ALMOST from the beginning of Walter's activities as a trance control in 1928, we noticed that he often carried on flippant, bantering, facetious conversations. We soon realized that such nonsensical chatter through Dawn and later through Ewan, was a technique used deliberately, with T.G.H. and other group members as conversational 'foils'. It was one way of subduing and submerging the normal consciousness of the mediums, and of helping to clear the channel of communication for more effective unimpeded, direct expression of his own ideas and plans.
No sooner had the "Lucy" series been brought to a highly successful conclusion than we witnessed a sudden and abrupt change in trance personalities. It was as if a new character actor and an actress were waiting in the wings for cues to make their stage entrances. There was a dramatic shift in subject matter and conversational patterns. Now we heard rough "sea and sailor" talk through Ewan, offset by a gentle and gracious feminine personality through Mercedes, while Walter
- through Dawn - enthusiastically shared their adventures in an imaginary world of wind and stars and sea.
A hint of what was to come was found in the notes of February 16, 1930. At that séance
Ewan had been placed in the cabinet for a short time; Lucy-Mercedes described a man dressed in pirate clothes, wearing a long black cloak, standing in the centre of the room. Then Ewan (entranced)
"'You don't know who I am... I am one of the helpers... All found dead and here they stand ... the remains of a ruffian barque. Heave Ho! This is my island. A great island it was once for the king! Walter knows what I have
Two weeks later
Lucy-Mercedes referred again to this newcomer:
"'I have something to say about our new friend. Do you remember me saying that someone else was here?'
Lucy-Mercedes: 'He is here with Ewan. Do your best to keep him, for between him and other friends that will appear, there will be no end to the work that can be done. I think some of you guess who he is, but he will tell you in his own good time, You have wondered why we cannot tell all, but you realize how difficult it is to get even a word through. It is good to have
More positive information was found in the notes of March 16,
"Walter-Dawn: 'Heave! Heave! ' (Ewan bangs his chair.) 'Sing a sea shanty. He's under weigh now.' (10.43)
X-Ewan: 'Where is his damned engine now? Look up aloft! I'm just too late to show you … In the King's name…Damn you, shut up!'
W.B.C.: 'Who was the King?'
X-Ewan: 'King Charles.'
Walter-Dawn: 'The Second.'
X-Ewan: 'My king, my king! I will tell you some day more about that! '
Walter-Dawn: 'Don't talk to each other. You can sing, but don't talk! 'Dawn whistles a hornpipe and her feet tap.
X-Ewan: 'She wouldn't know that flag.' (10.45)
Walter-Dawn: 'She would.'
X-Ewan: 'All those islets are mine.'
T.G.H.: 'Which islets are they?'
X-Ewan: 'Down there. There is a big island. I can tell you that, my friend ... but I have only been here a short time, I sat and laughed at Walter, but now I know what he is doing . I will try my power. (Louder) I will show them I can break him! (Ewan). Who do you think I am? I am John King . Don't tell my name to the
medium(1). Let me go my way! ... He (Walter) is a great lad. Don't make any mistake ... a great lad ... I know what I am doing ... I can use this medium when I get a little more control. I have used him tonight, but not as well as I could wish.' (He speaks about his difficulties with the medium.) 'I was near telling you tonight something about myself. But you must never, until I have told you to do so, speak to this medium. I have control of his limbs and his voice. I have almost complete control of his senses, but not quite. I was on the point tonight of cutting the last tie but I was interrupted. The next time I will do better.'
Walter-Dawn: 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
John-Ewan: 'Our friend is always right ... he has always the cheery word. I would like it if this boy (Ewan) could be induced to think more of us. He does not believe quite as much as some of you. It is not that he does not accept us, but he should rely more on me. I will come to him whenever you can sit with him.'
Dawn, entranced, moves to a position across the table from Ewan, who is in the cabinet. Walter and John keep up the pretence that they are on a sailing vessel.
Walter-Dawn: 'Every ounce of canvas!
