To obtain the Direct Voice we require, in conjunction with those in the etheric world, to make the necessary conditions, or otherwise the phenomena will not take place. They on the other side require our co-operation just as much as we require theirs. We are the passive, and they the active co-operators. We require an individual, the medium, possessed with certain vital forces, or substances, to some extent more than normal. To these we, the sitters, supply our own normal vitality.
That constitutes our part in the proceedings, while the rest is done by those who are working with us beyond the veil. As my investigations progressed, so was I impressed with the complications of the procedure in the etheric world which were necessary to produce the conditions to make communication possible. A group of etheric men who are expert in the handling of organic chemical substances work along with us. Immediately we assemble they get to work to do their part.
The group consists of a director of operations, one or more chemists, one who moves the trumpet in the direction an etheric communicator wishes to speak, and one who gathers the substances from the medium and the sitters by connecting them up with the chemist who draws from them the necessary material. This extends from the medium and the sitters to a central point, and the substance drawn from them is gathered by the chemist into an etheric bowl into which he also adds etheric substances of his own. Another of the group helps etheric newcomers to speak, telling them what to do; others keep away those whose only interest in the proceedings is curiosity, and Whitefeather, to whom I have already referred, considers himself the most important of all, as he is detailed off to give warning when a séance is to take place, so that all the operators may be present and at their posts.
Such is a general description of the modus operandi of the direct voice, on the physical and on the etheric sides of life, but, given the necessary conditions, what is the explanation of all that takes place?
First of all, we must accept their statement that the etheric body is in every way a duplicate of the physical body, both as regards all internal and external organs. In etheric life, communication takes place in the same way as in earth life. The vocal organs vibrate their atmosphere, the tongue moves, the lungs draw in and expel the equivalent to our air, everything proceeds as it proceeds here on earth, the only difference being that it is all taking place in matter of a much finer structure and at a much more rapid rate of vibration.
Thus their vocal organs, though they can operate in their etheric world, cannot do so in our grosser world. Their texture is too fine for them to have any effect on our atmosphere. New conditions must be created in which vibrations are slower. To obtain these, absolute darkness, or subdued red light, is necessary, as the rays of white light break up and disintegrate those finer forces and substances with which they work. The best results are obtained when the nights are clear, and the atmosphere is free from moisture. At the best the conditions permitting speech are very finely balanced, and, besides the foregoing, the sitters must be in good health and harmonious amongst themselves.
Now let us imagine that we are sitting in a circle, the medium being with us, that by singing we have vibrated the atmosphere for about a quarter of an hour, when suddenly a voice, clear, distinct and away from the medium, breaks in upon us, and, after giving name and earth address, engages one of us in conversation. What has actually happened? It was this question that was always uppermost in my thoughts after I became accustomed to these strange conditions. Was it the medium impersonating someone, or an accomplice among the sitters? For many reasons I became satisfied that this voice did not proceed from any human being, but that there was a personality behind it, which was not one of this world, present in the room. I therefore set myself to find out what actually was the cause behind this effect, and, by a series of questions and answers, over a period of time, was told the following, which, for the sake of brevity, I shall put in my own words.
The chemist, to whom I have already referred, after mixing the substances he obtains from the medium and sitters with his own ingredients, takes the finished preparation and with it first materialises his hands and then forms a rough mask in the likeness of a mouth, throat and lungs. This, when finished, is placed in the most suitable part of the room, often in the centre of the circle. The etheric person (whom we shall call in future the etherian) wishing to speak then presses into this mask, slow in vibration, and with it clothes or covers his mouth, throat, tongue and lungs. These organs then take on a thicker or heavier condition, the tongue requires more exertion to move, but with a little practice it all becomes possible. The speaker then, for the time being, has taken on the necessary conditions to make himself once more such as we are, so far as his capacity to form words which we can hear is concerned.
