The Unexplained

Startling new discoveries in ESP by leading experts

"How do clairvoyants tell the future, faith healers heal, the living spek to the dead?"

Allen Spraggett



by Bishop James A. Pike
Selected Bibliography


Recently I received a letter from my mediumistic friend James Wilkie—the man who predicted the Cuban crisis—which ended with the postscript, "Love from Rama. . . ." Rama is a ghost.

No, not the kind that haunts houses; he prefers people to old ruins.

Rama is Wilkie's "spirit guide" or "control"—the trance personality that regularly manifests through him. Every medium has such a guide—a kind of ghostly collaborator who helps things along from the Other Side, and drops in during seances to say a few words through his entranced mouthpiece.

Rama has been talking in Wilkie's sleep since the latter was a boy. According to Rama's own story, he is an expatriate from the Upper Nile who has passed his four—thousandth birthday "by your earth time." He was, as he tells it, high priest of a mystery religion that celebrated its rites in huge caverns ablaze with votive lights.

In the Salem of three hundred years ago, Rama probably would have been called Wilkie's "familiar," and the medium might well have been burned at the stake to drive the evil spirit out of him. In today's psychiatric consulting room, Rama might be diagnosed as a "parthenogenetic secondary personality," or a "symbiotic self"—at any rate, a presumptively morbid symptom to be exorcised, perhaps by using that modern equivalent of the ancient rite of discovering the demon's name (and thereby power over it) called psychoanalytic word—association; or possibly by shooting electricity through the medium's head.

However, Wilkie is not a mental case merely because he perceives sights and sounds that other people do not. Mozart, so witnesses attest, heard his symphonies with full orchestral effects before he wrote them down, and the prophet Ezekiel apparently saw those spectacular psychedelic visions of his that are recorded in the Bible, yet these gentlemen are not commonly considered to have been mad.

Apparently it is possible for two sets of symptoms —in these cases, unconventional seeing and hearing— to be phenomenologically similar, yet dissimilar in their causes. One syndrome may be abnormal, while the other—in the case of creative geniuses, religious visionaries, and mediums—is supernormal.

Wilkie was born in the Scottish highlands, where "second sight" is common and runs in families, where many villages have their soothsayer and the man who doesn't believe in ghosts is considered odd. Wilkie says that he has spent as much of his life in the society of ghosts as in the company of the living.

"I prefer the dead to the living," Wilkie says, "because I have nothing to fear from the dead. My best friends are ghosts." Not being a Spiritualist myself, I reserve final judgment on Wilkie's claim to have commerce with the departed, and also on the intriguing question of Rama's true identity—whether he is indeed the spirit of a centuries—old seer or merely a dramatized figment of the medium's unconscious mind.

However, I do not reserve judgment on Wilkie's claim to possess psychic powers, because this has been proved to me beyond doubt. He is clairvoyant, able to diagnose sickness intuitively, sometimes to cure it by supernormal means, and a veritable Nostradamus when it comes to precognition.

What exactly, is a "medium"?

There are two main kinds of mediumship: mental, which includes such familiar phenomena as telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition; and physical, which involves psychokinesis—such as the levitation of objects—and materialization, in which replicas of dead persons are formed out of ectoplasm, a mysterious substance said to be drawn from the medium's body.

A few mediums deal in both kinds, but most specialize in one of these two areas.

There are conflicting theories about mediumship, about what it is, and how it operates.

The Spiritualist view, familiar enough, is that the medium is just that—a medium through which the living can contact the dead. He is a transmitter between worlds.

Another theory attributes mediumistic phenomena not to spirits, but to forces within the unconscious mind of the medium. Interestingly, there are a few— very few, actually—mediums who are not Spiritualists and support this subjectivist hypothesis. One of these, Mrs. Eileen Garrett, the famed trance medium and psychical researcher, is said (by editor Maurice Barba—nell, in London's Psychic News) to have come to the conclusion that her own spirit guides, Uvani and Abdul Latif, probably are dramatized expressions of her unconscious.

There is a third possibility: that mediumship is both objective and subjective and derives from powers inside and outside the medium.

Is there such a thing as a typical medium? Is there, for instance, a mediumistic temperament? Well, most mediums are high—strung no doubt, but whether this means they would show a higher anxiety quotient on a Rorschach test, or whether they gulp down more tranquilizers than other people, is moot.

Their personalities do tend to be fluid, unstable, and prone to dissociation (the trance, whether hypnotic or mediumistic, is a dissociated state—that is, one in which part of the mind appears to break away from the mainstream of consciousness and function more or less on its own).