John-Ewan: 'I like to hear the strain, the creaking of the wood. You haven't been to sea like this! This is the real life! What does it matter what your men are like? A ship's a ship! ... They were a crew of scurvy ruffians! By God, I tell you ... the ship! The love of the sea! You don't know what it means! Do you feel the helm go down and the ship come up? And at night in the dark with the stars ... and the splash, splash, sailing, sailing? Why was it that the King should honour me? It was not because ... that mastery comes, however rough a man may be, with that knowledge of eternity that is born and bred and rises from the sea! Those ruffians! ... they did not feel like that, did not know that! What was it to them? Something to spit into! And because I felt these things in my heart I was not as they were. Think what you like, know what you will, God rises from the sea ... the sky about you, the water underneath. In the presence of God, there is a man at his peace! This is what I felt. What were they to me? As good a crew as any other. I was conscious of my mastery ... and we came to this land. I made my mastery dear to those scoundrels! … That's right, my friend. You have got to steer your own ship, hoist your own sails, lower your own anchor. You must be master of your own ship! I was Master of my ship! '
Walter-Dawn: 'It will be my ship they will give you. It will be in the centre of the room. I do not want anyone in here. You must not bring any strange influence into this room. Leave the room as it is. Make no alterations. You will set up your ship and I will model mine from yours.' (To Ewan's control.)
(This comment later proved to be the first definite reference to a plasm which appeared and was photographed nearly three months later.)
J-Ewan: 'It is just that clerk who is keeping me. Walter, you can feel it, can't you? It is this, where is that clerk?'
T.G.H.: You had better speak.'
J-Ewan: 'Is that the way to speak to a captain?'
Walter-Dawn: 'Give him three days.'
J-Ewan: 'Not worth while.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Make him walk the plank!
J-Ewan: 'When this medium comes in you will speak to me and call me "Captain" and "Sir"! Do you hear, clerk?'
Hobbs : 'Yes, sir.'
J-Ewan: 'Speak to me and don't call me any of those damn fool names Walter calls me!'
Hobbs: 'Aye, aye, sir!'
J-Ewan: 'Always, until I tell you to stop.'
Walter-Dawn: 'He is an old fool!'
J-Ewan: 'How do you like the breeze? It's eight bells now.'
Walter-Dawn: 'You are the captain of the ship. The whole sea belongs to you. He is the captain. What he says goes. If anyone says anything else he will be put in irons. I am the mate ... (in a serious more normal tone) I just wanted to say that we are apparently talking for your amusement. But it is not for amusement. The boy (Ewan) is coming along, but I want you to give him your sympathy. He has a wonderful work ahead. I lead him on by this talk. I hope, friend, that you will not be disappointed by my little effort tonight. It is not as good as I would like. I think it would be well to disperse now. I will let Ewan's name remain until the new control gives him a new
The trance controls frequently adopted such games of pretence to cloak their real intent. Anyone not familiar with this technique will doubtless view the conversation quoted above as strange and indeed ridiculous. Certainly it could not be called coherent. With our present limited knowledge we cannot say why these things should be. For the moment we must content ourselves with the assumption that they serve a real and necessary function, as Walter hinted when he said "It is not for amusement ... I lead him on by this talk". Whatever one may think, the fact remains that from that date on, the new trance personality manifested consistently and regularly through Ewan. He claimed to be "John King", a buccaneer of the Spanish Main, the Henry Morgan of whom history relates that in recognition of certain services done for King Charles II of England, he was knighted and made Governor of Jamaica.
On March 19, 1930, Walter-Dawn had much more to say concerning the coming phenomenon. He asked the group "not to touch the cabinet, especially at the top. It doesn't matter about the middle. We are just trying an experiment, something in mid air. I must have strong invisible supports."
On March 23, again there were specific comments about a 'ship' as Walter-Dawn and
John-Ewan pretended to be on a sailing ship:
"John-Ewan: 'A dirty night! Clear the decks! (Some bangings and noises.) Stop that noise! That's my mate! He's a bit inclined to take things into his own hands. All right! Damn fools on this ship! '
Walter-Dawn: 'Whistle in the crew!'
John-Ewan: 'Where's the bos'n? That's a dandy little ship, isn't it? We will take that ship and bring her into port... This is my ship! She's a beauty! Look at her lines! Did you ever see a shape like that? Do you think that's only a ship on the table? That's a real ship, out of the ages.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Let them photograph the ship.'
