Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair, , at sacred-texts.com
Telepathy, or mind-reading: that is to say, can one human mind communicate with another human mind, except by the sense channels ordinarily known and usedseeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and touching? Can a thought or image in one mind be sent directly to another mind and there reproduced and recognized? If this can be done, how is it done? Is it some kind of vibration, going out from the brain, like radio broadcasting? Or is it some contact with a deeper level of mind, as bubbles on a stream have contact with the water of the stream? And if this power exists, can it be developed and used? Is it something that manifests itself now and then, like a lightning flash, over which we have no control? Or can we make the energy and store it, and use it regularly, as we have learned to do with the lightning which Franklin brought from the clouds?
These are the questions; and the answers, as well as I can summarize them, are as follows: Telepathy is real; it does happen. Whatever
may be the nature of the force, it has nothing to do with distance, for it works exactly as well over forty miles as over thirty feet. And while it may be spontaneous and may depend upon a special endowment, it can be cultivated and used deliberately, as any other object of study, in physics and chemistry. The essential in this training is an art of mental concentration and autosuggestion, which can be learned. I am going to tell you not merely what you can do, but how you can do it, so that if you have patience and real interest, you can make your own contribution to knowledge.
Starting the subject, I am like the wandering book-agent or peddler who taps on your door and gets you to open it, and has to speak quickly and persuasively, putting his best goods foremost. Your prejudice is against this idea; and if you are one of my old-time readers, you are a little shocked to find me taking up a new and unexpected line of activity. You have come, after thirty years, to the position where you allow me to be one kind of "crank," but you won't stand for two kinds. So let me come straight to the pointopen up my pack, pull out my choicest wares, and catch your attention with them if I can.
Here is a drawing of a table-fork. It was done with a lead-pencil on a sheet of ruled paper, which has been photographed, and then reproduced in the ordinary way. You note that it bears a signature and a date (fig. 1):
This drawing was produced by my brother-in-law, Robert L. Irwin, a young business man, and no kind of "crank," under the following circumstances. He was sitting in a room in his home in Pasadena at a specified hour, eleven-thirty in the morning of July 13, 1928, having agreed to make a drawing of any object he might select, at random, and then to sit gazing at it, concentrating his entire attention upon it for a period of from fifteen to twenty minutes.
At the same agreed hour, eleven-thirty in the morning of July 13, 1928, my wife was lying on the couch in her study, in our home in Long Beach, forty miles away by the road. She was in semi-darkness, with her eyes closed; employing a system of mental concentration which she has
been practicing off and on for several years, and mentally suggesting to her subconscious mind to bring her whatever was in the mind of her brother-in-law. Having become satisfied that the image which came to her mind was the correct onebecause it persisted, and came back again and againshe sat up and took pencil and paper and wrote the date, and six words, as follows (fig. 1a):
A day or two later we drove to Pasadena, and then in the presence of Bob and his wife, the drawing and writing were produced and compared. I have in my possession affidavits from Bob, his wife, and my wife, to the effect that the drawing and writing were produced in this way. Later in this book I shall present four other pairs of drawings, made in the same way, three of them equally successful.
Second case. Here is a drawing (fig. 2), and below it a set of five drawings (fig. 2a):
The above drawings were produced under the following circumstances. The single drawing (fig. 2) was made by me in my study at my
home. I was alone, and the door was closed before the drawing was made, and was not opened until the test was concluded. Having made the drawing, I held it before me and concentrated upon it for a period of five or ten minutes.
The five drawings (fig. 2a) were produced by my wife, who was lying on the couch in her study, some thirty feet away from me, with the door closed between us. The only words spoken were as follows: when I was ready to make my drawing, I called, "All right," and when she had completed her drawings, she called, "All right" whereupon I opened the door and took my drawing to her and we compared them. I found that in addition to the five little pictures, she had written some explanation of how she came to draw them. This I shall quote and discuss later on. I shall also tell about six other pairs of drawings, produced in this same way.
Third case: another drawing (fig. 3a), produced under the following circumstances. My wife went upstairs, and shut the door which is at the top of the stairway. I went on tip-toe to a cupboard in a downstairs room and took from a shelf a red electric-light bulbit having been agreed that I should select any small article, of which there were certainly many hundreds in our
home. I wrapped this bulb in several thicknesses of newspaper, and put it, so wrapped, in a shoe-box, and wrapped the shoe-box in a whole newspaper, and tied it tightly with a string. I then called my wife and she came downstairs, and lay on her couch and put the box on her body, over the solar plexus. I sat watching, and never took my eyes from her, nor did I speak a word during the test. Finally she sat up, and made her drawing, with the written comment, and handed it to me. Every word of the comment, as well as the drawing, was produced before I said a word, and the drawing and writing as here reproduced have not been touched or altered in any way (fig. 3a):
The text of my wife's written comment is as follows:
"First see round glass. Guess nose glasses? No. Then comes V shape again with a 'button' in top. Button stands out from object. This round top is of different color from lower part. It is light color, the other part is dark."
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, perhaps I should state that the question and answer in the above were my wife's description of her own mental process, and do not represent a question asked of me. She did not "guess" aloud, nor did either of us speak a single word during this test, except the single word, "Ready," to call my wife downstairs.
