I cannot expect that any of my readers
will believe the story which I am about to narrate. Looking back
upon it, I scarcely believe it myself. Yet my narrative is so extraordinary
and throws such light upon the nature of our communications with
beings of another world, that I feel I am not entitled to withhold
it from the public.
I had gone over to visit Annerly at his
rooms. It was Saturday, October 31. I remember the date so precisely
because it was my pay day, and I had received six sovereigns and
ten shillings. I remembered the sum so exactly because I had put
the money into my pocket, and I remember into which pocket I had
put it because I had no money in any other pocket. My mind is perfectly
clear on all these points.
Annerly and I sat smoking for some time.
Then quite suddenly—
"Do you believe in the supernatural?"
I started as if I had been struck.
At the moment when Annerly spoke of the
supernatural I had been thinking of something entirely different.
The fact that he should speak of it at the very instant when I was
thinking of something else, struck me as at least a very singular
For a moment I could only stare.
"What I mean is," said Annerly, "do you
believe in phantasms of the dead?"
"Phantasms?" I repeated.
"Yes, phantasms, or if you prefer the
word, phanograms, or say if you will phanogrammatical manifestations,
or more simply psychophantasmal phenomena?"
I looked at Annerly with a keener sense
of interest than I had ever felt in him before. I felt that he was
about to deal with events and experiences of which in the two or
three months that I had known him he had never seen fit to speak.
I wondered now that it had never occurred
to me that a man whose hair at fifty-five was already streaked with
grey, must have passed through some terrible ordeal.
Presently Annerly spoke again.
"Last night I saw Q," he said.
"Good heavens!" I ejaculated. I did not
in the least know who Q was, but it struck me with a thrill of indescribable
terror that Annerly had seen Q. In my own quiet and measured existence
such a thing had never happened.
"Yes," said Annerly, "I saw Q as plainly
as if he were standing here. But perhaps I had better tell you something
of my past relationship with Q, and you will understand exactly
what the present situation is."
Annerly seated himself in a chair on
the other side of the fire from me, lighted a pipe and continued.
"When first I knew Q he lived not very
far from a small town in the south of England, which I will call
X, and was betrothed to a beautiful and accomplished girl whom I
will name M."
Annerly had hardly begun to speak before
I found myself listening with riveted attention. I realised that
it was no ordinary experience that he was about to narrate. I more
than suspected that Q and M were not the real names of his unfortunate
acquaintances, but were in reality two letters of the alphabet selected
almost at random to disguise the names of his friends. I was still
pondering over the ingenuity of the thing when Annerly went on:
"When Q and I first became friends, he
had a favourite dog, which, if necessary, I might name Z, and which
followed him in and out of X on his daily walk."
"In and out of X," I repeated in astonishment.
"Yes," said Annerly, "in and out."
My senses were now fully alert. That
Z should have followed Q out of X, I could readily understand, but
that he should first have followed him in seemed to pass the bounds
"Well," said Annerly, "Q and Miss M were
to be married. Everything was arranged. The wedding was to take
place on the last day of the year. Exactly six months and four days
before the appointed day (I remember the date because the coincidence
struck me as peculiar at the time) Q came to me late in the evening
in great distress. He had just had, he said, a premonition of his
own death. That evening, while sitting with Miss M on the verandah
of her house, he had distinctly seen a projection of the dog R pass
along the road."
"Stop a moment," I said. "Did you not
say that the dog's name was Z?"
Annerly frowned slightly.
"Quite so," he replied. "Z, or more correctly
Z R, since Q was in the habit, perhaps from motives of affection,
of calling him R as well as Z. Well, then, the projection, or phanogram,
of the dog passed in front of them so plainly that Miss M swore
that she could have believed that it was the dog himself. Opposite
the house the phantasm stopped for a moment and wagged its tail.
Then it passed on, and quite suddenly disappeared around the corner
of a stone wall, as if hidden by the bricks. What made the thing
still more mysterious was that Miss M's mother, who is partially
blind, had only partially seen the dog."
