idea of an upright life. Obey the Church and a
glorious heaven awaited you with its golden streets and pearly gates and freedom
from pain and sorrow. The average person, with that in view, consented to put up
with the miseries of life and endure to the end in order to be entitled to the joys of
Science destroyed that last hope and offered nothing in its place. Science said:
There is no heaven. Your friends who have died, and you, too, when you die, will
remain dead forever. Science took away from the Church its chief incentive to the
acceptance of a hopeless social order. Religion ranked each man, in theory, as a son
of God and endowed him with corresponding dignity. Materialism ranked man as an
animal only.
Spiritualism must prove to science that it is doing itself harm by limiting itself to the
study of matter alone. Spiritualism can give a higher incentive to a well-led life by
giving a truer picture of a future life than that previously given by theology.
The politician is the victim of existing social forces. He goes to parliament to act in
accordance with industrial scientific and religious views held by the majority. He has
no power to enforce whatever personal ideals he may have. However, evidence has
been given to politicians of life after death and Spiritualism has now achieved the
annulment of the law inimical to it. This should set free a great influence for good.
The state of orthodox religion today is depressing as the influence of materialistic
science on religious thought has been great. It is unfortunate because religion could
be a valuable asset from the emotional and visionary point of view in the
development of human character. The crisis has arisen through science offering
certainty in the place of the hope and faith offered by orthodox religion. The human
mind yearns for certainty. It wants truth, whether encouraging or not. Uncertainty
saps the moral and spiritual fibre. And science along its own lines has supplied a
certainty as far as it goes. In so doing it has negatived most that religion stands for.
Spiritualism supplements materialistic science by seeing further ahead and adding
the scientific certainty of the world of spirit.
The need for Spiritualism here is pressing. Streams of people are passing on,
bewildered, mentally clouded, and hopeless in spirit. They have passed through life
like a ship without a rudder. The re-forming of their lives upon arrival on the Other
Side, the redirection of mental outlook, the course of discipline for their character,
are sometimes painful and purgatorial, but essential for their progress. Much could
be done while on earth to minimise the ordeal afterwards if Spiritualism were
accepted within the social order at once instead of remaining on the fringe only, as at
There is nothing to prevent a speedy advent of the day when Spiritualism becomes
the predominant force in the social order, with its central theme of the development
of human personality for ultimate service in a wider spiritual field. Most people have
a seed of it in them; they only need enlightenment and encouragement to make it
grow and bear fruit. The influences on society would then be in the following order
of importance: Spiritualism, industry, politics, science, with militarism disap-

In a conversation with a friend regarding clairvoyance, he seemed interested until
we branched into prediction, when he suddenly closed the conversation with the
comment that he did not think we were ever meant to pry into the future. Where
should we be if physicists and chemists refused to pry into matter, or the biologist
refused to pry into living organisms? Questions refuse to be dismissed so lightly.
We all live in the future. Almost every action of our daily lives is a preparation for
some future event. Prediction means to foretell, to prophesy, to declare what will
happen in the future. We must, of necessity, be interested in what is going to
happen in the future. However, theology frowns upon it as it clashes with its belief
that mankind was made for one purpose, to break away from that purpose was to
court disaster and to venture to pry into the future was to court disaster. I recall the
verse of a hymn which ran like this:
I'd rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith in Him than go alone by sight.
Its author does not consider the possibility of walking with God in the light.
I was once stopped in the street and asked whether I would like to meet God with a
pipe in my mouth. I must confess the idea had never occurred to me and I was too
astonished to make a suitable reply. I have thought of many good ones since! The
inquirer went on, If God had wanted you to smoke he would have put a chimney pot
on your head. This sounds idiotic today, but it was part of the theology of the time.
Smoking, women, drink and cards were considered the four cardinal sins by
The main idea was that we could gather the intention of God by the way He had
made us. If, therefore, He had wanted us to smoke, he would have made us with a
proper outlet for the smoke. If we follow that line of thought, our consciences should
be doing overtime, for God gave us two legs with which we can manage to walk about
four miles an hour. Therefore, to travel in a train at fifty miles an hour must, of
necessity, be very displeasing to God. God gave us no wings. It is obviously His
intention that we should not fly, so that every time we travel in an airplane we fly in
the face of Providence. The foolishness of this line of thought is apparent.
