S P I R I C O M
An Electromagnetic-Etheric Systems Approach to Communications
with other Levels of Human Consciousness
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INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT OF
Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science
by Nandor Fodor
University Books, 1966 Edition (This material written about 1936)
DIRECT VOICE, an isolated voice in space without visible source of agency. It issues mostly from a trumpet which sails about the seance room in the dark and appears to serve as a condenser. With an increase of power the trumpet may be dispensed with and the voice may be heard from the centre of the floor or from any part of the room. Dennis Bradley records an experience in which the communicator began his sentence in the middle of the room, half way up he dropped the trumpet whilst his voice travelled upwards to the extreme right hand comer of the ceiling and there ended on the pronouncement of the last syllable of his last word. (Towards the Stars, p. 20). Physically the phenomenon requires the supposition that some material, more solid than air, is withdrawn from the medium's or from the sitter's body to produce the necessary vibrations in the surrounding atmosphere. Indeed, seance room communications speak of improvisation of a larynx. It is a strange notion. Yet the improvisation of human limbs and entire bodies is still stranger. The first vague description of a " voice box " is to be found in an out-of-body experience of Stainton Moses. He says: "I did not observe how the sound was made, but I saw in a distant part of the room near the ceiling something like a box round which blue electric light played, and I associate the sound with that. The "voice box" of Walter, Mrs. Margery Crandon's control, has been photographed as a white mass on the medium's shoulder, connected to her left ear and nostril with ectoplasmic tubes. This psychic microphone seems to be very closely associated with the medium's organism. John Watt, Mrs. Everitt's control, claimed that he used the medium's breath in speaking. If Mrs. Everitt held her hand over her mouth the volume of the voice diminished and it ceased entirely if Mrs. Everitt placed her palm on her mouth. The spirit of Cecil Husk warned Dennis Bradley not to smoke excessively on the days he was sitting as sometimes this affects the vocal organs from which part of the ectoplasmic force is taken. Arch-deacon Colley describes an instance in which Dr. Monck was wakened from trance to greet a materialised fellow-student. They had to speak in turn. There was an impasse if they tried to speak at once. Bastian's direct voice was heard when his mouth was full of water, but it immediately ceased if his nose was temporarily stopped. Mrs. Everitt could never speak simultaneously with the spirits. Her lips and tongue moved but no sound was made. Other mediums felt no handicap. Signor Damiani, in his testimony before. the London Dialectical Society in 1870, spoke of a seance with Home in which two voices were heard, together with the persistently speaking medium. David Duguid often spoke simultaneously. George Valiantine and Mrs. Wriedt have no difficulty in joining with the spirit voices. According to Noel Jaquin the problem consists not so much in the use of the physical voice organ, but in the co-ordination of thought. He experienced an incoherence of thinking while the direct voice was heard and could only master it by a strong mental effort. Independent conversation by two or three voices was occasionally carried on in the seances of Mrs. Wriedt, of Detroit. J. A. Findlay reported the same with Sloan. Admiral Moore was told that the spirits seemed to speak with his voice. During the time he often felt a slight cough and irritation of the throat. Others have observed that the sitters' voices weaken if there is a prolonged direct voice conversation going on. An interesting experiment was tried with Mrs. Wriedt. She was asked to sit with seven deaf mutes from Flint, Mich. No one in the room could utter an articulate word except herself. No voices were heard.
Dr. Eugene Crowell writes of Mrs. Andrews' seances in The Identity of Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism: " One of the common forms of manifestations at Moravia is singing by spirits. This generally occurs when the persons assembled sing with animation, the spirits seizing the moment when they are 'with one accord' raising their voices, to join in the strain, and generally the spirit voice is heard clearly above all others." He continues later: "When our spirit friends had conversed more freely than usual, the medium afterwards complained of much soreness and tenderness of the throat and lungs, evidently without any definite idea of its cause. It seemed to me that the spirits ... were compelled to draw directly from the vocal and pulmonary organs of the medium those elements that are liberally supplied by public circles, and which are necessary for the production of spirit voices."
