The Psychic Force

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The Psychic Force

Post by Admin on Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:00 am

THE PSYCHIC FORCE


With acknowledgement to Psychic News 24th October 2009 where this was first published. All Rights Reserved © Jim & Lis Warwood

These days, the word ‘psychic’ is seen as a mandatory inclusion in any discussion relating to mediumship. Typically, during unfoldment lessons new members are told that all mediums are psychics but not all psychics are mediums. Yet, in discussion it becomes clear the word is widely misunderstood and many people regard psychics and mediums as one and the same. Indeed, few understand the meaning or origin of the word or know its historical relationship to the Spiritualist movement.

It was 24 years after the movement began that the word psychic was first used in Spiritualist literature. Until then Spiritualists claimed all the contact they received, either by rapping, table tipping, or from whatever other means, had, at its source, a contact from Spirit. In response, their detractors claimed it was all caused by either conscious fraud, or by some unconscious action of the person.

The famous scientist Professor Michael Faraday was the first to try and disprove that table tipping was contact with Spirit. He constructed a specially designed table to rigorously test the claims being made.


Faraday's seance

On June 30th 1853, the London Times published a letter from Faraday concerning his investigation, where he stated he firmly disbelieved in the claimed causes.
“The effect produced by the table-turners has been referred to as electricity, to magnetism, to attraction, to some unknown or hitherto unrecognized physical power able to affect inanimate bodies, to the revolution of the earth, and even to diabolical or supernatural agency,” he wrote.

Faraday argued the cause was “a quasi involuntary muscular action,” and had designed his table and experiments to verify that hypothesis.

The publication of his findings and their failure to discourage table tipping inspired others to start research. Each researcher approached matters in a different way, although they were all intent upon establishing whether the phenomena really occurred, and if it did what the cause may be. The most detailed work was conducted by Professor Robert Hare in the USA.
Prof. Robert Hare M.D.

His findings were published in 1855 in the book ‘Experimental Investigations of Spiritual Manifestations,’ probably the first serious work of scientific research produced. Hare was converted to Spiritualism as a result of his investigations.

Concurrently, another major figure was researching table tipping in France. Count Agenor de Gasparin, a French politician, published ‘Des Tables Tournantes’ in 1854. The book described experiments he conducted in Switzerland under stringent test conditions.

He found that the movement and weight changes were genuine but rejected any spirit hypothesis, arguing that in a certain condition of the human organism, the will can act from a distance upon inert bodies, by other than physical effort. Gasparin also believed that in the same conditions an individual could communicate directly, albeit unconsciously with another.
Count Agenor de Gasparin

Gasparin’s work was followed up by a Swiss scientist Marc Thury. He published a pamphlet on his findings in 1855, rather unimaginatively also titled “Les Tables Tournante” . Though supporting Gasparin’s findings he differed in one crucial respect, saying “the known facts are not as yet sufficient for the demonstration of the Spirit theory” but “the absurdity of the belief in the intervention of Spirits has not been scientifically demonstrated”.
Marc Thury

Thury believed the medium could exercise their will through a link between soul and body which he named “psychode,” manipulated by a force he named the “ectenic force”. Interestingly, Thury was also the first exponent of the concept of ectoplasm.

Both of these researchers concluded that to deny the existence of the phenomena was untenable. The theories of Gasparin and Thury, based upon stringent research, led others to consider how the phenomena associated with Spiritualism could be occurring, and the nature of the forces involved.

Recent discoveries, especially the telegraph and electricity opened up the idea that there might be other as yet undiscovered forces which might explain the apparent ‘spirit manifestations’.

At the same time many Spiritualists saw parallels between the telegraph system and the means by which spirit communicated. This association was stengthened because Cromwell Varley, a key figure in the creation of the Atlantic telegraph, was a committed Spiritualist. Richard J. Noakes, in ‘Telegraphy is an Occult Art: Cromwell Fleetwood Varley and the Diffusion of Electricity to the Other World’ (1999) writes in detail on the subject. It is clear that Varley wished to extend his telegraphic expertise to communication with the spirit world. Indeed at a séance with Kate Fox he was allowed to bring in telegraphic equipment to experiment.