The question of prediction finds its way also into what is perhaps the most debated
subject in theology, free will or predestination. St. Augustine held that God elected
for salvation whom He would, leaving the rest to perish. Luther and Calvin also held
that view. The theological difficulty is to reconcile human free will with divine
foreknowledge. While the Church may be said to be, to some degree, Calvinistic in
theory, it is definitely not Calvinistic in practice.
The idea that sin ought to be punished because mankind had freedom of choice was
at the back of some of the savage laws which found their way to the Statute Book.
Men, women and children were hanged for slight offences. Less than a hundred and
fifty years ago fourteen young people, all under sixteen years of age were hanged at
what is now Marble Arch for stealing articles valued at less than five shillings. There
is, today, less poverty and less drunkenness; we have compulsory education and
public libraries. But the main force which has brought about an improvement in our
legal system has been the rise of scientific methods in the medical profession.
Doctors concluded that there were many people brought before the courts and
severely punished who were not fit to plead by reason of mental illness or bad social
conditions. The lot of the mentally unbalanced has been certainly improved by the
more scientifically inclined medical world and the fact to be noted is that the medical
profession belongs to the predictive sciences. The doctor has so closely studied the
human body that he can predict the course of many diseases and can take the
necessary steps to divert and generally to control them. The idea that prediction
demands a fixed future disappears in science. All the exact sciences are based upon
prediction and in every case prediction is the forerunner of change through human
control. Because the doctor knows the course of a disease, if left to itself, he is able to
interfere with that course and help the patient back to health. That is control of the
future through prediction.
We have, today, greater freedom of thought and action than our forefathers; and this
has been brought about by power derived from scientific prediction. The present
social order depends upon science and industry and both of these are made possible
by prediction. The ancient civilisations of Greece, Rome and Egypt, were simple
compared with the complicated structure of present-day civilisations. Vast factories,
complex railway systems, great shipping lines and enormous blocks of offices (one
on the Embankment houses ten thousand people) are covered by insurance. All
insurances are concerned with scientific predictions. A twenty-year endowment
policy is an assurance that in twenty years' time a lump sum of money will be paid to
the insured person or to his heirs if he should die before the twenty years. A cloak of
security has been thrown over the twenty years and he has changed his future by
making provision for it.
The railway time-table is a prediction. It tells us what trains will run. If I want to go
to Glasgow next Thursday, I consult the railway time-table and I arrange my affairs
accordingly. I buy a ticket and reserve a seat on a suitable train because scientific
prediction has forecast that it will run on that particular day.
The captain of a ship coming up the Channel to London consults the Nautical
Almanac which gives him the high tides at London Bridge on every day in the year.
This predictive almanac tells him beforehand whether he will have to wait a possible
six hours in the Estuary or be able to steam up on a rising tide.
The fundamental difference between scientific and psychic prediction is that the first
finds its origin in the past. It is because a certain result had aways appeared in the
past that the prediction for the future is possible. Because, in the past, two parts of
hydrogen combined with one part of oxygen has always produced water, one may
predict that they always will. But psychic prediction is an actual looking ahead at an
event which appears to be future in time and non-existent in the present. It is, to all
appearances, seeing an effect before the cause.
There are also astrological predictions with much evidence to prove them correct.
Many years ago, in a moment of curiosity, I consulted an astrologer. He asked my
birth-date and its hour. I was not sure; I thought it was about three a.m. He took
down a musty volume, made some rapid calculations and said, If you were born at
three a.m. on that date you should have been in March 1917 in a foreign country in a
position of peculiar physical danger. He was right. I was in Russia when the first
revolution broke out and I sheltered behind one of the pillars outside St. Isaac's
Cathedral in what is now Leningrad, while machine guns spattered bullets on the
other side of the pillar. That was a remarkable way to find out the hour of my birth!
Later, I received the astrologer's typed prediction, which said, among other things,
that in the following September I should have an accident to the head which would
incapacitate me for about three weeks. So I made up my mind that when September
came I would take the necessary precautions to thwart the prediction. On the first of
September I had to go to Blackheath. I went gingerly around every corner, I crossed
no road until it was clear of traffic and I left nothing undone to secure myself against
an accident - and then I recovered consciousness to see a nurse gazing down at me.
