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A Sharp Click

Experienced 1932/5/30 by Herbert W., reported to the Rhine Institute

[A] man in England, a personal acquaintance of mine... had a friend, Mr. D., who like him was interested in scientific subjects, and they sometimes exchanged books. My acquaintance, Mr. W., loaned Mr. D. one on psychic research. It contained the story of two friends who made a compact that whichever died first would attempt to let the other know by any means possible. One of the two in the story one night noticed the chandelier over his desk swinging and he was later informed that the other died at that time. As Mr. W. tells the story,

On Sunday, May 29, 1932, I attended morning services and on leaving the church my friend came up and said, "I've brought your book back, Herbert." I asked him what he thought of it. He said, "Well, I thought it was rather good." To which I replied, "Yes, but that story of the swinging chandelier takes some swallowing," for although I was interested in psychic science I had difficulty in believing that psychic forces could move physical objects.
Mr. D. died suddenly within the next twenty-four hours. Mr. W. had been notified of the death only about one hour before, when, on the evening of May 30, he relates:
I was standing in front of my dressing table (about six P.M.) when I heard a sharp click and, looking around, saw the two wooden pear-shaped switches hanging over the middle of the bedstead swinging to and fro and now and then hitting each other with a clicking sound as they swung.

At rest these two switches hung about six inches apart. I tried to get a natural explanation by slamming doors, etc., but nothing I could do gave them more than an almost imperceptible tremor. All my bias is against a psychic explanation, but it seems to be the only one that will meet the facts of this occurrence.

What about the comparable motives, or interest of the two men, in thus having a "sign" from the beyond? On that basis one must assume the interest of the living one to have been no less than that of the deceased.

--Louisa E. Rhine


With her final comment, Rhine's implying that if psychokinesis is possible at all, Mr W. himself had an unconscious motive to produce it. Would his own mind really play a trick designed to delude him about the nature of death? Such a game of mental peekaboo seems not just difficult but counterproductive; still, Rhine's quite right that it can't be ruled out. Once you allow psychokinesis, you can't restrict it to spooks; the genie is out of the bottle.

--Chris Wayan

SOURCE: Hidden Channels of the Mind by Louisa E. Rhine, 1961, p. 239-40. Account untitled, author's name witheld; title & byline added as mere search aids.

LISTS AND LINKS: ESP in general - psychokinesis - tools & devices - friends - death - souls, ghosts and revenants - more Louisa Rhine - England -
Similar cases: Guardian Ghost, Ned's Kiss, Transpersonal Puppies, Insurance, Howard Any Time Now, Dipsomania, Mom on the Wing

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