May 25, 1933.
May 25 - Aug 9
Ewan; Ada Turner; J. A. Hamilton; Mr. Reed; Dawn; L. H.; Mercedes J. D. Hamilton. Jack MacDonald (medium); Lillian Hamilton;
Margaret Hamilton (recorder).
In one minute after we enter séance room, Sterge speaks briefly, followed by Arthur. The control changes:
"It was all part of a conspiracy. Sure we just planned it and it worked fine! I said we'd do it and we got Sterge to help and we did it fine, and we sent them off with good feelings. Yes, it's Walter. You needn't worry. We made them say what they thought of the work and it was very gratifying. It's all okay. They actually asked the boy for a copy of the last picture. Isn't that a damner? There, that's a ring off your bathtub. Now, let's get on with the work!"
Robert: "I'm here now. You've got a bonnie wee house."
L. H.: "Have you been helping me to do my housecleaning?"
Robert: "Oh no. I'll draw the line there. I'll do a little mental spring cleaning, and that's the best I can do. Most of my mental pigeonholes need dusting. They're parrot's nests where's a copy of the sayings of others ..."
"It seems to me I was writing to a friend of mine and giving him advice on how to write, the writer's job, the tools he has, and how he does it. I think that was what I was talking about."
"It is as much the writer's job - this is a wee bit digression, really; last week I talked of the methods of practice, now we're going back a bit, and we may set it in its proper place later."
"Another of the aims of the writer, besides helping people to know and understand their brothers better, is to help people understand themselves better. It used to take the feelings, emotions and experiences we have all felt but have never been able to set down for ourselves, to take them and set them down in such a fashion that every one will find them the encrustation of the feelings, longings, desires and emotions they have experienced. It is the writer's job to make concrete the elusive experiences of man, to set man down so that he may find his inner self truly expressed. The writer unlocks for our fumbling hands the hidden rooms within us, the forbidden rooms within us; he shows us unsuspected recesses and, taking us by the hand, he helps us to explore them. He helps us scale the heights, helps us plumb the depths of our own souls. He is both a guide and a companion.
"Only the writer who has truly lived can do these things. By truly living I do not mean that he must be learned in bookish knowledge, that he has seen the land of the rising Sun, or the Pillars of Hercules, but he who has studied himself, who has studied others, and whose every moment, every hour, every day is pregnant with vital living. He is both the man who gives and the man who gathers. He may bring beauty, that intangible, elusive thing that almost every man seeks. Take a man away from circumstances and environment and almost every man, I say, would try to give beauty to the world. It is the writer's business to seek beauty and to help seekers of beauty. To the hungry heart and the itching mind, to the mind that aches for adventure, to the soul bound and shackled under conventional stress and prosaic duties, it is the writer's business to bring release; daily, prosaic duty comes, as an eagle each day to tear his flesh. It is the writer's duty to free him.
"When we write of times remote and places far afield, let us write so that we may sing. Let us write of daring deeds, beautifully done; let us write of out-of-the-way places, strange lands and mythical cities. Let us, as writers, find precise yet uncustomary words that will speed their thoughts into action winged with adventure ..."
L. H.: "That was fine Robert. Congratulations!"
Robert: "Thank you. Now I want to sit back and enjoy my friends. There is no bit of slavery worth half friendship. It's a lot easier to write a story than to make a friend. When you be a friend you find a friend. You make more friends by opening other peoples' eyes than by closing your own. Oh what a quibbler I am, playing with words and letting the light go through them! I suppose, after all, we are all children playing with colored baubles."
Sterge speaks and asks for notebook and pencil to try writing his signature: "That was a little experiment. Our friend tried to write his signature as well as me. The signatures are as a matter of comparison. (After the séance the signatures were found to be those of Robert Louis Stevenson and Claude Debussy.)
Medium whistles, says: "Curtain!" Makes movements as though pulling up a curtain. Says: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Now on with the show!" Quotes fully the poem 'The Wind' from "A Child's Garden of Verse."
Robert: "Did ye ever hear of the Whifflesnoof or the Gnaste? They're bogeys. A Whifflesnoof is not as bad as a Gnaste. A Whifflesnoof's a bird and a Gnaste's a gnome and they do come after people."
M. L. H.: "Are there really fairies? Let's talk about fairies."
Robert: "The wee folk, ye ken, live only in certain parts of the country. Ye ken they have never lived on earth. Others, like the gnomes, are elemental. They have a wee language like a humming. Their feet are stiff and they go around like puppets. But the fairies, I love them."
"How did you like the fairy verse? I meant it two ways, as original work and as a reference.
'The fairies have all come out tonight
Down by the ruined mill.'
"That's original, built on the subject suggested, and the rest is an original adaptation of previous work. 'The castles in the Sand' is from 'Dark Brown is the River, Golden is the Sand!' We just have time to wave our hand, since the little folk are shy. I mean more than the fairy folk. Those who pass by are shy too.
"The mill is a quiet place: there's naught there but the old owl, the weary moan of the waterwheel and a gurgle of the stream that runs. It chatters to the owl and the gnarled rafters. The water dashes against the cool stones and splashes down where the fairies are by the broken mill race. A large, cool-skinned frog sits close by a leaf. His glowing eyes askance for flies, but he's a friend of the fairies also. And down beside the mill the toadstools are, affronting the field of fairy flax. Atop the hill lies the dewpond, a dewpond ever full from time immemorial, past the memory of the oldest fairy.
"I'll give you more about the mill and the fairies in verse. I'd like to give you five poems about the fairies. Perhaps I'll give you some next meeting. That's all for the night. Good night, my lady and my friend."
Sterge and Arthur come for a moment before we close.
May 26, 1933
[Letter from Dr. Crandon - discusses a new book about fingerprints of spirits - discusses the attacks of skeptics:]
"...if it is any comfort to you, please note that 'Margery' is publicly 'exposed', or at least abused, about every three months. Walter's comment on all attacks is "No one ever stops to kick a dead horse."
Also a description of 'Walter' linking together rings - three to six inches in diameter - made of different woods without any sign of a seam or join.
May 31, 1933.
Dawn; Mrs. Poole; Ada Turner; T. G. H.; Ewan; Mr. Reed; J. D. Hamilton; Mercedes; L. H.; J. Hamilton; Margaret L. Hamilton, Secretary.