As he did on an earlier occasion, John reminiscences about his love for the sea. He pretends that he has set sail. Walter, always the humorist, pretends that he is seasick.
John-Ewan: 'Reef those sails, one by one! Did you see that? I will tell your friends. I will have two people with me. I have command here. He will be with me and the other friend at my side here ... that lady ... '
John-Ewan: 'Is that your name? She smiles ... I don't think it is. This foolery may be foolishness to you, my friends, but give me time. I find I can loosen this boy up. It is a help to the complete forgetfulness of self. I wish to operate with all his functions. I have nearly got him. I am sorry to impose this silence on you, but I think it is best. I can conjure up this spirit of the deep. I can feel myself on my own deck.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Our friend here has been able to tell you something of himself, and I am going to try to give a picture of his ship when he gets it all set and going.'
John-Ewan: 'I would like my daughter ...'
Walter-Dawn: 'Yes, I know the lady. He's got all kinds of people here and they are the greatest rogues I ever saw.'
John-Ewan (angrily): 'They're all right! '
Walter-Dawn: 'They may be all right but they don't look it!'
John-Ewan: 'I misunderstood you.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Misunderstood? They're the worst gang of cut-throats I ever saw! They're a vicious set! '
John-Ewan: 'They all have a kind expression in their eyes. Look for the best. I see a lot of souls trying to be better.'
Walter-Dawn: 'They have a rough road ahead. Have I to travel with a bunch of
John-Ewan: 'Would you send them away?'
Walter-Dawn: 'We cannot do that.'
John-Ewan: 'Would the girl come if they were bad?'
Walter-Dawn: 'She may find the sunny side, but I can't see it. Who is this girl?'
John-Ewan: 'Look at her!'
Walter-Dawn: 'I don't know who she is.'
John-Ewan: 'You had better speak.'
Walter-Dawn: 'You tell her. You are the commander.'
John-Ewan: 'Speak to them and tell them who you are. Our friend here is so frightened! Tell him who these men are. Don't be shy! Come! When I tell you to speak, speak! This is a fragile vessel (Mercedes) but it is strong enough.'
X-Mercedes: 'Good evening. Do you wish me to say who I am?'
A sitter: 'Yes.'
X-Mercedes: 'I am the daughter of your friend.'
A sitter: 'We are pleased to have you.'
X-Mercedes: 'I am pleased to know that I am brought here with the consent of all. I am a little afraid of you yet. I do not know you very well. But I have been here many times. I come often. I shall be able to tell you more. It was I your control referred to in the early part of the sitting. The medium's other control (Lucy) was also here. She was smiling too.'
John-Ewan: 'Speak to our friends and tell them about those men.'
X-Mercedes: "These men are all right. They have their part to play in the work. They will not harm you. They have brought earthy conditions. You will see them in a better light. Shall I speak more, Captain, or shall I go?'
John-Ewan: 'Go now.'"
Mercedes' new control claimed to be John King's daughter. Later she
re-affirmed this by calling herself Katie King, a name well known to students of psychical research in connection with the investigations of Sir William Crookes with the medium Florence Cook.
Katie-Mercedes soon indicated that she too was fully aware of the ship project, as this excerpt from the notes of March 20, 1930, shows:
"Walter-Dawn: 'There was a boat put off from a burning ship. Come, tell me who were in that boat. Five, six, seven ... seven people?'
John-Ewan: 'And one was ... who? One was a girl.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Speak yourself! Let her speak.'
Katie-Mercedes: 'You must tell me the work you wish me to do (to John-Ewan). Shall I tell you (the group) what we are doing? We are going to give you the picture of a ship. They are building it on the table under the instructions from our friend Walter. You are going to suspend it in
mid-air, aren't you, Walter?'
At this point Dawn suddenly comes out of trance and is normal.
Dawn: 'I see a form in the cabinet.'
John-Ewan: 'You see the form of Katie there.'
Katie-Mercedes: 'My father can do what he will with me.'
John-Ewan (to Katie): 'Let her see you. Remove the veil from your face.'
