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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, November 27, 1910, Image 14

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> Tj^Ty DENTS of the Supernatural Are lnterested [iri the, So-Called Com
.* Sa ] munkations from the Spirit vf Professor William James
Dr. James H. Hyslop.
Photo by Pach Bros. •
WHKTHPIR Professor William James, who
passed from this life last August, has sent a
message from the undiscovered bourne is
the question which is again raised by the
latest connminication alleged Ao have been received
from his spirit.
The medium of hi:- supposed spiritual manifesta
tion is a young woman of Washington, who believes
she is to be inspired to write a book descriptive of
his experiences in the vale beyond mortal ken.. With
her there is no doubt that the often repeated in
quiry. "Has Professor James been heard from?" has
been answered in the affirmative.
.As yet her assertion may not convince the sceptic,
but so insistent is she in her theory that she is in
tcuch with the mind of the noted psychologist that
she is making preparations for the receipt of more
messages from him which she believes are sent in
waves through the interstellar spaces.
It would seem, however, from the communicatir %
given by the feminine medium that the soul of ts
savsnt is undergoing inconvenience and is being de
prived of special privileges in the spirit world by rea- \u25a0
son of the importunities of those whom he loved on
earth who seek -to know from him of his life beyond.
He is not yet prepared to give much concerning the
present state, because "of his difficulties in becoming
attuned with the sphere of mortals from which he has
so recently gone; ' t
William James; professor of mental science at
Harvard university and for many years the . close
fr'end^of the late Dr. Richard Hodgson, secretary of
the American branch of the Society for Psychical
Research, departed this life on August 26 last. He
v.as in correspondence with numerous delvers in
psychic lore, including Dr. James H. Hyslop, secre
tary of the Society for Psychical Research of New
York, who has been an investigator of spiritism for
• After the death of Doctor Hodgson and also of
Professor Myers of England, many efforts were
made to communicate with them, and in these Doctor
Hyslop and Professor James took an active interest.
The- mediumship of Mrs. Leonora E. Piper was
employed by Doctor Hyslop and others to obtain re
puted communications from Doctor Hodgsoji, in
which it Svas believed he had at least established,
his identity.
The Myers tests in England were not especially suc
cessful and the medium was unable to give the con
tents of a letter left by the scientist with the under
standing that if he could he would from the vale of
the unknown attempt to reproduce.it. "The efforts of
Mrs. Piper and of other mediums did not in any way
represent the actual contents of this missive.
It is stated on the authority of a member of the so
ciety in Boston that Professor James before his death
left in some secret repository, known only to a few
intimates and carefully^ sealed, a letter the words of
which he might, if he could, attempt to communicate
to some inhabitant of earth.
Doctor Hyslop even has no knowledge of any such
missive, and it is problematical, indeed, whether it
will ever come. to light. In the meantime the secre
tary of the American Society for Psychical Research,
as far as he has been able, has made incidental and
unsuccessful attempts to communicate with the spirit
of the Harvard psychologist through mediums. All
that has been considered so far on this subject is
tf^eussed upon Professor Hyslop, and it is believed by
ttiose who have given the subject study that the most
satisfactory communications from Professor James,
if any do come, will be intended for him. If any
\u25ba messages alleged to be from Professor James come
to him, however, Doctor Hyslop will first 'seek elab
orate and convincing proofs of the identity of the
communicator before he gives them serious consider-
The young woman who believes she is en rapport
with the impulses which come from the spirit of Pro
fessor James does not at this time wish to have her
name made public.' She had for six months before the
death of the scientist been sending accounts of some
of her psychical experiences to Professor Hyslop. She
' did not know Professor James and had, indeed, never
read any of his writings. The first message purporting
to come from him which she obtained was on Tues
day, August 30, only four days after, his death, and
within an hour after she had expressed the opinion to
One of Ihc Most Rapid of His- Alleged Com*
munications Was Delivered While the Young
Lady Was on a Train* t
* \u25a0 •--'.\u25a0<\u25a0-\u25a0\u25a0 \u25a0'"\u25a0 . i
some residents of Boston that he had not been dead
long enough to pierce the veil.
