A Change of Channels

A word of explanation is owed to the critical reader who ask 'How do you know?' I am well aware that this story as it progresses will read more and more like fiction, and that some readers will be disposed to categorise it as such. That was my reaction when I read Andrija’s book, Uri which seemed to have more in common with Robert Heinlein's science fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land, than with any sober and considered work of psychical research. To categorise the book as fiction was the most convenient and comfortable way of dealing with its content, and I'm sure that many readers besides myself reacted in this way. It was not the reaction that Andrija sought, however, nor is it the reaction I seek to the present narrative. Frankly, I don't want to make it easy for the reader to get on comfortable terms with material that has caused me a great deal of discomfort, and indeed still does. Which presents a curious problem, for the story has the momentum, coherence and roundness of a good tale, and to tell it convincingly requires rather the deliberate flaunting than the careful exercise of the principles of narrative art. Lest the reader should settle down to enjoying the yarn, and should merely suspend disbelief instead of exercising judgment and intelligence to assess the facts, I propose to interrupt the narrative flow from time to time and put in an appearance in propria persona. This will enable me to raise, and at least to discuss if not to answer, questions that will occur to the critical reader, and will also afford me opportunities to reassure all readers that I am still around and have neither taken leave of my senses nor suffered my narrative to be taken over by its protagonists, as novelists are said sometimes to do.

To the question, 'How do you know?' I should like to be able to answer, 'I was there. I saw and heard and can vouch for it.' But this is true only of a very small portion of the events covered by this narrative. My sources are the tape recordings of the communications, John Whitmore's written account of the early stages of the work (on which the latter part of the previous chapter was largely based), and the oral testimonies of the people involved, all of whom have been as co-operative and frank as could be wished. I have been able to visit most of the places where the events I record took place, and to obtain and correlate different people's accounts of the events. So I have a vast and indeed daunting body of material out of which to compose this narrative. There is certainly no need for embellishment or invention, and even subjective statements of the type, 'John thought . . .' or 'Phyllis felt . . .', are always based on the subject's own testimony and should be understood as a convenient ellipsis for 'John told me that he thought. . .'etc. I conceive my job as to tell the story as simply and intelligibly as its complexity allows, to maintain an objective viewpoint in presenting the material, and to do the reader the honour of leaving to his own intelligence the decision as to what he should believe.

When I was asked, in 1974, to report the May Lectures for the Dutch magazine, Bres, I devoted one of my four articles to the lectures given by Andrija Puharich and Lyall Watson, and began it with a paragraph which is, I think, germane in the present context:

'Anyone who writes, reads or thinks about parapsychological phenomena has at some stage to confront the problem of his own credulity threshold. He is going to be asked to believe some quite incredible things, so he needs to be clear at least about two things: how exacting are his own standards of proof? and to what extent is his intellectual assent influenced by emotional or temperamental factors? Man needs beliefs - and the bored, the underprivileged, the unqualified, the disaffected, the social misfits and the rebels are all strongly disposed to believe in anything that mocks orthodox science or religion and its custodians.'

There is perhaps a touch of mandarin hauteur in this. When the counter culture emerged in the 'sixties I was not particularly enthused. By temperament and education a bookish man with a respect for intellectually achieved order, I tended to regard it as a refuge of mediocre minds, and a residue of that attitude is to be seen in the above paragraph. My recent research and literary work has caused me to modify that attitude to the counter culture and has raised my own credulity threshold, but the cautionary remarks with which I prefaced my first brief excursion into reporting Andrija's work are still, I think, relevant. There are many people, I know, who will have much less difficulty than I have in giving credence to the content of this book, and one thing that worries me is that there are many who will believe it for the wrong reasons.

In one of the communications held at Ossining the month before, Corean had indicated in reply to a question of Andrija's that at the time of the May Lectures Bobby may be able to give a convincing demonstration of his healing ability before the assembled doctors and scientists. So Bobby and Phyllis had come over to London with Andrija, and had been spending the week quietly in a house on the outskirts of London, at Mill Hill, loaned by a financier friend of John's, Ian Wasserman. On 20 May, after the first day of the programme, Andrija and John went out to Mill Hill and held their first communication since the one in which they had entered into their commitment. Since then, John learned from Phyllis, Bobby had completed two quite remarkable healings in Orlando. A young man suffering from pancreatitis, who had been able to eat only baby food and had had no energy, had been completely cured after seven treatments, and a woman scheduled for a cyst operation had been able to cancel it for after three healing sessions with Bobby there had been no sign of the cyst. Bobby had had personal and marital problems, but his healing powers seemed to be developing, as Corean had predicted, and if he could convincingly demonstrate them to the residential programme participants at Brunel this would be a great step towards getting him more widely known.

When Bobby was in deep trance and Corean was speaking through him, that first night at Mill Hill, Andrija asked: 'Would you give Bobby and us the maximum support as you did in that burn case? You see, because this is Bobby's first introduction to the world of medicine and science, and what happens here will be carried all over the world in terms of the reputation it establishes. Can we count on your really intense, massive support in this period?'

'We will give our entire support,' Corean answered. 'We want you to know that there is no problem there. The only problem that exists right now is Bobby and his free will. He is fighting to be Bobby and no more. Can you understand?'

'I understand what an enormous burden has been placed upon Bobby,' Andrija said, 'and I know he has to make up his own mind. But may I ask just this: suppose Bobby in his own free will decides he'd rather be a cook than a healer, what will happen then?'

'We cannot change a free will,' Corean answered. 'We do not interfere. We try to help.' Bobby sometimes felt like running away, Corean continued, because he felt that everyone was trying to make him perfect and he was aware that he was not perfect. They shouldn't be overprotective with him. He should be allowed to act independently and even make some mistakes. 'Then he'll feel better,' Corean said, adding the helpful suggestion: 'Let him break a glass.'

On the subject of the proposed demonstration healing, they were given precise instructions. There should be no metal on or near Bobby. Everyone should keep well out of his reach. There would be a great deal of energy channelled and it was important that no one should touch Bobby or be alarmed by his reaction.

'We understand. I think we can cope with it,' Andrija said.

The instruction that there should be no metal on Bobby was particularly interesting in the light of an extraordinary thing Phyllis had told them some time before. Bobby had had some metal fillings in his teeth and during the month they had been in Florida these had been paranormally replaced with compound ones. Bobby had a horror of dentists and certainly hadn't been near one at that time, and the only explanation of the strange transformation was that Corean had dematerialized the old fillings and materialised the new. Andrija, who professed to have experienced many materialization phenomena in his work with Uri, seemed quite happy with this explanation, but it stretched John's, credulity to its limits and he felt he would get on better with the work if he wasn't asked to believe in such outlandish miracles.