June 2, 1933.
Present: J. Mc Donald (medium); Lillian Hamilton; Margaret L. Hamilton (recorder).
Medium's chief control, Sterge, comes almost at once, talks to us, asks if we know Leon Vallas. He says "He is a friend of mine."
Further: "Cancer is quite a fearful disease to have. It is like a big spider inside one, slowly enmeshing one's physical being and then sucking your blood and leaving you there, an empty shell. I know too well. For two years I entertained the ugly visitor within my bosom. It saps you of everything. No wonder I could not write ..."
"I just did that for you so that you would know for yourself."
We remark that we know very little of the facts of the earth life of Sterge. He asks us not to try to discover them for a time yet.
Control changes. Arthur speaks to us, affecting a lisp. He says he is going to try to speak to Jimmy alone and that he may need a medium.
Robert: "How is the triad tonight?"
L. H.: "Fine."
Robert: "That's Good. Ye ken I've got him now. I'm glad there's just the triad. It makes it a lot easier for me to put through my work.
"Now, we'll have to compose an essay on the art of being idle. 'Loaf and the world loafs with you; work, and you work alone'.
L. H.: "That's a new one to me."
Robert: "It's a new one to me, too. It's spontaneous combustion. ..."
"It was in the remote times of the Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, at a place so remote, so far away from every place on the now known map as to be well within the boundaries of the province of Romance. Baghdad, the magnificent, sheltered in the leafy palms, guarded with the magic walls and manned by mystery and romance. No one dared hope to scale the walls of the Magic City or to enter by one of its gates without reckoning of its warders.
"Marble minarets glancing towards the sky, polished domes pushing their splendid heads up beside them, mysterious palaces and soft carpeted rooms running off the perfumed corridors of mystery. Fountains playing in the courtyard, veiled slaves slipping by on sandaled feet like shrouded ghosts. Bright eyed women, shyly glancing through half opened casement, and a sparkling attire of the dark fierce soldiers. Scheherezade of the thousand and one nights and the thousand and one tales. Haroun-al-Raschid, Caliph of Baghdad, hero of a thousand and one adventures, perpetrator of a thousand and one cruelties, creator of a thousand and one miracles, and possibly possessor of a thousand and one wives ..."
Medium's head is bowed to his knees and he mutters the words of the hymn "Sing Them Over Again To Me, Wonderful Words of Life." Then there is an interruption by a new personality. The medium utters guttural syllables, with a few recognizable German words. He says in English with a marked accent: "I speak English ... I am Professor ... be seated."
Robert returns: "I'm back. That was a wee bit of interference. A German, professor of something or other, and he flew in to tell you something of what I was talking about and he was going to correct and elaborate on it."
L. H.: "Is it the professor who is interested in psychics?"
Robert: "Oh, no. He's a German professor who's been at Baghdad and he was going to put through some description of Baghdad the beautiful. He thought I didn't give enough."
Arthur: "I'm back to sweep out. It's strange those people should do such things, but it can't be helped. It's quite rare with this boy."
[This beautiful excerpt on "Life Everlasting" is also found entered at November 7, 1929. There is no explanation:]
Medium fusses, moves about, stamps feet. Under control she gives the following:
"God so gave his only Son that whosoever believed should not perish but have life everlasting."
"Life everlasting. I often wondered what it would be like to live everlastingly. Life is good, living life is good. Somehow I did wish for the coolness of death, for quiet hands upon my forehead and still breath up on my cheek. And when she came I neither wooed her nor turned away but stood. Death took me in her arms and soft and slow, crooned my weariness to sleep. In the soft cadence of her voice, sometimes light and low, others ringing sweet, I felt like rain plashing off the leaves. So like the raindrop that touches the leaf, slides off with a dewy sparkle, falling on other leaves, so did my soul leave my weary body. And I was caught up in the light towards the Great Sun, and was one with light. As yet, I must admit, I am but a little mote whose sparkle is reflected from that Sun. But soon, God willing, the light commencing to burn within me shall shine, and I will be of the Light and not with it.
"Weariness I know not, nor pain, nor spiritual weariness, lack of faith. In their stead have come strength, and vision, and beauty and peace. There is no baptism in sorrow here, for underneath are the Everlasting Arms, the still, small Voice that beckons you from the dark pools of sorrow, and there is that guiding Light and a soft regular murmur that comes from I know not where, perhaps within. But it is as if, within myself, Nature was crooning her great symphony as a heart-lullaby.
"Believe me, that when the dark waters close over, there is underneath all, the Everlasting Arms, the still, small voice, and the quiet guiding hands and the shining Light.
"God has set not only his bow in the sky, he has permeated his whole earth with Himself. He is here, He is there, He is everywhere. God is a Spirit. I know. I am climbing towards Him. We go towards the Light, and our rising is music in our ears, and joy gives wings to our feet, and we are not tired.
O Lord of Love toward Thee
We climb high;
One little glimpse we see
As we draw nigh.
O Lord of Love, toward Thee
We turn with song;
Three in One, and One in Three
O Father, Father, the throng."
Medium is silent, then his head drops forward, and he mutters the word "Stevenson" many times.
L. H.: "Robert, that was very beautiful indeed."
Robert: "That's no' all my own. That's a help-mate and I, a minister, a preacher, a man wi' a back-turned collar. He is a foreigner, ye ken, a transplanted angel, hence a foreigner - David Livingstone - he was helping me."
L. H.: "Give David our love."
"Father of all, we pray
As downs Thy glowing sun,
As holy as it has been our day
May such our rest become.
"That's me! That's extempore verse for you, and that was composed on the spot. You want to see the spot? It's right there (pointing), the black spot!
"I should have been a minister, I'm so good at writing prayers."
L. H.: "Yes, you've a lot of the preacher in you."
Robert: "Yes, I suppose I have; I canna keep the preacher down. It's because I didna' pound the pulpit."
L. H.: "I guess it's because we scotch are sort of metaphysical."
Robert: "Yes, I suppose that's what's wrong with us. It must be the mist of the islands, or maybe the scream of the gulls. Are ye sure it was no' the porridge?"