Intelligence? There does not seem to be any necessary relation between it, or the lack of it, and mediumship. Most mediums I know would rate average, or below, in formal education. However, there have been a few mediums with college degrees, and at least one, Emanuel Swedenborg, was acclaimed a scientific genius.

Many mediums appear to be inept in the world of practical affairs, but there are notable exceptions. John Myers, for example, is a medium who serves as an executive in a large New York firm; Eileen Garrett founded and for some years directed the Parapsychology Foundation of New York, which sponsors psychical research at the graduate level; and Maurice Barba—nell combines mediumship with the demanding job of editing London's thriving Psychic News, the world's largest Spiritualist newspaper.

The great difference between a medium and other ordinary mortals is his special relationship to his own unconscious mind—his ability to free it from control by the cerebral cortex so that it functions more or less independently, as a kind of autonomous mental system. If poetry is "a highly conscious art," mediumship is a highly unconscious one.

Primitive man, who had a powerful unconscious and not much else in the way of a mind, may have been psychic. He probably had to be if he was to know what was lurking around the bend in the forest trail, and thus survive long enough to perpetuate his species.

Modern primitives—such as the Australian Maori— seem to inhabit a dream—like world in which extrasensory awareness is normal. This apparently is a primordial mode of knowing, more diffuse than the specialized perceptions of the physical senses. The primitive, from some reports, is intuitively aware of danger, senses the imminence of death, and appears in some cases to experience a kind of undifferentiated oneness with his fellows and his environment. He is at home in his world—unlike civilized man in whom the atrophy of the psychic sense has been accompanied by a growing feeling of alienation from others, from the world, and even from himself.

Psychic awareness is probably not a function of the highly developed cortical stem but of the more primitive midbrain (otherwise there could be no animal ESP). Extrasensory awareness seems to emanate from the organism as a whole. It is not limited to man, apparently, but manifests itself in lower forms of life, too. In fact, ESP may be the explanation for certain anomalies of animal behavior, such as manifestations of the homing instinct in creatures as diverse as birds and eels, and the kind of performance in which a school of fish—made up, in some cases, of thousands of members—suddenly changes course, the individuals acting in perfect unison as though directed by a common brain. Such activities may, of course, ultimately be traced to some hitherto undiscovered physical sense (recent research into the homing instinct of salmon during the spawning season, for example, suggests that it stems from a hyper—acute sense of smell), but on the other hand, ESP is a possibility.

Since mediumship is, in one sense, the return to a more primitive state of being—namely, ascendancy of the unconscious over the conscious mind—it can be described as a "regressive" phenomenon. But so is dreaming regressive, for that matter (even rats dream )^ and experiments in dream—deprivation have shown that our regular regression into fantasy during sleep is necessary to our sanity during waking hours. Apparently, no higher organism can stay sane under conditions of absolute reality. Is the trance state— which is known among primitive peoples—one of nature's ways of protecting the mind and nervous system against unusual stress?

The trance state may have affinities with the phenomenon of hibernation in animals (as psychologist Leslie LeCron has suggested), which appears to have been created by nature to enable the animal to survive a long, cold winter.

The evidence indicates that the trance state per se is not harmful in any way to the organism, but is actually therapeutic. However, other factors related to the trance in the practice of mediumship may be harmful. At any rate, some observers say that raediumship can be debilitating if practised excessively, and that the risks of mental and moral breakdown are considerable. There are lurid stories of mediums going to the dogs and ending up as dope fiends, dipsomaniacs, or sexual variants.

Physical mediums (a vanishing species, by the way) have a saying that "it does take it out of one, you know." A medium who professed to produce materializations told me that for her, coming out of a trance after a strenuous seance was "like waking up minus your arms and legs, and not knowing who you are, where you are, or what you are. . . ." The mediums I know are not moral wrecks, but warmhearted, lovable human beings, weird and wonderful. They are, I believe, among mankind's most valuable natural resources, because mediumship, in its highest form, offers perhaps the best hope we have of penetrating the mysteries of life and death.

Jim Wilkie's mediumship is of the highest order. He regards his psychic gift as a solemn trust and its use as a religious ministry. His primary goal is to be of use to people, and I know that he has been just that, often selflessly and sacrificially. Like all reputable psychics, he is ashamed of the swindlers who still infest the ranks of mediumship and exploit the credulous.

Wilkie was first aware of seeing "spirits" when he was only six or seven. At that time, he also had intimations of the future; once, in his mind's eye, he saw the local blacksmith's shop suddenly change into a scene of carnage. A few days later, there was an explosion that wrecked the shop.

