Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair, , at sacred-texts.com
I have now given nearly all the 65 drawings which I call "successes," and about half the 155 which I call "partial successes." This, I think, is enough for any purpose. No one can seriously claim that such a set of coincidences could happen by chance, and so it becomes necessary to investigate other possible explanations.
First, a hoax. As covering that point, I prepared a set of affidavits as to the good faith of myself, my wife, her sister, and her sister's husband. These affidavits were all duly signed and witnessed; but friends, reading the manuscript, think they use up space to no purpose, and that the reader will ask no more than the statement that this book is a serious one, and that the manuscript was carefully read by all four of the persons mentioned above, and approved by them as representing the exact truth.
That a group of persons should enter into a conspiracy to perpetrate a hoax is conceivable. Whether or not it is conceivable of the group here quoted is something of which the reader is
the judge. But this much is clear: any reader who, having read the above, still suspects us, will not be convinced by further protestations.
How about the possibility of fraud by one person? No one who knows Mary Craig Sinclair would suspect her; but you who do not know her have, naturally, the right to consider such an hypothesis. Can she be one of those women who enjoy being talked about? The broaching of this idea causes her to take the pencil away from her husband, and you now hear her own authentic voice, as follows:
"I happen to be a daughter of that once very living thing, 'the Old South,' and there are certain ideals which are in my blood. The avoidance of publicity is one of them. But even if I had ever had a desire for publicity, it would have been killed by my actual experiences as the wife of a social crusader. My home is besieged by an endless train of persons of every description, who travel over the place, knocking on doors and windows, and insisting upon having a hearing for their various programs for changing the nature of the universe. I have been driven to putting up barriers and fences around my garden, and threatening to flee to the Himalayas, and become a Yogic mistress, or whatever a Yogic 'master' of my sex is called.
"Jack London tried to solve this problem by putting a sign on the front door which read, 'Go to the back door,' and on the back door one which read, 'Go to the front door.' But when I tried this, one seeker of inspiration took his seat halfway between the two doors, and declared that he would remain there the rest of his life, or until his wishes were acceded to. Another hid himself in the swimming-pool, and rose up from its depths to confront me in the dusk, when, as it happened, I was alone on the place, and went out into the garden for a breath of air. A third announced that he had a million dollars to present to my husband in person, and would not be persuaded to depart until my brother invited him to go downtown to supper, and so got him into a car. Having faithfully fed the hungry millionaire, my brother drove him to the police-station, where, after a serious talking-to by the chief, he consented to carry his million dollars away. A fourth introduced himself by mail as having just been released from the psychopathic ward in Los Angeles, and intending to call upon us, for reasons not stated. A fifth announced himself by telephone, as intending to come at once and shoot my husband on sight. Yet another, seven feet tall and broad in proportion,
announced that he had a revelation direct from God, and had come to have the manuscript revised. When politely asked as to its nature, he rose up, towering over my none too husky spouse and declaring that no human eye had ever beheld it, and no human eye would ever be permitted to behold it. Such experiences, as a continuing part of a woman's life, do not lead her to seek publicity; they tend rather to develop a persecution complex.
"Speaking seriously, I consider that I have every evidence of the effect of people's thoughts on each other. And my distrust of human nature, in its present stage of evolution, is so great, that the idea of having many persons concentrate their attention on me is an idea from which I shrink. I agree with Richet that the fact of telepathy is one of the most terrifying in existence; and nothing but a deep love of truth has induced me to let this very personal story be told in print."
Next, what about the possibility of unconscious fraud? This also is a question to be frankly met. All students of psychology know that the subconscious mind has dubious morals. One has only to watch his own dreams to discover this. A person in a trance is similar to one
talking or walking in sleep, or a drunken man, or one under the influence of a drug. But in this case it must be noted that my wife has never been in a trance. In these mind-reading tests, no matter how intense the "concentration," there is always a part of her mind which knows what she is doing. If you speak to her, she is immediately "all there." When she has her mental pictures, she sits up and makes her drawing, and compares it with mine, and this is a completely conscious act.
