27 1S13




Psychical Research



Fellow in Psychical Research and Assistant Professor of Psychology

With a Foreword by DAVID STARR JORDAN, Chancellor Emeritus; an Introduction by Professor FRANK ANGELL, Head of Department of Psychology; and a Part by Professor LlLLIEN J. MARTIN, Professor Emeritus of Psychology

From the Division of Psychical Research Department of Psychology







Psychical Research



Fellow in Psychical Research and Assistant Professor of Psychology

With a Foreword by DAVID STARR JORDAN, Chancellor Emeritus; an Introduction by Professor FRANK ANGELL, Head of Department of Psychology; and a Part by Professor LlLLIEN J. MARTIN, Professor Emeritus of Psychology

From the Division of Psychical Research Department of Psychology







Stanford University Press




Whose Wisdom in Providing Opportunities

for Scientific Investigation Has

Anticipated the Greatest Need

of Psychical Research



Science is human experience tested and set in order. It involves not alone the experience of the individual, but so far as may be, the accumu- lated or recorded experience of the race, of which the experience of the individual furnishes the basis of understanding. To enter the category of science, the data on which generalized results are based must be fully tested in order to eliminate personal equations whatever their form or origin.

In the investigation of the varied phenomena embraced under the term of "Psychical Research," as in any other department of knowledge, the Scientific Method is the sole instrument on which we can depend. To every apparent fact we must apply the tests of science: observation, ex- periment, logic, and instruments of precision. That the phenomena in this field are peculiarly baffling affords no ground for discouragement. By the methods of precision they are reducible to scientific order, and we may be sure that in this field as in any other we can safely follow wherever Truth shall lead. Genuine knowledge can never run counter to sound principles in human life.

But in this difficult borderland of psychology in which subjective and objective mental conditions are closely intertangled, the investigator finds it well to be cautious. Obvious explanations are seldom the true ones, and generalizations hastily drawn from them may check the growth of knowledge. In this field, perhaps above all others, the use of the "method of intuition" as an instrument of precision is sadly out of place. One supreme test of safety in generalization is the articulation of supposed facts with the knowledge already tested and organized by science.

The work in Psychical Research at Stanford University has rested from the first on "the solid ground of nature." At the present sta^e, its methods seem more important than its results, although the latter, while not sensational, are unquestionably substantial.

David Starr Jordan.

To believe is dangerous, to be unbelieving is equally so; the Truth, therefore, should be diligently sought after, lest that a foolish opinion should lead you to pronounce an unsound judgment. Ph/edrus : Fables, Book III, 10 : i and 5, 6.

Hardly as yet has the surface of the facts called "psychic" begun to be scratched for scientific purposes. It is through following these facts, I am persuaded, that the greatest scientific conquests of the coming genera- tion will be achieved. Kiihn ist das Muhcn, herrlich der Lohn! Wm. James: Final Impressions of a Psy- chical Researcher, iooo, in Memories and Studies, New York, 191 1, p. 206.


In a time when men's minds, scholars' minds, have been turned from philosophy to science, from principles implicit in human experience to principles empirical and eclectic, it is a strange anomaly that principles of life which are vital enough to determine men's conduct in their most serious concerns, and which are prevalent enough to be continuously op- erative in every civilized and uncivilized portion of the globe, are at once hailed by a small but important part of the learned world as the veritable principles of life, challenged by another equally important part of the learned world as groundless, and ignored by the great body of the re- sponsible men of science as unworthy of that rigorous inspection by which alone principles based upon the phenomena of the world may win the imprimatur of scientific confirmation or refutation.

The sheer universality of human interest in, and human allegiance to, one or another of the principles based upon psychical, or other "alleged" phenomena, now classified in the field of Psychical Research, should con- fer upon these phenomena the right to continuous serious scientific inves- tigation regardless of the lack of promise which it seems to the general body of the men of science to offer. It is no adequate defense to claim that science has no time to go out of its way to combat the superstitions and prejudices of men; for no matter to what extent superstition and prejudice may be supported by these alleged phenomena, the phenomena are initially accepted because it is believed they have been repeatedly ob- served by trustworthy, even eminently qualified, observers.

Now that university education is shared by an increasingly large proportion of the people in civilized countries, and scientific knowledge is being widely disseminated, the obligation of science to the public, in respect to these matters, is heavy and is becoming increasingly greater. It is to be hoped that the situation will now improve, and that other cen- ters of learning will also assume this obligation and thereby make cooper- ative investigation possible.

