"That the human personality persists after the dissolution of the body has been "proved" so many times that it is rather surprising it should be thought necessary to repeat the process at short intervals. The ancient arguments have been worn threadbare, but it seems evident that the phenomena of Spiritualism have given to the belief a new lease of life.... "What we call death is a mere translation from one environment to another." ... It is true we are furnished with some particulars of this fresh environment, but they are so meagre and cloudy as to be quite unconvincing ... Let the same phenomena be vouchsafed to any robust disciple of Reason, and he may possibly believe as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believes. Until that happens he will certainly not do so."
Charles T. Gorham in The Literary Guide
"Take my word for it - it is not, as a rule, safe to trust yourself to a man who tells you that he does not believe in a God or a future life."
Pitt, quoted by CANON LIDDON
THE first of these two quotations is a fair specimen of the manner in which the experimental facts and the inferences from them are met by critics who blink unpalatable evidence. Proofs of long standing are dismissed as "threadbare argument the consensus of religions is called "barbaric dogma" and "outworn superstition." Robert Blatchford is as robust a disciple of Reason as ever was, but his well-known and uncompromising testimony is ignored. Such writers, unable to disprove facts, give their opinions with question-begging epithets. It is, however, surprising that any person should take this sort of pontifical writing as of equal weight with that of competent students and experimenters.
Another form of judicial pronouncement is by a writer known for his brilliant epigrams and paradoxes. Mr. G. K. Chesterton says:
I do not in the least mean that I think all spiritualism is a fraud.... If there were nothing but trickery in it, it would be a profitable topic. It really does present what may appear to be a paradox - if it is a trick it is useful it is as a truth that it is useless. For if, as I fancy it really is the irruption of some sort of elemental forces external to man, then for some reason or other they seem to be forces that certainly waste and possibly corrupt.... It is admitted that the spirits, or whatever they may be, very often tell lies. But they are always ready to tell more lies to explain away their lies, and then more lies to explain the explanation. They may be sportive fairies or deceptive demons, or merely tricks of our own submerged mind; but whatever they are they seem to want very much to waste our time.
Now this kind of writing places opinions before facts. It is the same mentality that called Galvani "the frogs' dancing master," because he could see that the twitch of a dead frog's leg implied a new force in Nature. That force was galvanism-current electricity.
This gentleman says: "I have seen spirit-writing appear on a piece of blank paper on a bare mahogany table." If he means that this was a case of writing without any normal contact, an intelligent force is worth investigation irrespective of the matter written.
Belief in personal survival, unless as it affects conduct, is a small matter, but it should go by the whole evidence. Probably the majority of intelligent men feel that survival has no attractions apart from the prospect of meeting those we love. Many prefer extinction and some imagine they get it by suicide.
The Larger View
There is a much larger aspect of the question, which prompted the remark of a statesman with so wide an experience of men as William Pitt. Scepticism does not work. It has been the invariable precursor of national decline-in Greece, in Rome, and in Russia. Negation of survival means conviction of irresponsibility. The murderer Smith, who not long ago drowned three successive wives in their baths, advanced as his defence, "When they are dead they are done with." The logic is sound; there can be no injury to the non-existent. It should be quite obvious that the disregard of truth which has sown almost universal distrust, the trickeries all too common in political life, the specious misrepresentations, fraudulent prospectuses and fraudulent bankruptcies and the pursuit of wealth by any and every means, are only logically justified by belief that there is no after-life consequential to this, or by the common but equally false notion satirized by Heine, "Le bon Dieu me pardonnera, c'est son metier''.
This pragmatism - that disbelief actually produces bad effects - is no proof of survival, but it is a strong argument why importance should be attached to it, and why it should be necessary to repeat at short intervals the unheeded evidence for it.
Hitherto this book has dealt only with irrefragable facts and the inferences from them, taking a purely scientific standpoint. We must now go beyond those limits and adduce some which are not less true, but are less conclusively established.
Materialisations of known personalities do not lend themselves easily to laboratory experiment. Such "spirit-return" does not take place to convince obstinate sceptics(1) but to fortify those who have loved and lost.
Nevertheless, there is at least one such case that has taken place in the laboratory.
(1) A frequent reason for disbelief in a future life is the consciousness that our personality as we know it is unfit to survive, and that is true; but the inference is not that there is no survival, but that we had better make our selves fit.
