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Dynamistograph Matla and Zaalberg van Zelst

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Dynamistograph Matla and Zaalberg van Zelst Empty Dynamistograph Matla and Zaalberg van Zelst

Post by Admin Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:10 am

Hi All,

Anyone looking at EVP may notice a reference to these two Dutch Gentlemen because historically their work is seen as a precursor to modern day EVP creating a machine desdribed as being like a telex. From the material they gathered by "communication from spirit" they put together a book called "The Mystery of Death" published in 1913 in Holland.

I have only managed to find one small picture of the device which I have added to this (I have seen others and you may find the machine alternately called the "Cylinders of Matla"). I know others exist and Hereward Carrington wrote in detail on it with illustrations which are sadly not available in the etext version of the book I was able to download.

However for your eternal edification here is what I have found.

"Dynamistograph MODERN PSYCHICAL PHENOMENA Carrington 1919

INSTRUMENTAL communication with the " spirit world ! "
That has been the ambition of a certain group of occult and psychical students since the very origin of their investigation. Improbable nay, impossible as it sounds, many have continued to believe, in spite of grievous disappointments, that this would one day be accomplished; that the time would come when we should have some sort of telephone by means of which direct communication with the " spirit world " would be rendered
possible; or that some sort of instrument would be devised which would render this dream an actual reality.

It really seems that this vision is at last becoming an established fact, and that the day is at hand when unreliable or fraudulent mediums will be dispensed with, and
" communication " held directly with those who have gone before.

This, at least, is the startling claim made by two Dutch physicists whose researches I propose to summarize in this article; and, without actually endorsing their conclusions, it may be said at once that they have adopted a bold and original method of research, and that their experiments will have to be " explained away " in some satisfactory manner, if we are to refrain from accepting the dramatic conclusions which they believe they have

The experimenters, whose work I summarize, are Dr. J. L. W. P. Matla and Dr. G. J. Zaalberg van Zelst, of The Hague, Holland. They are well-known in spiritistic and occult circles there; and also for their original work in high-frequency currents of electricity, liquid air, and the compression of gases. Scientifically, they were well equipped for the task. More than twenty-two years of labour had preceded their final conclusions, which were given to the world in a voluminous work, in Dutch, entitled The Mystery of Death. (1913 It is from this work that the majority of the facts contained in this article are drawn.)

Before outlining their experiments, however, one or two remarks may be made as to the character of the task they undertook, and the general nature of the problem. Without these explanatory details, much of what follows might not be clear to the reader.

What we know as a " man " consists, not in the clothes he wears, nor in his body flesh and bones; but in the mental being, the "ego", within. This is always invisible to us; so that it may in truth be said that we never see a man in this life. We see only his externals. His real "self” is never known by us, except indirectly. Let this truth be fully grasped at the outset, as it is very essential.

This mental being consists of consciousness and memory; together they constitute what we know as the " personal identity." We say that this consciousness is John Smith, or Henry Wood, or whoever it may be. Even if we do not see his body, but only hear his voice over the telephone, we say the same thing. (There are many hair-splitting divisions which might be made here as to the real nature and constitution of the self, but the
psychological terms used are only broad and general, so as to make the idea as clear as possible.)

Whenever we come into touch with mental life, then, it is always associated with a living, physical organism. No matter what animal it may be, its mind is always known to us through its manifestations in the physical body. It is the same with man. This being so, how prove that this consciousness continues to exist after the destruction of the physical body?

We can prove this in only one way. We must get in touch with that consciousness if it still exists and obtain from it proof of its continued existence. Just as we proved the existence of argon in the atmosphere by isolating it, so we must prove the existence of this surviving consciousness by isolating it; and getting it to prove its " personal identity " to us by much the same means that it did on earth by telling us facts which only that consciousness knew. This is proof of personal identity proof of some form of survival.

Now, there are two ways in which this can be done by mental manifestations, so-called automatic writing and speech, visions, " messages," and all the class of mental phenomena known to students of the occult. The other way is by means of physical manifestations by materializations, photographic means, voices, raps, etc, indicating intelligence. Instrumental means such as the telegraph and telephone are the latest methods tried, and it is such a process which we will describe in this article. The question, therefore, is this: Were the instruments in question manipulated directly by some external intelligence (a spirit), and if so, How? If we exclude all normal methods of moving the instruments in question, some other explanation must be forthcoming; if spirit-identity be proven, we stand face to face with the great possibility of direct instrumental communication with the spiritual world! It is a great a tremendous thought! Let us see how far we have progressed along this perilous road.

