IN ORDER to avoid misunderstanding I will first remark that in reading this paper it will be necessary to make use of spiritistic terms. My purpose here is not to put forth any theory but only to describe a series of psychic phenomena. These phenomena, however, are of such an extraordinary kind that it will be difficult to describe them without making use of a spiritistic language.
In Fredrikstad, a town near Oslo, there is a judge called Dahl, who is very highly respected. He had three sons, of whom only the youngest survives, and a married daughter called Ingeborg.
In 1919 the eldest son, Ludvig, died and five years later Ragnar also died.
Soon after the death of the eldest son, the daughter became an extraordinary medium for trance and clairvoyance and through her a series of proofs were given in order to convince the family that the communicator was Ludvig, the brother of the medium.
The séances - if they may be called so - consist simply in the family and others assembling in the sitting-room in full daylight or electric light, without any special formality. After a while Mrs. Ingeborg generally goes over into one of the following two states:
This state is realised after a few minutes. Her ordinary senses are now out of function. She neither sees nor hears. Her control Ludvig says that in this state she is out of her body and this statement is in agreement with the faint remembrance of the medium. In this sleeping trance the communication is realised by means of a psychograph, that moves with great rapidity. The medium is the only person who touches the psychograph and she does not use her eyes to see the letters.
Thus the supranormal character of the communication will be evident. There may also be used a code system unknown to the medium and sitters.
From the sleeping trance, that always occurs at the beginning of the séance, the medium generally awakens. Her eyes are full open and her face has an expression of joy and surprise at what she sees. Sometimes she remembers herself getting back into the body and describes this as an unpleasant process. She is unable to see the other sitters but she sees her two brothers, who occasionally introduce other guests, with whom she is entertaining a lively conversation.
This state is a peculiar one. She herself says that "there is a string" between her and her control. Ludvig on the other hand states the same and says that the medium is dissociated into two persons, the one part being in the physical body while the other part is over on his side, and is controlled by him. The existence of this dissociation is also supported by another clairvoyant, who attended some séances without knowing anything about the dissociation. On looking at the medium this clairvoyant could see the medium in two places, the other person standing in the place where the medium sees the control.
This dissociation is probably the explanation of the peculiar mental state of the medium in this awakened trance. While the medium in the normal state is an intelligent person, she has in the awakened trance only the intellect of a girl of twelve years. This makes her conversation with the control a little difficult, because she does not understand the situation. The control tries to make her repeat what he says in order that the sitters may know it, but the medium repeatedly falls out of the role, being apparently unable to understand the use of repeating his words. She finds her own role stupid and meaningless and now and then, like a naughty little girl, she refuses to obey the control. It is all so stupid, she says.
For the sitters, however, the situation is always very clear under the supposition that Ludvig is present. It happens sometimes that the medium sees both the sitters and her brothers at the same time. It can also happen that she goes over into a deep, dead-like sleep, but as a rule the two states which I have described take place by turn, the awakened trance occupying most of the time, while the psychograph is only used at the opening and the ending of the séance.
Like the phenomena of Mrs. Piper and of Mrs. Leonard the phenomena of Mrs. Ingeborg have a very spiritistic character, but the manner of communication is not the same, - the awakened trance, which is the most perfect method, being something peculiar, as described above. The séances are only undertaken after permission of the control and have a strictly private character.
Among the intellectual phenomena may be mentioned several cases of cross-correspondence. In 1926 the judge Dahl being in London, Ludvig showed himself to his father and afterwards communicated this to the medium in Norway. On leaving Norway the judge had expressedly said that he would not attend séances in London. In October 1927 the same form of cross-correspondence happened when the judge attended a séance in Denmark.
The book-tests consist in reading the content of closed books. The first phenomenon of this kind happened in 1928, Ludvig reading the content of a book unknown to the medium. In the next experiment it was arranged that the book should be pointed out by the sitters. The success was complete. Ludvig (through the medium) read several lines of Wordsworth's Poetical Works, page 316, the book being pointed out by a guest not belonging to the family. Afterwards a sitter who was rather sceptical mentioned another book and the experiment was repeated with the same success.
It has also happened that unknown people from foreign countries have sent scaled letters to the judge in Norway. The letters are placed on the table during a séances and the letter is answered by a long series of numbers. These numbers together with the unopened letter are sent back to the person in question. On substituting letters of the alphabet for the numbers there comes out an intelligent answer to the scaled letter.
The demonstration concluded with an apport, a piece of paper flying into the open hand of the medium. On looking at the paper there were found written some notes in Ludvig's handwriting. Ludvig had as a student at the university studied English literature and the paper contained some literary notes which (according to Ludvig) had been in one of the books where the reading was going on.
Very remarkable are a series of letters in the handwriting of deceased persons written through the medium. In one of the first cases (on the 19th of Dec. 1926) she wrote simultaneously two letters, one with the left and one with the right hand, the medium not looking at the paper but conversing in a lively manner with the control. The two letters had different addresses and different handwritings. Later on a series of such letters has been produced. Of these handwritings I shall only reproduce one. It had been arranged that the medium on a fixed day (4th of Aug. 1928) should place herself at a writing-table with a piece of paper before her and a pencil in her left hand. At the same time she should place a book before her and read out loud for the sitters as long as the experiment lasted. The instruction was followed. As soon as the medium began the reading her left hand began to write. After reading continually for about ten minutes the pencil dropped out of her hand and on looking at the paper the sitters found the following letter, written, as it seemed, from an English lady who had died four years earlier. It was addressed to her niece Helene L., who was expected as a guest one week later. The medium had never seen the handwriting of the English lady.
In the long series of phenomena there has occurred one case of materialisation in full electric light. During Christmas 1929, five members of the family and the medium were assembled in the judge's home. They had been told that they should get a piece of "silverpaper" for an experiment. After the medium had got into awakened trance she and the judge were ordered to take the paper and hold it stretched out horizontally between them, one hand holding each of the four corners. They did as ordered and after some time the judge had a feeling like an electric current running down from the shoulders through his hands. At the same moment there appeared in the middle of the paper a lock of thick brown hair. The witnesses standing round were advised not to touch it at first, but to wait a few moments because else it would disappear.