L. H.: "Were you raised on it?"
Robert: "One of the tragedies of my life. Well, goodnight, little lady. Goodnight, my lady."
Sterge returns only to stay for a second; then medium stands, bows three times and speaks in a loud, clear, strong voice and very slowly:
"I come to guard. Big chief. No man come to interfere. I am here to guard, lady with birch-tree hair."
L. H.: "Is this Black Hawk?"
Black Hawk: "Yes. Glad to come. Goodnight."
Medium's hands across his breast, he bows very slowly three times, and sits down.
Sterge: "I am here, just to say 'au revoir'. It is time to close."
"Oh, glory, glory, glory! Glory to God in the highest! Mercy on me! Forgive us, teach us, dissolve, O God, the scales from our eyes. Teach us the truest aims of life. Guide us to walk Thy way with firm footsteps. Fix our eyes upon the shining light. Make bright our countenance, and give sound to our tongues that they may glorify and magnify The name.
"Grant the little act of service it is possible for us to do; grant that we may be given the privilege of doing it, and so make us worthy for greater service. Let us worship Thee in humility and service, and worship with joy and sound Thy glory, and above all, Thy love. Let us love Thee; help us to love our fellow-man that by so loving them we may learn to love Thee.
"And at the end of each day grant us that sweet silence that sings."
"Help us to partake of that all-prevailing strength.
"Give us, O God, friends, swift-loving natures, and steadfast .... desires.
"Help us, O God, to help ourselves.
June 9, 1933.
Present: Jack MacDonald (medium); Lillian Hamilton; Margaret Hamilton (recorder)
Medium entranced about two minutes after entering séance room. Sterge and Arthur both speak briefly.
Robert: "I listened in on your conversation (referring to a chat between L. H. and J. MacDonald a half hour previously). It was good. I'll have to go over them (referring to his writings). There's some bits that need the pumice stone, - one or two places where the jiggling of the train shook my elbow. I didna write as well as I usually can."
L. H.: "It was splendid, Robert."
Robert: "What's the matter with the wee lass?"
M. L. H.: "I'm a wee bit weary tonight, Robert. I want to get away and have a rest, out by the lake, and feel the wind and smell the air from the pine trees."
Robert: "Do ye ken the stories the tree tops tell when the wind blows through them?
[This excerpt on "The Wind" is also found at October 30, 1929. There is no explanation for this repetition:]
Ye ken the wind's a great adventurer; he's a pirate, a rover, a seafarer and a tramp. He never settles down anywhere. He's ready to fight and shout, and yet he's the gentle lover. He plays with the roses, and rolls in the dust like a swine. He steals the petals of the flowers; and then, with gentle fingers, opens the flowers at dawn. He's a gay madcap that slams the window shut; he's a thoughtless boy who grabs your hat off your head and like a hoop trundles it down the street. He's a sporting lad, that, as he drives his cloud horses across the sky, and all his stately ships of cloud galleons. Ye never know what he's going to do next: one time he's fickle, then for ages he's strong and true. And sometimes it seems that he falls asleep under a tree and then pauses to play among the flowers, forgetful of the sails that droop and the clouds that cluster on the horizon. Sometimes he's in a frolicking mood and then he dances, and you see his foot marks in the long grasses as he passes through the field. You can mark his dancing on the brook and see him leap across the lake and walk on stately rollers down the ocean sand.
"He's aye a cruel lover. The very rose whose fairy petals he caresses lovingly at rosy dawn is the same pale flower he worries all of the afternoon, whose petals he scatters at night. I'm afraid he's a very devastating lover.
"But oh, when he's in a playful mood he tosses the hats and slams the doors and blows your clothing around your ears and catches at the curtains with careless fingers as he passes by. A moment later he's screaming down the plain, pistols in hand and sword at his side, with a have-at-you expression on his face and a laugh on his lips. Then he is an Indian, soft, surefooted, quick, one moment whirling into a dance, and the next, with fierce flying hair, singing a deep-throated war song ..."
Sterge speaks, tells us most of Stevenson's work of this character is impromptu.
New control speaks: "Woah, Dobbin! Put up your foot. There, there, one sure shod and there another one. Now we'll shod the old gray mare. Where is she? We'll shod the mare. Where is she? I'm the village blacksmith, I'm snoozing under the village chestnut tree, my daughter is singing in the village choir ... I'm doing a little forging tonight, forging a little shoe to go on with. If the old gray mare was here I'd use my bellows to make him hot and burn him up." (This sounds very much like Walter)
"Tucker knows who did it. He says it was an absolutely irresponsible addict. Tucker says, should you meet up with his wife, to make her understand she should not try to communicate with him through unreliable individuals. He says it will be deplorable for her if she receives unreliable information. It will be a millstone around his neck mentally."
Arthur speaks and tells us the Major (Tucker) is still slightly deaf.
New control speaks: "Mrs. Glenn Hamilton? I know you. My friends have told me a lot about you. I'm really all right now. It's sort of stupid. I know now I shouldn't have walked across the street. It wasn't fair to them. I did it without a thought. I'm all right now, and I'm appreciative of the work being done in Winnipeg. I will be happy to do what I can and thank you for helping me." (Refers to 'Woods', killed in an accident some weeks previous - see above.)
Sterge returns to close the sitting.
"Fine folk are all right when you want to rest your eyes but they are not so good when you want to rest your brains ..."
"Philosophy is homely truths with icing on them ..."
"Youth makes more happiness in the world than sorrow. You get the odd black pea in the pod but they are not all black ..."
"Character is the direct result of personal striving toward better things, and the anchoring of the mind on definitely established ideals."
"Faith is something that is born with us; it is a vine beside the Tree of Life."
June 16, 1933.
J. MacDonald (medium); Lillian Hamilton; T. G. Hamilton; Margaret Hamilton (recorder).
Sterge speaks first, then Walter comes, and jokes in his usual clever way:
"How do you do?" I have my high heels on tonight. We will conduct a funeral service. One of your number has departed. He lived a long and full life, he was a good father and a fine citizen, a staunch liberal and conservative, a member of several churches. I speak of our late lamented brother Dr. T. Glen Hamilton. We will now continue with a funeral service "Ashes to ashes ... poor Dr. Hamilton."