The first experiments were crude and primitive enough. A small room was constructed, with a solid concrete floor, so as to shut off earth vibrations so far as possible, seven feet long, six feet broad and nine feet high. It was connected with the outside passage by means of one door, all other doors and windows having been carefully sealed with thick, black material. This door into the passage contained a small window, guarded by blinds and the experimenters took up their position outside, in the passage, whence they watched the fluctuations of the instruments during the experiments. (That is, they were not in the room at the time at all.) Sometimes it was necessary to employ opera-glasses to see the variations in the recording instruments during the course of the sittings. At other times, the shadow of a moving index-pointer was cast upon a screen, upon which a graduated scale had been drawn, thus permitting an enlarged image of the movement to be seen and registered.

In this room was placed, first of all, a cardboard cylinder about 20 inches high, 10 inches broad, and having a capacity of about 22 litres that is, about two-fifths the size of the solid human body. This cylinder was covered with sheets of tinfoil sealing it hermetically. A small hole in the upper edge of the cylinder was made, and
a flexible rubber tube was inserted here, connecting the interior of the cylinder with a " manometer " a sort of thermometer, placed sideways, and containing one drop of alcohol, which, under normal conditions, occupied a position in the centre of the glass tube (like a spirit-level) . If any solid object were introduced into the cylinder, it would of course displace a portion of the contained air, and this drop of alcohol would indicate the amount of air displaced by running along the graduated scale until it stopped at the correct figure. The instrument was tested in various ways and found accurate.

The investigators then retired, and asked the " man-force " as they called the manifesting " spirit " not wishing to call it by that name to enter the cylinder and displace some of the contained air. Immediately the bubble was seen to run along the scale of the manometer, showing that part of the air had been displaced by some solid or semi-solid body. The degree of displacement was noted. At request the alcohol drop was caused to run along the scale, back and forth, a number of times.The fact of coincidence was thus quite excluded.

It was soon found that this first cylinder was too small. Accordingly, other cylinders were constructed 40, 50, 55 and 60 litres in capacity. From a number of observations, Drs. Matla and van Zelst came to the conclusion that the size of the body occupying the cylinder was approximately 53 litres. The weight of this body was then tested and calculated, and found to be about 69.5 grams approximately 2.25 oz. These results were checked by the employment of a second cylinder, which was used as a "control".

Experiments were then undertaken to ascertain the precise physical constitution of this curious " body." As the result of a number of elaborate and laborious experi-
ments, Drs. Matla and van Zelst arrived at the following conclusions:

That this " body " is capable of contraction and expansion, under the action of the will of the " man-force," the expansion being 1.26 mm., or about one-forty-millionth of its own volume; its contraction being much greater, viz., about 8mm., or one-six-and-a-quarter
millionth of its volume. Its specific weight is about 12.24 mgs. lighter than hydrogen, and 176.5 times lighter than air. The will acts upon this body mechanically, causing it to expand (rise) or contract (descend) as the action takes place. It is thus still subject to the law of gravitation. There is an X-force which holds the molecules of this body together as yet unknown. The atoms composing this body are small, widely separated, but heavy. The internal density of the body is about the same as that of the external air; if the pressure of the air outside the body be increased, that inside the body will increase in exact proportion. If, however, the body rises too high, it disintegrates (like deep sea fishes brought to the surface), and then we see the fearful spectacle of a man going to pieces before our eyes!

These calculations are based upon the earlier experiments which, interesting and ingenious as they were, nevertheless were crude compared with those undertaken at a later stage of the investigation. Partly as the result of " instructions " imparted by the communicating "spirit" (man-force), and partly upon their own initiative, Drs. Matla and van Zelst constructed a very elaborate and ingenious instrument termed by them a " dyna-
mistograph," complex in nature, yet sensitive, and apparently capable of being influenced by the communicating intelligence through the medium of electricity. A description of this instrument is necessary, as being one of the most elaborate devices ever constructed, in order to talk to the spirit world " direct.

The " dynamistograph " is an electro-mechanical instrument, consisting of three principal parts: ( i ) the key; (2) the indicator; and (3) the register, or recording apparatus.

The indicator consisted of a wheel, upon which were marked 28 equidistant spaces. In these were marked the letters of the alphabet, a period or full-stop, and a blank space. This wheel was driven by an independent motor, so as to perform one-twenty-eighth of a revolution in five seconds that is, move forward one letter in that time. This letter appeared at a small opening, as its turn came; and at the moment of its appearance if the "key" were pressed, this letter was printed by means of the register or recording apparatus.

This register consisted of a small hammer, to which was affixed a magnet. At the moment of closing the electric current (the result of pressing the "key") the magnet was drawn up, the hammer struck an inked ribbon, beneath which was a letter corresponding to the let-
ter indicated on the large disk. In this way the same letter was instantly recorded on a strip of paper, slowly wound out, like a stock-ticker ribbon.

