„Our alleged facts might be true in all kinds of ways without contradicting any truth already known.“
— William Crookes British chemist and physicist 1832 - 1919
Address to the Society for Psychical Research (1897)
Context: Let me specially apply this general conception of the impossibility of predicting what secrets the universe may still hold, what agencies undivined may habitually be at work around us.
Telepathy, the transmission of thought and images directly from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense, is a conception new and strange to science. To judge from the comparative slowness with which the accumulated evidence of our society penetrates the scientific world, it is, I think, a conception even scientifically repulsive to many minds. We have supplied striking experimental evidence; but few have been found to repeat our experiments, We have offered good evidence in the observation of spontaneous cases, — as apparitions at the moment of death and the like, — but this "evidence has failed to impress the scientific world in the same way as evidence less careful and less coherent has often done before. Our evidence is not confronted and refuted; it is shirked and evaded as though there were some great a priori improbability which absolved the world of science from considering it. I at least see no a priori improbability whatever. Our alleged facts might be true in all kinds of ways without contradicting any truth already known. I will dwell now on only one possible line of explanation, — not that I see any way of elucidating all the new phenomena I regard as genuine, but because it seems probable I may shed a light on some of those phenomena. All the phenomena of the universe are presumably in some way continuous; and certain facts, plucked as it were from the very heart of nature, are likely to be of use in our gradual discovery of facts which lie deeper still.