Aubert, Georges – 03 Third Epoch – 10 Researches on memory
Type of Spiritual Experience
The tests were divided into two, the first part of the test was to see if he was 'normal' when not playing, and the second part was to subject him to a serious of distractions which would have ensured a normal person had no chance of playing.
A description of the experience
Once the insensitivity of the hands and forearms was undeniably proven, my physiological condition was then studied.
I must point out here that in many cases, almost all our scientists (Dr. Luys, for example) are accustomed to considering a medium as a patient, a ‘hypernervous’, a dysfunctional in a word, in all his relational functions.
It was essential for Dr. Pierron, officially acting on behalf of the Institute, to investigate whether any physiological defect was noticeable in my body.
So it was here that a whole series of very interesting experiments took place that really captivated me.
They were essential. Indeed, a plausible theory for the explanation of my mediumnity was the hypothesis of a great musical memory, conscious or unconscious, which would have acted, in this case, in a much higher way.
I will reply immediately by saying, as you will read later, that my brain is completely independent of the phenomenon and that, therefore, if I play whilst talking, reading or calculating, it is quite extraordinary that the result of this so-called memory is in no way disturbed and that the pieces obtained do not undergo alterations, neither in style nor in measure.
Tests for normality when not playing
Here is what these experiments consisted of. They focused on visual memory, auditory memory and tactile memory.
Visual memory. - To realize the acuity of this function, Dr. Pierron used these two means among others:
- 1° He asked me to draw from memory, on a sheet of paper, a pencil line one centimetre long, then turning the sheet to draw a second line, but ten centimetres long. When this was done, he compared these two lines with the exact dimensions of a double decimeter and realized that the difference between the lines drawn by me and the true lengths was the difference normally made by the vast majority.
- 2° He gave me a book and asked me to go through the printed lines of any page, very quickly and without trying to read, it was my responsibility to inform him every time the word "from" appeared in my eyes. With each notice, he would draw a line on a piece of paper. When the page was finished, he counted the number of strokes, then the exact amount of the word "from". The difference observed was still the one that is commonly noticed.
These two tests, to which I was subjected several times, proved that my visual memory was normal.
Auditory memory. - This experiment consisted in me remembering the exact number of blows struck by either a pencil on a piece of furniture or any other objects against each other, blows struck at regular or irregular intervals, prolonged or short. This test was successful as the previous ones and the normal value of my auditory memory was demonstrated.
Tactile memory. - At the same time as he was experimenting with this form of memory, Dr. Pierron took the opportunity to measure exactly how sensitive my hands were. This was very interesting because, when I played, my hands being insensitive, it was curious to get an exact account of my sensitivity apart from any manifestation. To do this, there was a very ingenious small device at the Institute.
Imagine a small scale pan supported at the point of attachment by a small metal handle. This tray was designed to accommodate weights of different values, quite heavy or very light. Dr. Pierron made me sit against a table and with my elbow resting on it, I held on his request, my hand, palm in the air, in a slight over-elevation (about 20 centimeters). Then, blindfolded, I felt him passing the metal handle of the small tray around my index finger.
Little by little, he put in this tray weights whose value I did not know; but he tried to realize, by varying them from very small quantities, if I perceived differences (sensitivity). First he made these equal differences, then, after having subjected a finger to all kinds of variations, he suddenly returned to the first or second weight by asking me to tell him when I had perceived this weight, either first or second (memory). With my answers, he was able to judge:
- 1° The finesse of my finger sensitivity;
- 2° Of my tactile memory.
This experiment was naturally done not only on the index finger but also on the other nine fingers.
Again it was acknowledged that I had a perfectly normal tactile memory and manual sensitivity.
Research on visual acuity and auditory sensitivity was then undertaken. With a slight myopia, the first experiments determined its degree. Rheumatoid arthritis of the auditory ossicles in the left ear explained a certain hardness of the sense of hearing.
The heart and lungs, each in their own way, were seriously examined. Dr. Pierron, using the recording devices employed in such cases, measured my heartbeat and breathing amplitude at absolute rest and then during the performance of a piece. Nothing in particular caught his attention and the exaggeration of physiological movements, under the influence of muscular play, was perfectly equal to what it should be.
