H. F. Saltmarsh
lifelong and revered contributor to the Society for Psychical
Research. A businessman involved in international shipping
before his early retirement because of ill health, he was
student of Theosophy, a highly regarded writer on precognition
and survival, and an astute investigator of mediumistic
sittings. Served for many years as a financial officer of the
SPR and contributed numerous articles to its journal.
TO THOSE of my readers who are sufficiently interested [in
cross-correspondences] I would suggest three experiments.
First. Let them try to construct cross correspondences normally. Thus, let an
author be chosen with whose works they are well acquainted, and then some topic
or quotation be picked out. Then from another book by the same author or from a
different part of the same book other quotations must be sought which bear
allusively on this topic, yet avoid direct mention of it. Punning references may
be employed. When this had been done let the two sets be submitted to some
person, who will play the part of investigator, to see whether the puzzle can be
solved. Should he fail to do so, a further clue can be sought which will bind it
all together into a coherent and intelligible whole.
If this experiment be tried, it will, I think, be found that a good deal of
research, knowledge and ingenuity is required and that, in the words of Mrs.
Willett's 'Verrall' communicator, 'This sort of thing is more difficult to do
than it looked.'
Second. Choose a book by an author with whose works you are well acquainted, and
from it pick a passage by chance. You could open it at random and, with the eyes
shut, put your finger on the page, then take the passage indicated. Do the same
thing with another such book and then try to work out a cross correspondence
between the two passages. This experiment will give an indication of how far
pure chance is likely to have been responsible for the concordance found between
the scripts of the automatists.
The third experiment is to try to obtain automatic writing.
Quite a large proportion of those who have tried have succeeded in obtaining
automatic writing, but there is no reason to suppose that in any except a very
few cases there was anything else involved beyond some level of the subliminal
mind of the writer.
The process is quite easy; one simply sits holding a pencil with the hand
resting on a sheet of paper in the attitude of writing and allows the mind to
drift. Conscious attention must be withdrawn from the hand. Probably nothing
will result from the first attempts, but with perseverance there is a fair
chance of success.
Once the first scrawling motions are made experience will show what are the best
conditions and the best methods. A planchette could also be tried, or some form
of ouija board.
But I would add a most emphatic warning. Leave it all severely alone unless you
are prepared to maintain a cool, detached and preferably rather sceptical
attitude towards the phenomena. It should be treated seriously, of course, but
not emotionally. If the experimenter is prone to see in every script messages
from the dead or weighty pronouncements from august spiritual beings, then the
experiment had better be dropped.
Scripts must be judged from the nature of their contents and in so judging it
should be borne in mind that there is a level of the subliminal mind which is
apt to be rather 'tricky' and is not above staging a false impersonation.
The very large bulk of the matter which comes through most automatists is only a
kind of dream stuff, it is only on very rare occasions and with very few
specially gifted automatists that anything supernormal, such as telepathy or
clairvoyance, may occur. If the automatist is imbued with the idea that the
spirits of the dead will communicate through the scripts, it is quite likely
that the subliminal mind will endeavour to 'oblige' by supplying plausible
Where it is possible, those who desire to try the experiment should seek
guidance and advice from some experienced person.
I repeat my warning: leave it alone altogether unless you are quite sure that
you can adopt and maintain the cool, detached, scientific attitude, otherwise
you will run the risk of self-deception and possible mental and moral
The above article was taken from H. F. Saltmarsh's "Evidence of Personal
Survival from Cross-Correspondences" (London: G. Bell, 1938).