THE Stead trance products bring us back to the starting point of this report, for his words reaffirm the powerful undercurrent of purposive activities which have been shown to have characterized the Elizabeth M. and Mary M. phenomena in all their varieties.
It is fitting that we should end with Stead's statement of belief and intention. It is the culmination of many similar assurances uttered by Walter, Lucy, Spurgeon, by Katie and John King, by Doyle, Stevenson, Livingstone, and other trance personalities. Such utterances have constantly supported their main intention
- to demonstrate a continuing existence beyond death - to achieve which they laboured unceasingly to produce psychical phenomena for the record.
That they have succeeded in this noble purpose is unquestionable. Time and time again the trance controls demonstrated prior knowledge of the existence of the teleplasmic forms. They predicted the time, and the types of their appearances. They described with reasonable accuracy the location, conditions and functions of the various plasms. The
séance records and the developed camera plates confirmed the accuracy of such descriptions; in this way the trance controls showed themselves to be wholly reliable and trustworthy individuals.
Because of the inability of incarnate agents to show knowledge of and to predict the state of the teleplasmic extrusions, we have postulated the survival theory to account for the phenomena. The survival theory, of itself, states nothing whatsoever concerning the intrinsic nature of teleplasm; as yet little is known of the biology of teleplasms. And little is known of the metaphysical position of a personality which can exist without a physical body, and which can function in other than a physical environment.
Nonetheless, we hold the survival theory to be valid in accounting for every fact known in regard to the trance personalities. It accounts for their stated opinions that they were indeed deceased (discarnate) individuals. It admits of the possibility that they, as discarnate persons, shared some manner of
inter-communication, which enabled them to plan, to co-operate, and to commit themselves to organized activities in the
séance room, activities which extended over a period of many years.
When the facts are examined without prejudice the survival theory is neither hasty nor
ill-advised. Most certainly it is deserving of all tests science can devise.
While an inquiry such as the present one uses, as far as possible, the methods of science, nevertheless it is bound to touch upon realms of thought usually reserved for religious considerations. One may expect then that such an inquiry will be coloured somewhat by a religious bent. This cannot be avoided totally; and any scientific inquiry worthy of the name must recognize this fact. Having full and thoughtful consideration for all the facts of the Hamilton researches, our main conclusion predicts that it will never be possible to eliminate entirely a religious bias from the study of psychic phenomena. Perforce we must use investigational methods which do not try to direct the phenomena toward certain preconceived ends. In other words, we are forced to conclude that the fields of psychic investigation are
self-determinant and that they shape their own ends.
More than any other fact this is of immediate importance to those who are scientifically interested in psychical research, even though they are not yet prepared to accept the survival theory. It is of importance because it denies to the investigator the right to restrict his observation of psychic phenomena unless he does so with the full
co-operation of the trance intelligences. It now seems clear that the reason why some observers have failed to obtain consistent results, may be due to the fact that they did not give complete
co-operation to the trance personalities. When one consider the results of the Hamilton researches, the contrast is striking. It offers strong reason for those engaged in this field to pause and reflect on the advisability of this procedure.
It is true that the acceptance of self-determinancy does force the experimenter into the position of being a technician, rather than a scientist in full control of his field of operation. It is true, too, that he must accept the almost inevitable
semi-religious tone and practices which some of the trance intelligences adopt. But what matter? The results achieved by
co-operation enormously outweigh the disadvantages of introducing the
semi-religious practice of hymn-singing, and of having to accept occasionally trance personalities whose statements regarding their own state of existence have a definite religious bias. To those who are not interested in the religious aspects of the inquiry, these matters can be politely and diplomatically ignored.
While fully recognizing the many implications which a proof of survival held for religion, Dr. Hamilton, shortly before his death in 1935, expressed the opinion that the relationships between religion, metapsychics and psychical research were not then sufficiently well defined, nor was the subject sufficiently advanced to stress this aspect of the subject, as the trance entities requested. On the other hand, he was quite willing, after several years of modified scepticism, to work harmoniously with these intelligences and to grant them an audience. He felt that his immediate task was to accumulate data. He accepted the survival hypothesis provisionally, for he
"I make no claim to infallibility; far from it. My equipment for this research was in many ways much less than it should have been. No one is more certain of this fact than myself.. But of one thing I am certain, no one approached it with less pride of intellect and achievement; no one was more moved by a deep inborn curiosity to discover the truth for the sake of truth alone, unmoved by emotional bias; no one came with a more fixed determination to follow the high road science has already marked out for us. I exercised an untrammelled choice in the matter of the mediums whom I observed, and exercised a constant and complete control of the physical conditions of each and every experiment in which we took part. I used to the fullest extent my critical faculties in the examination and the evaluation of results; and above all, held a fixed determination to repeat productive
séances over and over again, until the phenomena were established not once, but many times. Only by this attitude, as I saw it, could health in these matters be
"Of still another thing I am certain: this standard of workmanship I maintained throughout. We started with facts, and with facts we have ended. Commencing with experiments in telepathy in 1918, in 1921 we passed to telekinesis, those amazing movements of material objects without any visible or known physical cause. These we studied from time to time for many years. They were found to be genuine occurrences, the product of a combination of supernormal forces and intelligences not usually open to scrutiny. We went on to subjective phenomena brought about spontaneously by the appearance of deep trance in our leading medium. To these also we gave close attention, not once but hundreds of times. These likewise were found to be genuine manifestations of a psychical nature, coming from a region in the human organism that lay beyond the reach of the normal self.
