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Reporting Unknown Facts by Request


Now comes a new variation of these singular experiences. I received a letter some years ago from a clerk in a business house in a city about twenty miles from Boston. He said that he had found himself under the influence of some power that wished to write through his hand. He knew nothing about these matters, and wished to call on me and let me see the writing, and give him my ad vice. He was an entire stranger to me. I set a date for him and he called at my study. This was in my church in Boston and at a distance of ten minutes'walk from my house. He came; we sat down at the table, and immediately his hand was seized and began to write with a good deal of power. The name signed to the"communications"was that of George Canning. I thought I would try to find out who this George Canning claimed to be. I therefore asked him who he was, and he said: "I used to live in Philadelphia. I was a contemporary of Girard." He stated quite a number of facts concerning himself, some of which I was able to look up and verify. Concerning others, I could not find out. So far as I know, however, the state ments he made were correct. Then it occurred to me to try an individual test. I said: "If you are really a person and are really here, you ought to be able to go somewhere in the city for me, find out something at my request, return, and tell me about it. Can you do it?"He replied: "I have never attempted any thing of the sort, but do not see why I should not." He then said he would try. I asked him to go to my house, find out whether Mrs. Savage was at home; if she

was, in what part of the house she was, and what she was doing, and come back and tell me about it. She had told me explicitly before I left that she had a good many outside things to attend to, and ex pected to be away from the house all the morning. Naturally, therefore, I men tally placed her anywhere else except at home. This statement is made as bearing on the theory of telepathy, and because it is frequently asserted that you get in these messages the things you were ex pecting to receive. We sat in perfect quiet and silence for four or five minutes. At the end of that time, the hand again began to write. I said: "Well, what did you find?"To my surprise, and of course I believed that he was all wrong, he said: "Mrs. Savage was at home, and when I was there, she was standing in the front hall saying good-bye to a caller." When I got home at one o'clock for lunch, I asked her where she had been, and she answered me with a touch of disappoint ment and disgust that she had been flooded with callers all the morning, and had been utterly unable to get away and do the things that she had planned to ac complish. Upon comparing notes, I found that at the precise minute referred to, she had been just where the intelli gence calling himself Canning had said she was, and had been saying good-bye to a caller who had stayed so long that she was particularly gratified at seeing her leave.

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