Case 13: Mind Reading
If one sits down in a quiet place where others are assembled, as in a study-hall, and attempts to read the thoughts of others, he must have (1) some way to contact the person whose mind is to be read across a space of several yards, and (2) contact once made, he must have a means of seeing or sensing the thoughts in the mind of the other and bringing back those impressions to himself.
Modern Psychology and Psychic Science offer no explanation of these two mechanisms. The idea of mental broadcast has been discredited by the fact that distance makes no difference in telepathic communication as it does in broadcasting. The idea of mental “vibration,” which was taken from the theory of sound vibrating air, has not been of the slightest practical help. The idea that disembodied spirits might get the thoughts of another and bring them to us, is likewise impractical as an explanation. That leaves us with the one explanation which can cover the conditions—the explanations of Huna.
I once undertook to test the possibility of reading the thoughts of others. I chose a study-hall for my laboratory. My method was to fix my eyes on the back of a student’s head, quiet my own thoughts, and wait for impressions. I practiced thus for ten-minute intervals for several days before I began to get results.
Moments would come when a thought or impression would float into my mind as if I had remembered something. Knowing that these memories had nothing to do with my own past, I accepted them as things coming from the mind I was trying to read. To a few of my closest friends I dared confess my activities, that I might ask them whether I had read aright. I picked up trifling things for the most part—things being thought of aimlessly when the conscious mind was not actively engaged. I received memory-like impressions of a new dress which was being planned; of a desire to go skating; of a young man’s bashful love for a girl.
Soon I exhausted my friends, or rather made them wary of my glance and so of no use to my experiment. I concentrated my attention next on a youth who seemed much given to reverie.
At first I read from his thoughts the picture of a strange room, small and dimly lighted and close—but desirable, despite its crude furnishings and bunk beds. Later I got an impression of a little old Chinese who had prominent teeth, but almost no chin. He seemed to be talking with my subject about something I could not get clearly. Later I got the name of the Chinese as “Squirrel.” This amused me and made me think I had supplied that descriptive name myself because of the teeth and chin.
Finally came a reading which told me that my subject longed almost continually for that room and the Chinese—longed for something to be had and tasted, because of the room and the man “Squirrel.”
Having accumulated sufficient data and a sufficient picture of what was heavy on my subject’s mind, I took him aside one day, introduced myself and began to question him. I got nothing but the stoutest and most angry denials. My next step in the rather long experiment happened to be related to this one of the room and the Chinese, but I did not realize that it was related when I began it.
In setting myself to read the thoughts of another young man, I was amazed one day to read in his thoughts the same longing and the same picture of the room and the Chinese. However, I read more fear than longing. The fear was at war with the longing for the peculiar “deep taste” I had sensed or felt as in my own body. What surprised me most was the recurrence of the name “Squirrel” in connection with the same Chinese.
I approached the second student and questioned him. I told him I had a feeling he was afraid of something, and asked if this could be so. He paled and said that in a way I was right. I next began to tell him of the room and the Chinese. He began to tremble and asked who had “squealed.” I then assured him that I had no information directly. I explained my mind-reading test and told him how I had found a startling similarity between his thoughts and those of one who seemed to be his friend. My subject considered the matter—still white and shaken—then laughed nervously and denied everything, even that he was afraid. Also, he asked me to mind my own business.
It was some months before I got to the bottom of the matter and learned that what I was convinced I had “read” was correct. A group of young men had taken to smoking opium out of curiosity. The Chinese to whose rooms they were in the habit of going was indeed called “Squirrel.” I had seen his face correctly. The opium-smoking group had, one by one, contracted the opium habit. The two young men whose minds I had read so successfully in the study-hall were part of the group. The first was not afraid; he was only desirous of his “smoke.” The second was not only desirous of his “smoke,” but was afraid that he had formed the habit and could not break it.
In the above case we see that the subconscious or low self is the one which must, at our command, set about learning to read the thoughts of others. The proof of this is that the conscious self or middle spirit cannot read minds itself by any effort it may make. One must let go the hold on the low self and relax mentally, assuming an expectant attitude and waiting to see what the subconscious is able to do after it has been given our order to attempt the experiment.
Most people have the ability to learn to use the simple psychic actions of consciousness. However, it takes practice. Some learn more rapidly than others, and some seem to have the ability naturally. The same thing applies to learning to use hypnotic suggestion, telepathy, crystal gazing and premonitions (to a lesser extent is this true of all premonitory activities, for the reason that the information concerning the future must be had from the High Self, if it is at the moment crystallized and on its way to becoming a fact in the future. The uncrystallized future is not to be seen, according to Huna.)
