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Extract From Address Before The British Association For the Advancement Of Science, 18981


Regarding Psychic Research

By Sir William Crookes

Page 1

The articles in the General Appendix of the Smithsonian Report are intended as a rule to set forth accounts of known and admitted scientific facts and not of speculations. The following two articles, forming portions of addresses to the British Association for the Advancement of Science and to the Society for Psychical Research, delivered in each case by their president, Prof. William Crookes, contain, however, speculations so weighty and ingeniously illustrated that an exception is here made in their favor, but it is to be repeated that they are not presented as demonstrated fact.

S. P. LANGLEY, Secretary.


SIR WILLIAM CROOKES ON PSYCHICAL RESEARCH.

I. EXTRACT FROM ADDRESS BEFORE THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE, 1898.1

No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those who honored me with the invitation to become your president. Perhaps among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly.

To enter at length on a still debatable subject would be unduly to insist on a topic which-as Wallace, Lodge, and Barrett have already shown- though not unfitted for discussion at these meetings, does not yet enlist the interest of the majority of my scientific brethren. To ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice-an act of cowardice I feel no temptation to commit. To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to do but to go straight on; "to explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper his reason; "to follow the light wherever it may lead, even should it at times resemble a will-o'-the-wisp. I have nothing to retract.


1From a report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1898. Bristol meeting.

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