INTENTION AND SURVIVAL was published in 1942, seven years after Dr. Hamilton's death at the early age of sixty-one. It was based largely on addresses and articles he had written, and was assembled with meticulous care by my mother, Lillian Hamilton, and my brother, James D. Hamilton, M.A. It was illustrated with many photographs of teleplasmic forms and mediumistic trance. Wartime restrictions limited the printing to some three thousand copies, all of which have long since been dispersed.
As I write these words in November 1975, we are still receiving inquiries as to where this book may be obtained. Partly to fill this need, and partly to ensure that my father's important contribution to the study of psychical phenomena be not forgotten, I have undertaken to prepare a second edition.
As it is highly unlikely that any who read this book for the first time will have known about my father, I offer an account of his life, his many activities, and something of the circumstances and results of his psychic
Thomas Glendenning Hamilton was born in the small town of Agincourt, Ontario, Canada, on November 26, 1873, the fourth of six children. In 1881 the father and the eldest son Robert accompanied a Land Survey party to western Canada, where they acquired an acreage of good farming land near what is now the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Soon the rest of the family followed - the only daughter Margaret, and the boys - John, James, Thomas, and William.
For the first few years they prospered. One of the four families to settle on the prairie, they lived through the hectic times of the Northwest Rebellion, led by Louis Riel. Among the family memories were the number of convalescent soldiers who found a pleasant and hospitable home under the Hamilton roof.
Then tragedy struck. The father died suddenly while visiting in Ontario; the daughter was a victim of typhoid fever a few months later. A severe drought caused widespread crop failure. Sorrow and hardship compelled the family to sell the farm; and in 1891 they moved to Winnipeg to secure its educational advantages. In time Robert, the oldest, got employment as an electrical inspector for the government, and John Stobo, James Archibald, and Thomas Glendenning entered medicine, while William Oliver took to law.
"T.G.", as he was later to be known, passed through Manitoba Medical College, spent a year as a House Surgeon at the Winnipeg General Hospital, and in 1904 established a medical practice in Elmwood, then an expanding suburb of Winnipeg. In 1906 he was elected to the School Board, on which he served for ten years. In late 1906 he married Lillian May Forrester, a 1905 graduate of the School of Nursing. I was born in 1909. In 1910 we moved into this big house, and in 1911 Glen Forrester made his entry into the world. In 1915 came twin sons, James Drummond and Arthur Lamont.
T.G.'s sense of community duty exerted itself early. As Chairman of the School Board, he saw built two large High Schools, he helped establish free compulsory medical examination for all public school students, and was the first Chairman of the Winnipeg Playground Commission.
In 1915 he entered the political arena, when he was elected Liberal Member for Elmwood to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. This necessitated his resigning from the School Board. This was the occasion of his being presented with a glowing testimonial from his fellow citizens. I quote
"As the children are moulded so will be the manhood of the next generation. Hence the need of men who are capable mentally and morally of creating the right impressions conducive to a character of
integrity... It is questionable whether there is another part of the city which can boast of having a representative whose character and ability have been so well blended and displayed for the public good.
"We feel, Sir, that during your term of office you have efficiently and honestly fulfilled this most sacred trust... The position which you now hold as Member of the Provincial Parliament is but a continuation of School Board work in a higher degree, where your ability ... will have greater scope in matters pertaining to education.
"... We feel that your past experience, your splendid service, your breadth of mind and untiring efforts ... will enable you to contribute even more ... and therefore we are proud that Elmwood can still retain your services in a public capacity."
"Signed by A. H. Brown, W. J. Long, J. Kerr Brown, etc., on behalf of the citizens of
These gentlemen spoke truly. In his five years in the provincial House, Dr. Hamilton helped to secure the passing of legislation for the Mothers' Allowance Act; for the Workmen's Compensation Act; for Votes for Women; and he helped to pilot through the House the Act making the Medical School part of the University of Manitoba.
In January 1919, personal tragedy struck again. One of the twins, Arthur Lamont died of influenzal pneumonia, a victim of the vicious epidemic that was then sweeping across the entire American continent.
In late 1920 T.G. was again at the polls, this time to be defeated by a strong Labour vote. A few days after the elections J. J. Moncrieff made this timely comment in his weekly
"I first saw Thomas Glendenning Hamilton, M.D., at a concert in old Knox Church. As the name indicates, he seemed at home in a Scotch Kirk, and as musical taste runs in the family, I picked him out as an intelligent interested listener.
"A contribution to the public life of Winnipeg, in addition to his valuable services as a medical practitioner, has been his intense interest in the Public School System. For many years a member of the School Board, he has also served as its Chairman. Public, teachers and children found in him a staunch friend. So it was not at all illogical that he finally entered the Legislature as representative of Elmwood and adjacent districts, giving the same patient thoughtful study to questions in the larger field, that he had devoted to the special subject of school administration.
"In the recent provincial elections Dr. Hamilton was one of the thirty-five or more city candidates who were lined up to take their chances under the proportional system of voting. He did not 'make the grade'. However, this is where the philosophic mind is the individual's as well as the nation's asset. I met the Doctor the morning after the election. He wasn't worrying, but smilingly accepted the verdict, his characteristic placidity little if any disturbed.
