Wolf Messing.

As all of the facts reported in the first two parts of this story all happened on the other side of the Iron Curtain, some people thought that they might have been some sort of attempt at misinformation.  However, everything is true.  The magazine Science and Religion reported most of them, and it certainly cannot be suspected of complaisance, since its vocation is to fight against religion and the supernatural, by demonstrating that everything has a rational explanation.  No telepath has ever been as tested as Wolf Messing, for at the epoch of his greatest successes, it was absolutely forbidden to refer to questions touching the unknown powers of the mind.  There are also official texts of these black years of Stalinism which try to prove that telepathy cannot exist and that those who use it are tricksters and “hooligans”…

***

There would appear to be a flagrant contradiction between what was done and what was said about it.  However, the talent of this paragnostic was so great that official propaganda wanted to use it and it is for this reason that the Minister for Culture hired him.  At the same time asking him to pudically call his shows, “Psychological Experiments”.  In a series of articles which appeared in Planete in 1966, Louis Pauwels, whose work I have translated, made these Messing souvenirs known in France.  That they were able to pass the censure wall obviously pleads in their favour.  Not as much however as the effort made by the Soviets to prove that Messing’s gifts can be explained scientifically by what they call the “ideomotrice theory”.  The inexplicable character of the paragnostic’s exploits deeply troubled the authorities of the epoch.  Well-known scholars therefore put all their efforts into convincing themselves that the telepath perceived messages by instantaneously translating the slightest muscular contractions of those, for example, who held his hand for certain experiments, or “readings” that he was capable of making of changes in expression or respiratory modifications in the person opposite him.  This materialist, “behaviourist”, theory of things, is quite incapable of responding to the rich reality of Messing’s comportments.  On the one hand, the researchers who examined him had to recognize that his telepathic activities were somewhat facilitated when he wore a blindfold, for he could concentrate better, and of course, ideomotor movements cannot at all explain his paranormal perceptions at a distance, or the fact that he can also capture abstract ideas.  He writes in Science and Religion:

“I find complex and original thoughts easier to understand, doubtless because they are more interesting”.

In the absence of any explanation, the constant rule which says that the telepath – not only Messing, but also others – better discern strongly visualised messages, could put us onto the path of explanation.  In this way, the messages sent to him by deaf-mutes, even if they have a very symbolic form, impose themselves more easily on him, precisely because these disabled people are better able to abstract themselves from the outside world which perturbs telepathic “waves”, and to think in a way that is much more visual than the others.  Another one of Messing’s remarks is important:  what interests him more is better perceived.  There is another constant which says that the affective element plays an essential role for good perception.  The Americans have been able to prove that the best telepathic scores were made by subjects who felt physical or intellectual attraction to each other…

***

Everyone knows that in everyday life, people who love each other are able to surround themselves with an affective aura which greatly facilitates spontaneous telepathic exchanges…  Rhine was able to determine that the percipients who had the best results were those who trusted him and who immediately liked him.

***

Wolf Messing was able to describe what happened to him during his experiments.  All of his descriptions were prolonged by reflections on the nature of the space-time continuum which is at the heart of this paranormal faculty.  He says:

“By an effort of will, I suddenly see the final result of a given event appear in a flash before my eyes…  The future is composed of what follows on from the past and the present.  One finds regular paths of connection between them.  The mechanism of these connections is far from being elucidated, but as for me, I clearly know that one exists…  It is just because we possess only confused ideas on the signification of time and of space-time relations and its connection to the past, that precognition, or direct knowledge of the chain which determines an event, seems inexplicable to us today.”

Like all true clairvoyants and like all the scholars who deal with them, Wolf Messing always assures that his faculties comport absolutely nothing basically incomprehensible or supernatural.  That these unexplained powers are an integral part of Nature, which is infinitely vaster and more disconcerting than we are able to conceive…

***

Stalin had forbidden the study of parapsychic phenomena. Everything changed after his death.

Stalin was interested in any power which could escape him, in any increase in power which could come to him.  It is certain that the narrow dogmatism which prevailed at Stalin’s epoch forbade our paragnostic to give the whole of his measure.  But by receiving him, Stalin at least proved the interest that he attached to what Messing did best, read other people’s thoughts…

***

After de-Stalinisation, things completely changed.  With highs and lows, as always in the former USSR, the Soviets probably went farther in this domain than any others.  Vassiliev firstly, then Naumov, plunged into paranormal psychic phenomena, along with a lot of other high-ranking people in Physiology, Biology and Geology.  In 1960, Vassiliev declared before a meeting of the greatest Soviet scholars:

“Today, the Americans are doing advanced telepathic experiments on their atomic submarines.  Over the last quarter of a century, our own scholars have obtained completely conclusive results in the same domain.  The research undertaken in Stalin’s time must at last be published!  The discovery of the energy represented by unknown psychic powers will be of the same importance as that of nuclear energy!… “

To be continued.

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