In preparing this series of lessons for students of Western lands, I have been compelled to proceed along lines exactly opposite to those which I would have chosen had these lessons been for students in India. This because of the diametrically opposite mental attitudes of the students of these two several lands.
The student in India expects the teacher to state positively the principles involved, and the methods whereby these principles may be manifested, together with frequent illustrations (generally in the nature of fables or parables), serving to link the new knowledge to some already known thing. The Hindu student never expects or demands anything in the nature of "proof" of the teachers statements of principle or method; in fact, he would regard it as an insult to the teacher to ask for the same. Consequently, he does not look for, or ask, specific instances or illustrations in the nature of scientific evidence or proof of the principles taught. He may ask for more information, but solely for the purpose of bringing out some point which he has not grasped; but he avoids as a pestilence any question seeming to indicate argument, doubt of what is being taught him, or of the nature of a demand for proof or evidence.
The Western student, on the other hand, is accustomed to maintaining the skeptical attitude of mind--the scientific attitude of doubt and demand for proof--and the teacher so understands it. Both are accustomed to illustrations bringing out the principles involved, but these illustrations must not be fanciful or figurative--they must be actual cases, well authenticated and vouched for as evidence. In short, the Western teacher is expected to actually "prove" to his students his principles and methods, before he may expect them to be accepted. This, of course, not from any real doubt or suspicion of the veracity or ability of the teacher, but merely because the Western mind expects to question, and be questioned, in this way in the process of teaching and learning.
Consequently, in this series of lessons, I have sought to follow the Western method rather than the Hindu. So far as is possible, I have avoided the flat positive statement of principles and methods, and have sought to prove each step of the teaching. Of course, I have been compelled to assume the existence of certain fundamental principles, in order to avoid long and technical metaphysical and philosophical discussions. I have also had to content myself with the positive flat assertion of the existence of the Astral Plane, Akashic Records, Prana, etc., which are fundamental postulates of Hindu philosophy and occult science--for these are established solely by the experience of those who are able to function on the higher planes themselves. But, beyond this I have sought to prove by direct and positive evidence (adapted to the Western mind) every step of my teaching and methods.
In offering this scientific proof, I have purposely omitted (except in a few instances) all mention of occult or psychic phenomena occurring in India, and have confined myself to instances occurring in Western lands to Western persons. Moreover, I have avoided quoting and citing Hindu authorities, and have, instead, quoted and cited from authorities well known and respected in Western lands, such as the Society for Psychical Research, and the prominent scientists interested in the work of the said society. In this way I have sought to furnish the Western student with examples, cases, and illustrations familiar to him, and easily referred to. Had I cited Indian cases, I might be accused of offering proof that could not be easily verified; and quoting persons unknown to my readers. There is a wealth of such cases and illustration in India, naturally, but these as a rule are traditional and not available in printed form; and these would not likely be very satisfactory to the Western student.
I must, however, positively and firmly state that while these cases and illustrations, these quotations and citations, are purely Western, the principles they illustrate and prove are among the oldest known to Hindu occult science and philosophy. In fact, having been accepted as proved truth in India, for centuries past, there is very little demand for further proof thereof on the part of the Hindus. In the Western world, however, these things are comparatively new, and must be proved and attested accordingly. So, as I have said, I have cut the cloth of my instruction to conform with the pattern favored for the Western garment of knowledge. So far as the illustrations and cases, the quotations and citations are concerned--these are purely Western and familiar to the student. But, when it comes to the principles themselves, this is another matter--I must be pardoned for stating that these are the outgrowth of Hindu thought and investigation, and that he who would discover their roots must dig around the tree of the Wisdom of the East, which has stood the storms and winds of thousands of years. But the branches of this mighty tree are wide-spreading, and there is room for many Western students to rest in its shade and shelter.
In these lessons I have referred occasionally to my two little books, entitled "The Astral World," and "The Human Aura," respectively. To those who are interested in these subjects, I recommend these little books; they are sold at a nominal price, and contain much that will be helpful to the student of Hindu Occult Science. They are not required, however, to complete the understanding of the subjects treated upon in these lessons, and are mentioned and recommended merely as supplementary reading for the student who wishes to take little "side excursions" away from the main trip covered in these lessons.