T. G. H. yawns and says "Yes?"
Walter: "Oh, he's coming to life. I'll say dammit, and that will waken him up."
L. H.: "Is that you, Walter?"
Walter: "Yes, and don't mistake me for little Eva."
T. G. H. yawns quite audibly.
Walter: "That's his yawn song. Swans always sing before they die. I wonder if blondes ever die." (dye?)
... "I can get that picture through and I'm going to force her to come. I can dominate her, and I will, and I'll make her come, and the other one too. All you have to do is to be nice and let me work on her. It wouldn't do any good to badger her; but, you know, there's cupboard love ... I can make her do what I want more easily than you can. She thinks I have no personal interest in her because I never appear through her anywhere else. But I can't work with her with any other people. That is why I never come elsewhere where she is sitting. Here's where I work and here I stay. She knows it, and that's why she comes back."
Medium's mouth opens, lower jaw drops, chin is resting on breastbone. Medium passes T. G. H.'s hand over medium's mouth, and presses it firmly on the lips.
Walter: "I was locking his jaws and trying to get you to shut his mouth ... just like the others."
T. G. H.: "Oh, spastic catatonia."
Walter: "I guess that's what you call it. Now I'm going. So long."
Arthur speaks briefly to us and seems pleased that his dad has come.
Robert: "I am here the night for a good while to be with you. I'm very glad you've come the night (to T. G. H.). Where is your hand? (Shakes hands). Now sit back in your chair and dinna get tense, just relax."
"... Across the page of every enduring writer's daily diary, between all the lines of his work, in every stroke of his pen, and every splashy punctuation mark, comes a commandment, written in by the writer himself, yet not written in - the word, revision. Revision means two things: first of all, a revision by the author of the characters, the setting, the plot, and the action of the story; a revision of the story which is a vision, a looking backward and over the story and seeing it as a coherent whole. You've written it now, and now your mind plays with it, and in your mind you catch anew the vision you had of the story and you ask yourself - does it live? - and the answer's got to be definitely "yes". And you ask yourself some sub questions: is it finished, and is it complete? Have I wrung every drop of emotional power there is in the story? Has the story been a gradual building up and have I ended on a high note? Has the character in my story been able to surmount or solve the difficulties besetting him?
"To this question you may have one of two definite answers, but it must be definite - he has succeeded, or he has not succeeded. There is no middle course. Has my character, in surmounting these difficulties, acted in according with the traits of character which I have given him? He must do that. I've taken him, built him up, breathed the fire of life into him, and by means at my disposal, direct and indirect, have hidden guide-posts to his character.
"He must follow out the guide-posts of his characteristics which I have hidden in surmounting his difficulties. That is the only way to give your story strength.
(T. G. H. takes a pocket comb and begins to comb his hair. Robert says that if he only had a bit of beach he'd be a beachcomber.)
T. G. H.: "Would you like to be a beach-comber?"
Robert: "Oh, no. I've seen enough of them myself."
"All these questions must be asked and asked again. It is not until we can, without conscience, and assert each correctly, that we may lay down the writer's pen.
"Then there is another type of revision, structural revision. This is a revision in which you take your army of words and divide them into platoons, and inspect them, parade them around and around, and have them change their places for symmetry, and reverse their order for grace and mass them for strength. And as you look your army over and see that every button is on, every rifle clean, and every cap on straight. You see that every man is the best that you can have in your picked battalion, just like the Spartans - every man was a brick, and each brick made up the wall.
"Leaving our little military analogy, (for analogies can be carried too far; so far in fact that they weary the person carrying them), we will return to the sentences themselves. The writer must go over his work, critically and cruelly. He must hold in his hand the devastating but intelligent pencil; he must get himself into a condition of mind where he is all pumice stone and chamois. He must prune away unnecessary words with his pencil; with his pumice stone polish the words that are there and grind them down and polish them with his chamois. Every word must fit, every sentence must follow naturally; and if you look after these things, why, I'd say the story would look after itself. Never leave until you have done all you can do, and having done that, leave it, since there is a post-critical period which comes to every writer and which, if strong criticism is pushed on into that period, will be harmful to the story.
"To be a successful writer, one must be a good technician. A good technician never goes too far. If he does, he doesn't go far as a writer."
June 24, 1933.
Sitting held at the Victoria Beach, Manitoba.
J. MacDonald (medium); James Hamilton; Lillian Hamilton; Margaret Hamilton (recorder).
Sterge and Arthur both speak. Arthur reminisces about the lake and holidays, and says he comes with us from year to year. He and Jimmy tease each other.
Control changes. Medium speaks in broken English: "Piniak kill me. At Gimli. Piniak bad man. His mother very good. He no listen to her teaching. They should no kill him, should try to help him. I try to help him ..."
Control changes. Medium becomes agitated, laboring under a great strain. Makes a sound that might be taken to represent the 'zoom' of an airplane. Grabs my two hands and pulls on them as though pulling back on the joystick of a plane. Finally, after two or three minutes of great effort on the part of the control, he succeeds is speaking and gives the name 'Oakes' but in answer to the question "is that your name?" he shakes his head to signify "no". Medium says "Jimmy! Jimmy!" We asked "is that your name?". Head shakes up and down to signify "Yes." Finally the control speaks quite clearly although hesitating a little and tells us that he and two others were flying in an aeroplane at an altitude of 2000 feet on a topographical survey. They were flying under a cloud when an electrical discharge from the cloud ripped the plane fabric and they crashed. The control gave the date as sometime in July, four or five years ago, and the location as north of Portage la Prairie, and the names of the three as Oakes, Wheeler, and Weaver (Verifiable). Control says they know of Dr. Hamilton's work and that they are all right now, and they promise to come again.
Sterge returns for a moment, gives way to Robert, who chats with us and then dictates the following:
"Ye ken, I used to see him often when he went to the games, and a braw lad he was - a good 6 feet and a span afore breakfast. That was his height, broad as the back end of a ship and limbs on him like tree trunks and a voice as mild as the south wind. He was a typical lad wi' sunspots and unco' shy. To see Donald ameeting anyone down the road, you could see him wriggling all over, and he'd stammer his words and across every part of his body awkwardly except his eyes. To watch him ye would see an uneasy, awkward, hillside youth, afraid of the company, afraid of people, and uncertain of himself.