November 20, 1920. In the laboratory of the International Metapsychic Institute, Medium Franek Kluski: his left hand held by Dr. Geley, his right by Count jules Potocki. Other sitter's linked hands. Detail given in Dr. Geley's
Ectoplasmic et Clairvoyance, p. 283.
... At the same moment I felt a woman's hand gently placed on my forehead, making the sign of a cross surrounded by a circle as was my sister's custom when taking leave of me during her life-time. I could recognize her hand by the light of the luminous screen on the table in front of me... She held my hand, patted my face, caressing it ... Shortly after a luminous sphere was formed before my face; it retreated, then approached again, and to my great surprise and joy I could see plainly the features of my sister, smiling at me as in life. She seemed much younger, as she was twenty-five years ago. (She died at 54) The crown of her head was covered by a cloudy veil. The apparition lasted for several seconds. I had time to exclaim, "It is herself," then all vanished. The hand again traced the cross on my forehead several times, there was a kiss, heard by all, some more caressing of my face, and all manifestation ceased.
(Signed) J. POTOCKI.
Sir William Crookes' testimony to a similar but much more durable and tangible materialization of "Katie King" will be found in his
Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism (J. Burns, 1874), pp. 102-12. He certifies that he saw Katie and her medium, Miss Florence Cook, at the same time, and photographed them together on the same plate. He writes:
"The almost daily sťances with which Miss Cook has lately favoured me have proved a severe tax on her strength, and I wish to make the most public acknowledgment of the obligations I am under to her for her readiness to assist me in my experiments. Every test that I have proposed she has at once agreed to submit to with the utmost willingness; she is open and straightforward in speech and I have never seen anything approaching the slightest symptom of a wish to deceive.... To imagine that an innocent schoolgirl of fifteen should be able to conceive and then successfully carry out for three years so gigantic an imposture as this, and in that time should submit to any test which might be imposed upon her, should bear the strictest scrutiny, should be willing to be searched at any time, either before or after a sťance, and should meet with better success in my own house than in that of her parents, knowing that she visited me with the express object of submitting to strict scientific tests ... does more violence to one's reason and common-sense than to believe her to be what she herself affirms."
I have myself seen three times the materialization of a deceased brother's face, confirmed by two other members of the family.
Unrecognized supernormal portraits such as are testified to by Mr. Traill Taylor are conclusive proofs of the reality of the phenomenon, but are no evidence of survival. There are, however, many instances of portraits of deceased persons to be found in the
Chronicles of the Photographs of Spiritual Beings (Houghton); Photographing the Invisible (Coates);
The Case for Spirit Photography (Doyle); and many instances given in the Transactions of the British College of Psychic Science. In many of these the face appearing on the plate was not the one expected, but was that of a person unknown to all present, but sometimes actually recognized by another family and clearly recognizable by strangers on comparison with a normal portrait.
The evidence for survival is greatly increased when a portrait has been promised beforehand. This was the case in both the instances adduced in Chapter III,
ante. I had a message purporting to be from my late colleague that she would endeavour to give me a portrait, which duly appeared on the plate (P1. 5, P. 40). On the second occasion, July 17, 1924, a similar message was given;(1) it ran: "I have met Dr. Geley; he cannot yet believe he has passed over, but he has friends who will help him. I think if you arrange for the photography next week as was settled, he may be able to impress his photograph, as his mind was set on those experiments." I noted down these words at the time, took the signatures of those present, and passed the paper through the post without an envelope to have the postmark as proof of date. The arrangements cancelled after Dr. Geley's death, July 15th, were revived by the kindness of Mrs. McKenzie. On July 23rd I kept another appointment made with another medium on Dr. Geley's behalf, without result. In the evening I made inquiries through a private automatist at Weybridge, who knew nothing of the whole matter:
(1)At Exmouth, by an autornatist totally unconnected with the subsequent photographic results in London.
Q. I have been to * * * and have got nothing am rather disappointed. Can you tell me anything?
A. All was ready and right, but your poor friend cannot realize yet that he is here, and he is very distressed by the grief in his home and all his circumstances. We could not get a proper picture.
Q. That is sad. Now I want your advice. Mrs. McK. has offered me a sitting with Hope tomorrow at 11 a.m. It would seem from the answer you give that it is useless.... Shall I take my own camera (which might put Hope out), or shall I let him use his own?
