Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Short Triviality: The Rope Trick addendum.

More sifting through Sandersonia: doing this the other night, my buddy came across a reference to the odd lights phenomena occurring during the so-called "Welsh Religious Revival". The reference had nothing to do with the Indian Rope Trick. It DID remind me that The British Society for Psychical Research had a member do quite an effort of researching that phenomenon and they had published a lengthy report in their PROCEEDINGS.

Forgetting two things [one, I already had a reprint of that exact thing from William Corliss; and two, my copies of early SPR materials is composed almost entirely of the little Journals and not the Proceedings], I happily indulged my ignorance with paging through the Journals looking for new information. There was one discussion of the Welsh Revival lights which was interesting, but not enough to make an added posting here. But, in the process, I turned a page and there was a person sending in her personal witnessing of the Indian Rope Trick.

Maybe this isn't worth posting either, but I believe that it is. This will certainly be a rarely-seen piece of "evidence" about a debated phenomenon, [as we saw earlier in the blog], but regardless of the validity of this particular claimed event, this brings up "analytical" questions.

As you can [hopefully] read: the witness here was a married woman visiting India with her husband, and not very interested in these "conjuring" matters. She was on an upper story verandah looking down on the action described from some height. The "trickster" was in the square below. She then says the most unbelievable thing:  "They, among many other tricks, did the 'rope trick'. That is, one of them threw a rope into the air which hitched itself up to apparently nothing in the sky above; ONE COULD SEE THE ROPE GOING STRAIGHT UP AS FAR AS ONE COULD SEE ANYTHING {obviously I'm doing the capitalization of this mind-bending comment}, and it certainly did not on being thrown up at once fall back to the earth again."

Now --- she is asking us to believe that she sees this conjuror, standing well-below the verandah that she is on, and who is directing himself to his audience down there at street-level [she doesn't even feel connected to the performance], toss a rope which not only soars past her verandah's height but so far into the sky that she can't make out the top. Then a boy climbs the whole thing and he too goes out of sight. Regardless of the rest of the claims, they don't add much to the enigma here, as they are very like normal stage magic.

Well.... she's lying, or she's weirding out some way, or she's telling something that really happened.

Guessing time: a]. I don't get the mere lying hypothesis. She's known to one of the members. Her letter doesn't seem to be "selling" anything. She seems humble about her tale, and even, frankly, a bit of a dingbat. [even though a highly literate one]. I'm not comfortable that this is a lie.

b]. I can hardly swallow the "it really happened" hypothesis. Despite our previous blog entry, wherein Jacolliot gives us reason to believe that real yogis can demonstrate very unusual abilities, they seem never to be street-entertainers, nor in any way pandering to the random citizenry. The whole atmosphere of the event is wrong.

c]. Did she weird-out?, and if so how? Someone, as you read, tried to tell her she was "hypnotized". Yeh, right. On the high verandah with a hundred other people both close and distant. THAT would be a greater wonder than the rope going up in the air. But if not THAT, what?

I have no good ideas, but I weakly prefer that there is something wrong with her memories of this that is not lying. What could it be? Could the event have never happened but she had a very vivid dream about the famous trick as it is grossly famously described? In the seven years between the alleged event and the writing of her letter, did the vivid dream shift from dreamscape to realityscape? When I was very young, such mixing up of dream and reality happened occasionally, and in my Mom's last years it happened quite frequently to her. I have no evidence of course, but one wonders.

If such reports COULD be dream shifts, then they tell us something about investigating the anomalies: get there quickly investigators, and have multiple testimonies or other supporting evidence.

At least this post gave me the excuse to "honor" Batman doing the ropetrick, but mainly Yvonne Craig being Batgirl in full regalia.

So it wasn't a waste of time afterall.

Peace and have a little fun, too.

1 comment:

  1. One thing which struck me from the account was that it took place between 2 and 3 pm ie in broad daylight. Her memory may have deceived her about several details, but not about whether it was at night or by day. However, most of the proposed explanations involve a nighttime performance, with the light of a fire or lanterns blinding the witnesses to what is taking place at the top of the rope, in the dark.



Blog Archive