Preliminaries And Practice

The first consideration by those who would develop clairvoyance

by artificial aids is the choice of a suitable agent. It has been the

practice for many years to substitute the original beryl or "rock

crystal" by a glass ball. I admit that many specimens I have seen

are very creditable productions, but they are nevertheless quite

worthless from the point of view of those who consider material

agents to be important fact
rs in the production of clairvoyance.

The glass ball may, however, very well serve the preliminary

essential of concentration, and, if the faculty of clairvoyance is at

all active, will be entirely effective as an agent.

Those who have any experience at all in this matter will allow

that the rock crystal exerts an influence of an entirely different

nature to that observable in the use of glass. Indeed, so far as

experiment serves us, it may be said that glass only produces

negative results and never at any time induced clairvoyance. If

this state followed upon the use of a glass ball I am sure that the

patient must have been naturally clairvoyant, in which case a

bowl of water, a spot upon a wall, a piece of polished brass or

copper, or a spot of ink would have been equally efficacious in

inducing the degree of hypnosis required. That glass spheres are

equally efficient as those of crystal is true only in two cases,

namely, when clairvoyance is natural, in which case neither need

be used; and when no results are observable after due experiment,

from which we may conclude either that the agent is unsuitable

or that the faculty is entirely submerged in that individual.

In hypnotic clairvoyance the glass ball will be found as useful a

"field" as the best rock crystal. Yet it does not follow that because

the crystal is highly odylic and glass altogether negative the

former will induce clairvoyance. My own first experience with

the crystal was entirely disappointing, while very striking results

followed immediately upon the use of a black concave mirror.

The mirror is usually circular in shape and about one-quarter-inch

curve to a six-inch diameter. This gives a long focus, so that the

mirror may be hung upon a wall at about two yards distance from

the subject. A greater degree of concavity proportionate to the

diameter will produce a focus which allows the mirror to be held

in the hand while resting in the lap.

This disposes to a very easy and passive attitude and helps

towards results. The base of the mirror may be of tin, wood or

other material, and it is usually filled with a composition of a

bituminous nature, the glass covering being painted with a

preparation of coal-tar on its nether or convex side. The exact

focus and consequent size of the mirror employed as most

suitable to the individual is a matter of experiment. It is also to be

observed that the distance of the mirror, as also the angle of

vision, are matters of experiment. Beyond a certain distance it

will be found that the mirror has no "draw" on the subject. If

brought closer its pull is immediately felt.

It is perhaps too early to theorize upon the modus operandi of

the "magic mirror," as it has been called. It appears to induce

hypnosis and consequent elevation of nervous activity by

refracting and throwing back the rays of magnetic energy which

emanate from the subject.

In the foregoing illustration let A-B be the mirror with F for its

focus. Let the subject be stationed at S. Then the rays directed

towards the surface of the mirror will be represented by RR-RR.

These rays impinge upon a diamagnetic surface which is concave.

The rays are therefore bent inwards and thrown back upon the

person at S in the form of a cone of energy which has the effect

of producing auto-hypnosis. There are other forms of agency,

such as the zinc disc with the copper centre as used by Braid to

induce the hypnotic sleep, but these appear to depend upon tiring

the optic nerves and thus, through their action upon the thalami to

produce temporary inhibition of the whole basilar tract of the


The mesmerist who throws streams of energy upon the patient

would appear to be working on the same principle as that by

which the person using the concave mirror induces self-hypnosis.

Possibly the latter method may be found to be conducive to the

phenomena arising from auto-suggestion, while the conditions

induced by the action of the hypnotist may be less liable to the

effects of auto-suggestion and more responsive to hypnotic

suggestion, i.e. the mental action of the hypnotist.