The "key" was a very intricate piece of apparatus, and it was this that the "spirit" or "man-force" was asked to press at the moment the right letter appeared on the large indicator. This key consisted of a sort of lever or beam, to which were attached two rings, capable of revolving freely; a membrance of fine material stretched tightly over them; and a lever, to the opposite end of which was attached a very fine hair, connected with a delicately adjusted series of screws beneath. If the key were pressed ever so little (that is, if the "spirit" stood or pressed upon the membrane, and its weight were ever so small, it would affect the apparatus, by this delicate series of adjustments and relays, and thus close the contact. Electricity would then pass along the wires and connexions, and the hammer record the letter exposed at the moment the key was pressed.

Dynamistograph Matla and Zaalberg van Zelst Dynami10

Part 2 follows

Last edited by Admin on Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:14 am; edited 1 time in total

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Dynamistograph Matla and Zaalberg van Zelst Empty Re: Dynamistograph Matla and Zaalberg van Zelst

Post by Admin Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:12 am

Part 2

"The electric current was provided by a Wilmshurst machine. The light used in the room during the experiments was acetylene gas, which the experimenters had found the most efficacious. The membrane forming the "key" was 38 cm. broad (about 15 in.). The whole apparatus was placed in a cupboard, kept at a constant temperature and barometric dryness. The experiments or "communications" by means of the dynamistograph covered a period of one year, in which daily messages were received. The experimenters assert that the weight of the "spirit form" gradually decreases, as the years pass a form 100 years old weighing only about one quarter as much as one ten years old! Slow disintegration is evidently taking place. The molecular intervals in the body are said to be 176 times greater than that of ordinary air. The entire body of this strange being is full of air, and is not separated from the atmosphere by any protective sheath or covering of an impervious nature. The being is thought to pass through those solid objects through which it can pass by a species of osmosis its molecules being small enough and far enough apart to permit this.

It has been said that the energy which holds this body together is a hypothetical X-force (akin to one which exists in the physical body, and upon the departure of which
the body disintegrates and goes to pieces). What is the nature of this X- force? Can it be augmented or increased? If so, would not communication by these means become much clearer and surer? Is it akin to electricity, and if so, what kind of electricity? These are some of the questions our experimenters asked themselves, and to which they advanced more or less tentative answers, based upon several hundred séances.

In the first place, then, it was found that the weather, atmospheric conditions, played a large part in the character of the manifestations; phenomena were better in spring and summer, and weaker in autumn and winter which, we must remember, is in Holland largely a wet, rainy season. This suggested some connexion with atmospheric electricity, and the inference is further borne out by the fact that, in high altitudes, and in dry climates, psychic phenomena of all kinds have usually been better and stronger.

Electricity, then, played some part in these manifestations. How large a part and what kind of electricity? 26 seances were devoted to answering this problem.

Natural induction was tried first of all; then artificial induction; frictional electricity; high and low-frequency currents, etc. Metal plates were charged positively for an hour by a Wilmshurst machine, and negative induction thus obtained in other (copper) plates. After this induction, it was found that the apparatus could be more easily operated. The X-force thus seemed to be strengthened by artificial induction. High frequency currents were then tried, with considerable success. From twenty to twenty-five thousand volts were found efficacious though the current actually operating the machine had to be weak. The theory of the experimenters was that the X-force was probably electrical in nature, and that if this could be fortified from "this side" mechanically, it would stimulate the phenomena, and at the same time supply the necessary force mediums expend, preventing the “vital drain" upon them which is now so well known to exist. For the purposes of its manifestation, the "spirit" must obtain added energy somehow, and the usual method of procedure (apparently) is to abstract this power from the circle of sitters, and chiefly from the "medium" who is in this manner and for this reason exhausted. If a mechanical energy of any character could be found which would add to the natural energy of the manifesting entity, and obviate the necessity of this drain upon the medium, it would indeed be a great forward step in psychical research and a great benefit to mediums all over the world. These experiments are as yet in a relatively embryonic state.

And now a few words as to the theoretical import of all this.

Bulwer Lytton, in his Haunters and the Haunted that greatest of all ghost-stories said: “In all that I had witnessed, and indeed in all the wonders which the amateurs of mystery in our age record as facts, a material human agency is always required. On the continent, you will still find magicians who assert that they can raise spirits. Assume for a moment that they assert truly, still the living, material form of the magician is present, and he is the material agency by which, from some constitutional peculiarities, certain strange phenomena are represented to our natural senses. ... In fine, in all such marvels, supposing even that there is no imposture, there must be a human being like ourselves by whom, or through whom, the effects presented to human beings are produced."

