Psychical Research and Survival
by Prof. James Hyslop
Psychical research has to proceed on scientific lines. The chief of the many problems which confront it is concerned with phenomena purporting to establish the fact of the survival of human personality after bodily death. It has first to authenticate scientifically the existence of such phenomena, next to investigate and accurately describe their nature, and then to attempt some explanation of them. Finally, if it finds itself unable to do so on any other supposition, it should not shrink from admitting what has been the oldest belief in the world as a scientific hypothesis, and if this is found to explain the phenomena more easily than any other theory, to give it at least that credit.
In the following pages, Dr. James H. Hyslop, the Secretary of the American Society for Psychical Research, describes the genesis and the work of psychical research with special reference to this central problem, and deals at length with its scientific, philosophic, religious, and moral implications.
Nor does he leave the subject in the air, as is usually the case in books on psychical research, but, basing himself on the experience of many years of personal investigation, and after testing the other hypotheses brought forward, he declares, with a full sense of responsibility, that, so far as he himself is concerned, he finds the fact of survival the only one that will in any satisfactory way co-ordinate and explain the phenomena.
In the present age of extreme scepticism, such a declaration on the part of a scientific investigator requires great courage and whatever else the openminded reader may think of this summary and conclusion, he should at least be persuaded that there is in such phenomena sufficient to engage the serious attention of thoughtful minds and the unstinted energies of the best equipped workers.