Someone on a bicycle dashing down Blackheath Hill just could not miss me and he
put me in hospital because of concussion. That smack on the head knocked free will,
my cherished free will, out of my reckoning and I did not like it. I went back to the
astrologer. He told me something that was a blow to my spiritual pride, but it did me
good. He said, Some people come to me whose future I can never read - they are all
deeply spiritual people. The inference was obvious, for he had been able to forecast
my future with almost unerring accuracy.
It seems, therefore, that psychic and astrological predictions can, like scientific ones,
also be controlled, not by reference to the past, but by the unfolding of the spiritual
faculties until the personality is raised out of the stratum of physical cause and effect
to find its home outside the space-time continuum. It is difficult to convey a non-
space-time meaning in space-time language. Most of us have a long time to go, but I
think the way out to freedom is there.
The life of Jesus seems to be an example of this. He was surrounded with
controversy. The Sadducees denied determinism. The Pharisees partly believed it.
The Essenes insisted upon it. The story of the Transfiguration is a clash between
determinism and free will. Jesus did not go up the mountain-side in order to be
transfigured. He went up to pray and, as he prayed, his spirit drew new strength
so that the body itself shone with the spiritual glow of his radiant personality. At
momentous times Jesus always went apart to pray. The future for him had to have
the same significance as his life up to the present - that was his Choice. His followers
had misinterpreted the meaning of his life, and, later, would misinterpret the
meaning of his death.
The sance on the mountainside was a time of spiritual refreshment and prediction.
The spirits of Moses and Elijah came from the larger life and lifted the veil hiding his
future and Jesus saw that the prediction completed the pattern of his life. As one
who has asked the way and finds he is on the right road, he braced himself for the
final stage of his earthly life From that time forth he set his face to go to
Jerusalem. As part of the scheme of universal existence, he fulfilled the will of God
and knew the meaning of that service which is perfect freedom.

Ordinary things of life become so commonplace to us that we do not see their
complex side. An omnibus is an ordinary everyday thing. It is found in most towns of
the world and we cannot imagine how people ever did without them. We step on, sit
down (if it is not a peak hour) and get off at the right stop and do not notice that a
miracle has been happening all the time. For the bus does not convey us; we convey
Immediately we step on, the bus changes us from a static to a moving body. We go
along with the bus and, if the driver suddenly puts the brakes on, we find ourselves
rushing forward and clutching at anything that will stop us. We have not slowed
down our speed to correspond with the slowing down of the bus. If we do not find
anything to clutch at, before we know it we are hitting up against the front of the bus
with possible damage to ourselves. So we discover there is a mystery in the mere
using of the bus.
Consciousness is equally ordinary and likewise equally mysterious and we do not
seem able to understand it. We are aware of an outside world through the physical
senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, etc. If we do not trouble to think, we take it
for granted that these are the only channels which consciousness uses. But upon
examination we find we have made a mistake. Evidence goes to show that
consciousness may manifest itself through additional channels without our always
being aware of it. Two levels of consciousness can act separately or together.
My daughter and I joined a class for developing psychic powers. The monotony of
waiting tried my patience and I started to experiment on my own. I decided to try to
project the figure of a man in armour for others to see. I composed myself in the
circle, put my head between my hands and concentrated hard. The picture came and
went, but I could not get his right hand up in the air flourishing a sword. I felt I was
wasting my time, when suddenly my daughter tapped me on the knee and drew my
attention to what she called a faint spirit form hovering near the medium. Still
keeping my head between my hands in a frantic effort to hold the picture, I asked
her what she saw. She said it looked like a man in armour, but he seemed to have
something wrong with his right hand as though he wanted to raise it but could not.
That I regard as a case of two levels of consciousness operating in unison in the same
person and so producing a phenomenon not otherwise possible, certainly not
possible to the physical senses alone. The medium also appeared to see the projected
phantom and interpreted it as a spirit message to me. My brother, who was present,
was also endeavouring to project a similar form. The medium walked over to him
and, taking his hands in hers, said: I have a message for you. Put on the whole
armour of God.
I asked him, afterwards, what had happened. He replied that he had done his best
but could not get the phantom knight projected away from himself. He seems,
therefore, to have succeeded in building it up around himself and the medium had
interpreted this as a message to him - which only shows the danger of mis-
interpretation. It also shows that consciousness is clearly a big thing, for while a man
may not be aware of it he may be operating on more than one level at the same time.
He may, with deliberation, bring two levels of consciousness to operate together.
