Oliver Lodge was a world-renowned physicist and a fearless champion
of survival. One could not really call him a proponent of the
Spiritualist Movement, but he was, surely, an avid believer in
Sir Oliver sought to bring together the transcendental world with
the physical universe. He affirmed, with great conviction, that
life is the supreme, enduring essence in the universe; that it
fills the vast interstellar spaces; and the matter of which the
physical world is composed is a particular condensation of ether
for the purpose of manifesting life into a conscious, individual
Sir Oliver's first experiences in psychical research dates back
to 1883 and 1884, when he was invited by Mr. Malcolm Guthrie to
join his investigations in thought transference in Liverpool,
His most notable observations in physical mediumship were made
with the famous Italian medium, Eusapia Paladino. He attended
four sittings with Eusapia and reported his findings in the Journal
of the Society for Psychical Research, November, 1884. He
accepted the reality of the phenomena observed through the medium,
and he wrote the following concerning his observations:
the facts are to be explained, there is no further room in my
mind for doubt. Any person without invincible prejudice who
had had the same experience would come to the same broad conclusion,
viz., that things hitherto held impossible do actually occur.
one such fact is clearly established, the conceivability of
others may be more readily granted, and I concentrated my attention
mainly on what seemed to me the most simple and definite thing,
viz., the movement of an untouched object in sufficient light
for no doubt of its motion to exist.
I have now witnessed several times; the fact of movement being
vouched for by both sight and hearing, sometimes also by touch,
and the objectivity of the movement being demonstrated by the
sounds heard by an outside observer, and by permanent alteration
in the position of the objects.
result of my experience is to convince me that certain phenomena
usually considered abnormal do belong to the order of nature,
and as a corollary from this, that these phenomena ought to
be investigated and recorded by persons and societies interested
in natural knowledge."
When Eusapia Paladino was, allegedly, exposed -- I say "allegedly"
because I do not think all the facts were taken into consideration
-- Sir Oliver stood by his convictions of her mediumship, stating
that he failed to see any resemblance between the Cambridge phenomena
(the ones he witnessed) and the phenomena observed in France.
In the field of mental mediumship, his greatest source of revelation
and enlightenment was Boston's famous medium, Mrs.
Lenore Piper. His first investigations with Mrs. Piper took
place in 1889, when the medium was tested in England by the Society
for Psychical Research. He received many evidential messages from
loved ones, in Spirit, which soon convinced him that the "dead"
still live. His findings were published in 1890.
Nineteen years later, when close friends and associates -- Frederick
Myers and Edmund Gurney -- communicated through Mrs. Piper, he
made the following comments in his book, Survival of Man:
old series of sittings with Mrs. Piper convinced me of survival
for reasons which I should find it hard to formulate . . . They
also made me suspect -- or more than suspect -- that surviving
intelligences were in some cases consciously communicating;
though, more usually, the messages came, in all probability,
from an unconscious stratum, being received by the medium in
an inspirational manner analogous to psychometry.
hypothesis of surviving intelligence and personality -- not
only surviving but anxious and able to with difficulty to communicate
-- is the simplest and most straightforward and the only one
that fits all the facts."
Admittedly, this is a rather roundabout way of accepting the phenomenon
of mediumship, but, nonetheless, accept it he does.
In September, 1913, speaking from the Presidential Chair to the
British Association, he declared, "Memory and affection are
not limited to that associated with matter by which alone they
can manifest themselves, here and now, and that personality does
persist beyond bodily death."
Perhaps the most convincing and challenging communications were
those which came from his son, Raymond.
September 17, 1915, the War Office notified Sir Oliver and Lady
Lodge that their son, Raymond, (seen above) had been killed
in action on September 14, 1915. On September 25, 1915, Lady Lodge
had a sitting with the renowned medium, Gladys
Osborne Leonard. Raymond communicated and sent this
message: "Tell Father I have met some friends of his." On
asking their names, Frederick Myers was mentioned.
Another medium, Alfred Vout Peters, two days later spoke about
a photograph of a group of officers with Raymond among
them. Various messages came from different mediums. On November
25, 1915, Mrs. Cheves, a complete stranger to the family, wrote
a letter saying that she had a photograph of the officers of the
South Lancashire Regiment of which Raymond was second lieutenant
and offered to send it to the Lodges. They graciously accepted
On December 3, 1915, Raymond, communicating through Mrs.
Leonard's mediumship, gave a complete description of this photograph.
He described himself as sitting on the ground, with a fellow officer
placing his hand on Raymond's shoulder. On December 7,
1915, the photograph arrived and corresponded with the description,
given four days earlier, in every detail.
Many other messages came forward from Raymond, all of which
were very evidential to Sir Oliver and Lady Lodge. Although Sir
Oliver had ample evidence of Spirit survival from the past, the
series of communications from Raymond was, perhaps, the
most meaningful to him, very likely because of his personal involvement
and sense of loss and bereavement. He was, unfortunately, criticized
for his books on Raymond. Researchers felt he was too personally
involved to be objective in his observations and assessments.
When Sir Oliver was asked to speak before the Modern Churchmen's
Conference, in September, 1931, at Oxford, he declared:
I find myself an opportunity of communicating I shall try to
establish my identity by detailing a perfectly preposterous
and absurdly childish peculiarity which I have already taken
the trouble to record with some care in a sealed document deposited
in the custody of the English S.P.R. I hope to remember the
details of this document and relate them in no unmistakable
value of the communication will not consist in the substance
of what is communicated, but in the fact that I have never mentioned
it to a living soul, and no one has any idea what it contains.
People of sense will not take its absurd triviality as anything
but helpful in contributing to the proof of the survival of
It is people such as Sir Oliver Lodge who, over the years, have
given great credibility to a field of study and experience which
has, unfortunately, been plagued by shams and charlatans. To him,
we are eternally grateful. Books written by Sir Oliver Lodge include:
and the Universe, 1908; Survival of Man, 1909; Reason
and Belief, 1910; Life and Matter, 1912; Modern
Problems, 1912; Science and Religion, 1914; The
War and After, 1915; Raymond, or Life and Death, 1916;
Christopher, 1918; Raymond Revised, 1922; The
Making of Man, 1924; Ether and Reality, 1925; Relativity,
1926; Evolution and Creation, 1926; Science and
Human Progress, 1927; Modern Scientific Ideas, 1927;
Why I Believe in Personal Immortality, 1928; Phantom
Walls, 1929; Beyond Physics, 1930; The Reality of
a Spiritual World, 1930; Conviction of Survival, 1930;
Past Years, 1932; and My Philosophy, 1933.