I trust that my students will find the pleasure and satisfaction in studying these lessons that I have in writing them.
THE ASTRAL SENSES
The student of occultism usually is quite familiar with the crass individual who assumes the cheap skeptical attitude toward occult matters, which attitude he expresses in his would-be "smart" remark that he "believes only in what his senses perceive." He seems to think that his cheap wit has finally disposed of the matter, the implication being that the occultist is a credulous, "easy" person who believes in the existence of things contrary to the evidence of the senses.
While the opinion or views of persons of this class are, of course, beneath the serious concern of any true student of occultism, nevertheless the mental attitude of such persons are worthy of our passing consideration, inasmuch as it serves to give us an object lesson regarding the childlike attitude of the average so-called "practical" persons regarding the matter of the evidence of the senses.
These so-called practical persons have much to say regarding their senses. They are fond of speaking of "the evidence of my senses." They also have much to say about the possession of "good sense" on their part; of having "sound common sense"; and often they make the strange boast that they have "horse sense," seeming to consider this a great possession. Alas, for the pretensions of this class of persons. They are usually found quite credulous regarding matters beyond their everyday field of work and thought, and accept without question the most ridiculous teachings and dogmas reaching them from the voice of some claimed authority, while they sneer at some advanced teaching which their minds are incapable of comprehending. Anything which seems unusual to them is deemed "flighty," and lacking in appeal to their much prized "horse sense."
But, it is not my intention to spend time in discussing these insignificant half-penny intellects. I have merely alluded to them in order to bring to your mind the fact that to many persons the idea of "sense" and that of "senses" is very closely allied. They consider all knowledge and wisdom as "sense;" and all such sense as being derived directly from their ordinary five senses. They ignore almost completely the intuitional phases of the mind, and are unaware of many of the higher processes of reasoning.
Such persons accept as undoubted anything that their senses report to them. They consider it heresy to question a report of the senses. One of their favorite remarks is that "it almost makes me doubt my senses." They fail to perceive that their senses, at the best, are very imperfect instruments, and that the mind is constantly employed in correcting the mistaken report of the ordinary five senses.
Not to speak of the common phenomenon of color-blindness, in which one color seems to be another, our senses are far from being exact. We may, by suggestion, be made to imagine that we smell or taste certain things which do not exist, and hypnotic subjects may be caused to see things that have no existence save in the imagination of the person. The familiar experiment of the person crossing his first two fingers, and placing them on a small object, such as a pea or the top of a lead-pencil, shows us how "mixed" the sense of feeling becomes at times. The many familiar instances of optical delusions show us that even our sharp eyes may deceive us--every conjuror knows how easy it is to deceive the eye by suggestion and false movements.
Perhaps the most familiar example of mistaken sense-reports is that of the movement of the earth. The senses of every person report to him that the earth is a fixed, immovable body, and that the sun, moon, planets, and stars move around the earth every twenty-four hours. It is only when one accepts the reports of the reasoning faculties, that he knows that the earth not only whirls around on its axis every twenty-four hours, but that it circles around the sun every three hundred and sixty-five days; and that even the sun itself, carrying with it the earth and the other planets, really moves along in space, moving toward or around some unknown point far distant from it. If there is any one particular report of the senses which would seem to be beyond doubt or question, it certainly would be this elementary sense report of the fixedness of the earth beneath our feet, and the movements of the heavenly bodies around it--and yet we know that this is merely an illusion, and that the facts of the case are totally different. Again, how few persons really realize that the eye perceives things up-side-down, and that the mind only gradually acquires the trick of adjusting the impression?
I am not trying to make any of you doubt the report of his or her five senses. That would be most foolish, for all of us must needs depend upon these five senses in our everyday affairs, and would soon come to grief were we to neglect their reports. Instead, I am trying to acquaint you with the real nature of these five senses, that you may realize what they are not, as well as what they are; and also that you may realize that there is no absurdity in believing that there are more channels of information open to the ego, or soul of the person, than these much used five senses. When you once get a correct scientific conception of the real nature of the five ordinary senses, you will be able to intelligently grasp the nature of the higher psychic faculties or senses, and thus be better fitted to use them. So, let us take a few moments time in order to get this fundamental knowledge well fixed in our minds.