A. Do not introduce any innovation to-morrow; you go with my promise in mind, and we will do what conditions allow. By then Dr. Geley may be sensible of what has happened or be asleep. You see, dear, his arrival was so sudden and he was in good health.
Dr. Geley was killed by the crash of the aeroplane in which he was travelling from Warsaw to Paris on July 15th. The experiment took place on July 24th. The full details are given in
Psychic Science of October 1924 and in the Revue Meta-Psychique for the same month. The mediums were not allowed to touch the plates at all. The result is shown in P1. 6 (P. 41).
In the evening of the following day I made further inquiry:
Q. I am so glad to have been successful. Can you tell me what took place?
A. Very simply. He was at last calmed and put to sleep: his guide and helpers made the model and brought it. Conditions were so loving and desirous to help that the way was clear.
It is not maintained that these supernormal photographs are produced by any process analogous to normal photography-there is no invisible image posed before the camera. There is ample proof that the lens plays no part in the production of the image. There are two current theories: (1) that the image is a "thought-form" projected on to the plate by the medium or the sitters or both; (2) that there is a discarnate agency in which the surviving soul is actively or passively concerned.
Whether the first (ideo-plastic) or the second (spiritualist) hypothesis be adopted, or there be a combination of external influence and ideo-plasticity, the mechanism of transfer to the plate is alike unknown; but the "thought-form" theory has to meet the following questions: When the personality is unknown to both mediums and sitters,
whose thought is it that is photographed?
When the medium has never seen the person represented (as is almost always the case) and the sitters are not consciously thinking of any particular person, what is the evidence that unconscious thought can be photographed at all?
How did the first automatist at Exmouth and the second automatist at Weybridge (neither of whom had anything to do with the photographs) get into relation with the intention subsequently borne out by the facts?
Only very complicated hypotheses of thought-transference can be offered as solution. The inference of discarnate agency acting on some specially ideo-plastic kind of ectoplasm seems to me much more valid.
Messages from the Unseen
Automatic scripts are so numerous and in such great variety that merely to cite a few instances would give erroneous ideas. They range through every possible quality - the highly intelligent (rare), the good but commonplace (very frequent), the vapid (also frequent), and (occasionally) the actively bad. A certain number are unquestionably promptings from the subconsciousness of the writer, and probably in no case is this factor entirely absent even when the matter revealed is totally unknown to the writer, his mind colours the mode of expression, so that positive proof of the identity of the discarnate agent is difficult to obtain.
The evidence of discarnate agency, however, is very voluminous, and cumulative proof is abundant. It is often objected that the sum of individually defective evidence is no more valid than each separate case, but this objection will not hold. In the law courts very little evidence is perfect in itself; the value of cumulative evidence turns on the number of unbiased witnesses. If we are to assume that all veridical automatic writing is subconscious simulation, we must allow that mediumistic clairvoyance is exceedingly common, a conclusion that is by no means borne out by facts. Taken in conjunction with the objective evidence, the hypothesis that certain of these messages really come from surviving souls (as they assert) is well supported and has the merit of covering all cases in which the subconscious origin seems far-fetched.(1)
(1) It is remarkable that the intellectual and moral level of these messages corresponds in a curious way with the tone of the circle - frivolous and foolish sitters get frivolous and foolish "messages." This has caused some persons to attribute all such messages to the subconsciousness, a theory which, however, does not cover a large body of facts such as predictions.
I will now give a few examples from which the general tenor of the better class of messages can be fairly judged.
Messages of Love and Affection
I am glad you are here to-day, for I know you have come because you love me, and because you love to live over again our past-especially our happy past.... Never, never think of me as dead, as lost, as separated, as distant. I live-yes, live, in a way that was not possible to me while limited in the body. Always think of me as living, as rejoicing, as ministering, as not simply near you, but united to you in the innermost depths of your being.... You will understand that we are not taken up by self-absorption it is true even here that as some one has said, We live by Admiration, Hope, and Love," because these are the things of the Spirit and here the things of the spirit are the only things that count, and these are intensified and glorified to a degree incomprehensible to those still tabernacled in the body. But Love of course must minister, must give, must express,... and this ministry and service has various aspects-particularly the two aspects of service to those on our side of the veil who are still in need of enlightenment and comfort and moral and spiritual growth, and of service to those yet on your side. - Love from beyond the Veil. L. V. H. WITLEY (Fowler & Co.).
