Four men with keen senses assert that "Margery", the well known Boston medium, exudes a tangible, physical substance from her mouth. The world sits back with astonishment and, for all the explanation that has been given, may remain perplexed until doomsday. Doctor Dingwall, in Jordan Hall Saturday evening, stated the fact, but gave no explanation. That he and his colleagues are mistaken as to the actual existence of this substance is hardly probable, for it has been seen repeatedly in seances covering weeks. Granting, then, that it exists, what is its cause?
The four witnesses see in it a psychic problem. Now, the aim of psychology is to understand the functions of the mind. If this is a mental phenomenon, then psychology may properly deal with it. But if it is a physical manifestation, psychologists will only clothe it in mysticism, and when they begin to delve in magic, they discredit all psychology in the popular mind.
For centuries people believed that a person subject to epileptic fits was inspired. This superstition persisted until medical science showed that epilepsy was a disease with understandable causes. With "Margery" the problem may be physiological rather than psychological. It will at once be objected that Doctor Crandon, "Margery's" husband, is himself a capable physician who has investigated, always with psychic conclusions. Doctor Crandon, however, approached the problem with a bias and his special interest casts doubt upon his testimony.
The one obvious fact connected with the matter is that people will not be awed into belief by such hocus-pocus proceedings. It looks like a clear case for competent and disinterested physicians to investigate.