What are the five senses, anyway. Your first answer will be: "Feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling." But that is merely a recital of the different forms of sensing. What is a "sense," when you get right down to it? Well, you will find that the dictionary tells us that a sense is a "faculty, possessed by animals, of perceiving external objects by means of impressions made upon certain organs of the body." Getting right down to the roots of the matter, we find that the five senses of man are the channels through which he becomes aware or conscious of information concerning objects outside of himself. But, these senses are not the sense-organs alone. Back of the organs there is a peculiar arrangement of the nervous system, or brain centres, which take up the messages received through the organs; and back of this, again, is the ego, or soul, or mind, which, at the last, is the real KNOWER. The eye is merely a camera; the ear, merely a receiver of sound-waves; the nose, merely an arrangement of sensitive mucous membrane; the mouth and tongue, simply a container of taste-buds; the nervous system, merely a sensitive apparatus designed to transmit messages to the brain and other centres--all being but part of the physical machinery, and liable to impairment or destruction. Back of all this apparatus is the real Knower who makes use of it.
Science tells us that of all the five senses, that of Touch or Feeling was the original--the fundamental sense. All the rest are held to be but modifications of, and specialized forms of, this original sense of feeling. I am telling you this not merely in the way of interesting and instructive scientific information, but also because an understanding of this fact will enable you to more clearly comprehend that which I shall have to say to you about the higher faculties or senses.
Many of the very lowly and simple forms of animal life have this one sense only, and that but poorly developed. The elementary life form "feels" the touch of its food, or of other objects which may touch it. The plants also have something akin to this sense, which in some cases, like that of the Sensitive Plant, for instance, is quite well developed. Long before the sense of sight, or the sensitiveness to light appeared in animal-life, we find evidences of taste, and something like rudimentary hearing or sensitiveness to sounds. Smell gradually developed from the sense of taste, with which even now it is closely connected. In some forms of lower animal life the sense of smell is much more highly developed than in mankind. Hearing evolved in due time from the rudimentary feeling of vibrations. Sight, the highest of the senses, came last, and was an evolution of the elementary sensitiveness to light.
But, you see, all these senses are but modifications of the original sense of feeling or touch. The eye records the touch or feeling of the light-waves which strike upon it. The ear records the touch or feeling of the sound-waves or vibrations of the air, which reach it. The tongue and other seats of taste record the chemical touch of the particles of food, or other substances, coming in contact with the taste-buds. The nose records the chemical touch of the gases or fine particles of material which touch its mucous membrane. The sensory-nerves record the presence of outer objects coming in contact with the nerve ends in various parts of the skin of the body. You see that all of these senses merely record the contact or "touch" of outside objects.
But the sense organs, themselves, do not do the knowing of the presence of the objects. They are but pieces of delicate apparatus serving to record or to receive primary impressions from outside. Wonderful as they are, they have their counterparts in the works of man, as for instance: the camera, or artificial eye; the phonograph, or, artificial ear; the delicate chemical apparatus, or artificial taster and smeller; the telegraph, or artificial nerves. Not only this, but there are always to be found nerve telegraph wires conveying the messages of the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue, to the brain--telling the something in the brain of what has been felt at the other end of the line. Sever the nerves leading to the eye, and though the eye will continue to register perfectly, still no message will reach the brain. And render the brain unconscious, and no message will reach it from the nerves connecting with eye, ear, nose, tongue, or surface of the body. There is much more to the receiving of sense messages than you would think at first, you see.
Now all this means that the ego, or soul, or mind, if you prefer the term--is the real Knower who becomes aware of the outside world by means of the messages of the senses. Cut off from these messages the mind would be almost a blank, so far as outside objects are concerned. Every one of the senses so cut off would mean a diminishing or cutting-off of a part of the world of the ego. And, likewise, each new sense added to the list tends to widen and increase the world of the ego. We do not realize this, as a rule. Instead, we are in the habit of thinking that the world consists of just so many things and facts, and that we know every possible one of them. This is the reasoning of a child. Think how very much smaller than the world of the average person is the world of the person born blind, or the person born deaf! Likewise, think how very much greater and wider, and more wonderful this world of ours would seem were each of us to find ourselves suddenly endowed with a new sense! How much more we would perceive. How much more we would feel. How much more we would know. How much more we would have to talk about. Why, we are really in about the same position as the poor girl, born blind, who said that she thought that the color of scarlet must be something like the sound of a trumpet. Poor thing, she could form no conception of color, never having seen a ray of light--she could think and speak only in the terms of touch, sound, taste and smell. Had she also been deaf, she would have been robbed of a still greater share of her world. Think over these things a little.