At first, he thought that all people could see and hear everything he could, but he was soon disenchanted. His dour Presbyterian father used to take a dim view of his talk about visions and voices and would mete out punishment accordingly.

Wilkie was aware of the presence of Rama very early in his psychic development. He often conversed mentally with his invisible companion. Occasionally the guide would appear before him—a tall, imperious figure in flowing robes and a headdress covered with starlike symbols. More often, Wilkie saw only a giant brown hand, beckoning. He spent hours alone as a child, in isolated spots in the hills, brooding on his mysterious experiences.

A climactic event occurred when Wilkie was twelve; he went into a trance for the first time and became a mouthpiece for the entity called Rama. This was a memorable and—as Wilkie recalls it—a somewhat traumatic experience. The unfamiliar sensation of slipping into unconsciousness—which one medium has likened to "being pushed out of your body through the back" —caused Wilkie to panic, and in his efforts to break out of the psychic thrall he inadvertently plunged into a china cabinet. The partnership between Wilkie and Rama got off, there and then, to what one might call a smashing start.

Wilkie refers to himself as a "natural" as well as a trance medium, by which he means that he is psychic whether asleep or awake, although Rama only manifests through him when he is blacked out.

My first sitting with Wilkie (who was living at the time in the town of Newmarket, Ontario) was for a demonstration of clairvoyance (my meeting with Rama came later). I took notes during that seance in order to be able to reconstruct the occasion accurately.

The medium and I had not met before; he knew me only as a clergyman addicted to the pursuit of the supernormal. We chatted briefly to break the ice. I was a little distracted by Wilkie's habit of looking over my head instead of directly at me. Then he explained: he was studying my aura—the psychic emanation that everyone purportedly gives off, said to provide important clues to the individual's emotional and physical state. Wilkie liked my aura, which he said was "a vibrant rose color, indicating viatlity and vivacity."

The medium showed me into his sanctuary, a small, chapel—like room reserved for psychic demonstrations. There was one door and there were no windows in the room. The walls were decorated with religious objects that indicated a syncretistic outlook—a photograph of the Dalai Lama hung next to a print of Hofmann's famous head of Christ ("Rama says Christ looked very much like that," Wilkie volunteered).

Taking my wristwatch—"to pick up your vibrations"—the medium settled back in an armchair, his eyes closed, concentrating. He did not go into trance but into the borderline state that Spiritualists refer to as being "overshadowed." His fingers stroked the watch, "psychometrizing" it.

After a few minutes, he murmured, "Your mother. . . . She gave you this watch. She died two years ago. She was in good health right up to her last illness—in fact, she was proud of the fact that until she became very sick, she never showed her age."

This all rang a bell. My mother did not have a gray hair until she was nearly sixty. She died, two years before, at sixty—four, from a heart condition. Wilkie mentioned more items concerning her, some of which did not fit, and some of which were unverifiable. For instance, he described a brooch that he said my mother was wearing when she was buried, but I could not remember whether this was so or not.

Wilkie continued. "I see your father's house, a small, one—story house. That's strange—the front door hasn't a drop of paint on it. . . . must be brand new." True. Actually the unpainted front door was a new storm door.

"You and your father were talking just before you came here about whether or not he will come to live with you and your family. You want him to. He's not sure. Your father is a very—shall we say, stubborn— person." How true.

"Now I see where you and your family live. It's a small community—only one main street, in fact. Yours is the big, old house near the end of the street—the last house but one. It stands on a small hill. A creek is nearby." All of this was correct.

Wilkie rambled on for more than a half—hour, picking random bits of information out of the air like a human radio receiver. He told me that my church recently had been repainted light blue inside. He said our cat had died and the children missed it. He mentioned that my wife had a minor ailment—which he correctly described—and predicted it would soon clear up (it did). He cited a number of strange happenings in our house, pinpointed the room in which they had occurred, and attributed them to a "friendly haunting." (These "happenings" involved mainly the strange movements of household objects—movements that did not appear to be due to normal causes.)

My notes show that fully 75 percent of the items Wilkie mentioned to me were completely correct. Some of the others were partial hits. The remainder must have wandered in from a different wavelength, because they meant nothing to me.

Can this kind of performance—which Wilkie improved in subsequent sittings—be put down to lucky guessing or the law of averages?

