All the events in a man’s life would accordingly stand in two fundamentally different kinds of connection: firstly, in the objective, causal connection of the natural process; secondly, in a subjective connection which exists only in relation to the individual who experiences it, and which is thus as subjective as his own dreams.
The writer Wilhelm von Scholz 1)↓ has collected a number of stories showing the strange ways in which lost or stolen objects come back to their owners. Among other things, he tells the story of a mother who took a photograph of her small son in the Black Forest. She left the film to be developed in Strassburg. But, owing to the outbreak of war, she was unable to fetch it and gave it up for lost. In 1916 she bought a film in Frankfurt in order to take a photograph of her daughter, who had been born in the meantime. When the film was developed it was found to be doubly exposed: the picture underneath was the photograph she had taken of her son in 1914! The old film had not been developed and had somehow got into circulation again among the new films. ”
Decisive evidence for the existence of acausal combinations of events has been furnished, with adequate scientific safeguards, only very recently, mainly through the experiments of J. B. Rhine and his fellow-workers, 2)↓ who have not, however, recognized the far-reaching conclusions that must be drawn from their findings. Up to the present no critical argument that cannot be refuted has been brought against these experiments. The experiment consists, in principle, in an experimenter turning up, one after another, a series of numbered cards bearing simple geometrical patterns. At the same time the subject, separated by a screen from the experimenter, is given the task of guessing the signs as they are turned up. A pack of twenty-five cards is used, each five of which carry the same sign. Five cards are marked with a star, five with a square, five with a circle, five with wavy lines, and five with a cross. The experimenter naturally does not know the order in which the pack is arranged, nor has the subject any opportunity of seeing the cards. Many of the experiments were negative, since the result did not exceed the probability of five chance hits. In the case of certain subjects, however, some results were distinctly above probability. The first series of experiments consisted in each subject trying to guess the cards 800 times. The average result showed 6.5 hits for 25 cards, which is 1.5 more than the chance probability of 5 hits. The probability of there being a chance deviation of 1.5 from the number 5 works out at 1 : 250,000. This proportion shows that the probability of a chance deviation is not exactly high, since it is to be expected only once in 250,000 cases. The results vary according to the specific gift of the individual subject. One young man, who in numerous experiments scored an average of 10 hits for every 25 cards (double the probable number), once guessed all 25 cards correctly, which gives a probability of 1 : 298,023,223,876,953,125. The possibility of the pack being shuffled in some arbitrary way is guarded against by an apparatus which shuffles the cards automatically, independently of the experimenter. Continue reading
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|1.||↑||Der Zufall: Eine Vorform des Schicksals.|
|2.||↑||J. B. Rhine, Extra-Sensory Perception and New Frontiers of the Mind. J. G. Pratt, J. B. Rhine, C. E. Stuart, B. M. Smith, and J. A. Greenwood, Extra-Sensory Perception after Sixty Years. A general survey of the findings in Rhine, The Reach of the Mind, and also in the valuable book by G. N. M. Tyrrell, The Personality of Man. A short résumé in Rhine, “An Introduction to the Work of Extra-Sensory Perception.” S. G. Soal and F. Bateman, Modern Experiments in Telepathy.|