Corean confirmed the claim of one of the conference participants, Marcel Vogel, who had given a talk challengingly titled 'Inter personal Communication Between Man and Plant,' that a plant can function as a kind of transmitter of energy when psychic healing is attempted at a distance, so the preparation of the demonstration experiment was entrusted to Marcel. Distance, he said, was no object, so he made arrangements by telephone for a glaucoma patient in California to be the recipient of the healing energy and to be in a state of receptive meditation at the time the attempt was made in London.

All the residential programme participants, some fifty or sixty people in all, crowded into the room at Brunel University on the morning of 22 May to witness the experiment. Marcel brought in a tall, healthy-looking plant and carefully attached two steel electrodes to one of its leaves. The wires from the electrodes passed through a transformer and other pieces of equipment to a strip chart recorder, and when the electrodes were attached to the plant some wild oscillations were registered on the moving graph paper. Then a steady read-out was registered, and Marcel announced that the experiment could begin. Bobby wasn't ready, however. He was palpably nervous and wanted to smoke another cigarette before taking his place facing the plant. Phyllis, too, was nervous, though she tried not to show it and to give Bobby confidence. She was apprehensive about Marcel Vogel, whose showman qualities made him an excellent lecturer but were inappropriate in the present situation.

At last Bobby composed himself. This was a big moment for him, being the centre of attention of all these scientists and doctors. He stood before the plant and held the open palms of his hands out towards it. Marcel announced to the assembly that his consciousness was now 'locked into the plant' and that the transmission of his healing energy to the patient in California had begun.

For about fifteen minutes everyone sat around in silence. Marcel monitored the strip chart and described in a loud whisper the oscillations it recorded. Bobby stood and tried to pour out energy towards the plant. Then he began shaking. First his hands shook, then his shoulders and head. Phyllis knew that this was normal when he was attempting a healing, and she was dismayed when Marcel, apparently alarmed by Bobby's increasingly violent movement, suddenly went over to him and grabbed him by the shoulders. As soon as he was touched, Bobby convulsed and moaned as if a great electric shock had jolted through him, and at the same time many people in the room experienced a kind of shock. Also, they discovered afterwards, at this moment the step-down transformer in the power supply blew out. As Phyllis recalled later: 'Everyone in the room had a reaction. Some people had very good reactions. Others were frightened because they could feel the energy going through them. People who had never had a psychic experience had something happen to them in that room. When it blew, the energy just went in all directions.'

Phyllis's main concern was for Bobby. She went over to him and talked him softly out of his shocked state. 'His etheric body was shattered,' she said, and in an attempt to restore it she proceeded to give him what she calls an 'aura sweep'. I have seen her do this with another psychic, who said that he felt much better for it, though to the onlooker it looked like an exercise in mumbo-jumbo. Starting at the feet, with her palms turned upwards, she slowly raises her hands and arms, keeping them at a distance of about twelve inches from the body on either side, then brings her hands together above the subject's head, draws away from him and then shakes her hands as far away as possible from her own body as if to get rid of a cloying substance. She did this two or three times with Bobby, and eventually he became calmer. There was still pandemonium in the room, and a lot of people were crowded around Marcel examining his blown-out circuitry. Bobby said he felt sick and Phyllis quickly got him out of the room and found a toilet, where he vomited violently and repeatedly.

Later enquiries established that the glaucoma patient in California had not been cured, though she said she had felt that something was happening. A curious fact that emerged, which may or may not have had to do with the alleged energy transmission, was that one of a group of people sitting in meditation with the patient in California had suffered a heart attack at about the same time as Bobby's healing attempt had been abruptly halted in London.

Disastrous though the experiment was, obviously something paranormal had happened, and, in order to find out what, Andrija and Phyllis held a communication through Bobby that night at the house in Mill Hill. But before they could start interrogating Corean about the incident they were told: 'You do not realize what almost occurred today. You have taken a very big chance. Many have worked hard for this day. We had given special instructions concerning this. It could have been a complete healing if it had been done as we asked. We ask before any more discussion that you listen to our last meeting.'

Obediently, Andrija and Phyllis left Bobby in trance and went into another room to listen to the tape of the communication they had held two nights before. 'There were two points where perhaps we were wrong,' Phyllis admitted to Corean when they returned. First, she said, perhaps she had stood too far away from Bobby and had therefore not been able to give him enough psychic support; and secondly, of course, Marcel had touched Bobby. The second point, Corean said, was correct, but also the instruction that Bobby should have no metal on or near him had not been observed. He had worn a ring, there were coins in his pocket and his clothing had metal buttons. This, they later ascertained was true. Bobby had worn a new suit, which had a military-style jacket with metal buttons. Before the experiment, Phyllis had checked that the zipper in the trousers was plastic, but it hadn't occurred to her to examine the buttons. Also, just before the experiment, Bobby had bought a packet of cigarettes and put the change from a pound note in his pocket. 'We were sending very strong,' Corean explained. 'This is why we had asked of these special conditions . . . You did not understand the clothing. We stopped the machine, trying to show you to stop the man. We saw what was about to happen. We stopped the energy before it did damage to Bobby's physical.' And in answer to Andrija's question why other people in the room had experienced a strong reaction at the time, Corean said, 'Because of the metal, energy was being reflected in many directions.'

For the patient's sake, Andrija asked, shouldn't they repeat the experiment, try again perhaps without Marcel Vogel working with them? Corean deferred to Phyllis's opinion, and Phyllis said she felt that Bobby was not in a fit condition to make another attempt at present. He was generally in a low state of health and suffering from a cold.

'Could you do something to clear that up?' Andrija asked, and received the reply:

'This illness he has caused. He holds on to. He is punishing himself.' Phyllis asked if there was anything she could do to help. 'It is only within him,' was Corean's answer, and with this reminder of Bobby's autonomy for better or worse the session ended.

Andrija's question of two days before, as to what would happen if Bobby decided he would rather be a cook than a healer, expressed a profound concern which Phyllis and John also shared. It seemed at this stage as if their commitment would be meaningless and further work impossible if Bobby opted out. Awareness of this, and worry that he might not be able to acquit himself adequately in so crucial and responsible a role, were probably reasons for the nervousness he had shown all week, and possibly also for his illness. It was ironical that during this week when everyone was talking about man's neglected powers of self-healing the one person suffering ill-health should be Bobby, the healer. That he had succumbed in order to have an excuse for failure, or to minimize the responsibility laid upon him, was a thought that they had discussed, but if Corean was right and he was punishing himself with his illness this was more ominous, for it suggested that he had already acquiesced in a sense of failure. Andrija had asked, 'Do you have other people who can do the same thing which Bobby has been prepared for?' But instead of answering his question Corean had said, 'Bobby feels he's in a cage,' and reiterated that at any time he could exercise his free will to break out and run and there would be nothing they could do or anyone on earth could do to prevent him. What-then, they all wondered, would become of the mission they had pledged themselves to? Would the cosmic connection be severed for good? And why should such supposedly important work as they were engaged on be so utterly dependent on someone so deficient in the qualities of character to perform it?

