Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/619

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
597
THE SYMPSYCHOGRAPH

THE SYMPSYCHOGRAPH: A STUDY IN IMPRESSIONIST PHYSICS.
By DAVID STARR JORDAN.

THE Astral Camera Club of Alcalde was organized in November, 1895, for purposes of scientific research through the medium of photography. The function of the club was the cooperative study of man's latent psychical powers, that these might be made helpful in the conduct of life. No powers granted to man should be neglected or allowed to waste in idleness. Just as the great physical force of electricity remained for centuries hidden, and known only by casual and unimportant manifestations, so the great odic forces within man still are scantily revealed. The method of the club in Alcalde was to be that of the most rigid scientific research. It was to take up, one after another, the discoveries of our eager century as they were made known to the world through the medium of the daily newspaper. To these were to be added those suggestions which alert intuition and psychic practicality would naturally suggest. No hypothesis in science was to be rejected beforehand, and no prejudice was to stand in the way of the reception of any new theory that might contain a living truth.

As soon as the news of the marvelous experiments of Prof. Röntgen had reached Alcalde, the Camera Club began work on the X rays, and on the larger problem of the significance of photography without visible light. They had no difficulty in repeating the usual experiments. They got an outline of the skeleton of a canary, the shadow of an empty pocketbook, the bones of a finger surrounded by a gold ring, and the location of an imbedded shot. Thus those strange rays of light, or odic force, invisible to our eyes, because none of our ancestors ever had a chance to gaze upon them, disclosed the presence of objects which had else lain forever in darkness. In addition to this, the green light of the vacuum tubes provoked that uncanny feeling which always precedes and presages a great discovery in occult science. From this feeling the club was safe in predicting that far greater discoveries were to follow, and that the X rays would not end in mere repetitions of Röntgen's triumphs in "skiography."

In this they were not disappointed. Prof. Inglis Rogers, of London, found that not only could pictures be produced in darkness by means of invisible force, but that the invisible waves sent out through the ether by the mind could also affect a sensitive plate. Just as one sensitive mind at a distance receives an image sent out from the psychic retina of another, so could the same image be concentrated and fixed upon a photographic plate. Prof.