by Anthony Forwood
The Hidden KeysDuring the rapid growth of the spiritualist movement in the latter half of the 19th century, when séances were becoming very popular and were producing such paranormal physical phenomena as table-rappings, apparitions, levitations, materializations, etc., the acclaimed scientist William Crookes began conducting experiments to assess the existence of a ‘psychic force’ that was apparently causing these phenomena. After performing extensive experiments, he was able to confirm unequivocally that such a force existed that could move objects at a distance. In 1874, he published his findings in a paper titled Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism, which made a powerful impression on the intellectual minds of the day and helped to create a climate receptive to the creation of a scientific body for the purpose of formally investigating paranormal phenomena and mediumship. This led to the Society for Psychical Research being established in England in 1882 by a number of eminent scientists and other learned professionals, who set about testing the abilities of many reputed psychics and mediums over the years. Although they were able to document many extraordinary phenomena, from the very start, this scientific body appears to have been used by the powers-that-be to contain the growing spiritualist movement while exploiting it for its own purposes. Throughout this organization’s existence (it still exists today), a number of its members have been intent only on exposing fraudulence or otherwise debunking any phenomena that was legitimately produced by explaining how it might have been faked. This contributed to the decline of interest in physical mediumship.
At the time that the Society for Psychical Research was first established, the association between hypnosis and spiritualistic phenomena was still well recognized, and many of the books and articles being published on either one of these subjects at that time would also include discussion of the other, as though it were impossible to discuss them separately. But at a certain point, this association between the two became ignored and forgotten. At about the same time as this, the more remarkable phenomena associated with mesmerism were suddenly becoming less and less common to the point of becoming virtually nonexistent. The study of hypnosis found its way into the newly developing domain of psychology, while anything of a paranormal nature came to be derided and discredited more and more by the scientific establishment – helped to a large degree by the many charlatans who began to be publicly exposed or debunked by this organization.
But more than all this, the reason for the degradation in the type of phenomena being produced under hypnosis seems to have been directly due to the influences of James Braid, who, by changing the methods of inducing hypnotic trance, changed the whole situation. To paraphrase Hudson J. Thompson:
[A]s soon as it was found that the mesmeric or hypnotic sleep could be induced by causing the subject to gaze upon a bright object held before his eyes, all other methods were practically abandoned. […]
[I]n the old mesmeric method, fixity of gaze and concentration of will on the part of the operator, were considered indispensable to success. It seems clear, then, that it is to this change of methods that one must look for an explanation of the change in results. […]
[W]hen a mesmerist employs the old methods of inducing the subjective state - passes, fixed gazing, and mental concentration - he hypnotizes himself by the same act by which he mesmerizes the subject.
The key requirement for establishing a telepathic connection between the mesmerist and his subject, therefore, was that the mesmerist had to be in a semi-hypnotic state when he induced a trance state in his subject. Braid’s theories and methods essentially removed this important factor, and whether intentional or not, the way that hypnotic techniques changed after Braid made his discoveries in the mid-1800s had a definite negative impact on the ability to elicit the paranormal phenomena associated with hypnosis. The missing key was the semi-hypnotic state of the hypnotist. Thompson explains this in a way that is quite understandable and needs no improvement on:
The far-reaching significance of this fact will be instantly apparent to those who are aware that telepathy is the normal means of communication between two subjective minds, and that it is only between subjective minds that telepathy can be employed. The objective mind has no part or lot in telepathy until the threshold of consciousness is displaced so as to enable the objective mind to take cognizance of the message. It will be understood, therefore, that when the subject is mesmerized, and all his objective senses are in complete abeyance, and the operator with whom he is en rapport is in a partially subjective state, the conditions exist which render possible the exhibition of telepathic powers.
I should point out at this time that this crucial factor explains why psychic performance can appear to be so temperamental, in that the phenomena associated with spiritualists and psychics has often failed to manifest, and often in the most embarrassing moments, particularly during formal testing or in front of a large audience. The reason for this is well understood by psychics today (as well as those professional skeptics who make a name for themselves through their ability to ‘debunk’ these abilities), who recognize that the mere presence of anyone with a skeptical attitude will make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to perform.
