This book would be incomplete if I failed to express here my great appreciation and thanks to my friend Peter O'Donnell, who has collaborated with me in the setting down of my story. With his keen knowledge and interest, he has helped to interpret my thoughts and ideas. Without his help I could never have overcome the great difficulties involved in writing this book in a language that is not my own.
It gives us great pleasure to contribute an introduction to this book by our friend Marion as a tribute to a generous and co-operative collaborator in our experimental work. We first heard of Marion as the subject of Dr. Soal's investigation, in which the conclusion was drawn that Marion was a man with exceptional gifts of unusual acuity of the senses, but the investigator was not satisfied that there was any evidence of paranormal powers (i.e., of obtaining knowledge without the use of the senses). We were more sceptical of the reality of sensory hyper-acuity than of the existence of paranormal ways of obtaining knowledge, so we were anxious to make a new investigation of the nature of Marion's powers. Marion gladly gave his time and energy to this end and has always consented to try to work under any conditions of control we have suggested, even when he thought that these conditions would not be favourable to the exercise of his powers.
The results of these experiments will be published later. It is sufficient to say here that they convinced us of the reality of Marion's paranormal capacities. It is true that he did not succeed as well as he does on the public platform and that he cannot produce in the laboratory results as dramatic as some of those reported in this book. That was to be expected. There is no doubt that the exercise of these capacities depends very much on psychological atmosphere and it is difficult to reproduce in the laboratory the conditions which prevail in a public meeting or in Marion's consulting-room. However friendly may be the psychological atmosphere of the experimental laboratory, it is impossible to prevent the development of a feeling of tension as a result of imposition of essential controls and the feeling of a necessity that positive results must be obtained in the limited time available for experiments. If the atmosphere is not friendly, the results may be much worse, and we have found that Marion may fail altogether with a hostile or suspicious audience in tasks in which he has succeeded well under identical conditions of control with a friendly audience. We have not yet tried the experiment of getting Marion to work under strict controls with a large and credulous audience present who are not aware of these controls, We should expect that under these conditions he might succeed very much better than he does when we alone are there.
We can guarantee only what we ourselves have seen under controlled conditions. We can say definitely that we are satisfied that Marion shows paranormal capacities of an unusually high order under strictly controlled experimental conditions. We cannot give any evidence as to the paranormality of his stage performances or the reality of the accounts he gives of remarkable results in helping those who come to him for help. We have, however, seen enough of Marion's powers under the restricting conditions of experimental work, to find these stories less difficult to believe than they may appear to be to those unfamiliar with the field of parapsychology and without experience of Marion himself.
Judgement of the credibility of Marion's claims must be made in the light of what is known about paranormal cognition from the work of the Society for Psychical Research and other bodies during the last sixty years. Dr. Soal, for example, has shown the presence of powers of paranormal cognition in two highly gifted subjects. Professor Rhine and his collaborators in the Parapsychological Laboratory of Duke University have shown that these powers are not entirely confined to gifted subjects, but are found to a less striking extent amongst large numbers of people. As Marion himself suggests, it is likely that what is peculiar about him is not the nature but the quantity of his powers.
Marion is a gifted psychic, and it is natural that he feels that this is a sufficient qualification to enable him to contribute to the philosophy of the subject. Here he seems to be mistaken. If in one person there were combined the gifts of a great psychic and a trained philosopher, he would no doubt be the ideal person to construct a philosophy of paranormal psychology. Marion, no doubt, has the first of these qualifications. It is not so clear that he has the other. It seems to us that the more philosophical parts of this book are of less value than the descriptive parts. But no one who wishes to think systematically about paranormal psychology can afford to neglect what a psychically gifted individual has to tell them about the ways in which he exercise his powers.
I In which the
that I have nothing up my sleeve
II In which the consequences of Talent
without Wisdom are deplored
III Music-Hall Mystic
IV Command Performance - A Russian Fantasy
V Scientific Cabbages and Theoretical Kings
VI How Long, How Long, In Infinite Pursuit...?
VII In which I go for a Soldier
VIII An Outline
IX Pictures in the Fire
X Lectures and Limitations
XI A Problem - Impression and Expression
XIV The Power of Prediction
XIV The Basis of
XIII Stigmata - Calvary and the Country Girl
XIV In Defence of Mesmerism
XV Experiments in Criminology
XVI Prediction and Predestination
XVIII Appointments for Four
XIX A Quartet of Mysteries
XX On Trial in England
XXI Pot-Pourri in the Pleasant Land
XXII For those who are Gifted - A Summary of Psychic Training
XXIII Last Words
THE TELEVISION PROGRAMME
CONCENTRATION DURING A PRIVATE EXPERIMENT
A TYPICAL ATTITUDE DURING AN EXPERIMENT
AT THE ST. REGIS HOTEL
CARRYING OUT A BUSINESS EXPERIMENT WITH A.A. SHENBURN
A SESSION WITH DR. SOAL AND HARRY PRICE AT THE LABORATORY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH
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