"But now, 'tis the day of the games and we are all away. Decked with ribbons and colors bright, we pass from ornamental booths to screeching hawker, and pass the shies of Sally-Ann.
"'Tis the time for the games and the crowd are hurrying wi' us, too, jostling us in an easy holiday mood wi' laughing voices and dancing eyes.
"We are off to see the lads perform, and here we are and they're tossing the caber. Now we see who comes here. See this little cock-sparrow stepping into the ring! There is a roll of shouts and a ripple of gay banter and wi' a chest like a barrel and arms like engine-pistons, Wee Jockie poses before his crowd, and they cheer him on.
"Hoot's mon!" cries a bystander, as Jock gathers his kilt. "You'll no be needin' to do that, Jock, why is no even a bit of exercise to ye to win this."
"Around wi' ye," shouts a merry red face from the other side, "And your Jock bettern a loosening it around the chest at the size of it! Puffing out like a pouter pigeon he is!"
And the crowd laughs.
"Wi' a swish o' his kilt Jock balances the pole. He holds it like a dancer holds his partner - so - and holds it long enough to glean applause from a standing gallery. Then, with a smile, he steps out and snaps the pole into the air from the edge o' the line. It sails swiftly to a perfect land. The crowd cheers and Jock swaggers like a brooding hen. Two tosses more and he adds feet, and the crowd's in his hand.
"Jock's tossing well the day."
"Tis a free for all; the other contestants have already tossed. Jock, with a sense of the dramatic, had stayed to the last. He was far ahead of the others. He walks around in circles with the air of triumph Hector must have had when he raced around the walls of Troy.
"Tis the last chance! Any comers more?", they cry, "Who will toss wi' Jock?"
And no one answers.
"Who will toss?" they shout again, our Donald watching with open mouth, at the insider. Suddenly some wag shouts: "Here's our man!" And without ceremony they shove him in the ring. He looks to the left and to the right, but there's no escape. Before he can come out of it he's handed the caber. "Three tosses", says they, and the crowd stands back. The lad balances the great pole in his hands, steps back a few feet, there's a swirl o' kilt, a flash of keen limbs, and the pole flies like an arrow. There's a gasp from the crowd, then a roar. "Tis over! 'Tis over!" they shout. "He's a length past Jock!"
"I'm sorry I can't go on with that. I'm sorry about it. I've no' got a fine description I wanted to get. That's a wee bit of Scotch life as I've seen it ..."
L. H. suggests that Robert write a story of about 5000 words through the medium, have it published under the medium's name to see what the critics say. Robert agrees. After a few moments' conversation relative to this work, in which Roberts says he is also anxious to give some poetry, he goes, and Sterge returns to close the sitting. Sterge tells us that the appearance of the woman who was killed and of the men killed in the aeroplane crash were given to allow us to see something of Arthur's "rescue" work. He also tells us that the effort necessary to let them come through took from the "power" that Stevenson might otherwise have had at his disposal.
June 28, 1933
[From LIGHT magazine - June 28, 1933]
Dr. Glen Hamilton on Trance Personality
[Dr. T. Glen Hamilton, in the fourth of a series of articles written for the Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) deals with trance personality as follows:]
The C. H. Spurgeon Case
[We begin today the story of one of the most interesting and most important sustained experiments in the records of Psychical Research or Spiritualism. Dr. Glen Hamilton's narrative, told with the care and restraint of a man fully acquainted with the methods of science, is well worthy of study.]
Evidence pointing to survival and continued activity.
By T. Glen Hamilton, M.D.
Manifestations of a psychic personality claiming to be the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the noted Baptist preacher, have been encountered in the Winnipeg experiments from time to time over a period now of ten years, through no less than four mediums, and by means of both objective and subjective phenomena. While these various mediumistic products show considerable variation in the matter of their evidential value, we shall find, I think, that, taken as a whole, they build into a mass of highly evidential material demanding the earnest attention of all sincere students of metapsychics, - both those primarily interested in the experimental establishment of the facts of Psychical Research, and those primarily interested in the religious implications which some of these established facts would seem to indicate.
The nature and growth of these so-called Spurgeon events I shall now endeavor to place before the reader as rapidly as possible, presenting them for the most part in the order in which they occurred.
July 6, 1933.
J. MacDonald (medium); Lillian Hamilton; Margaret Hamilton (recorder);
[Sitting held at suite 4, Dalkeith Apartments, Winnipeg.]
6:33 p.m. sitting commences.
Sterge comes at once.
Sterge: "Hello! Here I am. I've been here all the time since you came. I was getting my influence over him so that I could get him easily. You remember the three young men who came before? One says he was afraid that you did not understand that Wheeler spoke for the other two ..."
"You know, it does not do us good to look on evil things. When we see wickedness, evil or horror, it is not good for us because any strength gained by it is possible through other means. But it is hard to estimate how far-reaching the results will be when one looks on; and, so to speak, has horror as his bed fellow. It is bad for the individual. So hearing and seeing no evil is a good thing. Especially try to throw off evil things. Try not to bind them up with your emotions because they will stay with you. Should you see an execution, Madame, it will be very bad for you and bring ugliness into your life and give room for more ugliness. There is nothing strengthening in horror. It is like a huge hand in our garden, pulling out the weeds and flowers as well. I enjoy life in every shape and form and I do deplore ugliness in every shape and form. I am sermonizing, for I have recently seen a case of ugliness."
Arthur speaks for a moment, greeting us. Sterge continues:
"I will tell you a little of my life. I was born of middle-class parents of no particular distinction, nor did I have any. I studied music a little bit, but with no particular desire from my family. I really got my start from a relative, a lady, who heard me play and became interested in my playing so that she began to help me and further my musical education. So I went to the Conservatoire and won the prize for piano playing and then a great prize, the Grande Prix of Rome, for young musicians. So I wrote a little Cantata, called the Child Prodigy, won first prize and went to Rome. But Rome did not like Claude Debussy, and Claude Debussy did not like Rome. But the scholarship said that I had to stay one year in Rome, so Sterge stayed 365 days and one hour in Rome and then went back to the Fauberg St. Germain in Paris.