This key factor also explains how channeled communications can seem to be coming from the deceased loved one of a person who is present at a séance when they’re not necessarily spirit communications at all. In a séance setting, most or all of the participants are essentially in a semi-hypnotic state during the height of a successful session, and all are in rapport with each other at that time and focused on the same general outcome. A ‘group mind’ is established at this point, and when a ‘spirit’ appears to come through, the medium, being the outlet for that group mind, is actually subconsciously picking up information from the thoughts and memories of the participants. An opposite effect will occur when a skeptic is present. Their doubtful thoughts are picked up on just as easily, and they act as a counter suggestion that interferes with the ability of the medium to operate.
Let’s now look at how the powers-that-be might have exploited these deeper secrets for their own purposes…
The Psychic Infiltration
We saw in Part One that Saint-Yves’ Synarchist ideologies had been adopted by certain secret societies, most notably the Rosicrucians and Theosophists, both of which have since openly promoted the idea that a group of supernatural beings secretly guide the affairs of mankind and communicate telepathically with certain chosen individuals for that purpose. The Freemasons also adopted similar ideologies but have always publicly downplayed the more mystical aspects, although they are still there at the core of their teachings. Of the former two secret societies, we can see that they’ve had a great deal to do with the creation of the New Age movement, promoting a ‘new religion’ and a ‘spiritual science’ that attracted those who weren’t satisfied with traditional belief systems, while Freemasonry has been more focused on attracting those who were more traditional in their beliefs and would have to be more carefully introduced to the deeper teachings. But in all cases, they teach the idea that supernatural beings are at the core of these secret societies, through which they govern the affairs of the human race, and it is through the inner teachings of these secret societies that they offer a means for personal spiritual development towards the lofty state of godhood. This is the lure that draws in the unwary with good intentions as much as it does the unscrupulous with bad.
It is my belief – based on all of the information I have presented so far and the timing of the events being outlined – that when the early mesmerists first began discovering the psychic phenomena associated with their art, those within the highest degrees of these secret societies immediately recognized the value that these talents might offer if they could exploit them for the purpose of directing and controlling certain individuals, and so they set out to locate those among their membership who were both skilled in the mesmeric art and trustworthy to their plans, and put them to the task of finding individuals who showed the qualities of character that were known to make the best trance subjects: individuals who were completely trusting of the mesmerist and his skills, who showed a strong response to the trance state and could produce the desired telepathic phenomena associated with it, and who the mesmerist could therefore telepathically communicate his thoughts to. At this point – if the mesmerist proved successful – the individual would be used as a ‘channel’ to communicate with what would purportedly be those supernatural intelligences that were at the core of the secret society’s esoteric teachings. These mesmerists, along with their mediums, would form private spiritualist groups around themselves, to which would be invited those persons in positions of influence and power who were either already members of the secret society or who would eventually be brought into it, and these spiritualist groups would be used to lead these people to believe that the secret society was truly in touch with the supernatural beings described within their doctrines – the Mahatmas, Ascended Masters, Great White Brotherhood, Secret Chiefs, etc. – and that their members were engaged in a Great Work of millennial proportions that would elevate humanity to a new level of existence, and that they had been specially chosen by these supernatural beings to take part in this endeavor.
In considering how convincing such an encounter with these ‘supernatural beings’ might be, it should be remembered what was quoted from Hudson J. Thompson in Part One regarding the abilities of one so hypnotically entranced:
Place a man of intelligence and cultivation in the hypnotic state, and give him a premise, say in the form of a statement of a general principle of philosophy, and no matter what may have been his opinions in his normal condition, he will unhesitatingly, in obedience to the power of suggestion, assume the correctness of the proposition; and if given an opportunity to discuss the question, will proceed to deduce therefrom the details of a whole system of philosophy. Every conclusion will be so clearly and logically deducible from the major premise, and withal so plausible and consistent, that the listener will almost forget that the premise was assumed.