J. Arthur Findlay's On the Edge of the Etheric contains the statement of the communicators that they often make use of a psychic tube from the mouth of the medium to the trumpet. This would explain why the independent voice may resemble that of the medium and also why moisture is sometimes found within the
trumpet. The spirit communicators of Findlay also gave a full description how the artificial larynx is made. It reads:
"From the medium and those present a chemist in the spirit world withdraws certain ingredients which for want of a better name is called ectoplasm. To this the chemist adds ingredients of his own making. When they are mixed together a substance is formed which enables the chemist to materialise his hands. He then, with his materialised hands, constructs a mask resembling the mouth and tongue. The spirit wishing to speak places his face into this mask and finds it clings to him, it gathers round his mouth, tongue and throat. At first, difficulty is experienced in moving this heavier material, but by practice this becomes easy. The etheric organs have once again become clothed in matter resembling physical matter, and by the passage of air through them your atmosphere can be vibrated and you hear his voice."
Findlay's explanation received confirmation two years later at a seance recorded by the Rev. V. G. Duncan in his book Proof. The mediums in this instance were the Misses Moore. When asked how it was possible to speak to us on earth the communicator stated:
"I can only explain it like this. You know when you have been to the dentist for an extraction and been given an anaesthetic, he puts that queer mask over your face for you to breath the gas into your lungs. I have to use a contrivance like that in order to speak to you. This contrivance is composed of etheric matter, partly provided by the mediums and sitters, and partly supplied from our side. It is a kind of transformer, and it has a double purpose.
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It helps to retard my vibrations and so allows me to make my voice audible to you and provides a temporary set of vocal organs."
Findlay's views are further enlarged upon in his second book The Rock of Truth (1933).
The voices may be human (sometimes of someone living. See Control by the living), or belong to the animal kingdom. The barking of fairly well materialised dogs, three in number, was heard by Lieut. Col. E. R. Johnson in a London seance with Mrs. Wriedt. Dennis H. Bradley in The Wisdom of the Gods speaks of a direct voice seance in which very loud and distinct barks were heard. "There came back an answering bark of my Aisatian wolfhound in an outhouse some distance away from the room in which the seance was being held." Mr. John M. Dick, the sporting journalist, was told that the dog was a Great Dane, in fact, his own. They had deep affection for it. This dog would always bark in four distinct barks at a time.
Technically, the process of speaking appears to be the same as the ordinary one. After a long sentence the controls often pause for breath, and the indrawing sound becomes distinctly audible. Still the phenomena may so differ individually that it is unadvisable to generalise. The vocal effects know of no restriction. The invisible communicator may laugh, whistle or sing. Walter (the control of Margery) can give expression to all sorts of moods by whistling: surprise, contentment, joy, anger and melancholy. Once, the medium and Walter laughed at the same instant. The two chuckles came from a common point in space and gave the impression of being tangled up together, as though conceivably from a common physical organism. The language may be unknown both to the medium and the sitters. Yet the nationality of the medium may have a curious influence. English, for instance, is easier spoken when the medium is English than another tongue. As an explanation it was suggested that the material to build up the artificial larynx may be drawn from the oral cavity and therefore it may be less adaptable to unusual inflexions. The experience of Dr Abraham Wallace with John King who unexpectedly spoke to him in broad Scotch suggests a similar participation on the part of the sitter. When interrogated on the subject John King replied: "Why, I got it from you." Such indications and the bewildering
variety of strange languages spoken through some mediums are mysteries, the depths of which has not been fathomed. In the Valiantine seances Portuguese, Basque, Welsh, Japanese, Russian, Hindustani and ancient pure Chinese is spoken. Dr. Neville Whymant, a famous orientalist, studied this linguistic phenomenon, and on March 25, 1927, it was also recorded on gramophone in Lord Charles Hope's apartment in London. A special telephone cable was laid on to the Columbia Gramophone Company's recording house in Petty France Street. A megaphone was connected with the recording machine and two assistants stationed outside the seance room gave the signals at various times. In the presence of Lord Charles Hope, Dennis Bradley and his wife three voices spoke in English, one in an Indian dialect, one in Hindustani, one in Italian and two in Chinese. The last one, claiming to be the voice of Confucius, was admitted by Dr. Whymant to be apparently the same as heard by him in New York.