During the week of the May Lectures, John was tied down by his commitments to the guest speakers and was not able to get up to Mill Hill to participate in the communications held there. Transporting the lecturers from the States had been the major item of expense, and John was determined to make the most of the opportunities afforded by having these people simultaneously together in one place, despite the indifference of the press and the establishment. All week he was busy introducing people to each other, discussing projects, attending meetings. PR work was something he didn't find particularly congenial and had to put a lot of effort into, and at the end of these days he was immensely grateful for the repose he found with Diana, an intimate friend for three years (who is now his wife) with whom he was staying in London.

The scheduled programme finished on Friday night, but in order to keep some of the key people together for further discussions John had arranged for about fifteen of them to be house guests for the weekend at Orsett Hall in Essex. Orsett Hall was the ancient Whitmore family seat, and although no longer owned by John it still boasted portraits of generations of Whitmores, all endowed with the prominent nose that still distinguishes their renegade descendant and which, to judge from the portraits, many of them used most effectively for looking down. John had been fortunate in finding as a purchaser for Orsett Hall a close friend, Tony Morgan, with whom he was on such terms that he, could still regard the place as his home in England. Tony had helped with the funding of the May Lectures, and he and his wife Val had generously offered to host the weekend house party to conclude the event.

When John got down to Orsett on the Saturday morning most of the guests were already there. Andrija and his party had not arrived, however, and the first thing Tony told him was that there was a message for him to phone Mill Hill as soon as he arrived. He did so, and learnt that events there had taken a dramatic turn. The previous evening Andrija and Phyllis had worked with Bobby and a curious thing had happened. They had just begun when Corean had asked them to leave the room but keep the tape recorder going because there was a message for Bobby alone. About half an hour later Andrija had returned and taken Bobby out of trance. He had tested the recording and found that there was a message on it in Bobby's trance voice. Bobby had then listened to this alone, and afterwards all that he would say was that he wanted some time alone and would return to the States soon. In view of this, Andrija said, he thought that they ought to get together and have a communication as soon as possible, either at Mill Hill or Orsett. John agreed, and suggested that Andrija and the others should come down to Orsett, where they would be able to work in privacy at his mother's house as the Morgan home was now such a hive of activity.

Andrija, Phyllis and Bobby arrived about two hours later, and John allowed them little time for cordialities before hustling them off to his mother's house on the other side of the village. Lyall Watson joined them, because in a previous communication Corean had said that he should be given an opportunity to participate in the work, and had specifically instructed that he should listen to the tape of that communication. They settled in a bedroom and Andrija put Bobby through the trance-induction preliminaries. Corean came through and began by drawing their attention to the fact that Lyall had not yet listened to the tape, so they interrupted the session for an hour to enable him to do so, leaving Bobby in trance. When they returned, Andrija asked Corean to take the initiative in the discussion, and Corean said, 'We only ask this at this time: there's much to be done, but it's not important that we discuss things until after Bobby's thirty . . . We ask until 5 June. We ask all of you to release him to us until this time.' They agreed, and Corean confirmed that Bobby had been given directions as to what he should do in the private message of the previous day, adding that after his thirtieth birthday they would all understand and know what was to be done with him.

Was this a case of Bobby's subconscious securing for him by subterfuge release from a situation that had become intolerable? The thought occurred to John, but on reflection he couldn't see that Corean could be just a function of Bobby's unconscious. There was too much in the communications that was inconsistent with such a theory, and besides the theory could not explain the undoubtedly paranormal energy effects produced in the abortive distant healing experiment.

There had been another, and even weirder, paranormal event recently involving Lyall. Lyall had received a letter from his parents in South Africa some days before thanking him for sending them a copy of his will. This was odd because he had not made a will and hadn't sent any communication to his parents for some time. They had suggested several times that he should prepare a will, probably because he tended to live a dangerous life as a lone explorer and sailor, but Lyall had not got round to doing so. In the earlier communication that they had just listened to, Andrija had asked whether Corean had had anything to do with the mysterious appearance of the will. 'This is a question you can ask after all that has happened?' Corean had answered, and in reply to Phyllis's question, 'Is Lyall one of us?' had said, 'Yes. He is ready but he is unsure of what he may do.'

'I have the feeling that things have been arranged for me to be free at this time,' Lyall now said. 'I have to choose a direction before 18 June, probably. Is there something I can do, or should be doing?'

'We only ask for a commitment at this time,' Corean answered. 'It will be clear by his thirty, to all of you. We do not ask anything else until then.'

So everything was still dependent upon Bobby, and further work was to be held in abeyance until after the birthday that he still irrationally feared. That night Bobby returned to London on the first stage of his journey back to Daytona Beach. Phyllis, too, would return to Florida in a few days' time, where she would be available if Bobby needed her but would observe Corean's request to leave him alone until after 5 June. Little did any of them know at this time that 5 June was to pass, and 18 June - Bobby's birthday - to approach before any of them heard from him again.

Between them, John, Andrija, Phyllis, Lyall and Norman Shealy, a neurosurgeon who had contributed to the May Lectures a talk on the use of psychics in medical diagnosis, travelled some 12,000 miles to get together at Miami airport on 17 June. When the expected sixth member of the party, Bobby, didn't turn up to join them for the onward flight to Georgetown in the Bahamas, they could hardly but wonder what they were doing incurring such expense and making such efforts for his sake. John certainly wondered, for he was paying the travel expenses. The idea had been that they should all be with Bobby on his birthday in order to give him all the moral and emotional support he might need to get through it, and that the ideal place for the purpose would be John's house in the Bahamas. Bobby had agreed to the proposal and said he would meet them at Miami airport, but it was over a week since Phyllis had made this arrangement with him and she hadn't been able to contact him since. She had spoken to his wife that morning and she had been in a panic because the last time she saw Bobby was three days ago, when he bad told her that he was going into the Everglades to work things out for himself Phyllis had left messages for him all over the place confirming the time of the meeting at the airport, and she kept hoping until the last minute that he would turn up. His failure to do so made the whole operation seem rather pointless and absurd, but they were too deeply committed to the arrangements to change them, so they took their scheduled flight to Georgetown without Bobby, who for all they knew was still in the Everglades, the treacherous and infested swamp region of inland Florida.

Stocking Island is a small island about a mile offshore from the larger Bahamian island of Great Exuma. Some years before, John had bought an unusual Spanish-style house perched on the rocky shore facing Georgetown on the main island. A young couple occupied and maintained the house when he was not there, which was most of the time, and they had prepared guest rooms and laid in supplies for the present visit. It was an idyllic place, with palm trees and colourful bougainvillea growing in the courtyard, and the guests expressed appropriate delight and admiration, but the unspoken question, 'What are we doing here?' was in all their minds. John reflected that, except for Lyall, none of his guests was a person that in normal circumstances he would make a friend of, and wondered how he was going to occupy them.