However, struggling in the dark, the most he could achieve was to accidentally run electrical current through his own body. He was, however, impressed that when spirit was questioned which way the energy was flowing they accurately responded on each occasion. Varley saw a very close relation between the flow of electrical energy and spirit contact.

Of course others thought that they already had the answer. For a start the famous Isaac Newton developed a concept of ‘Ether’ as a universal force affecting motions of the planets. His concept was to form a major influence on natural philosophers through the 18th century as they looked at the phenomena of chemistry, electricity and magnetism, and physiology.

The supporters of Mesmerism believed Gasparin and Thury’s idea was a vindication of the magnetic fluid that Anton Mesmer had said pervaded all things. His ‘Memoir on the Discovery of Animal Magnetism’, Paris, 1799, contained 27 separate propositions which define his position on how he saw the magnetic force working and its relationship to the universe.

Similarly, the supporters of Baron Carl von Reichenbach believed that the idea of such a new force proved the validity of his experiments in the theory of human energy emanations and the ‘Odilic Force’. Pictures he produced seemed to verify this proposition with a clear emanation around the hand not unlike like early versions of Kirlian photography.
Baron Von Reichenbach
Odilic Force

Reichenbach’s ideas were reviewed by the Society for Psychical Research in 1883, but though the results seemed positive no further tests were conducted.
Following the work of Gasparin in France, the Astronomer Cammille Flammarion became very involved in studying the events at séances. Writing in ‘The Unknown’, in 1891, Flammarion recorded that at 16, after he had read the ‘Spirits Book’, he made contact with Allan Kardec who, in Flammarion’s words “had made of Spiritism a veritable religion.”
Cammile Flammarion

Flammarion “assisted at the séances” experimented, and became a medium. He claimed that in one of Allan-Kardec’s works, called Genesis, the chapter on Cosmogony was written by him in a “mediumistic condition.”

He was not, however, convinced that Spirit were truly involved and was certain that his mediumistic writing came from his own sub conscious because of his deep interest in astronomy and the planets. Flammarion was unconvinced that any of the communication came, in truth, from spirit. In 1865 he produced a booklet called “Unknown Natural Forces” where he stated in detail his thoughts on the subject, and put forward the idea that the world might be on the verge of establishing the existence of a new and important natural energy field that he named the “Psychic Force”.

Strangely, no one really picked up on this beautiful concept and its interlinking with the great Greek word ‘Psyche’. This is illustrated by a quote from Emma Hardinge Britten , taken from a May 1 1871 article in the ‘Spiritualist Magazine” entitled “WHAT RELATION DOES SPIRITUALISM BEAR TO SCIENCE?”. In this we see Emma refer to both the “unknown force” and the fact there are two different effects at play in the communication. As she writes “Feats of physical strength have been. exhibited, chemical combinations have been produced, bodies have been carried, through the air, and a world of influence acting upon the minds of those called the media, has been evolved, proving that there are two classes of manifestation: the one which acts through a force that emanates, in all probability, from the person of the medium, an invisible unknown force, and the other a power which psychologically impresses the mind and compels the action of the medium.”
Emma Hardinge Britten

Then in 1872 Sir William Crookes began to investigate the physical mediumship of D. D. Home. Crookes’ findings, published in ‘Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism’, provided detailed records of the research he conducted. The experiments included tests where D. D. Home was able to cause an accordion to play when it was placed beyond his ability to influence it. Additionally he repeated a test, previously conducted by Prof. Hare that showed Home had the ability to affect the weight recorded on a set of scales despite the fact that his hands were placed in water and not in contact with them.
Sir William Crookes
DD Home and the tests.


At this stage Sir William Crookes and another major participant in the research, Sergeant Edward William Cox, agreed that the results failed to prove any reality for spirit contact. Despite this, Crookes remained open to the ‘spirit’ hypothesis, ultimately believing it proven after his significant study of Florence Cook, and the ‘Katie King’ materialisations associated with her mediumship. Cox was, however, of the definite opinion that the phenomena were related to unknown natural forces which he and Crookes agreed to call the ‘Psychic Force’.
Serjeant at Law Edward William Cox

So determined was Cox that this was a natural part of the human psyche he joined the move to establish a Psychological Society. On 15th November 1871, W. W. Harrison, the editor of the ‘Spiritualist’ newspaper, had called for this to be established outside of the Spiritualist belief, to encourage scientists to be involved. He wrote, “It is thought desirable that most of the members of the society shall not be Spiritualists”.

