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

p. 82


Concerning these drawings, there are preliminary explanations to be made. They were done hastily, by two busy people. Neither is a trained artist, and our ability to convey what we wish is limited. When I start on a giraffe, I manage to produce a pretty good neck, but when I get to the body, I am disturbed to note it turning into a sheep or a donkey. When I draw a monkey climbing a tree, and Craig says, "Buffalo or lion, tiger—wild animal"—I have to admit that may be so; likewise when my limb of a tree is called a "trumpet," or when Craig's "wild animal" resembles a chorus girl's legs. I will let you see those particular drawings. Figure 24 is mine, while 24a and 24b are my wife's.

Fig. 24

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Fig. 24a, Fig. 24b

Again, I draw a volcano in eruption, and my wife calls it a black beetle, which hardly sounds like a triumphant success; but study the drawings, and you see that my black smoke happens to be the shape of a beetle, while the two sides of the volcano serve very well for the long feelers of an insect (fig. 25, 25a):

Fig. 25 Fig. 25a

The tests began with four series of drawings, 38 in all, made by my secretary. Following these were 31 series drawn by myself, comprising

p. 84

[paragraph continues] 252 separate drawings. Each drawing would be wrapped in an extra sheet of paper, and sealed in a separate envelope, and the envelopes handed to my wife when she was ready for the tests. She would put them on the table by her couch, and lie down, putting the first envelope, unopened, over her solar plexus, covered by her hand. Her head would be lying back on a pillow, eyes closed, and head at such an angle that nothing but the ceiling could be seen if the eyes were open. A dim light to avoid sense stimulation; enough light to see everything plainly. When she had what she judged was the right image, she would take a pad and pencil and make the drawing or write the description of what she "saw." Then she would open the envelope and compare the two drawings, and number both for identification.

This recording was, of course, an interruption of her passive state, and made the task difficult. In a few cases she repeated a number or forgot the number, and this leaves a chance for confusion. I have done my best to clear up all such uncertainties, but there is a margin of error of one or two per cent to be noted. This is too small to affect the results, but is mentioned in the interest of exactness.

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Since I found the sealing of envelopes tiresome, and Craig found the opening of them more so, we decided half way through the tests to abandon the sealing, and later we abandoned the envelopes altogether. We reasoned that acceptance of the evidence rests upon our good faith anyhow, and all that any sensible reader can ask is that Craig makes sure of never letting a drawing get within her range of vision. She was doing this laborious work to get knowledge for herself, and she certainly made sure that she was not wasting her own time.

At present the practice is this: I make her a set of six or eight drawings on little sheets of pad paper, and lay them face down on her table, with a clean sheet of paper over them. She lies down, and with her head lying back on the pillow and her eyes closed, she reaches for one of the drawings, and slides it over and onto her body, covered by her hand. It is always out of her range of vision, even if the drawing were turned towards her eyes, which it never is.

For the comfort of the suspicious, let me add that the relaxing of the conditions caused no change in the averages. In the first four series, drawn by my secretary, and sealed by him in envelopes, there were only five complete failures

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in thirty-eight tests, which is thirteen per cent; whereas in the 252 drawings made by me there have been 65 outright failures, which is nearly twice as large a percentage. Series number six, which was carefully sealed up, produced four complete successes, five partial successes, and no failures; whereas series twenty-one, which was not put in envelopes at all, produced no complete successes, three partial successes, and six failures. Perhaps I should explain that by a "series" I mean simply a group of drawings which were done at one time. It is my custom to make from six to a dozen and when Craig has finished with them, they are put into an envelope and filed away.

I will add that Craig again and again begged me to sit and watch her work, so that I might be able to add my testimony to hers; I did so, watching tests both with envelopes and without, and assure you she left no loophole for self-deception. There was plenty of light to see by, and some of the most startling successes were produced under my eyes. I will add that no one could take this matter with more seriousness than my wife. She is the most honorable person I know, and she has worked on these experiments with rigid conscientiousness.

Next: Chapter XI