"Perseverance and persistence with plenty of logic in it are peculiar to the Hamilton boys. The interest of Dr. Hamilton in public affairs in the wider as well as local spheres is unabated. In the midst of busy professional hours he is invariably ready for a 'crack' at some public question.... And the old wheel of fortune keeps turning.
"The doctor is the type of individual that makes for the stability of the nation."
"Signed, 'The Wanderer', Winnipeg Tribune, October 19, 1920."
Considerable as had been his civic and parliamentary achievements, T.G.'s real service was to be in the fields of medicine and surgery, where he was fast becoming an esteemed and valuable member. In 1918 he had lectured in Medical Jurisprudence at the Medical College; in 1919 he had been appointed to the surgical staff of the Winnipeg General Hospital and had been named Lecturer and Examiner in Clinical Surgery for fifth-year medical students, a position he was to hold until his resignation in 1933. Meanwhile, his
practise had grown to the point where he was devoting almost all of his professional time to abdominal and industrial surgery.
In 1920 he was elected Secretary of the Manitoba Medical Association. He initiated and was first Editor of the
Manitoba Medical Review, a journal planned to keep doctors in touch with current professional developments. In October 1920 he was named a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In 1921 he became President of the M.M.A., and was the first President of the newly formed University of Manitoba Alumni Association. In 1923 he was appointed to the Dominion Council of the Canadian Medical Association, a position he held for ten years, and which involved travel to other major Canadian cities to confer with doctors all across Canada. He carried on a staunch fight for the maintenance of medical standards, and fought any move to lower them. At this time, too, both the M.M.A. and the C.M.A. Journals published his papers dealing with some of his more unusual surgical cases.
Nor was the spiritual side of life neglected. He was one of three Elmwood gentlemen who gave to Gordon-King Memorial Church the property on which the present handsome building stands. In 1926 he was named Chairman of the Church Building Committee, and for twenty-eight years he was an Elder of the congregation.
Such volunteer duties arising from his executive and Church commitments, added to the already heavy load of surgical practice, made his life an exceptionally full
"What men put into life is much more important than what they attempt to take out of it. By speech, by example, by action, Hamilton gave without counting the cost. He had to follow wherever the gleam beckoned, conscience his only mentor. Such men are rare ... and precious."
So wrote Dr. Rennie Swan, Editor of the
Manitoba Medical Review, at the time of Dr. Hamilton's death in April 1935. To the many who knew him, these words voiced a just appreciation.
As a medical student, T.G. had read articles on psychic phenomena by Stead, but had been only casually interested.
In 1918, a close friend, Dr. W. T. Allison, of the English Department of the University of Manitoba, told my parents of his own impressive personal experiences of the "Patience Worth" phenomena, when he had met the medium Mrs. John Curran of St. Louis. Responding to Dr. Allison's genuine enthusiasm, they began to read some of the "Patience Worth" literature for themselves. In turn, this led my father to devise and carry out some simple experiments in thought-transference with Dr. Allison and Rev. D. N. McLachlan, minister of our church. To their surprise, the results they obtained convinced them that telepathy was possible and did work.
My parents now began to acquire the reports of the leading British, European and American investigators - Crookes, Myers, Lodge, Flammarion, Wallace, William James, Hyslop, Schrenck-Notzing, Richet, Osty, Crawford, and others. Again to their surprise, they found authenticated reports and records of many kinds of genuine psychic happenings, hinting at hitherto unsuspected powers of the human mind, and tending to support man's ages-old belief in the continuity of the human personality beyond bodily death.
Their own first-hand observations began quite by chance in 1921 with the discovery that a close personal friend living near us, a little Scottish lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Poole, had a potential for physical phenomena. She herself was unaware that she had any such ability, and indeed was totally disinterested in matters of this nature. Yet in their first few sittings with her, my parents saw a ten-pound table move by itself after she had touched it lightly, apparently charging it with some 'vitality' or 'force'. What had made the table move? Was it the 'psychic force' which Crookes, Flammarion, Crawford, and other investigators had said existed, and which they believed to be produced by the human organism under certain conditions?
After rigorously testing the Poole phenomena, my father concluded that it probably was, and decided to investigate further. At the regular private weekly sittings, not only did they see powerful table movements, but they heard 'raps' somehow striking the table, spelling out messages claiming to come from Myers, Stead, and other deceased
In 1920: "READ PLATO BOOK X. ALLEGORY VERY TRUE. READ LODGE. TRUST HIS RELIGIOUS SENSE. MYERS."
In 1921: "HELPING YOUR EFFORTS IN THE INTERESTS OF HUMANITY. NEVER FEAR. WONDERFUL LAND HERE. CIRCLE IN CIRCLE OF RADIANTEST LIGHT.
Of the 'raps' and their claims T.G. was extremely critical. He was
not seeking evidence of surviving personalities. His chief concern was to learn more about the nature of a mysterious energy that could move tables. He wanted
proof of telekinesis.