Dawn: 'Yes, I see her!'
John-Ewan: 'Speak quickly! Describe her!
Dawn: 'She has a long face. It is very bright. I cannot see very much for the brightness.'
Katie-Mercedes: 'You will see it plainer. I will show my face so that you can see. They are patient. They will wait.'"
The figure which Dawn described clairvoyantly, and the promise made by the new Mercedes control that her face would be shown, we now regard as the first attempt of these new psychic personalities to predict the coming of a plasmic face representation, which was finally photographed in late 1930.
At the sixth meeting of the 'ship' series, the controls hinted that their model ship was almost ready. On April 20, 1930,
"My friends, my ship is built with the help from this jester here (Walter) and this girl (Katie). You may make your representations any time you desire. Give notice to your friend who understands these things. I am too vehement, but I have fought to hold a captive (i.e. to control Ewan). He (Walter) is of great understanding in these
On April 24, Walter, John and Katie said that the ship model was now complete and that it had been removed from the table and placed on the back wall of the cabinet.
At the tenth sitting, May 28, 1930, the first photographs in more than two months were taken. (These are not reproduced here.) Although Walter again described accurately what had been photographed, he was deeply disgusted with what he called "a damned old tub!"
"Walter-Dawn: 'There's nothing to it! It's a washout! It wouldn't stay up ... three little paper sails!
T.G.H.: 'Will the sails show?'
Walter-Dawn: 'Of course they will! ... I'll put that ship on the sea if it's the last thing I do ... in my own way! I'll do it myself!'
John-Ewan: 'Paper sails! ' (in a disgusted tone).
Walter-Dawn: 'Yes, that's all it is - paper sails! I'll work alone! (To T.G.H.) You must put your cameras higher. I moved it to the back of the cabinet above the heads of those who come and go. I tell you, my friends, it was a washout!'"
One feels that here Walter is implying that he considered John partly responsible for the failure, by hurrying Walter and urging him to call for an exposure prematurely and against Walter's better judgment.
Late in April 1930, John, through Ewan, hinted that the ship was ready to be launched again. Dr. William Creighton agreed to attend as scrutineer. Here follows his
"To Whom It May Concern:
During the months from April 20 to June 4, 1930, I attended nine sitting at the home of Dr. T.G. Hamilton. During this time I was in full charge of the
séance room. Each evening I:
(a) broke the seal and entered the room first.
(b) inspected the room for any article which might have been used by the medium to produce false phenomena.
(c) inspected the clothing of the gentlemen sitters. Mrs. Creighton inspected the clothing of the lady sitters, including that of the mediums, to ascertain if they were carrying anything on their persons to produce the phenomena which occurred and which were photographed.
(d) My wife, Mrs. Creighton, also acted as an outside guard; that is, after the sitting had commenced, she locked the door of the
séance room on the outside and retained the key during the whole time the sitting was in progress.
(e) I held the medium's right hand and sat on her right side during the taking of the photographs. It was impossible for her to reach the object photographed.
(f) after each sitting and after the sitters had left the room, I again examined the room,
double-locked the door and sealed it.
I am satisfied that there was nothing taken into the room during that period which could have been used by the sitters or the medium to produce the phenomenon which appeared.
(signed) Wm. Creighton, M.D."
On June 4, 1930, the ship, badly damaged, "came to
séance began at 9.00 p.m. At 9.30 Walter-Dawn: 'It is all ready.'
Walter-Dawn: 'What are you waiting for?'
T.G.H.: 'A flash.'
Walter-Dawn: 'What are you going to get?'
T.G.H.: 'I don't know.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Neither do I. Well, supposing I step aside and see if it ready.' (Dawn moves out of the cabinet and stands aside.)
Dawn's hand knocks out the signal. Exposure at 9.35.
Walter-Dawn: 'Oh, my God! What has happened?'
T.G.H.: 'I thought you gave five raps.'
Walter-Dawn: 'It has fallen down! The ship's mast fell down because you didn't fire quickly enough! Too bad! It has almost all gone! This is something that is going to kill me all over again!
T.G.H.: 'May I close the cameras?'