Messages of Identity
(1) I am greatly amazed at meeting you in this way. I never believed in a future life, though like others I pretended to hope. Not only am I alive, but in possession of extended faculties. I am, as I see you have already guessed. * * * I am not going to expend a power which I see to be most limited in sending messages that you would not give, or in attempting tests that would fail. I little thought when last I saw you in * * * that our next meeting would be like this.... What a marvel this world is.... Not for one moment do I wish myself back again; rather the humblest spirit in a world like this than the highest position earth can give.
I see you wish to know my experience. I suffered horribly and a great darkness came over me. Then I seemed to open my eyes and the room was full of light; my body lay upon the bed; the room was empty, and my dead relations were round me. The walls were transparent and we moved away. I felt young and light.... After a time I returned to earth to visit my friends.... You are not like my idea of you but few are; we are much in the dark on earth. Perhaps it is better so, as there is much to disappoint, and I find all unlike my notion of them.... The power goes; I will come again.
(2) I am * * * *. My funeral was dismal. I stood near my brother. My sister was most upset. . . . The general feeling of hopelessness and the false view of death most distressing. Literally the only persons who thought of me as a reality still existing were you and your wife. It is most painful.
I placed myself close to * * *, and could not make her feel me.... I saw your sister * * *, quite hopeless, and * * *, who has religious views, not much better.... I must say I am at a loss to account for the state of things.... It is not pleasant to see thought, though some thoughts are gratifying. I am fast becoming converted to the idea that many friends are false, and many foes are friends. No, I am not a mischief-maker. I find my dear friend * * * closer to me than anyone. I wish he would come soon. I miss him at every turn. I regret to find better feelings founded on friendship than on relationship.... Had power been given you that day to see the minds of those present you would realize how fortunate you are. - From The Result of an Experience (Simpkin, Marshall. & Co., 1910).
This experiment was carried out by a lady and her husband who resolved -
to devote a certain time every evening to writing and to admit no one into their secret, determining to persevere however unsatisfactory the result might be. These conditions were scrupulously fulfilled, the experiment stretching over a very large number of years.... At first nothing but scribbles came, then a few words were written, then a phrase, often repeated all over the page. After many months the writing became clearer, the names of dead relations were given, and interesting personal matter and advice.... In the selections, all essentially personal matter has been omitted; but otherwise the letters are intact and have not been altered in any way except as regards names.
I have myself had, through a private automatist, very similar communications, bearing out much that this book contains.
Conditions of the Other side
I say that what such spirits write and reveal can only be compared to looking through glasses that distort. They think they see, and when they are unable to find suitable words, they use what they think most analogous. (The spirits having no language impress the thought and it finds expression in the medium's words. - ED.) ... Thus "heaven" has its couches, its rests, its coverings, its comforts; but attempt to name them with the equivalent on earth, the resemblance dies away.... A belief in the power of writing by spirits will increase as the world grows older; and when once that has become more general, the spirits will be less afraid to say the truth, that of all heavenly things granted to spirit life none can be revealed.... I said that spirits far advanced were shy of beginning relations with those of earth, but that numbers were waiting on the confines of the land they had left with regret, ready to communicate under any name they could take to ensure them attention.... A wish is often felt to communicate to relieve the tedium of eternity; for tedium there is in many cases, and discontent - oh how much! Only those who learn content amidst life's hardest lessons, or are constitutionally contented, begin spirit life with happiness.... Not idle content, however.... Spirits are always sure of being together when love has united them on earth; and when spirits are awfully distant from each other it is the fault of one or other of them.... There is not so much inaccuracy as some think in talking of the sleep of death; but it is not a necessary condition of spirit life, and there are some who pass at once into enjoyment; for it is not enjoyment to be doing nothing, while the better are at once employed and progressing into higher states of spiritual happiness.
From Matter to Spirit. DE MORGAN (Longmans, 1863).
Religion, the spirit's healthful life, has two aspects - the one pointing to God, the other to man.... We do not recognize any need of propitiation towards this God. We reject as false any notion of the Divine Being vindictively punishing a transgressor or requiring a vicarious sacrifice for sin.... God as we know Him in the operation of His laws is perfect, pure, loving,... the centre of life and love... the object of our admiration, never of our dread.