He is again to this extent an inhabitant of matter, slower in vibration, so that when he speaks he produces the same effects on our atmosphere as we do when we speak. He and we are in the same room, within a few feet of each other, he standing speaking to us, and we sitting, answering. He hears us and we hear him. This condition lasts only for a short time, not often for more than ten minutes. When dematerialisation begins the material falls away, and, though his mouth may continue to speak, he is not heard. This briefly is what they mean by saying that they take on earth conditions from our surroundings.
All direct voice mediums possess a certain vital force, or substance, all sitters have it in a lesser degree, and to this is added, by the etheric chemists, other etheric forces or substances, the combination of which is a material sufficiently slow in vibration to vibrate our atmosphere. The only thing we cannot understand is how the speaker clothes himself with it, or absorbs it. What is the exact effect which is produced when he presses into it and becomes covered with it? Some day we shall doubtless find out the explanation, but what I write is in substance all that has been told me.
When I have asked for further details I have been told that I would not understand, and must be content with such information as has, so far, been given to me. So I had to be satisfied, but here I again repeat that often I have put my ear quite close to the medium’s mouth and heard nothing beyond his regular breathing, though a voice was speaking to someone at the time, and only my personal friends were present in the Séance Room of the Glasgow Society for Psychical Research.
On one occasion the communicator told me that the medium’s larynx was being used, and that his voice was being carried by a psychic tube to the trumpet, which magnified it so that we could hear it. In other words, he was making use of the medium’s lungs and larynx and mouth to save the necessity of materialising these organs, but even then I did not hear the medium speaking.
This information was made clearer by replies to further questions. When a voice speaks through the trumpet it is not always independent of the medium, and does not always proceed from a materialised entity in the centre of the circle. The power is not always strong enough to maintain this form of communication throughout the entire sitting. What happens is this. The communicator who wishes to speak controls the medium and speaks through him. The communicator has not, however, the same control over the medium as his regular controllers, and the voice produced is sometimes not above a whisper. The voice is conveyed from the medium’s mouth by means of a materialised ectoplasmic or psychic tube to the trumpet, which amplifies the voice so that it can be heard. Speaking under these circumstances the speaker stands behind the medium, whose etheric body for the time being is detached from his physical body; in other words the medium is in trance. The communicator is thus able to control the medium’s vocal organs.
There is an etheric connecting link, which has the same effect on the medium’s muscles as the atmospheric waves have on two tuning forks tuned to the same pitch. As the vibrations of one act on the other, so the two sets of vocal organs, those of the etheric speaker and those of the medium, act in unison. Thus what the etherian says the medium says, both sets of organs working in harmony.
That information satisfied me up to a point, but the question was how the sound was produced. Our lips form the words, our larynx causes the sound. I then asked what caused the sound, and was told that the medium’s larynx was used for this purpose, and that the sound was conveyed from it by means of the etheric tube to the trumpet. It was made clear, however, that what was carried from the medium to the trumpet was not air from the medium’s lungs. The larynx is used to cause the sound, but not by means of air passing through the vocal chords. The atmosphere is vibrated by a method of their own, and I was told I must accept the fact that the larynx was used to produce the sound, which was carried to the trumpet from the etherian who was speaking.
There is no question, my informant insisted, of the messages in any way being influenced by the medium’s mind, as his mind does not come into the question at all. They do not act through the medium’s mind, but directly on his vocal organs. The mind of the etheric speaker is in complete control, and the medium’s brain is switched off for the time being. What we sometimes hear, therefore, is the medium’s voice through the trumpet, though it sounds quite unlike his own, as it always does in trance, and this form of communication is different from the Direct Voice, because the voice is conveyed to the trumpet and not produced quite apart from the medium. At times they tell me that they can convey the voice into the trumpet right across the circle.
At Sloan’s séances we have, therefore, three different forms of communication. Firstly, trance utterances. Secondly, by means of the method just described; and thirdly, the best of all, voices from etheric men, women and children who have materialised their vocal organs and lungs and speak as we do, without any connection whatever with the medium, except the ectoplasmic substance necessary for materialisation which they borrow from the medium and sitters.