To answer this claim, which is often put forth by skeptics—that mediums are good guessers, but that their hits, if analyzed, are canceled out by their misses —some parapsychologists (Professor Gertrude Schmei—dler, for one) have set about to compute the probability factor in certain mediumistic communications. The idea is simple enough: to determine mathematically the statistical odds against a particular psychic communication being the result of chance alone.

Each item is scored individually, according to its accuracy—whether partial or complete—and according to its degree of improbability. For instance, if the medium gave correctly names like Jack, Jim, or Tom, the score would be lower than for names like Zoltan, Ponzi, or Ethelred. In this manner, the parapsycholo—gist is able to come up with a score for the communication as a whole, which indicates whether or not it can be considered the result of anti—chance.

Dr. Schmeidler has found that certain mediumistic communications cannot be accounted for on the basis of luck, guessing, coincidence, or any conventional hypothesis.

There was one item, among the many correct ones in the medium's feet. It moved upward, ebbing and flowing, rising, falling, then rising even higher.

(I watched, almost entranced myself. This, I thought, was like life returning to a lifeless body.

Wilkie's wife, next to me, plucked my sleeve.

"It's Rama," she whispered. "He's coming." Suddenly, the medium threw back his head, eyes still firmly shut, and made a peculiar corkscrew gesture, using his thumbs, in the center of his forehead. Wilkie explained later that this characteristic gesture ?—an inevitable preliminary to Rama's coming—symbolizes the opening up of the medium's "third eye," the eye of psychic perception in occult lore.

In the next instant, Wilkie sat bolt upright. His arms slowly and deliberately crossed themselves on his breast—as though in some form of Eastern greeting. The head bowed slightly.

Wilkie's face had undergone a metamorphosis. The features were the same, but this was an imperious mask, creased with the wrinkles of age. The mouth was not full and generous like Wilkie's but pulled into a thin, tight line. The face had an Oriental look. This was no longer Jim Wilkie sitting before us. Rama had arrived.

"We bring you greetings from the world of Spirit, and we say God bless you," Rama intoned.

The voice was another shock. Rich, fluid, resonant, it bore little resemblance to the medium's normal reedy tones. And there was not a trace of Wilkie's thick Scottish burr, but in its place a vaguely foreign sound, an ever—so—slight slurring of the sibilants.

So different is Rama's voice and diction from that of the medium in his normal state that even Wilkie's father (when Wilkie was a grown man) did not recognize a recording of Rama as his son speaking. In fact, he wrote to Wilkie from Scotland thanking him for sending the tape and asking: "Who was that Rama? He certainly can preach!"

Rama "looked" straight at me. His eyes were still firmly shut, yet he seemed to see with a kind of extra—visual awareness.

"We greet you, beloved friend," he said to me. "We are so happy to have this opportunity to meet. God bless you and yours."

"And God bless you, Rama," I replied, as matter—of—factly as I could. "I, too, am happy that we are able to meet." (Somehow, talking to a "ghost"—this one, anyway—seemed perfectly natural.) Rama proceeded to monopolize the conversation. He spoke to me about my personal plans and gave hints of the future—including the news, unlikely at the time, that I would become a newspaperman.

I asked Rama how he was able to foretell the future. He likened living in his world to standing on a moun—taintop overlooking a wide valley. The valley is this world of time and space. Events, both past and future, stretch out below the mountain like a vast panorama of countryside. Those events which are farthest in the future appear dimly, as distant objects would. The closer to the present the future events are, the more clearly they can be discerned.

Trying to pinpoint when a future event will happen, then, said Rama, is like estimating the distance of an object: again, the nearer it is, the more accurate the estimate is likely to be.

"We do not know everything," Rama allowed, "only a little more, really, than you do on the earth plane. There is so much still to learn. . . ." Rama mentioned relatives of mine "on the Other Side," and passed on purported messages from them, some of which were highly individual and characteristic of the alleged communicators. Other messages, however, were meaningless to me.

Rama said there are "rest homes, I believe you call them" on the Other Side in which those who pass over in a troubled state of mind—as, for instance, after a violent death—are nursed back to mental health and helped to adjust to their new lives.

One of my relatives was in such a rest home, Rama said, because she was not yet ready to face the fact that she was dead. As he explained it, she had the delusion that she was still on earth—a delusion which is not surprising since the descriptions of the spirit world make it sound very much like this world.

"It's going to be a surprise when we tell her where she really is," Rama said. "And I fear she's in for quite a shock when she discovers that there are those of other religions than hers in heaven." He gave a ghostly chuckle. "She never expected that."

It was my turn to chuckle; the comment rang very true.

