Phantom forms produced by electricity in magnetic fields! This amazing phenomenon has been witnessed in several large electrical plants. The General Electric Company's research laboratory at Schenectady, New York, and an industrial research laboratory at Freibourg, Germany, have issued reports on this strange occurrence.
In 1930 Chief Engineer Eastman, of the Rhodes Electrical Society in London, was working on some high-tension wires in a dark room when he saw a luminous blue sphere form about a revolving dynamo. In the center of this sphere a woman's hand suddenly appeared. Eastman asked his assistant, a Mr Woodew, if he could see it, and he replied that he could. Both men watched the phenomenon, and they were able to ascertain every detail of the conditions causing it.
The two men spent four days trying to produce the occurrence again, and when they succeeded a human head instead of a hand appeared. Photographs were taken and they were published in several European journals in the summer of 1930.
A follow-up to the Rhodes observation was an article printed in the Revue Spirite (Paris), written by M. Henri Azam. M. Azam has obtained his material from an experimenter who desired to remain unknown except to the publication's editors. This unknown student was quoted as follows:
"In the pursuit of my specialized work in the occult and psychic fields I long desired to find out whether it was possible to reconstitute the astral form by means of sound vibrations. It was my belief that mediumistic phenomena, when they are serious in character, are exclusively the result of setting in action some force for which the medium is the condenser. It was my purpose, therefore, to reconstitute a sphere of synchronous vibrations analogous to those which emanate from the human entity, but to do so without the intervention of any medium . . ."
The following methods were used by the experimenter. Two machines of static electricity were arranged so that the plates would turn in opposite directions. The positions and distance between the plates were so arranged as to be susceptible to infinite variation. As a result there was a variable and sensitive magnetic field formed.  A membrane covered with lycopodium powder was placed at the variable point so that it vibrated according to the electric wave lengths employed. The vibrations were intensified by adding the factors of light, sound, and perfumes. A magic lantern was directed, upon the variable point for light effects; an organ was used for sound effects.
"Under these conditions on several different occasions I was able to obtain the formation of human and animal forms, which appeared in the magnetic field. At first these were only partial, but twice I succeeded in obtaining complete forms. They always presented themselves in the sensitive field and near the variable point! Three photographic negatives, exceedingly clear and sharply defined, were obtained of these vibrational forms."
The conclusions of the experimenter are that he has been able to obtain responding vibrations of the astral or psychic world; that the results cannot be ascribed to imagination or hallucination; that the forms which appear are not spirits, but empty and discarded etheric or astral bodies or shells; that it is therefore possible to obtain psychic phenomena without the aid of human mediums.
The importance of these observations is obvious. Once again we have apparently found a realm in which the physical and astral worlds merge. Additional research in this domain of phenomena would be physical, and would not require the services of a medium. Nevertheless the ability to form a window or vortex between two vibratory planes might result.
First of all, what are these forms? Are they abandoned etheric bodies or disintegrating thought forms? Etheric bodies, which are regarded as links between the physical and astral bodies, are abandoned soon after physical death, according to the theory, and they slowly disintegrate in a vibratory plane known as the "astral cemetery" which lies very close to the vibratory limits of our visible physical plane. It is also supposed that these empty etheric bodies remain close to the decaying physical bodies until they are dissolved into their original basic elements. Being held nearby by various subtle affinities, these etheric shells are said to be the cause of reported graveyard phantoms.
If this is true, the best place to set up an experimental electric magnetic field would be in a cemetery vault or in a building close to a cemetery. This is an experiment the writer plans to make when conditions permit. Positive results would indicate that these forms, if successfully obtained, are actually etheric bodies abandoned by progressing astral bodies.
One more thought should be presented: the possibility that natural electric phenomena may provide conditions for psychic phenomena should not be overlooked. There are many reports of phantoms observed during electrical storms. Apparent poltergeist are often displayed during intense electrical atmospheric stress. Ball lightning often exhibits the directions and actions of apparent intelligence. For example, the late Charles F. Talman, government meteorologist, in an article in Readers Digest, June 1935, tells of a ball of lightning entering an open window, travelling about the room as if exploring it, then finally departing  by the window it has entered.
More amazing cases will be found in Flammarion's work, The pranks of Lightning. In all of these occurrences tricks of a poltergeist nature were performed, under conditions indicating the possibility of a directing intelligence. The writer feels certain that in this phenomenon of electrical ghosts we may have a key that will unlock many mysteries of the psychic world.
We invite our readers to consider, in connection with facts given in the last two paragraphs of Mr. Gaddis' article, a communication from Dr. Ryan, on another page of this Bulletin. And Mr Gaddis adds, in a personal letter to the Editor, that "the relationship between storms and psychic observations is a vast field in itself. A neighbor of mine, recently deceased, once told me of seeing a number of phantoms during an electrical storm when he was caught in a local cemetery. They were simply white human-like forms hovering above the graves, glimpsed during flashes of lightning." . . . We also refer the reader to a Quotation by RR, in a previous issue, of an Occult Digest account of battlefield apparitions of an etheric type. No competent student will assume for a moment, that the multiform phenomena of mediumship are "explained" by the results detailed by Mr Gaddis; nevertheless, a way may here be opening for a better understanding of some of them, since it is known that etheric bodies and shells sometimes appear in seance rooms, and complicate the problems. . . The existence of these entities (if one may call them such) has always been affirmed by psychics and occultists, and if this fact can be verified, or strongly supported by scientific experiment, without recourse to mediumship or clairvoyant perception, a notable step will have been achieved. The effect, of course, is to substantiate occult and spiritistic teachings, and not to negate or supplant them in any way. There are many instances of such data, well verified but almost unknown even to professional students, and it is the chief concern of the Round Robin to disinter them, preserve them and make them available. We bespeak the active cooperation of all readers who understand the importance of such knowledge, which must eventually reconstruct the whole of our basic thinking. . . We deplore the obscurantism with which the Illuminist must contend on every side - the ignorance of the ignorant and the learned alike, the smugness and intolerance of orthodox religionism, and we recognize as fact and no mere figment of imagination the impact of hostile forces from the Unseen . . . We live in a time of great danger, yet there is a new-old knowledge stirring in the world which may yet forstall disaster. What little you, and you and I can do, may yet add up to some notable and significant sum.
- La Revue Spirite— http://larevuespirite.com/
- Talman, Charles Fitzhugh. "Nature's Bag of Tricks." Readers Digest. Jun 1935: 88-92. Print. — Refer also: Talman, Charles Fitzhugh. "Ball Lightning." The American Mercury. May 1932: 69-71. Print. <http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-1932may-00069>
- Flammarion, Camille. Les Caprices de la Foudre ("The Pranks of Lightning"). Paris: C. Flammarion, 1905. Print.
- Flammarion, Camille. Thunder and Lighting. Trans. Walter Mostyn. London: Chatto, 1905. Print. <https://archive.org/details/ajp3782.0001.001.umich.edu>