Voices from the Void; Six Years’ Experience in Automatic Communications

Nov 16, 2013 by

voicesVoices from the Void; Six Years’ Experience in Automatic Communications by Hester Smith was originally published in 1919. Here are a few paragraphs from chapter two:

“CHAPTER II The Personality of the Control

I have headed this chapter “The Personality of the Control,” and before I proceed further perhaps it is best that I should define the terms “control” and “communicator.” By “control” I mean an influence which associates itself with the medium and his sittings, and which appears to act in many cases as organizer at the other side.

These controls introduce and fetch communicators, and frequently advise and help the mediums by explaining how matters stand in the Unseen. Many people, who have worked with these controls, believe that they act as amanuenses or  interpreters between the medium and the unseen communicator. As far as I can tell, this has not been proved to be the case.

I should say, rather, that controls arrange the seance and decide who among those who wish to speak from the other side shall communicate. These controls generally give themselves quaint names, and sometimes say they have lived in distant countries many hundreds of years ago. This is not always the case, but it has been so with the majority of those I have come across. By “communicator” I mean the influence introduced by the control, or who comes without the help of a control, and gives his personal history, or states that he is a friend or relative of someone present.

Such communicator may either have passed over or merely be asleep or drowsy. In the course of sittings extending over six or seven years many influences have spoken through our small circle. Of these some were obviously frauds, and impersonations were frequent. These disappointments are most dispiriting to the novice in psychic experiments. It must always be borne in mind that in order to attain to any firm ground from which one may review one’s work and venture to form a judgment as to whether we are or are not in touch with the spirit world, a mass of evidence must be accumulated. This, of course, demands great patience and perseverance, and the experimenter must judge for himself whether the achieved results justify the expenditure of time and labor.

If the results are important to him, he must not be discouraged by many back slidings, and he must be prepared to keep careful records of sittings, good and bad; this is essential when he comes to the summing-up of evidence. I propose to deal here with the most marked personalities among our controls, showing how — even allowing that these entities are merely subconsciousness, parts of our mentality which appear only under abnormal conditions — they preserve certain characteristics which are so striking that there is no possibility of confusing one personality with another. I shall first describe a control who has been of great service to us in experimental work.”

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