Rama lectured at considerable length about the weaknesses, as he saw it, of orthodox Christianity— chiefly, I suspect, for my benefit. He said at one point that the monumental error of orthodox religion was its repugnant doctrine of an everlasting hell.

The afterlife of Rama's description is a state of mind. It includes continuous progression from lower to higher levels as the soul matures in wisdom and understanding. Those who have passed over dwell at different levels, in keeping with their degree of spiritual evolution. No soul, however depraved, is lost eternally, said Rama, but some must climb out of a deep hell that they have dug themselves.

Rama spoke with reverence of "the great high Teacher, Christ," and of himself as one of "the shining ones who serve the Christ."

He explained that Christ dwelt, with other exalted beings, on a plane much higher than his own, but he saw him at least once a year "by your time."

After his theological dissertation, addressed to the circle as a whole, Rama spoke to the other members individually. He gave to each a few words of pertinent counsel.

His words shook one woman (not Wilkie's wife), whom he chided for her "foolish behavior." She burst into tears. It was obvious that Rama was discussing with her, in veiled terms, a very personal matter unknown to anyone else in the room. The woman, seemingly in a chastened mood, promised to heed his admonitions.

Then Rama announced that the time had come for him to return to the "higher spheres." He lifted his hands in an expansive gesture of benediction.

"Peace be with you," the strange voice intoned, "and God keep you until we meet again." The arms went limp, crumpled into Wilkie's lap. The ancient visage drooped forward until the chin rested on the chest. Slowly but perceptibly, the body slid again into death—like torpor. Then the odd pulsation began in the feet, moving slowly upward through the trunk, in the same ebbing and flowing rhythm. Wilkie stirred. He grimaced, stretched, yawned, rubbed his eyes, opened them slowly, blinked.

"Well," he said, his voice heavy with sleep, "how was the sitting? What did Rama have to say?" Who—what—is Rama? Every medium, as I have said, has his control, or controls, who take over during a trance. In my adventures as a peripatetic ghost—hunter in several countries, I have made the acquaintance of a galaxy of similar beings, some more colorful even than Rama. These "spirits" include a Red Indian who called himself Wanitou, and his daughter Princess Laughing Water; a Chinese sage with an unpronounceable name; a Scottish lassie who introduced herself as Mary Martin; an Arabian knight who answered to Abdul Abullah; and an Anglican clergyman of this century who was coy about identifying himself because he had died a coward's death.

If you are fortunate enough to get to know a medium as a friend, and are taken into his confidence, the sincerity of his attitude toward his control is evident.

Jim Wilkie has told me of several instances when Rama has saved his life. During World War Two, Wilkie was serving aboard a freighter in the British merchant navy. His ship was one of a fleet lying at anchor at Bari, Italy. Suddenly, Rama began to "shake" Wilkie—a sign that he wanted to "come through" immediately. So strong was Rama's determination to manifest that Wilkie blacked out in a trance on the spot. Rama spoke through his lips to the astonished sailors gathered around, most of whom knew about Wilkie's mediumship, and believed in it.

Rama said, "In three days there will be death and destruction all around you. Beware!" Three days later, German dive bombers blasted the merchant fleet out of the water in a surprise attack. Wilkie, needless to say, did survive. . . "

Is a spirit guide a discarnate human being? The mere fact that such an entity exhibits psychic powers is no evidence that he is truly a spirit being; the living can exercise psychic power, as we know. Nor does the dramatic transformation in Wilkie under Rama's control prove that the strange voice emanating from his lips comes from the far side of the moon.

A phenomenon similar to the trance personality is known to psychology. In some cases of advanced hysteria persons develop "secondary personalities," as if their ego were splitting into any number of subsidiary selves.

In amnesia, something like this happens. A bank clerk, a deacon in the local church, disappears. He turns up a year later working in a gambling casino in Searchlight, Nevada. He has no recollection whatever of the intervening twelve months, during which he grew a beard, took up karate, and married an exotic dancer named Bubbles.

Such episodes—and they are uncommon, but not rare—are known as "fugue states." Psychiatrists interpret them in terms of flight from an intolerable reality.

Under hypnosis a good subject can be induced to play many different roles. A big game hunter, a famous TV personality, even a man from Mars—you name it, and the hypnotized subject will do his utmost to be it.

