Mr. Hodgson's Lecture.
The lecture given last night at 61 Mt. Vernon street, Boston, by Mr. Richard Hodgson, consisted mainly of extracts from unpublished accounts of apparitions drawn from English sources. The visual phantasms of sane persons are divided into two classes-those of the living and those of the dead. Under the head of phantasms of the living are included visions of dying people. It has been supposed that all such visions can be accounted for by the theory that the spirit of the living person leaves its body and appears to others at a distance. This theory is difficult of belief, because in all recorded cases the ghost appears clothed, and it can hardly be conceived that an old hat has a spirit which can leave the hat and appear at a distance. An effort has been made to explain the apparitions by "telepathy," which may be defined as the ability of one mind to impress another without the use of the usual organs of sense. Another name for this is "thought transference." In all cases of visions four points are to be noted: the state of the mind of the person who sees, the condition of the person who is seen, and the dates of the vision and of the actual event. Most reported cases can be explained by lapses of memory, self deception and optical illusions. There is, however, enough evidence to justify the belief that there are occurrences which cannot be explained by the above means, or by any mere coincidence. Mr. Hodgson said that his own researches had taken away his former incredulity, and has convinced him that there was a strong prima facie case for careful investigation. The best authenticated cases are never sensational-no skeletons, clanking chains-and are always commonplace and purely personal. Mr. Hodgson illustrated his remarks by most vivid ghost stories, but spoiled the sensational effect by partially explaining them.