The experiments described in this monograph fall into several classes of investigations which are fairly closely related to each other, and which are believed to be of fundamental importance to Psychical Research. They are offered as some slight contribution to science, of interest particularly to those who are more or less technically familiar with Psychical Research ; possibly their less technical portions may inter-


est the layman. Lest the latter, however, be disappointed in finding no brief either for or against the general phenomena in this field, the assur- ance must hereby be offered him that the research is undertaken with a zeal for Truth, and is projected and controlled with an anxiety for the strength of the bridge it is building, which must bear the strain of the passage of men of learning, men of influence, men of science, from the shore of accepted knowledge to the island of the not-yet-recognized. Safety forbids bias or precipitancy. This laboratory report completes the first stage of construction.

Herein will be found ( I ) a statistical method of experiment in Psy- chical Research which, it is believed, will be acceptable to science and will prove adequate for resolving doubt and controversy concerning tthe alleged supernormal acquisition of knowledge (telepathy, lucidity or clairvoyance, or communication from discarnate intelligences capable of apprehending facts in our world) ; and (2) the results of the first appli- cations of this method.

It will be readily apparent to the scholar that much of the mono- graph has been written under great pressure, a circumstance regrettable but unavoidable; the work of investigation has not been permitted to suffer interruption, and it was not advisable to delay longer the first re- port from our laboratory. Haste has not been made at the expense of accuracy, however; and, although the literary quality of the exposition has undoubtedly suffered, it is hoped that the reports of the various researches will be found sufficiently clear and complete to serve their purpose. It should be mentioned, perhaps, that various labor-saving appli- ances have been utilized, such as calculating and adding machines, mathe- matical tables, and the slide-rule ; the last mentioned having been con- sistently used in calculating percentages. Mathematical accuracy sufficient for our purpose has certainly been attained. And deficiencies in the plates must be credited to the writer's general ineptitude with India- ink.

The Division of Psychical Research is indebted to Dr. Lillien Jane Martin for Part V, a record of work which she has carried out independ- ent of the Psychical Research Foundation ; and also for her zeal in the work of equipping the Psychical Research laboratory.

The writer is under many special obligations to those who have con- tributed to the investigations, or to the compilation of this monograph: First and foremost to his colleagues in the Department of Psychology for innumerable courtesies with respect not only to sound counsel but also to the free use he has made of laboratory rooms, equipment, and students of their classes ; to the many students who have rendered faith-


ful service in the experiments reported herein; to the California Psy- chical Research Society for its generous cooperation in research in San Francisco; to Professor Milo A. Tucker, and to Mr. G. P. W. Jensen, for indispensable assistance in experiments with 'sensitives' in San Fran- cisco; to Professor E. P. Cubberley, Dean of the School of Education, for the generous loan of a dictaphone for two years ; to the Assistant Registrar, J. E. McDowell, for access to students' percentile grades ; to the Staff in the Library, particularly to Librarian G. T. Clark, and Miss Lena M. Keller, for assistance in the compilation of the catalogue of works in the psychical-research library ; to the American Society for Psychical Research, the American Journal of Psychology, and the Psy- chological Review, for permission to use material published in their pages ; to students, J. T. Reynolds, D. C. Upp, F. S. Fearing and Miss Else Nagel for faithful clerical and statistical assistance; and to many others for kind offices too numerous for separate mention.

The Fellow in Psychical Research.

Stanford University, July 27, 1917.



Foreword. By Dr. David Starr Jordan v

Author's Preface v"