After some forty séances spread over eight months, in April 1922, my father decided to halt any further inquiry. He felt Mrs. Poole's powers to be failing. He felt too that if his personal involvement in an investigation of psychic matters (then derided and scorned) were to become known, it would reflect adversely upon his reputation for integrity and honesty in his public service, and would tarnish his professional reputation and standing.
Presently he was to think otherwise.
Early in 1923, at an impromptu sitting, table 'raps' spelled out:
"GO ON WITH YOUR WORK. MORE AHEAD. STEAD...
Completely taken by surprise, and yet admitting to being deeply impressed, after careful thought, he decided to resume his investigation. At the height of a busy life, but now no longer the "reluctant researcher", he chose a small group of trusted friends, began a weekly study of the Poole telekinetic and trance phenomena. He never looked back.
For this new work a room was set aside, equipped with cabinet, table, chairs, a battery of cameras and flashlight apparatus. Under very strict test conditions, he was able to obtain many flashlight photographs of the table movements and levitations, and the various trance stages and automatisms. All these were observed repeatedly, and were thoroughly established as verified. As with the strange 'raps' of 1920 and 1921, again unseen personalities claimed to be responsible for the table phenomena, the automatic writings, the clairvoyance, and to direct and inspire the trance automatisms.
Here are some impressive facts:
From April 1923 to December 1928 there were 1,210 separate trance periods.
Sixteen minor trance controls claimed to be deceased relatives or persons known locally.
Four major controls claimed to be persons of fame: Robert Louis Stevenson, the distinguished Scottish man of letters; David Livingstone, the noted missionary-explorer; W. T. Stead, English editor and psychic investigator; Camille Flammarion, French astronomer and investigator of psychic events. In late 1928 appeared a fifth, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Baptist clergyman and evangelist.
It must be emphasized here that no one in the experimental group had had any prior knowledge of those claiming to communicate; no one was interested in any one of these communicators; no one was a student of Stevenson's literary works; no one adhered to the Baptist communion; we knew only such facts of Livingstone's African explorations as were common public knowledge. Why then should these personalities persist in their claims?
These matters will be discussed in some detail in Chapters Twelve, Thirteen, and Fourteen.
In 1923 Dr. Hamilton became a corresponding member of the A.S.P.R. and within a year had submitted a private report of the Poole investigation to Dr. Walter Franklin Prince, then President of the New York Section. He had also begun to correspond with Dr. L. R. G. Crandon of Boston concerning the "Margery" sittings. He also tested the "Voice-Cut-Out" machine designed by Dr. Mark Richardson, and thereby proved to his own satisfaction the actuality of the 'direct voice' of "Margery's" control "Walter".
In March 1926, J. Malcolm Bird, Research Officer for the A.S.P.R., visited Winnipeg to scrutinize the Poole phenomena; he voiced his approval of the control conditions and the validity of the experiments. He also gave a public address on Psychical Research and the "Margery" mediumship to a large and interested audience.
So far, my father had experimented on a strictly private basis, discussing his work only with a few very close friends and medical colleagues - Drs. Chown, Mitchell, Swan, Winram, Campbell, and others. With the wider interest aroused by Mr. Bird's lecture, it was inevitable that sooner or later T.G. would be invited to speak publicly. It took much earnest persuading from a number of Winnipeg doctors to make him even consider such a step. He finally consented, and in May 1926, spoke to about one hundred and twenty-five members of the Winnipeg Medical Society on "Telekinesis".
Of the effect on his audience Dr. Bruce Chown was to write later:
"His was no easy task. He had faced derision and ridicule and smilingly turned their thrusts on the sword of
truth... The first address I heard him give on his psychic experiments was some years ago before the Winnipeg Medical Society, at a time when he had already been investigating these phenomena for some years. He mentioned no ghost, no spirit, no personality, but he talked about a table that moved at request, that rushed across the room, then leapt into the air, that defied the efforts of strong men to hold it; and as he talked he showed photographs of these actions. He offered neither explanations nor theory, simple facts. That night he had many
As genuine interest grew came invitations to speak. He was approached by Walter J. Phillips, noted Canadian artist, on behalf of the Arts Club, he was asked to speak to the Brandon Medical Society. For both groups he repeated his paper on "Telekinesis".
Without fail the local newspapers reported these lectures in a serious and dignified manner.
In late 1926 we received word that Dr. and Mrs. Crandon were planning an extended holiday trip west across the United States, returning east through Canada. To our delight, they agreed to spend a few days in Winnipeg in late December. Here follows my father's letter to Mr. Bird, written shortly after the Crandons' departure from our city. It indicates the changing atmosphere and more friendly public attitude (in Winnipeg, at least) toward the whole field of psychic
January 18, 1927
Mr. J. Malcolm Bird,
15 Lexington Avenue,
New York City, New York.
Dear Mr. Bird,
Knowing as you do from your visit here last spring, something of Winnipeg's interest in psychical research, you will be interested, I'm sure, in a brief account of the visit of Dr. and Mrs. Crandon to this city.
In the first place may I say that the newspapers announced their coming in a spirit both open-minded and respectful. One paper - our leading daily - gave a fine editorial on the subject of Psychical Research, with the respect its importance warrants, and spoke of Dr. Crandon with the courtesy due to one of his scientific standing.
