Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair, , at sacred-texts.com
Please let me repeat, I am not telling here a set of fairy tales and fantasies; I am presenting a record of experiments, conducted in strict scientific fashion. All the results were set down day by day in writing. For an hour or two every day for the past three years my wife has been scribbling notes of her experiments, and there are eight boxes full in her study, enough to fill a big trunk. No statement in all the following rests upon our memories; everything is taken from memoranda now in my hands. Admitting that new facts can be learned about the mind, I do not see how any one can use more careful methods than we have done.
My wife "saw" Jan carrying a bouquet of flowers, wrapped in white paper, on the street, and she wrote this down. She later ascertained that at this hour Jan had carried flowers to a friend in a hospital in Los Angeles, and she telephoned this friend and verified the facts. On another occasion when Jan was in Santa Barbara, a hundred miles from our home, she "saw" him escorting a blonde girl in a blue dress from
an auto to a hotel over a rainy pavement; she wrote this down, and later ascertained that it had actually been happening. The details were verified, not merely by Jan, but by another member of the party. I ought to add that in no case did my wife tell the other persons what she had "seen" until after these persons had told her what had happened. No chance was taken of their making up events to conform to her records. Always Craig kept her cold-blooded determination to know what was real in this field where so much is invented and imagined.
Again, she "saw" Jan preparing to commit suicide, dressed in a pair of yellow silk pajamas; then she "saw" him lying dead on the floor. She was much disturbeduntil Jan reminded her that he had been seven times publicly "buried" in Southern California before she met him. Several weeks later she learned that in one of these "burials" he had worn yellow silk pajamas. Jan had forgotten this, but Dr. Frank Sweet, of Long Beach, who had overseen the procedure, remembered the pajamas, and how they had been ruined by mud.
Craig saw a vision of a bride, at a time when Jan, in his room in a far part of the city, was awakening from sleep with a dream about a friend's wedding. On two occasions, while "concentrating,"
she got the impression that Jan and a friend of his had returned unexpectedly from Santa Barbara to Hollywood. In both cases she made careful record, and it turned out to be correct; I have a written statement of the two young men, confirming the second instance, and saying that it could not have been normally known to my wife.
I have also a detailed recordsome twenty pages longof a "clairvoyant" vision of Jan's movements about the city of Long Beach, including his parking of a car, carrying something over his arm, visiting a barber-shop and a flower-shop, and stopping and hesitating and then going on. The record includes a detailed description of the streets and their lay-out, a one-story white building, etc. Jan had been doing all this at approximately the time specified. He had carried his trousers to a tailor-shop, with a barber-shop directly opposite; he had stopped in front of a flower-shop and debated whether to buy some flowers; he had taken a letter to be copied by a typist, and had stopped on the street, hesitating as to whether to wait for this copying to be done. All these details he narrated to my wife before he knew what was in her written record.
Another curious experience: I took Jan to the
home of Dr. John R. Haynes of Los Angeles, to give a demonstration of his mind-reading. Jan said he felt ill, and would not be successful. Only one or two of the tests succeeded. But meanwhile my wife was at home, concentrating, and ordering her subconscious mind to show her what Jan and I were doing. When I returned I found that she had written a detailed description of Dr. Haynes' home, including a correct ground plan of the entrance hall, stairs and drawing-room, and a description of the color and style of decorations, furniture, lamps, vases, etc., in good part correct. Craig has never been in this house.
Jan goes into one of his deep statesa cataleptic trance, he calls itin which his body is rigid and cold. He has the power to fix in advance the time when he will come out of the trance, and his subconscious mind apparently possesses the power to keep track of timedays, hours, minutes, even seconds. I have seen him amaze a group of scientists by coming out on the second, while they held stop-watches on him.
But now my wife thinks she will vary this procedure. Jan goes into the trance in our home and Craig sits and silently wills, "Your right leg will come out; you will lift it; you will put it down again. You will sit erect"and so on.
[paragraph continues] Without speaking a word, she can make him do whatever she pleases.
Another incident, quite a long one. I ask you to have patience with the details, promising that in the end you will see what it is all about. I am in the next room, and I hear Jan and my wife having one of their regular evening arguments, because he will not tell her how he does this or that; at one moment he insists that he has told herand the next moment he insists that he does not know. My wife finally asks him to concentrate upon an object in the room, and she will see if she can "get" it. He selects the gas stove, in which a fire is burning; and Craig says, "I see a lot of little flames." Jan insists that is "no good," she didn't get the stove; which annoys her very muchshe thinks he does not want to allow any success to a woman. He is a "continental male," something she makes fierce feminist war upon.
