Excerpt from Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1912, Vol. 6: Section "B" Of the American Institute for Scientific Research
The problem which we have to consider in phenomena of this kind has been sufficiently explained in previous reports to merely outline it here. It is the question whether spirits exist and are the source of the supernormal information which such phenomena illustrate. The popular conception of the problem is based solely upon the idea that spirits may be invoked whenever we get any fact that we cannot ex plain. It feeds on the idea of miracles, exceptions to the known physical causes. It suﬂ'ices with this type of mind to regard a thing as wonderful to make it believe in spirits. Owing to various inﬂuences in the history of the problem and the uses to which certain writers have put the theory of telepathy the solution of the question was thrown upon physical phenomena as the final escape from telepathy and various natural explanations. The psychological aspect of the case was disregarded or misunderstood, and the physical side made the crucial question. This has been an entirely false conception of the problem, tho quite intel ligible to one who understands the development of it. To the average layman all mental phenomena whatsoever, nor mal, abnormal and supernormal, are equally mysterious or intelligible. To him clairvoyance and telepathy are no more mysterious than memory or sensation, and when some fact which would puzzle a psychologist is produced, the layman thinks he has only to shout telepathy or some such term and18 Proceedings of American Society for Psychical Research.
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