Although the visit of Dr. and Mrs. Crandon came during the busy Christmas season - Dec. 21 to 24 - the interest shown by professional and academic circles was indeed amazing - even to those of us who have during the past five or six years watched the slow but steady development of interest in this new field of research. Every function held in their honour was crowded to capacity, with many failing to gain admittance. At a noon luncheon held in a down-town hotel, among others were to be seen lawyers, physicians, musicians, artists, professors, teachers, and newspaper writers. At the public lecture, where over six hundred persons crowded into a room of five-hundred capacity, again the audience was drawn largely from the professional and academic groups, with a goodly sprinkling of men well known in the business, the political and the judicial circles. From these signs you may judge that the interest manifested in Dr. Crandon's presentation and discussion of the "Margery" phenomena was not simply that of idle curiosity, but rather an interest tempered largely by a keen sense of scientific values. One man, pastor of one of our largest churches, remarked that it was the finest audience he had ever seen in Winnipeg. One cannot help but feel that this is a very hopeful sign for the future of psychical research, in the West, at any rate.
It is interesting to note that apart from the fame of "Margery" and her distinguished husband, several factors have recently prepared the way for the interest shown in the lecture on the "Margery" phenomena. First, the observance at first hand by many competent observers, of the physical and mental phenomena produced through the mediumship of the local psychic, Mrs. Poole; second, your very fine lectures before many of the professional people of this city last March; and last, my own lecture which I was privileged to give before the Winnipeg Medical Society in May last, based largely on my experiences and experiments with the above-mentioned medium, and which, as you know, was very kindly received. These incidents, following as they did on the initial interest created by the lectures of Lodge (here in 1920) and Doyle (in 1923) have done much to prepare the ground for the seed now sown by the Crandons.
During three days' stay in Winnipeg, Mrs. Crandon kindly gave three sittings at all of which brilliant phenomena were observed by over forty well-known people of this city. As these phenomena took place under entirely new surroundings, I think they should be carefully reported. I propose therefore to make such a report to you in a few days, and would be glad to have it published in your Journal if you see fit to do so.
I am prepared to state most emphatically that the "Margery" phenomena are absolutely genuine; and a number of other medical men who were privileged to be present at the "Margery" sittings have reached the same conclusion. Furthermore, I know of none who witnessed the phenomena here who have been able to suggest any worthwhile criticism. In a word, they are astounded at the simplicity of conditions under which these amazing phenomena occur.
I may say that should you wish to quote from this letter you are at perfect liberty to do so at any time. It is certainly due to Dr. and Mrs. Crandon that their heroic defence of truth be given support at every opportunity.
With kindest regards,
Yours sincerely, (signed) T. G.
(For Dr. Hamilton's Report on the "Margery"
séances in Winnipeg, see Proceedings, A.S.P.R. 1926-27, Vol. 2, pp 566-567.)
In January 1928, Dr. Hamilton addressed the Winnipeg Medical Society a second time on "Materializations", as reported by medical men from other countries - Richet, Geley, Osty in France, Schrencle-Notzing in Munich, and others.
Early in 1928 Mrs. Mary Marshall joined his experimental group. Of mixed Irish and Scottish blood, like Mrs. Poole she too seemed to have exceptional psychic ability. With what must be regarded as a combination of the psychic powers of these two ladies, from 1928 to 1934 there manifested a large number of varied and remarkable teleplasmic forms, all photographed by a battery of cameras, from different angles. The presentation of these phenomena forms the main part of this report.
No one was less of a propogandist than my father. Yet public interest was so keen that in the last six years of his life he was invited many times to speak and to write of his findings.
Why was this so?
An answer is readily forthcoming. Here was a man of integrity and honesty, known and trusted, who had served his city in many capacities, who had displayed sound judgment and scientific acumen. Once he had entered upon this hazardous undertaking, his staunch personal courage had enabled him to brave the storms of adverse criticism and incredulity which had arisen at first in some uninformed quarters. Before his proven honesty in public service, before his demonstrated scientific ability and professional standing, prejudice and disbelief broke down.
In 1928 he lectured ten times. In 1929, from early January to the end of May, and in December, he spoke to ten groups of widely differing backgrounds. In Montreal in November for a Dominion Council meeting, his Toronto and Montreal colleagues persuaded him to address the Montreal Medical Association. From Montreal he proceeded directly to New York to speak to the New York Section of the A.S.P.R. before some three hundred and fifty members, including Malcolm Bird and Bligh Bond, Editors of the A.S.P.R. Journal. The science reporter of the daily newspaper
Brooklyn Eagle gave this address excellent and prominent coverage. The Associated Press picked up the
Eagle report, and it appeared two days later as a news item in the Canadian papers from coast to coast.
Local interest became greater than ever. Requests for lectures kept pouring in. Between January and June 1930, T.G. spoke to some fifteen groups in Winnipeg including the Y.M.C.A., the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, and Church groups.