In order to make contact with the person whose mind is to be read (according to Huna theory), the subconscious self must first send out a thread of the aka or shadowy body stuff to connect itself with the subconscious of the person acting as the subject. (This must be done in telepathy and hypnosis, absent treatment and prayer—in the latter case the connection is with the High Self. All prayer is telepathic.)
The subconscious has the strange ability to project a portion of its shadowy body, something like an amoeba projects a part of its body to make a hand with which to grasp a particle of food. The kahuna vocabulary gives us several words to use in describing this act. First a “hand” is made and extended toward the person we wish to contact. Second, upon reaching the person, it is necessary to “pierce” and enter the shadowy body of the subject, as a spear would pierce a dense physical body.
It must be remembered that, according to the Huna theory, the subject, if aware of the effort to touch and pierce through into its invisible body, can usually cause its subconscious to repel such an approach. This would be done by an effort of the “will” of the subject’s middle self or conscious mind. (In the same way, hypnotic suggestion can be repelled.)
The third step, once the contact has been made with a subject who does not resist, a thread of shadowy stuff connects the two individuals. Along it travels a flow of the low mana or low voltage of vital force.
Connected in this way by an electrically charged invisible wire, the subconscious of the mind-reader projects a tiny part of its sensory organs to the far end of the thread and observes what thoughts are passing through the mind of the subject, duplicating these thoughts as thought forms or thoughts in their individual shadowy bodies, and sends them back on the flow of vital force to the mind-reader’s center of consciousness—where the thoughts are presented to the focus of consciousness of the middle self (much as a memory is presented by the low self when desired) and become known to the mind-reader proper, who is the middle self.
The above paragraph contains information of inestimable value. It has taken years to dig out the hidden meanings of the words used by the kahunas and to see at last just what takes place. To make this important mechanism clear, it must be reviewed in some detail.
The first and most important thing to understand is that the low self has in its shadowy body duplicates of every cell and tissue of the physical body, thus duplicating all sensory organs. If this were not so, the spirits who communicate with us through mediums would have to report that they are deaf, dumb and blind—which is quite contrary to the facts.
Proof that the sensory organs are duplicated in the low shadowy body is to be had from various experiments carried out with people who have taught their low selves to reach out a projection of their shadowy bodies and sense things without depending on the bodily eyes, ears, touch, etc. Kuda Bux, the fire-walker spoken of earlier, was able to project his visual sense from his physical eyes to the skin of his back, reading (while carefully blindfolded) newspaper headlines placed against his bare back.
I have watched a certain blind attorney walk into a store and slowly weave his way through a maze of counters and display stands, depending only on his trained ability to project his shadowy body’s duplicate sensory organs to locate obstacles. The men blinded in the war have recently been taught to sense obstacles in their path, the work being based on a supposed heightening of the sense of hearing. A small snapper is used and the learner listens as for an echo of the snapping sound, being told that there is a faint echo, and that he can learn to hear it in time and judge by it his distance from wall, door or object. It has been observed that when snow is falling, the ability to measure distances to objects is lost. Snowflakes do not muffle sound sufficiently to account for this failure, but if a projection of shadowy body stuff is being sent out, it would contact the snowflakes and report them instead of the more distant objects. Of course, there may be a very distinct ability on the part of a well trained subconscious, to catch the echoes of sound from distant objects and so measure the distance, but in this case, the physical ear would hardly seem a sufficiently sensitive organ in itself—demanding the projection explanation as a further aid.
Mediums at Spiritualistic seances have frequently had the experience of leaving their physical bodies for a time, and under certain circumstances (which we will examine later on). During these moments (usually while the physical body is in a deep trance or insensate condition) the mediums find their senses much keener than when used through the dense physical organs. They also find that they think more rapidly and more clearly when out of the physical in their shadowy bodies.
If a person leaves the body for more extended periods and goes to more distant places, they are said to do “astral traveling.” Much has been written to prove this form of traveling possible and a fact. In such travels distant places and persons are seen correctly.
The difference between mind-reading and astral travel is dependent on how much of the low shadowy body is projected. If only a small part is projected, the center of consciousness remains in the physical body, which contains the mass of the low shadowy body. But if the mass of the low shadowy body is projected, leaving only a thickish thread of shadowy substance to connect it with the physical body (astral cord), the center of consciousness necessarily moves with the greater part of the shadowy body and becomes actually present at the distant place which is visited.
