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Note on Chapter 12. Dr Maupus's experiments

  • The Dr. Maupuis of the narrative is, as every student of psychic research will
  • realize, the late Dr. Geley, whose splendid work on this subject will ensure
  • his permanent fame. His was a brain of the first order, coupled with a moral
  • courage which enabled him to face with equanimity the cynicism and levity of
  • his critics. With rare judgment he never went further than the facts carried
  • him, and yet never flinched from the furthest point which his reason and the
  • evidence would justify. By the munificence of Mr. Jean Meyer he had been
  • placed at the head of the Institut Metapsychique, admirably equipped for
  • scientific work, and he got the full value out of that equipment. When a
  • British Jean Meyer makes his appearance he will get no return for his money if
  • he does not choose a progressive brain to drive his machine. The great
  • endowment left to the Stanford University of California has been practically
  • wasted, because those in charge of it were not Geieys or Richets.
  • The account of Pithecanthropus is taken from the Bulletin de l'Institut
  • Metapsychique. A well-known lady has described to me how the creature pressed
  • between her and her neighbour, and how she placed her hand upon his shaggy
  • skin. An account of this seance is to be found in Geley's L'Ectoplasmie et la
  • Clairvoyance (Felix Alcau) , p.345. On page 296 is a photograph of the strange
  • bird of prey upon the medium's head. It would take the credulity of a MacCabe
  • to imagine that all this is imposture.
  • These various animal types may assume very bizarre forms. In an unpublished
  • manuscript by Colonel Ochorowitz, which I have been privileged to see, some
  • new developments are described which are not only formidable but also unlike
  • any creature with which we are acquainted.
  • Since animal forms of this nature have materialized under the mediumship both
  • of Kluski and of Guzik, their formation would seem to depend rather upon one
  • of the sitters than upon either of the mediums unless we can disconnect them
  • entirely from the circle. It is usually an axiom among Spiritualists that the
  • spirit visitors to a circle represent in some way the mental and spiritual
  • tendency of the circle. Thus, in nearly forty years of experience, I have
  • never heard an obscene or blasphemous word at a seance because such seances
  • have been run in a reverent and religious fashion. The question therefore may
  • arise whether sittings which are held for purely scientific and experimental
  • purposes, without the least recognition of their extreme religious
  • significance, may not evoke less desirable manifestations of psychic force.
  • The high character, however, of men like Richet and Geley ensure that the
  • general tendency shall be good.
  • It might be argued that a subject with such possibilities had better be left
  • alone. The answer seems to be that these manifestations are, fortunately, very
  • rare, whereas the daily comfort of spirit intercourse illumines thousands of
  • lives. We do not abandon exploration because the land explored contains some
  • noxious creatures. To abandon the subject would be to hand it over to such
  • forces of evil as chose to explore it while depriving ourselves of that
  • knowledge which would aid us in understanding and counteracting their results.