Mrs Verrall

Mrs A. W. Verrall

          LECTURER IN classics at Newnham College, wife of Dr. A. W. Verrall, the well-known classical scholar and the first occupant of the King Edward VII Chair of English, was a prominent British psychical researcher. She joined the SPR in 1889, wrote many important papers for the Proceedings, was elected to the Council in 1901, developed psychic powers herself and sat, on Frederic Myers' request, with Mrs. Piper when she visited Britain. In automatic writing she obtained in 1901 the first results after the death of Myers and produced afterwards hundreds of scripts which often contained matter of supernormal interest. In 1906 she published in the Proceedings an analysis of her scripts. This paper formed the starting point of a serious study in cross correspondence.

Sir Oliver Lodge pays the following tribute to Mrs. Verrall in The Survival of Man:

"The fame of Mrs. Piper has spread into all lands, and I should think the fame of Mrs. Verrall also. In these recent cases of automatism the Society has been singularly fortunate, for in the one we have a medium who has been under strict supervision and competent management for the greater part of her psychical life; and in the other we have one of the sanest and acutest of our own investigators, fortunately endowed with some power herself, some power of acting as translator or interpreter between the psychical and the physical worlds."

Mrs. Verrall's conclusions after years of experiments and testing were:

"It cannot be denied that the 'communicator' of the Piper sittings and of my own scripts presents a consistent personality dramatically resembling that of the person he claims to be. I entirely acquiesce in this judgment. In fact I am one of those who, though they would like to see further and still stronger and more continued proofs are of the opinion that a good case has been made out, and that as the best working hypothesis at the present time it is legitimate to grant that lucid moments of intercourse with deceased persons may in the best cases supervene; amid a mass of supplementary material, quite natural under the circumstances, but mostly of a presumably subliminal and less evidential kind. The boundary between the two states - the known and the unknown is still substantial, but it is wearing thin in places; and like excavators engaged in boring a tunnel from opposite ends, amid the roar of water and other noises we are beginning to hear now and again the strokes of the pickaxes of our comrades on the other side of the partition as on our side; there has been distinct co-operation between those on the material side and those on the immaterial side; and we are at liberty, not indeed to announce any definite conclusion, but to adopt as a working hypothesis the ancient doctrine of a possible intercourse of intelligence between the material and some other, perhaps ethereal order of existence."

Source (with minor modifications): An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).



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