THE PHENOMENA OF SPIRITISM. 253
versality of this idea constitutes an all-potent suggestion which cannot easily be overcome. Even though the medium may profess to be a sceptic on the subject of spirit intercourse, nevertheless he is dominated by that suggestion, in the absence of any definite counter-suggestion. Obviously, a counter-suggestion which could- overcome the hypothesis of spirit intercourse must be in the form of a theory which appeals more strongly to the reason of the medium than the suggestion of spirit intercourse. In the present state of popular opinion on the subject of spiritism it would be difficult to find a medium whose subjective mind would not be dominated by the popular hypothesis. Nevertheless, instances have been known where the popular idea did not prevail. One case that is now recalled is reported in the " Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research," April, 1891 (page 23). The medium, or, more properly speaking, the automatist, was a young lady, aged fifteen. "She had not previously heard of planchette," says the author, " and spiritualism was to her a mere name." This was a very desirable condition of mind for the purpose, and as rare as desirable. " She never knew what she had written till it was looked at," continues the author, " and there was often some slight difficulty in deciphering it. Thus, the first question, 'Who are you that write ?' produced what at first I took to be mere scrawling, and C (the automatist) shortly after left the room. After she had done so, I took another look at this scrawl, and then at once perceived that it was legible, and that the name written in answer to the question was ' Henry Morton.' I at once followed C upstairs, and asked her if she had ever heard the name; and she replied that it was that of a character in a Christmas play she had acted in, more than a year previously."
This is a most remarkable case in more ways than one. It shows, first, that when the automatist knows nothing of spiritism, and there is consequently no suggestion of the spirits having any part in the performance, the subjective mind will not assume that it is a spirit that