Index of Illustrations xv

Introduction. By Dr. Frank Angell xvii



The Present Importance of the Problem 3

The Role of Telepathy as an Alternative Hypothesis to Spirit Commun- ication 5

This Dominating Role of Telepathy Challenged 13

The Present Status of Telepathy 17

Further Experimental Work Imperative 22

Experiments on Thought-Transference 29

I. Guessing of Lotto-Block Numbers 31

Introduction 31

Method 35

Results 38

Number-Habits 43

Imagery 45

Conclusion 46

II. Guessing of Playing-Cards 48

Series I. Reagents Normal 48

Reagents 50

Method 51

Results 54

Analysis of Results 66

Illustration 67

Relation Between R Cases and Experimenter's Imagery 69

Relation Between R Cases and Congruity of Imagery 7*

Relation Between R Cases and Reagent's Feeling of Cer- tainty 73

Variation in Distance 77

Variation in Time 77

Test for Retarded Effect 78

Statistical Treatment of Data by Use of Mathematical Formulas... 79

Application of Probability Formulae to Central Measures 80

Comparison of the Empirical with their Theoretical Distri- butions 95

Application of Usual Statistical Formulae to Central and Other

Single Measures 105

Statistical Expectation of Reagents 109

Analysis of Experience no

Application of Our Results to the Making of a "Mental Telepathist" 118

Control Series with Corneal Reflection 121

Conclusion 123




Series II. Reagents 'Sensitive' 125

The Reagents 125

The Results 126

Psychological Analysis of Experience 130

The Professional Psychics 130

The Private Psychics 137

Conclusion 142

III. "The Feeling of Being Stared At" 144

The Prevalence of Belief Among University Students 144

Series I. The Reagent Required to Judge "Yes" or "No" 146

Results 147

Qualitative Results 150

Conclusion 152

Series II. The Reagent Requested to Record his Experience 153

Results 154

Supplementary Experiments 156

Series III. Multiple Starers 158

Results 159

Conclusion 167


Orientation 171

Experiments 190

Division I. With the Wirthian Tachistoscope 191

Procedure 191

Results 192

Division II. With the Wundtian Tachistoscope 198

Procedure 198

Results 199

Division III. Peripheral Impression 205

Results 206

Division IV. Miscellaneous Series 214

§1. Sumbliminal Impressions from Corneal Reflections 214

§11. Subliminal Impressions of Playing-Cards at a Distance 217

§111. The Whispering of the Stimulus 219

1. Letters and Digits 220

2. Playing-Cards 222

3. Numbers 222

§ iv. Involuntary Signals 223

Conclusion 224




Mental Habit 230

The Influence of Mental Habit upon Judgment 230

Population by Age 231

Terms of Criminal Sentences 234

Estimates of Star-Magnitudes 240

Students' Grades 247

Temperature on Pike's Peak 249

Temperature in Mauritius, in the Greenwich Observatory, in Hert- fordshire, and in Dundee 249

Cloudiness at Bremen 252

Rainfall in New England 252

Estimates of Time from Kymograph Time-Records 252

Estimates of Star-Transits 255

Estimates of Time and Space 262

Studies in Guessing 265

Distribution of the Number-Habit 271

Other Mental Habits 276

Explanatory Considerations 281

Application of Mental Habit to Experiments in Thought-Transference. . . . 291 Application of Mental Habit to Our Experiments on Subliminal Impression 309

Inductive Probability 313

Empirical and Theoretical Distributions 314

Empirical and Theoretical Central Measures 323

The Infinitesimal Probability. .' 346


Introduction 369

Division I. Nonsense-Syllables 373

Method 373

Results 375

Section 1. Syllables with Initial and Final Consonantal Sounds 375

Section II. Syllables with an Initial or Final Consonantal Sound 379

Section in. The Respective Consonantal Sounds 381

Division II. Simulated English Text 386

Dictation 1 388

Dictation II 390

Dictation III 391

Dictation IV 393

Dictation V 395

Numerical Results 395

Introspections 397

Conclusion 401




I. A Case of Pseudo-Prophecy 411

II. Local Ghosts and the Projection of Visual Images 413

III. An Experimental Study of the Subconscious 422

The Image Method versus the Automatic Writing and Speaking Methods

of Penetrating Below the Threshold of Consciousness 426

Automatic Speaking Method versus the Image Method 437

The Image Method versus the Pathological and the Psychoanalytical

Methods of Investigating the Subconscious 437


A. Tables 44*

B. Experiments in Long-Distance Thought-Transference 452

C. Grounds for Scientific Caution in the Acceptance of the "Proof" of

Thought-Transference 461

The Creery Experiments 463

The Smith-Blackburn Experiments 477

The "N"-Ray Delusion 495

Conclusion 499

D. Investigation with a "Trumpet" Medium. By the California Psychical

Research Society 5°3

Dr. Coover's Report 505

1. Relation of the "Voices" to the Psychic's Physiological Processes... 506

2. Relation of the "Physical Phenomena" to the Psychic's Body 524

3. The Relation of the "Seance Personalities" to the Psychic's Mind... 535

E. Catalogue of Literature in the Library of Leland Stanford Junior University

Relating Directly or Indirectly to Psychical Research 551

Books 55i

Periodicals and Proceedings 617


Lvejex of Names 6-5

Index of Subjects 629



I. Floor-Plan and Equipment of the Division of Psychical Research. xxiv II. Showing Mental Habit in the guessing of Lotto-Blocks 44