Suppose, on the contrary, that we had a new sense which would enable us to sense the waves of electricity. In that case we would be able to "feel" what was going on at another place--perhaps on the other side of the world, or maybe, on one of the other planets. Or, suppose that we had an X Ray sense--we could then see through a stone wall, inside the rooms of a house. If our vision were improved by the addition of a telescopic adjustment, we could see what is going on in Mars, and could send and receive communications with those living there. Or, if with a microscopic adjustment, we could see all the secrets of a drop of water--maybe it is well that we cannot do this. On the other hand, if we had a well-developed telepathic sense, we would be aware of the thought-waves of others to such an extent that there would be no secrets left hidden to anyone--wouldn't that alter life and human intercourse a great deal? These things would really be no more wonderful than is the evolution of the senses we have. We can do some of these things by apparatus designed by the brain of man--and man really is but an imitator and adaptor of Nature. Perhaps, on some other world or planet there may be beings having seven, nine or fifteen senses, instead of the poor little five known to us. Who knows!
But it is not necessary to exercise the imagination in the direction of picturing beings on other planets endowed with more senses than have the people of earth. While, as the occult teachings positively state, there are beings on other planets whose senses are as much higher than the earth-man's as the latter's are higher than those of the oyster, still we do not have to go so far to find instances of the possession of much higher and more active faculties than those employed by the ordinary man. We have but to consider the higher psychical faculties of man, right here and now, in order to see what new worlds are open to him. When you reach a scientific understanding of these things, you will see that there really is nothing at all supernatural about much of the great body of wonderful experiences of men in all times which the "horse sense" man sneeringly dismisses as "queer" and "contrary to sense." You will see that these experiences are quite as natural as are those in which the ordinary five senses are employed--though they are super-physical. There is the greatest difference between supernatural and super-physical, you must realize.
All occultists know that man has other senses than the ordinary five, although but few men have developed them sufficiently well to use them effectively. These super-physical senses are known to the occultists as "the astral senses." The term "Astral," used so frequently by all occultists, ancient and modern, is derived from the Greek word "astra," meaning "star." It is used to indicate those planes of being immediately above the physical plane. The astral senses are really the counterparts of the physical senses of man, and are connected with the astral body of the person just as the physical senses are connected with the physical body. The office of these astral senses is to enable the person to receive impressions on the astral plane, just as his physical senses enable him to receive impressions on the physical plane. On the physical plane the mind of man receives only the sense impressions of the physical organs of sense; but when the mind functions and vibrates on the astral plane, it requires astral senses in order to receive the impressions of that plane, and these, as we shall see, are present.
Each one of the physical senses of man has its astral counterpart. Thus man has, in latency, the power of seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling, and hearing, on the astral plane, by means of his five astral senses. More than this, the best occultists know that man really has seven physical senses instead of but five, though these two additional senses are not unfolded in the case of the average person (though occultists who have reached a certain stage are able to use them effectively). Even these two extra physical senses have their counterparts on the astral plane.
Persons who have developed the use of their astral senses are able to receive the sense impressions of the astral plane just as clearly as they receive those of the physical plane by means of the physical senses. For instance, the person is thus able to perceive things occurring on the astral plane; to read the Akashic Records of the past; to perceive things that are happening in other parts of the world; to see past happenings as well; and in cases of peculiar development, to catch glimpses of the future, though this is far rarer than the other forms of astral sight.
Again, by means of clairaudience, the person may hear the things of the astral world, past as well as present, and in rare cases, the future. The explanation is the same in each case--merely the receiving of vibrations on the astral plane instead of on the physical plane. In the same way, the astral senses of smelling, tasting, and feeling operate. But though we have occasional instances of astral feeling, in certain phases of psychic phenomena, we have practically no manifestation of astral smelling or tasting, although the astral senses are there ready for use. It is only in instances of travelling in the astral body that the last two mentioned astral senses, viz., smell and taste, are manifested.