In May 1930 encouragement came from an unexpected quarter. In his Presidential Address to the Minnipeg Medical Society, Dr. Rennie Swan had this to
"In recent years we here in Winnipeg have heard much regarding psychical research and the evidence for survival after death. I wish to pay tribute to our friend and fellow-member, Dr. T. Glen Hamilton, for the efforts he has been and is making along this line of thought and discovery. Whatever criticism may be made of his work, no one can even attempt to deny the truth of the wonderful phenomena which have come under his observation. We know our man; we know that he is in this work as a student and an investigator; and we have nothing but admiration for him, and let me say,
These warm and heartening words of encouragement were followed by another event indicating strong support from the medical fraternity.
It so happened that Dr. Hamilton had been at a C.M.A. Executive Committee meeting in Ottawa in 1929 when word was received that the British Medical Association desired to come to Canada for its Bi-Centenary Convention in August 1930. By speedy and intensive 'lobbying' and telegraphing Winnipeg medical leaders, T.G. succeeded in persuading the Executive Committee to allow Winnipeg to extend an invitation offering its facilities as host city to the prestigious B.M.A. The invitation was promptly accepted.
Just as promptly, local committees were formed and plans begun at once to ensure that the week-long B.M.A. Convention in August 1930, would be as memorable as the Winnipeg doctors could make it.
Totally unexpected, and indeed, farthest from his thoughts, was the part T.G. himself was to take in the Entertainment Programme. At the insistence of a number of well-known and influential physicians and surgeons - Drs. Michell, Hunter, Swan, Gibson, of Winnipeg; Drs. Harvey Agnew and T. C. Routley, of Toronto; Dr. C. Martin of Montreal, all of whom were members of the Convention Programme Committee, Dr. Hamilton was invited not only to set up a large display of photographs of teleplasmic forms, in the area reserved for 'Hobbies', but he was also officially invited to address a luncheon meeting of the delegates on the topic "Psychic Research in Winnipeg". He himself had made no effort to introduce any discussion of his investigations at the Convention, and it was only at the insistence of his colleagues that he finally agreed to give the address.
Mr. Bligh Bond, Editor of the A.S.P.R. Journal made a special trip from New York to be present. Over five hundred persons crowded into the lecture hall at the Hotel Fort Garry on August 27. Dr. Swan, Chairman of the event, later wrote:
"His address at the crowded cosmopolitan meeting of educated men and women was one of the high spots of his life. I felt extremely proud of him that day, and was happy that I was, in a very humble way, privileged to share it with
H. A. V. Green, K.C., writing of this lecture in the Journal of Psychic Science (London, England) said:
"There is no doubt that a step forward in the acknowledgement of psychic research by organized science as a genuine ground for investigation, calling for the services of the most highly trained observers, has been made by the recognition extended to Dr. Hamilton by members of the B.M.A. attending its ninety-eighth meeting in Winnipeg ...
It is possible, too, that some of the overseas delegates to the B.M.A. had read of the Winnipeg researches, as in the October 1929 issue of the
British Psychic Science Quarterly, whose editor was then Stanley de Brath, had already been published the first of a series of articles on Dr. Hamilton's researches. From 1932 to 1934 four more papers were given prominent space and very favourable editorial comment.
This recognition from England was particularly significant, as Mr. de Brath was himself a researcher, a close friend of Osty, Geley and Richet, had translated their writings into English, and was well acquainted with the work of the then authoritative continental investigators in Poland, Austria and Italy. It was through these contacts that these articles were translated into German by Prof. Hanslinger of Graz, Austria, appearing in the
Zeitschrift fur Parapsychogie; into French, through the kindness of M. Henri Boitel, then of Paris.
Subject to Dr. Hamilton's scrutiny and approval, articles in a more popular vein were now appearing, the first in November 1930 in a Manitoba monthly,
The Country Guide.
In November 1930 he addressed three local groups. Then on to Montreal on medical business, and on to New York City where on December 1st he lectured in Carnegie Hall to nearly four hundred members of the New York Section A.S.P.R.; on December 3rd, to five hundred and fifty at Dartmouth College; on December 5, to seventy-five at Teachers's College, Columbia
University. On December 7 he was guest of honour at a private dinner party where
thirty-five were present, at Flushing. He returned home by way of Fort Wayne,
stopping over to speak to a Young Men's Group on December 9, and the next night
to address a private dinner meeting where some twenty-five professional and
scientific men were present.
1931 saw him speaking to six different groups in Winnipeg. In March on medical
business in Toronto, by invitation from Dr. Harvey Agnew, National Secretary of
the C.M.A., he lectured to the conservative Toronto Academy of Medicine; and he
repeated that address the next night for the Toronto Ministerial Association, at
the behest of his good friend Dr. D. N. McLachlin. Home by early March, he spoke
to three more Winnipeg groups, including the National Council of Jewish Women.
enthusiastic friends had been working quietly toward a new goal - the formation
of a Research Society. This became a reality in June 1931. I quote from the Winnipeg
SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH"
Winnipeg Society for Psychical Research was formed Tuesday by a group of
Winnipeg citizens interested in the investigation of psychic phenomena. Dr. T.
