H. Dennis Bradley writes here about Sir Oliver Lodge’s first experience of the Independent Direct Voice. The medium was George Valiantine.
Friday, February 27, 1925.
This sitting was held in my study at Dorincourt at about eight forty-five p.m. In accordance with the usual procedure, none of the sitters were introduced to the medium, Valiantine.
Mr Valiantine sat in my study, and those who were present walked straight in when the lights were turned off within a few seconds.
There were present Sir Oliver Lodge, Admiral Wilfred Henderson, Mr Lionel Corbett, Mrs Bovill, my wife, and myself.
It may be presumed that Valiantine would know Sir Oliver Lodge, since his portrait has appeared in so many papers, but he was not introduced, neither did Valiantine know any of the names of the other sitters.
Although my study is well warmed by central heating, during a séance the atmosphere often changes and the room becomes quite cold.
I therefore advised the sitters to take in wraps with them, and Sir Oliver Lodge took in and wore a fur coat.
The two luminous trumpets were placed in the centre of the room.
The conditions appeared to be very good.
During the time the first four records were played on the gramophone, many of the sitters were touched on knee, hands or head, by what may be presumed to be materialized hands.
The first voice to be heard was that of Dr Barnett, speaking in deep clear tones, close to the floor, in the centre of the circle. He gave us a greeting
A little later the loud tones of Kokum were heard speaking, whilst a gramophone record was being played.
During the evening, from high up in the room, there came the shrill voice of Bert Everett, who also spoke with us on two or three occasions later. Hawk Chief, on request, gave a penetrating whoop. Pat O’Brien, in his rich Irish brogue, carried on a conversation with Sir Oliver Lodge.
Bobby Worrall talked with us and with two or three of the sitters, and referred to watching Pat playing with a toy railway during the day in the nursery.
Feda came through, and spoke with several of the sitters, including Sir Oliver Lodge, and gave her peculiar little laugh.
All these spirits spoke independently, without using the trumpet, and their voices appeared from different parts of the room.
Of the personal spirits, quite early in the evening, we heard an independent voice close to Sir Oliver Lodge, calling: “Father!”
Almost immediately following this, the luminous trumpet was lifted, and taken very close to Sir Oliver, whowas touched on the head and on the body.
The voice then said: “It’s Pat, father!”
And then added, as if announcing himself to us all: “Pat Raymond Lodge.”
Sir Oliver Lodge told us that Raymond was often addressed by the family as “Pat”.
A conversation ensued between Sir Oliver and Raymond on family matters, which lasted for some little time. Names were volunteered by the spirit. Three times during the evening Raymond came through to Sir Oliver Lodge.
An independent voice came through, addressing me, giving full Christian and surnames. This was George, my sister’s young son.
He talked with me and with my wife, and said that he was going to make the endeavour to speak to my son Dennis at Cambridge on the following evening.
After this incident a voice came through, announcing itself as George Hunt, my wife’s father (full Christian and surnames being given), and talked with me and with my wife. He said that he was anxious to have the opportunity of speaking to his wife.
Two individual spirits came through and spoke to Mrs Bovill, and also to Mr Lionel Corbett. These spirits gave full Christian and surnames, and a short personal conversation ensued between them.
Suddenly, in the middle of the sitting, one of the luminous trumpets was lifted, and it was whirled round the circle at a lightning speed. It was then taken up to the ceiling – high up in the air – and the ceiling was rapped.
Towards the end of the sitting, Dr Barnett spoke to us again, and there then ensued between Dr Barnett and Sir Oliver Lodge a long discussion upon the ether.
Sir Oliver Lodge asked questions of Dr Barnett with regard to the make-up of the human body. The manner in which Dr Barnett replied to each of Sir Oliver’s questions was fluent and intelligent.
The discourse went on for over a quarter of an hour. The methods by which spirit communication in the actual voice could be obtained was discussed between them.
Sir Oliver asked whether, on their side, this was a question of the fourth dimension, and Dr. Barnett, giving, as he did several times throughout, his characteristic and stentorian laugh, replied saying that there were several dimensions beyond ours.
Dr Barnett dealt with the various forms of life of humans, animals, trees, plants, and so on, and stated that life survives in every form and that it is impossible to destroy life.
In answer to a question from Mr Lionel Corbett with regard to psychic upheavals, Dr Barnett again gave a very grave warning about the secret preparations of Japan and Germany for war in the air.
On several occasions Dr Barnett has referred to this, and although any forecast is problematic, yet he insists on the point that the next war will be comparatively soon and that it will be the most terrible that human civilization has had to endure.
I referred to the coming sittings we had arranged to give in Tavistock Square to the Society for Psychical Research, and said that I hoped we would get good results, although I was not certain that the conditions there would be entirely satisfactory.
Dr Barnett laughed and said: “We will do our best, but you should ask yourselves whether your intellects are not superior to theirs.”
This, of course, is quite true. As a matter of fact, I, personally, have learnt so much during the last two years of study, with my own mediumship, and with the enormous number of sittings I have had – not only with Valiantine, but with other mediums – that my experience in those two years amounts to more than the whole of the Society for Psychical Research put together for the forty odd years of their existence.
And it must also be borne in mind that present at this sitting was Sir Oliver Lodge, past President of the Society and the greatest scientist in Great Britain.
All those who were present were impressed by the phenomena that had occurred.
I had a chat afterwards with Sir Oliver Lodge, who presses his conviction of spirit communication far more freely and convincingly in conversation than he does in his public writings.
He referred to the communications he had received during recent years from the spirit of F. W. H. Myers.
Since the publication of his excellent book, “Raymond”, he has not, I believe, published any further work on psychical research; his genius has been devoted to the solution of material scientific problems.
In the compilation of “Raymond” Sir Oliver based his evidence of survival chiefly on the communications received through clairvoyant mediums – that is communications made through these mediums’ mouths and lips.
To appreciate the great advance that has been made recently it may be noticed that there is no record whatever in “Raymond” of evidence obtained by the direct and independent voice speaking from space, which is the rarest and most dramatic form of phenomenon yet discovered.
At the time that “Raymond” was published Sir Oliver had, apparently, no persona experience whatever of this form, and, although since that date he has heard the “independent voices”, I gathered from him that his knowledge of “voice” phenomena is extremely limited.
This is not to be wondered at since “voice mediums” are so rare that only a handful are known to the world.
In fact, only a year ago Sir Oliver told me that he did not think the chief research officers of the Society for Psychical Research had ever heard the independent voice.
Footnote by Zerdini: Dennis Bradley’s circle developed the direct voice after sitting with George Valiantine as did Hannen Swaffer’s Circle after sitting with Frank Decker.