The phenomena of telepathy, or thought transference, occurs on both the physical and the mental plane. On the physical plane it is more or less spontaneous and erratic in manifestation; while on the astral plane it is as clear, reliable and responsive to demand as is astral sight, etc.
The ordinary person has but occasional flashes of astral sensing, and as a rule is not able to experience the phenomenon at will. The trained occultist, on the contrary, is able to shift from one set of senses to the other, by a simple act or effort of will, whenever he may wish to do so. Advanced occultists are often able to function on both physical and astral planes at the same time, though they do not often desire to do so. To vision astrally, the trained occultist merely shifts his sensory mechanism from physical to astral, or vice versa, just as the typewriter operator shifts from the small-letter type to the capitals, by simply touching the shift-key of his machine.
Many persons suppose that it is necessary to travel on the astral plane, in the astral body, in order to use the astral senses. This is a mistake. In instances of clairvoyance, astral visioning, psychometry, etc., the occultist remains in his physical body, and senses the phenomena of the astral plane quite readily, by means of the astral senses, just as he is able to sense the phenomena of the physical plane when he uses the physical organs--quite more easily, in fact, in many instances. It is not even necessary for the occultist to enter into the trance condition, in the majority of cases.
Travel in the astral body is quite another phase of occult phenomena, and is far more difficult to manifest. The student should never attempt to travel in the astral body except under the instruction of some competent instructor.
In Crystal Gazing, the occultist merely employs the crystal in order to concentrate his power, and to bring to a focus his astral vision. There is no supernatural virtue in the crystal itself--it is merely a means to an end; a piece of useful apparatus to aid in the production of certain phenomena.
In Psychometry some object is used in order to bring the occulist "en rapport" with the person or thing associated with it. But it is the astral senses which are employed in describing either the past environment of the thing, or else the present or past doings of the person in question, etc. In short, the object is merely the loose end of the psychic ball of twine which the psychometrist proceeds to wind or unwind at will. Psychometry is merely one form of astral seeing; just as is crystal gazing.
In what is known as Telekinesis, or movement at a distance, there is found the employment of both astral sensing, and astral will action accompanied in many cases by actual projection of a portion of the substance of the astral body.
In the case of Clairvoyance, we have an instance of the simplest form of astral seeing, without the necessity of the "associated object" of psychometry, or the focal point of the crystal in crystal gazing.
This is true not only of the ordinary form of clairvoyance, in which the occultist sees astrally the happenings and doings at some distant point, at the moment of observation; it is also true of what is known as past clairvoyance, or astral seeing of past events; and in the seeing of future events, as in prophetic vision, etc. These are all simply different forms of one and the same thing.
Surely, some of you may say, "These things are supernatural, far above the realm of natural law--and yet this man would have us believe otherwise." Softly, softly, dear reader, do not jump at conclusions so readily. What do you know about the limits of natural law and phenomena? What right have you to assert that all beyond your customary range of sense experience is outside of Nature? Do you not realize that you are attempting to place a limit upon Nature, which in reality is illimitable?
The man of a generation back of the present one would have been equally justified in asserting that the marvels of wireless telegraphy were supernatural, had he been told of the possibility of their manifestation. Going back a little further, the father of that man would have said the same thing regarding the telephone, had anyone been so bold as to have prophesied it. Going back still another generation, imagine the opinion of some of the old men of that time regarding the telegraph. And yet these things are simply the discovery and application of certain of Nature's wonderful powers and forces.
Is it any more unreasonable to suppose that Nature has still a mine of undiscovered treasure in the mind and constitution of man, as well as in inorganic nature? No, friends, these things are as natural as the physical senses, and not a whit more of a miracle. It is only that we are accustomed to one, and not to the other, that makes the astral senses seem more wonderful than the physical. Nature's workings are all wonderful--none more so than the other. All are beyond our absolute conception, when we get down to their real essence. So let us keep an open mind!
TELEPATHY vs. CLAIRVOYANCE
In this work I shall use the term "clairvoyance" in its broad sense of "astral perception," as distinguished from perception by means of the physical senses. As we proceed, you will see the general and special meanings of the term, so there is no necessity for a special definition or illustration of the term at this time.