She avers, therefore, that it came as" a great sur
prise to her suddenly to become conscious that his
spirit desired to communicate through her. hand.- She
had had some experience in so-called automatic or
spirit writing. The practitioners of this art believe
that the souls of the departed control the arm and
fingers of the writers and' cause them to transcribe
thoughts of spirits. The Society for Psychical Re
search haSiSome of these supposed messages from the
Harvard psychologist which have been sent by the,
young woman. She is in no sense a professional
medium-and merely submits the communications in
the hope that they may throw light on the mysteries
of the future state. The -first leaf of so-called jTames '
manuscript, marked, as 'revealed on . August 30, near
Boston, is as follows: : '•\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0-.' -
"I'm William James. Tell Hyslop to be patient and
I will know more soon. I can't send him much as yet,
but will when I can. For the present I can only help
s \ \u25a0 \u25a0\u25a0\u25a0 -•:. •-.-\u25a0,
you. I want you to write a work on the mysteries
\u25a0 - . \u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0 ' \u25a0\u25a0•• i •..\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0- \u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0 . . . •
of the next life. There is a tremendous unfolding of
these matters that will soon be given to the world. I
want you to help prepare people for.it.
"Death is awesome but a wonderful emancipation. ,
I did not realize what a burden the flesh trammels
were till I laid them aside. Before, I believed there
was such a thing as immortality. Now, I know that,
it is real— and'our vision is now like theview; from
mountains where before I dwelt in the valleys. Hys
lop knows some of the things I wanted to find out
I know ?,ome of them now, but the mysteries of the
spiritual world are still a tremendous complex, and I
fetl but a babe in r knowledge here, but will learn. by"
absorption what I need to: know and will: tell you
what I am allowed to tell. It is not possible; or advis
able to unfold all of the mysteries of this life to those
stilLon the mortal plane. Law rules here as well as
there and we must obey the law.
"Goodbye I will help you all I can when I know,
more and have learned better how-to transmit my
thoughts to' the living." • , i
• This communication is similar in many respects to
one^ received at a seance, where there was a profes-
sional medium, which was held on Monday," Septem-x
ber 5 at 8 o'clock\in the evening, at Harwichport,
Mass. Several spiritualists were present. It was: as
follows that the spirit\of Professor James js said to '\u25a0
have spoken on that, occasion :
"I am at peace, peace t * * with. myself and all:
mfnkind. I have awakened to life far beyond; my
highest. conception while a denizen'of, earth." Tell my \u25a0
brothers that I , will communicate a message \u25a0 through
this instrument that will prove\my individuality when
I can manifest more clearly than at this time. I did
not realize how difficult it would.be to manifest from
this plane of life to the mortal plane.
• "There is much for me to learn frnd many condi
: tions to overcome." \u25a0/ • " i :
V-, 'Additional communications . . came- to the amateur..
\u25a0"'": -. : •:\u25a0; •\u25a0•-• \u25a0 \u25a0:. \u25a0. '- ' ' \u25a0":." i
Mrs. LeonorafiE. Pipefc
, Fhota by P«<fr Bro*
medium on the night, September 7, and' in
her manuscript she" has begun with the words, "I'm
Will James;" and then has carefully marked , out the
abbreviation,- as though- she considered if undignified,
and has;used the name "William." As a matter of fact,
although it is -known to few, the eminent^ scholar had
often referred to .himself as "Will" in addressing his
intimates, and in communications supposed to be from
Doctor Hodgson there are references "to "Will
James." :\u25a0 Thus, with well considered strokes, of the
pen, the young woman elided what might be consid
ered in some quarters as a mark of authenticity, and,
indeed, it is one of. the few things in the whole manu
script which has any direct bearing on the identity of
the spirit, alleged to be communicating." J
\u25a0This is the second message in full:
"Boston, Mass., September 7,- 1910, 8 p. m.