"Following this came our unexpected entry into the teleplasmic field. Five years, from 1928 to 1933, we gave to this study. Through all these stages unseen intelligences led us, directed us,
co-operated with us, and did their best to maintain rigorous conditions of séance-technique
- intelligences claiming to be the dead. As are most investigators in the beginning, reluctant at first to face these most astounding agencies and their equally astounding claims, we were forced
- if worthwhile phenomena were to be secured and made available for examination
- to capitulate and to walk humbly before their greater knowledge in these matters. I make no apology for this state of affairs. I cannot, for it was not of our doing. They came and that was the end of the matter. Either we worked with them, or we backed away, afraid of the issue; we chose the former course. If there should be those who deem my findings too incredible for belief, or too unusual or bizarre for their liking, may I remind them in all courtesy, that these are not my facts, but Nature's. And as Nature's, they can accept or reject them. Mother of us all, who can question her integrity? I, for one, knowing what I do, cannot do so. What she offers I am willing to look at. But if I choose, I can take my time about making up my mind concerning the value of these facts to science and to myself personally. And this is also my reader's privilege.
"Unequipped to some extent as I was for so great an adventure, I venture to hope that my work has not fallen too far short of the high mark set for us by the various phenomena we were privileged to witness. We have given of our best; and more than this cannot be given by any man.
"Truth walks abroad lodged within many garments. At first sight, all garments may not appear equally beautiful; but, these removed, she stands forth pure and undismayed, her hand pointing to paths that may yet lead us to places of discovery greater than anything science as a whole has yet thought possible. That our small share in this unfoldment may lead to still greater discoveries, is my earnest hope. How far off these great days are I cannot venture to surmise, but that they will come, I am certain …"(1)
The mechanistic materialist philosophy of the late 19th century, based on Newtonian law in physics, regarded man as the sum total of orderly biological processes, and the mind was considered to be merely the function of the brain, and perishable at bodily death. This materialistic view has given over to the newer thinking of quantum and theoretical physics. Einstein's theory of relativity has demonstrated the interchangeability of matter and energy, and its application has made possible nuclear fission. The search for the ultimate single constituent of matter is leading science to consider that beyond the atom, the electron, the neutron, the neutrino, the answer may well be pure energy.
As far back as 1930 Sir James Jeans, physicist, astronomer, philosopher and gifted amateur musician, on pages 148 and 149 of his book
The Mysterious Universe, speculated:
" ... Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a
non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine... The old dualism of mind and matter ... seems likely to disappear ... through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind ...
Since the end of World War II scientific technology has taken giant steps forward in helping man to learn more about his outer universal environment, and about the unplumbed depths of his inner self. Men have been rocketed to the surface of the moon, and brought back safely to earth. Unmanned
space-craft are presently exploring the atmospheres and surfaces of distant planets in our solar system and relaying important information back to earth. Global satellites put us in touch almost instantaneously with events happening elsewhere on the surface of our planet.
Parapsychology, once the ugly duckling of behavioural science, has recently been recognized as a genuine discipline by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Using the most sophisticated and sensitive equipment to monitor and measure the extremely small electrical currents discharged by all living things and the activities of their parts, this new science has shown that living matter is extremely complex. Literally thousands of quantitative experiments have established beyond question the reality of telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychokinesis, psychometry. Once regarded as the workings of magic in the realm of superstition, these formerly doubted capabilities of the human mind have now been proven to exist, and have also been proven to be able to function outside of, or beyond the physical structure of the living human brain.
Unfortunately Parapsychology, as a science, does not yet include extensive research in that area of psychical phenomena known as Materialization or Teleplasm.
Yet the work of the early pioneers - Crookes, Crawford, Mme Bisson,
Schrenck-Notzing, Richet, Osty, and Geley, firmly established the reality of Materialization on a sound experimental basis.
The same may be said of the many verified physical phenomena observed in the 1920's and 1930's by Dr. L.R.G. Crandon and his associates in Boston, U.S.A., with the medium "Margery"
- (the séance name of Mina Crandon, Dr. Crandon's wife).
This report of the Hamilton experiments has presented an account of genuine physical psychical phenomena, inextricably linked to complex mental psychical phenomena, all appearing at the behest of integrated rational invisible personalities, who have demonstrated the working of a beneficent spiritual principle as their stated motivation, not once, but many, many times.
Validated repeatedly under the most exacting control conditions, the proof of the existence of these phenomena and the amazing intelligences who claimed to have produced them, is surely of the greatest significance to science as a whole, pointing as it does to a new concept of matter and energy, where the two have been shown to be interchangeable.