By "telepathy," I mean the sending and receiving of thought messages, and mental and emotional states, consciously or unconsciously, by means of what may be called "the sixth sense" of the physical plane. There is, of course, a form of thought transference on the astral plane, but this I include under the general term of clairvoyance, for reasons which will be explained later on.
You will remember that in the preceding chapter I told you that in addition to the five ordinary physical senses of man there were also two other physical senses comparatively undeveloped in the average person. These two extra physical senses are, respectively, (1) the sense of the presence of other living things; and (2) the telepathic sense. As I also told you, these two extra physical senses have their astral counterparts. They also have certain physical organs which are not generally recognized by physiologists or psychologists, but which are well known to all occultists. I shall now consider the first of the two above-mentioned extra physical senses, in order to clear the way for our consideration of the question of the distinction between ordinary telepathy and that form of clairvoyance which is its astral counterpart.
There is in every human being a sense which is not generally recognized as such, although nearly every person has had more or less experience regarding its workings. I refer to the sense of the presence of other living things, separate and apart from the operation of any of the five ordinary physical senses. I ask you to understand that I am not claiming that this is a higher sense than the other physical senses, or that it has come to man in a high state of evolution. On the contrary, this sense came to living things far back in the scale of evolution. It is possessed by the higher forms of the lower animals, such as the horse, dog, and the majority of the wild beasts. Savage and barbaric men have it more highly developed than it is in the case of the civilized man. In fact, this physical sense may be termed almost vestigal in civilized man, because he has not actively used it for many generations. For that matter, the physical sense of smell is also deficient in man, and for the same reason, whereas in the case of the lower animals, and savage man, the sense of smell is very keen. I mention this for fear of misunderstanding. In my little book, "The Astral World," I have said: "All occultists know that man really has seven senses, instead of merely five, though the additional two senses are not sufficiently developed for use in the average person (though the occultist generally unfolds them into use)." Some have taken this to mean that the occultist develops these two extra physical senses, just as he does certain higher psychic or astral faculties. But this is wrong. The occultist, in such case, merely re-awakens these two senses which have been almost lost to the race. By use and exercise he then develops them to a wonderful proficiency, for use on the physical plane.
Now, this sense of the presence of other living beings is very well developed in the lower animals, particularly in those whose safety depends upon the knowledge of the presence of their natural enemies. As might be expected, the wild animals have it more highly developed than do the domesticated animals. But even among the latter, we find instances of this sense being in active use--in the case of dogs, horses, geese, etc., especially. Who of us is not familiar with the strange actions of the dog, or the horse, when the animal senses the unseen and unheard presence of some person or animal? Very often we would scold or punish the animal for its peculiar actions, simply because we are not able to see what is worrying it. How often does the dog start suddenly, and bristle up its hair, when nothing is in sight, or within hearing distance. How often does the horse grow "skittish," or even panicky, when there is nothing within sight or hearing. Domestic fowls, especially geese, manifest an uneasiness at the presence of strange persons or animals, though they may not be able to see or hear them. It is a matter of history that this sense, in a flock of geese, once saved ancient Rome from an attack of the enemy. The night was dark and stormy, and the trained eyesight and keen hearing of the Roman outposts failed to reveal the approach of the enemy. But, the keen sense of the geese felt the presence of strange men, and they started to cackle loudly, aroused the guard, and Rome was saved. Skeptical persons have sought to explain this historical case by the theory that the geese heard the approaching enemy. But this explanation will not serve, for the Roman soldiers were marching about on their posts and guard-duty, and the geese remained silent until they sensed the approach of the small number of the enemy's scouts, when they burst into wild cries. The ancient Romans, themselves, were under no illusion about the matter--they recognized the existence of some unusual power in the geese, and they gave the animals the full credit therefor.
Hunters in wild and strange lands have told us that often when they were lying concealed for the purpose of shooting the wild animals when they came within range, they have witnessed instances of the existence of this strange faculty in the wild beasts. Though they could not see the concealed hunters, nor smell them (as the wind was in the other direction) all of a sudden one or more of the animals (generally an old female) would start suddenly, and a shiver would be seen to pass over its body; then it would utter a low warning note, and away would fly the pack. Nearly every hunter has had the experience of watching his expected game, when all of a sudden it would start off with a nervous jerk, and without waiting to sniff the air, as is usual, would bolt precipitately from the scene. Moreover, many beasts of prey are known to sense the presence of their natural prey, even when the wind is in the other direction, and there is no sound or movement made by the crouching, fearstricken animal. Certain birds seem to sense the presence of particular worms upon which they feed, though the latter be buried several inches in the earth, or in the bark of trees.