Was Confucius actually present? Walter, when the question was put to him in Boston, explained the matter thus:
"When K'ung-fu-T'zu manifests in our seance room he is not necessarily personally present. However, at the time of Whymant's interview with K'ung-fu-T'zu through Valiantine in trance, the Master was actually present in person."
Further light is thrown on the problem in Mrs. E. Duffey's Heaven Revised. In answer to her doubts as to the presence of illustrious spirits a vision was given to her:
"I beheld, or seemed to behold - for it was not sight, it was a perception as strong as the sense of seeing - a succession of links extending from sphere to sphere and from spirit to spirit, until it had finally found utterance on earth."
Archdeacon Colley heard direct voices in the darkness of the night when sleeping in the same room with Dr. Monck while holding his hand over the mouth of his sleeping companion. During an operation on Mrs. Eileen Garrett in 1931, whilst she was unconscious and gagged, the doctors in attendance heard voices in her proximity. One voice spoke glibly in a tongue which none of the doctors understood. According to Dr. Reid Clanny's account of the strange case of Mary Jobson, individuals connected with the Jobsons were sometimes accosted in their own homes by the voice which spoke in the presence of the girl and they were told to go and see her.
In the first attempts of new communicators, or when the power is insufficient, the voice is feeble or hoarse. With an increase of power or practice it becomes characteristic in tone and distinctive in enunciation. It has a conspicuous selective intelligence, always addressing itself to the right person in the right language.
As soon as the power begins to ebb the trumpet is made increasing use of. This waning of power is curiously described in Mrs. G. K. Hack's notes of the July 8, 1928, seance in Millesimo Castle: "The power suddenly failed and consequently the pronunciation of the words he used became confused and the sounds almost inarticulate, until at last they became a sort of prolonged whistle which gradually extinguished itself and formed itself into a mournful sigh."
The general strength of the voice may vary individually. Conan Doyle heard a voice in Chicago which he could only compare to the roar of a lion. Duguid's voices were usually husky. But on one occasion his speaking was so loud and harsh that the sitters became alarmed and asked the spirit to retire. Similarly, in Mrs. Robert Johnson's seances, remonstrations had to be made on account of the volume in the voice. In Mrs. Blake's case the voices were occasionally heard at the distance of one hundred feet. Kokum and Hawk Chief (Valiantine) had tremendous resounding voices. They were heard, as Dennis Bradley records, by his wife in a bedroom on the upper floor thirty to forty yards away with all the doors closed. Kokum's voice carried to a distance of two hundred yards. Mrs. Blake, Valiantine, Mrs. Wriedt, Miss Hazel Ridley and Mrs. Murphy Lydy often produced the phenomenon in full light. The usual demonstration is to shut the light out of the trumpet with the palm of the medium and hold the small end to the sitter's ear. Mrs. Lydy gave several successful platform demonstrations in this manner in May, 1931, in London.
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Mr. J. B. McIndoe, of Glasgow, constructed a telephonic apparatus for the hearing of the voice in daylight. A very sensitive telephone transmitter was placed under a tightly buttoned, very high black oilskin coat, on the medium's (Andrew McCreadie) larynx. The sitters were connected with a telephone receiver through which they could hear voices in daylight. The result was the same if a trumpet was placed with the small end under the oilskin coat on the medium's larynx. Through the large end, if closely listened to, voices came through.