I myself went so far as to suppose that this energy common to two worlds, which both can manipulate would be vitality the living energy of the human body, about which we know so little. (Problems of Psychical Research, p. 48) If the experiments that we have just narrated prove true, however, we shall have seriously to reconsider these statements, and ascertain whether manifestations of this character might not be produced without the instrumentality of any human being, but by instrumental means alone. If this proves to be the case, then some form of electricity would seem to be the intermediary between the two worlds. We may then have a wireless direct to the spirit world !

Seriously, however, we seem on the verge of great discoveries in this field, and I for one feel certain that these could be made if only we had a properly equipped Laboratory in which to conduct such experiments. What we need, in such a Laboratory, one may safely predict, would be: (1) suitable instruments for recording these phenomena; (2) men to conduct the experiments; and (3) money enough to endow and conduct the Institution.
In a rich and progressive country such as this, it is absurd that such a Laboratory should not be founded and maintained; and it is not too much to believe that from it we should soon obtain facts of the greatest significance and of the utmost importance. It is earnestly to be hoped that such a Laboratory may one day be founded.

To return, however: It is quite conceivable that while the spiritual and the material worlds cannot interact one with another in any direct and continuous manner, they might nevertheless do so in some more indirect and round about way. We are here, of course, encountering one special aspect of a very old problem the connection of mind and matter how the brain, being a material thing, and consciousness, being an immaterial thing, can touch and interact with one another at all. It occurs to me that this would only be possible provided that some etheric, or vital intermediary were present, and that without this, communication would never take place any more than could electricity travel without a medium. By a series of intermediaries, one slightly more material than the last, we might have a continuous series of connections, from an immaterial to a material sphere. The Gnostics, as we know, held this view their "Daemons" corresponding to the Hierarchy or Ten Intelligences of the East. Thus the Gnostics held that matter and spirit could have no intercourse they were, as it were, incommensurate. How then, granting this premise, was
Creation possible? Their answer was a kind of gradual elimination. God, the Actus Purus, created an aeon; this aeon created a second; and so on until the tenth aeon was sufficiently material (as the ten were in continually descending series) to affect matter, and so cause the Creation by giving to matter the spiritual form.

We have an analogy for this in our modern physics. In electricity, e.g., what are known as u relays "beautifully illustrate the principle here outlined”. In working over long lines, or where there are a number of instruments in one circuit, the currents are often not strong
enough to work the recording instruments directly. In such case there is interposed a "relay" or "repeater”. This instrument consists of an electro-magnet round which
the line-current flows, and whose delicately poised armature, when attracted, makes contact for a local circuit, in which a local battery and the receiving Morse instrument
(sounder, writer, etc) are included. The principle of a relay is, then, that a current too weak to do the work itself may get a strong local current to do its work for it.

If this be true, it is certainly conceivable that spiritual beings (granting that they exist at all, for the sake of argument) might be enabled to manipulate a delicate energy of some sort, which in turn would liberate a stronger energy, and so on down the line until one is liberated capable of being recorded by our delicate physical instruments. If, as now seems certain, the human will is a dynamic energy, and thought can impress the photographic plate, it is certainly but a step from this to existing physical apparatus so delicate that it will register the heat of a candle at a distance of half a mile (Langley's bolometer), or measure the temperature of stars distant from us many millions of miles in space, and quite invisible to the naked eye. The step seems but a short one indeed!

The hope is certainly legitimate, then, that we shall one day stumble upon a means of direct instrumental 4 communication between the two worlds and that these preliminary experiments of Drs. Matla and van Zelst hile they may not be conclusive in themselves nevertheless indicate to us the road we must travel, and hold out hope for us that here is at least an avenue of approach worthy of our highest efforts and greatest hopes. For surely, were such a method of communication established, by means of some intermediary or some instrument, it would revolutionize our science, our phi-
losophy, our religion, our ethics, our outlook upon life as a whole in a way nothing else possibly could. And the man who discovers such an energy common to the two worlds and learns how to direct and utilize it for the purpose of communication, will assuredly be hailed as the greatest scientist of all time; one beside whom Newton and Galileo and Darwin and Archimedes will shrink into insignificance, and their discoveries appear small and trivial when compared with this great cosmic truth ! The road is open, then, for the ardent and daring scientific adventurer to take his fortune in his hands and fare forth upon the highway, with the knowledge that his efforts may succeed in bringing to light, and demonstrating to us, not only the possibility of direct intracosmic communication, but the very existence of a spiritual world about which there is, nowadays, so much doubt! Such a discovery would indeed revolutionize human thought; recast science; remould philosophy; and prove the " preamble to all Religions""



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