Fifty Years a Medium – Chapter 14, 4/8 by Estelle Roberts

I have listened to the voices of old people and of children, and also of well-known public men, who have passed on, conversing in distinctive tones with their friends at the circle.
The popular explanation of these occurrences, as being due to fraud on the part of the medium and credulity on the part of the sitters, is obviously nonsense.

It would invoke the ability of the medium, or possible confederates, to see in the dark – to be able to act all sorts of characters and ventriloquize in the dark, and at the same time to have a most prodigious memory for names and facts which would have to be collected by a sort of super-detective agency,

the expense of which would be only equalled by the amount of blackmail paid to people from whom the information was obtained. Even this would fail to account for the phenomena, as many of the facts would be simply unobtainable.

I will pass on to something perhaps a little more reasonable; that is to the ideas of those critics, some of them men of high scientific standing, who while accepting the facts invoke the blessed words “telepathy, cryptaesthesia, and prosopopoiesis” to explain them.

Roughly their theory is that the unconscious of the medium can be split up into any number of secondary personalities, each acting its own part and drawing its knowledge not only from the sitters at the circle, but from what may be described as a kind of impersonal cosmic consciousness, in which, while personalities vanish, their thoughts and memories persist.

It would be quite outside the scope of this chapter to enlarge on these theories and criticize them in detail. At any rate, their authors do not take the easy path followed by so many contemporary men of science and ignore facts that do not fit into their particular scheme of things.

But I must point out that, in the first place, we have no proof that the unconscious of any individual can be extended in the amazing way required, and, secondly, that we have no knowledge of any form of consciousness in which personality does not have a share.

To one who has had the opportunity of observing the phenomena of the direct voice on many occasions, these theories seem as unconvincing as they are fantastic. The sitters, especially newcomers to the circle, are not disposed to be unduly credulous.

They are ordinary folk whose attitude is apt to be more critical than the reverse. It seems to be inconceivable that a mother could be deceived as regards the identity of her son, or a husband as regards that of his wife, so readily and invariably by any such personifications.

These hypotheses fail to cover many other well-verified superphysical facts. Personally I feel that there is no other explanation for the phenomena of the direct voice than the plain and straightforward acceptance of the view that the spirit guide is what he claims to be and the voices what they claim to be.

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