III. The limits of chance deviation in R cases on Card, Color, Number,

and Suit, for sets of 50 to 10,000 experiments 91

IV. The same ; for sets of 50 to 1000 experiments 93

V. Distribution of R guesses on the Card 99

VI. Distribution of R guesses on the Color 99

VII. Distribution of R guesses on the Number 101

VIII. Distribution of R guesses on the Suit 102

IX. Distribution of guesses wholly wrong I04

X. Deviation from probability expected by 52 reagents on Card, Color, Number and Suit, compared with the Limit of Chance and the

actual results in

XI. Distribution of expected per cents of R cases compared with

chance distribution in

XII. Distribution of the number of A grades and the number of A and

B grades given by one reagent. 100 reagents 113

XIII. Population of the United States by Age. Twelfth Census (1900). 232

XIV. The Same. Thirteenth Census ( 1910) 233

XV. Terms of criminal sentence in the United States. Eleventh

Census 235

XVI. Female sentences for grand larceny. 257 cases 236

XVII. Single commitments ; actual sentence compared with sentence

permissible by law. 58 cases 237

XVIII. Terms of criminal sentence in England (Galton) 239

XIX. Magnitudes of the stars ; Students' Grades 243

XX. Corrected distribution of the Durchmustcrung estimates 245

XXa. Estimates of star-magnitudes. Distribution of tenth magnitudes.. 246

XXI. Thermometric observations. Frequency of tenth degrees 251

XXII. Distribution of the final digit in judgments of various kinds over

the number series 253

XXIII. Distribution of estimates from kymograph time-records 254

XXIV. Star-transits. Distributions of tenths of a second, showing

V equation decimate ; Ages of the Latin dead 257

XXV. Star-transits (Continued). Showing independence of t'equation

decimate of practice, instrument, and voluntary correction 259

XXVI. Star-transits (Continued). Showing independence of t'equation

decimate of the special senses 261

XXVII. Time and space estimations, showing number-preference and the

"personal scale" 263

XXVIII. Guessing. Curves showing number-preferences 266

XXIX. Guessing (Continued). Curves showing a new type of "personal

scale" 269

XXX. Deviations from probability in the frequency the spots on playing- cards were drawn and guessed, showing influence of mental

habit. 10,000 cases 270

XXXI. Frequency of occurrence of the respective spots in sets of 100 ex- periments, as drawn and as guessed. Showing distribution of

mental habit among 100 reagents 272

XXXII. Number-preferences 273




XXXIII. Distribution of numbers, drawn and guessed in ioo experiments. . . 274

XXXIV. Distribution of numbers, drawn and guessed in 1000 experiments. . 275 XXXV. Distribution of red cards, drawn and guessed in 100 experiments.. 276

XXXVI. Deviations from probability in frequency of suits drawn and

guessed. 10,000 cases 2T1

XXXVII. Distribution of suit drawn and guessed in 100 experiments 278

XXXVIII. Deviations from probability in frequency of individual cards drawn

and guessed in 10,000 experiments 279

XXXIX. Distribution of the individual card drawn and guessed in 100 ex- periments 2°°

XL. Curves showing dependence of I'equation dccimale upon calibra- tion-marks 2°°

XLI. Frequency curves of deviations of estimates of star-magnitudes from the Durchmusterung magnitudes, showing influence of