. "I'm Will- (William)" James. Yes, I am much
obliged to you for .writing ':me again." Why didn't
you write on. Sunday, as you planned to do? I was
longing to send a message through you then.
"There are so many others who want to talk to you
that . l find them hard to manage. . Your mother wants
to talk. to you, butxan't do much as yet. She watches
over you muclr of the time. Your father transmits im
pulses to you and guiding instincts, but can v not get
into the way of transmitting direct verbal messages
to any extent. .1 _'teir you this that you may better
appreciate the difficulties connected with communica
tions between the two worlds. Even ' l, with all, my
training (nV'this line), find it hard myself.
"My friends are; awaiting for a revelation from me.
They look on me as one cut-loose from all trammels,
but I am not \u25a0 ..Will "people never learn from biological
analogies that life is progressive and developmental?
As; the germ of vitality, assimilates matter so -as to
develop its physical form, so the soul takes into the
next life ; only the germ of .it's spiritual life, and this
is more or less encysted by the thought veils' or robes
of the earth life \vovenby\hemi n^ so^ on . e ! ssc^ an^
others.- This I intimated to you the other day. Thus
while the capacity for. developing a tree may lie- in
the seed,/yet the actual growth of. the tree from the
seed is helped or hindered more or less by adventiti
ous conditions. For this reason, the dead need your
prayers as well as thel living. : :•
"I wish. you could take from me a biaplasmic re
velation to the world.. It- is so wonderful : here to see
the , unfolding o.f that which ion : the earthly plane
seemed fraughr with' impenetrable \u25a0 mystery.^ ; You had
a dawning, glimpse of the truth in what you wrote on
the ; glandular evolution of human. faculties. Man has
fettered his powers of spiritual insight till the faculty
for using them has nearly atrophied.
"Keep on with'your listening: to 'hear the, voice of
God: speak to ypu direct or through spirits such as I,
who seek only the enlightenment -of the world. Your
night of waiting has been long, lit though it has been
by -the starlight of many inspirations. By, and by you
wiin*lihd that as you ascend in spiritual life the appar
ent stars that light the "way will . reveal themselves as
suns whose sizes and brilliancy will ; far surpass the.
light'of the. sun which you see with-your mortal eyes.
; "Tell Hyslop to keep up his faith though his night
of waiting for illumination may also seem long. When
the fuller light comes the gulf that hides the spiritual
from the material world will be bridged and those
who arc fitted to understand will be endowed with a
knowledge far ..transcending that of the present. ,
"Goodby. .Thanks for your time and attention:'
Pages after pages in the same strain are given. The
language does n6t seem to Professor Hyslop to sug
gest thai of the^departed psychologist. It may be that
'the individuality of the medium has influenced it to a
large degree, if such a communication could corae
from the source from which it purports to be derived.
:\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0 ,\u25a0.--•--.\u25a0 \u25a0 - \u25a0. \u25a0. -
Again, on September 12, a message is sent for Doc
tor Hyslop' that he wait and that he place no confi
dence in the "letter test," which, is characterized as
"foolish," as "any one who is in the proper mood. can
.get the gist of it from -the living- subliminal if not the
conscious thought." / • '•
"Sound,"; communicates the supposed shaded "is -the
mere "Vulgar manifestation ' of the vibrations of
thought: Those whose spiritual intelligence is prop
erly developed fan dispense with sounds. Words are
"the silent, manifestations of the forms of sound, but
they also, can be dispensed with in the transmission
of thoughts, and as the mental force and intelligence
become more sublimated they, too. can be dispensed
with. . The' effort to transmit thoughts to my fellow
-workers is causing me more trouble and loss of spirit
ual privileges' than they realize. To try to harness
seemingly limitless concepts within the petty- con
fines of words intelligible to mortal mind is no mean
taskr 1 assure you.'
