Working Hypothesis

That under certain known and reasonable conditions of temperature,

light, etc., entities, existing in a sphere outside our own, have been

demonstrated again and again to manifest themselves on earth in

temporary bodies materialized from an, at present, undiscovered source,

through the agency of certain persons of both sexes, termed

"sensitives," and can be so demonstrated to any person who will provide

the conditions p
oved to be necessary for such a demonstration.


Looking back to the seven years of my life which I devoted to a careful

and critical investigation of the claim made, not only by both

Occidental and Oriental mystics but by well-known men of science like

Sir William Crookes, Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, and others--that

it was possible under certain clearly defined conditions to produce,

apparently out of nothing, fully formed bodies, inhabited by

(presumably) human entities from another sphere--the wonder of it still

enthralls me; the apparent impossibility of so great an upheaval of such

laws of Nature as we are at present acquainted with being proved clearly

to be possible, will remain to the end as "the wonder of wonders" in a

by no means uneventful life.

For, as compared with this, that greatest of Nature's mysteries--the

procreation of a human infant by either the normal or mechanical

impregnation of an ovum, its months of foetal growth and development in

the uterus, and its birth into the world in a helpless and enfeebled

condition, amazing as they are to all physiological students--sinks into

comparative insignificance when compared with the nearly instantaneous

production of a fully developed human body, with all its organs

functioning properly; a body inhabited temporarily by a thinking,

reasoning entity, who can see, hear, taste, smell and touch: a body

which can be handled, weighed, measured, and photographed.

When these claims were first brought to my notice I realized at once

that I was face to face with a problem which would require the very

closest investigation; and I then and there decided to give up work of

all kinds and to devote years, if necessary, to a critical examination

of these claims, to investigate the matter calmly and dispassionately,

and, in Sir John Herschel's memorable words, "to stand or fall by the

result of a direct appeal to facts in the first instance, and of strict

logical deduction from them afterwards."

And, as I have said, the result has been that the apparently impossible

has been proved to be possible--the facts have beaten me, and I accept

them whole-heartedly, admitting that our working hypothesis has been

proved beyond any possibility of doubt, and that these materialized

entities can manifest themselves to-day to any person who will provide

the conditions necessary for such a demonstration.

Who they are, what they are, whence they come, and whither they go, each

investigator must determine for himself, but of their actual existence

in a sphere just outside our own there can no longer be any room for

doubt. As a busy man, theories have little or no attraction for me. What

I demand, and what other busy men and women demand in an investigation

of this kind is that there should be a reasonable possibility of getting

hold of facts, good solid facts which can be demonstrated as such to

any open-minded inquirer, otherwise it would be useless to commence such

an investigation. And we have now got these facts, and can prove them on

purely scientific lines.

The meaning of the word materialization, so far at least as it concerns

our investigation, I understand to be this: the taking on by an entity

from a sphere outside our own, an entity representing a man, woman, or

child (or even a beast or bird), of a temporary body built up from

material drawn partially from the inhabitants of earth, consolidated

through the agency of certain persons of both sexes, termed sensitives,

and moulded by the entity into a semblance of the body which (it

alleges) it inhabited during its existence on earth. In other words, a

materialization is the appearance of an entity in bodily, tangible form,

i.e., one which we can touch, thus differing from an astralization,

etherealization, or apparition, which is, of course, one which cannot be

touched, although it may be clearly visible to any one possessing only

normal sight.

Let me, then, endeavor to describe to the best of my ability, and in

very simple language, how I believe these materializations to be

produced, and the conditions which I have proved to be necessary in

order that the finest results may be obtained.

I will deal first with the question of the conditions, as without

conditions of some kind no materialization can be produced, any more

than a scientific experiment--such as mixing various chemicals together,

in order to produce a certain result--can be carried out successfully

without proper conditions being provided by the experimenter. What,

then, do we mean by this word "conditions"?

Take a homely example. The baker mixes exactly the right quantities of

flour, salt, and yeast with water, and then places the dough which he

has made in an oven heated to just the right temperature, and produces a

loaf of bread. Why? Because the conditions were good ones. Had he

omitted the flour, the yeast, or the water, or had he used an oven over

or under-heated, he could not have produced an eatable loaf of bread,

because the conditions made it impossible.

