Buchanan was an American scientist, Faculty Dean and Professor in
the Eclectic Medical Institute, in Covington, Kentucky, and research
pioneer in psychometry. It was Joseph Buchanan who, in 1842, coined
the term "psychometry" as meaning the "measuring of the soul."
Polk of the Civil War once told Professor Buchanan of his curious
sensitivity to atmospheric, electric, and other physical conditions.
If he touched brass in the dark, he immediately knew it by its influence
and the offensive metallic taste in his mouth.
began to experiment and soon discovered that these sensations are
not restricted to the sense of taste alone. Students of a Cincinnati
medical school registered distinct impressions from medicines held
in their hands. In order to eliminate thought transference, the
substances were wrapped in paper parcels and mixed.
it became very evident to Dr. Buchanan that some type of emanation
is thrown off by all substances, even by the human body; furthermore,
certain sensitives can feel and interpret these emanations in their
normal state. Actually, he was staggered by the possibilities of
this discovery. He stated:
is entombed in the present, the world is its own enduring monument;
and that which is true of its physical is likewise true of its
mental career. The discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to
explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore
the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists
as well as mineral fossils for the geologists; and I believe that
hereafter the psychologist and the geologist will go hand in hand,
the one portraying the earth, its animals and its vegetation,
while the other portrays the human beings who have roamed over
its surface in the shadows, and the darkness of primeval barbarism.
Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the
depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and
tragic passages of ancient history."
If you consider
this statement, along with the era in which it was spoken, it really
is quite remarkable how far ahead of his time Dr. Buchanan was.
the subtle emanation given off by the human body "nerve aura." In
the Journal of Man, one of the first Spiritualist
monthlies, he published a complete exposition of his system of neurology
for Dr. Buchanan, was essentially a human faculty of the mind; he
did not feel it involved the intervention of spirits. However, Mrs.
L. A. Coffin, in her preface to Dr. Buchanan's Manual of Psychometry
(Boston, 1889), states that she was often impressed by spirits while
performing psychometry. This was not in conflict with Dr. Buchanan's
views, as he was an avowed Spiritualist. He simply felt that psychometry
was primarily a psychic faculty, not a mediumistic influence.
Manual of Psychometry, is considered to be the most
authoritative text written on psychometry.
was one of very few medical professionals who, with great determination,
defended the Fox sisters, when they were experiencing incredible
In the course
of his investigations, primarily through the mediumship of Mrs.
Hollis-Billing, Dr. Buchanan received direct writing, purportedly
from St. John. After being held in privacy for 17 years, these communications
were published in 1897 under the title of "Primitive Christianity.
Containing the Lost Lives of Jesus Christ and the Apostles and the
Authentic Gospel of St. John."
that he tested the St. John script, properly concealed, with three
psychometrists -- Cornelia Buchanan, Mrs. Hayden, and the famous
Dr. J. M. Peebles -- and all three agreed as to its source, giving
very similar descriptions of a great spirit devoted to Jesus Christ.
I have read this book and, personally, I am not totally convinced
that it is direct communication from St. John. Nonetheless, the
text is quite remarkable.
On other occasions,
but in similar manner, Dr. Buchanan obtained between slates a portrait
of Moses and the Tablets of the Law, a picture of Aaron, of Helen
of Troy, of John the Baptist, and communication from Confucius.
Again, he substantiated the sources of these items though reputable
of what one may think of these more recent revelations, the work
of Joseph Rodes Buchanan played a very important role in the history
of Spiritualism. He was a pioneer in one of the most amazing and
mysterious faculties of human consciousness.
Ayer, founder of our Church, was a very close friend of Dr.
Buchanan. In fact, he served as Honorary Treasurer on a committee
established to help promote the research Dr. Buchanan was conducting
on psychometry. The committee consisted of reputable Spiritualists,
in the Boston area, including the renowned Andrew
images of the front and back cover of a pamphlet which was published
in 1885 and sold for the benefit of "The Testimonial and Honor-Fund
to Dr. J. R. Buchanan." Our founder's name is fairly easy to make
out and, with a bit of focus, you can see the name of Andrew Jackson
Davis (right column, third name down).
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