The Law Of Psychic Phenomena - online book

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212         THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
an impostor, or that hypnotic phenomena are mere humbug, and then expect to hypnotize him and produce the phenomena. When investigators realize this one fact they will have taken the primary lesson in spiritistic investigation. Every one who understands the first principles of hypnotism knows what folly it would be to subject the science to the test of allowing a sceptical investigator to take a subject in hand and begin the operation of trying to hypnotize him by assuring him that hypnotism is imposture, and all subjects are mere pretenders. And yet one who investigates hypnotism in that way does, in effect, precisely what the sceptical investigator of spiritistic phenomena does when he avows his scepticism to the medium in advance. If investigators would observe the rule here suggested, and always endeavor to put the medium at his ease and accede to all the conditions prescribed by him, instead of insisting upon test conditions of their own devising, they would soon find that they would witness all the phenomena desired, and under conditions that preclude the possibility of fraud or legerdemain. Any other course almost of necessity defeats the object sought.
It will be seen, therefore, that a failure to produce phenomena at a given time does not necessarily indicate fraud on the part of the medium; and in strict justice to professional mediums, who as a class have been brought into disrepute by the fraudulent practices of some of their number, it must be said that the detection of a medium in fraudulent practices does not per se prove that he was consciously guilty; for it is an undoubted fact that when a medium is unconscious, and his subjective mind is in control, it often acts capriciously, and presumably fraudulent practices might be indulged in without the objective knowledge or consent of the medium. Therefore, until the laws governing the subject-matter are better understood, we should extend the broadest charity over the professional medium, except in cases where it is discovered that the paraphernalia necessary for the perpetration of fraud have been prepared by the medium in advance.