O'Neill's Electronic Museum

Penn Valley California

SIR WILLIAM CROOKES ON PSYCHICAL RESEARCH.

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Röntgen has familiarized us with an order of vibrations of extreme minuteness compared with the smallest waves with which we have hitherto been acquainted, and of dimensions comparable with the distances between the centers of the atoms of which the material universe is built up; and there is no reason to suppose that we have here reached the limit of frequency. It is known that the action of thought is accompanied by certain molecular movements in the brain, and here we have physical vibrations capable, from their extreme minuteness, of acting direct on individual molecules, while their rapidity approaches that of the internal and external movements of the atoms themselves.

Confirmation of telepathic phenomena is afforded by many converging experiments and by many spontaneous occurrences only thus intelligible. The most varied proof, perhaps, is drawn from analysis of the subconscious workings of the mind, when these, whether by accident or design, are brought into conscious survey. Evidence of a region below the threshold of consciousness has been presented, since its first inception, in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, and its various aspects are being interpreted and welded into a comprehensive whole by the pertinacious genius of F. W. H. Myers. Concurrently, our knowledge of the facts in this obscure region has received valuable additions at the hands of laborers in other countries. To mention a few names out of many, the observations of Richet, Pierre Janet, and Binet (in France), of Breuer and Freud (in Austria), of William James (in America), have strikingly illustrated the extent to which patient experimentation can probe subliminal processes, and can thus learn the lessons of alternating personalities and abnormal states. While it is clear that our knowledge of subconscious mentation is still to be developed, we must beware of rashly assuming that all variations from the normal waking condition are necessarily morbid. The human race has reached no fixed or changeless ideal. In every direction there is evolution as well as disintegration. It would be hard to find instances of more rapid progress, moral and physical, than in certain important cases of cure by suggestion-again to cite a few names out of many, by Liebeault, Bernheim, the late Auguste Voisin, Berillon (in France), Schrenck-Notzing (in Germany), Forel (in Switzerland), van Eeden (in Holland), Wetterstrand (in Sweden), Milne-Bramwell and Lloyd Tuckey (in England). This is not the place for details, but the vis medicatrix thus evoked, as it were, from the depths of the organism, is of good omen for the upward evolution of mankind.

A formidable range of phenomena must be scientifically sifted before we effectually grasp a faculty so strange, so bewildering, and for ages so inscrutable as the direct action of mind on mind.


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