Experience And Use
First let us have the facts, we can then best see what use we can
make of them. This I think is the correct position in regard to any
abnormal claim that is made upon our attention. Everybody has
heard of the prophecies of the Brahmin seer, most people
have some acquaintance with the phenomena attending the
clairvoyance of the seeress of Prevorst, while the experiences of
Emanuel Swedenborg have been set forth in many
but in none more lucidly and dispassionately than that by William
White. Traditions have come to us concerning the clairvoyance of
the Greek exponent of the Pythagorean teachings, Apollonius of
Tyana, and the case of Cavotte, who predicted his own death and
that of Robespierre and others by the guillotine, is on record. The
illumination of Andrew Jackson Davis, the Poughkeepsie seer,
and that of Thomas Lake Harris of Fountain Grove, are modern
examples of abnormal faculty of a nature which places them
outside the field of direct evidence. A prophecy made from the
use of the super-sense which is followed by exact fulfilment
appears to be the best criterion, though it is a very imperfect
illustration of the scope of clairvoyance.
The following instances are within my personal experience, and
being already on record and well attested, will serve equally to
illustrate the fact of clairvoyance as would numerous others
within my knowledge.
In June, 1896, a lady visited me in Manchester Square and, being
anxious on several points, asked that I would scry for her. A blue
beryl was used as agent. She was told that she would have news
from a tropical country concerning the birth of a child, a boy,
who would arrive in the following year in the month of February.
That on a certain date while travelling she would meet with an
accident to the right leg. Previous to this, in October she would
have a welcome surprise connected with papers and a contest in
which her son was engaged.
Now here was a network of disaster for any would-be prophet
who relied upon what is called the "lucky shot." If we enumerate
the items of prediction, on any of which a fatal error could have
been made, we shall find a very formidable list:--
A tropical country.
A boy then unborn.
A journey on a particular date.
The right leg.
At least nine points on which the faculty could have been wholly
at fault. The fulfilment, however, came in due course. The lady
heard that her sister, then vicereine of India, was about to have a
child, and in February, 1897, a son was born to Lord Elgin. In
October the lady referred to was agreeably surprised to learn that
her son had passed his examination for the military college with
honours. Further, while boarding a train at Victoria station she
had the misfortune to slip between the platform and the footboard,
so that the shin of the right leg was badly damaged and severe
muscular strain was also suffered, in consequence of which she
was laid up for several days.
Mrs. H. was consulted by an authoress, her profession being
unknown to the scryer. She was told that she would go up a dingy
staircase with a roll of papers under her arm; that she would see a
dark man, thickset and of quiet demeanour. He would take the
roll of papers and it would be a source of good fortune to her.
The prediction was literally fulfilled.
The first case cited is an example of the positive and symbolic
type of vision; the second being of the passive and direct type.
Mrs. A. was consulted by a lady of the writer's acquaintance and
was told that she would not marry the man to whom she was then
engaged as there was a certain other person, described, coming
across the seas to claim her. She would meet him three years later
in the month of January.
The event transpired exactly as stated, though nothing at that time
appeared less probable, and indeed the lady was not a little irate
at the allusion to the breaking off of the engagement and of
marrying a man whom she had never seen and for whom she
could have no sort of regard. In fact, the whole revelation was
very revolting to one so wholly absorbed as was she at the time.
It cannot be argued that this was a case of suggestion working
itself out, for one cannot auto-suggest the arrival of a person
of a particular description from a distant land to one's own
drawing-room at any time, and there is here a prediction as
to the date which was duly fulfilled. This was a case of direct
Mrs. G. consulted a seer on September 27, 1894. She was told
she would have sickness affecting the loins and knees; that she
would be the owner of a house in the month of December; that a
removal would be made when the trees were leafless; that there
would be a dispute about a sum of money.
This is positive or symbolical clairvoyance. The symbols seen
were as follow: a figure with a black cloth about the loins, the
figure stooping and resting the hands upon its knees. A house
covered with snow, bare trees around it. A bird on a leafless
branch; the bird flies away. Several hands seen grabbing at a pile
All the predictions were fulfilled.