This brings up the matter of being able to remember what has been seen after returning from the astral travel journey. Huna explains how memories are made—and so far we moderns have no other explanation to consider. A memory is a thought which has been preserved by being in some way impressed on a microscopic particle of the shadowy body substance.
Creating a thought seems to be possible to all three spirits of man as well as to animals and even lower forms of life. All thinking is done by means of vital force of some voltage. As each thought is formed, it is given its shadowy body and is fastened by a thread of the same substance (or by direct contact, perhaps) to thoughts which came before or after it (association of ideas in terms of modern Psychology is thus explained).
When a thought has been created and impressed on its bit of shadowy body substance, it is taken by the low self and stored in that part of the low shadowy body which usually interpenetrates those sections of the brain which we know are related to the act of remembering. In our normal and waking conditions, these thought forms are actually in the tissues of the brain, and when the middle self desires a memory, such as a friend’s name, the low self finds it in the place where it is stored in the combined brain-shadowy-body brain-duplicate-organ and presents it to the middle self to be sensed. Memories are recalled in chain form, associated memories being presented as they are dragged up with the memory desired.
For instance, when we remember the name of a chance acquaintance, we also remember how he looks, how his voice sounds and where we are accustomed to see him. Memory can be increased by careful attention to these associated ideas or thought-forms. The kahunas, we remember, spoke of these associated thought forms as “clusters”—clusters as of berries or grapes. A bunch of grapes seems to have illustrated the mechanism very well in that each grape is fastened to a stem, the stems to a central stem, and this to the vine and its root, and to the earth, and through it to all other things rooted in the earth.
The fact that vital force is used in the process of thinking has been well demonstrated through the experiments with the body and brain waves. These are not waves as in radio projection—a very important point to us—but are confined to the body very closely. Graphs made of the movement of waves of tiny electrical discharges through nerve and other tissues of the body show that when one is asleep there is a different graph marked on the charts. This indicates that the low self uses a different voltage of vital force in a different way in its thinking during sleep and dreams. The most marked and irregular graphs are caused by the combined thinking of both the low and middle selves during waking hours. During unconsciousness the needle of the recording machine shows almost no electrical action, allowing the graph lines to flatten out completely. In epileptic seizures the graph lines run very high before the peak of the attack, and flatten to nothing after the typical “fall,” when unconsciousness ensues (and, presumably, the low and middle selves leave the physical body temporarily.)
(May I suggest here, for the benefit of students of these matters, that epilepsy is the result of habitual attacks by disembodied low spirits who are able to overcome the resident low self of the afflicted individual and absorb the vital force from his body in a matter of a few minutes, despite the struggle to prevent such robbery. It is evident that the vital force is removed, as shown by the final loss of consciousness, and the slow recovery of consciousness and strength in the following period. Vital force is made from the food we consume, and it is to be thought that after the robbery of vital force by a low self or even a subhuman spirit, the blood sugar is gradually oxidized to create more vital force. It is possible that the resident low and middle selves are forced out of the body while the robbery is taking place, and that they return only after a time, being guided back by a connecting cord or strong set of threads of shadowy body substance holding fast between them and the dense physical body. Hypnosis has been used with marked success, in cases which I have studied and observed, to stiffen the resistance of the patient to the periodic attacks. The problem is closely related to that of changes of “selves” in multiple personality cases, and to cases of obsession by spirits in which insanity results, and in which the invading spirit is often made so uncomfortable in its stolen body through insulin shock methods that it departs and allows the rightful owners of the body to return.)
The mechanism of projection of a part or of the main mass of the shadowy body (low o combined with the middle as in conscious astral travel), is something which will bear close study. At the present stage of this investigation upon which I am reporting, it cannot be said just how one is able to project a thread of shadowy body substance across the room, or the whole shadowy body mass across half a continent. The best guess seems to be that the magnetic nature of shadowy body stuff, when charged with vital force, and acted upon by the consciousness, results in the use of attraction or repulsion as a motive force. By analogy we can consider the action one of extending a “hand”—as the kahunas did. But when the mechanism is finally understood in its fullness, magnetism may play a large part, especially when it comes to explaining the almost violent attraction exerted to jerk the astral traveler back to his body when the latter is disturbed.
