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vol. 3, p. 246
from Adyar archives of the International Theosophical Society
vol. 3 (1875-1878)


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“Glimpses of the Supernatural”

The most remarkable book of the year that has appeared in London, is the Rev. Frederick George Lee’s “Glimpses of the Supernatural.’’ It is published by Henry S. King & Co., London. Mr. Lee is a clergyman, and Vicar of All Saints’, Lambeth, London. His aim in the book is to “shoe by examples of supernatural intervention, examples, many of which have been gathered from quite recent periods, that Almighty God, from time to time, in various ways and by different human instruments, still condescendingly reveals to man glimpses of the world unseen, and shows the existence of that life beyond the grave, in which the skeptic and materialist of the present restless age would have us disbelieve.” Mr. Lee regrets that lee is obliged to withhold the names of many persons to whom the recent examples of the supernatural given in his book occurred, owing to a sensitive dislike of publicity, and consequent rude criticism felt by his informants. He, however, holds himself personally responsible for all those he records which do not appear as formally authenticated by the names of the persons supplying them. Some curious dreams, which were afterwards litterally fulfilled, are recounted by Mr. Lee. The following, from the pen of the dreamer's son, is singular:—

In the year 1768, my father, Mathew Talbot, Esq., of Castle Talbot, in the county of Wexford, was much surprised at the recurrence of a dream three several times during the same night, which caused him to repeat the whole circumstance to his lady the following morning. He dreamed that he had arisen as usual and descended to his library, the morning being hazy. He then seated himself at his secretaire to write, when, happening to look up a long avenue of trees opposite the window, he perceived a man in a blue jacket, mounted on a white horse, coming towards the house. My father arose and opened the window. The man advancing presented him with a roll of papers, and told him they were invoices of a vessel which had lien wrecked, and had drifted in during the night on his son-in-law’s (Lord Mountmorris’s) estate, close by, and signed “Bell & Stephenson.” My father's attention was only called to the dream from its frequent occurrence; but when he found himself seated at his desk on the misty morning, and beheld the identical person whom he had seen in his dream, in the blue coat, riding on the gray horse, he felt surprised, and opening the window, waited the man's approach. He immediately rode up, and drawing from his pocket a packet of papers gave them to my father, stating they were invoices belonging to an American vessel which had been wrecked and drifted in upon hit lordship’s estate; and there was no person on board to lay claim to the wreck, but that the invoices were signed “Stephenson & Bell.

A number of instances are cited in which murders have been brought to light by means of dreams but one of the most remarkable stories is that concerning the Rev. Mr. Perring, the vicar of a parish now a component part of London. Two nights after he had buried his oldest son, a lad of I7, Mr. Perring dreamed that he saw him in a shroud spotted with blood, with an expression of acute pain upon his countenance, and heard him cry out, “Father! father! come and defend me; they will not let me rest quiet in my coffin.” He awoke in terror, but presently recomposed himself and fell asleep. Again his son appeared, beseeching him to protect his remains, “For,” he said, “they are mangling my body at this moment” The unhappy father arose, and at dawn went to the clerk's house where the keys of the church and of the vaults were kept. The clerk said that one of the largest of the bunch had been broken off short in the main door of the vault so that it was impossible to enter till the lock had been picked. The vicar then procured aid, and the hinges were wrenched asunder and the vault entered.

“At length, with tottering and outstretched hands, the maddened parent stumbled and fell; hit son’s coffin had been lifted from the recess at the vault’s side and deposited upon the brick floor; the lid was released from every screw and lay loose at the top, and the body, enveloped in its shroud, on which was several dark spots below the chin, lay exposed to floor; the head had also been raised, the broad ribbon had bats removed from under the jaw, which now buns down with the moat ghastly horror of expression, as if to ten with more terrific certainty the truth of the preceding night's vision. Every tooth in the head had been drawn. The young man had, when living, a beautiful set of sound teeth. The clerk’s son, who was a barber, cupper, and dentist, had possessed himself of the keys and eventually of the teeth, for the purpose of a profitable employment of so excellent a set in his line of business.”

Mr. Lee has collected some well-authenticated examples of presentiment of death and ominous warning, including several of second sight. He of courseavoids commenting upon or attempting to explain what seems so inexplicable, but prefers to present each narrative as received, believing that each example tells its own story sufficiently well.

The Duality of the Mind

by E. W. Cox, Serjeant-at-Law

Taking for my standpoints the facts—

(1.) That we have two distinct and perfect brains united for common action, perhaps by the bands that pass between them, certainly by the common base upon which they rest.

(2) That the brain being the material organ by means of which the individual Conscious Self maintains its communication with the material world without, and performs its function in its present state of existence, such a double brain conducts to the inevitable conclusion that we have two minds that act in perfect harmony in the normal condition of the organism, but which can and do act separately in many of its abnormal conditions and under special circumstances.

These conclusions of Gall, Spurzheim, Wigan, Sir Henry Holland, and Brown-Sequard being accepted as the actual farm of our mental structure, there remains to us the important and interesting inquiry—

What are the consequences of such mental structure?

To what extent are those anticipated results ascertained by observed mental phenomena?

These questions will occupy the remainder of this paper, and probably two or three more which I hope to have the honor to submit to the Society during the next session; for they will certainly demand, and doubtless will then receive, the most ample consideration and discussion by the members My present purpose is to direct their thoughts into a channel probably new to most of them, bat which, carried to their consequences, will work a revolution in Psychological and Mental Science; namely, I propose to follow very nearly the division of the subject adopted by Dr. A. Wigan, to whose admirable treatise I must express my obligation for some of the cases I shall have occasion to cite. But it is also fair to state that I had never seen this book until the present paper had been commenced. The conception of the Duality of the Mind suggested in the little treatise on “What am I?” war. deduced entirely from the teaching of Dr. Gall that the brain is duplex. Brown-Sequard had not then confirmed the (act which was denied by the physiologists and mental philosophers who held themselves to be authorities.

The first proposition to be submitted is—

I. That each of our two minds can and does work as one whole and complete Mind.

This follows as the necessary result of the brain structure. If the brain be the mental machine, and if the brain be double, and if each part of that double brain be a complete organ, there must be a double action of the mental machinery. But of that double action there is but one consciousness. How can this be?

The mechanism of the organ of vision shows us how it can be. We have two eyes. Two distinct pictures of the one object of sight are depicted upon those eyes. But we are conscious of one picture only. Why? Because the two branches of the optic nerve which carries the impressions of them to the brain, to be there communicated to the Conscious Self, are so adjusted that the two pictures blend and form one picture, as it proved by the stereoscope. So the two brains are adjusted. By reason of their having a common centre at which all impressions are received from without, and to which all internal action is conveyed from within, and at which the Conscious Self exercises over the brain, and the nerves below the controlling power of the Will, the same action is usually set up by the same cause at the same instant in both the brains—that in in both minds. Their common action consequently appears to the Conscious Self (or Soul) as one act, impression, or emotion. Only when something occurs to disturb that community of action is there any consciousness of the double process. Precisely as with the two eyes we discover their double image when by force or disease they are thrown out of focus, so the Mind is, in such cases of temporary <... continues on page 3-247 >

* A portion of a paper read at the meeting of the London Psychological Society June 7, 1875.

Editor's notes

  1. “Glimpses of the Supernatural” by unknown author, Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 20, July 22, 1875, p. 230
  2. The Duality of the Mind by Cox, E. W., Spiritual Scientist, v. 2, No. 19, July 15, 1875, pp. 220-1