" . . . by the same formula about 500,000 believe they have a mission to perform . . . some 100,000 have unlearned knowledge of a highly technical nature in their minds . . . Experts will point out that the ad formula, used in this way, is silly; we reply, scale it down to ten percent and it's still amazing . . ."

Thus writes the editor of a national scientifiction magazine. Now, we are not going to stick out our own neck (in the vernacular, and however scrawny it may be) on the so-called Shaver mystery. The fact that this whole stirabout originated with a scientifiction publication, which continues to commercialize it with no unskilled hand, gives it a black eye from the start. Fact, fiction and dream are inextricably mingled, and it is safe to say that no scientific society or periodical will give the matter any attention whatever, as it now stands.

We remind our learned brethren, however, that facts exist and forces operate before they are officially approved of, and quite independently of scientific pronouncements. Some of the most important facts known to mankind are disregarded or flatly denied by official science - by which we mean, learned bodies, publications, institutions and university departments. If we wait for official sanction before we examine phenomena, we shall make a late start, or none at all.

The disturbing feature of this business is not the Shaver fiction, but the correspondence it has evoked, the intense sincerity of many of the writers, and the constant repetition of certain elements. We mean, for example, that if a score or a hundred people assert that they have seen, in dream or vision, an identical but unknown gadget (or building or landscape or anything else of new and distinctive appearance), it is something to think about. Especially if you accept, as all informed people now do, the existence of extra-sensory or extended sensory perception, and of extra-sensory existents.

These visual appearances, dreams, and voices, all smack to us of lower astral contacts, clairaudience and clairvoyance. We wait with interest the appearance of the first bit of objective evidence - dero-inhabited cavern, a buried plate or significant inscription. We want to know if Mr. Shaver's own account of his imprisonment and escape have been verified. We want a voice-making or ray-casting machine actually seen by dependable witnesses.

The existence of enormous caverns in many parts of the world is a known fact. It is highly probable that not a thousandth part of the existing caverns are known, or even surmised. We are not such a fool as to deny a priori that they may have inhabitants, possibly of a very unpleasant or even dangerous sort. It would be equally foolish to go further than this, with such data as we now have available.

The editor of this A.S. magazine has been deluged with books, articles, letters, formidable scientific arguments, endless data (real or alleged). Our personal correspondence with him, plus reports from persons who know him, convince us that he is personally "sold" on the "Mystery". We mean, he is profoundly convinced something very strange, and likely very dangerous is going on. Particularly about the voices, it appears that literally thousands of people are hearing them, have heard them for years past, on occasion or even habitually. The Shaver conviction, hallucination, or fiction-inventing is, that these originate from age-old mechanisms, invented by the ancients, now operated by the degenerate Deros in underground caverns. The A.S. editor cannot (in print at any rate) decide whether this is some kind of clairvoyance from the astral levels, or Dero deeds of derring-do. He's determined to find out. [15] His life is threatened frequently - and so is that of other would-be investigators.

We suggest that one real danger is, some of our professional and official brothers - we mean, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, alienists, psycho-analysts, all kith and kin of them - will get their claws on these clairaudient folk, shut them all up as filberts of a most dangerous variety. They have actually been doing that, for years past; we don't know a single one of these gentry to whom we would dare say that we hear voices (if we did); and yet clairaudience is wide-spread, old as the race, and a God-like faculty which we have prostituted or denied.

Whatever Round Robin readers think of this stuff, the fact remains that there's considerable excitement, some genuine alarm, a great number of people openly asserting clairaudient powers - and a good many of them are apparently people of education, culture, scientific training. The nitwits, hoaxers and smart-alecks are there too, of course and as always. We give the matter this extended notice because we have known many clairaudients, and because we have been balefully predicting, for years-past, sporadic outbursts of various forms of psychism.

At the same time, we're not going to deny the Deros, or some unspeakable equivalents of them, taking our cue from Huxley, who said he was too much of a sceptic to deny anything. Impossible things happen and incredible things come true, and there's a long and rather frightening casualty list among snoopers. We really think, for a book-full of reasons that can't be summarized, that, some devilment is brewing, tho we're not quite sure whether it's Dero's doings or a tidal wave or a wave of book agents. And the more alarmed we are, the more flippant our language . . . The most amazing thing of all, to us, is that there actually are people who believe we live in a sane, orderly, rational and predictable world.

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"The war has powerfully changed the psychological atmosphere . . . The day is at hand when we shall turn from the childlike amusements and excitements of physical science to the unimaginable adventures of super-physical discovery; and in that day we shall not only flash messages to the stars, but hold communion with our dead."

- - - Harold Begbie

"It is not the imaginative only, or the ignorant, or the unhealthy, or the timid and nervous, who report these abnormal experiences. If only school girls, or poets like Shelley (a small class), or uneducated persons, or cowards or fools come forward with their tales, we might contemptuously reject them. But the witnesses are very often honorable men, honorable women, brave, sane, healthy, not fanciful, not in a state of 'expectancy' (which in fact is usually fatal to ghost seeing) and these persons have nothing to gain and some consideration to lose by reporting their experiences."

- - - Andrew Lang

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