"Then I lived most of the rest of my time in Paris. I took a trip to Russia where I spent quite a lot of time collecting Russian folk songs. I hoped someday to be able to use them in music. I also spent time in Spain and collected their folk songs, and on and off I wrote pieces. That is a sort of sketch of the historical part.
"Suppose I take you to Paris. We had a round collection of poets and artists and they were the precursors of the modernist movement. I lived among them as one of them, a happy-go-lucky, poverty-stricken musician, excepting that I had more success than they, and consequently I became a sort of Francois Villon in my own back yard, and was looked upon as a sort of leader and due to my literary work in the Paris papers, as a mouthpiece for my fellows. So I was blowing my own theories into the ear of the public, sort of feelers for when my music came out.
"I must also say I was married, early, to a lady who was a great helpmate to me during my struggling years. Lilli was her name. Later on there was great trouble in our wedded life, partly due to my fault, in all honesty, quite my fault. It became quite the sensation in Paris papers since I had a distinguished patroness who was very kind to me, and many stories were rife, even to an alleged suicide. I speak of this later. I mention it in case it should come to your ears. I can give you at least six versions of it - I shall deal with these later. It may interest you to know, however, that my wife died about a year ago, and that she did not suicide but lived to a ripe old age. She did not suicide in 1916 when the alleged suicide report came out; she was with me when I died.
"I profess many faults. I will indicate how I have had to offset those faults here. I shall tell you more later of my intimate life. I am sketching broadly with a rather coarse pen at present ..."
Control changes and Robert speaks:
Robert: "I've been happy, and working in my house, furnishing my life with stories. I've got to work and keep my literary furniture up to date. Most of it's Queen Anne period, wi' a wee bit Chippendale. We need a wee bit modern stuff ..."
Medium breathes heavily, rubs his hands over his chest.
"You wouldn't hurt old Ben, would you?" Pats L. H.'s arm. "Where are ye from?"
L. H.: "We are from the ship."
Medium: "Have ye got anything to eat?"
L. H.: "We've got some cheese."
Medium: "Oh, give it to me!" (Munches noisily). "There is the tree! Oh, look at his hand, pointing there! 'Tis a bony hand, a skeleton! Hush! Hush! Dig right here! (Pretends to dig). Ha! Look at that! Its gold, gold, gold! ..."
"Come here, my lad! You wouldn't be afraid of old John? Where is my crutch? ... I've got you right there! Ye're dead, deader than a coffin nail. Yer back's broken! ..."
"Poor Dick!" (Coughs) (pats or rubs chest)
Robert: "I'm back now after taking ye to the treasure hunt. Now
we'll take you on a literary Hunt. Tonight we'll deal with words."
"Words, like nations are echoes out of the deep flung past. They have their forebears, their sires and their dams, from generation to generation, even back into the dim glamorous pages of history where the roots strike deep. There in the ground of rich experience they have been planted, matured and grown again from generation to generation, from century to century, until we now have them in the form that we use.
"Study your words, study all words, but above all study the words you use. Know, if possible, from whence they took their roots, what their meanings are, and learn how, with a combination of other words they may be most strikingly used and the music brought forcibly to bear against both the eye and ear. The eye takes in a great deal but the ear takes in more. Use words that have a rhythm and peculiar beauty of melody all their own. Use uncustomary words if you will, but use them in their precise meaning. Play with them if you will, but join their hands together so they dance in time. For slow-moving inactive effects use slow words, words that have a slow movement within them. I do not mean to use ponderous words or incomprehensible words, but suit the word to the action, and in choosing the word, suit the sound of the word to the action.
"If a man is shot and falls, say he falls, and say it quickly and as shortly as he does. Do not say, "Bang!" and the man was precipitated forward on his face. "Make him fall"! Say, "He tumbled into a heap". It sounds like an accordion, clutching at air, scraping and calling the dust like a hen, sprinkling blood all over! He's dying!
"Let your words be alliterative, and imitate the action as well as be melodious ..."
Medium is silent for a moment, apparently resting.
"Words are grand things but you can have too much of them. The best banquet is spoiled by being overdone. If your host forces you to eat more than you want to, you don't enjoy your meal. So if we, as writers, embellish our ideas with puffing and padding, your untrained reader won't read it; and your trained reader will skip it. Your untrained reader finds it hard to read and quit easily and your trained reader is a critic and skips the words that are unnecessary. It is up to us as writers to try to reach the point of skill where our words are complete, essential, necessary, melodious, alliterative and yet are governed by a sense of economy.
"Economy is one of the first laws of writing. Try using your words like a boxer, who, when he punches out, hits a man, and when he draws back, hits him with his elbow. Make them slap twice.
"I think that's all I'll do, but I'll deal with emotion next time. That was no' bad."
7:40 p.m. approximately.
July 20, 1933
[Letter from Dr. Hamilton to Dr. Bruce Chown - New York City:]
"... Your note to hand ... Mrs. Chown is well ... fine holiday. ... also certain the ... able to meet with Dr. and Mrs. Crandon and am sending ... Mrs. Bigelow is very closely in touch with the Crandons and might also be of assistance in securing the appointment. When the Crandons take a holiday it is generally out at the cabin, a matter of a 25 mile drive from their home in Boston. During the day he is always in Boston at his office on Commonwealth Avenue ...
" ... We have done no work for the last two months or more and things are quiet. The little woman who was performing at the photographers seems to have become exasperated by the sluggish mentality of the Winnipeg public and has tried to put a little pep into the opposition forces by preparing a statement, to which she has sworn, that she pulled a form which was photographed by us in January from the pocket of Victor during one of his visits at the photographer's circle, and that she believes to be the same as that photographed at my place. The whole thing is evidently intended to stimulate some opposition in which the public would no doubt gain some interest on the same basis as their interest in a dog-fight. However, the matter is too silly to claim any serious attention.
"... I enclose herewith a letter of introduction to the Crandons which I hope you will be able to make use of. At any rate you will be delighted to meet them and in all probability to have a sitting with them. The attack upon the 'Margery' fingerprints does not appear to have been answered as yet. I would suggest that if you see Mrs. Bigelow or Bligh Bond who is in the same office, you discuss the matter with them as I would like to hear the latest news. If you are at the Crandons you will no doubt see Mr. Thorogood He is the man who for the past two years or so has had technician's work in hand. In New York you may meet Mr. Button, President of the S. P. R. You will find him a very interesting man; so also Mr. Purdy who is one of the ...