This is what is meant by the terms "good conditions," "bad conditions,"

"breaking conditions."

The conditions, then, under which I have been able to prove to many

hundreds of inquirers that it is possible for materialized entities to

appear on earth, in solid tangible form, are these:

First, light, of suitable wave-length, i.e. suitable color, and let me

say here, once and for all, that I have proved conclusively for myself

that darkness is not necessary, provided that one is experimenting

with a sensitive who has been trained to sit always in the light.

On two occasions I have witnessed materializations in daylight; and

neither of Sir William Crookes's sensitives--D. D. Home or Florrie Cook

(Mrs. Corner)--would ever sit in darkness, the latter--with whom I

carried out a long series of experiments--invariably stipulating that a

good light should be used during the whole time that the experiment

lasted, as she was terrified at the mere thought of darkness.

I find that sunlight, electric light, gas, colza oil, and paraffine are

all apt to check the production of the phenomena unless filtered through

canary-yellow, orange, red linen or paper--just as they are filtered for

photographic purposes--owing to the violent action of the actinic (blue)

rays which they contain (the rays from the violet end of the spectrum),

which are said to work at about six hundred billions of vibrations per

second. But if the light is filtered in the way that I have described,

the production of the phenomena will commence at once, the vibrations of

the interfering rays being reduced, it is said, to about four hundred

billions per second or less.

In dealing with materializations we are apt to overlook the fact that we

are investigating forces or modes of energy far more delicate than

electricity, for instance. Heat, electricity, and light, as Sir William

Crookes tells us, are all closely related; we know the awful power of

heat and electricity, but are only too apt to forget--especially if it

suits our purpose to do so--that light too has enormous dynamic potency;

its vibrations being said to travel in space at the incredible speed of

twelve million miles a minute;[15] and it is therefore only reasonable

to assume that the power of these vibrations may be sufficient to

interfere seriously with the more subtle forces, such as those which we

are now investigating.

[Footnote 15: 186,900 miles a second (J. Wallace Stewart, B.Sc.).]

Secondly, we require suitable heat vibrations, and I find that those

given off in a room either warmed or chilled to sixty-three degrees are

the very best possible; anything either much above this, or more

especially, much below this, tending to weaken the results and to cheek

the phenomena.

Thirdly, we require suitable musical vibrations, and, after carrying

out a long series of experiments with musical instruments of all kinds,

I find that the vibrations given off by the reed organ--termed

"harmonium" or "American organ"--or by the concertina, are the most

suitable, the peculiar quality of the vibrations given off by the reeds

in these instruments proving to be the most suitable ones for use during

the production of the phenomena; although on one or two occasions I have

obtained good results without musical vibrations of any kind, but this

is rare.

Fourthly, we require the presence of a specially organized man or woman,

termed the sensitive, one from whom it is alleged a portion of the

matter used by the entity in the building up of its temporary body can

be drawn, with but little chance of injury to their health. This point

is one of vital importance, we are told, for it has been proved by means

of a self-registering weighing-machine on which he was seated, and to

which he was securely fastened with an electrical apparatus secretly

hidden beneath the seat, which would at once ring a bell in an anteroom

if he endeavored to rise from his seat during the experiment, that the

actual loss in weight to the sensitive, when a fully materialized entity

was standing in our midst, was no less than sixty-five pounds!

Before employing any person, then, as a sensitive for these delicate,

not to say dangerous, experiments, he or she should be medically

examined, in the interests of both the investigator and the sensitive,

and should their health prove to be in any way below par, they should

not be permitted to take part in the experiment until their health is

fully restored.

I have been permitted to examine the sensitive at the moment when an

entity, clad in a fully-formed temporary body, was walking amongst the

experimenters; and the distorted features, the shrivelled-up limbs and

contorted trunk of the sensitive at that moment proclaimed the danger

connected with the production of this special form of phenomena far

louder than any words of mine could do.