In the evening, they had a barbecue dinner in the courtyard during which, by tacit agreement, they talked about other things than the problem that preoccupied them ill. After dinner they went into the house and assembled in the livingroom to discuss what they should do. Corean, Andrija recalled, had promised that everything would be made clear to them after Bobby's birthday, which was tomorrow, so perhaps they should just wait and see what happened. Bobby might turn up on another flight. Phyllis said she wouldn't be surprised if he did, because the last time she had spoken to him he had really wanted to be with them all at this time. It was unfortunate there wasn't a telephone on the island so that she could phone his wife again and give her a number for Bobby to phone and leave a message if he wanted to.

John suddenly had an idea. Phyllis was a medium, wasn't she? She could communicate with other dimensions. Why not see if one of her spirit controls could give them any information about Bobby's whereabouts and well-being?

It was worth trying, Andrija said; and Phyllis agreed to cooperate. She would have to wait an hour or so, though, she said. She never did trance work so soon after a meal.

When an hour had passed and Phyllis said she was ready, Andrija set up equipment to record whatever transpired and John doused the lights. Phyllis slowly counted down into deep trance, her body slumped, remained so for about two minutes, then gradually straightened as the control took over. 'We are here,' she said in a firm voice. 'I am Ryr.'

This was an unexpected turn-up. Ryr was the name of the entity that had communicated through Phyllis during one of her classes the message about the three of them coming together and forming a core around Bobby. During one of the sessions at Ossining in April they had ascertained that Ryr and Corean worked in co-operation, so Ryr was presumably not a spirit but an extra-terrestrial.

Andrija asked about Bobby, and promptly received the answer: 'He is defying. He is being defiant. We understand why it is the nature of his thinking, but we are all gathered and you are all gathered, and we will be and pray with you. We are attempting to stop this testing. We are attempting to ease his burden. He will test us in the car tomorrow at three. A decision has been made among us that we must not interfere in the mechanics of the car because then he will do something of a more desperate nature. It is this nature that defies and dares that is also strong in releasing the energy that flows through!

'I have a feeling that he actually will put himself in a situation where he can be killed,' Andrija said. 'And his reasoning is that if he is really wanted, by the powers you represent, he will then be spared, and that for him will be proof positive.'

'That is right,' Ryr confirmed. But there was another aspect to the situation that Andrija's analysis omitted. 'Besides the test that he is desiring of, in his mind he is positive that he has no value. He is positive that he will only disturb, harm and destroy you. That has been his pattern in his past. He is not aware that this destructive nature can be utilized for your world. When the testing he does is finished, and we pray it goes well, then he will have a glimpse of hope.'

The only way the assembled group could help at this time, Ryr said, was by holding sessions of meditation, seated in a circle, and sending him love. 'Our love, your love, can penetrate the iron he has bound himself in,' Ryr said. They agreed to meditate that night and the following day at the crucial hour of three, but the feeling of frustration at being able to do no more than this, and at being so dependent as they were on Bobby for the continuation of their work, caused Andrija to ask some questions that they had all entertained. Why was a person with so many weaknesses and instabilities as Bobby had, chosen for such work? Why wasn't the opportunity to serve given to some other member of the group, any one of whom would be happy to take it on?

'We did not choose,' Ryr answered. 'He chose ... We give each and every one of you a chance to perform your service ... All of you are here for service, but for some of you that service is necessary. He is one of those ... He is also one of us. When we return to your physical world, we oftentimes forget the spiritual side of our makeup. You have all been in this position at one time or another. All so evolved through processing. The work is not just our work. It is the work of the universe ... All of you have served, all of you have evolved. It is now his chance, but if he should fail there will be two of you that can carry on, and then there will be more, because there are those that are waiting.'

This answer, which put Bobby's crisis in a universal context and gave it a relevance beyond the merely personal, and which also assured them that whatever happened the work would go on, at the same time considerably alleviated their feelings of frustration and impotence and strengthened their resolve to continue to give Bobby all possible support. But what would happen, Norman Shealy asked, if Bobby survived his crisis and decided no longer to participate in the work? Would the changes that had been effected in him be reversed?

'We do not take back what we give,' Ryr said. John asked if that meant that Bobby would retain some of his healing ability, and was given the answer, 'That is right. But it is tragic if that-is so.'

'In your experience with this type of opportunity,' Andrija said 'do you often run into this kind of testing with the tinge of destructiveness in it? Is this more the case than not?'

'You are right,' Ryr answered, but went on to make an interesting assertion: 'We are coming to a time when that will not be a factor. We are on the fringe ... In the past and until this time, that type of energy which is compatible with this planet has only evolved to this point. You have new people that will not be so.'

'Does this refer to some of these youngsters who have appeared all over the world recently with unusual powers?' Andrija asked.

'This is what we speak of,' said Ryr. This was the first mention in the communications of a subject that was to recur frequently in later ones. A number of other questions on various topics were put by members of the group and answered by Ryr before the session concluded with a moving assurance and exhortation:

'The one thing that we know is that the work and the service will go on, and we have the nucleus here. Know that, and have joy within you. This is a heavy time, a troubled time, because we are as responsible as you. Only love, unselfish, non-possessive, pure, will bring this into being, from our side as well as yours. You must always share and love and be open with each other. This then creates an energy with which we can work.'

'Well, it looks as if the cosmic connection is re-established,' Andrija said when Phyllis came out of trance, and he summarised for her the content of the communication. There followed an animated discussion in which they shared their hopes and fears, their beliefs and doubts about the communications, and speculated about what Ryr had meant about there being two among them who would be able to carry on if Bobby should fail. Presumably it meant that Phyllis would be able to serve as a channel, but Bobby was both a channel and a healer, so did it mean that healing powers would be developed in one of them? That was an intriguing question, but one that was impossible to answer, and anyway, Phyllis said, they shouldn't dwell too much on it at this stage but should concentrate all their efforts and thought energy on helping Bobby through his ordeal tomorrow.

At three o'clock in the afternoon of 18 June, Bobby's birthday, they all assembled in the courtyard and sat together in meditation for fifteen minutes as they had been instructed to do, trying to send Bobby psychic support and love in his hour of supreme crisis, Anxious to have news of what had happened to Bobby, they reassembled in the early evening for a communication.

'There are many of us here,' was the first thing that Ryr said when Phyllis was in trance. Apparently there was a conference in progress in the other dimension attended by Corean and other concerned parties, and several times during the ensuing conversation Ryr had to apologise for delays in responding, saying 'I am sorry, I was in another conference.'