similar mental habits (, Pickering) 295

XLII. Distributions of R cases in card-guessing 3^7

XLIII. Distributions of the occurrences of odd die-spots, and of white

balls drawn from an urn 310-

XLIV. Distributions of the occurrences of a red card in drawings from a

shuffled pack, and in guesses of reagents 320

XLV. Distributions of "chance" events in the throwing of dice, and

drawing of balls from a bag 322

XLVI. Distributions of "chance" events in coin-tossing 324

XLVII. Distributions of "chance" events showing bias in dice 326

XLVIII. Runs in Monte Carlo Roulette, in coin-tossing, and to be expected

by chance 328

XLIX. Per cent of substitution for the respective simple consonantal

sounds heard through the dictaphone, telephone, and the air. . . 382

Plate A. Automatic writing. Observer M 431

Plate B. The same. Observer 0 435

Figure I. Characters used by Sidis 185

2. Characters used in the Wirthian tachistoscope 191

3. Characters used in the Wundtian tachistoscope 198

4. A comparison of the objective with the "personal scale" of the

meteorological observers on Pike's Peak 288

5. The arrangement of the 37 compartments in a Monte Carlo Roulette

wheel 328

6. "EDITOR": Letters for a test in visual assimilation 404

7. Drawings made in a Smith-Blackburn experiment in thought-trans-

ference 481

8. The kymograph apparatus Opp. 508

9. Kymograph records, March 28 and April 4 Opp. 510

10. Respiration and pulse curves, "Psychic" normal 512 f.

11. The same. "Automatic" voice, "Katie" 5'4

12. The same. "Trumpet" voice. "Dr. Truman" 516 f.

13. The same. "Independent" voice, "Professor Wm. James" 518 f.

14. The same. Records from Miss Flatau 522

15. Smudge on kymograph record Opp. 526

16. The self-recording telegraph instrument Opp. 528

17. Record of contact on the scale-covers Opp. 530

18. Fabric imprint made by "James' " "right hand" Opp. 532

Fig. a. Poster of the Memorial Arch made in 1903, and a photograph of it

taken after the earthquake in 1906 Opp. 412



Psychology has, up to the present, shown no dis- position to make its own the problems of psychical research ; yet probably no one will be found to deny their importance. Northcote VV. Thomas: Thought- Trans fcrence, London, 1905, p. 20.

Psychical Research is at present in disrepute among scholars, largely because psychical researchers do not take a logical psychological attitude toward the phe- nomena they investigate. . . . The investigation of phe- nomena which are alleged to be not in accordance with accepted views of natural law, is a perfectly legitimate activity. Knight Duni.ap: A System of Psychology, 1912. p. 343.


In January of 1912 the writer was informed by Dr. Jordan, then President of the University, that Mr. Thomas Welton Stanford, brother of Leland Stanford and himself one of the University Trustees, had placed at the disposal of the University the sum of fio,ooo, the interest of which was to be applied to investigations in the field of what may be broadly termed Spiritualism and Psychical Research, and Dr. Jordan asked if the Department of Psychology was willing to assume the grave responsibility of applying the endowment to work in this field.

And here it must be frankly stated that the department felt that any impulsive or hasty acceptance of Mr. Stanford's generous offer was out of place; in justice to both Mr. Stanford and the University the matter was one that called for thoughtful consideration. For it was obvious that the implications inherent in investigations in psychic or spiritualistic phenomena would give the undertaking a different character from that obtaining in ordinary cases of endowments for scientific research. In the first place the problems to be investigated were intimately connected with religious beliefs and opinions of many devout persons, among them Mr. Stanford himself, whose house in Melbourne has long been the home of spiritualistic seances. But tenets of religious faith in St. Paul's sense of "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen" are beyond or above or at any rate outside, the methods of scientific investigation ; the Department of Psychology is a scientific department of the University and its methods of research must necessarily advance in accordance with the canons of scientific methods, that is, '"accurate ob- servation andTtareful verification of accessible phenomena. To subject matters on which good men and true had based comforting and abiding faith to the cold criticism of scientific reason would be, the writer felt, not only a delicate but perhaps a thankless task. In the next place the situation was further complicated in the country at large and especially in California by the presence among the devout Spiritualists of many false teachers who sought to exploit spiritualistic procedure for pecun- iary profit with the natural result of injuring and discrediting the cause of Spiritualism and perplexing those who wished to know who were genuine leaders of the faith. The findings of the Seybert Commission of the University of Pennsylvania had also contributed to the same result, especially among the universities. Mr. Henry Seybert, well-known as an


