The Evening Standard and Psychic Progress
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
The Washington Memorial
To The Editor of Light.
Sir, — I have frequently said that we are now living in the Dark Ages, and if I wished to give a proof of the fact I would choose a leaderette which appeared in the "Evening Standard" of March 7th, and which commented upon the demonstration of recent psychic discoveries which I gave to those Pressmen who did me the honour to have tea with me at the Hotel Metropole last week.
The writer, who seems to be a religious bigot with mediaeval instincts, winds up an ignorant and abusive article by the sentence. "The Middle Ages took a very short way with people who promulgated nonsense of this kind."
The nonsense in question was an account of the experiments of Professor Charles Richet, Dr. Geley, Dr. Schrenck- Notzing, Sir William Crookes, Dr. Imoda, Dr. Crawford. Professor Flammarion, Professor Nielsson and others, all of which I illustrated upon the screen. Apparently this strange survival of medievalism thinks that I should share the fate which Giordano Bruno endured and Galileo narrowly escaped, because I put forward the considered view of these great scientists.
What is it that is troubling the "Evening Standard"? It is that ectoplasm is unpleasant, viscous material. That seems to be the root of the matter. It was made, however, by the Creator, and so we may hope for the best. No doubt had the "Evening Standard" been consulted it would have been more refined in its nature; but it is our experience that raw material is somewhat coarse, but may none the less be tempered to something of utility and beauty. So a fuller knowledge may reconcile our mediaeval critic, and he may find that wisdom usually underlies the thing that is. — Yours faithfully,
Arthur Conan Doyle.