Walter-Dawn: 'Yes. Throw them out! Have I ever given you a signal before? You should have been ready on the fourth even if there was another
one. You've got a queer-looking animal for a ship. Never let anybody see it or tell them it's mine. It's yours! ... (More quietly) Well, friends, perhaps I'm in fault. I was afraid to hit too hard!' (The medium's hand had knocked on the side of the cabinet to give the signal.) 'You've got the bottom and a bit of sail
- looks like a hell of a wreck! You can tell them that it's the Wreck of the Hesperus!'
John-Ewan: 'It's a damned shame!'
Walter-Dawn: 'It will have to be done all over again. We'll have to use a bell and hit him (T.G.) over the head with it. Well, never mind. It's one more failure for poor Walter ... and I said I would not fail! The ribs are sticking out. It's a hell of a mess! It's a bitter disgrace! No rudder, no people! It's a failure for Walter ... I've never failed before!'
John-Ewan (to T.G.): 'He told you he would step aside ... gave the signal ... what more do you want? You must know when he is ready! Can't you get used to his methods?'
Walter-Dawn: 'It's no use ... can't take another one now.'
For no apparent reason the bell-box falls heavily to the floor from its position on the shelf (9.47).
Walter-Dawn: 'It's no good, no good! Throw it out with the ships! We have to start all over again. We have the bottom of it. It's terrible! An old derelict! People won't believe. He put in the ribs and I had to cover them with ectoplasm. All gone! I've got to try again.'
Walter, John and Katie discuss matters among themselves and decide they will build another ship. A little later T.G. asks a question:
T.G.H.: 'How big is the boat?'
Walter-Dawn: 'About 15 to 20 inches.'
T.G.H.: 'Where is it placed?'
Walter-Dawn: 'About 3 inches from the back wall, not in the centre. It is about 1 or 2 inches from the top.'"
Disappointed as Walter was in the result of this experiment, from many points of view it was an unqualified success. Walter was completely accurate in his description of the mass, and credit must be given to the three trance personalities for their remarkably close
co-operation. Plates 33a and 33b show the mass to have the unquestionable appearance of a ship. The lower area has the shape of a hull, while the nine separate pieces of plasm of the upper portion show an arrangement decidedly suggestive of the sails of a boat. The two stereo views show the hull to be
three-dimensional, having sides and a central cavity very like a small flattened basket. The boat measures about
18 1/2 inches at its widest part, close to Walter's suggested "15 to 20 inches".
|Plate 33a: The
teleplasmic mass in the form of a "ship", June 4, 1930.
|Plate 33b: Enlargement
of "ship" teleplasm of June 4, 1930.
As for the boat's location, Walter had stated that it would be found at the centre of the cabinet and about 2 inches from the top. Actually the tip of the uppermost sail was about 4 inches from the top of the cabinet, and the whole mast was to the left of the centre line. In spite of these small discrepancies between Walter's statements, and the boat's actual location as shown in the photograph, the important thing is that Walter knew fairly closely where it would be found. And 71 days and 41 days before the exposure, both John and Katie had also stated that the ship would be near the top and a little distance out from the cabinet wall. Supporting this prediction, in the stereo view the whole ship stands out several inches from the cabinet wall. It also shows that the
super-structure had fallen forward some inches, and indeed, at the moment of the flash appeared to be crumpling.
Plate 33a shows the ship attached to the wall by a teleplasmic cord. This feature has already been observed with other plasms located in the cabinet, and strongly suggests that in some way the cord is used to transfer teleplasm from the wood to the photographic site.
The three trance personalities had succeeded in producing the object they had promised to produce, namely, a representation of a sailing ship. This is a mechanical looking product, and surely such a phenomenon cannot be attributed to any abnormal biological process arising spontaneously from any medium or any group of mediums. No matter how great we may imagine the unknown powers of the human organism to be, it is difficult, if not impossible, to suggest that the animistic hypothesis is adequate to account for such an objective mass, showing purposive mechanistic construction. And how to explain the fact that not one, but three trance entities, manifesting through three mediums, claimed to and appeared to be
|Plate 34: The mass of
July 29, 1930.