... None has seen Him, nor are we content with the metaphysical sophistries with which prying curiosity and subtle speculation have obscured the primary conception of God among men. The first conception even with you is grander, nobler, more sublime. We know nothing of the potency of blind faith or credulity. We know, indeed, the value of a trustful receptive spirit, free from the littleness of perpetual suspicion. Such is God-like and draws down angel guidance. But we denounce that most destructive belief that faith, assent to dogmatic statements, have power to erase the traces of transgression; that an earthly life-time of vice and sloth and sin can be wiped away and the spirit stand purified by the blind acceptance of a creed. Such teaching has debased more souls than anything else to which we can point. Nor do we teach that there is a special efficacy in any one belief to the exclusion of others.... We know, as you do not, the circumstances which decide to what special form of faith a mortal shall give his adherence....
We deal with religion as it affects us and you in simpler sort. Man - an immortal spirit, so we believe - placed in earth-life as a school of training, has simple duties to perform, and in performing them is prepared for more advanced and progressive work. He is governed by inevitable laws, which, if he transgresses them, work for him misery and loss, which also, if respected, secure for him advancement and satisfaction.... This mortal existence is but a fragment of life. Its deeds and their results remain when the body is dead. The ramifications of wilful sin have to be followed out and its results remedied in sorrow and shame. The consequences of deeds of good are similarly permanent, they precede the pure soul, and draw around it influences which welcome and aid it in the spheres. Life is one and indivisible; one in its progressive development, and one in the effect on all alike of the eternal and immutable laws by which it is regulated.... Eternal justice is the correlative of Eternal Love.
You will learn also that all revelation is made through a human channel, and consequently cannot but be tinctured in some measure with human error. No revelation is of plenary inspiration. None can demand credence on any but rational grounds. Therefore to say of a statement that it is not in accord with what was given through a human medium at any stated time is no derogation, necessarily, from the truth of that statement. Both may in their kind be true, yet each of different application. Weigh what is said; if it be commended by reason, receive it; if not, reject it. If what is put before you be prematurely said and you are unable to accept it, then in the name of God put it aside and cling to aught that satisfies your soul and helps its onward progress. The time will come when what we lay before you of divine truth will be valued among men. We are content to wait, and our prayers shall join with yours to the Supreme and All-wise God, that He will guide the seekers after truth, wherever they may be, to higher and fuller insight. May His blessing rest on you.
This and much more automatically written will be found, together with the method of its production, in
Spirit Teachings, by the hand of the late Mr. Stainton Moses ("M. A. Oxon"), published by E. W. Allen, 1883, and reprinted by the London Spiritualist Alliance (5, Queen Square, W.C. 1).
The book shows in the plainest manner the conflict between the ideas of the medium in his normal state and those of the communicating spirit.
Conditions in the After-Life
The gist of these messages(1) is that After-life conditions are
mental depending less on the new environment than on the degree of evolutionary attainment that we bring to it. Intellectual attainment is always secondary-it may even be a hindrance if it be dogmatic, narrow, intolerant, conceited, or perverse. Spiritual status is determined by moral quality alone and proceeds from conditions simple and easily understood if we set aside an environment so different from the material that we cannot picture it:
(1) I do not definitely assert that these messages are from spirits; I merely say that the evidence is such as to make conscious invention highly improbable. We are then left with two hypotheses: (a) that the subconsciousness simulates an elaborate trickery by personification closely imitating the mentality that could be ascribed to the deceased, and in conformity to correspondences so general at all times and in all places as to simulate laws; or (b) that there is a discarnate intelligence prompting the message. Taking these messages along with other phenomena, especially the photographic portraits and the visions of children, I think the latter hypothesis the only one that covers the facts.
There is no money - pleasures cannot be bought. There is no compulsion to earn a livelihood, therefore each can do what his talents lead him to prefer; the happiness of the soul depends on its own internal resources. Thoughts and character are naked and open, therefore like souls gravitate to their like, much as they do here, but with greatly enhanced perceptions; this makes fresh learning much easier for the honest-hearted, but much more difficult for the ill-disposed who cannot endure the society of those higher than themselves, and for the obstinately "earth-bound" who cling to the past. None can pretend or deceive, each is seen exactly as he is, and the contrast between the well-disposed and the evilly-disposed is glaring. Mental darkness there is the analogue of physical darkness here. Those who have the light in themselves can give it out to help others and can receive more. The heavenly life is one of growth in wisdom, insight, and co-operant help to those who stand in need. They totally reject all notion of "merit."
Anyone in this present life who wishes to forecast his own future can do so by considering what would be his interests and occupations under these conditions.