"It is one reason why there are.no more revelations
from the spiritual to the material world. I beg to
rise to rite higher, more jqyous, platnes, but am fet
tered by the claims made by those who love me. Tell
those who love me to let go. .The new lite is so full
.and 'wonderful/ that ;.-I am "not rcady^to tell all about
it, for I can. not comprehend it all myself as yet.
When I do I will try to send a full illumination to
those' who are- ready to receive it.
' "The mysteries" of ages is not death, but is the un
seen life of the spirit ordinarily hidden from one's
dulled senses on earth. Marvelous is this stage of
existence, where life is wrought out in the light and
the ethereal essence of the divine life and light is
manifested throughout our whole being. These are
things that can not be explained fully in phrases in-^
' telligible to the' human understanding. •
"The spiritual-eye and soul of man and the spiritual
car- alone comprehend the beauty .and development
processes of this life.. Eye haUi not seen nor ear heard
the glories that can.be revealed in man after death
: has stripped the fleshly* fetters from his prisoned
'spiritual senses.
"The process of spiritual evolution, however, is not
accomplisht all at once, nor is it the same with all.
For some the spiritual punishment or purgation '61 a
reincarnation, oftentimes many times repeated, is
Professor William James.
Courtesy of L*»Ue*« Weekly.
necessary. If men realized this they Would expend
more effort to develop their "dormant spiritual forces
and rise above the plane : of .selfish material' enjoy
ment. •' The creative force of their spirits is inces
santly active to- endower .thoughts and things with,
power for good or the not good— there is no middle
ground— which become a help or a hindrance to man
when death separates him from his body, for these
thought forms cling to him like a garment, and if evil
they become vampires to devour his soul." "
It will-be ; observed that in the foregoing paragraph
the, supposed spirit for the first x time uses the reformed
orthography; of thei word "accompli stit." He was one
of the founders of the simplified spelling board en
dowed by Mr. Andrew Carnegie in 1906, and was con
nected with it until the time of his death. He does
not. appear, however, to have made any extensive" use
of the. new style in his writings. -
: One of the most rapid of his alleged communica
tions: was delivered while the young woman was on
a train, on September 20, at 9 minutes to 3 o'clock
in the afternoon, on her"way to New York. It is
brief andfat first polished in- its phraseology. This
was-Message V^as reported: -\
"William James.- Yes", Miss— — , you may well be
surprised that 1 write 'so soon again, but I Want you.
to say. more for. me that I maybe free: .
\"Hyslop is thinking of^your: communications (from
me). They have interested him, so tell him this as a
supplement. '**••; v
"Just as involvement of spirit in flesh is a marvel
ous, prolonged and intricate process, so fs the evolve
ment of the spirit from the body* audits earth condi
tions.^The pathr leading" out of the' labyrinth' is as '
long as the path' leading into it. For this, reason the
spirit must work out its more or less gradual emanci
pation y from the labyrinthine earth conditions.".
. * His last communication; delivered on October IS,
begins with ; an expression of regret that-he could .not
arrive sooner and, again: complains "6f*being disturbed
by ,the«»effort .to ; communicate at^this stage -and
promises more. details of the, state^beyond when all
things are; in readiness. " ' '-" ,' . ,'\u25a0".
\ "Individuals who earnestly seek*Sit,-V concludes, the
message,' "will receive the light which] they need "on
the • hidden : path of • spiritual / development, bringing -
The San'Francisco'Snnday Call
them jnto' fellowship^ and communion, with alt \u25a0 that is
best in the universe of God.* They who will not seek
this for -themselves must remain in the twilight." .
Professor Hyslop fails to" find in the alleged com
munications anything which suggests the style of
Professor James while writing here on earth.