The trumpet is moved by materialised rods, made by a combination of these substances supplied by the medium, the sitters, and their chemist. It can he moved also by a materialised hand, and the larger end is used to rest the materialised mouth on, inside the trumpet, thus directing the voice in the direction the speaker desires to speak without his requiring to move from the place where he has materialised. Either end of the trumpet can be used, whichever suits their purpose best. When the trumpet is not used it means that the substance is sufficient, and the power strong enough, to enable one or more materialisations to take place, usually in the vicinity of the person to whom the communicator wishes to speak. Thus, I have heard, on occasion, two and sometimes three voices speaking to different people at the same time.
Not always, however, is the person present who purports to speak, as those who have passed through what is called the second transition, on to a higher plane of thought, find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate. They, however, can communicate with those in the lower plane, their messages being picked up and passed on by some Etherian present at the séance. This, I think, is often done, even by those on the surface of the sphere bordering this earth who find communication difficult by means of materialising their own vocal organs. An Irishman in etheric life, named Gallacher, told me that much of his time at a séance was occupied in taking messages and passing them on. He calls himself the “telephone exchange”.
I asked once if the materialised vocal organs could be touched and had weight, and was told they could be, and that they had the weight that we, the sitters, had lost during the sitting. If we each sat on a weighing machine we would find our weight during the séance gradually decreasing, and, as the séance neared an end, as the ectoplasm was returned, so would our weight return to normal. The experiments by Dr. Crawford, and others, have proved this statement to be correct. This ectoplasm, which they draw from us, is useless unless it is mixed with ingredients supplied by the chemist, as materialisation could not take place from ectoplasm alone.
This ectoplasmic-etheric combination is, I am told, the preparation required, not only for materialisation, but for the movement by those in the other world of all physical objects. They can move nothing on earth without it. Our bodies are composed of the ingredients from which they draw this substance called ectoplasm. I have found it impossible, however, to get any detailed information as to what are the chemical ingredients of the substance they add to the ectoplasm. The chemist would not tell me, as he said I could not understand even if he did. I asked once if the thoughts of the medium in any way coloured the communications which came by means of the direct voice, and the reply I received was, “Certainly not”.
As to what takes place when the medium speaks in trance, I am told that the etherian wishing to speak gathers ectoplasm from the medium, and thus gets control of his vocal organs. So far as Sloan is concerned, his brain is not used in any way. What happens is briefly this. The ectoplasm forms the connecting link between the etherian speaking and the medium’s vocal organs, and, as the etherian speaks, so the medium’s vocal organs move. Here materialisation of the mouth, throat and tongue does not take place, the medium’s vocal organs being used to vibrate the atmosphere, and form the words spoken by the controlling etheric man, woman or child.
My claim for this book is that it gives an explanation, both logical and reasonable, of how the phenomenon of the Direct Voice occurs, and one which should appeal to everyone. Evidence, such as is contained in the next four chapters, may not in itself be sufficient to convince the average individual, but, when a logical explanation can also be given, an acceptance of the phenomenon is much less difficult. I have created conditions so as to make fraud and impersonation impossible, and, by persistent enquiry, have obtained information about the Etheric World, its inhabitants, and how communication takes place which should satisfy the average individual.
This has never been attempted before, to my knowledge, in the same systematic way, but it must be remembered that I have dealt with hard facts all my life. I have required a knowledge of economics and mathematics in my business life, and, outside of this, my special interest has been in physics. I have therefore approached this subject in a matter-of-fact way, and have obtained information which makes the phenomena, to any unbiased person, both reasonable and natural. Consequently this enquiry should help to raise the study of psychic phenomena to a higher plane of thought, and be another stepping stone towards its being ultimately placed on a strictly scientific basis.
From: On the Edge of the Etheric pp 86-95
From: On the Edge of the Etheric pp 86-95
From: On the Edge of the Etheric