Annerly paused a moment. Then he went
"This singular occurrence was interpreted
by Q, no doubt correctly, to indicate his own approaching death.
I did what I could to remove this feeling, but it was impossible
to do so, and he presently wrung my hand and left me, firmly convinced
that he would not live till morning."
"Good heavens!" I exclaimed, "and he
died that night?"
"No, he did not," said Annerly quietly,
"that is the inexplicable part of it."
"Tell me about it," I said.
"He rose that morning as usual, dressed
himself with his customary care, omitting none of his clothes, and
walked down to his office at the usual hour. He told me afterwards
that he remembered the circumstances so clearly from the fact that
he had gone to the office by the usual route instead of taking any
"Stop a moment," I said. "Did anything
unusual happen to mark that particular day?"
"I anticipated that you would ask that
question," said Annerly, "but as far as I can gather, absolutely
nothing happened. Q returned from his work, and ate his dinner apparently
much as usual, and presently went to bed complaining of a slight
feeling of drowsiness, but nothing more. His stepmother, with whom
he lived, said afterwards that she could hear the sound of his breathing
quite distinctly during the night."
"And did he die that night?" I asked,
breathless with excitement.
"No," said Annerly, "he did not. He rose
next morning feeling about as before except that the sense of drowsiness
had apparently passed, and that the sound of his breathing was no
Annerly again fell into silence. Anxious
as I was to hear the rest of his astounding narrative, I did not
like to press him with questions. The fact that our relations had
hitherto been only of a formal character, and that this was the
first occasion on which he had invited me to visit him at his rooms,
prevented me from assuming too great an intimacy.
"Well," he continued, "Q went to his
office each day after that with absolute regularity. As far as I
can gather there was nothing either in his surroundings or his conduct
to indicate that any peculiar fate was impending over him. He saw
Miss M regularly, and the time fixed for their marriage drew nearer
"Each day?" I repeated in astonishment.
"Yes," said Annerly, "every day. For
some time before his marriage I saw but little of him. But two weeks
before that event was due to happen, I passed Q one day in the street.
He seemed for a moment about to stop, then he raised his hat, smiled
and passed on."
"One moment," I said, "if you will allow
me a question that seems of importance—did he pass on and then smile
and raise his hat, or did he smile into his hat, raise it, and then
pass on afterwards?"
"Your question is quite justified," said
Annerly, "though I think I can answer with perfect accuracy that
he first smiled, then stopped smiling and raised his hat, and then
stopped raising his hat and passed on."
"However," he continued, "the essential
fact is this: on the day appointed for the wedding, Q and Miss M
were duly married."
"Impossible!" I gasped; "duly married,
both of them?"
"Yes," said Annerly, "both at the same
time. After the wedding Mr. and Mrs. Q——"
"Mr. and Mrs. Q," I repeated in perplexity.
"Yes," he answered, "Mr. and Mrs. Q——
for after the wedding Miss M. took the name of Q—— left England
and went out to Australia, where they were to reside."
"Stop one moment," I said, "and let me
be quite clear—in going out to settle in Australia it was their
intention to reside there?"
"Yes," said Annerly, "that at any rate
was generally understood. I myself saw them off on the steamer,
and shook hands with Q, standing at the same time quite close to
"Well," I said, "and since the two Q's,
as I suppose one might almost call them, went to Australia, have
you heard anything from them?"
"That," replied Annerly, "is a matter
that has shown the same singularity as the rest of my experience.
It is now four years since Q and his wife went to Australia. At
first I heard from him quite regularly, and received two letters
each month. Presently I only received one letter every two months,
and later two letters every six months, and then only one letter
every twelve months. Then until last night I heard nothing whatever
of Q for a year and a half."
I was now on the tiptoe of expectancy.
"Last night," said Annerly very quietly,
"Q appeared in this room, or rather, a phantasm or psychic manifestation
of him. He seemed in great distress, made gestures which I could
not understand, and kept turning his trouser pockets inside out.
