Clairvoyance In Space: Semi-intentional
Under this rather curious title I am grouping together the cases of
all those people who definitely set themselves to see something, but
have no idea what the something will be, and no control over the sight
after the visions have begun--psychic Micawbers, who put themselves
into a receptive condition, and then simply wait for something to turn
up. Many trance-mediums would come under this heading; they either in
ay hypnotize themselves or are hypnotized by some
"spirit-guide," and then they describe the scenes or persons that
happen to float before their vision. Sometimes, however, when in this
condition they see what is taking place at a distance, and so they
come to have a place among our "clairvoyants in space."
But the largest and most widely-spread band of these semi-intentional
clairvoyants are the various kinds of crystal-gazers--those who, as
Mr. Andrew Lang puts it, "stare into a crystal ball, a cup, a mirror,
a blob of ink (Egypt and India), a drop of blood (among the Maories of
New Zealand), a bowl of water (Red Indian), a pond (Roman and
African), water in a glass bowl (in Fez), or almost any polished
surface" (Dreams and Ghosts, p. 57).
Two pages later Mr. Lang gives us a very good example of the kind of
vision most frequently seen in this way. "I had given a glass ball,"
he says, "to a young lady, Miss Baillie, who had scarcely any success
with it. She lent it to Miss Leslie, who saw a large square,
old-fashioned red sofa covered with muslin, which she found in the
next country-house she visited. Miss Baillie's brother, a young
athlete, laughed at these experiments, took the ball into the study,
and came back looking 'gey gash.' He admitted that he had seen a
vision--somebody he knew under a lamp. He would discover during the
week whether he saw right or not. This was at 5.30 on a Sunday
"On Tuesday, Mr. Baillie was at a dance in a town some forty miles
from his home, and met a Miss Preston. 'On Sunday,' he said, 'about
half-past five you were sitting under a standard lamp in a dress I
never saw you wear, a blue blouse with lace over the shoulders,
pouring out tea for a man in blue serge, whose back was towards me, so
that I only saw the tip of his moustache.'
"'Why, the blinds must have been up,' said Miss Preston.
"'I was at Dulby,' said Mr. Baillie, and he undeniably was."
This is quite a typical case of crystal-gazing--the picture correct in
every detail, you see, and yet absolutely unimportant and bearing no
apparent signification of any sort to either party, except that it
served to prove to Mr. Baillie that there was something in
crystal-gazing. Perhaps more frequently the visions tend to be of a
romantic character--men in foreign dress, or beautiful though
generally unknown landscapes.
Now what is the rationale of this kind of clairvoyance? As I have
indicated above, it belongs usually to the "astral-current" type, and
the crystal or other object simply acts as a focus for the will-power
of the seer, and a convenient starting-point for his astral tube.
There are some who can influence what they will see by their will,
that is to say they have the power of pointing their telescope as they
wish; but the great majority just form a fortuitous tube and see
whatever happens to present itself at the end of it.
Sometimes it may be a scene comparatively near at hand, as in the case
just quoted; at other times it will be a far-away Oriental landscape;
at others yet it may be a reflection of some fragment of an akashic
record, and then the picture will contain figures in some antique
dress, and the phenomenon belongs to our third large division of
"clairvoyance in time." It is said that visions of the future are
sometimes seen in crystals also--a further development to which we
must refer later.
I have seen a clairvoyant use instead of the ordinary shining surface
a dead black one, produced by a handful of powdered charcoal in a
saucer. Indeed it does not seem to matter much what is used as a
focus, except that pure crystal has an undoubted advantage over other
substances in that its peculiar arrangement of elemental essence
renders it specially stimulating to the psychic faculties.
It seems probable, however, that in cases where a tiny brilliant
object is employed--such as a point of light, or the drop of blood
used by the Maories--the instance is in reality merely one of
self-hypnotization. Among non-European nations the experiment is very
frequently preceded or accompanied by magical ceremonies and
invocations, so that it is quite likely that such sight as is gained
may sometimes be really that of some foreign entity, and so the
phenomenon may in fact be merely a case of temporary possession, and
not of clairvoyance at all.