The next drawings were produced in the following manner. The one at the top (fig. 4) was drawn by me alone in my study, and was one of nine, all made at the same time, and with no restriction upon what I should drawanything that came into my head. Having made the nine drawings, I wrapped each one in a separate sheet of green paper, to make it absolutely invisible, and put each one in a plain envelope and sealed it, and then took the nine sealed envelopes and laid them on the table by my wife's couch. My wife then took one of them and placed it
over her solar plexus, and lay in her state of concentration, while I sat watching her, at her insistence, in order to make the evidence more convincing. Having received what she considered a convincing telepathic "message," or image of the contents of the envelope, she sat up and made her sketch (fig. 4a) on a pad of paper.
The essence of our procedure is this: that never did she see my drawing until hers was completed and her descriptive words written; that I spoke no word and made no comment until
after this was done; and that the drawings presented here are in every case exactly what I drew, and the corresponding drawing is exactly what my wife drew, with no change or addition whatsoever. In the case of this particular pair, my wife wrote: "Inside of rock well with vines climbing on outside." Such was her guess as to the drawing, which I had meant for a bird's nest surrounded by leaves; but you see that the two drawings are for practical purposes identical.
Many tests have been made, by each of the different methods above outlined, and the results will be given and explained in these pages. The method of attempting to reproduce little drawings was used more than any other, simply because it proved the most convenient; it could be done at a moment's notice, and so fitted into our busy lives. The procedure was varied in a few details to save time and trouble, as I shall later explain, but the essential feature remains unchanged: I make a set of drawings, and my wife takes them one by one and attempts to reproduce them without having seen them. Here are a few samples, chosen at random because of their picturesque character. If my wife wrote anything on the drawing, I add it as "comment"; and you are to understand here, and for the rest
of this book, that "comment" means the exact words which she wrote before she saw my drawing. Often there will be parts of this "comment" visible in the photograph. I give it all in print. Note that drawings 1, 2, 3, etc., are mine, while la, 2a, 3a, etc., are my wife's.
In the case of my drawing numbered five, my wife's comment was: "Knight's helmet."
On figure 6, the comment was: "Desert scene, camel, ostrich, then below"and the drawing in figure 6a. On the reverse side of the page is further comment: "This came in fragments, as if I saw it being drawn by invisible pencil."
And here is a pair with no comment, and none needed (fig. 7, 7a):
On the following, also, no comment was written (fig. 8, 8a):
I drew figure 9, and my wife drew 9a, a striking success, and wrote the comment: "May be elephant's snoutbut anyway it is some kind of a running animal. Long thing like rope flung out in front of him."
Next, a series of three pairs, which, as it happened, were done one after the other, numbers three, four and five in the twenty-third series of my drawings. They are selected in part because they are amusing. First, I tried to draw a bat, from vague memories of boyhood days when they used to fly into the ball-rooms at Virginia
springs hotels, and have to be massacred with brooms, because it was believed that they sought to tangle themselves in the hair of the ladies (fig. 10, 10a):
My wife's comment on the above reads: "Big insect. I know this is right because it moves his legs as if flying. Beetle working its legs. Legs in motion!"
And next, my effort at a Chinese mandarin (fig. 11, 11a):
The comment reads: "More beetles, or legged bugs"and she draws the mustaches of the mandarin and his hair. "Head of dragon with big mouth. See also a part of his bodyin front, or shoulders." The association of mandarins with dragons is obvious.
And finally, my effort at a boy's foot and roller-skate, which undergoes a strange telepathic transformation. I have put it upside down for easier comparison (fig. 12, 12a):
The comment, complete, reads: "Profile of head and neck of animallion or doga muzzle. Maybe pig snout."
The above are samples of our successes. Altogether, of such drawings, 38 were prepared by my secretary, while I made 252, a total of 290. I have classified the drawings to the best of my ability into three groups: successes, partial successes, and failures. The partial successes are those drawings which contain some easily recognized element of the original drawing: such as, for example, the last one above. The profile of a pig's head is not a roller skate, but when you compare the drawings, you see that in my wife's first sketch the eyes resemble the wheels of the roller-skates, and in her second sketch the snout resembles my shoe-tip; also there is a general similarity of outline, which is what she most commonly gets.
In the 290 drawings, the total of successes is 65, which is roughly 23 per cent. The total of partial successes is 155, which is 53 per cent. The total of failures is 70, which is 24 per cent. I asked some mathematician friends to work out the probabilities on the above results, but I found that the problem was too complicated. Who could estimate how many possible objects
there were, which might come into my head to be drawn? Any time the supply ran short, I would pick up a magazine, and in the advertising pages find a score of new drawings to imitate. Again, very few of the drawings were simple. We began with such things as a circle, a square, a cross, a number or a letter; but soon we were doing Chinese mandarins with long mustaches, and puppies chasing a string. Each of these drawings has many different features; and what mathematician could count the number of these features, and the chances of reproducing them?
It is a matter to be judged by common sense. It seems to me any one must agree that the chances of the twelve drawings so far shown having been reproduced by accident is too great to be worth considering. A million years would not be enough for such a set of coincidences.