The celebrated case of Eve White (reported in the book, The Three Faces of Eve by Corbett H. Thigpen and H. M. Cleckley—New York: McGraw—Hill Book Co., Inc., 1957—and the sequel, The Final Face of Eve by Evelyn Lancaster with James Polling—New York: McGraw—Hill Book Co., Inc., 1958) is a classic example of how bizarre a case of multiple personality can be. Eve White had two distinct personalities coexisting in the same body. Through psychotherapy these two finally were integrated into a single personality that combined the best elements of the previous ones. This, in turn, eventually broke down and a fourth, and stable, Eve emerged, apparently more mature than any of her predecessors. The split in Eve White's ego was due to traumatic childhood experiences that forced her to repress certain tendencies. These tendencies then took on a life of their own and manifested themselves mainly as Eve Black, the antithesis of Eve White.

The instances cited indicate that a spirit control is not necessarily supernormal but may be merely abnormal, a secondary personality of the medium. This would not, of course, imply play—acting or faking by the medium. A secondary personality is not a conscious impersonation, but an autonomous self with a psychic life of its own—another "person" occupying the same body as the normal person.

However, there are differences, as well as similarities, between a mediumistic trance personality and the typical case of multiple personality from the records of psychopathology.

In the first place, the trance personality is in one sense under the control of the medium's conscious mind; as a rule, it manifests only at the summons of the medium. This is not true of the multiple personality, which comes "out" at will, independent of the wishes of the normal self.

Moreover, the Spiritualist guide represents a high moral code and generally has an elevating effect on the medium's ethical life. The multiple personality, on the other hand, often is morally deficient and sometimes drags the body into acts that the normal self would shun. The spirit control is considered an asset by the typical medium, a source of blessing and guidance. The victim of multiple personality, however, invariably regards his second self as a liability, a demon to be exorcised.

And last, the mediumistic trance personality characteristically possesses powerful ESP, while the standard secondary personality is not noted for this.

Of course, these differences may prove merely that trance personalities are a special class of multiple personality. A psychoanalyst who spent years brooding on the dynamics of mediumship, Dr. Nandor Fodor, has said that all mediums are persons with unstable personalities like the radioactive elements, but that they are no closer to insanity than genius is. To Dr. Fodor, the spirit control represented repressed tendencies in the personality of the medium.

Interesting evidence supports this: Word association tests given to Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard and Mrs. Eileen J. Garrett, two British mediums, and to their controls, "Feda" and "Uvani," respectively, revealed a counter similarity. This means that the mediums and their respective controls gave responses that were quite opposite, exactly what one would expect if the controls did represent repressed aspects of the mediums' unconscious minds.

However, in the case of Mrs. Garrett, a series of rigorous medical tests some years ago in New York produced evidence that her controls may not be merely split—off fragments of her own self. (For a full report, see Two Worlds—London: Psychic News Press, May 1965). The experiments were conducted by Dr. Cornelius Horace Traeger, a specialist in arthritis and heart disease, and included nerve reflex tests and the administration of drugs to observe their effect both on the medium herself and on the entities controlling her.

A physician who participated in the experiments, Dr. Elmer Lindsay, explained their purpose: "Dr. Traeger, when he started, had not much use for the psychic interpretation of Mrs. Garrett's phenomena. He regarded them as being explained by a split personality. But he was open—minded and the experiments went on, Traeger cooperating with his medical associates and laboratory technicians.

"They tried to find the relationship or nonrelation—ship physiologically by testing, with Mrs. Garrett both normal and in trance, the blood count, bleeding time, clotting time, respiration, pulse, heart pressure, and cardiac reaction by an electrical cardiograph, as well as by the injection of various drugs.

"The results were really startling. They were so surprising that Dr. Traeger hesitated to show them to his colleagues. No human heart could show records so diametrically opposed and divergent." Dr. Lindsey added that when drugs were used it was discovered that one substance that stimulated the medium in the conscious state, acted in such a different way when she was entranced by her guide Abdul Latif, that cyanosis (blue discoloration of the skin from non—oxidation of the blood) and collapse followed.

The tests were carried out with the full cooperation of Mrs. Garrett's two chief guides, Uvani and Abdul Latif. The former claims to have been an East Indian, the latter a Persian physician who shuffled off this mortal coil seven centuries ago.

The standard procedure was that Mrs. Garrett would submit to a test in her normal state, then Uvani would entrance her for a twenty—minute period and submit to an identical test, followed by Abdul Latif doing the same.

When the bleeding time was tested, it was found that in the case of Mrs. Garrett it took three minutes for the bleeding to stop. In Abdul Latif's case, the time was ninety seconds; in that of Uvani, it was only thirty—three seconds. The blood counts—the percentage of white to red corpuscles in a given measure of blood— also varied. For Mrs. Garrett the count was 70, for Uvani 85, and for Abdul Latif 115. These results suggested an actual change in the physical composition of the medium's blood when she was entranced. And in Abdul Latif's case, a test for blood sugar showed such an abnormally high level that the natural diagnosis was diabetes. Yet, in the conscious state, Mrs. Garrett's blood sugar was normal.

