Verrall, Margaret – A Comparison of the Myers Communicators
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Trance-Personalities - - G. N. M. Tyrrell
A Comparison of the Myers Communicators. -
That the same communicating personality should show differences in its appearance in the scripts of different automatists is not surprising on any theory of the nature of the communicator , but some observations made by Miss Alice Johnson on this point are worth quoting here, since she had ample opportunity for noting and comparing characteristics of the script-personalities. There is,' she says,('The Automatic Writing of Mrs. Holland,' Proc. S.P.R., vol. xxi. PP. 239 ff) 'an emotional tone and a note of personal appeal in the utterances of Myers-h which shows in contrast with the calmer and more impersonal, matter-of-fact tone of Myers V.' And, she continues:
'If Mr. Myers really knew what was going on and if he was really concerned in the production of the scripts, it would be natural and appropriate that he should attempt to impress the two automatists in these different ways.
Mrs. Verrall, a personal friend and trained investigator, was already familiar with scientific methods and in close touch with other investigators. She did not require urging to go on with her writing, from which some important evidence had already resulted.
Mrs. Holland, on the other hand, was in an isolated position; she was conscious of the superficially trivial and incoherent nature of her script, and could not tell whether there was anything in it beyond a dream-like rechauffe of her own thoughts. She would naturally shrink from exposing this to strangers and thereby appearing to attach an unreasonable degree of importance to it. We may suppose then that the control realizes her situation and tries to impress on her a vivid realization of his own-his intense desire to provide evidence for survival.'
This was in the early days of Mrs. Holland's scripts. 'In a letter dated Feb. 25, 1905, she says:
"I cannot tell you how glad I should be to know if the longing for recognition (it is such a passionate craving sometimes that I find myself crying out: 'If I could help you. Oh! if I could only help you!' while I write) is a real influence from beyond or only my own imaginings. But why should my imagination take that form? I have been singularly free from bereavements thus far in my life, and therefore my thoughts have been very seldom in the Valley of the Shadow...
In Nov. 1905, when I had asked her to read through the early script and send me any comments that occurred to her, she notes among other things:
'This sloping writing [that of the Myers control] often brings a very sad impression of great depression with it - a feeling that some one, somewhere, urgently and passionately desires to be understood, or reported even without understanding, and that no mental strain on my part can adequately respond to this demand. This feeling has been strong enough to make me cry and to make me speak aloud. I frequently control it, for it seems to me perilously akin to hysteria but it is a very real part of the automatic script.'"'
It is noteworthy, I think, that Miss Alice Johnson, as long ago as 1905, was also led by the evidence to the conclusion that the actual communicator we are dealing with is Compound. She gives an analogy:
'It is hardly possible to discuss the subject without the use of material analogies, which are constantly liable to be mistaken for' real similarities. The best method perhaps is to vary the analogies as much as possible, so as to avoid confining ourselves to fixed grooves of thought. In particular, any analogy referring to a process - such as the comparison of telepathy to wireless telegraphy - is to be deprecated, as it inevitably suggests the inference that the processes referred to are essentially similar. It is better to confine ourselves to analogies which relate simply to the facts before us and suggest nothing as to the causes that produce them.
'I will then compare the scripts to chemical compounds of two or more elements, which are found in different proportions in the various compounds. Thus, if we call the automatists P and V and the hypothetical external intelligence X, we may get in the one script such compounds as PX or P2X, or PX2, and in the other VX, etc.; or we may get in either of them such compounds as PVX, P2V3X, etc. We may also get such compounds as PV or PV2; or we may get the elements P and V by themselves. The one element that we never get alone is X.
'If this be so, the Piper-Myers is not, and never could be, identical with the Verrall-Myers. The utmost that can happen will be that the same element is found in both scripts. The burden of proof must lie with those who maintain that it is there to be found; but our methods of analysis are not yet so far perfected that we can assert positively either its presence or absence.'
This analogy with chemical compounds is helpful to the mind in its attempts to picture what is going on; but it is very necessary to bear in mind the warning that Miss Johnson gives us, namely, that we are dealing with mind, and that our materialistically inclined thought suggests conceptions of it couched in terms of matter, so that, as she says, material analogies are constantly liable to be mistaken for real similarities.