Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Man Called ‘X’ Was Judge David P. Hatch
By ROGER M. GRACE
(The following is excerpted from the introduction to the 1915 book, “War Letters From a Living Dead Man.” It was the second of three books purportedly authored, subsequent to his death in 1912, by Los Angeles lawyer and former Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge David Patterson Hatch. Through “automatic writing,” or “channeling,” British author Elsa Barker supposedly transcribed his messages. Hatch was, in 1896, one of the original tenants of the Wilcox Building in downtown Los Angeles, the building now housing the MetNews offices.)
In the spring of 1914 there was published in London and New York a book of mine called “Letters From a Living Dead Man,” being automatic writings from an American Judge and teacher of philosophy who had been known to his intimate friends as “X.”
In that first book of “X” I did not state who the writer was, not feeling at liberty to do so without the consent of his family; but in the summer of 1914, while I was still living in Europe, a long interview with Mr. Bruce Hatch appeared in the New York Sunday World, in which he expressed the conviction that the “Letters” were genuine communication from his father, the late Judge David P. Hatch, of Los Angeles, California.
For the benefit of those who have not read the former book, I wish to say that “X” was not an ordinary man. He came nearer than any other Occidental of my acquaintance to the mastery of self and life which has been called Adeptship.
After the “Letters” were finished in 1913, during a period of about two years I was conscious of the presence of “X” only on two or three occasions, when he wrote some brief advice in regard to my personal affairs.
On the fourth of February, 1915, in New York, I was suddenly made aware one day that “X” stood in the room and wished to write; but as always before, with one or two exceptions, I had not the remotest idea of what he was going to say. He wrote as follows:
“When I come back and tell you the story of this war, as seen from the other side, you will know more than all the Chancelleries of the nations.”
It may be of interest to some readers if I describe the process of this writing, which has changed gradually from a violent and mechanical seizure of the hand from the outside, as in the beginning of the first book, to a quiet impression on the mind within.
If the reader will imagine a well-known friend of vivid personality present with him, then subtract from that impression the seeing of the physical eye, leaving only the subtle vibration of the actual thinking and feeling presence, then add the indescribable “inner sight,” he may begin to realise how I know that “X” is in the room.
It is probable that Helen Keller knows when her friends are near her, and can tell one from the other, though she is deaf and blind.
When made aware of the presence of “X,” I take a pencil and a notebook, as any other amanuensis [scribe] would, and by an effort of will, now easy from long practice, I still the activity of my objective mind, until there is no thought or shadow of a thought in it. Then into the brain itself come the words, which flow out without conscious effort at the point of the pencil. It is exactly as if I heard the dictation with a single auditory instrument, like a small and very sensitive sphere, in the centre of the brain.
I never know at the beginning of a sentence how it will end. I never know whether the sentence I am writing will be the last or if two thousand words will follow it. I simply write on, in a state of voluntary negativity, until the impression of personality described above leaves suddenly. Then no more words come. The writing is at an end for that time.
The question will naturally arise in the mind of the skeptical reader (it has in mine), whether my own subconscious mind has not itself dictated the following “War Letters from the Living Dead Man,” in the attempt to explain a world tragedy which would have seemed impossible two years ago. But from my long experience in writing for “X,” and from the fact that during two years I had not written for him except on two or three unimportant occasions, though often thinking of him, and from my acquired habit of minute observation of supernormal phenomena, I now feel safe in assuming that I know the difference between the actual presence of “X” and my own imagination of him, my reminiscence of him, or even the suggestion of his presence from another’s mind.
No person who had had even a minute fraction of my occult experience could be more coldly critical of that experience than I am. I freely welcome every logical argument against the belief that these letters are what they purport to be; but placing these arguments in opposition to the evidence which I have of the genuineness of them, the affirmations outweigh the denials, and I accept them.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company