These, however, are considerations which need not trouble us

overmuch, since by whatever agent the subject is made clairvoyant,

the results are equally curious and informing. Auto-suggestion,

at least, can hardly be regarded in the category of objections,

since we cannot auto-suggest that which does not first of

all arise as an image in the mind. It is in the spontaneous and

automatic production of auto-suggested impressions that the

phenomena of clairvoyance very largely consist; only we have to

remember that the suggesting self is a more considerable quantity

than the personality to which these suggestions are made, and is

in touch with a world immeasurably greater and in every sense

less limited than that to which the person is externally related.

Looked at from whatever point of view we may choose, the

phenomena of clairvoyance cannot be adequately explained

without recourse to psychology on the one hand and occultism on

the other. Psychology is needed in order to explain the nature and

faculty of the human soul, and occultism to define for us the

nature of that universal mirror in which the whole category of

human events, both past and future, are reflected. Having decided

upon a course of experiments with a crystal or mirror, the best of

the kind should be obtained. A black velvet covering should be

made in which to envelop the crystal when not in use. Mirrors are

usually made with a suitable lid or covering. Care should be

taken not to scratch the surface, and all cleaning should be done

with a dry silk handkerchief kept for the purpose. Exposure to the

sun's rays not only scores the surface of a crystal or mirror, but

also puts the odylic substance into activity, distributing and

dissipating the magnetic power stored up therein.

And now a word or two about the disposition and attitude of the

subject. The visions do not occur in the crystal itself. They may

appear to do so, but this is due, when it occurs, to the projection

and visualization of the mental images. The visions are in the

mind or soul of the seer and nowhere else. It is a matter of

constitutional psychism as to where the sense of clear vision will

be located. Personally I find the sense to be located in the frontal

coronal region of the brain about 150 to the right of the normal

axis of vision, which may be regarded as the meridian of sight.

Other instances are before me in which the sense is variously

located in the back of the head, the nape of the neck, the pit of the

stomach, the summit of the head, above and between the eyes,

and in one case near the right shoulder but beyond the periphery

of the body. The explanation appears to be that the nervo-vital

emanations from the body of the seer act upon the static odyle in

the agent, which in turn reacts upon the brain centres by means of

the optic nerves. And this appears to be sufficient reason why the

crystal or mirror should be kept as free as possible from

disturbing elements. Water is extremely odylic and should never

come in contact with the agent employed as it effectually carries

off all latent or stored imports. I am forced to use a crude

terminology in order to convey the idea in my mind, but I

recognize that the whole explanation may appear vague and

inadequate. It is of course at all times easier to observe effects

than to offer a clear explanation of them. Yet some sort of

working hypothesis is constructed when we collate our observations,

and it is this that I have sought to communicate.

For similar reasons, when in use the crystal or mirror should be

shaded and so placed that no direct rays from sun or artificial

light may fall upon it. The odyle, as Reichenbach so conclusively

proved by his experiments, rapidly responds to surrounding

magnetic conditions and to the vibrations of surrounding bodies,

and to none more rapidly than the etheric vibrations caused by

combustion or light of any kind. There should be no direct rays of

light between the agent and the seer.

The room in which the sitting takes place should be moderately

warm, shady, and lit by a diffused light, such as may be obtained

by a light holland blind or casement cloth, in the daytime. The

subject should sit with his back to the source of light, and the

illumination will be adequate if ordinary print can be read by it.

It is important that all persons sitting in the same room with the

seer should be at least at arm's length from him.

Silence should be uniformly observed by those present, until the

vision is attained.

It will then be found convenient to have two persons present to

act as Interrogator and Recorder respectively.

The Interrogator should be the only person whose voice is heard,

and it should be reduced to a soft but distinct monotone. The

Recorder will be occupied in setting down in writing all questions

asked by the Interrogator and the exact answers made by the

seer. These should be dated and signed by those present when

completed. It is perhaps hardly necessary to remark that

precautions should be taken to prevent sudden intrusions, and as

far as possible to secure general quiet without.