Needless to say, sensitives for materializations are extremely rare, not

more than two or three being found to-day amidst the teeming millions

who inhabit the British Islands; although a few are to be found on the

European continent, and several in North America, where the climatic

conditions are said to be more favorable for the development of such


Now, what constitutes a sensitive, and why are they necessary?

Sensitives through whom physical phenomena (including materializations)

can be produced have been described, firstly, as persons in whom certain

forces are stored up, either far in excess of the amount possessed by

the normal man or woman, or else differing in quality from the forces

stored up by the normal man or woman; and secondly, as persons who are

able to attract from those in close proximity to them--provided that the

conditions are favorable--still more of the force, which thus becomes

centered in them for the time being. In other words, a sensitive for

physical phenomena is said to be a storage battery for the force which

is used in the production of physical phenomena--including

materializations--although it is by no means improbable that such highly

developed sensitives as those required for this special purpose may be

found to possess extra nerve-centers as compared with those possessed by

normal human beings. But whether this hypothesis be eventually proved or

not, there seems to be but very little doubt that "whatever the force

may be which constitutes the difference between a sensitive and a

non-sensitive, it is certainly of a mental or magnetic character, i.e.,

a combination of the subtle elements of mind and magnetism, and

therefore of a psychological, and not of a purely physical


But why is a sensitive necessary? you ask. Think of a telephone for a

moment. You wish to communicate with a person who is holding only the

end of the wire in his hand, the result being that he cannot hear a

single word. Why is this? Because he has forgotten to fit a receiver at

his end of the wire, a receiver in which the vibrations set up by your

voice may be centralized, focussed, a receiver which he can place to his

ear, and in doing so will at once hear your voice distinctly--but

without this your message to him is lost.

And it is said that this is exactly the use of the sensitives during our

experiments, for they act as "receivers" in which the forces employed in

the production of the phenomena may be centralized, focussed, their

varying degrees of sensitiveness enabling them to be used by the

entities in other spheres for the successful production of such

phenomena, we are told.

And lastly, we require about twelve to sixteen earnest and really

sympathetic men and women--persons trained on scientific lines for

choice--all in the best of health; men and women who, whilst strictly on

their guard against anything in the shape of fraud, are still so much in

sympathy with the person who is acting as the sensitive that they are

all the time sending out kindly thoughts towards him; for if, as has

been said, "thoughts are things," it is possible that hostile thoughts

would be sufficient not only to enfeeble, but actually to check

demonstrations of physical phenomena of all kinds in the presence of

such specially organized, highly developed individuals as the sensitives

through whom materializations can be produced.

I shall refer to these men and women as the sitters. We generally select

an equal number so far as sex is concerned; and, in addition, we

endeavor to obtain an equal number of persons possessing either

positive or negative temperaments. In this way we form the sitters into

a powerful human battery, the combined force given off by them (if the

battery is properly arranged, and the individual members of that battery

are in good health) proving of enormous assistance during our

experiments. If in ill-health, we find that a man or woman is useless to

us, for we can no more expect to obtain the necessary power from such an

individual than we can expect to produce an electric spark from a

discharged accumulator, or pick up needles with a demagnetized piece of


We are told to remember always that "all manifestations of natural laws

are the results of natural conditions."

* * * * *

Minor details too, we find, must be thought out most carefully if we are

to provide what we may term ideal conditions.

The chairs should be made of wood throughout, those known as Austrian

bentwood chairs, having perforated seats, being proved to be the best

for the purpose.

The sitters should bathe and then change their clothing--the ladies into

white dresses, and the men into dark suits--two hours before the time

fixed for the experiment, and should then at once partake of a light

meal--meat and alcohol being strictly forbidden--so that the strain upon

their constitutions during the experiment may not interfere with their


Trivial as such matters must appear to the man in the street, we are

told they must all be carried out most carefully, in order that the

finest conditions possible may be obtained, the one great object of the

sitters being to give off all the power--and the best kind of

power--that they are capable of producing, in order that sufficient

suitable material may be gathered together from the sensitive and

themselves, with which a temporary body may be formed for the use of any

entity wishing to materialize in their presence.