earnest believer in Spiritualism, presented to the University of Pennsyl- vania a sum of money sufficient to found a chair of philosophy and to defray the expenses of a commission to investigate the "systems of morals, religion, or philosophy . . . and particularly of modern Spirit- ualism." This commission was composed of ten members, among them Dr. W. Pepper, Provost of the University, Professor G. S. Fullerton, in- cumbent of the Chair of Philosophy, and Dr. Weir Mitchell, the well- known neurologist. To these were added Mr. T. R. Hazard, described as an uncompromising believer in Spiritualism. The commission investi- gated all the well-known professional mediums they could induce to come to Philadelphia: their findings were uniformly unfavorable to the pre- tensions of the mediums and, in most cases, they reported fraud. Among the conditions, consequently, which gave the Department pause in coming to a decision were what Sir W. F. Barrett has termed "the scornful at- titude of the scientific world" together with the somewhat delicate nature of Psychical Research on account of religious implications. As far as Mr. Stanford's attitude was concerned it was all the University could wish ; the endowment was wholly unconditioned and there were no limits as regards time and no suggestions as regards problems or results. In these respects, therefore, there was no reason why the University should not gladly accept the endowment. In addition the carte blanche given by Mr. Stanford freed the department from the feeling that it would be un- duly hampered in its investigations by religious complications ; it was simply to be a matter of scientific investigation.

The question then arose of whether in view of Professor Sidgwick's authoritative utterance to the effect that Psychical Research so far as he could tell, had made no discernible progress in the last twenty years, the field was not a slough of despond through which no scientific progress was possible. The writer's opinion was that intensive investigation by trained psychologists devoting themselves wholly to this work, beginning with the simpler problems, would bring forth results of scientific value, though manifestly if Sidgwick's view of the impracticable nature of the field was even approximately correct, but slow progress could be ex- pected. However, before coming to any final decision in the matter, letters were sent to the psychology departments of other universities ask- ing their opinion of the probable worth of investigations in this field. The answers were uniformly favorable to the undertaking and from two especially, Cornell University and the University of California, there came valuable suggestions in regard to problems and to methods of investigation.


Feeling then that the work could be taken up in fairness both to the University and to Mr. Stanford the Department of Psychology accepted the responsibility of administering the endowment. The endowment itself was large enough to defray the expenses of a Fellowship, to refit completely and equip the laboratory rooms assigned to the work by the Department and to supplement the apparatus which the Department was able to furnish with special instruments for Psychical Research. In addi- tion Mr. Stanford placed about £100 a year at the disposal of the Univer- sity for the purchase of books on psychical research and finally added to these donations the large collection of 'apports' produced in the seances at his house in Melbourne.1

One of the reasons that may be assigned for the lack of progress in PsychicalResearchand spiritualistic problems of which Professor Sidgwick complains is in all probability that the greater part of the investigations have been carried on by amateurs rather than by 'professionals,' by those for whom the work was rather an avocation than a special calling. Thus the Seybert Commission, as the report states, was made up of men whose days were "already filled with duties which cannot be laid aside and who are, therefore, able to devote but a small portion of their time to these investigations." This condition is reflected in a great many of the pub- lications on Psychical Research. The writers have taken up the investi- gation in the spare hours of the day or the spare months of the year, and, considering the complexity and elusiveness of the phenomena involved, it is small wonder that progress has not been more marked. Closely allied with this is another factor which has been of no advantage to Psychical Research, either as regards its advancement or its standing in the eyes of the scientific world, and that is the factor of attributing to amateurs in psychical investigations the like authority which they enjoy in their chosen profession. It must be said with the utmost frankness that the mantle of Sir Oliver Lodge's great reputation as a physicist cannot be stretched to cover his work in Psychical Research and it is doubtful if Sir William Crooke's authority as a chemist has perceptibly swayed the minds of his colleagues in chemistry towards spiritualistic belief. Obviously, what is necessary for the advance of Psychical Research in the eyes of the scientific world is precisely what all other kinds of scientific work de- mand ; that is, the undivided time and attention of investigators possess-

1 Most of the books purchased with the funds are placed on the shelves of the general library. The 'apports' are kept in 'display' cases in a special room adjoining the laboratory. A plan of the laboratory for Psychical Research will be found at the end of this Introduction (see Plate I, p. xxiv).