The Society came into being in 1875 but because Cox was the major driver of the project it ceased soon after his death in 1879.

With the failure of the Psychological Society, it would be a few years before a new body was formed; the Society of Psychical Research, in 1882. By its very name the Society acknowledged an acceptance of the concept of ‘Psychic Force,’ and was devoted to its study.

However, the first objects of the society published in the 1882-3 Proceedings said it would investigate “debateable phenomena designated by such terms as mesmeric, psychical and Spiritualistic”.

Initially the Spiritualist community was supportive, with the newspaper ‘Light’ being very confident that it would aid Spiritualism. Unfortunately, the Spiritualist members soon became alienated when an 1886 report by Eleanor Sidgwick denounced the medium William Eglinton as a fraud.
William Eglinton
Eleanor Sidgewick

The London Spiritualist Alliance rose in support of Eglinton with ‘Light’, its newspaper, leading the defence. This event caused mass resignations by the Spiritualists and created an uneasy relationship between these former compatriots.

There is little doubt that the research of Crookes and Cox, supporting the hypothesis of Flammarion, created a new theory about the production of the phenomena. A new term had entered the language and rapidly spread into common use in the journals and publications of the day.

By 1882 it was clear that the concept of ‘psychic force’, reflecting a natural form of energy interaction which did not involve the existence of Spirit, was widely accepted by those scientifically investigating Spiritualist phenomena. Even the great medium, Daniel Dunglas Home did not dispute this possibility, although the majority of Spiritualists at that time were strongly opposed to such a ‘non-spirit’ interpretation of the manifestations associated with mediumship.

Since that time, much of the research, and most para-psychologists, have focused on those aspects of the phenomena that appear to support the ‘psychic force’ hypothesis. In the main, their efforts have been concentrated on such things as telepathy, remote-viewing, and telekinesis, all areas that might best be described as demonstrating ‘psychic’ ability.

The idea of a ‘psychic’ force or ability, has progressively infiltrated society’s thinking and the word ‘psychic’, and the idea people might have ‘psychic abilities,’ has become widely accepted.

It is important, however, for us, as Spiritualists, to realise this concept has never related to a belief in Spirit Contact. In fact, it is fundamentally in conflict with the reality of Spirit communication. From the earliest days it has been associated with the idea that there exists a force that interpenetrates all things, and allows us to exercise our will upon matter, and to read the minds of others. From this perspective, all apparent ‘spirit’ communication can be explained away in terms of ‘psychic force,’ thus denying the reality of Spirit.

The current trend of viewing ‘psychic’ and ‘mediumship’ as synonomous, is not only inaccurate, but undermines the Spiritualist movement.

Although it is entirely possible that communication with Spirit utilises this force, thus all medium’s are ‘psychic,’ mediumship does not reflect the individual will of the medium, rather it demonstrates that of the spirit world and the intent of those in spirit to provide irrefutable evidence of their survival, an outcome totally different to the physical effects associated with the ‘psychic force’.


With acknowledgement to Psychic News 24th October 2009 where this was first published. All Rights Reserved © Jim & Lis Warwood




Last edited by Admin on Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The Psychic Force

Post by Admin on Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:05 am

Sadly we see this recorded about William Cox not long afterwards

The Theosophist
H. P. Blavatsky, editor
VOL. I., No. 4 - JANUARY, 1880



DEATH OF MR. SERJEANT COX.
Great consternation was caused at the Middlesex Sessions on Tuesday, by the announcement, before the commencement of the business of the day, of the sudden and unexpected death of Mr. Serjeant Cox, the presiding judge in the second court at these sessions.

Mr. Edward William Cox, Serjeant-at-law, was the eldest son of the late Mr. William C. Cox. He was born in the year 1809, so that he would be in his 71st year. He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1843, and raised to the degree of a Serjeant-at-law in 1868.

Than Mr. Serjeant Cox no man was better known in all London. At the Middlesex Sessions he has been judge for nine years. As one of the few still remaining wearers of the coif, he was a marked man amongst lawyers. He owned more papers than any man in England, and most of them, like the Field, the Law Times, and the Queen, have an unassailable position.