Savage man also has this faculty developed, as all travellers and explorers well know. They are as keen as a wild animal to sense the nearness of enemies, or, in some cases, the approach of man-eating beasts. This does not mean that that these savages are more highly developed than is civilized man--quite the reverse. This is the explanation: when man became more civilized, and made himself more secure from his wild-beast enemies, as well as from the sudden attacks of his human enemies, he began to use this sense less and less. Finally, in the course of many generations, it became almost atrophied from disuse, and ceased reporting to the brain, or other nerve centres. Or, if you prefer viewing it from another angle, it may be said that the nerve centres, and brain, began to pay less and less attention to the reports of this sense (trusting more to sight and hearing) until the consciousness failed to awaken to the reports. You know how your consciousness will finally refuse to be awakened by familiar sounds (such as the noise of machinery in the shop, or ordinary noises in the house), although the ears receive the sound-waves.
Well, this is the way in the case of this neglected sense--for the two reasons just mentioned, the average person is almost unaware of its existence. Almost unaware I have said--not totally unaware. For probably every one of us has had experiences in which we have actually "felt" the presence of some strange person about the premises, or place. The effect of the report of this sense is particularly noticed in the region of the solar plexus, or the pit of the stomach. It manifests in a peculiar, unpleasant feeling of "gone-ness" in that region--it produces a feeling of "something wrong," which disturbs one in a strange way. This is generally accompanied by a "bristling up," or "creepy" feeling along the spine. The organs registering the presence of a strange or alien creature consist of certain delicate nerves of the surface of the skin, generally connected with the roots of the downy hair of the body--or resting where the hair roots would naturally be, in the case of a hairless skin. These seem to report directly to the solar-plexus, which then acts quickly by reflex action on the other parts of the body, causing an instinctive feeling to either fly the scene or else to crouch and hide oneself. This feeling, as may be seen at once, is an inheritance from our savage ancestors, or perhaps from our lowly-animal ancestral roots. It is a most unpleasant feeling, and the race escapes much discomfort by reason of its comparative absence.
I have said that occultists have developed, or rather re-developed this sense. They do this in order to have a harmonious well-developed seven-fold sense system. It increases their general "awareness." Certain other knowledge of the occultist neutralizes the unpleasant features of the manifestation of this sense, and he finds it often a very valuable adjunct to his senses of seeing and hearing, particularly in the cases in which he is approached by persons having antagonistic or hostile feelings toward him, as in such cases this faculty is particularly active. In connection with the telepathic sense (to be described a little further on) this sense operates to give a person that sense of warning when approached by another person whose feelings are not friendly to him, no matter how friendly the outward appearance of that person may be. These two extra senses co-operate to give a person that instinctive feeling of warning, which all of us know in our own experience.
This particular, as well as the telepathic sense, may be cultivated or developed by anyone who wishes to take the time and trouble to accomplish the work. The principle is simple--merely the same principle that one uses in developing any of the other physical attributes, namely, use and exercise. The first step (a) is the recognition of the existence of the sense itself; then (b) the attention given to its reports; then (c) frequent use and exercise. Just think of how you would proceed to develop any of the five ordinary senses--the hearing, sight, or touch, for instance--then follow the same process in the cultivation of this extra sense, or two senses, and you will accomplish the same kind of results.
Now, let us consider the other extra physical sense--the "telepathic" sense, or sense of becoming aware of the thought-waves, or emotional waves, of other persons. Now, as strange as this may appear to some persons--the most of persons in fact--this telepathic faculty is not a "higher" faculty or sense, but is really a comparatively low one. Just like the sense just described, it is possessed in a higher degree by many of the lower animals, and by primitive and savage man. That which really is "higher" in this kind of psychic phenomena is the manifestation of that higher form of telepathy--by use of the astral counterpart of this sense--which we shall consider, later, under the name of clairvoyance, for this is really a particular phase of clairvoyance.