Like other living things consciousness grows. It expands and reaches out to vaster
areas in which to express itself. This throws light upon what otherwise is mystifying
in history. It explains the recurrence of turbulent periods in life. We passed through
one a thousand years after Jesus and another in the sixteenth century. Each such
period was expansive, so human consciousness threw off old modes of thought,
theological, political and scientific, which had suddenly ceased to sway human
conduct and demanded less frustrating modes of thought and greater knowledge.
When we begin to tackle our own spiritual make-up we find ourselves faced with the
fact that consciousness is ahead of language and that the new growth has only the
old metaphors with which to explain itself, or rather, the growth of consciousness is
followed by a growth in language which, for a time, fumbles along, making
haphazard attempts at appropriate expressions to fill the gap. We might compare
ourselves with our prehistoric ancestors when the growth of consciousness carried
man out of the animal stage into one of self-consciousness. The animals possessed
their own language, made up mainly of vowel sounds which seem to have been
adequate to express their emotions and wants for untold generations.
When man rose above the animal kingdom, the growth of consciousness demanded
more elaborate forms of expression and consonants were added to the vowel sounds
of the animal kingdom. One animal sound could be used for many different words by
the use of different additional consonants. The ough of dog was the basis for
tough, rough, laugh, cough; the co of the cow became the basis for do,
chew, brew. For generations, early man expressed himself by little more than
animal sounds until consonants established themselves. During the transition stage,
there must have been considerable confusion due to varying degrees of development.
Today, we are in a similar confusion. Our concepts have outrun our language. Such
concepts as God, the absolute, eternity, have broken through the barriers of
space and time, but we can only express them in extensions of space-time language.
Every religion has felt the need for some method of expression of reality which could
do it justice but has never succeeded and had been forced, in cruder times, to fall
back upon monstrosities - figures of goddesses with six arms and six breasts, gods
with the heads of animals, and so on all efforts to express in space-time form that
which is outside space and time.
In an address on yoga, I heard the lecturer state that the practice of yoga led
ultimately to the absolute. A man in the audience asked for a definition of the term
absolute and the reply was final, finished, the end. The discussion which
followed was naturally confused because the lecturer had only space-time language
with which to express those concepts which lie beyond space and time.
For centuries, mankind has been feeling the warmth of concepts which we call
spiritual but which we are unable adequately to define and has given an outlet to
such concepts in space-time poems, hymns and prayers. Even the Bible recognised
the impossibility of finding words to bear the weight of such majestic ideas. God was
incomprehensible, so He was never to be named. Symbols were used in place of
words to portray eternal verities beyond the confines of this life.
In those days, consciousness expressed itself emotionally; today it expresses itself
through the intellect which is searching for intellectual means to express the
inexpressible. The word consciousness covers the experience of knowing
together, scio to know, con together. This kind of knowing can only be effected
intellectually, that is, scientifically. We can prove a chemical combination by
scientific means. It is an objective fact, so we can prove it and know it together. But
if I say, There is a song in my heart we cannot know that together. I am the only
one who can know it and I cannot prove its existence to anyone else. Mankind has
given a materialistic application to the word conscious because it is associated with
objective proof and the physical senses. We have not yet grasped the possibility of a
consciousness other than the physical. It is true that science with its space-time
technique is investigating non-space-time phenomena, but the work is slow and the
instruments used are so far ineffective.
Language has not grown beyond the confines of time and space, but consciousness
has and we have to improvise words to catch it up. Anyway, intellectually we have
discovered phenomena which lie beyond the confines of time and space as evidenced
by clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition. Every space-time force obeys the law of
the diminution of force in proportion to the square of the distance, but clairvoyance,
telepathy and precognition do not obey this law. In precognition the result of a cause
is perceived before the cause is in existence. That is impossible in the space-time
For the time being, therefore, we have to use space-time language, inadequate as it
is, to express non-space-time phenomena. The following is given as an approximate
illustration of the profundity of what we are considering.
The Pacific Ocean is dotted with innumerable islands. Looked at superficially they
appear insignificant. They perch on the surface of the water like isolated ships. Upon
inquiry, however, we are informed that they are the tops of lofty mountains which
reach just above the surface of the water. If, in imagination, we descend through the
water, this surface isolation gradually disappears and, on the floor of the ocean,
these islands form one unity of substance.
