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Observations placeholder

Croad, Mrs Carrie - Blindsight by reading other people’s minds



Type of Spiritual Experience


It is perhaps worthwhile to point out that the writer of this report was not a ‘spiritualist’, nor apparently a believer in any sort of ‘supernatural’ revelation. "If any one here" he writes - the paper was originally read at a meeting of a learned society - "expects me to discourse or speculate on the immaterial, the metaphysical, he will be disappointed: for this single and sufficient reason, I believe in nothing of the kind".  It is intriguing though that he also offers no explanation.

Moreover, though he does not dwell upon the more psychic aspect of Mrs. Croad's abnormal perceptions, Dr. Davey was evidently not prepared to dismiss unceremoniously the stories current as to that lady's possession of “strange knowledge which could hardly have come to her through any transference of special sense."

From the evidence the majority of Mrs Croad’s ability to see was gained by mind reading, but there does seem some additional evidence of out of body experiences – or if not this then remote viewing

A description of the experience

Dr. J. G. Davey - Journal of Psychological Medicine

In 1870, it is stated, Mrs. Croad became totally blind, in the following year deaf and in 1874 speechless. The paralysis which was limited to the lower extremities, involved, in 1879, the upper limbs; but at this time (he was writing early in 1881] the loss of sensation and motion is limited to the left arm, the fingers and thumb of the left hand being but partially affected. The right hand and arm have recovered their once-lost functions.

She is now able to articulate, though with difficulty, from, as it appears to me, a tetanic rigidity of the temporal and masseter muscles, by which the mouth is kept, to a large extent, fixed and closed.

It was in October last [i.e., October 1880] that I was asked to see Mrs. Croad. I found her sitting in a semi-recumbent position in a small bedstead, her head and shoulders resting on pillows, The eyelids were fast closed, and the left arm and hand resting by the side. The knees I found then, as they are still, bent at an acute angle, the heels closely pressed to the under part of the thighs.

In this, of course, there was nothing unusual. Similar cases may be found by the score in every hospital for functional nervous disorders.

Since October, and through the months of November and December 1880, I have subjected Mrs. Croad to many and various tests with the view of satisfying myself as to the truth or otherwise of the statements given to the world of her blindness, sense of touch, and marvellous sympathies. To my near neighbours Drs. Andrews and Elliot – l am much indebted.

The various tests referred to were witnessed by them in my presence, and with the effect of assuring us that she (Mrs. Croad) was and is enabled to perceive, through the aid only of touch, the various objects, both large and small, on any given card or photograph. After an experience extending over some nine or ten weeks, during which the "tests" were many times repeated, and, now and then, in the presence of several medical and non-medical (ladies and gentlemen) friends, there remained (l believe) not the least doubt of this "transference of sense" from the eyes of Mrs. Croad to her fingers and the palm of her right hand.

It need not be supposed that I and others were content to believe in Mrs. Croad's blindness, and to take no specific precautions against any possible trick or deception – far from this.

On solicitation, she very kindly assented to be blindfolded, after a very decided fashion: and so blindfolded that neither deception on her part nor prejudice nor false judgment on ours were – either the one or the other - possible.

The blindfolding was accomplished thus: a pad of cotton wool being placed on each orbit, the face was then covered by a large and thickly folded neckerchief; this was tied securely at the back part of the head, and-even more than this – more cotton wool was pushed up towards the eyes, on either side of the nose.

Not content with this, however, the aid of two fingers of a bystander was requisitioned, and with these a continued pressure was kept up, during the testing, outside and over the neckerchief and wool, and above the closed eyes. At this stage of the proceedings the room was, on two different occasions, very thoroughly darkened. Under such circumstances it was, the testing commenced, and continued to the end; the result being, as theretofore, in the highest degree conclusive and satisfactory.

The transference of sense from one organ to another as an acquired and spontaneous condition of being must, on the evidence here adduced, be accepted as a demonstrated and certain fact. I would state here, that on receiving a picture card or a photo from a bystander she (Mrs. Croad) places it on and about the chin or mouth, and perhaps draws it across the forehead, but the minute examination of the card is, apparently, the work of the fingers of the right hand. These several acts are, for the most part, followed by a quiet and intense thought, a well-marked concentration of mind on the picture, or whatever it may be, when, after a short time, she writes on a slate kept near her a description - sometimes a full and detailed one - of the card, its colouring, and the several objects thereon.

I have seen some forty or fifty picture cards and photographs described by Mrs. Croad at different times with various degrees of accuracy during the whole period I have known her. Occasionally her rapid and precise perception, or, if you prefer the word, conception, of the picture, and of the many but minute and trifling, objects going to form its entirety, is really startling. I have but seldom seen her wholly at fault, though she has met with her failures.

Bear in mind that for a period of many years her eyelids have been persistently closed by, as it would seem, a spasmodic or involuntary action of the muscular structures thereto attached. In her there is no aperture or apertures - unless you make such by your own act, i.e., unless you pull the eyelids apart.

As a further illustration of Mrs. Croad's peculiar and clairvoyant gifts it should be stated that, at my second interview with her and in the presence of Dr. Andrews and others, certain of my own personal and private convictions on a particular subject became, as it would seem, in a strange and exceptional manner, known to Mrs. Croad.

She asked me if I would allow her to tell me a secret of my own life-history, and would I be offended if she wrote it on her slate. I replied, "No."

That written on the slate was and is a fact, than which nothing could or can be more truthful and to the point. Dr. Andrews is prepared to verify [corroborate] this; the others present on this occasion were but little known to me.

It is said also by those near and dear to her that such is Mrs. Croad's prevision that she has been known to foretell my own visits to her; what I mean is, that on my approach to the house she occupies and when at a distance from it, and unseen by anyone about her-in fact not within sight-she has said, "Dr. Davey is coming; he will be here directly."

The source of the experience

Croad, Mrs. Carrie

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps