Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/246

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232 Correspondence.

No. 4, pp. 479, 480): "Crystal-gazing is as 'old as the hills'; -^schylus attributed its discovery to Prometheus, Zoroaster to Ahriman, and the Fathers of the Church to the Devil. Modern explanations are less concrete : they refer the phenomena to the vague pseudo- or quasi-supernatural. When Mr. Thomas rebukes Professor Ray Lankester for daring to speak of telepathy as a ' thing ' (does Mr. Thomas contend that it is a person ?), and when Dr. Lang confesses belief that there is evidence (ingathered, it is presumed, by the Society for Psychical Research) in support of the survival of human personality, the uneasy feeling arises that both of them are in the movement which arrests the explanation of the occult on scientific lines."

As to my confession of belief, I learn from Mr. Clodd that he does not refer to anything in Mr. Thomas's book.

Next, leaving Mr. Thomas out of the question, Mr. Clodd says that in consequence of my alleged "confessed beliefs," " the uneasy feeling arises that I am in the movement which arrests the explanation of the occult on scientific lines." Now my essay is an appeal to psychological science for an explanation of the fact of crystal-gazing, "on scientific lines." But, first, what are the facts ? I do not, of course, offer the results of my own experiments and observations as " facts " to be explained by science. I say " these experiments were, of course, unscientific, and undertaken for mere idle amusement." The only laboratory experiments which I have witnessed were made to test the effect on the crystal picture when viewed through various refracting mediums. I wrote, " the proper persons to make experiments are accredited professors of psychology, and nobody else," (p. XXXV.). "The questions at issue can only be settled after many long series of experiments conducted by psychological specialists, working with sane and healthy subjects," — not hysteri- cal subjects, as in some French investigations (p. xlvii.).

Do these remarks justify "an uneasy feeling" that I am " in the movement which arrests the explanation of the occult on scientific lines"? The word "occult" might be left to the newspapers; I am attempting to induce trained psychologists to investigate a psychological problem. Mr. Clodd suspects me, therefore, of "arresting the explanation" of that problem "on