He was a philosopher, and made psychology his special study, having written a portly work of two volumes called "What am I?" as an introduction to the study of philosophy. He was also an elocutionist, and not only read in public, but wrote a work which was intended to explain to other people how to read and how to speak. Over and above all this, he was an ardent Spiritualist, and fought the materialists hand to hand with the evidence he thought he had of a spiritual world.

The death was sudden. Late in the afternoon he had sentenced a convicted prisoner to undergo a term of imprisonment. After dinner he, though a man of 70, went out to help in a penny reading. He came home, entered his library, sat in his chair, and died of heart disease. His death leaves a vacancy at the Middlesex Sessions, a vacancy in the magisterial bench of magistrates, a void in the philosophical world, and inflicts a heavy blow on the votaries of Spiritualism. It leaves, too, so much the less good-fellowship and geniality in the world.

We little thought when reviewing in our last issue, "The Mechanism of Man," it would so soon become our melancholy duty to record the death of its talented author.
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Re: The Psychic Force

Post by Admin on Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:07 am

THE MEDIUM AND DAYBREAK
LONDON, MAY 17, 1872.

No. 111.—VOL. III.

(Jims Note;Of course one of the sad things is that the defenders of Spiritualism fail as ever to really understand the concepts involved...hence this attack on Cox in Medium and Daybreak. Of course Cox would become influential in the exposition of Mary Showers as a fraud with the help of Anna Eva Fay)

Gerald Massey's lectures on Spiritualism.
The latter part of the lecture was taken up with a consideration of the theories and arguments of Mr. Serjeant Cox and Dr. Carpenter, a few passages from which we give in extenso:—


If psychic force be soul force, then psychical children have larger souls or more potent soul forces then psychical men, whereas non-psychical people, twenty-nine out of thirty, ought to have no souls at all, and we have arrived at that period of creation when the soul is just coming into being, with Serjeant Cox as obstetrist. Naturally, enough it would be born in the child! But, again, he argues that it is not a spiritual force, because it proceeds from the human organism. If so, he cannot include the spiritual in the human organism, so that the manifestations may not be at fault in demonstrating their origin as spiritual; only the Serjeant's previous conclusions, or present dubiousness on the subject of the spirit's existence. Given a non-belief in the spiritual absolutely, what amount of evidence will it take to prove its existence relatively? And if there be nothing spiritual in it, what then does Serjeant Cox mean by calling it Psychic Force? At page 37, first edition of his pamphlet, he informs us that the psychic is an unconscious agent—one who can neither command nor control the force of which he is the medium. It operates not only independently of his will, but does not even demand his attention. At page 44 he states that the force is controlled and directed by the intelligence of the medium—that is, by psychical consciousness acting unconsciously. The psychic does not know this, but Serjeant Cox does. In like manner the two German philosophers may not have been so far out. They sat watching the shower out of a window, in presence of a stranger; one said, nodding towards the falling rain, "Perhaps that is I making it rain;" "Or I," replied the other. The stranger sat and stared at the two singular aquarian specimens. At page 51 the Serjeant naively asks of his readers, "By what process is it that the unconscious action of the brain, asserted by Dr. Carpenter, who found out long ago how it was done, directs the psychic force to intelligent purposes?" Ay, there's the rub! If Serjeant Cox had asked that question of himself or his phenomena earlier, it might possibly have prevented his putting forth a theory that will be laughed at by men of science, and must be repudiated by Spiritualists.

When his psychical phenomena have been connected with "unconscious cerebration," and both harnessed on to Dr. Richardson's nerve atmosphere, we shall then be better able to show that the cause of all is spiritual. Not that we suppose there is an unknown force, more powerful in the child than the man, proceeding solely from the spirit or body of a psychic, capable of lifting a heavy table and knocking down a woman without the psychic's will, but that the spirit of the medium may be en rapport with vast and conscious spiritual forces which can make of it a centre of force for the purpose of effecting that which is performed. With them resides the intelligence to apprehend and the will that responds. Serjeant Cox supposes the psychic to be a centre to certain magnetic forces of the living bodies present. So it may be. But there is the obverse—that is, the spiritual—side to such fact. There would be no magnetic emanations of the body if it were not the seat of spiritual being. The origin of force is not in the human body. We do not originate the force we manifest. Everywhere and always there is that Beyond from which force is derived.