The consciousness which uses the physical senses is an insignificant part of the total
consciousness. While we appear to be separated in the finite world, on tracing the
personality to its depths the apparent separation disappears and union takes its
place. Separation is as the surface summit of the mountains. Imprisonment is a legal
form of punishment. The prisoner is isolated from his fellow-man. His fundamental
state is not one of isolation but of union; hence the misery which overtakes one who
is so isolated.
Some time ago, at a meeting in Victoria Hall, London, where Mr. Harold Vigurs was
the speaker, Mrs. Clements, the clairvoyant, and myself the chairman I gave out the
number and the first line of the hymn, O love that will not let me go. Mrs.
Clements whispered that it was the wrong hymn, while Mr. Vigurs murmured,
Amazing. Later he told me that in the afternoon he had been taken ill and felt
unable to come to Victoria Hall. Spirit personalities, however, persuaded him to go
on the promise that they would look after him. They said, When you hear the hymn,
'O love that will not let me go' given out, you will know that we are with you and all is
well. What seemed like carelessness on my part turned out to be the commingling
of a discarnate consciousness with mine.
The merging of that which, for me, is erroneously called the subconscious, is
beyond the boundaries of time and space. In our surface consciousness we are
isolated from each other - islands in human experience - and the only method of
contact lies in the use of the physical senses and through language, spoken and
written, with its eternal risk of misunderstanding. But deeper down there is a
profound relationship, a merging of personality. Death is the end of imprisonment
in the limitations of this material world - like the withdrawal of the hand from a
glove - though it is true that the present life has flashes of the profounder
consciousness; the lovely poem, the beautiful painting, the noble act, which are
glimpses of future unimaginable wonders.

The awareness of events which we call consciousness is both real and elusive. We all
possess it. Physiologists and many psychologists say that in its physical aspect
consciousness depends upon the bodily structure and that it disintegrates with the
bodily structure. This attitude reveals a strong materialistic trend in outlook and
Spiritualism confronts it with such facts that another explanation has to be found.
These facts are termed subconscious by the psychologist, but F. W. H. Myers
named them sub-liminal. The term subconscious suggests below the level of
consciousness and, therefore, unconscious, while sub-liminal suggests that there
is a consciousness below the physical life of space and time; judging by hypnotism,
clairvoyance, automatic writing, precognition, etc., which exhibit a continuity and
train of thought, purpose and memory, all of which are the elements of everyday
This calls for a new conception of the subconscious and a more suitable name. I
suggest we get nearer the truth of things if we call it co-conscious. The difficulty
lies in finding words adequately to express our thoughts regarding spiritual truths,
as everyday language is too superficial. In the end we have to fall back upon
parables, myths, symbols and rituals in order to reach the average mind.
As far as words go, co-consciousness probably serves as well as any other,
conscious and sub-conscious being rather concerned with difference of focus. In
driving a car, attention is focused on the road in front while one is only vaguely
conscious of what lies on the margin, yet the surrounding things cannot be regarded
as subconscious, as consciousness is in the person and not in the thing. We are
unconscious of a large proportion of the things we pass on the road and of events
that occur; but if we focus our attention on other than physical things we discover
other states of consciousness equally real but not in the front of our minds.
Each human being seems to be a community of consciousnesses, each variety being
concerned with the welfare of the whole so that an event can be correctly interpreted
only after consultation with the complete consciousness. Our physical awareness is
the expression of depths of personality which momentarily rise to the surface,
interpret events psychically and return to the depths to enrich them.
In forecasting the weather the B.B.C. may promise us sunshine next morning and
storm in the afternoon. To gain such a forecast, conscious thought and action take
place all over the globe. Gerald Heard states: Radio makes possible horizontal
information from round the entire globe; that is not enough . . The upper
atmosphere was then explored; the polar front of the upper atmosphere was then
questioned and sounded. Beyond and behind the wind and the rain slight shifts in
the barometric pressure were found to be - or mark the presence of - the invisible
brewers. Tornado pressures under which a fortress may burst like an egg and a liner
be whirled like a straw are discovered to start with evaporations imperceptable to
the senses.
