ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF PSYCHIC SCIENCE – Nandor Fodor – 1932 - Winds
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF PSYCHIC SCIENCE – Nandor Fodor – 1932 - Winds
WINDS, breezes, currents of air, cooling of temperature, is a well-observed seance room phenomenon. We do not know the means by which the effects are brought about and it is an open speculation whether they serve a direct purpose or are by-products only.
Certain it is that such thermic manifestations are a great convenience both for the sitters and the medium who sometimes suffer excessively from perspiration. It is difficult to allot the part which the organism of the sitters and of the medium plays in the phenomenon. Sometimes the source is plainly the medium. The spouting fountain of air of which Lombroso writes in his account of seances with Eusapia Paladino issued from a depression on the medium's forehead.
This depression was due to an accident in childhood. Carrington noticed that after a good seance the breeze was strong, after a poor one it was altogether lacking. Yet the breeze is not an after-seance effect. It usually precedes and heralds strong physical phenomena. Mrs. Sanders of New York feels so unnaturally cold during her seances that she envelopes herself in many coverings and shawls to counteract the effect. The chilly feeling with which apparitions are accompanied may, for aught we know, be the result of a sudden drop in the temperature. All those who saw the apparition of a wooden cross in Haunted B. House (See: Haunting) felt unnaturally cold.
Walter, the control of Margery, said that the cold breezes and the drop in temperature is the, result of some psychic emanation from the sitters' brains. This emanation may be more or less profuse and it may affect the thermometer before being actually used for the phenomena. Walter found immense pleasure in using the thermometer as an indicator of the physical conditions confronting him. He said that he looked at it, if it was steady, he used Margery alone, if it was going down he used the sitters' brains as well. If he used Margery alone no cold breezes or drop in temperature was produced.
Walter's statement contains nothing new. The control of D. D. Home said more than half a century before him: "It is through your brains that the atmosphere we make use of is thrown off."
It is curious to note that at a still earlier age the phenomenon was a great puzzle to Swedenborg. He writes in his Spiritual Diary: "A spirit is compared to the wind (John iii. 8); hence it is that spirits have come to me both now ' and very frequently before, with wind, which I felt in the face; yea, it also moved the flame of the candle, and likewise papers; the wind was cold, and indeed most frequently when I raised my right arm, which I wondered at, the cause of which I do not yet know."
The same experience has been recorded with almost all physical mediums. Lord Adare, in a seance with D. D. Home, heard the sound of a great wind. "We also felt the wind strongly," he writes, "the moaning, rushing sound was the most weird thing I ever heard."
Crookes writes in Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism: "These movements, and indeed, I may say the same of every kind of phenomenon, are generally preceded by a peculiar cold air, sometimes amounting to a decided wind. I have had sheets of paper blown about by it, and a thermometer lowered several degrees. On some occasions I have not detected any actual movement of the air, but the cold has been so intense that I could only compare it to that felt when the hand has been within a few inches of frozen mercury."
In the experiments at the Castle of Millesimo with Marquis Centurione Scotto, Ernesto Bozzano recorded: "On the evening of July 7, 1928, the heat was very oppressive. We happened to mention this disadvantage. Almost immediately blasts of unusually strong, icy air, were felt by all of us. There was a continual change in the direction from which these air currents came; sometimes they descended from the ceiling, then we felt them in front of us, or at our sides, or blowing from behind us; sometimes they were like small whirlwinds. It felt as though several electric fans were working in the centre, outside and above the circle."
In the next seance the phenomena was repeated and perfected: "Almost immediately we felt strong blasts of icy air which rapidly increased in force, giving one the impression of a powerful supernormal electric fan which periodically wafted its pleasant, cooling currents of air over the sitters... These currents were so strong that our hair waved in the wind, and men's coats, and the lace on the ladies' dresses were blown about."
Ernesto Bozzano adds that not the slightest sound accompanied the production of this phenomenon. The breezes sometimes brought down the temperature of the seance room by as much as 20 degrees.
Prof. Henslow describes the sensations of the sitters of Dr. Hooper of Birmingham as of that of "an intensely cold dew or mist, as though a vapour of methylated spirit were floating about the room.". . While apports were being produced "the sitters felt as if they were sitting up to their knees in cold water."
Harry Price established a definite connection between the telekinetic phenomena and the drop of temperature. In his experiments with Stella C. at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research he noticed a maximum drop of 20.5 degrees Fahrenheit. At the close of the seance the temperature was again normal. But often the drop in the temperature of the room was permanent. The medium's temperature was always higher at the end of the sitting but she herself always complained of feeling cold. The rapidity of her pulse beats was always accompanied in the trance by a pronounced coldness in the extremities.
In the Margery seances a maximum-and-minimum thermometer was employed to measure the temperature. In one case the initial temperature dropped from 68 to 42, a difference of 26 degrees. After the breezes had been blowing for a while Margery often complained of feeling as though cobwebs were on her face.
General experience as regards the nature of the cold breezes is curiously contradicted in an address of Robert King (Light, April 25, 1903). He says that the peculiar cold air of the seance room is not a wind, "it does not move things. I have watched pieces of paper placed on the table when these cold airs have been playing around. If a wind of that intensity had been blowing the paper would have been moved, so I rather incline to the opinion that this phenomenon is due to a difference in pressure caused by abstraction of etheric matter from the sitters."