Glen Hamilton was elected the society's first President.
aims of the society are to investigate scientifically all the phenomena
generally termed 'psychic'. This includes any influences which may be exerted on
one mind by another through other than the recognized channels. Clairvoyance,
clairaudience, automatic writing, trance and many other similar phenomena will
be included in the sphere of the new society's investigations.
group has adopted a constitution similar to that of the B.S.P.R., but it is not affiliated
with that or any other organisation.
addition to the President, the following officers were also elected:
Vice-President, W. B. Cooper; Secretary-Treasurer, W. A. Wither; members of the
Council, Isaac Pitblado, K. C., LL.D.; Dr. Bruce Chown, H. A. Reed, H. A. V.
Green, K. C., Dr. W. Creighton, Mrs. T. Glen Hamilton."
August 1931, the magazine Western Home Monthly contained a feature
article on the Hamilton researchers, entitled "Seeing the Unseen".
by now T.G. was becoming very tired from carrying a triple load of work, and he
withdrew from lecturing.
In 1932 my parents took a lengthy holiday, travelling to England, Scotland and France. While in London they met many of the leaders of the Spiritualistic movement - Miss Estelle Stead, Mrs. Hewat McKenzie, Mr. David Gow, Stanley de Brath, Lady Conan Doyle, and others. Again he was urged to speak, and so gave two addresses, one at Wigmore Hall, the other at the London Spiritualist Alliance Headquarters. And Lady Doyle contacted the Editor of a large London daily newspaper, with the result that T.G.'s experiments were presented in a series in October by the
Daily Sketch, illustrated with photographs of the teleplasmic, face forms.
Early in 1933 the Winnipeg Free Press asked permission to do a similar series. These appeared in April, and again, photographs showing table levitations, and teleplasmic masses, were used to illustrate the text. Dr. Hamilton also contributed articles to
Light and Psychic News - both published in London; and he saw published articles on his work in the Proceedings and the Journal of the A.S.P.R. In 1934 a very large display of the Mary M. teleplasmic phenomena was set up in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, as part of an International Symposium on Psychic Research.
During the years of his active research, men and women from all walks of life came to our home to talk privately of these matters. Among the more distinguished were Sir Arthur and Lady Conan Doyle, Dr. and Mrs. Crandon of Boston; Rev. Einar Kvaraan, President of the Icelandic S.P.R.; Prof. Yohan Massee of Indore Theological Seminary, Central India; Harold Samuel, noted concert pianist and authority on the music of Bach; the Rt. Hon. W. L. MacKenzie King, then Prime Minister of Canada, and many, many more. To all, my father spoke freely of his work, and of the interpretation he gave to many of the phenomena.
By now his health was failing noticeably, and while he carried on with the weekly
séances, he spoke only three more times publicly. At the end of 1934 he became ill, and in April 1935 he suffered a fatal heart attack. He was only sixty-one years of age.
News of his untimely death appeared across Canada, in the United States, in England and in Europe, We, his family, were simply overwhelmed with the many letters of sympathy that poured in.
On April 8, this appeared on the Editorial page of the Winnipeg Free Press:
"There will be widespread regret in Winnipeg and beyond at the sudden passing of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton at a comparatively early age. His was an unusually interesting career. Of recent years he had gained an international reputation as an investigator of psychic phenomena, but before that he had an honoured place in this city as a prominent member of the medical profession and a very public-spirited citizen.
"For nearly half a century he had lived in Winnipeg, and while practising his profession he found time to take part in many community activities. He was Chairman of the School Board after serving the Board for many years. Then he was a member of the Legislature. His sympathies were indicated by the fact that he was the first Chairman of the Public Playgrounds Commission, and was one of the active supporters of the Mothers' Allowance legislation. In his own profession he was a lecturer at the Medical College and became President of the Manitoba Medical Association.
"His remarkable work in psychic research began some seventeen years ago. His investigations were of a purely scientific character. He was co-operating with other investigators in Great Britain and in the United States in pioneering in what was believed to be a new branch of science. His sincerity, and the extreme care with which all his investigations and experiments were conducted, were generally recognized. In spite of popular incredulity, he reported amazing manifestations purporting to be of the spirit world, and there was great interest amongst investigators elsewhere in the results which he obtained.
"Dr. Hamilton was a worthy citizen of Winnipeg, and the value of his work in the particular branch of scientific research in which he engaged, will be more fully shown in future
And in the
Winnipeg Tribune came this tribute on April
"The presence of over twelve hundred people, drawn not by morbid curiosity but by respect and affection at the funeral of Dr. T. Glen Hamilton, should impress all of us once more with the fact that goodness, integrity, kindness and force of character, make a powerful appeal to the majority of men."
"Dr. Hamilton began his practice in Elmwood a generation ago when that section of Winnipeg resounded to the clang of the hammer, and houses sprang into being with surprising swiftness. That the young doctor was a central figure in the life of the community was evidenced not only by his busy professional career, but by his election to the Winnipeg School Board, where he served for ten years, and was also the first to make provision for medical inspection in the schools. His subsequent election as a member of the Legislature further illustrated his
"As a member of the staff of the General Hospital, and lecturer in clinical surgery for many years, and as Secretary and later President of the M.M.A., and a member of the National Association, he gave unstinted and valuable services to his profession.
