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A Precipitation Experiment Made by HPB

Nov 03, 2002 02:23 PM
by Daniel H. Caldwell

Henry S. Olcott
Early 1875
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

An experiment [was] made by HPB, with myself as a passive agent after 
my coming to her house in Philadelphia. She was tipping tables for 
me, with and without the contact between her hands and the table, 
making loud and tiny raps—sometimes while holding her hand six
inches above the wood and sometimes while resting her hand upon mine 
as it lay flat upon the table—and spelling out messages to me
from the pretended John King, which, as rapped out by the alphabet, I 
recorded on scraps of paper. At last some of these messages relating 
to third parties seemed worth keeping, so one day, on my way home, I 
bought a reporter's notebook, and, on getting to the house, showed it 
to her and explained its intended use. She was seated at the time and 
I standing. Without touching the book or making any mystical pass or 
sign, she told me to put it in my bosom. I did so, and after a 
moment's pause she bade me take it out and look within. This is what 
I found inside the first cover, written and drawn on the white lining 
paper in lead pencil:

his book.
4th of the Fourth month in A.D. 1875.

Underneath this, the drawing of a Rosicrucian jewel; over the arch of 
the jeweled crown, the word FATE; beneath which is her name, "Helen," 
followed by what looks like 99, something smudged out, and then a 
simple + [etc]. I have the book on my table as I write, and my 
description is taken from the drawing itself. One striking feature of 
this example of psycho-dynamics is the fact that no one but myself 
had touched the book after it was purchased; I had had it in my 
pocket until it was shown to HPB, from the distance of two or three 
feet, had myself held it in my bosom, removed it a moment later when 
bidden, and the precipitation of the lead-pencil writing and drawing 
had been done while the book was inside my waistcoat. Now the writing 
inside the cover of the book is very peculiar. It is a quaint and 
quite individual handwriting, not like HPB's, but identical with that 
in all the written messages I had from first to last from "John 
King." HPB having, then, the power of precipitation, must have 
transferred from her mind to the paper the images of words traced in 
this special style of script; or, if not she, but some other expert 
in this art did it, then that other person must have done it in that 
same way—i.e., have first pictured to himself mentally the images
of those words and that drawing, and then precipitated, that is, made 
them visible on the paper, as though written with a lead pencil.

[Source: Olcott, Henry. OLD DIARY LEAVES, Volume I, pp. 40–2. 
The above extracts have been transcribed from the original source but 
some material has been silently deleted. Explanatory words added by 
the editor are enclosed within brackets.]

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