In mind-reading, as in telepathy, the thought forms of one person are not taken from him by another. It is evident that duplicate thought forms are created by the very act of sensing what thoughts are present in the mind of the subject or of a fellow operator in a telepathic exchange. It is also evident that, each time we recall a memory, we create a duplicate of it in the process of considering that memory. Thus a poem is learned by repeated remembering of its lines, and a repeated reduplication of the memories of the words and lines—until all associated thought form clusters are very strong and permanent and easily found and brought to the focus of consciousness by the low self. (Remember that the middle self cannot remember. It cannot store thought forms in its shadowy body, and, if separated at death from its partner low self, is unable to remember who or what it is or has been. It is indeed a sorry ghost in the separated condition.)
The low self stores all our memories in its low shadowy body, and after death, we are able to use those memories. They do not die with the decay of the brain tissues of the dead physical body. The annals of Psychical Research are replete with cases in which the dead returned to communicate with the living through mediumistic persons, or otherwise, and the very proof of a survival after physical death is based on the endless proofs that the dead remember the events of their physical life.
Case 14: Telepathy or Thought Transference
Telepathy, like mind-reading, is a simple use of psychic powers which involves neither the spirits of the deceased nor the cooperation of the Superconscious or High Self.
It is surprising how little practice it takes to develop slight telepathic abilities in most people.
Detailed studies and reports on telepathic experiments may be found in any good library. Outstanding are books by Eileen Garrett, Upton Sinclair and Dunninger, the mind-reader of the stage who has endeavored to send telepathic impressions to those listening to his radio broadcasts. (There seems to be conflicting evidence as to the success of the radio experiment. If proved successful, it would mean that, if we apply the Huna theories, the human voice, even when turned into radio waves, and then back to sound by receiving sets, can still carry across a thread of shadowy body substance to connect the broadcaster and his listeners. This would seem to be an incredible mechanism, but there are others equally incredible which have been fairly well verified. In any event, we must not overlook even the slightest possibilities or clues to the ancient magical practices.)
In Tahiti there has been a famous use of telepathy for some years. It is called the “cocoanut radio,” and appears to be a systematic sending of news by telepathy around the main island, beginning at the port village of Papeete. When events of news value occur at the port, the messages are sent telepathically to natives living at various places around the island, most of them elderly women. In various accounts which have been written, instances have been given in which the names and descriptions of visiting tourists were sent ahead of them as they journeyed around the island. They were expected wherever they arrived.
In far places in Africa news of British political decisions has been received hours and sometimes days before the official word has arrived, the natives acting as telepathic receivers, or as astral travelers bent upon gaining news of events important to their lives.
Dr. Rhine of Duke University has done more than any one man to make telepathy scientifically acceptable, and extrasensory perception a recognized part of Psychology.
Checking Dr. Rhine’s experiments with my friends in a group meeting each week in 1946, I found that several individuals had natural telepathic abilities. This increased during some months of weekly practice.
One evening, using the cards devised by Dr. Rhine, each bearing a simple figure or symbol, I seated myself at one end of a long room, and at the other end, facing me, placed a lady of good ability to act as recipient of my telepathic messages. I shuffled the cards, then turned them up one by one, glancing at each as it was turned up, and holding the intention to send a telepathic impression of the symbol to the recipient.
Nine cards were turned up and the symbol on each was promptly named. As this was the most perfect score yet attained in the group, those who formed the audience became excited and began to make distracting exclamations after the ninth consecutive correct call. The tenth card was mistaken. But nine out of nine is conclusive proof for our purposes, especially when there is so much proof of telepathy that our interest now fastens more on how it is done than on the fact that it is done.
The mechanism of telepathic communication is the same as that of mind-reading except that both parties are aware of an effort to send thoughts from one to the other. Here we see again the relaxed and receptive state of the recipient, and the need for a connecting thread of shadowy body substance along which impressions or thought forms travel on a current of low voltage vital force.
At this point nothing will be said about the telepathic messages in which future events have been sensed by t the recipient, who took them to be impressions of present events. This will come later.
Case 15: Crystal Gazing and its Significance
Crystal gazing or scrying is a very ancient practice in magic. The kahunas often placed round black stones in calabashes of water, swished the water over the stones to make their rounded surface shine, then gazed on the shining surface, and soon saw the characteristic visual images appear.
There is nothing about the crystal which makes it peculiarly useful for gazing purposes. Any bright and rounded surface will serve the purpose, as a water-filled round container, for instance. Images have been seen in like fashion in pools of ink poured in saucers, or even on blank plastered walls.
The images seen in the crystal by a relaxed and expectantly observing experimenter show every evidence of being dream images rather than actual images which could be photographed or which could be seen by several people at once.