"For the last fifteen years, however, Dr. Hamilton has been associated in the mind of the general public with psychic research. Toward the close of the war the widespread interest in this subject led the doctor to make a few simple experiments in table-rapping. The remarkable force displayed by a friend of his, who later developed mediumistic gifts of a unique character, engaged his earnest attention, and moved him to set aside one evening a week out of his busy life, for a thoroughly scientific investigation of this mysterious subject. Only members of his family and associates in this research knew the patience and perseverance with which he pursued this difficult and often discouraging inquiry. But with his invincible strength of character he went on and on, until he obtained those outstanding results which brought him international fame.
"It was seven years after he and his loyal little group of friends began their regular sittings that Dr. Hamilton secured his first picture of ectoplasm. There then followed those ectoplasmic portraits which are regarded by some students of the subject as the best evidence for the survival of the soul after death. No one has yet been able to explain these pictures away, and Dr. Hamilton certainly gave all the critics a most courteous and attentive hearing. These psychic pictures have been received everywhere with the wonder and awe which they deserve. And the fact that they have been accepted as genuine is in itself the finest testimonial to Dr. Hamilton's reputation for absolute integrity. He showed great courage in giving the public the results of his private research, for there had been much popular prejudice owing to the charlatanism in this field; but to his surprise, the criticism he received was infinitesimal and the gratitude prodigious.
"Dr. Hamilton was not a spiritualist. He did not even like to be called a spiritualist. He was a loyal member of the Christian Church and aimed to build one more buttress for faith in God and immortality, once for all delivered to the saints. " -
"lvanhoe" (Dr. W. T.
In the M.M.A. Journal, May 1935, Dr. Ross Mitchell, long a close friend and staunch supporter, had this to
"The touching qualities that won him the friendship of many were honesty and sincerity, equanimity, fairness and public spirit. He had that rarest of gifts, common sense, to a high degree. There is probably no subject which has aroused more bitter controversy than psychic research, yet even those who could not follow Dr. Hamilton to his conclusions, never doubted his sincerity or ceased to admire his determination to investigate psychic phenomena along scientific lines. It was these qualities of mind and heart that made him internationally famous in this field, and won him the friendship of the most distinguished men and women of the day.
"By lectures, magazine articles, newspaper articles, he revealed the secrets of the phenomena of the psychic realm, before audiences in Winnipeg, Toronto, Boston, London, New York, Washington.
"An eminent figure in the medical world, in the study of psychic research, in church work, in the political life of his time, Dr. Hamilton will be remembered by the great number of people who knew him as a friend. His deep-rooted convictions - and he had many - he did not betray. On the contrary, he propagated them by an approach which was courteous, by sound reasoning and pondered thought, and a marked absence at all times of the temperamental and of anything approaching arrogance or
We, his family, were deeply touched by this letter from W. L. MacKenzie King, then Prime Minister of
The Cloister, Sea Island, Georgia
November 26, 1935
Dear Mrs. Hamilton,
You will not be surprised to know that I experience a very real sense of personal loss in the doctor's passing. Though we had met but once, and had shared little in the way of correspondence, I felt a very close attachment to him, and was, as you know, profoundly interested in his work in psychical research. I have looked upon him as one of the great pioneers in that field of thought and discovery. I now feel that not only our country, but science, and even civilization itself has lost one of its great servants.
Happily we have the faith which enables us to see the stars beyond the cypress trees... I can only hope that your sorrow may, ere this, have been dissipated by the light of a wider knowledge and a profounder assurance of his continued presence at your side, than could be possible save to those who have shared the great experience which you and he have shared.
Yours very sincerely,
(signed) W. L. MacKenzie King.
Mr. Stanley de Brath, Editor of the
British Psychic Science Quarterly, wrote in May,
" His researches were characterized by exceptional scientific ability and most careful elimination of all possibilities of error... His work in psychic research will endure. It was so thorough and scientific in its method that it must remain a standard work in the
In 1933 Mr. F. Bligh Bond, then Editor of the Journal for the A.S.P.R., had visited us and had scrutinized the work at several of the Mary M. seances. In the May 1935 issue of the Journal he paid tribute to T.G.'s
"Dr. Glen Hamilton approached the study of psychical phenomena as a sceptic, but one with an open mind only convinced that there was here a proper subject for investigation. Until a phenomenon could by dint of repetition and renewed testing be accepted as a proven fact, he would not build upon it. He came to accept the hypothesis of human survival but regarded the phenomena of the
séance room as the product of laws as yet unexplained.
"He affords us the example - all too rare - of a member of one of the most conservative of professions, the medical, with complete courage of his convictions, demonstrating the truth as to the reality of psychical phenomena with entire disregard of any self-interested motive.
"And he achieved a great thing: he never forfeited the respect of his professional colleagues, but on the contrary succeeded in an exceptional degree in winning their attention to the unfamiliar and (to many) subversive facts, so carefully and exhaustively presented by him. Thus Dr. Glen Hamilton will be remembered as one who has done as much, or more, to reconcile orthodox medical opinion to the study of psychical phenomena than any other man since the days of Sir William Barrett. The fact that he was a Past President of the Manitoba Medical Society undoubtedly gave his views weight; but it was his personal qualities of integrity, sober judgement, and infinite capacity for taking pains to make his experiments perfect, that won him the regard of his fellows and a status of repute in psychical research.