The most interesting of all is how he had described the results of his experiment:
But the most remarkable of all was the wonderful system of spiritual philosophy evolved. It was so clear, so plausible, and so perfectly consistent with itself and the known laws of Nature that the company sat spell-bound through it all, each one almost persuaded, for the time being, that he was listening to a voice from the other world.
It’s important to understand here that a person who is put into a properly induced trance state is not dependent on just their own memory and imagination, but is able to pick up the thoughts and memories of the hypnotizer, as well as those of anyone else they have developed sympathetic rapport with, which will include to one degree or another all of those people taking part in a channeling group. With the proper suggestions already planted in the mind of the entranced medium, this telepathic connectivity to a group of properly prepared individuals provides all that would be necessary for the medium to access and communicate information of a very complex nature that might otherwise be outside of their own limited knowledge and abilities, and to be able to present that information in a meaningful dialogue with such articulation and eloquence as to seem to come from a greater intelligence than any of those present.
Also remember that a person in such a trance state will often take on a different personality and speak in an entirely different voice, and that this can be induced with a simple suggestion, so that the voice they use in trance can sound like what these supernatural beings might be imagined to sound like. Also remember that this second personality carries with it its own continuous memory that’s completely separate from the medium’s normal memory, so that what is communicated during trance can be progressively built on from one session to the next, slowly developing into an ever more complex and detailed discourse that could easily rank with some of the works of the greatest minds in history.
From this, the reader should be able to conceive how hypnotic trance phenomena could be exploited in order to give the appearance of legitimacy to the idea that supernatural beings were communicating to certain individuals who were dedicated to fulfilling a ‘Great Work’ around which their secret society was established.
There is one more point I should touch on here. This regards the fact that as a hypnotist continues working with his trance subject over a number of sessions, the ability to put them into trance and the subsequent telepathic connectivity becomes progressively stronger to the point that he can soon put his subject into a trance state from a remote distance by thought alone. Similarly, where the same group of people continue to meet and take part in séances or channeling sessions, the ‘group mind’ that is established becomes stronger over time, to the point that these people become telepathically connected in a similar way, whether or not they are ever conscious of the fact.
Of Influencing Machines and Mystic Boxes
Is there any other evidence to be found that these secret societies were dabbling with hypnosis and psychic phenomena as far back as when Mesmer was first becoming popular with his discoveries? Yes…
In the late 1700s, when the psychic phenomena associated with mesmerism was becoming well recognized among experimenters in France, there was already evidence that it was being covertly used by these secret societies for sinister purposes. The story of James Tilly Matthews is a case in point. Matthews was an English spy who ended up in a French prison in 1793. He would later claim that while there, a group of Jacobins (a Masonic offshoot) had implanted a magnetic device in his head, and that they were able to control him remotely from their secret lair through an ‘influencing machine’ that sent out magnetic rays to affect the magnetic device in his head. He even drew up detailed diagrams of the machine – housed in an artfully decorated wooden casing with brass fittings and consisting of a series of levers and knobs that were used to manipulate the magnetic rays – and provided an explanation for how it worked. He claimed that these Jacobins could implant thoughts in his head, inhibit his speech, alter his reasoning abilities, etc. He also claimed that members of this group would materialize in his dreams and interrogate him while he slept. He claimed that there were other groups with similar machines that were being used against various politicians and public figures in Britain, France, Prussia, and elsewhere.
Given what we’ve learned that hypnosis is capable of so far, it’s very possible that Matthews was under its influence and that this group was in telepathic communication with him. However, whether or not a machine or an implanted device was actually involved is another matter. It’s not my intention to argue that this was necessarily the case, since it doesn’t seem to be necessary at all, but nonetheless there is further evidence that came to light one hundred years later that very similar machines were in the possession of the Freemasons.
