Ghosts in Solid Form
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Pages (PDF): 72
Publication Date: 1919
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Accounts of various mediumship experiments. From the Foreword: 'As scientists in many parts of the world today are turning their serious attention to the question of the origin and the (possible) continuity of Life, I feel that the time has now arrived when a text-book on the subject of the phenomena, known to investigators as Materialisations, should be issued to the public, in order to assist inquirers, both scientists and laymen, in their endeavour to solve these vitally important matters; as, in my opinion, it is by no means improbable that in Materialisations we may find the clue which will eventually enable us to solve the question, asked by each cradle, "Whence?" and by each coffin, "Whither?"'
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That under certain known and reasonable conditions of temperature, light, etc., entities, existing In a sphere outside our own, have been demonstrated again and again to manifest themselves on earth in temporary bodies materialised from an, at present, undiscovered source, through the agency of certain persons of both sexes, termed Sensitives, and can be so demonstrated to any person who will provide the conditions proved to be necessary for such a demonstration.
LOOKING back to the seven years of my life which I devoted to a careful and critical investigation of the claim made, not only by both Occidental and Oriental mystics, but by well-known men of science like Sir William Crookes, Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, and others—that it was possible under certain clearly defined conditions to produce, apparently out of nothing, fully formed bodies, inhabited by (presumably) human entities from another sphere—the wonder of it still enthrals me; the apparent impossibility of so great an upheaval of such laws of Nature as we are at present acquainted with, being proved clearly to be possible, will remain to the end as "the wonder of wonders" in a by no means uneventful life.
For, as compared with this, that greatest of Nature’s mysteries, the procreation of a human infant—by either the normal or mechanical impregnation of an ovum—its months of fetal growth and development in the uterus, and its birth into the world in a helpless and enfeebled condition, amazing as they are to all physiological students,—sinks into comparative insignificance when compared with the nearly instantaneous production of a fully developed human body, with all its organs functioning properly; a body inhabited temporarily by a thinking, reasoning entity, who can see, hear, taste, smell and touch: a body which can be handled, weighed, measured, and photographed.
When these claims were first brought to my notice I realised at once that I was face to face with a problem which would require the very closest investigation; and I then and there decided to give up work of all kinds, and to devote years, if necessary, to a critical examination of these claims; to investigate the matter calmly and dispassionately, and, in Sir John Herschel’s memorable words, "to stand or fall by the result of a direct appeal to facts in the first instance, and of strict logical deduction from them afterwards." And, as I have said, the result has been that the apparently impossible has been proved to be possible; and I accept them whole-heartedly, admitting that our working hypothesis has been proved beyond any possibility of doubt, and that these materialised entities can manifest themselves today to any person who will provide the conditions necessary for such a demonstration.
Who they are, what they are, whence they come, and whither they go, each investigator must determine for himself; but of their actual existence in a sphere just outside our own, there can no longer be any room for doubt. As a busy man, theories have little or no attraction for me. What I demand, and what other busy men and women demand, in an investigation of this kind is, that there should be a reasonable possibility of getting hold of facts, good solid facts which can be demonstrated as such, to any open-minded inquirer, otherwise it would be useless to commence such an investigation. And we have now got these facts, and can prove them on purely scientific lines.
The meaning of the word Materialisation, so far at least as it concerns our investigation, I understand to be this: the taking on by an entity from a sphere outside our own, an entity representing a man, woman, or child (or even a beast or bird), of a temporary body built up from material drawn partially from the inhabitants of earth, consolidated through the agency of certain persons of both sexes, termed Sensitives, and moulded by the entity into a semblance of the body which (it alleges) it inhabited during its existence on earth. In other words, a materialisation is the appearance of an entity in bodily, tangible form (i.e. one which we can touch), thus differing from an astralisation, etherealisation, or apparition, which is, of course, one which cannot be touched, although it may be clearly visible to anyone possessing only normal sight.
Let me, then, endeavour to describe to the best of my ability, and in very simple language, how I believe these materialisations to be produced, and the conditions which I have proved to be necessary in order that the finest results may be obtained.
I will deal first with the question of as without conditions of some kind no materialisation can be produced, any more than a scientific experiment—such as mixing various chemicals together, in order to produce a certain result—can be carried out successfully without proper conditions being provided by the experimenter. What, then, do we mean by this word "conditions"?
Take a homely example. The baker mixes exactly the right quantities of flour, salt, and yeast with water, and then places the "dough" which he has made in an oven heated to just the right temperature, and produces a loaf of bread. Why? Because the conditions were good ones. Had he omitted the flour, the yeast, or the water, or had he used an oven over or under heated, he could not have produced an eatable loaf of bread, because the conditions made it impossible.
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