Bobby, they learnt, was alive. Since ten o'clock that morning he had been going through a crisis in which 'in his mind he tried every way to eliminate without eliminating ... his physical'. This presumably meant that he had contemplated ways of suicide but had not actually performed the act. With regard to his involvement in the work, however, he had made a decision, and it was in the negative. 'The decision of No was not what Bobby wanted,' Ryr explained, 'but he did what in his confused mind he considered the best for all parties involved.' The Corean group thought that there was a possibility that they might be able to work upon Bobby to get him to reverse his decision, and to this end they were requesting, Ryr reported from the other conference, that they should be given a two-week extension. They seemed to attach a great deal of importance to being granted this extension by Andrija, John and the others, which so far as the latter were concerned presented no problem, but they discussed the question with a seriousness consonant with its alleged importance while Ryr stood by waiting for their decision, which they then announced was in the affirmative. Corean's petition, however, was apparently a more contentious matter in the other conference, for Ryr reported that their request for two weeks had been disallowed and they had been granted only ten days. Who by? they all wondered, and Andrija said, 'We'll go along with whatever decision is made. It is more important for us to help the soul than to be concerned about these arbitrary units of time.'

They could help, Ryr said, by sending Bobby a message assuring him of their support and that there would be a place for him in the work if ever he changed his mind. His function would not be the same as in the original plan after an alternative plan had been put in motion, but it was important for him to understand that the door was always open for him to return. Andrija promised that they would compose such a message and send it to Bobby as soon as possible, and Ryr said that it should be signed by the four of them.

This reference to the four was interesting, for it seemed to indicate that Ryr was aware of the commitment Lyall had entered into some weeks before in the communication with Corean held at Orsett, and to include him in the nuclear group. It did not, however, include Norman Shealy, whom John had invited to come to the Bahamas to learn more about their work and possibly play a role in it. It was clear from the conversations that they had had that Norman was intrigued but highly sceptical, and was concerned for his professional reputation should he get more deeply involved. As a medical practitioner, he had already gone out on a limb by recommending the use of psychics as diagnosticians, and obviously if he went back to his peers and said he had been talking with space beings he would put himself well beyond the pale.

'We have reviewed the outline of this new doctor,' Ryr said when Andrija introduced Norman into the discussion. 'It is of a practical purpose, we understand, in your world.'

Probably relieved at not being asked to make a commitment, Norman put a question about the purpose of Bobby's work as a healer.

'We explained that last evening,' Ryr said. 'The decision was made a long time ago.'

'I'm thinking more in terms of the purpose in the world, not for Bobby's soul,' Norman said. 'The purpose of your civilisation with its influence upon humanity."

'This is why Corean is being given special allowance,' Ryr said, and Andrija elaborated, explaining to Norman about the work of preparing mankind for the landing.

'Well, if this is true,' Norman said, 'then the main goal is to achieve as generalized a raising of consciousness as possible, is it not?'

'You used the statement, "if this is true",' Ryr admonished.

'If this is the purpose, is what I mean,' Norman corrected.

'That is better, 'Ryr said. 'Doctor, will you explain?'

Andrija explained that the general idea was that Bobby was to be used gradually to win over the medical profession as part of an overall plan to prepare for the landing, then Ryr drew the session to a close:

'You will bear with me, but I have been conversing in two spheres. We send you love, we send you blessings, we send you peace. We are pleased that you have decided to continue with us. We know of your problems, we know of your concerns. We do not have the density that you must deal with. We do not know, given the same conditions, if we could do what you must do in the world of denseness. We go in peace.'

When Phyllis came out of trance she was disoriented and felt. that something was wrong. She had been, she said, on a sort of big platform suspended in space where there were a lot of beings assembled, and she had acted as an interpreter, receiving and transmitting messages that were conveyed telepathically. John assured her that what she said made sense in relation to the communication they had just had, and that there was nothing wrong, but Phyllis remained disquieted and said, 'It was a strange place. I don't remember ever being in a place like that before when I do this stuff.'

'Something I don't understand is why they think this is so heavy for us,' Lyall said. 'Why do they think this is such a big thing we're doing for them?' This led to a discussion of the characteristics of the communicators and the impressions they had each formed of them.

'They seem to be concerned that we want instant action,' Norman said, 'and that if we don't get it we will be disappointed.’

'Yes,' John said, I think that they may think that our capacity to change is considerably less than it is, or our capacity to adapt to a plan. Perhaps it is, in a sense, that their computers have limitations in adaptability and we have a greater degree of adaptability than they thought, which would explain their surprise.'

'I feel that they are learning a lesson,' said Phyllis. 'Is it possible for their souls to grow more?'

'Of course, for all souls,' said Andrija. 'We tend to think of them as being godlike. But they're not, right? They insist on being equals. Yet, as John says, their computers were programmed in a certain way to read us out, and they are surprised that we can actually operate as we are doing.'

It was a novel idea, that they might have something to teach as well as much to learn from their extra-terrestrial contacts. And the news about Bobby was a relief, if not exactly encouraging. They composed and signed a letter to him to mail the next day and retired for the night looking forward to their next communication, which Ryr had said could be at their convenience the following evening.

They spent the next day, for the first time since they had come to the island, swimming, sailing, and enjoying the sun and the sea. In the afternoon John and Phyllis went to Georgetown, and on an impulse of Phyllis's they went to the airport to meet the afternoon flight from Miami, but Bobby wasn't on it. They returned to the house for dinner, and when enough time had elapsed after the meal to enable Phyllis to work they assembled in the living-room. John put out the lights and lit a candle and a mosquito coil. Mosquitoes were a problem, for the breeze had dropped and the air was still and heavy. There was scarcely a sound from the water, which could usually be heard rhythmically slapping the coral a few feet from the house, and in the still air the sound of calypso music carried across the bay from the hotel on the main island.

Phyllis went into trance and the communication began with Ryr fussing about some technical problems, saying, 'We are attempting a new connection ... We may need to adjust for fine tuning as we proceed ... The energy field is strong. This being is now sensitive ... We must turn down the volume. We - every control operating, but the heart is very rapid.'

'Can you slow that down by just pressing the left carotid sinus?' Andrija put in helpfully.

'We correct that and the force field becomes again oversensitive,' said Ryr. But eventually the technical problems were overcome. The channel, they were given to understand, was 'wired with nine sonars' or 'direct lines', and when the bio-engineering was completed Ryr announced, 'We are prepared to work as long as necessary.'

Reporting on Bobby's state of mind, Ryr informed them that 'He is in his heart with you. A decision in his heart - has been made, but he is on the surface being deceptive. He must face and be honest with that condition. He is bright because of decision, but surrounds himself with dark because of still looking for the easy path.' Bobby should be left alone for ten days, and then would be the time to approach him and to decide whether he could still play his part in the plan. The plan had been that 'Bobby would have been a catalyst, the switch that would throw a light into your world, that would have been the master switch! But, Ryr said, any good programme or organisation must have alternative courses of action in readiness, and proceeded to expound a concept that was completely new to everyone.