ing a special training for their work. In this field, for example, it would mean special extensive training in the psychology of motor automatisms and of subliminal impressions, in the ideational and affective processes underlying belief and conviction, in illusions of perception and the value of evidence. Through the endowment of Mr. Stanford this university was placed in a position to fulfill these conditions and to realize Sir Oliver Lodge's wishes expressed years ago, for "a laboratory with special ap- pliances." The selection of the incumbent of the fellowship was a matter of no less importance than the facilities for work, and after diligent in- quiry into the qualifications of men eligible for the position, the choice was made of Dr. J. E. Coover, a well-trained and able psychologist and a mature man of highly judicial temperament. To dignify the .fellowship in the regard of the university world, the Trustees conferred on Dr. Coover the rank of Assistant Professor. The investigations in this volume made by Dr. Coover, and the vast mass of data gathered by him are an index, or at least a partial index, of his unflagging devotion to the work. I say partial index as the time taken for the investigation of mediums in San Francisco was out of proportion to the amount of data collected. Too frequently these trips were barren of all results, the in- vestigator having spent hours in the dark awaiting manifestations which either wholly failed to appear or appeared but feebly and infrequently.

In selecting problems for investigation the logical postulate of sim- plicity was given great weight and for this reason "The Feeling of Being Stared At" was the first to be chosen. For a belief in the efficacy of this feeling is wide-spread among the students, it is a subject that admits of easy experimentation, and, what is highly important, it is directly con- nected with the general problem of telepathy. A further postulate of the work was to shape the early investigations to the material in hand, in this case the numerous students taking work in psychology. Through them there was given an opportunity for statistical studies in telepathy along thej lines laid down by the English Society for Psychical Research, and in addition there was always the chance in dealing with a large num- ber of individuals of discovering someone unusually gifted with tele- pathic powers.

Other investigations which could be conducted in situ were on prob- lems of subliminal activity, in mental habits or bias in forming judg- ments, and on the implications of spoken words (sound assimilation) all of which form necessary prolegomena to the clear understanding of spir- itualistic manifestations.

In view of the mass of work in evidence in the pages of this report it will be readilv understood that time was lacking to go deeply into the


subject of automatic activities, of automatic writing or speaking. The investigation of 'sensitives' or mediums was taken up after considerable experience in methods and procedure in testing psychical manifestations with students. The writer shares Professor Sir W. F. Barrett's distrust of professional or paid mediums and of working in the dark, but Dr. Coover undertook investigations of this kind upon a guarantee of the good faith of the 'sensitives' by the California Psychical Research Society. It is to be regretted that the 'sensitives' felt unable to come to the University to develop their manifestations where they were best fitted to be tested and although a very cordial entente exists between Dr. Coover and the California Psychical Research Society in carrying out his inves- tigations, owing to the frequent indisposition of the 'sensitives,' the find- ings of this part of the report are more scanty than could be wished.

Somewhere Sir Oliver Lodge has raised the question of the advis- ability of investigating "that of which we are sure." "Why conduct ex- periments in hypnotism or telepathy?" to which he answers that "Belief is both the prelude to and the outcome of knowledge" and further "If a fact or a theory has had a prima facie case made out for it, subsequent investigation is necessary to examine and defend it."

Now so far as the matters of which Sir Oliver Lodge speaks are accessible to scientific investigation, no one would venture to demur to these statements. But the more intimate matters of religious faith the writer does not feel are accessible to experimentation. As to many phenomena which are often regarded as supernormal, the scientific world has no doubt but that with patient and impartial investigation they will ultimately be brought within the circle of the general laws of Psychology as has been the case with the once baffling phenomena of Hypnotism. But for the deeper-seated convictions of personal religion, scientific in- vestigation is out of place.

In establishing the fellowship for Psychical Research Mr. Stanford has made a substantial contribution toward delimiting the borders of these two regions of human experience, and in the matter presented in this volume the writer feels that a substantial contribution has been made to that side of Psychical Research which is accessible to scientific investi- gation.

Frank Angell. Stanford University, June i. 1917.




It is an obvious fact, but it is nevertheless a fact which we must repeat as often as possible, that in no way can psychical research be better aided than by con- stant and varied experiments on Thought-Transference in every form. Frederic W. H. Myers: Proceedings S.P.R., 1884, 2:217.

Upon one other interest 1 have not yet touched to me the weightiest and the farthest reaching of all.

No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordi- nary intelligence common to mortals. ... I think I see a little farther now. . . . And were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of sci- ence I should choose a starting-point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law. as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways. Sir William Crookes, in The Presidential Address, delivered to the British. As- sociation for the Advancement of Science, at Bristol, September 1898, (Proceedings S. P. /?.. 14:2-3).



The Present Importance of the Problem.