"... Give my kindest regards to Mrs. Bigelow and Mr. Button and Mr. Purdy should you see them, also to Mr. Bond, and kindest regards also to the world famous medium, Gladys C..."
[Letter from Dr. Hamilton to Dr. L. R. G. Crandon - Boston: This is the letter of introduction of Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Chown.]
Mentions letter from Dr. Brink in which he expresses how impressed Dr. Brink was with the Crandons and the Margery work.
"... I have also had a letter from Dr. Bruce Chown of 660 Park Avenue. New York City, who with Mrs. Chown, has been in the East for a few weeks. They have both been members of our circle for the past two and a half years, Dr. Chown acting as secretary during practically all that period. They are returning shortly but before doing so may go up to Boston and in that event may call upon you. I can most heartily recommend them both to your confidence."
July 28, 1933.
Jack MacDonald (medium); Lillian Hamilton; Margaret Hamilton (recorder).
6:55 p.m. sitting commences.
Sterge comes at once, says he was waiting for us. He asks me if I know Baudelaire. He says: "He is a friend of mine and was a great influence in my life. I set Baudelaire to music. You know Gabriel d'Annunzio, Poet Laureate by appointment of King Victor Emmanuel of Italy? His mistress was Alma Rubenstein, the dancer. I was commissioned to write music for her; I was to play the lover's voice! But I did not do it. Poor d'Annunzio!
"Oh! The old man is getting senile, talking of the past!
"Cancer is a hellish disease, isn't it?" It is like two great hands, one clasped around the middle, squeezing out your life, and another on your head squeezing your soul out at the same time. And you watch your flesh turn to rags, like an old suit, and you suspect the vileness within..."
Inconsequential conversation. Medium moves about, raised his arms about his head. Robert speaks:
"I'm preparing for the wedding. I'm brushing my hair. I'm going to wear it around my head like a coronet. We'll have some flowers in our hair, but they'll be wild flowers gathered from the heath. It's my wedding day! The sun is bright, as the old wives say - 'As the one day is, so shall the rest of their life be'. 'Tis happy I am today.
"... Now I'm back. I have to do a wee bit character act to come. It means something. It's a reference and you'll find it when you grow whiskers ... I was a long time growing them myself.
"Now, if a man were in a dream state, or sort of hypnotized, do you think he could go on saying the same thing for three weeks consciously?"
L. H.: "No, I don't think so."
Robert: "If I was up to discussing words, that would demonstrate that I am a mind working consciously and intelligently, wouldn't it?"
L. H.: "Yes, I think it would."
Robert: "That was laid on with a trowel - a wee bit o' bragging, I wee bit o' croaking ... Ye ken, what the frogs do."
L. H.: "Robert, you're a lad!"
Robert: "And you are a lass!"
Here follows a teasing conversation on love and the different kinds of love. Robert proposes analyzing love, giving as his title 'An Analysis of Love by One Who Loves to Analyze'.
Medium pushes chair back, drops head forward on to knees. Robert speaks again.
"In the good old days when novelists wrought and their stories were rotten (Wroughten?) ... which doesna seem like a good remark to begin with ..."
L. H.: "It's not bad. Change it if you like."
Robert: "But it's too good to be wasted! ... it was the custom to name your characters thusly:"
"Stevenson says to 'un-imp' him. He says he is feeling far too frivolous to be a serious-minded author. He started off quite seriously but saw such interesting possibilities that he was side-tracked. He says he won't come back tonight. He says to tell you it was a strain of seriousness with some strained wit."
"You wanted to know if you could have a visitor?"
L. H.: "Yes, Ewan."
Sterge: "Have him come once; I don't think it will upset conditions. I don't want to break in on this group, but he can come at this time whenever you wish. I must go now. Au revoir."
The Villain - Silas Slithroat
The Heroine - Patience Lovegood
The Hero - Adonis Goldheart
"And all the houses and people were named after them, to wit., our English novelist and caricaturist, Dickens. Sometimes I really think Dickens wandered down the byways of the past and stumbled over the mighty footprints of the pioneer Roundhead, Evangelist and writer, John Bunyan. Bunyan's characters, allegorically working their way through the book, were so huge a number that their creator needs must give them names for immediate and positive identification; and often, when in the private and unechoing rooms of my own thought, I've been impressed with the idea that Dickens, a bloodhound for stories and news, had, in his early puppyhood, been given a portion of Bunyan's garment to smell, and had been howling on this track ever since ..."
"That's just a wee bit of fun, ye ken. It's ridiculous, but funny. Oh yes, there's truth there too, alright; but ye ken, in order to make anything appear very wise you close one eye, and when you want to be funny, you close them both ... an alleged humorous appreciation of Dickens.
"Ye ken I'm in the holiday spirit the night, I feel like having a little fun, but I feel the pressure of work too. Yet I feel I want to play."
L. H.: "Let yourself play then."
Robert: "I'm afraid to. I don't know whether it's myself or my mephistophelean shadow."
Medium stands up, with arms stretched out, then lets them fall to his side. Whispers clearly: "Charles Haddon Spurgeon, minister of God, called by Christ to be known henceforth under no other name. (Deep loud voice). Peace I give unto you, glorious singing peace, not overwhelming mountains of blissful joy, but soul contentment, soul ease, soul-wholeness, transfused with the Grace abounding and glorified by His piece and by His name kept Holy.
"Help us to keep not only our lamps trimmed, but let them be ready, let them be steady, let them be ready to go into the dark regions of the unknown, and there be steady, penetrating, cleansing, purging, delivering light for Thy cause. Oh make our lamps a searchlight, lighting up the dark corners of men's hearts! Only by Thy light can we see it, for only when the dark corners are lit up do men see within themselves. The weak, non-courageous men who fear that darkness within, yet harbor it, will come to Thee. O god, help us to strengthen the souls of those people, so they may explore their darkness to its very depths and come back with quiet smiling faces to Thy light with firm steps, eyes on the light, with quiet busy hands for the cause of humanity and for Thy cause."