Craig is suffering from neuralgia in neck and shoulder, and Jan offers to treat her. He will use what he calls "magnetism"; he believes there is an emanation from his finger-tips, and so, with his two forefingers he lightly traces the course of the nerves of her neck and shoulder and arm. For ten or fifteen minutes his two fingers are tracing patterns in front of her.
Then it is time for him to go home, and he is unhappy, and she succeeds in drawing the explanation from himhe has to walk, and his shoes are tight and hurt him. He has to have them stretched, he tells her. She offers him a pair of my big tennis shoes to wear home, and then she scolds him because he has the fashionable notion that white canvas tennis shoes are not proper footwear for eleven o'clock in the evening. Finally he puts them on and departs; and my wife lies down and makes her mind a blank, and orders it to tell her what Jan is doing.
She has a pencil and paper, and presently she is writing words. They are foreign words, and she thinks they must be in Jan's native language; they come drifting through her mind for several minutes. Next day comes Jan for the daily lesson, and she shows him this record. He tells her that the words are not in his language, but Germanwhich he knows, but never uses. My wife knows no German; except possibly sauerkraut and kindergarten. But here she has written a string of German and near-German words. I have the original sheet before me, and I give it as well as I can make out the scrawl: "ei einfinen ein-fe-en swenfenz fingen sweizzen czie ofen weizen ofen fingen sweinfen swei fingern efein
boden fienzen meifen bogen feingen Bladen Meichen frefen eifein."
Some of this is nonsense; but there are a few German words in it, and others which are guesses at German words, such as might be made by a person hearing a strange language, and trying to set down what he hears. Part of the effort seems to be concentrated on getting one expression, "zwei Fingern"two fingers! You remember the two fingers moving up and down over Craig's neck and shoulder! And "Ofen"the argument about the stove! And "bladen"to stretch shoes over a block of wood. Where these ideas came from seems plain enough. But where did the German come fromunless from the subconscious mind of Jan?
A further detail, especially curious. Jan gave my wife the meaning for the word "bladen": "to stretch shoes over a block of wood"; I have the memo which he wrote at the time. But looking up the word in the dictionaries, I do not find it, nor can I find any German who knows it. Apparently there is no such word; and this would clearly seem to indicate that my wife got her German from Jan. If so, it was by telepathy, for he spoke no word of it that evening.
It is the fashion among young ladies of the South to tease the men; and Craig found in this
episode a basis for tormenting her psychic instructor. He had assured his patient that during the treatment he was sending her "curative thoughts." But what kind of telepathic healer was it who sent gas-stoves and shoe-blocks into a neuralgic shoulder? Jan, missing the humor, and trying to save his reputation, declared that he hated the German language so greatly, he did not even allow himself to think in it! Germany was associated in his mind with the most painful memories, and all that previous day he had been fighting depression caused by these memories. You see, in this blundering defense, a significant bit of evidence. Jan had really had the German language in his thoughts at the time Craig got them!
I have before me a letter from Jan to my wife, postmarked Santa Barbara, October 19, 1927. He says: "May these lovely Cosmos bring you such peace and contentment as they have brought me." He has cut a double slit in the paper, and inserted cosmos blossoms and violets. Prior to the receipt of this letter, my wife was making the record of a dream, and here is what she wrote down: "I dreamed Jan had a little basket of flowers, pink roses and violets, shaped like this." (A drawing.) "He lifted them up and said they were for me, but a girl near
him took them and said, 'But I want them.'" When Jan came to see us again, my wife asked about the circumstance, and learned the following: a woman friend, who had given Jan the
flowers, had accused him of meaning to send them to a girl; but he had answered that they were for "a middle-aged and distinguished lady."
I present here the basket of "pink roses and
violets" which my wife drew, and then the spray of pink double cosmos and violets which met her eyes when she opened the young "psychic's" letter a day or two later. I explain that my wife's drawing (fig. 13) is partly written over by the words of her notes; while in Jan's letter the violets had to be at once traced in pencil, as they would not last. My wife drew pencil marks around them and wrote the word "violet" in three places, to indicate what the marks meant. The cosmos flowers, pressed and dried, are still exactly as Jan stuck them into position and as they remained until I took them to be photographed (fig. 13).