H. F. Saltmarsh

1881-1943. A 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.

Three Simple Cross-Correspondence Experiments

- H. F. Saltmarsh -

          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 sounding messages.

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 disturbance.


The above article was taken from H. F. Saltmarsh's "Evidence of Personal Survival from Cross-Correspondences" (London: G. Bell, 1938).

Related Articles

Summary and Discussion of the Cross-correspondence by H. F. Saltmarsh
Cross-correspondences (1) by Rosalind Heywood
Cross-correspondences (2) by Rosalind Heywood
Introduction to the study of Cross-Correspondence by Oliver Lodge
Cross-Correspondences by W. H. Salter
Cross-Correspondences: New Evidence by W. H. Salter

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