Many and varied experiments have been conducted to prove the verity of the phenomenon. Ventriloquism on the medium's part offered itself as the first natural explanation. This was, however, turned down by Prof. Hyslop and Dr. Hereward Carrington in their respective experiments and was also disproved by the observations of Malcolm Bird in the Margery seances. According to Carrington at a very near range it is impossible for a ventriloquist to produce the illusion of distant sounds or voices; he must then depend upon near ventriloquism, and the nearer the listener's ear to the mouth of the performer the less perfect the illusion, until at quite close range the illusion vanishes altogether, and the sounds are correctly located, as issuing from the ventriloquist's mouth. There is no such a thing as " throwing the voice" across the room, or to any distant location in space. The voice merely seems to issue from the spot because the performer distracts the attention of his audience to it. Deprived of light to aid the view the illusion cannot be produced and the investigators who sit quite close to the medium can immediately locate the voice at its point of origin.
The medium was often asked to hold water in her mouth to see whether the voices are independent. With Mrs. Emily French, of Buffalo, the voices were tested in exacting conditions, by Prof. Hyslop, Dr. Isaac Funk and others for a full week. Findlay records how often he had his ear at Sloan's mouth when one or more voices were speaking and no sound came from it. In other experiments a special solution was used which, under the effect of the saliva, changes colour in proportion to the time during which it is held in the mouth. If one of the sitters also takes an amount into his mouth and ejects it at the same time the colour should be identical. It was by this test that Dr. Abraham Wallace contended to have established the good faith of Susannah Harris.
The Voice Control Machine, designed by Dr. Mark Richardson, of Boston, for use in the Margery seances, is a modern control apparatus. It consists of a U-shaped tube in which small luminous floats were placed on the surface of the water. By means of a flexible tube which had a specially constructed mouthpiece the medium blew into the tube and caused, by the pressure of air, the second column of water to rise. This position was retained as long as the mouthpiece was tightly held by the medium's lips and tongue. The collapse of the column of water could be immediately detected in the dark by means of the luminous floats. Yet an even more satisfactory control was devised by B. K. Thorogood; a cubical box, made of layers of seven different materials, completely sound-proof, closed and padlocked, containing a large, very sensitive microphone, connected by two wires emerging from the box to a distant loudspeaker. While sitters in the seance room heard nothing the voice of Walter issued from the loudspeaker in the distant room, proving that the voice had its origin through the "mike" in the box. Under such conditions the independence of the voices in the Margery seances was completely proved.
In direct voice communications there are two elements of the supernormal: the voice in space and the contents of the message. If it turns out that the trumpet was actually used by the medium in the dark the validity of the communication may yet be established by the other criterion. Carrington, whose Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism describes many possibilities of fraud, points out that many investigators attend trumpet seances quite convinced that the medium does the talking. They contend that the content of the messages is the important thing.
Historically, the Davenport Brothers and Jonathan Koons, of Ohio, were the first mediums through whom direct voice phenomena were produced. It was John King who introduced it and it is also due to this romantic control that we owe the invention of the trumpet. Voice mediumship is one of the most dramatic forms of supernormal manifestations. In view of the ease with which it was acquired by Dennis Bradley one may understand his enthusiastic forecast in The Wisdom of the Gods: "Communication with the spirits in their actual voices may, within this century, become as simple as the telephone or wireless. In fact, it seems to me that it is a new and phenomenal form of wireless communication."
Books largely on direct voice experiences:
Dennis Bradley: Towards the Stars; The Wisdom of the Gods; - And After.
W. Ushborne Moore: The Voices;
G. K. Hack: Modern Psychic Mysteries at Millesimo Castle;
J. Arthur Findlay: On the Edge of the Etheric;
Edward Randall: The Dead' Have Never Died;
May Wright Seawall: Neither Dead Nor Sleeping;
J. H. Remmer: Is Death the End?;
Clive Chapman: The Blue Room;
Mrs. O'Hara Pincock: The Trail of Truth;
Wilson G. Bailey: No, Not Dead, They Live;
H. Montague Crane: Spirit Voices;
Maurice Barbanell: The Trumpet Shall Sound;
Bessie Clarke Drouet: Station Astral;
Rev. V. G. Duncan: Proof.
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