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Observations placeholder

Savage, Dr Minot Judson - Psychics : facts and theories – 11 Dr Savage has a reading with a professional medium



Type of Spiritual Experience


She read his mind - perceptions.

A description of the experience

Psychics : facts and theories – M J Savage

I will now tell the story of my first sitting with Mrs. P., a psychic famous in the annals of psychical research, both in Boston and in London. In one way the incidents are very slight, but for that very reason they were to me all the more striking ; for it seems to me that such incidents are beyond the wildest theory of guess-work. She might have guessed a great many things about me; but that she should have guessed these particular things, seems to me most wildly improbable.

This sitting occurred in the winter of 1885. My father had died during the preceding summer, aged ninety years and six months. Most of his life had been spent in Maine. He had never lived in Boston, and there is no conceivable way by which Mrs. P. could ever have learned about him any other than the most general facts. But as she had no earthly reason for supposing that I was ever going to call on her I do not know why she should have taken the trouble to learn anything about him.

Even if she had taken such trouble, there was no one in the city who could have told her these especial facts. They were not known outside of one or two members of my own family, and at this time no member of my family had ever seen Mrs. P.

Such, then, was the condition of affairs when, one morning, I called at her house. She soon became entranced. That these trances, in her case, are genuine, there is no shadow of a question ; and when she returns to her normal condition, she has no knowledge of anything that has been said or done. Her " control " said — what is common enough — that many "spirits" were present. Among them he singled out for description an old man.

This description was general only, but correct so far as it went ; for immediately he proceeded to tell me it was my father. Then he added, "He calls you Judson." Soon after this, as though his attention had just been turned to it, he exclaimed that he had a peculiar bare spot " right here." (The hand of the psychic was lifted and laid on the right side of the top of her head, about where the parting of the hair would usually be.)

This is by no means all that was said or done, but I single out thus these two tiny facts, so that we may look at them a little by themselves. As to this matter of the bare spot on his head :

Though living to so advanced an age, my father was never bald; but years before I was born, as the result of a burn, this particular place lost its hair. It was about one inch in width and two or three inches long, running back from the forehead towards the crown. He was accustomed to part his hair on the left side, and comb it over this bare place. Generally, therefore, it was entirely unnoticed.

As I had every reason to suppose that Mrs. P. had never seen him this struck me as at least worthy of remark.

But the other little matter appears to me still more worthy of notice. When I was born, away up in the middle of Maine, I had a half-sister, my father's daughter, who was then living in Massachusetts. She sent home a request that I be named Judson. She was to do for me certain things, provided her request was granted. So I got my middle name; but she died suddenly before ever returning home, and I have never learned the reason for her wish.

The only important thing about this bit of autobiography is to note the fact that (as I always supposed, out of tenderness for the memory of a favorite daughter) my father, all through my boyhood, always called me Judson, though all the rest of the family uniformly spoke to me, and of me, by my first name ; and (this is worthy of note) my father himself, in all his later years, fell into the habit of using my first name, like the rest of the family.

I doubt therefore, if he had called me " Judson " for as many as fifteen or twenty years before his death. Why, then, does the " control " of Mrs. P., after describing correctly this " old man," exclaim, " Why, it is your father ; he calls you Judson? "

Neither one of these things was consciously in my own mind at the time, and 1 can imagine no way by which either the conscious or unconscious self of Mrs. P. could ever have found them out.

A very little thing. Yes, and so it was a very little thing to know that a piece of amber, when rubbed with silk, would attract light bodies ; but this little thing had in it the promise and potency of world-revolutionizing discoveries.

One other thing occurred at this same sitting. Towards its close, Mrs. P.'s 'control" said : ' Here is somebody who says his name is John. He was your brother. No, not your own brother; he was your half-brother."

Then, pressing her hand on the base of her brain, Mrs. P. moaned and rocked herself back and forth as if in great agony. Then the "control" continued: "He says it was so hard to die, away off there all alone ! How he did want to see mother ! " Then he went on to explain that he died from the effects of a fall, striking the back of his head. The whole description was most strikingly realistic.

Now for the facts corresponding to this dramatic narration. I had a half-brother John, my mother's son. (The family was a threefold one, my father and my mother both having been married before they married each other.)

He was many years older than I, and in his earlier life had gone to sea. A year or two before this sitting, he had been at work in Michigan, building a steam saw-mill. Some hoisting tackle having got out of gear, he had climbed up to disentangle it. Losing his hold, he had fallen and struck the back of his head on a stick of timber, from the results of which he died. No friend was near him at the time, but afterward we learned that he had died talking of "Mother"; and love for his mother had been a most marked characteristic all through his life.

John was not consciously in my mind at the time of this sitting, and I cannot even dream of any way by which Mrs. P. could ever even have heard that any such person had ever lived.

The source of the experience

Savage, Dr Minot Judson

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps