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pressed into the service of spiritism; and we must, therefore, presume that the words were intended and used in their full significance. In other words, the fate of the argument must depend upon the correctness of the premises as they are formulated.
In making this statement some very important facts set forth in "Phantasms of the Living," must have been forgotten for the moment, or else the article from which quotation was made was written before the publication of that voluminous record of telepathic experiences.
Be that as it may, one very important feature of the phenomena of telepathy has certainly been ignored. It is a feature, too, of the first importance, for, without including it as a factor in any given case, one is more than likely to be led into the most grievous errors. I refer to the phenomenon of "deferred percipience." The meaning of the term is thus explained by Mr. Myers in his learned and able introduction to “ Phantasms of the Living”: “We find in the case of phantasms corresponding to some accident or crisis which befalls a living friend, that there seems often to be a latent period before the phantasm becomes definite or externalized to the percipient's eye or ear. Sometimes a vague malaise seems first to be generated, and then when other stimuli are deadened, as at night or in some period of repose, -the indefinite grief or uneasiness takes shape in the voice or figure of the friend who in fact passed through his moment of peril some hours before." He then goes on to say that "it is quite possible that a deferment of this kind may sometimes intervene between the moment of death and the phantasmal announcement thereof to a distant friend."
This is a very general, though a very accurate, statement of a principle which will presently be seen to be a corollary of the doctrine of duality of mind and of sub-conscious intelligence.
A person in imminent and deadly peril telepathically conveys a message to his nearest friend or relative, informing him of the occurrence. This may be done by means
of a vision or by clairaudience, or otherwise; but it must necessarily be done by some means that addresses itself to the sensory experience of the percipient. It is a message from the subjective mind of the "agent" to that of the "percipient." If the percipient is a psychic, he will probably perceive the import of the message at once. If he is not a psychic, or is not easily thrown into the psychical or subjective condition, he may not be able for hours to elevate the message above the threshold of his own consciousIf he is incapable (as most people are) of becoming objectively conscious of what is going on in his subjective mind, he may never be able to become normally conscious of the message that is lying "latent" in his "subliminal consciousness." Nevertheless the information is there, although he may not, as before remarked, be conscious of it at the time of its reception. It may remain latent for a week or a month; or he may never be able to take objective cognizance of it unaided by some one more sensitive to subjective impressions.
It must be remembered that telepathy is one of those psychic powers that are seldom, if ever, acquired by persons who are in a normal state of physical health. Let me not be misunderstood on this point. When we speak of one possessing telepathic power, we usually mean, simply, that he is one who is capable of taking objective cognizance, or becoming objectively conscious, of the messages received by his subjective mind. In other words, he is one who is capable of elevating the impressions of his sub-conscious intelligence above the threshold of his normal or objective consciousness. The fact that he is unable to do this is no evidence that he is incapable of receiving subjective impressions, or that he does not receive telepathic messages.
Indeed, the facts show that there is practically little difference, other things being equal, in the capacity of persons of average intelligence for receiving telepathic communications. The difference consists, not in the ability to receive, but in the ability to perceive, or to become objectively conscious, of what has been received. And the latter power usually finds its origin in an abnormal physical condition, ranging in intensity from that of an incipient neurosis to the terrible affliction endured by the Seeress of Prevorst,— the power and the physical abnormality nearly always sustaining perfectly harmonious proportional relations.
It follows that a perfectly normal, healthy man is seldom able to assimilate the full content of a telepathic message. It reaches his consciousness, if at all, only in the form of a vague impression, creating a transient feeling of unrest or foreboding, but which is soon submerged or thrown off by his superabundant vitality. Few are entirely exempt from such impressions, and they vary in intensity in proportion to their importance to the individual. But the fact that one is not able to take objective cognizance of their full import does not prove that the information, in all its details, is not indelibly stamped upon the tablets of the soul. From this postulate it follows that the work of a trained psychic, capable of reading the minds of his sitters, is all that is necessary to reveal the full content of a telepathic message latent in the subjective mind of his client.
The foregoing propositions seem almost self-evident to the merest tyro in psychic science; but as Mr. Myers and his colleagues, Messrs. Gurney and Podmore, have taken pains not only clearly to define "deferred percipience " and note it as an important factor in telepathy, but to demonstrate it experimentally and print accounts of its illustrative cases occurring spontaneously, it becomes our duty to present a few of the most prominent of those facts
recorded by them, to the end that a most important factor in telepathy may not be in danger of being overlooked.
The first case to which I invite attention was experimental. The facts seem trivial; but, as they illustrate an important principle, space cannot be refused for their reproduction. The author introduces the experiment by the following prefatory remarks:
“I will quote one more taste-series, for the sake of illustrating a special point, namely, the deferment of the percipient's consciousness of the sensation until a time when the agent had himself ceased to feel it. This fact is of great interest, on account of the marked analogy to it which we shall encounter in many of the spontaneous telepathic cases.
"June 11th, 1885.
"Dr. Hyla Greves was in contact with Miss Relph, having tasted salad oil.
"Miss Relph said: 'I feel a cool sensation in my mouth, something like that produced by sal prunelle.'
"Mr. R. C. Johnson in contact, having tasted Worcestershire sauce in another room.
"I taste something oily; it is very like salad oil.' Then a few minutes after contact with Mr. Johnson had ceased, 'My mouth seems getting hot after the oil.' (N. B. Nothing at all had been said about the substances tasted either by Dr. Greves or Mr. Johnson.)
“Dr. Greves in contact, having tasted bitter aloes.
"I taste something frightfully hot . . . something like vinegar and pepper. .. Is it Worcestershire sauce?'
"Mr. Guthrie in contact, also having tasted bitter aloes.
"I taste something extremely bitter, but don't know what it is, and do not remember tasting it before. It is a very horrid taste." 9991
The next experimental case is also seemingly trivial, but is important as an illustration of deferred percipience. This experiment was one of a series made by Rev. P. H. Newnham, Vicar of Maker, Devonport, England, his wife being the mind-reader. The questions were written down
1 Phantasms of the Living, vol. i. p. 56.
by Mr. Newnham, the wife knowing nothing of their character; and the answers were written out by her by means of planchette: —
"What name shall we give to our new dog?'
"A. "Yesterday was not a fair trial.'
"Why was not yesterday a fair trial?'
"And again :
"What do I mean by chaffing C. about a lilac tree?' "A. Temper and imagination.'
"You are thinking of somebody else. Please reply to my question.'
"Here a single image or word seems to have made its mark on the percipient's mind, without calling any originative activity into play; and we thus get the naked reproduction. In these last examples we again notice the feature of deferred impression. The influence only gradually became effective, the immediate answer being irrelevant to the question. We may suppose, therefore, that the first effect took place below the threshold of consciousness."1
To these remarks is added a footnote, as follows:
"The following case, though not strictly experimental, is sufficiently in point to be worth quoting. Though unfortunately not recorded in writing at the time, it was described within a few days of its occurrence to Mr. Podmore, who is acquainted with all the persons concerned. The narrator is Miss Robertson, of 229 Marylebone Road, W.
"About three years ago I was speaking of planchette-writing to some of my friends, when a young lady, a daughter of the house where I was spending the evening, mentioned that she had played with planchette at school, and that it had always written for her. Thereupon I asked her to spend the evening with me, and try it again, which she agreed to do. On the morning of the day on which she had arranged to come to me, her brother, on leaving the house, said, laughing, 'Well, Edith, it is all humbug; but if planchette tells you the name and sum of money which are on a check which I have in my pocket, and which I am going to cash for mother, I will believe there is
1 Op. cit., pp. 70, 71.