Somei idea as to the differences in, the method of
expression of living savant and shade may be gleaned
from the following quotations from Professor James,
which appeared in Professor Thompson's "Proofs o£
the Lite After Death," which was largely a sym
posium. In this the eminent Harvard psychologist
"When the physiologist who thinks"T!:at his science
cuts off" all hopes of immortality pronounces the
phrase 'Thought is a function of the brain' he thinks
of the matter just as 'he thinks when he says 'Steam
is a function of the steam kettle.' 'Li^ht is a function
of the electric circuit,' 'Power is the function of the
moving waterfall.' In these latter cases the several
material objects have the function of inwardly creat
ing or- engendering their effects and their functions
must be called a productive function. Just so he thinks
that it must be with 'the' brain.
"But in the World of physical nature productive
function of this sort is not the only kind of function
with which we are familiar. We have -the permissive
or releasing function and we have a transmissive
function. The keys of the organ have only a trans
missive function.' They open successively the various
pipes and let the wind in the air chest escape in vari
ous ways. The voices of the various pipes are consti
tuted by the columns trembling as they emerge. But
the air is not engendered in the organ. »
"My thesis now is that "when we think of the law
that thought is a function of the brain we are entitled
to consider also permissive of transmissive function.**
One of the characteristics of the style of Professor
James was its force and clearness. He would in life
have scarcely used the involved language which is
employed in these alleged communicatiuns. The rhet
oric and nomenclature of spiritualism, somewhat tinc
tured with the vocabulary of Christian Science, have
developed little since the early days ot the practice.
The communications with the references to earth
planes and spirit planes are couched in the same mys
terious jargon which has been in vogue since the days
of the. Fox sisters. Spiritualists and mediums have
insisted that this is the proper form for the spirits to
use in addressing mortals here below, and the for
mulae have become set with the lapse of time.
Hundreds of communications are said to have been
received from Professor James from circles of spirit
ualists all over the country, all expressing the same
inability to communicate and promising light yet to
come. The burden of this psychic song is "The time
is not yet." - .
Professor Hyslop said, in speaking of the somewhat
lengthy communications purporting to come from the
spirit world, that the question was whether one who
could make such use of the word forms used in this
world might not give more details.
He is planning to make extensive researches, with
rfo professional mediums in his effort, to come into
communication with Professor James, a proceeding
which he could undertake with thoroughness had he
any funds available for that purpose. HeVeceives no
salary from the society, and railroad fares and other
expenses, besides the payment of stenographers to
t?ke records, cause the quest of the spirit world to'be
more or less expensive.
"Communications so far," said he, "are of no value
because there have been no proofs of the identity of
the entity or spirit, if there be such, which 13 making
them. Such writings as those which have been sub
mitted by the young woman in Washington seem to
be: such as many another well 'educated person may
have written. / . »
"Professor James was. a well known man, yet at
the same time there are undoubtedly many incidents
in his life which "are known to few which might serve
as a basis for his identification. The proper identifica
tion of a spirit is no easy task under such conditions.
In some cases it has,\in my opinion, been done, and
I would consider that an existence after death has
been demonstrated. In order to establish definitely
whether the spirit of Professor James is actually in
communication it will be necessary to have reading*
Dr. Richard JJodgson.
from many mediums with cross references from one
-^ "There arc many things to be considered. The com
munications from the spirit will perhaps be affected
by-the^mind or the control .and the mind of the
medium.- In some cases, however, I have known
mannerisms and expressions to survive such trans
mission. It may be, although I do not profess to be
lieve it, that the spirit of Professor James in space. is
able to make an impression upon a thousand intellects
at once. •.../. >
"The difficulties of . spirits in communication with
mortals through various mediums must be very great.
In the case of the young' woman from Washington it
might be that some impulse from the spirit of Pro
fessor James had come to her, thus causing her to put
lown in her own words such "communications as she
offers. A bell is struck by a stick and the bell vibrates
with its own tone, yet it has from , an outside source
received the impulse." .
Professor Hyslop points out the absurdities'ad
vanced by professional mediums and by untrained ob
servers which often cause psychical science to be dis
credited. He believes, however, "that the time is at
tiand when many mysteries will be pursued with as
much ', energy and. enthusiam, as researches are made
in the domain of physical science.

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