To get all this information and present it in a shortened version many people
(centres of consciousness) are kept hard at it. A variety of weather experts, weather
ships in the Atlantic and elsewhere, office workers and others combine into a
collective consciousness to produce the reports which reach the public through the
B.B.C. announcers. If we were dealing similarly with a human being we might
incorrectly call this surface contact the conscious and the rest of the activities the
subconscious, but each department appears to be equally conscious and active in its
contribution to the whole, and the whole expresses itself in the daily surface activity.
Perpetual conscious activity exists behind the scenes in everyone's life. Only a small
fraction of our real self meets the outside world at one time; the rest is silent except
so far as it is revealed in the whole.
A clock has two, or perhaps three, hands moving round its face at different rates.
Behind the face is machinery, unlike the face but moving the hands. Likewise, a
human face indicates a physical mechanism behind it which is directing its owner,
looking after his particular interests and holding the balance in spite of possible
opposing strain. The central nervous system controls the heart, lung, digestive
system, etc., demanding more activity to deal with the extra load when we run, over-
eat or over-drink. Further, hypnotism can bring to the surface some of the separate
consciousnesses which are at work behind the scenes and which have a supply of
knowledge which does not come to the surface of its own accord. Under hypnotism
these separate departments of consciousness come coyly to the surface.
In clairvoyance or precognition they put in a momentary appearance and then
shrink back into their subsconscious and work there until summoned to appear
again. When as a boy I got into trouble with my father, which, alas, was often, and I
received a just or unjust hiding from him, one me resented tearfully the effrontery
to my person; another me made fun of the crying one and a third me looked
upon the other two with a dignity which said, Both of you will learn in time. Three
me's and there may have been many more, and each separate from the others, all
conscious yet part of a greater unity.
There is a me, which is slightly clairvoyant in certain moods and bubbles to the
surface. A dogmatic me may thrust its way to the front and a restraining me
order it back again. Western culture on a large scale has practically ignored the force
behind the face and has become superficial, i.e., materialistic. It has gilded the hands
of the clock and smartened up the face with a fresh coat of enamel, but this
decoration does not imply perfect time-keeping. Wonders in science, transport, food,
sanitation, amusements, etc., are all essentials but the complete consciousness of
man is still unachieved.
Some of the Old Testament writers had a fine sense of proportion. At a time when
religion dominated the thoughts of men, one could write: What is man that thou art
mindful of him? . . . Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast
crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the
works of Thy hands.
There we have the true relation between inner and outer, spirit and matter, religion
and science. In the last four hundred years the West has gone to the other extreme,
not religious but scientific, outer, matter and given a secondary place to
religious inner spirit. The fact that we have been successful with outer matter
because we have been made a little lower than angels has been ignored. Man has
broken through the barrier of nature, is now at war with nature, and has
consequently changed the face of the earth out of all recognition. He has harnessed
the powers of steam, electricity, and petrol; he has ploughed the land with powerful
machinery; he has torn from the earth coal and other minerals; and all this has been
done by a study of the outer.
Success in this direction has drawn man's interests from worthy objects on the other
side, the inner, the spiritual. We possess an inner faculty which provides a vision of
truth and not merely a logical argument for it. Creeds and symbols were valuable in
their origin, but as religions grow older rituals and symbols harden into religious
creeds, the outer form surviving and the inner meaning being ignored.
Religion to remain of value must learn to face change, in the same spirit as science
faces it, and hold its symbols lightly not confusing them with reality. I quote the
following from Kenneth Walker's Meaning and Purpose:
Religion is the apprehension of the divine and holy. . . . Institutions, churches,
rituals, disciplines are but the aids which men collectively use to help them in their
pursuit of the Divine. But the end of religion is beyond all these passing forms.
Stripped of its doctrines, it (religion) is an emotional experience the non-intellectual
apprehension of another world. . . . All that can be remembered of this experience is
that it was accompanied by an utter conviction that behind all outward appearances
there is a supreme spiritual reality and that the discovery brought with it a sense of
joyous liberation from the limitations of individual existence and from the tyranny of
personality. At the same time there was no desire to explain the reason of this or to
describe what was happening. It is true that the intellect, as is its habit, groped for
words but discovering that this was useless, it remained silent.
For such an experience there is no material form Be still and know that I am
Here then is Spiritualism's place in the experience of life - to restore to science the
vision of reality through the emotions, and to restore to religion the vision of reality
through the intellect. The inner and the outer, the conscious and the co-conscious.
Man, little lower than angels, conscious of the grandeur of his destiny.