by Vincent H. Gaddis

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1. The Case of the Silver Ball:

Of interest in the light of Prof. Charles J. Ryan's suggestion that there may be a connection between ball lightning-will-o'-wisp phenomena and elemental action (RR Vol.2, No.1), is the poltergeist tale of assaults by a mysterious "silver bull" that disappeared without a trace after striking down its victim repeatedly. The occurrence took place in Victor, N.Y., in February, 1934, and most of my notes are taken from an AP dispatch dated Feb. 7, the day the matter was investigated by the Ontario County grand jury.

The case of the missile of mystery that frightened the entire village was referred to the jury by puzzled police officers at the request of leaders in the alarmed neighborhood. It all began with ghostly rappings on the windows and walls of a home occupied by Charles McCarthy, 65; an Oliver Eno and his wife, Ida; and their 10-year-old child; and Raymond Vagrol, a tenant, against whom the unknown forces seemed to be directing their attack. The rappings were followed by the appearance of the ball. Vagrol was struck several times by the ball and knocked to the floor. The ball would suddenly appear, flash through the air, and vanish. Once it hit him in the house after crashing, through the glass panel of a door. Police officers hid in the home and testified that they heard the rappings which they could not trace.

Later the officers again concealed themselves in the house, Vagrol was struck down by the ball which came through the open kitchen window. The officers rushed into the room, but could find no weapon and no unfamiliar tracks in the snow outside. After the officers and residents of the house told their story to the puzzled jury, the phenomena ceased and no additional reports appeared in the press.

2. A Mattiesen Mystery:

The late Dr. Emil Mattiesen, in an exhaustive work on psychic phenomena, published in German, has reported a unique case of astral or psychic projection. The account was given to him by the artist, P.E. Cornillier, who said that the experience had occurred to a close friend of his. Briefly, the subject, at the age of eleven, suffered a severe blow on the head, following which he consciously projected while lying on the bed in his room. But when he looked back at the bed on which his body lay, he did not see himself as a boy of eleven but as a baby, and apparently near death. While he watched, his mother, looking younger in age, came into the room and picked him up. Various unfamiliar details and objects were noted as lying in the room. Then unconsciousness came, and the subject awakened to find himself back in his body. Inquiry revealed that the scene that he had witnessed while projected had actually occurred when he was an infant 18 months old, and suffering from a severe attack of croup in which loss of his life was feared. His mother distinctly recalled the occasion, and confirmed the existence of various objects in the room at the time. The subject's memory of the event remained thereafter.

Dr. Mattiesen points out that in this case we have one close contact with death recalling the vision of a former one buried and forgotten in the subject's subconsciousness -- a story unique in psychic annals.

3. Astral Impersonation:

An occultist of the last generation, Carl Pfuhl, has a [15] curious little story of his own to tell. A materialization seance was taking place in the parlor of a home, and at the time a small girl was sleeping in a hammock on the front porch nearby. Suddenly the form or appearance of the sleeping girl came into view in the seance room and claimed to be the deceased daughter of a member of the circle -- who had a spirit daughter about the same age. Nevertheless, the appearance of the sleeping physical girl was not in any way transformed to represent the girl she claimed to be, and the living girl in the hammock outside had no memory of the incident upon awakening.

4. Spider-Web Prophecies:

Two remarkable forecasts of the end of the late war were made by spiders whose webs were studied by Omer Cohee, of Columbus, Ind., according to UP dispatches. Cohee studied spider webs in 1942 to predict the end of the European War and three years before the surrender he filed his prediction with newspapermen stating that the end would come on May 9, 1945. His margin of error was one day. The surrender documents were signed at Reims on May 8.

A month later, Cohee completed another study of spider spinnings and announced that the war with Japan would end in 60 to 90 days. The announcement was made on June 8, 1945. The 60-day limit expired on Aug. 9, and five days later, on Aug. 14, Japan surrendered. A spider in Decantur County (Ind.) made the first prediction, when Cohee lived at Greensburg. The second prediction. The second prediction was made by a spider in Bartholomew County, where Cohee now resides.

Cohee's method is said to be mentally commanding the spider to make the desired prediction, watching the web as it is formed, then determining the letters and figures from the pattern of the woven strands.

5. Basil Shackleton -- Prophet:

Basil Shackleton, a London photographer and modern Nostradamus, is another prophet who predicted the end of the late war four years ahead of time (Aug. 17), and missed by only three days (Aug. 14). Resenting publicity, Shackleton was the subject of a 130-page report written by Professors K. M. Goldney and S. G. Soal, of the University of London, who subjected him to precognition tests for two years, and issued by the English S.P.R., which refers to him simply as "B.S." Dr. Soal writes that "freedom of the will is very doubtful, especially after witnessing the phenomena of B.S."

Shackleton's ability was proved in exhaustive tests. Standard tests in ESP with Zener Cards were started in 1936. After thousands of trial runs it was noted that B.S. frequently named the card that the investigator was about to look at. He could foresee card designs that would be observed before the act of observation occurred. Previously a strong critic of Dr. J. B. Rhine's ESP methods, Soal has written:-

"No scientist or philosopher has been able to find a flaw in our methods. More than twenty persons sat in on the tests from time to time. The experimental precautions were stringent to the last degree."

And not only in laboratory tests, but in the domain of human affairs, B.S. has made numerous predictions that have come true.