The conclusion of all these experiments, which were very long, as you must think, showed that physiologically, I was absolutely normal and that I was not suffering from any psychological defect.
Tests during playing
It remained to be demonstrated the independence of my self, that is, the complete mental independence that I present during phenomena. These experiments, very curious, are extremely important, in my opinion, because they undoubtedly prove:
- 1° That no musical memory is involved in the event.
- 2° That I am completely unconsciousness of what my hands are doing.
- 3° That it is impossible for me to influence the play, the piece that is unfolding, since I do not control my fingers or my hands, moreover, being insensitive it is as if they do not exist for me.
- 4° That an intelligence external to myself, acting in an absolutely independent way and completely outside the audience, is the only mistress of the event.
- 5° That, finally, if the dependence of the mind on the phenomenon had been proven, it would be over with the spiritualist origin that Mr. Delanne and we attributed to the wonderful things we were hearing.
Four procedures were used to prove this mental independence and these four procedures were naturally undertaken as I performed pieces under the influence of the otherworld. These are:
- 1° Reading,
- 2° Calculation,
- 3° Conversation,
- 4° Hearing.
I must say here that many of the pieces that were given through me during the three months of experimentation were recorded by two Pathé phonographs, whose metalized cylinders are now part of the General Psychological Institute's collection, .....
These cylinders can therefore be considered as proof of the way in which the various musical pieces were performed, under the various conditions of experiment of which a stenographer, placed in the room, at each séance, took careful note. Everything that was said, all the conversations were recorded.
Given these preliminaries, here is what the four procedures I was talking about earlier consisted of.
- Reading. - A newspaper article about bovine tuberculosis was placed in front of me on the piano desk. Dr. Pierron then asked me to read this article aloud and intelligible. I had no difficulty in satisfying the experimenter's desire. Several times this test was attempted. At each attempt I could read with the greatest ease. Well, meanwhile, while my eyes and brain were busy reading and understanding what was presented to my eyes, during that time, I said, the started musical piece continued unabated, without interruption in accuracy, measure, style and nuances.
- Calculation. - Always under the same conditions, Mr. Pierron asked me several operations to be solved mentally. The four rules were passed. Well, while my mind was working, looking for the different solutions of additions, subtractions, multiplications or divisions put forward, the phenomenon went on just as wonderfully.
- Conversation. - Here were more or less long, more or less continuous conversations that I had to have with any of the listeners, on any subject and at any time during the execution, either forewarned or by surprise. And always, during this time, the musical influence manifested itself in all its fullness.
- Hearing. - This experiment deserves your full attention. For me, this is the decisive study, the one that nothing needs to be repeated and which alone proves everything I said earlier. If, on average, the phenomenon had been disturbed in a small way, it could have been reported that
- 1° I was in bad faith and well trained in the various pitfalls that could be put in front of me, or
- 2° my mind controlled the phenomenon, however little, and even unconsciously.
The result of the following experiment was convincing.
Two phonographs were placed behind me, each with rubber hearing tubes. In my right ear they had to insert the ear tube of the right phonograph, whose cylinder would reproduce the sound of Aida's trumpets. In my left ear, the tube was fixed to the left phonograph, whose rotating cylinder would make me hear Sellénick's Indian march. In my usual position in front of the piano, I then started a kind of barcarolle, played by the spirit of Mendelsohn (I remember perfectly the style of this piece, given the strange conditions in which I found myself.). After a few measurements, I felt the introduction of BOTH AUDITIVE TUBES and heard, from that moment on, the most terrible concert in my mind, the most inexpressible cacophony sounded that could ever exist in our world.
Put yourself in my shoes and imagine that on the right you hear Aida's dazzling marching band and on the left, Sellénick's gentle march.
If you can play an improvisation on the piano during this time, you will surprise me a lot.
In any case, while the supposed influences of my mind were thus subjected to such a harsh test, the barcarolle, improvised by Mendelsohn, underwent no change. And yet, the style of two military marches has nothing in common with a barcarolle.
This experiment, considerable in terms of the consequences that can be drawn from it, was the last and crowning achievement of all those to which I was subjected at the Psychological Institute.