I was too spellbound to question him, and tried in vain to divine
his meaning. Presently the phantasm seized a pencil from the table,
and wrote the words, 'Two sovereigns, to-morrow night, urgent.'"
Annerly was again silent. I sat in deep
thought. "How do you interpret the meaning which Q's phanogram meant
"I think," he announced, "it means this.
Q, who is evidently dead, meant to visualise that fact, meant, so
to speak, to deatomise the idea that he was demonetised, and that
he wanted two sovereigns to-night."
"And how," I asked, amazed at Annerly's
instinctive penetration into the mysteries of the psychic world,
"how do you intend to get it to him?"
"I intend," he announced, "to try a bold,
a daring experiment, which, if it succeeds, will bring us into immediate
connection with the world of spirits. My plan is to leave two sovereigns
here upon the edge of the table during the night. If they are gone
in the morning, I shall know that Q has contrived to de-astralise
himself, and has taken the sovereigns. The only question is, do
you happen to have two sovereigns? I myself, unfortunately, have
nothing but small change about me."
Here was a piece of rare good fortune,
the coincidence of which seemed to add another link to the chain
of circumstance. As it happened I had with me the six sovereigns
which I had just drawn as my week's pay.
"Luckily," I said, "I am able to arrange
that. I happen to have money with me." And I took two sovereigns
from my pocket.
Annerly was delighted at our good luck.
Our preparations for the experiment were soon made.
We placed the table in the middle of
the room in such a way that there could be no fear of contact or
collision with any of the furniture. The chairs were carefully set
against the wall, and so placed that no two of them occupied the
same place as any other two, while the pictures and ornaments about
the room were left entirely undisturbed. We were careful not to
remove any of the wall-paper from the wall, nor to detach any of
the window-panes from the window. When all was ready the two sovereigns
were laid side by side upon the table, with the heads up in such
a way that the lower sides or tails were supported by only the table
itself. We then extinguished the light. I said "Good night" to Annerly,
and groped my way out into the dark, feverish with excitement.
My readers may well imagine my state
of eagerness to know the result of the experiment. I could scarcely
sleep for anxiety to know the issue. I had, of course, every faith
in the completeness of our preparations, but was not without misgivings
that the experiment might fail, as my own mental temperament and
disposition might not be of the precise kind needed for the success
of these experiments.
On this score, however, I need have had
no alarm. The event showed that my mind was a media, or if the word
is better, a transparency, of the very first order for psychic work
of this character.
In the morning Annerly came rushing over
to my lodgings, his face beaming with excitement.
"Glorious, glorious," he almost shouted,
"we have succeeded! The sovereigns are gone. We are in direct monetary
communication with Q."
I need not dwell on the exquisite thrill
of happiness which went through me. All that day and all the following
day, the sense that I was in communication with Q was ever present
My only hope was that an opportunity
might offer for the renewal of our inter-communication with the
The following night my wishes were gratified.
Late in the evening Annerly called me up on the telephone.
"Come over at once to my lodgings," he
said. "Q's phanogram is communicating with us."
I hastened over, and arrived almost breathless.
"Q has been here again," said Annerly, "and appeared in the same
distress as before. A projection of him stood in the room, and kept
writing with its finger on the table. I could distinguish the word
'sovereigns,' but nothing more."
"Do you not suppose," I said, "that Q
for some reason which we cannot fathom, wishes us to again leave
two sovereigns for him?"
"By Jove!" said Annerly enthusiastically,
"I believe you've hit it. At any rate, let us try; we can but fail."
That night we placed again two of my
sovereigns on the table, and arranged the furniture with the same
scrupulous care as before.
Still somewhat doubtful of my own psychic
fitness for the work in which I was engaged, I endeavoured to keep
my mind so poised as to readily offer a mark for any astral disturbance
that might be about. The result showed that it had offered just
such a mark. Our experiment succeeded completely. The two coins
had vanished in the morning.