The fact that many physical psychical phenomena have been seen, felt, analyzed, photographed by men and women of integrity and sound scientific training, of an earlier generation, constitutes a challenge to
present-day Parapsychology to take up where these pioneer investigators had to leave off. Much more needs to be known about the source of an energy which can appear as a cloud, or a
semi-solid substance, or an imitation of a hand, or assume the likeness of a human face. Is it based on some sort of nervous energy? If so, what kind of energy, and from where? Is it based on some type of electrical or magnetic field, surrounding, or present in the physical body of the psychically gifted person we call a medium? How does its existence and extrusion relate to the imagination and the will of the
trance-personality? These are but a few of the many questions one could ask about this mysterious substance.
Over forty years ago, in a private letter in November 1933 to Mr. Stanley de Brath (then Editor of the
British Psychic Science Quarterly), concerning the 'Katie King' face and veil phenomena of April 1932, Dr. Hamilton
"We may reasonably interpret the phenomena here established as furnishing evidence for conditions of existence other than our own. I believe these existences to be linked with each other by energy of one form or another, the inhabitants of each being peculiarly adapted to their own special
Dr. Hamilton's paper on the 'Katie King' phenomena, published in 1934 in the
B.P.S. Quarterly, pursued this theme further:
"It is undoubtedly a fact that many of us have grown more or less accustomed to the idea that faces of the dead can be reflected, or better, represented by the bridge substance 'teleplasm'. We find it much more difficult… to accustom ourselves to finding thus represented objects such as hair, garments and veils. We are staggered by what such phenomena imply.
"Readers familiar with the work of the French School of Investigators will recall the statement of Prof. Charles Richet, the eminent medical scientist and winner of the Nobel Prize in 1913 for his work in Anaphylaxis. In his monumental book
Thirty Years of Psychical Research he states: 'There is ample proof that experimental materializations (teleplasms) should take definite rank as a scientific fact.' And the reader may also recall that this same investigator defines 'teleplasm' as 'the formation of divers objects ... which take on the semblance of material realities ... clothing, veils, and living bodies'. Hence the appearance in Winnipeg of veils and hair, produced by supernormal means, is in line with the phenomena already observed in Europe by a scientist of unquestioned standing.
"It is well to recall, however, that the phenomena observed by Richet and other Continental savants were the product of one medium's organism only. The 'Katie' and 'Lucy' materializations which we have photographed here are the apparent product of several mediums' organisms functioning more or less concurrently. Taken in conjunction with the fact that our various controls displayed exact
pre-knowledge of the nature and the main characteristics of each and every teleplasm photographed, this fact makes it necessary for the Winnipeg experimenters to admit to two probabilities:
1. That the trance intelligences back of the 'Dawn'-'Ewan'-'Mercedes' manifestations exist apart from the mediums.
2. That they seem to be cognizant of certain objective realities, in appearance very like our own.
"Giving thought to our present theories of matter and energy, and remembering that all our sense perceptions are dependent on one or other of various forms of energy (such energies associated in all cases with stabilized forms which we call 'elements' or 'matter'), we have not far to go to acquire a reasonable hypothesis.
"We can postulate objective realities constituted of stabilized energy of another order with which our sensory equipment does not normally make contact. In this way, objective realities in an unseen world become a logical possibility.
"Assuming the reality of other-world energy-forms, how then do they come to be fleetingly represented (or mirrored) in our world?
"In my opinion teleplasm, both in its known visible state and in its presumed invisible state, supplies the answer. Basing my assumption on a study of the
sixty-odd masses which we have photographed during the past five years (1928?1934), I regard teleplasm as a highly sensitive substance, responsive to
other-world energies and at the same time visible to us in the physical world. It therefore constitutes an intervening substance by means of which transcendental intelligences are enabled, by ideoplastic or other unknown processes, to transmit their conception of certain energy-forms which appear objective to them, into the terms of our world and our understanding … "
"As in every branch of human inquiry in its beginning, the mysteries confronting us are profound. Nevertheless, here as elsewhere, we shall find natural law holding her inviolate sway …"
"Signs are rapidly increasing, pointing to the fact that before long this new inquiry, Psychical Research, will take its place among the recognized sciences. Just what it will be worth to humanity no one can foretell. Already we know we have discovered a new psychic force, or telekinesis; and a new substance, teleplasm; and, I veritably believe, indisputable proof of the survival of the human personality past death. And even as Myers saw over thirty years ago, through his study of psychical phenomena, we catch a glimpse of 'an ultimate incandescence where science and religion fuse into one'; 'we see ground for hoping that we are within sight of a religious synthesis which although rudimentary and provisional, will in the end satisfy the
truth-seeking mind of man' (from Myers' great book Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily
"The solution of the mystery of energy and life is the biggest task we have to hand. It will never be completely solved; but the discovery of every new law takes us one step further through the maze. We are
sight-seers, explorers, if you. Let us go about our task cheerfully, energetically, and with that degree of
co-operation and good will found only in men of open and receptive minds."
MARGARET LILLIAN HAMILTON,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
March 1, 1976.
(1) T. G. Hamilton. Unpublished.