Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Psychical Research

I can't remember where I found it, but I was inexplicably drawn to read this 100 year old volume documenting studies of the supernatural. It is a product of the Society for Psychic Research (SPR), an organization that is, to my surprise, still in operation today. Mostly, the book just tells anecdotes about various psychic phenomena. It contained nothing too surprising, just types of stories I've heard many times before. But I found the end of the book, about Automatic Writing, to have a surprising, poignant moment: a message from beyond the grave, transcribed by a Mrs. Holland, supposedly under the control of the deceased Henry Sedgwick, the original president of the SPR, and clearly a former friend of the author:
We no more solve the riddle of death by dying than we solve the problem of life by being born. Take my own case -- I was always a seeker, until it seemed to me at times as if the quest was more to me than the prize. Only the attainments of my search were generally like rainbow gold, always beyond and afar. It is not all clear; I seek still, only with a confirmed optimism more perfect and beautiful than any we imagined before.
I like to think that Henry is still seeking, and that every third Thursday, the former SPR presidents still meet in the next world to discuss their supernatural discoveries.

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