For nearly two months we continued our
experiments on these lines. At times Annerly himself, so he told
me, would leave money, often considerable sums, within reach of
the phantasm, which never failed to remove them during the night.
But Annerly, being a man of strict honour, never carried on these
experiments alone except when it proved impossible to communicate
with me in time for me to come.
At other times he would call me up with
the simple message, "Q is here," or would send me a telegram, or
a written note saying, "Q needs money; bring any that you have,
but no more."
On my own part, I was extremely anxious
to bring our experiments prominently before the public, or to interest
the Society for Psychic Research, and similar bodies, in the daring
transit which we had effected between the world of sentience and
the psycho-astric, or pseudo-ethereal existence. It seemed to me
that we alone had succeeded in thus conveying money directly and
without mediation, from one world to another. Others, indeed, had
done so by the interposition of a medium, or by subscription to
an occult magazine, but we had performed the feat with such simplicity
that I was anxious to make our experience public, for the benefit
of others like myself.
Annerly, however, was averse from this
course, being fearful that it might break off our relations with
It was some three months after our first
inter-astral psycho-monetary experiment, that there came the culmination
of my experiences—so mysterious as to leave me still lost in perplexity.
Annerly had come in to see me one afternoon.
He looked nervous and depressed.
"I have just had a psychic communication
from Q," he said in answer to my inquiries, "which I can hardly
fathom. As far as I can judge, Q has formed some plan for interesting
other phantasms in the kind of work that we are doing. He proposes
to form, on his side of the gulf, an association that is to work
in harmony with us, for monetary dealings on a large scale, between
the two worlds."
My reader may well imagine that my eyes
almost blazed with excitement at the magnitude of the prospect opened
"Q wishes us to gather together all the
capital that we can, and to send it across to him, in order that
he may be able to organise with him a corporate association of phanograms,
or perhaps in this case, one would more correctly call them phantoids."
I had no sooner grasped Annerly's meaning
than I became enthusiastic over it.
We decided to try the great experiment
My own worldly capital was, unfortunately,
no great amount. I had, however, some 500 pounds in bank stock left
to me at my father's decease, which I could, of course, realise
within a few hours. I was fearful, however, lest it might prove
too small to enable Q to organise his fellow phantoids with it.
I carried the money in notes and sovereigns
to Annerly's room, where it was laid on the table. Annerly was fortunately
able to contribute a larger sum, which, however, he was not to place
beside mine until after I had withdrawn, in order that conjunction
of our monetary personalities might not dematerialise the astral
We made our preparations this time with
exceptional care, Annerly quietly confident, I, it must be confessed,
extremely nervous and fearful of failure. We removed our boots,
and walked about on our stockinged feet, and at Annerly's suggestion,
not only placed the furniture as before, but turned the coal-scuttle
upside down, and laid a wet towel over the top of the wastepaper
All complete, I wrung Annerly's hand,
and went out into the darkness.
I waited next morning in vain. Nine o'clock
came, ten o'clock, and finally eleven, and still no word of him.
Then feverish with anxiety, I sought his lodgings.
Judge of my utter consternation to find
that Annerly had disappeared. He had vanished as if off the face
of the earth. By what awful error in our preparations, by what neglect
of some necessary psychic precautions, he had met his fate, I cannot
tell. But the evidence was only too clear, that Annerly had been
engulfed into the astral world, carrying with him the money for
the transfer of which he had risked his mundane existence.
The proof of his disappearance was easy
to find. As soon as I dared do so with discretion I ventured upon
a few inquiries. The fact that he had been engulfed while still
owing four months' rent for his rooms, and that he had vanished
without even having time to pay such bills as he had outstanding
with local tradesmen, showed that he must have been devisualised
at a moment's notice.
The awful fear that I might be held accountable
for his death, prevented me from making the affair public.
Till that moment I had not realised the
risks that he had incurred in our reckless dealing with the world
of spirits. Annerly fell a victim to the great cause of psychic
science, and the record of our experiments remains in the face of
prejudice as a witness to its truth.