Future healing work, they were told, would be done by pairs or even groups of healers working together, and there were two people in the present group who could form such a team. The energy principle involved in channelled healing was difficult to explain in present circumstances, because 'This brain [Phyllis's] has not the words', but, Ryr urged, 'You will be patient as we attempt! A thing they had learned, through working in the physical world, was the necessity of balancing the polarities of male and female energies, for 'When a subject is not balanced, the energy can be turned inward and it can then create a problem. But with the balancing of polarity, the flow stays, and strengthens in a positive manner! In the past, many healing channels had been burned out because the importance of this balancing of polarised energies had not been fully appreciated. There were in every individual both types of energy, the male and female or positive and negative, but always one was predominant and 'In order for the flow to function, the energy flow we speak of, in order for it not to destroy, blow out, or burn out the channel, you must blend the female and male energies.' This did not imply, Ryr was careful to point out, apparently on instructions from above ('They say I must be clear'), a male-female physical relationship, but only a relationship between types of energy. 'I must clarify: we speak not of the physical . . . We speak of the etheric, we speak of the energy that flows through each of you. . . There is an envelope of energy around you ... If, for example, a female is used to transmit the energy that we send in healing, without a balance we would not be able to continue using that vehicle for a great length of time. But if we work and blend in pairs . . . if one male is used and the energy is transmitted through the female, if they work in conjunction, it is purified ... It operates similar to a cheesecloth. It filters out and clarifies and creates a pure energy.'

Such a conjunction, Ryr further explained, was not always necessary. Many human beings had the capacity to generate a certain amount of healing energy within themselves. But it was necessary for major healing work in which an external source was tapped. In such work, what was required was a balance and blending of male and female energies, or, more specifically, of two etheric bodies, one male and the other female, in order to form a kind of lens through which the healing energy would be channelled from its extra-terrestrial or other-dimensional source. Or, to use another metaphor, 'The female would work as a plug, and the male as a switch, or it could be reversed.' Of the people in the room, the two who were attuned to work together as a team were Phyllis and Lyall. The plan for the next stage of the work was to 'go on with the opening of many people', and this would be the task of Phyllis and Lyall working in conjunction, if they agreed to undertake it. 'The primary reason for Bobby.' Ryr said, (was to make your professional people aware.' But the longer term programme was to open many people, particularly among the young, as channels. 'The young can be trained, but they must be opened by using a male and female polarity.' The blended and balanced energies of Lyall's and Phyllis's etheric bodies could 'open and blend the energies of others, so that we can then use those beings to transmit healing through.'

The above paragraphs condense information that was elicited by questioning in the course of an unusually long communication. This was a key communication, not only because it divulged new information and plans but also because it brought into focus certain biases of attitude towards the work which were later to become both more prominent and more disruptive. Andrija's bias was towards obtaining the maximum possible information about the science, the technology, the way healing and channelling worked, whereas John and Lyall were more interested in the overall programme and purpose. 'We're trying to find out what the nature of the energy is,' said Andrija. 'Is there any way of giving us a hint? ... Is there a true science of polarities? . . . Could you give us an elementary exposition of that science? ... What would opening up mean to the person who was opened? What would they experience? What would they feel? What would their motivations be?' Ryr tried to cope with his barrage of questions, but said, 'I have difficulty with this brain,' and Lyall, becoming impatient, said 'Andrija, I think we can get bogged down in details.' John agreed and suggested they should proceed with the general overall plan and get back to the necessary details later. 'The doctor is unhappy, yes?' Ryr observed, and Andrija replied, 'Well, I would like to know what the science behind this is.' This conflict of priorities, between concern for knowing on the one hand and for being and doing on the other, was to become more acute in their later work.

When Ryr finally got round to outlining the tentative future programme, Lyall was disconcerted rather than pleased by the offer of so prominent a role in it. Up to the present, he had been quite comfortable in his position as an objective observer. He had said that he was willing to participate in the work, but he had had in mind that his contribution should be as an interpreter or a reporter, and the invitation to take on a more involved role caught him off guard. I can well understand how he felt, having had a similar experience myself.

The communication ended abruptly, with Ryr saying, 'We have created, because of the force, a problem. We must completely disconnect,' and suggesting that they might resume after about half an hour's rest, Phyllis came out of trance moaning and showing symptoms of intense physical pain, and when she regained normal consciousness her expression was fearful. Her eyes darted about as if she was following the movements of objects or entities invisible to the others. It was some time before she spoke, but eventually she turned to Andrija and asked him, 'Are you sure that we are dealing with the right people?' She had felt threatened, she said, on coming out of trance, by some creatures with black masks. John felt that Andrija was less reassuring than he might have been, and he told Phyllis he was certain she had nothing to fear, but when the half hour had elapsed Phyllis was reluctant to go into trance again, and she was only prevailed upon to do so some time later, after she had smoked several cigarettes.

Contact with Ryr was not re-established, however, so the communication that ensued was not a continuation but a new beginning. It was the beginning, in fact, of a new stage in Phyllis's channelling, for it was now that 'Tom' took over from Ryr as her control. 'I have worked with this being before. We have been in contact many years,' said Tom on his first appearance. John noticed that Phyllis's trance voice was changed. It was softer, more flowing, less mechanical and staccato. 'Would you please announce so all present here

can hear your name?' Andrija said, and the reply came: 'My name is not important. But I am known as Tom.' The being, Tom said, believed' , that he was a spirit, and had been allowed to think over the many years that he had worked with her.

'Tom, where do you come from in this vast universe?' Andrija asked.

'We come from beyond your knowledge of light,' Tom answered. 'We come from the zone that you would call cold,' He was linked with Corean, as was Ryr, but Ryr was a computer and the difference between himself and the beings he represented and Ryr was that 'We are with soul'. Explaining, at Andrija's request, what had happened in the last session, Tom said that Phyllis had feared that she perhaps was working with a computer and that she had had a negative reaction to the new system that was being tried out. 'We were in error,' he admitted. But the fault had also been with them, the participants. 'There were many negative vibrations, that were then able to pull in other negative forces. It takes but one negative force to create the energy with which the negative can work. There were many negatives in this room. We had in this room the negativity of Dr Shealy, who in his own fears of his past was creating a negative storm. We had with you, Doctor, the frustrations of trying to have clarification, which created another negative storm. We had with Dr Watson, the feeling that he was being threatened. This too created another negative storm . . . When negativity breeds, it creates a force like a hurricane or a tornado in your world ... We terminated.'

This analysis of the underlying tensions and conflicts of the last session showed impressive insight, particularly with regard to Lyall, who had not at that time confessed to anyone his feelings, of being threatened by the new role he had been invited to play. Tom went on to reassure him that he was not being put under any duress but was simply being offered an opportunity to serve in a particular way. There would be other opportunities, other ways, if he chose not to accept the offered role; and Phyllis would find another working partner for she was 'a catalyst in conjunction with many different male polarities'. Lyall could take his time to reach a decision.

