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Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair, [1930], at

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If you were born as long as fifty years ago, you can remember a time when the test of a sound, common-sense mind was refusing to fool with "new-fangled notions." Without exactly putting it into a formula, people took it for granted that truth was known and familiar, and anything that was not known and familiar was nonsense. In my boyhood, the funniest joke in the world was a "flying machine man"; and when my mother took up a notion about "germs" getting into you and making you sick, my father made it a theme for no end of domestic wit. Even as late as twenty years ago, when I wanted to write a play based on the idea that men might some day be able to make a human voice audible to groups of people all over America, my friends assured me that I could not interest the public in such a fantastic notion.

Among the objects of scorn, in my boyhood, was what we called "superstition"; and we made the term include, not merely the notion that the number thirteen brought you bad luck; not

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merely a belief in witches, ghosts and goblins, but also a belief in any strange phenomena of the mind which we did not understand. We knew about hypnotism, because we had seen stage performances, and were in the midst of reading a naughty book called "Trilby"; but such things as trance mediumship, automatic writing, table-tapping, telekinesis, telepathy and clairvoyance—we didn't know these long names, but if such ideas were explained to us, we knew right away that it was "all nonsense."

In my youth I had the experience of meeting a scholarly Unitarian clergyman, the Rev. Minot J. Savage of New York, who assured me quite seriously that he had seen and talked with ghosts. He didn't convince me, but he sowed the seed of curiosity in my mind, and I began reading books on psychic research. From first to last, I have read hundreds of volumes; always interested, and always uncertain—an uncomfortable mental state. The evidence in support of telepathy came to seem to me conclusive, yet it never quite became real to me. The consequences of belief would be so tremendous, the changes it would make in my view of the universe so revolutionary, that I didn't believe, even when I said I did.

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But for thirty years the subject has been among the things I hoped to know about; and, as it happened, fate was planning to favor me. It sent me a wife who became interested, and who not merely investigated telepathy, but learned to practice it. For the past three years I have been watching this work, day by day and night by night, in our home. So at last I can say that I am no longer guessing. Now I really. know. I am going to tell you about it, and hope to convince you; but regardless of what anybody can say, there will never again be a doubt about it in my mind. I know!

Next: Chapter II