Medium sits down. Sterge returns.
L. H.: "Was that last given by two personalities, or one?"
Sterge: "By two. It was given by Spurgeon, but through the mouth of the other, that is, it is Stevenson's work, quite a bit, but Spurgeon coloring. It was given, because Stevenson was feeling so frivolous that he asked Spurgeon to come and help, as
August 4, 1933.
J. MacDonald (medium); Lillian Hamilton; James Hamilton; T. G. Hamilton; Margaret Hamilton (recorder).
7:08 p.m. sitting commences.
Arthur speaks first, greets us all, says to Jim, "That's good! Good! Go ahead!" Speaks more clearly and strongly, and tells Jim that he can do it every time, and to go ahead, and that he won't upset things. L. H. asks him how he has been, and Arthur replies: "Fine. I'm getting better now. I came first because all my family were here, and because my brother was helping me come."
Sterge: "Here I come now. We let him come first. I had to come since I have the keys for several doors he has not yet.
"I see we have a visitor tonight. Who is this distinguished looking gentleman?"
L. H.: "That is Dr. Hamilton."
Sterge: "Oh, the husband of the famous Madame Hamilton?"
T. G. H.: "I am the King of Sheba."
Sterge: "I always wanted to see what the husband of a great lady looked like. I am disappointed."
Sterge goes on to tell of his own wife, who has recently passed over. He says that during the last months of her life on earth she was so low physically that she was over on his side for much of the time, the physical bond holding her to her body being so feeble.
Robert: "Good evening my friends. I am no' bad the night; I'm a wee bit more repressed than I was the last time we met."
L. H. remarks on the beautiful prayer which was given at the last seance and that it seemed to show traces of two personalities.
Robert: "We were both mouthpieces. He (Spurgeon) is a man of fierce, strong desires, and when he sets his foot in the path, he
thinks any deviation is an almighty crime afore the Lord. Without that passion he wouldna have been what he was, and he still retains it...
"...The rewards of the writer are tremendous. Most of them are the joy that is the tribute to the true creator; the balance consists mainly of satisfied pride, spurred ambition and an inflated pocketbook. To one living in a practical world the last is not the least.
"In this world the writer and musician are, after God, true creators. Strive to wield a forceful pen so that when you write where many read, you, translated to them through your pen, may be a great, courageous, imaginative, and noble force. And if it falls to your lot, as it invariably does to the lot of the successful author not only to write where many read, but to speak where many listen, let your voice sound out surely, truly and repeatedly the great principles of a glorious humanity, cohesive in intelligence, strength of attainment, and courage to battle for beauty and light in the dark hours. Too often the successful author upon the stage with an audience of admirers like so many dry sponges before him ready to soak up what he has to give, so much do they believe in him, thinks to amuse rather than to illumine them, and he rides Pegasus with his tongue in his cheek. Too often the author-lecturer tries to clown, and drives disillusionment like a flock of sheep before him into the minds and hearts of his admirers and would-be pupils.
"...Och, aye, the old man's very serious the night. Now,ye dinna think Spurgeon could say anything to the hi tone o' that, do ye? Och, we'll be in his good books the night!
"Since I've come over here, I've often deliberated and thought about the chiseled type of style-balanced sentences, flowing words, imitative harmony and language - I used to take to my work the joy of the craftsman. I think perhaps I was right, since any message, if poorly written, maybe timely, but it's never timeless, however. Only great and beautiful language, setting forth great, noble and beautiful thoughts, or even commonplace thoughts, endures. Moreover, if the message contained in the lines be a temporary thing only for my age or your age or our age, and as the wheels of time roll on, this message has no vital use and no vital meaning to the age reading it; then, if the message be beautifully preserved in the rarest and most lovely language, it will endure for the language alone. Beautiful things are timeless, good writing is always good writing whether the message, the thought, or the story within it, in the final analysis, prove of little use to humanity."
"Now, that's that!"
L. H.: "Fine!"
Robert: "You see, I'm quite rhetorical ... I see you have the baby here (Jim). I'm glad!"
T. G. H.: "I'm taking him with me to Saskatoon."
Robert: "I ken well the time when Edmonton was the farthest point north, and the end of the steel, and they had the college there, too. I used to take a map and mark out with a pin the places about me. And I used to put the key in my pocket to rattle with the coin I had, for ye ken I never had two coins to rattle together ..."
The control changes. Medium pats T. G. H. and says: "My friend, my friend, (speaking with difficulty) speak to me! ... Just to speak to you I have come. I am interested in your work; I was interested before I came over. My friend who just spoke to you knows of my interest. I was actively connected with the group in the old country; my private papers give evidence of that."
T. G. H.: "Is this the first time you have spoken to us?"
New control: "I have been here before. My son... my son... Lionel ... my brother Charles ... my name Fred ... Alfred ..."
T. G. H.: "You have had great experience of this in your life."
New control: "Yes. I was an official of the Society."
T. G. H.: "I saw your memorial in Westminster Abby (Tennyson memorial.)"
New control: "My memorial is there, I suppose. My work is my contribution to the world and the helping of the English-speaking race to higher things. My message was always to be courageous, and that we find beauty in the end ... Have courageous strength. ... oh ... Mary ... Mary ..."
Sterge: "Here is your bad fairy back again."
We have a general conversation with Sterge, and the sitting concludes at 7:55 p.m..
August 7, 1933
[Letter from MacKenzie King - Prime Minister - requesting to see Dr. Hamilton on Sunday, August 20, 1933.]
August 9, 1933
Letter from Lillian Hamilton to Mr. W.L. McKenzie King:
"... Dr. Hamilton, who is at present out of the city, will, I know, be very glad indeed to meet you on Sunday, August 20. My own suggestion is that he call for you at the Fort Garry Hotel about a quarter to one and bring you to our home for lunch after which he could devote as much time as you have available to telling you something of our work. He will, I know, have much to talk about, for the discoveries which we have stumbled upon during the last ten years' investigation are indeed breath taking in their scope and import.
"... I am so glad that you had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Stewart. He is a fine medical scientist and a man of wide sympathies and outlook. I shall look forward with pleasure to having the opportunity of meeting you in our own home."