"To these qualities of his we would add that kindly and sympathetic spirit and unfailing courtesy which disarmed criticism and doubtless contributed to the influence he exercised over those unprepared for his
Dr. Bruce Chown, co-experimenter with Dr. Hamilton for many years, voiced what is perhaps the most impressive appraisal of the man and the researcher when he wrote this appreciation in the C.M.A. Journal in July
"What shall I say of this man, this elder, this excellent physician, this soul, honest, unaffected, friendly and enduring and courageous? …This is not the place to discuss his investigations in themselves, although it will be for these that he will be known in history. From table rappings he passed from observations on the apparent animation of dead things, to trance speech and writing, to the photography of masses extruded from the body of mediums, masses later moulded into the likeness of known dead.
These phenomena were all genuine. The yellow fog of doubt that hangs around all mediumistic doings was dispelled by the character of the man. Day after day, week after week, year after year, when the ordinary day's work was done, he observed, recorded, analyzed. I often wondered how he had the patient stubbornness to persist. There lived in him a quality of mind rare in any age, even in the man who is the professing scientist: an endurance and an eagerness to carry this, his heart's load, on top of a great load of professional and social duties, showing forth a man of powerful character, a strong and steady
And at the November 1935 meeting of the Winnipeg P.S.R. the then President, Mr. H. A. V. Green, K.C., paid this
"Before we go any further with our proceedings tonight - with that high regard which befits a great man - we must honour the memory of our first President, Dr. Glen Hamilton.
"Dr. Hamilton was a great man because he stood publicly and without fear for truth as it was known to him, although that truth was unbelievable to very many. He discovered for himself the verity of psychic phenomena, and he never hesitated to proclaim that fact. He was a member of a most conservative profession, but no fear of ridicule or of slight ever turned him from the public confession of his faith. The phenomena he investigated have been the subjects of imitation by imposters more frequently probably than any natural phenomena since the world began; and the incredulity aroused by repeated exposures of imposters is accompanied in the minds of many sensitive people by fear lest holy things be touched by hands of clay.
"It is the measure of Dr. Hamilton's greatness that, knowing these things, and having satisfied himself of the genuineness of certain facts which he had observed, he spoke and wrote what was in his mind. Not only so, but he continued his experiments and by the integrity of his character and the exactness of his work, brought conviction to many of his professional brethren as well as to lay men and women. In his honesty lay his strength. He never affirmed beyond his knowledge, but he never hedged about what he knew.
"When psychic phenomena are fully appreciated and are generally accorded their place in the natural order of the Universe, the pioneers who persisted in a scientific examination of the facts Schrenck-Notzing, Geley, Hamilton, will receive from all the world the recognition which, on other grounds, has already been accorded to their fellow workers - Crookes, Richet and
In concluding this brief account of my father's life and work, I would like to share with my readers the exceedingly moving prayer which Dr. W. T. Allison, his closest friend, gave at my father's funeral on April 9, 1935, in King Memorial Church,
"O God, Thou Who has been our dwelling place in all generations, Thou Who art the Source of all Life and all Love, be near us in this hour as we meditate on the mysterious transition we call death.
"As we are assembled today to perform the last rites of regard for a brother beloved, fill our hearts with Thy Divine Comfort. Though we walk through the valley of separation, the eternal hills are bright with radiance beyond compare. And though our hearts are lonely, we believe that he whose memory we cherish has passed suddenly into that larger, better Kingdom to be forever encompassed by a still closer enfolding of Thy love than we can know on earth.
"So we come today, not as those without hope, not as those who have no anchor within the veil, not as those who have no vision of those who are gone into the world of light.
"And we thank Thee for the strong hold which our brother had upon the eternal verities. We thank Thee for his buoyant cheerfulness, his vigorous yet kindly character, his crowded life of service in his ministrations to the sick, in his devotion to the Church, and in his years of patient research to convince mankind that the dream of saints and sages is gloriously true, that another world lies about us as a breath, that we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who look down upon us with larger eyes than ours, to make allowance for us all.
"Lord, we believe. Help Thou our unbelief. This is the prayer that wells up from our souls and we rejoice that through the indefatigable work of Thy servant Thou did'st ordain new assurance for us in the face of death.
"In Thine Infinite Wisdom Thou hast removed from our earthly sight this servant of Truth, this builder-up of Christian faith. And we know that his life work, which has been a blessing to thousands, will continue to strengthen fainting hearts for years to come. He has been called to higher service, and
'The great Intelligences fair
That range above our mortal state,
In circle round the blessed gate
Received and gave him welcome there.'
"And we who mourn the loss of a husband, a father, a friend, bow in resignation to Thy will in removing him to another sphere of labour. Convince us all of the beauty of goodness, and of the necessity of being prepared for the visitation of the Angel of Death.
"May we be serenely ready for the great event. Wherefore, be it given to us to live each day as though it were our last, so that, whether living or dying, we are the