And we suppose the medium, by reason of the spiritual body acting more or less abnormally, to be the centre of operations for spiritual intelligences. Hence the force, as Serjeant Cox admits, is more like an influence, and the motions are unlike any known to matter. It is an influence from a power that is invisible—a will that is not embodied for us until the moment and in the act of manifesting the responding intelligence. Serjeant Cox says the conditions of the phenomena are wholly inconsistent with the spiritual theory. He does not point out one. He only assumes that if spirits be the cause, then no conditions that affect the psychic ought to hinder their operating at any time. But if spirits could act independently of mediumistic conditions, they would not need a medium, which we say is a sine quâ non [Ed. - essential, crucial, or indispensable ingredient without which something would be impossible] of these manifestations. Clearly, then, the conditions are the mediumship! On these the spiritual operators have to depend for certain manifestations. The phenomena demand an intelligent, conscious agency, which the Spiritualist theory supplies and the psychic theory cannot! The Spiritualists proclaim a force as old as humanity; they correlate their facts with the manifestations made in all times, amongst all peoples, and they account for them on a theory that has been extant for ages. Serjeant Cox proclaims a new force in Nature which cannot be correlated with any known force, mental or physical, by affinity or analogy, and one that is more powerful in a child than in a man!

I have only just glanced at Serjeant Cox's second edition, but I find that at p. 47 he says the Spiritualist theory "explains all the phenomena of Spiritualism"—I quote his own words; while at p. 60 he says, "All the ascertained conditions are inconsistent with the Spiritualist theory that these are the doings of the disembodied spirits of the dead." Again I quote his own words. Which of the two convey his meaning I do not know.

Let me not be misunderstood. I am discussing Serjeant Cox's explanations, not making fun of Mr. Crooke's experiments. They are real and right enough; and Spiritualists owe him a debt of gratitude for the patience he bas shown in pursuing them, and his pluck in announcing the results. He has our sympathy under the foul play and malevolent or stupid misrepresentations from which he has suffered, although our alliance would be of no service to him in the scientific world.

That which our psychic-force friends have taken in hand will assuredly bear them off their feet, if they stick to it. Our psychic-force friends do but touch physically the veriest fringe of the phenomena. They have but made a study of one ripple registered on the sand by the great ocean that is out of sight. I fancy Mr. Crookes has seen a thousand-fold more than he can scientifically demonstrate to others. If the force be spiritual, as we contend, it follows that physical science can only deal with that registered record in the sand of the ripple passed away.

I tremble lest some unfortunate psychic should be brought before Serjeant Cox, charged with killing a woman by throwing a table at her. He may plead irresponsibility—say he had no intention to do it, no control over the force, but that psychic force is the real criminal, instigated by Dr. Carpenter's "unconscious cerebration," aided and abetted by Dr. Richardson's "nerve-atmosphere." The plea would be perfect; the argument unanswerable, according to the Serjeant's overruling. How could he commit the man, when he has so committed himself?


Jim
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Re: The Psychic Force

Post by Admin on Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:28 am

Really when you study the history of the great Psychical researchers between 1870 and 1930 you will find that both Cox and Crookes stand tall but much of the greatest research was to appear in other countries through Richet. Joire, Osty et al.

In Reality we are looking at an era when the greatest evidence for Sprit communication and Psychic ability came together.
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Re: The Psychic Force

Post by mac on Fri Nov 25, 2011 12:09 pm

"In Reality we are looking at an era when the greatest evidence for Spirit communication and Psychic ability came together."

It's sad we presently don't appear to have anything even remotely similar ..... Sad

Good piece, Jim - I'll be taking a longer look later in the day.

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Re: The Psychic Force

Post by Left Behind on Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:44 pm

Great article, Jim!

I'm not the first to make the observation: but it doesn't help matters that the very publication the article was published in uses the term in its title.

That must have been an interesting seance, with Edgar Allen Poe, and Howard Phillips Lovecraft, both present as sitters! Laughing

Jim

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