After twelve sittings the second attempt to produce a ship had ended in a failure, for which erratic group attendance during the summer months might be blamed. On the other hand, on July 24, 1930, the controls indicated satisfaction with their progress. (2) However, on both July 17 and July 24
Walter-Dawn had warned the group that he did not like ships, and that if another attempt failed he would not undertake such an ordeal again. Ewan was absent, and by July 29 Walter claimed that the store of teleplasm was diminishing. On August 3 he gave instructions to take a photograph, remarking: 'I am afraid it will be difficult to hold this tonight, due to conditions." (The weather was very hot and humid.) He signalled for the exposure, which was made, and then laughed uproariously, saying: 'Very little! Very little! Just wait until you see the picture! Talk about shivering timbers!
Plate 34 shows the result.
With the appearance of the new Mercedes
trance-personality "Katie King", the trance controls had stated several times that Dr. Hamilton would be given an opportunity to photograph a teleplasm in Katie's likeness. The first such statement was made on March 30, 1930. The second statement was made on April 4, 1930, when Katie-Mercedes said she would one day show herself; the third, on May 9, 1930, when she said: 'I am going to let Walter give you my picture." The fourth on September 8, when
John-Ewan and Katie-Mercedes both announced that they were ready to begin work on the new project, and then proceeded to give direct orders, as the progress notes
"Katie-Mercedes: 'You must make this medium take off some clothes. I must have her arms free, and I can't get at them. I told you to tell her to wear a dress without sleeves. And tell this medium of mine to take all the pins out of her hair. I do not wish her to wear anything that will stop circulation … loose clothing. I wish also to have her in a reclining position so that she can relax. Do not worry over this medium. I have done it before. Why cannot I do it again? If sometimes she does not speak, see how much she is under my influence. I will draw as much as possible from Walter and John.'
John-Ewan: 'I have used considerable force from this boy to build up Katie, so do not be surprised if he complains of it afterwards. I will see that he comes to no harm. But we will have to be very careful in this work that we are not
over-zealous. You will long be aware of Katie's presence before you see her. You will photograph her in her beautiful form. She will stand among you.'"
A couch was brought into the
séance room; during the six months of preparatory sittings, after she had passed into ordinary trance Mercedes was placed on this couch some twelve times at the request of one of the controls. While so resting, Mercedes passed into a cataleptic state. Although this condition has already been referred to in Chapter 2, we draw attention to it again at this point. On each occasion of the Mercedes' cataleptic trance, Dr. Hamilton examined here carefully. Here are his
anaesthetic. Jaw rigidly fixed. No twitching of the eyelids, No sign of respiration. Pulse about 78. Rigidity at the knees and pelvis ... arms now limp. Very subdued respiration. Completely insensible, Hands cold ... arms stiffened at the elbows, Lower limbs stiff at the knees and hips (9.41). I put the arms in the air; they remain upright; waxy flexibility. Mouth firm, Eyelids and lips tightly closed. Medium anaesthetic. Pulse
80-84. I raise the head. The neck and head remain elevated. The right elbow now quite soft. At 9.58 she is limp and is raised to a sitting position. Knees still rigid but they are loosening. Raised to her feet at 10.00. Waxy flexibility. Respirations cannot be detected; pulse accelerated.
Katie-Mercedes: 'You have examined my medium. Are you satisfied that this is a control at work? I wish to make this above suspicion.'
T.G.H. admits that there is a great difference between this trance state and any previously witnessed (October 12,
Mercedes' reactions to these experiences were frequently very marked but never prolonged. Her waking reaction depended considerably on the speed with which she passed from catalepsy to normal consciousness. If this were rapid, she would feel an intense physical fatigue, and would need nearly fifteen minutes to return to full mental orientation. If she returned first to the shallower more usual trance for a short period, her return to complete normal consciousness was rapid and the waking reaction was much less marked.
Often in the autumn of 1930 Dawn voiced a strong desire to withdraw from the sittings. However, either through Dawn herself, or through Ewan, Walter just as strongly insisted that she continue to attend, and she agreed. The group thus retained its original members, with the addition of a new medium "Anna", introduced at Mr. Reed's suggestion.