A number of books from the late 1800s refer to what was described as a portable wireless telephone that was in the possession of each of the members of the Supreme Council of Freemasonry – at a time when wireless (radio) was still unknown. The device was called the ‘Arcula Mystica’ or ‘Mystic Box’, of which there were reportedly only seven in existence – at the Masonic headquarters in Charleston, Borne, Berlin, Washington, Monte Video, Naples and Calcutta. It was described as having a trumpet-shaped mouthpiece and a bell-shaped hearing piece attached by a cord to the main body, similar to early telephones. Seven mounted golden statuettes designated each of the seven directories, which were manipulated in various ways to call the other Masonic headquarters. The existence of these devices was never verified, but perhaps there was actually something to these claims, or at least to the claims that these Masonic leaders were able to communicate over such long distances. Perhaps they were communicating telepathically, and these machines served as a mechanical ‘medium’ of some sort. I will have to leave this to the reader to speculate on for themselves.
One more piece of supporting evidence to all of this has just come to my attention, so I will briefly include it here. In The Hidden Life in Freemasonry, by Charles W. Leadbeater, we find a discussion of the underlying mechanisms involved in a certain Masonic ritual:
Everywhere on the surface of the earth there are great magnetic currents passing both ways between the poles of the earth and the equator, and others coming at right angles to them round the earth. The CoMasonic procession of entry into the Lodge makes use of these currents, forming of the space which we circumambulate a distinct eddy or specially magnetized portion of space.
As the Brn. march round the floor, singing, they should be thinking of the words of the introcessional hymn and canticle, and taking care that the procession is well done and in good order; but in addition they should be deliberately directing their thoughts to the magnetization of the mosaic pavement and the space above it. In ancient Egypt it was considered to be the duty of the R.W.M. to direct the currents and form the eddy in them, so as to magnetize very strongly the floor round which he passed. It is for this purpose that the officers and distinguished visitors pass clear round the Lodge, and even go over some of the ground twice; for they do not go straight to their places on first approaching them as do the E.A.s, the F.C.s and the M.M.s, but continue so as to complete the circumambulation, as described in The Ritual of Universal Co-Masonry (5thEdition).
With us also it is the Master of the Lodge who is responsible for the magnetization of the double square, but the Brn. ought all to help in that work. The object is to charge that space heavily with the highest possible influence, and to erect a wall round it in order that the influence may be kept in place. The part played by the thought-form is much like that of a condenser. It matters not how much steam may be generated, it is useless for work unless it is enclosed and kept under pressure. In this scheme we accumulate and use the force which otherwise would scatter itself freely over the surrounding neighbourhood.
As has been explained in Chapter III, when the floor has thus been set apart and prepared, no one passes across it except the candidates who are taken there for the purpose of initiation and are intentionally submitted to the influence of its magnetism, the Thurifer when he is censing the altar, and the I.P.M. when he goes down from the dais to perform the duty of opening the V.S.L. or of altering the position of the s … and c … as we change from one degree to another. One other exception is made when the S.D. during the ceremony of lighting the candles comes to the altar to receive the sacred fire from the I.P.M. The I.P.M. lights a taper at the sacred fire, and with it kindles the small candle standing in an ornamental brass vessel, which the S.D., as Lucifer, carries to the R.W.M. and the W.W.s.
The floor has now rushing across it magnetic currents or lines of force like the warp and woof of a piece of cloth, and this forms the foundation upon which we build the great thought-form which is one of the objects of our Masonic meeting. In view of the enormous value of the thought-form made on the floor of the Lodge, we can see how important it is that none should disturb or confuse the currents by walking in the wrong direction, or by bringing into the Lodge thoughts of ordinary business - the cares and worries and conflicts of the world of daily life. We go to the Lodge to do a definite piece of work for humanity, and we must devote our entire attention to it during the whole time of the meeting.
The singing of the introcessional canticles is intended to help us to harmonize our minds. The words of the canticles tell us of the basis upon which all edifices are built, T.G.A.O.T.U., who is Himself the foundation and structure of all things, because there is nothing that is not part of Him. Every member, as he goes round in the procession, should be dedicating himself and all his thought and strength to the great work about to be undertaken.
The reader who has followed me this far will see that the above is describing a basic method for establishing group hypnosis during a Masonic ceremony, which incorporates visualization and meditation techniques to lead the participants into a single uniform mental state before their main proceedings begin.
There is still more to come, so stay tuned…