In cases in which several people have reportedly seen the same image in the crystal, the image would become something similar to the visions seen by groups of people over battlefields or other places where past events were to be observed in process of visual reenactment.
The purely dream-like image is seen only by one individual, the actively engaged crystal gazer. The images are visual and they move, as in dreams, sometimes they are accompanied by impressions of sound, as in dreams.
The desire to see a given thing, place or person, acts to give the psychometric quality to crystal gazing, causing the projection of the shadowy body substance to contact some one or thing at a distance. Usually the projection follows an older thread which already connects the gazer with the thing to be seen. While this mechanism is not yet fully worked out, it seems that the image in the crystal is a dream impression produced by the subconscious self after it has extended its sensory perceptions as in mind-reading or telepathy, and has made observations of distant things or scenes and has brought back thought forms of the impressions, reconstructing them in the dream image centering around the crystal.
Some years ago in Lovelock, Nevada, I carried on a series of experiments with a friend who had, under my instruction, developed in a few weeks very excellent abilities in crystal gazing.
The gazing crystal was a magnifying glass in the form of a paper weight. It was laid on dark cloth and was looked into while relaxed and desiring to see certain places or people. The best results were obtained if the gazer touched with her fingers a letter or some other object which had been in contact with the person she wished to see in the crystal.
Several of her friends and mine were seen in this way in the crystal, and by writing these friends to ask whether or not they had been seen correctly, a check was made on the results. The check showed a surprisingly accurate performance. One of my friends was seen to approach a mine tunnel with a camera and tripod. He sat down and read from a small black book until the miners came out of the mine, whereupon he photographed them and went away. This is a good example of a distant scene, people and set of actions, all correctly seen over a distance of about five hundred miles. The event took place at the time it was being seen in the crystal. (Sometimes events were seen before or after they actually took place.)
After I left Lovelock, I received daily letters from my crystal-gazing friend telling me what I had been seen to do each morning at a little before a given hour. Places and people seen by me were accurately described. One peculiarity was noted: When I went down into a mine, the vision in the crystal seemed unable to follow, but remained stationary on the ground surface and equipment at the head of the shaft. Later the image faded.
There are cases on record which also show that the spirits of the deceased may play a part in creating and exhibiting the visual images associated with crystal gazing. A most interesting account (see Fodor) of such a case was given before the Dialectical Society by a Mr. F. Fusedale. His children were discovered crystal gazing with a silvered ball from their Christmas tree, having found by accident that they could see pictures in the ball. The children were able to sense the presence of a friendly spirit who was producing the images. The scenes were of distant lands and of landscapes in the spirit world, so the children stated. The parents also saw the images. Soon the ball was broken, and thereafter the spirit obligingly showed the moving and colored pictures on a white plaster wall. The parents were impressed by arctic scenes in which people and dogs moved as in life. A ship was caught in the ice.
Messages in writing have been seen in crystals.
The relation of crystal gazing to astral travel is apparent in cases in which a distant place is seen in the crystal, and then at the wish of the operator, the scenes are explored, as in one case by moving from room to room and observing what things and what people were in various parts of a large house.
The dream characteristic is seen in the nature of the image, it frequently being such as to give the impression of viewing actual scenes at close range, even standing in the midst of the scenes. A further suggestive angle is to be found in reported instances in which the operator imagined a scene or event, and it then built up as a visual image in the crystal, the event continuing to unfold. In this way an author was able to imagine an opening scene of a book she was to write, and when the image developed in the crystal, she sat back and watched the characters in her proposed novel enact step by step the action of unwritten and unplotted chapters. A few years ago in Hollywood one of my friends who was among the highest paid scenario writers of the day, told me that his ability to turn out such a large amount of screen material was the result of having the knack of beginning a story, then watching a plaster wall until images appeared there and moved through the length of the whole film. He would watch to the end, then write in scenario form what had been seen.
A sharp distinction, therefore, must be drawn between three kinds of images seen in the crystal or on a blank wall. (1) The dream-like image of a distant place or scene (or future event), (2) the visual images produced by spirits and which may be seen by several people at once (indicating a more substantial image than the subjective or dream image), and (3) the purely dream-like image produced first as imaginings (but with the creation of thought forms which may be used in producing a later image in the crystal) which have no relation to actual places or events at a distance or to future events which will take place in the surroundings foreseen.
The nature of the substance from which images are created, in cases where they are seen by several people at once, is uncertain. It is probable that the substance is similar to that from which thought forms are made, that is, shadowy body substance. (Later we will consider this substance in its relation to ectoplasm.)