In illustration of these inferences I was given the two following stories, through the automatist previously mentioned:
One instance of the kind you ask me for is that of a dear little old woman who kept a small shop in a place where it was needed. She was very honest, shrewd, on principle never gave credit, though she would give to children, and oftentimes gave a meal to those who needed one. She never subscribed to charities, was a strict sabbatarian, and brought up her children accordingly. One son, just before she died, embezzled money in the post-office. She felt she had failed in her duty and that this lapse must be her fault. When she came over she was surprised to find all her highest hopes realized. All memory of the unfaithful son was wiped out, for she was in no way to blame, she was unable to influence his mentality. She watches over the others serenely and has her reward here.
You know that we gain our knowledge here by seeing the results of earth-lives, both our own and those of others, including those still in the flesh.
Here is another instance:
It is the story of a couple who had money, leisure, and were very prominent in society. They were utterly selfish; they gave grandly and sometimes largely, but for their own comfort and reputation; they even helped a scapegrace relation to recover his position, but they took so much credit to themselves for this generosity that the spark of growth it might have started was killed. As they grew old they desired real friends, but their minds and their mode of life were such that they met only those who desired money and gifts. As each of them arrived here they seemed small and deformed in soul: they were dismayed and terrified, because all their thoughts had been of material pleasures, and their thoughts turned to the bodies they had ministered to, now masses of corruption. Unable to turn their eyes from their past, they longed to get back to earth; but they have to spend a certain time seeing the result of their selfishness on others whom they ought to have helped. They will recover in so far as they sorrow and try to help, but you will understand how hard that is with money.
These homely stories give far more enlightenment than many more pretentious communications. It is often made a reproach to these messages that they convey Commonplace morality and do not add to scientific knowledge. Well, commonplace morality happens to be the one thing of which the world stands most in need. Of knowledge there is more than enough while we devote it to the deadly appliances of destruction. Why should our friends on the Other Side of life busy themselves with the laws of Matter and its illusions? These things have passed out of their sphere of interests: they desire peace and goodwill among men, and they seek to show us the change in mentality which alone can bring about the realization of our hearts' desire.
Note on Automatic Writing
Some minds are much exercised to distinguish what comes from their personal subconsciousness and what from external influence.
This is quite natural, but involves a misapprehension of the probable process in action, Only rarely is the hand actually moved by the communicating spirit: the usual process seems to be - (a) Projection of the ideas to the subconsciousness of the recipient; (b) subconscious translation into words; and (c) the equally subconscious movement of the hand. It is obvious therefore that here are three separate openings for error - imperfect projection, imperfect translation, and imperfect muscular action.
Anyone who has the gift of automatism should concentrate attention on the good sense (or otherwise) of the matter written irrespective of its supposed origin. The more completely passive the attitude during writing and the more coldly and reasonably critical
afterwards, the better will be the result. Stainton Moses' Spirit Teachings is an example of this: he was absolutely unconscious of the matter during writing and keenly critical afterwards. The result is to be seen in the contrast between the working of the two minds. To any who use the methods of automatism, I would say - Do not trouble about how much is the product of your subconsciousness, and how much is communicated; but only how much good sense can accept or reject. It is the truth of the matter written, and not its origin, that is important.
I feel bound also to emphasize the real danger of the practice unless strictly controlled by good sense, knowledge, and honest purpose. A medium wrote to me:
"For some time past I have STRONGLY wanted to write or lecture on mediumship. The (automatic) writings are beyond my interpretation, being partly in a code which needs deciphering."
Ast means the code, and the code means lully. Aster means diagmitism, and diagmitism means the pole or equatorial disposition so that the invisible mechanic writes here, and he is an engineer.... Radius collection of asterial barnefets in Maltese Phinology ... etc, T. A. (name given) is him who cut the throat of Lucy B. (name given) and vent his spite on her. He was her uncle who is now living at (address given). He is a man with reddish hair.... (very full description given).
A very great deal more nonsense of the same kind followed, and also some indecent outpourings showing a very depraved mind. The exact pathology of the case is not clear, but if there is any external influence at all, it is insane. Of course I wrote energetically to this person, saying that if she wished to preserve sanity she must drop writing at once and for ever.
I have purposely quoted the very worst case ever brought to my notice because I wish to emphasize most strongly how thoroughly unwholesome and dangerous this practice may be. (Cf. Isaiah viii. 20.)