Drug tests produced odd results. Mrs. Garrett in the normal state had a tolerance of adrenalin. However, this drug had the same effect on Uvani as it would have on any ordinary person taking the same dose for the first time. Abdul Latif also was stimulated by adrenalin.

When atropine was injected, the results again varied. The medium in the waking state experienced the normal reaction to the drug—passivity. However, on Abdul Latif it had the opposite effect. On Uvani, it had little effect one way or the other.

Cardiographs were taken for the three personalities —Mrs. Garrett, Uvani, and Abdul Latif—and they were all different. The variance was considered outside the normal range for the same person.

These startling findings indicate that objective physical changes indeed occur in the medium's body during trance. Do the results prove the medium's controls are independent beings? Not necessarily. Striking and suggestive as the results were, too—hasty conclusions should be avoided.

Is it conceivable that all, or some, of the effects were the result of self—suggestion by the medium? Consider the dramatic change in the blood sugar level— from normal when the medium was awake, to very high when Abdul Latif was in control. I know of no hypnotic experiments to regulate blood sugar (although they may have been done), but I do know of a few similar experiments. It is, for instance, a fact that the secretion of certain enzymes that are normally present only during digestion, such as pepsin, can be induced in a hypnotic subject by the suggestion that he is eating a meal. Also, the flow of gastric juices can be stepped up or slowed down by suggestion.

What about the varying reactions to the drugs? Again, we know that a hypnotized subject can become intoxicated by water if he is told it is whiskey. And conversely, I myself have demonstrated the power of direct suggestion to remove the effects of alcohol. A subject under hypnosis, who had had a few drinks at a party and felt a "glow," was made cold sober instantly by the suggestion that he would wake up from the trance feeling perfectly normal. Apparently his unconscious interpreted "perfectly normal" to mean sober.

What about the variant cardiographs? Well, we know that hypnosis can retard or accelerate the pulse and raise or lower blood pressure. Certain yogis are said to have attained such mastery of the mind over the body that they can, at will, stop their hearts for a moment, then re—start them. This suggests that even an involuntary function like heart action is profoundly susceptible to suggestion.

It is conceivable then that the results of the medical tests on Mrs. Garrett and her controls are explainable in terms of self—hypnosis, or identification. The psychological mechanism of identification applies in cases of devout Catholics who have reproduced the wounds of Christ—the stigmata—in their own bodies. Psychoanalysis regards these stigmata as hysterical lesions caused by an intense identification of the subject with the crucified Christ.

In somewhat the same way, Mrs. Garrett may identify so completely with Uvani and Abdul Latif, respectively, that in trance she takes on not only their fancied mannerisms but their physical "stigmata," too—including sugar in the blood and a cardiograph variation.

In some mediumistic cases, controls have been suspected of being spurious. The persons they claimed to be have proved to be real persons, all right, but very much alive. Spiritualists call this "possession by the living" and go to ingenious lengths to account for it by the spiritistic hypothesis. However, it seems more than a little difficult to explain the phenomenon when the control has represented himself as authentically being the spirit of a dead person.

Even a great medium, Mrs. Lenore Piper—William James thought her the most eminent mental medium of his time—had her questionable control, Dr. Phinuit, who claimed to have been a French physician but could not explain his curious ignorance of the French language.

We even have a pretty clear notion of how such a pseudo—personality is developed. The famous psychologist G. Stanley Hall invented an imaginary niece, Bessie Reals, and solemnly asked Mrs. Piper, in trance, to establish contact with her. There was no difficulty in eliciting from this purely fictitious "spirit" the same kind of messages as had come from other purported excarnate human beings.

Several parapsychologists are inclined to distinguish between the fabulous personages called "controls," and other "communicators." They assume that the controls may be secondary personalities, while the communicators may actually be surviving spirits of the dead.

However, one problem with this theory is that seemingly genuine communicators (those that convincingly reproduce the individual characteristics of the purported dead person) invariably accept and defend the genuineness of communicators that are blatantly spurious. The effect, of course, is to cast doubt on the authenticity of any of them.