As strange as it may appear to some of you, the lower animals possess a kind of telepathic sense. An animal is usually aware of your feelings toward it, and your purposes regarding it. Domestic animals lose some of this by generations of confinement, while the wild animals have the sense highly developed. But even some of the domestic animals have more or less of it. You will readily recognize this fact if you have ever tried to "cut out" a certain animal from a herd or flock. You will find that the animal in some way has sensed your designs upon it, no matter how indirectly you approach it, and it will begin circling around the other animals, twisting in and out in its endeavors to be lost to your sight. The other animals, likewise, will seem to know that you are after only that particular one, and will manifest but little fright or distrust, comparatively.
I have frequently seen this thing, in my own country and in others, among poultry raisers. The poultryman will think, to himself, "Now, I am going to get that black hen with the yellow legs--that fat, clumsy one," and he will move toward the flock slowly and with an air of unconcern. But, lo! as soon as he gets near the creatures, that black hen will be seen edging her way to the outer circle of the flock, on the opposite side from the man. When the man moves around to her side, she will be found to have plunged into the crowd, and it is hard to find her. Sometimes she will actually try to sneak off, and conceal herself in some dark corner, or back of some large object. Every poultryman will smile when this occurrence is mentioned to him--he knows by experience that hens have a way of sensing what he has in his mind regarding them.
Moreover, as every farmer knows, the crow family has a most uncanny way of sensing the intentions of the farmer who is trying to destroy them, and shows great sagacity in defeating those intentions. But, while the crow is a very intelligent bird--one of the wisest of the bird family, in fact--it obtains its knowledge of what is in the mind of the man not alone from "figuring on his intentions," but rather from that instinctive sensing of his mental states. The hen, as all know, is a very stupid bird, showing but little intelligent activity. But, nevertheless, she is very quick about sensing the poultryman's designs on her, though generally very stupid about planning out a skillful escape.
Every owner of dogs, cats and horses, has had many opportunities for observing the manifestation of this sense on the part of those animals. Every dog feels the emotional states of his owner, and others. The horse knows when his owner seeks to throw the halter over his neck, or when, on the contrary, he is merely walking through the field. Cats sense their owners' feelings and thoughts, and often resent them. Of course, the lower animals can sense merely elementary mental states, and generally only emotional states, as their minds are not developed so as to interpret the more complex mental states. Primitive men likewise almost instinctively sense the feelings and designs of other men. They do not reason the thing out, but rather merely "feel" the ideas and designs of the others. The women of the lower races are more adept in interpreting these sense reports than are the men. Women are more sensitive, as a rule, than are men--on any point on the scale of development.
When we come to consider ordinary telepathy in the case of men of civilized countries, we find a more complex state of affairs. While civilized man, as a whole, has lost some of the quick telepathic perception of the lower races, he has, in some exceptional cases, acquired a faculty of receiving and interpreting more complex thought-forms and mental states. The investigations of the Society for Psychical Research, and those of private investigators as well, have shown us that a picture of a complicated geometrical design held in the mind of one person may be carried to and received by the mind of another person, who reproduces the design on paper. In the same way, complicated thoughts have been transmitted and received. But these are only exceptional cases. In many cases this sense seems almost dead in the ordinary civilized individual, except when aroused in exceptional cases.
But, nevertheless, the majority of persons have occasional flashes of telepathy--just enough to make them realize that "there is something in it." The renewed interest in the subject, of late years, has directed the public mind to the phenomena of telepathy, and, consequently, more persons are now taking note of the cases of thought-transference coming under their personal notice. It must be remembered, of course, that all of us are constantly receiving thought-waves, and feeling thought-influence, unconsciously. I am speaking now only of the conscious perception of the thought-waves.
Many investigators have so developed their telepathic sense that they are able, at times, to obtain wonderful test results. But, it has been a source of disappointment to many of them to discover that at other times, under apparently similar conditions, their success was very slight. So true is this that many authorities have accepted the theory that telepathy is more or less spontaneous, and cannot be produced to order. This theory is true as far as it goes, but there is a side of the case that these investigators overlook, probably because of their lack of the occult principles involved in the phenomena. I mean this: that their most brilliant successes have been obtained by reason of their unconscious "switching on" of the astral telepathic sense, the clairvoyant sense. While in this condition, they obtained startling results; but the next time they tried, they failed to awaken ...