Here follow the pertinent excerpts of the notes of November 12, 1930, at which the Katie face and veil
"According to instructions received at the previous sitting, the members of the group prepared some twenty minutes before the
séance was to commence. The men removed their coats, vests and shoes, the women their shoes. Dawn was disrobed in the presence of Miss Ada Turner, who sponged the upper part of her body and reclothed her in a
one-piece black sleeveless garment supplied by Mrs. Hamilton. Mercedes removed her outer clothing and put on a
séance sleeveless dress. Then all members assembled.
At 9.00 all filed into the séance room in the following order: Dawn, T.G.H., W. B. Cooper,
H. A. Reed, "Anna", W. E. Hobbs, Ada Turner, Mrs. T. G. Hamilton, Ewan, Dr. J.
A. Hamilton, Mercedes, M. Hamilton, secretary.
The séance opened with singing. Walter-Dawn was not satisfied with the effort and said in a peremptory manner: 'Sing, damn you! Put some life into it! It's a good job you're not getting your living by singing! You're like a lot of fools! ' (9.23).
T.G.H.: 'Yes, Walter, what is it?'
Walter-Dawn: 'It's a message from a friend who came here before. He says you are to go on. He says it is the greatest thing in life. He says to set everything aside and go right through with it. ... The parson (Spurgeon) says he wants to know what all this is going to lead to. The parson says you are to be sure not to
forget the vital part.'
T.G.H.: 'You mean the linking up of psychics with religious teachings?'
Walter-Dawn: 'Yes, the religious side.'
T.G.H.: 'Well, I have my own opinions but I prefer to let others form their own.'
Mercedes, in trance, is placed in a reclining position on a mattress in front of the cabinet (9.47).
Walter-Dawn: 'You know, it would be better if we left it for another night. Oh, dear! (Apparently speaking to Katie.) Please, couldn't you come forward? It is going to be difficult for them to photograph you if you won't come forward. Well, friends, shall we leave it for another night?'
T.G.H.: 'I'm afraid that's impossible. Dawn says she won't come another night this week.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Why should that be impossible? Nothing should be placed before this work! If this goes through and it is not successful I will not reproduce it! There is so much other work that I'll not reproduce it again. It would be so much better if we could get it another time. It is too faint. She (Katie) must have a connection and must be closer to the chair. Anna, what do you say?'
Anna: 'She is very faint.'
Walter-Dawn: 'What do you say, Katie?'
Katie-Mercedes: 'I don't know. I've done my best. But you know best.'
Walter-Dawn: 'Friends, have you ever seen a piece of half-modelled clay? Well, that is what I am going to produce tonight.'
Katie-Mercedes: 'I do not wish it if it is not perfect.'
Walter-Dawn: 'If only we could get her forward, it would be all right. I wanted this to be separate from the medium. If I tried to link here with the medium it would mean altogether new work. But I wished to give you one quite separate from the medium. Look again, please.'
Anna said that she saw the robes but not the face. Walter then said that the face was there in the teleplasm and could be photographed. Then after a moment or two of silence, as though he were nerving himself to do it, he said: 'You'd better take it. Are you ready? One, Two, Three, Fire!' Exposure made at 10.02.
Walter-Dawn: 'You've got her face only partly. Oh, dear, dear! We must not be impatient. I have tried and failed. I'm sorry!' I thought I would be able to give the full form, We have given you quite a large part of our friend. But we are learning and experimenting. We know nothing, we only think we know.'
T.G.H.: 'What is the height of the face in the picture this time?'
Walter-Dawn: 'It is midway. She is very close to the back wall of the cabinet; possibly three or four inches out from it. She is very beautiful but you do not get her beauty. She is not like me or the other people with whom we work and associate. That's why it is so difficult. I'm afraid to hold it over for any length of time. Sittings should be from day to day. A space of time is not so good; the ectoplasm goes off into its elements ... A cold closet is best, and there is too much heat in this room. For my work cold is required. We could make great progress in a morgue. If you could reduce the temperature of this room very low while you are out of it, and then you might put a little heat on when you sit. I will take care of the medium so that she does not feel the cold. You will find you will get much better results.'