An examination of the literature of Psychical Research reveals the paramount importance of Telepathy, or Thought-Transference,1 among all the various kinds of phenomena which fall within its field. Not only have the principal psychical research societies given the investigation of this process a prominent place in their formally announced aims of or- ganization and given it their chief attention during the earlier years of their work, but at the present time, when both the English and the American societies are seeking indisputable evidence for the survival of human personality beyond bodily death, this process threatens to cut to the root of their proof.

The evidence regarded by the leaders in psychical research as the \ most promising for proof of survival lies in the content of the utter- . ances (spoken, written or signaled) proceeding from an "automatist" / or a "psychic," usually entranced. That it cannot be regarded as merely normal phenomena is most positively affirmed by those who have exam- ined it with the greatest care ; and some proponents of its extra-normal character are celebrated psychologists, whose professional and critical judgment applies precisely to the normal and abnormal behavior of the mind.

Professor James has several times given voice to his position. As early as 1890 he wrote concerning Mrs. Piper's "messages":

My later knowledge of her sittings and personal acquaintance with her has led me . . . .to believe that she has supernormal powers, (p. 652).

1 Although these terms are sometimes assigned different meanings, they have not been shown to be different kinds of functions, and for our purpose they may be regarded as synonymous, meaning an influence of one mind upon another other- wise than through the recognized s?nsory channels ; the influence may take the form of a sensation, an idea, a thought, a desire, an emotion, or any other assign- able content of consciousness.



And in another paragraph:

Taking everything that I know of Mrs. Piper into account, the result is to make me feel as absolutely certain as I am of any personal fact in the world that she knows things in her trances which she cannot possibly have heard in her wak- ing state, (pp. 658-9 ).2

In 1896:

In the trances of this medium, I cannot resist the conviction that knowledge appears which she has never gained by the ordinary waking use of her eyes and ears and wits. (p. 319).'

And in 1909, when summing up his "Final Impressions" after twenty- five years' experience in psychical research, concerning automatic utter- ances he wrote :

When imposture has been checked off as far as possible, when chance coin- cidence has been allowed for, when opportunities for normal knowledge on the part of the subject have been noted, and skill in "fishing" and following clues un- wittingly furnished by the voice or face of bystanders have been counted in, those who have the fullest acquaintance with the phenomena admit that in good me- diums there is a residuum of knowledge displayed that can only be called super- normal : the medium taps some source of information not open to ordinary peo- ple. Myers used the word "telepathy" to indicate that the sitter's own thoughts or feelings may be thus directly tapped, (pp. 188-9).

I wish to go on record for the presence, in the midst of all the humbug, of really supernormal knowledge, [with strong mediums], (p. 200).*

Professor Flournoy, Professor of Psychology in the University of

Geneva, in 1900, said:

Taking everything into consideration, I am inclined to believe that Mile. Smith, in truth, possesses real phenomena of clairvoyance, not, however, passing beyond the possible limits of telepathy ... (p. 397). 6

Podmore, one of the most conservative writers, and perhaps the most critical student, in the English Society, in 1910, said :

The automatists unquestionably show that they possess information which could not have reached their consciousness by normal means, and it is in tracing this information to its source that the main interest of the inquiry and the main burden of proof will be found, (p. 302).*

2 James : A record of observations of certain phenomena of tranee. Proceed- ings S. P. R., 1890, 6:651-659.

3 James : The Will to Believe. New York, 1899.

* James : Memories and Studies. New York, 191 1.

6 Flournoy, Th. : From India to the Planet Mars, a study of a case of som- nambulism with glossolalia. (tr. Vermilye). New York, C1900. 6 Podmore, Frank: The Newer Spiritualism. London, 1910.


The Role of Telepathy as an Alternative Hypothesis to Spirit Communication.

Sir Oliver Lodge, in his Presidential Address to the English So- ciety for Psychical Research, in 1902, pointed out the alternate hy- potheses for "trance lucidity and clairvoyance" as (1) Telepathy from the living, and (2) Communication from the departed;7 and in 1913 he restated his conviction that telepathy serves as an hypothetical explana- tion for a multiplicity of phenomena, "it is the minimum hypothesis." 8

A classification of the factors involved in trance utterances was of- fered by Frederick W. H. Myers :9

(a) Dreamlike and confused talk from the subliminal self,

(b) Facts implying the perception of events occurring at