Dr. Hornell Hart, former professor of sociology at Duke University, has attempted to reconcile these objections and the suvivalist hypothesis (that human personality does survive physical death) with a piece of sophisticated intellectual one—upmanship called the "Persona theory." (See his book The Enigma of Survival—Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas, Publishers, 1960.) Dr. Hart's theory, as I understand it, is this: Mediumistic trance—personalities are built up by telepathic collaboration between the unconscious dramatizing powers of the medium and those of the sitters; or between those of the medium and those of a discarnate spirit.

A "persona," then, is a personality—structure that, like an hallucination, can be either fictitious or veridical. If it is veridical, this means that an actual, surviving spirit is manifesting through a temporary facsimile of his earth personality, which was built up by a collaboration between his discarnate mind and the unconscious mind of the medium.

Presumably, the crucial test of the genuineness, or otherwise, of a communicator is the impression he makes on those who knew him in life. Always allowing for possible ESP on the medium's part, does he ring uniquely true? Is the characteristic diction there, the personal idiom? Does he demonstrate familiarity with memories shared by the sitter? Do the scores of little nuances which make a personality as distinctive as a fingerprint come through?

This kind of "proof," by the nature of it, must be highly personal and difficult to communicate to another. How can you prove to a radical skeptic that the person you are talking to on the phone really is your wife? How can you be absolutely certain it isn't a clever impersonator? After all the obvious reasons have been exhausted, there remains a residue of certainty that is yours alone and cannot be communicated to anyone else.

In the October 1960 issue of Fate Magazine, Dr. Nandor Fodor speculated that secondary personalities—which mediumistic controls may be—are perhaps not strictly pathological, as is generally assumed, but may be "evolutionary manifestations of an unsuspected human potential." He asked, "Is there a possibility that the human psyche, in a parthenogenetic fashion similar to the division of cells, may give birth to another, junior self? In the light of this query, are split or multiple personalities strictly morbid?"

Dr. Fodor concluded that notwithstanding their dubious pedigree, spirit controls should be taken seriously, both for themselves and for what they have to say.

"They do have a life of their own," he has told me, "and they look out onto an area of reality which is closed to us.

"Their words should be considered carefully, for what they say often has great truth in it and penetrating insights. At other times, it is gibberish, but even this may be decipherable in the same manner as strange words created in dreams yield their secrets to the psychoanalytic word—association process." What is Jim Wilkie's Rama?

Whether the commanding voice of this entity issues merely from the medium's own unconscious, or from a source beyond this, the fact is that he is a personality distinct and separate from the medium's normal self.

80 THE UNEXPLAINED Wilkie and Rama have their conflicts, too, which are not devoid of humor, and sometimes have a macabre, almost sinister tone. The medium once ruefully confessed to me that there are times when he has to assert himself or he thinks Rama would take over completely (then, presumably, Rama would be the "normal" personality and Wilkie the secondary one; even now one occasionally wonders which is which).

There have been a few occasions when Rama has "come through" without the medium's conscious permission. Some of these have been while the medium was asleep. On two occasions Rama forcibly took over to restrain the medium from certain acts which would have jeopardized his (and Rama's) future. These occasions were of such a personal nature for Wilkie that I am not free to describe them here. Psychologists might speculate that the time Rama forcibly manifested on board the merchant ship during World War Two to warn about the impending air raid indicates a concern not only for the welfare of Wilkie and his shipmates, but for his own (Rama's, that is) survival. After all, without Wilkie, Rama may be dead, so far as this life is concerned.

A clue to Rama's genesis may lie in Jim Wilkie's relationship with his father. Wilkie said he always felt rejected by his father, who regarded him as incompetent, a failure. Apparently the senior Wilkie was a strong—willed man. He had served in the British army in Egypt and used to regale young Jimmy with stories of pyramids and camels. He had even picked up quite a bit of the language.

Is Rama a father—substitute, created out of now—forgotten materials by the medium's unconscious needs? At any rate, Rama has done some startling things. He has been a good friend to us. Once Wilkie phoned my wife Marion, to tell her that Rama was concerned about our baby who was seriously ill—as, in fact, she was—and had paid us an astral visit a few moments before to give healing. (Wilkie at this time lived three hundred miles away and we had had no contact for several weeks.) If my wife would check immediately, Wilkie said, she would find that the baby's fever had broken and she was much better.

Marion went to check while Wilkie stayed on the line. She discovered that the baby, who had been under a doctor's care, was indeed markedly better. This dramatic improvement had occurred since her previous check just a few minutes earlier, Rama, whoever you are, I salute you.

[End of Chapter 4]

The Unexplained by Allen Spraggett
Books by Allen Spraggett at

Books by Allen Spraggett at

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