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American Society for Psychical Research.


The American Society for Psychical Research held a public meeting last Wednesday evening in the rooms of the Boston Natural History Society. Professor William James, of Harvard, was in the chair in the absence of the president, and received the reports of two committees: one on Mediumistic Phenomena, and the other on Phantasms and Presentiments.

Dr. Joseph Warren, chairman of the committee on Mediumistic Phenomena, read his report on the results of the investigatios of the committee. He said that the mediums claimed that certain conditions had to be fulfilled in order for the seance to be a success, and as the committee also imposed conditions, only eight or ten sittings had been attended with satisfactory results. He spoke of the numbers of humbugs which had been exposed, and said that, to his knowledge, there were only two in Boston at present, one of whom had already been shown up and the other would be shortly.

Professor Royce of Harvard followed with the report of the committee on Phantasms and Presentiments. His report embraced four types of cases, which he characterizes as follows: First comes the cases that possess only a subjective interest, as illustrating curious events in the inner life of some people. Secondly, I shall describe a few experiments that are probably to be explained as instances of what is generally called "unconscious cerebration." Thirdly, I shall give a part of the evidence of the existence of a not generally recognized species of mental experience, which stimulates presentiment, but which is not presentiment. Finally, I shall come to the apparently telepathic coincidences and shall endeavor to give an estimate of their value. Professor Royce then read several communications on the subject of hallucinations and remarkable dream impressions. He finished by reading some communications regarding cases of telepathy or thought-transferance.

Professor James said that Dr. Hodgson, the secretary of the society, would be away a great part of the time next year investigating cases of mediumistic phenomena in other cities, and that in order to continue the work of the society, considerable money would be needed, which he hoped would be forthcoming.

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