Probably feeling rather left out, and possibly a little piqued by the reference to 'the negativity of Dr Shealy', Norman asked if he would have a part to play in the work. 'It depends on where your commitment lies, sir,' Tom told him. Norman said that his commitment was 'to open up the channels within medicine', but that he had to keep busy and make a living. Tom said that he could be involved in the work in a small way in that case, but his commitment should be to his work in medicine, for 'When this project is put into motion, there must be a total commitment, because there will be no energies for anything else.'

In the rest of the communication, and one held the following day, Tom went on to give fuller details of the nature of the project referred to, and the information he gave corresponded with and elaborated on that which they had already received from Corean through Bobby's channelling. The main purpose of all the work being done on Earth at the present time by various extra-terrestrial groups in conjunction with human individuals and groups was to prepare mankind for the landing. It was their hope that by the time of their appearance seventyfive per cent of the people would have been prepared for the event. 'We speak only of what you call your civilised countries,' Tom said. 'The primitives will already know.' Andrija, Phyllis and John were the nucleus of a group which would be given the fullest and most detailed information, for they had in Phyllis a unique channel for information transfer, and one of their functions would be to disseminate that information. At the extra-terrestrial level, there were different units at work with different skills and special interests, and the work of these units was gradually being correlated. There was one unit, for instance, that was now working on the technology of interfering with television transmissions and projecting their own material onto television screens, as this was considered a good way of demonstrating their existence to a large number of people at once. The present group would continue to be involved in the area of healing, but it was important that they should always remember that they were 'the primary hub' of a world-wide plan and organisation established for the purpose of making the world aware of the existence of extra-terrestrial civilisations and of their benevolent concern for the world so that they should not be opposed when the time came for the landing. 'We have the technology to help your people,' Tom said. 'It is very difficult for us to help them, when we are being denied that we exist. And it's going to need our technology in order for them to survive. Need I say more?'

The process of expanding human awareness had in fact already begun. On 16 October 1971, a new situation and a new era in earth history had begun. Since then, Tom said, 'People - and you are aware of this Dr Watson, yourself included - have become more aware’ Lyall replied that the date of 16 October 1971, was very relevant to him, for it was on that day that he had sat down to write his book, Supernature. It was also John's thirty-fourth birthday, and about a month after this date Andrija had begun his research with Uri Geller. Work bad been steadily progressing on several fronts since 1971, Tom said, but now the time had come for it to be accelerated. The world-wide emergence, in the wake of Geller, of children with paranormal powers was a sign of this acceleration. And there would be more such children, whose powers would become manifest in various ways, for instance in an ability to put animals into a sleep-like, calm condition just by touching them. 'Your world is becoming more open to the work that has been -that we have worked many thousands of years, many aeons, to bring into focus.' The 'we' in this context included present human company. 'You have worked on many planets doing what you are doing now,' Tom told them. Moreover, Bobby had been a part of their group in other incarnations, and there had been a time when be bad been instrumental in pulling the rest of the group through circumstances of crisis caused by their own errors. This time it was their turn to bring Bobby through, and they should continue to try, but should not be too distressed if they failed. In his past five lives on the planet Earth, Bobby had failed to accomplish what he needed to do, and if he failed again he would have other opportunities. There was always a high failure rate with beings who had chosen to be in service while incarnated on the planet Earth, because of the physical nature of the planet and its seductions, and in fact only two per cent of people who returned to serve actually entered upon a commitment. That had been the problem with the Earth for thousands of years. There was reason to hope, though, that with the New Age consciousness developing there would be many more who would commit themselves to the work that was necessary for survival, as the doctor, the 'Being' (as Phyllis is referred to throughout the communications) and Sir John had committed themselves and as Dr Watson was now invited to do.

It was clear that the session was drawing to a close, so John asked about future communications. The group would be leaving the Bahamas the following day and dispersing to various parts of the world, and he wondered whether it was possible for them to communicate individually, perhaps by using other channels. His question elicited another piece of unexpected information:

'You can make contact with us by going into a meditative state, being aware of your left ear, and being aware of a force around it and an inspirational thought around it. At times we try to inspire you and to help you, and at many times I speak to all of you. You are confused and do not understand that it is our thought that we are transferring to you. Any time you need reassurance, or you feel depressed, or feel you need contact, go into a meditative state and ask for us to come. We will impress through your left ear the answers you need to know. Every one of you has been wired in your left ear.'

'I hope you speak in English, not in morse code or something," Andrija quipped.

'We go in peace. We send you love. We surround you with protection. We wish you to know we are always with you.' said Tom when he finally took his leave.

It had been, they all agreed when they were talking after Phyllis emerged from trance, a very impressive and fascinating communication. Indeed, the entire Bahamian trip, which had begun so unpromisingly, had turned into an experience none of them would easily forget.

The following morning they flew to Miami together and then dispersed, Phyllis and Andrija to return to their homes in Orlando and Ossining, Norman to his clinic in Wisconsin, John to join Diana in Italy, and Lyall to take back with him to London certainly the strangest and possibly the most important dilemma he had ever been confronted with in his life. Except for Norman, they all agreed to get together again in a month's time at Ossining, unless the Management -as Phyllis now jokingly named their communicators - summoned them to a meeting earlier.

A publisher friend, in a letter declining the present book, wrote to me: 'If the Ossining experience turns out to be illusory or a hoax, then the tone of earnest enquiry in which it is described will be entirely inappropriate, it seems to me.' I see his point, and I have chosen to take the risk of adopting in relation to the material an attitude of serious (I would not say earnest, which suggests humourless) enquiry precisely because I am satisfied that it is neither illusory nor a hoax. I have participated in enough communications now, and have got to know the people involved well enough, to be satisfied on this point. I am not saying that John and Andrija may not be wrong in believing that they are conversing with extra-terrestrials, but to be wrong is not necessarily to be deluded, and I am satisfied that these are sane and serious men whose claims deserve to be taken seriously instead of being peremptorily derided. Derision is too often the recourse of mediocre minds when they are confronted with novelty. Such minds seek comfort and safety by huddling together, and it seems to me that an uncritically derisive huddle is not more admirable, though it may be safer, than an uncritically credulous one. So I make no apology for taking the communications seriously and trying to assess them intelligently.

In the period covered by the narrative so far there are three things that are particularly impressive: (i) the thematic consistency of the communications, (2) evidence of supernormal cognition, and (3) paranormal physical phenomena. Let us consider these in turn.

Thematic consistency. In the communications held between March and June 1974 there were two distinct channels, Bobby and Phyllis, and three different communicators identified themselves: Corean, Ryr and Tom. Yet the information channelled contains no contradictions or anomalies, but on the contrary in respect of a number of themes it follows a process of development with internal consistency though coming through different channels and allegedly from different sources. We are given to understand that Corean, Ryr and Tom are in communication among themselves, and the consistency of the information they give supports this proposition. For instance:

The theme of the landing was introduced by Corean in the first communication held. Corean also stated that the function of Bobby and of the group around him was to make mankind aware of the existence of other civilisations in order to prepare for the landing, and that there were other groups working on this project in other ways. These points were reiterated by Ryr and Tom, who added the information that one of the purposes of the landing was to give mankind advanced technologies that would help ensure the survival of the planet, and also that a New Age consciousness that was better adapted to the planned future scenario had been spontaneously developing among a minority of human beings.