T.G.H. asks if Katie's veil, which had been mentioned on previous occasions, had been removed from her face.
Walter-Dawn: 'Yes, to the side.'
John-Ewan: 'What is evidence for, you dogs? Is it not sufficient proof that you get one tiny evidence? How much proof is there if you get the greatest accumulation?'
Katie-Mercedes: 'Dearest father, I wish you would not be like that, please. We can build again and get something more perfect. Oh, Walter, tell him that it was good! '
|Plate 35a: The
"Katie King" miniature face of November 12, 1930.
Walter-Dawn: 'The face is ectoplasm and the spirit garments are there. The face is beautiful, but in taking the veil from it, it has not shown as plain as it might. The veil is torn and is not quite
While Walter, John and Katie showed by their remarks that they recognized their failure to produce a fully clad form in the front of cabinet, nonetheless there are a number of evidential points which fully support intentional activity.
Walter's description of the teleplasm, given shortly after the plates had been exposed, was an accurate account of what they had been able to produce. The stereo view confirms his statement that the mass lies close to the cabinet's back wall 'possibly 3 or 4 inches from it'. A veil is seen, arranged around the face; it is torn or imperfect in several places. This is likely what Walter referred to when he said "the veil is torn and is not quite even".
|Plate 35b: The
"Katie King" miniature of face of November 12, 1930.
As Walter had said, the face is likely produced by teleplasmic means. How this is done must remain a mystery. Around the left side, and caught in the hair directly below it, are pieces of white material which one suspects are the remnants of an
over-covering amorphous teleplasm.
Walter also stated that the face was imperfectly developed. This may be the case from his point of view, if his opinion of the beauty of this discarnate being is weighed against his evident disappointment regarding the outcome of this experiment. But compared with the other teleplasmic miniatures, this face is superlative in excellence of detail and beauty of features.
The stereo views show that the somewhat matted hair lying about the face is
three-dimensional. The general alignment of the hair is vertical (the line in the picture is a vertical joint in the cabinet wall). This indicates that the hair was falling downward under its own weight. The portions of hair nearest the face, and particularly near the right cheek, appear to be matted and uncombed. We suggest that this may be due to an incomplete maturity of the hair, since the face and hair were doubtless the last to be released from the teleplasmic
|Plate 35c: The
"Katie King" miniature face of November 12, 1930.
The veil is undoubtedly a three-dimensional product. Part of it is spread out on the cabinet wall, part of it crushed together into a thick mass behind and below the lower reaches of the hair, and part of it lies in thick folds over and above the crown of the head, as if it had been withdrawn to reveal the face within.
The veil material is different from all other teleplasmic phenomena cited in this report. However, such phenomena have been observed by Richet and
Schrenck-Notzing; and these researchers considered them to be a type of materialization phenomenon. In Dr. Hamilton's work there is scant evidence to show that veils are the result of teleplasmic processes. The regularity and perfection of the weaves, as seen in
micro-photograph - indicates that we should not expect the explanation to be found in a manipulation or differentiation of the teleplasmic substances. With our present very meagre knowledge, it seems doubtful that veils and teleplasms will be found to have a common mechanism behind them.
(1) According to an article in Two Worlds, dated October 13, 1933, "The Mystery of a Famous Spirit Control", by James Leigh, a "John King", claiming to be Sir Henry Morgan, one-time Governor of Jamaica, began appearing in the 1850's, and on, at various
séances in the United States and in England, where exceptionally powerful physical phenomena were secured. "John King" displayed indomitable will power and dynamic personality. His full physical materialization and likeness, obtained through the mediumship of the English materializing medium, Charles E. Williams, was sketched in August 1873. These matters were fully presented by Conan Doyle in his book The History of Spiritualism.
Without directly saying so, Dr. Hamilton was inclined to consider that the "John King" who manifested in the Winnipeg work in the 1930's was the same "John King" of those earlier days. And that the "Katie King", whose hair, face and veil were photographed at the Hamilton
séance of November 1931, was the same as the one who appeared many years earlier to Sir William Crookes. Here, of course, one cannot go beyond the field of