Moreover, I point out that a great deal of the most impressive evidence does not depend upon Craig alone. The five drawings with her brother-in-law, figures 1, 16, 17, 18, 19, constitute by themselves evidence of telepathy sufficient to convince any mind which is open to conviction. While it would have been possible for Craig and Bob to hoax Dollie and me, it could certainly not have been done without Bob's connivance. If you suggest that my wife and my brother-in-law may have been fooling me, I reply that there is a still greater mass of evidence which could not have been a hoax without my connivance. When I go into my study alonea little sun-parlor at the front of a beach-house, with nothing but a couch, a chair and a tableI certainly
know that I am alone; and when I make a drawing and hold it before my eyes for five or ten minutes, I certainly know whether any other person is seeing it. This covers the drawings presented as figures 2, 20, and 21, with four others told about in the same series. It seems to me these seven cases by themselves are evidence of telepathy sufficient to convince any open mind.
Furthermore, there are the several score drawings which I made in my study and sealed up in envelopes, taking them to my wife and watching her lay them one by one upon her body and write down more or less accurately what was in them. I certainly know whether I was alone when I made the drawings, and whether I made the contents of the envelopes invisible, and whether my wife had any opportunity to open the envelopes before she made her drawings. Of course, I understand the familiar conjuring trick whereby you open one envelope, and hide it in your palm, and pretend to be describing the next one while really describing the one you have seen. But I would stake my life upon the certainty that my wife knows no sleight-of-hand, and anyhow, I made certain that she did not open the first one; I sat and watched her, and after each test she handed me the envelopes and
drawings, one by onethe envelopes having previously been numbered by me. She would turn out the reading-light which was immediately over her head, but there was plenty of light from other parts of the room, enough so that I could look at drawings as they were shown to me. Often these tests were done in the daytime, and then all we did was to pull down the window-shades back of the couch.
It should be obvious that I stand to lose much more than I stand to gain by publishing a book of this sort. Many have urged me not to take the risk. It is the part of prudence not to believe too many new and strange ideas. Some of my Socialist and materialist friends are going to say without troubling to read what I have written: "Sinclair has gone in for occultism; he is turning into a mystic in his old age." It is true that I am fifty-one, but I think my mind is not entirely gone; and if what I publish here is mysticism, then I do not know how there can be such a thing as science about the human mind.
We have made repeated tests to see what happens; we have written down our observations as we go along; we have presented the evidence carefully and conscientiously, without theories; and what any scientist can do, or ask to have
done, more than this, I cannot imagine. Those who throw out these results will not be scientists, but merely another set of dogmatistsof whom new crops are continually springing up, wearing new disguises and new labels. The plain truth is that in science, as in politics and religion, it is a lot easier to believe what you have been taught, than to set out for yourself and ascertain what happens.
Of course the thing would be more convincing if it were done in the presence of strangers. That brings up a question which is bound to be asked, so I will save time by answering it here. The first essential to success in these tests is a state of mind; and at present my wife is a sensitive woman, at the stage of life described as "glandular imbalance." She has never tried these experiments in the presence of a stranger, and has no idea whether she could get the necessary concentration. She learned from her experiments with her sick brother-in-law that the agent can send you pain and fear, as well as chairs and table-forks, and she would certainly not enter lightly into a condition of rapport with those whom she did not know and trust.
She insists that the way for you to be really certain is to follow her example. If you sat and
watched her do it, you might go away with doubts, as she did after her experiments with Jan. But when you have done it yourself, then you know. One reason the thing has not been proven to the public is that people depend on professional mediums, many of whom are deliberate and conscious cheats. Others are vain and temperamental, difficult to manage; and research is hindered by their instability. That is why Craig set to work and learned to do it, and she believes that others can do the same, if they have the desire and the patience.