I may here interject an observation which appears to me

suggestive and may prove valuable. It has been observed that the

inhabitants of basaltic localities are more generally natural

clairvoyants than others. Basalt is an igneous rock composed

largely of augite and felspar, which are silicate crystals of

calcium, potassium, alumina, etc., of which the Moonstone is a

variety. The connecting link is that clairvoyance is found to be

unusually active during and by means of moonlight. What

psycho-physical effect either basalt or moonlight has upon the

nervous system of impressible subjects appears to be somewhat

obscure, but there is little difference between calcium light and

moonlight, except that the latter is moderated by the greater

atmosphere through which it comes to us. It is only when we

come to know the psychological values of various chemical

bodies that we can hope for a solution of many strange phenomena

connected with the clairvoyant faculty. I recollect that the

seeress of Prevorst experienced positive pain from the near

presence of water during her abnormal phases. Reichenbach

found certain psycho-pathological conditions to be excited by

various metals and foreign bodies when brought into contact with

the sensitive. These observations are extremely useful if only in

producing an awareness of possible reasons for such disturbance

as may occur in the conditions already cited.

At the outset the sittings should not last longer than at most

half-an-hour, but it is important that they should be regular,

both as to time and place. We are already informed from a number of

observations that every action tends to repeat itself under similar

conditions. Habits of life and mind are thus formed so that in

time they become quite involuntary and automatic. A cumulative

effect is obtained by attention to this matter of periodicity, while

the use of the same place for the same purpose tends to dispose

the mind to the performance of particular functions. In striving

for psychic development of any sort we shall do well not to

disregard these facts. For since all actions tend to repeat

themselves and to become automatic, to pass from the domain of

the purposive into the habitual, the psychic faculties will

similarly, if actuated at any set time and place, tend to bestir

themselves to the same effects as those to which they were first

moved by the conscious will and intention of the seer. Until the

clairvoyant faculty is fully assured and satisfactory results

obtained without any inconvenience to the seer, not more than

two persons should be present at the sittings. These should be in

close sympathy with the seer and with each other.

When the sitting is over it will be found useful to repair to

another place and fully discuss the results obtained, the

impressions and feelings of the seer during the seance, and

matters which appear to have a bearing on the facts observed.

A person should not be disheartened if at the first few sittings

nothing of any moment takes place, but should persevere with

patience and self-control. Indeed, if we consider the fact that for

hundreds of generations the psychic faculties latent in man have

lain in absolute neglect, that perhaps the faculty of clear vision

has not been brought into activity by any of our ancestors since

remote ages, it should not be thought remarkable that so few find

the faculty in them to be practically dormant. It should rather be a

matter of surprise that the faculty is still with us, that it is not

wholly irresponsive to the behests of the soul. While in the course

of physical evolution many important functions have undergone

remarkable changes, and organs, once active and useful, have

become stunted, impotent, and in some cases extinct, yet on the

other hand we see that seeds which have lain dormant in arid soil

for hundreds of years can spring into leaf and flower under the

influence of a suitable climate.

The vermiform appendix, so necessary to the bone eaters of a

carnivorous age, has no part in the physical economy of a later

and more highly-evolved generation. The pineal gland and the

pituitary body are adjuncts of the brain whose functions have

long been in latency. The Anastatica hierochuntica, commonly

called the Rose of Jericho, is a wonderful example of functional

latency. The plant will remain for ages rolled up like a ball of

sun-dried heather, but if placed in water it will immediately open

out and spread forth its nest of mossy green fronds, the transition

from seeming death to life taking place in a few minutes. The

hygrometric properties of the plant are certainly exceptional.

They illustrate the responsiveness of certain natures to a

particular order of stimulus, and in a sense they illustrate the

functions of the human soul. The faculty of direct vision is like

the latent life of the vegetable world. It waits only the conditions

which favour its activity and development, and though for

generations it may have lain dormant, yet in a few days or weeks

it may attain the proportions of a beautiful flower, a thing of

wonder and delight, gracing the Garden of the Soul.