Interpretations of symbols when made during the vision are
frequently far removed from what one would be led to expect.
But we have to remember that the seer is then in a psychologized
state, and there is reason to believe that interpretations made from
the inner plane of consciousness are due to the fact that the
symbols appear in a different light. Our ordinary dreams
follow the same change. While asleep we are impressed by the
importance and logical consistency of the dream incident, which
assumes, possibly, the proportions of a revelation, but which
dissolves into ridiculous triviality and nonsense as soon as we
awake. The reason is that there is a complete hiatus between the
visionary and the waking state of consciousness, and even the
laws of thought appear to undergo a change as the centre of
consciousness slides down from the inner to the outer world of
thought and feeling.
In the Eastern conception the three states of jagrata, waking,
swapna, dreaming, and sushupti, sleeping, are penetrated by
the thread of consciousness, the sutratma, a node of complete
unconsciousness separating one state from the next. The centre of
consciousness, like a bead on the thread, alternates between the
three states as it is impelled by desire or will.
I have known sickness predicted, both as to time and nature of
the malady; the receipt of unexpected letters and telegrams with
indications of their contents and resulting incident; changes,
voyages, business transactions, deaths, and even changes in the
religious views of individuals, all by means of the crystal vision.
It sometimes happens that the visionary state is induced by
excessive emotion during which the prophetic faculty is
considerably heightened. Some temperaments on the other hand
will fall into the clairvoyant condition when engaged in deep
thought. The thread of thought seems suddenly to be broken, and
there appears a vision wholly unconnected with the subject but a
moment ago absorbing the mind. It is as if the soul, while probing
the depths of its inner consciousness, comes into contact with the
thin partition which may be said to divide the outer world of
reason and doubt from the inner world of intuition and direct
perception, and breaking through, emerges into the light beyond.
In trance there is generally a development of other super-senses,
such as clairaudience and psychic touch, as well as clairvoyance.
Examples might be multiplied and would but serve to show that
the rapport existing between the human soul and the world soul,
the individual consciousness and the collective consciousness, is
capable of being actively induced by recourse to appropriate
means and developed where it exists in latency by means of the
crystal, the black concave mirror or other suitable agent. As yet,
however, the majority are wholly ignorant of the existence of
such psychic faculties, and even those who possess them are
conscious of having but an imperfect control of them.
As in the case of genius where nature is opening up new centres
of activity in the mind, the casual observer notes an eccentricity
hardly distinguishable from some incipient forms of insanity; so
the development of new psychic faculties is frequently attended
by temporary loss of control over the normal brain functions.
Loss of memory, hysteria, absent-mindedness, unconscious
utterance of thought, illusions, irritability, indifference,
misanthropy and similar perversions are not infrequent products
of the preliminary stages of psychic development. These,
however, will pass away as the new faculty pushes through into
full existence. Nature is jealous of her offspring and concentrates
the whole of her forces when in the act of generation, and that is
the reason of her apparent neglect of powers and functions,
normally under her control, while the evolution of a new faculty
is in process. Let it be understood therefore that the faculty of
clairvoyance or any other super-sense is not to be artificially
developed without some cost to those who seek it. "The universe
is thine; take what thou wilt, but pay the price," says Emerson.
This is the divine mandate. It is not merely a question of the price
of a crystal or a mirror, the sacrifice of time, the exercise of
patience: it may mean something much more than this. It is a
question of the price of a new faculty. What is it worth to you?
That is the price you will be required to pay. And with this
equation in mind the reader must consider the use to which, when
obtained, he will apply his faculty; for the virtue of everything is
in its use. It is reasonable to presume that one's daily life can
supply the true answer. To what use are we employing the
faculties we already have, all of them acquired with as much pain
and suffering, it may be, as any new ones we are ever likely to
evolve? If we are using these faculties for the benefit of the race
we shall employ others that are higher to even greater effect. In
other case it is not worth the effort of acquiring, nor is it likely
that anybody of a radically selfish nature will take the trouble to
acquire it. Natural selection is the fine sieve which the gods use
in their prospecting. The gross material does not go through.