Mental Radio, by Upton Sinclair, , at sacred-texts.com
Much of the evidence which I am using rests upon the good faith of Mary Craig Sinclair; so, before we go further, I ask your permission to introduce her. She is a daughter of the far South; her father a retired planter, bank president and judge, of Mississippi. The fates endowed his oldest child with the blessings of beauty, health, wealth and wisdomand then spoiled it, by adding a curse in the shape of a too tender heart. The griefs of other people overwhelm Craig like a suffocation. Strangers take one glance at her, and instantly decide that here is one who will "understand." I have seen her go into a store to buy a piece of ribbon, and come out with tears in her eyes, because of a tragic story which some clerk was moved to pour out to her, all in a moment, without provocation. She has always said that she "gets" the feelings of people, not by their words, but by intuition. But she never paid any attention to this gift; never associated it with "psychic" matters. She was always too busy, first with eight younger
brothers and sisters, and then with the practical affairs of an unpractical author-husband.
Early in childhood, things like this would happen: her mother would say to a little negro servant, "Go and find Miss Mary Craig"; but before the boy could start, Craig would know that her mother wanted her, and would be on the way. This might, of course, have been coincidence; if it stood alone, it would have no value. But the same thing happened with dreams. Craig dreamed there was a needle in her bed, and woke up and looked for it in vain; in the morning she told her mother, who slept in another room. The mother said: "How strange! I dreamed the same thing, and I woke up and really found one!"
Of her young ladyhood Craig tells this story, one of many: Driving with a girl friend, miles from home, she suddenly remarked: "Let's go home; Mr. B is there." Now this was a place to which Mr. B had never come; it was three hundred miles from his town. But Craig said: "I have just had an impression of him, sitting on our front porch." Going home, they found him there.
Another instance, of more recent date. Shortly after our coming to California, my wife all at
once became greatly worried about Jack London; she insisted that he was in terrible mental distress. As it happened, George Sterling had told us much about Jack's troubles, but these were of old standing, and there was nothing to account for the sudden notion which my wife took up on a certain day. We had a lot of conversation about it; I offered to take her to the London ranch, but she said she would not attempt to meddle in the affairs of a married man, unless at his wife's request. I made the laughing suggestion that she go alone, in the guise of a gypsy fortune-tellera rôle which in her young ladyhood she had played with social éclat. Two days later we read that Jack London was dead, and very soon came letters from George Sterling, telling us that he had taken his own life. This, again, might be coincidence; if it stood alone I would attach no importance to it. But taken with this mass of evidence, it has a share of weight.
When we were married, seventeen years ago, we spent some time in England, and there we met a woman physician, interested in "mental healing," and full of ideas about "psychic" things. Both Craig and I were in need of healing, having been through a siege of trouble.
[paragraph continues] Craig was suffering with intense headaches, something hitherto unknown in her life; while I had an ancient problem of indigestion, caused by excess of brain work and lack of body work. We began to experiment with healing by the "laying on of hands"without knowing anything about it, just groping in the dark. I found that I could cure Craig's headachesand get them myself; while she found that she could take my indigestion, a trouble she had never known hitherto. Each of us was willing to take the other's pains, but neither was willing to give them, so our experiments came to a halt.
We forgot the whole subject for more than ten years. I was busy trying to reform America; while Craig was of the most intensely materialistic convictions. Her early experiences of evangelical religion had repelled her so violently that everything suggestive of "spirituality" was repugnant to her. Never was a woman more "practical," more centered upon the here and now, the things which can be seen and touched. I do not go into details about this, but I want to make it as emphatic as possible, for the light it throws upon her attitude and disposition.
But shortly after the age of forty, her custom of carrying the troubles of all who were near her
resulted in a breakdown of health. A story of suffering needless to go into: suffice it that she had many ills to experiment upon, and mental control became suddenly a matter of life and death. In the course of the last five or six years Craig has acquired a fair-sized library of books on the mind, both orthodox scientific, and "crank." She has sat up half the night studying, marking passages and making notes, seeking to reconcile various doctrines, to know what the mind really is, and how it works, and what can be done with it. Always it was a practical problem: things had to work. If now she believes anything, rest assured that it is because she has tried it out in the crucibles of pain, and proved it in her daily regimen.
She was not content to see psychic phenomena produced by other persons. Even though authorities warned her that trances might be dangerous, and that rapport with others might lead to dissociations of personalityeven so, she had to find out for herself. A hundred times in the course of the experiments of which I am going to tell, she has turned to me, saying: "Can you think of any way this can be chance? What can I do to make it more sure?" When I said, the other night: "This settles it for me. I am
going to write the story," her reply was, "Wait a while!" She wants to do more experimenting; but I think that enough is enough.