The theme of previous incarnations of John, Andrija, Phyllis and Bobby was mentioned by all three communicators. 'He was with you before,' said Corean of Bobby on 14 March, and in the communication of 27 June Tom said, 'You have worked on many planets doing what you are doing now,' and explained how Bobby had helped the rest of them through a crisis on a previous occasion.

Healing and the energies involved in healing were subjects on which each of the communicators had information to contribute. 'We were sending very strong,' said Corean after the abortive demonstration to the May Lectures assembly, and Ryr later explained how the 'sending' takes place, through the blending of male and female energies in the etheric creating a kind of lens. From the start, Corean had said that Bobby and Phyllis should work together as a healing team, and Ryr gave the rationale behind this recommendation, expounding the theme of the balancing of polarities and the need for a process of filtering and refinement.

Bio-engineering is another recurrent theme. I suppose we have to accept that beings capable of intergalactic travel might possess other kinds of technological expertise incomprehensible to us, but all the talk in the communications -a lot of which I have omitted in my precis - about sonars, implants and wiring, is the bit I find most difficult to take. But if consistency argues for plausibility I suppose we have to suppress our natural repugnance for the idea of being messed about with biologically and concede bio-engineering as much credence as we choose to give to the other recurrent themes, for all three communicators talk about it. In the final session held in the Bahamas, Andrija asked Tom how they reconciled their bio-enginneering work with their repeated statement that they never interfere with free will, referring particularly to the implants that were supposed to confer paranormal powers on certain children. Tom replied: 'It does not impinge on their free will as it was their decision at the time of birth.' Which is a clever answer, and one consistent with the claim that such children are incarnated souls from other civilisations.

Thematic consistency and the fact that themes are enlarged upon coherently with different channels and different alleged communicators certainly constitutes prima facie evidence that the information is not generated by any individual intelligence (human, spirit or extra-terrestrial) but exists independently of any such intelligence and under certain circumstances becomes accessible. I shall discuss this point at greater length later, but now let's go on to the second impressive characteristic of the communications reviewed up to now.

Evidence of supernormal cognition. A century of psychical research has established to the satisfaction of all but the most inveterate sceptics that telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition occur. As these are proven human faculties, evidence for their occurrence in the present context does not necessarily imply that the communications come from an external source, though the circumstances of their occurrence in some cases do seem more consistent with this hypothesis than with the alternative one that the information was obtained psychically by the medium. For instance:

In the Ossining communication of 8 April Corean reproached Phyllis and Andrija for not giving a message to Bobby, as they had been asked to do the previous night. The fact that Corean knew that the message had not been delivered is significant, for it is unlikely that the knowledge could come from Bobby, who was in trance and supposed to be the recipient of the message, or from the sitters, Andrija or Phyllis, for they were being admonished for forgetting it.

Corean's explanation of the cause of the failure of the demonstration healing is a similar case to the above. After listening again to the instructions for the demonstration given in an earlier communication, Phyllis and Andrija suggested two reasons for the failure but omitted the main one, which was that Bobby had metal in his pockets and on his clothing: a fact which neither of them knew. Bobby presumably knew that he had had coins in his pocket, but he was in trance, and the very fact that he had the coins implies that in his normal state of consciousness he had no recall of his trance utterances.

Ryr's reports on Bobby's action's and state of mind throughout the time the group were at John's house on Stocking Island were later found to be quite correct. Bobby had contemplated various means of suicide, including an automobile accident on his birthday, he had resolved to withdraw from the work, but at depth he was still undecided and struggling with his problem of confidence. Of course Phyllis, knowing Bobby well by now, might have been able to make an intelligent guess as to how he would feel and act, or she may be capable, like the seer Edgar Cayce, of trance clairvoyance of a distant person's physical and mental condition, so the fact that Ryr's reports were true does not prove Ryr's existence as an independent mind, though it does strongly suggest the operation of paranormal cognition,

Finally, Tom's insight into the causes of the negativity that disrupted the last session with Ryr, and particularly into Lyall's feeling of being threatened by the role it was proposed he should play, is impressive evidence, for no one had anticipated that Lyall would be offered such a role and he had had no time to tell anyone how he felt about it.

Paranormal physical phenomena. The most incredible part of Andrija's account of his work with Uri is his record of numerous materialisation, dematerialisation, psychokinetic and teleportation events, and I'm sure many readers of his book felt, 'If he wants me to take him seriously, I wish he wouldn't ask me to believe all this stuff.' The present narrative raises the same problem. What are we to make of the story of the miraculous burn healing or of the blow out of the transformer that terminated the attempted demonstration in London? Witnesses to both events (about sixty to the second of them) vouch that they happened, and although for most of us human mendacity is a commoner experience than physical paranormality this is a poor reason for dismissing them as lies. The attitude, 'Reality must be such-and-such because I've never experienced it otherwise than such-and-such' is not only unphilosophical but fundamentally unintelligent, the cry not of the truth-seeker but of the man who seeks the fixation of belief. In later chapters I shall be reporting other incredible physical phenomena, and I confess that this is the part of the story that causes me most unease, although in connection with the work I have now experienced one or two things myself that have rather eroded my scepticism. With our Western scientific-rationalist cultural background, which has been dominated for the last three centuries by the principles and methods of physical science, we find paranormal mental phenomena easier to deal with than paranormal physical phenomena. We are readier to concede that telepathy or clairvoyance might occur than that materialisation or levitation might. This is a cultural bias, and we ought to recognise it as such even if we can't or don't want to transcend it. Western science has been so stupendously successful in fathoming the laws and harnessing the powers of the physical world that it cannot give credence to anything that apparently subverts known laws or manifests a power that it has not harnessed.

Such considerations may help us come to terms with paranormal physical events, but they do not help us understand what such events may signify. In point of fact, some contemporary theoretical physicists find physical paranormality easier to accept than does the man in the street, for the events resemble quantum events on a macroscopic scale. It is interesting and perhaps relevant to note that physicists working in the field of superconductors and superfluids (the physics of very low temperatures) have observed quantum events occur on a macroscopic scale, and to remember that Tom's answer to Andrija's question, 'Where do you come from in this vast universe?' was: We come from beyond your knowledge of light. We come from the zone that you would call cold.'

But this is to embark upon a subject that could have a chapter to itself, and which I shall return to later when we have more data to discuss. For the present, I just want to leave the reader with the question whether the internal thematic consistency of the communications, the evidence for supernormal cognition within them and for the occurrence of paranormal physical events in connection with them, constitute convincing or even prima facie evidence that the communications are what they purport to be. It is not necessary, however, to come to a decision about this at the present stage, for there is a great deal more of the story to tell.