Rosicrucian Writings Online

The Mystical Development of a Child

By The Imperator
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest January 1933]
I AM SURE that all of our members will be glad to know some of the facts regarding the newest of child wonders, little Jackie Merkle, who is now on his way across the United States demonstrating in the theaters of all of the largest and middle class cities his wonderful psychic development.
Not only have I watched Jackie Merkle at work in the theater and have had our members do so also, especially in Hollywood where he visited their homes and went out riding with them to the seashore, the mountains, and the valleys, and upset all of the routine work at the movie studios with his astonishing performances, but I have had him in my sanctum for over an hour for the closest kind of test and examination and spent part of a Sunday evening with him in the lobby of a theater, watching him when off guard, so to speak.
Jackie Merkle at present is not quite five years of age and what he is doing now he has been doing more or less publicly for the past year. He is one of the most charming, handsome, little fellows of his age that anyone would find anywhere, and while speaking of his personal appearance--small, chubby, light complexioned, and with a head covered with riotous blond curls, and large soulful blue eyes--I want to say that there is something of that high cultural development about his make-up and his soul personality that plainly indicates that his psychic development has reached very deeply. He is a typical boy in every sense and very playful even in the midst of his serious work. In fact, he does not take his work seriously at all, except when on the stage.
He is the son of a man who is not very greatly developed in a psychic sense and who spent most of his lifetime as an acrobat on the vaudeville stage. Jackie's mother passed away when he was very young and the father trained him physically, intending to take him into the acrobatic troupe. In fact, he reached so high a stage of physical development in his four years that he was even trained to box, and such fighting men as Jack Dempsey, have put on gloves with little Jackie and playfully boxed with him and have expressed their admiration of his fine physique.
According to the father's story, he noticed when Jackie was very small that there was a very close attunement between himself and the youngster. This attunement was of a sort of emotional kind at first and then appeared to be even deeper than this. The father took advantage of this and trained the boy to concentrate on his father's mind so that they might exchange thoughts. He had no definite purpose in mind in doing this, other than to keep the boy close to him mentally and spiritually during their proposed trips around the country in their acrobatic work. The father rightly judged the value of such attunement in caring for such a young child without the assistance of a wife and mother.
As weeks and months passed, however, he found that the boy's periods of practice in concentration on his father's mind while they would sit in their dressing rooms waiting for their call, or while on the railroad trains, resulted in the boy's ability to sense the thoughts that were passing through the father's mind. One day he discovered that just as he was about to ask Jackie to bring him his slippers, Jackie spoke up and said, "You want your slippers and I will get them." Seizing upon this possibility of mind reading the father proceeded to practice the sending of definite short thoughts to the boy and the successful results were far greater than the law of averages would account for on the basis of guessing or pure intuitional reasoning. Then began a year's intensive practice of thought transmission on the part of the father, and thought reading on the part of the little boy.
We must take into consideration that the boy was too young to read or write and had no schooling of the ordinary kind whatever. Even at the present time Jackie is unable to read in writing any of the words that he so easily and glibly pronounces in his demonstrations. I have noticed that even when he is off guard in his playful moments his own name written on a piece of paper, or printed on some card does not even attract his attention and he does not even recognize it.
The stage of development is finally reached where every definite thought that the father holds in his mind for a fraction of a second is instantly impressed upon the child's mind and the child is fully conscious of it.
The father had admitted to me that the one big problem he still has to contend with, and which was his great problem in the early stages of the development, is that of the tendency on the part of the boy to guess at some things. As he described this problem to me I was reminded instantly of the same condition that confronts our members in their psychological experiments. As an example of this tendency to guess, let me cite this instance. When I asked the father to ask Jackie where my wife was for the afternoon, he instantly replied, "At the San Jose Woman's Club." When the father asked him what she was doing there, he instantly replied without waiting for a moment of concentration, "Playing bridge." Now this was purely a guess on Jackie's part and was not correct at all, for Mrs. Lewis was giving a lecture that afternoon on the subject of art before the art section of the Club. After a second question in this regard he stated correctly what she was doing except that he said she was "preaching" to the class of women.
He has heard so often in his travels and in the questions and answers passing between him and his father that women go to women's clubs to play bridge that he merely assumed and guessed that that was what every woman does at every women's club. Now this is typical, as I have said, as to what happens with our members when they are listening to the inner voice and trying to receive impressions from the Cosmic or from the self within. They allow their outer reasoning and purely objective, deductive reasoning to give them an answer or an idea that is not in accordance with the facts. It is difficult in many cases for persons to tell whether the ideas that come to their minds are from the functioning of their own reason or from the Cosmic, but this is due to the many years' indulgence in coming to conclusions by reasoning. Undoubtedly, many of the answers that Jackie gives to others in answer to his father's questions strike him as being perfectly logical, reasonable, and easily guessed at.
When Jackie was asked about a little, round, paper, pill box that I was holding, but which he did not see, he replied that the article in my hand was a pill box. When asked what it contained, he instantly said it contained pills, but then corrected himself and said, "An emblem." The idea of pills was merely a guess, or, shall we say, a false thought or idea built up quickly in his mind by the objective mind's deductive reasoning, for it is only natural for the mind to reason that a pill box would contain pills. Such reasoning, however, is one of the fundamental errors in our mental process and often leads us all astray in our attempts to interpret Cosmic messages or inner messages at crucial times.
In demonstrating his ability to read the mind, Jackie is limited, of course, in reading his father's mind. The father says that until the boy is absolutely perfect in reading his mind and no longer allows guesses, or influences, or logical conclusions to take the place of the true, mentally transmitted thought, he will not let Jackie experiment with reading the minds of others. Jackie, on the other hand, takes a very peculiar view-point of the whole thing. He thinks, in the first place, that it is perfectly normal and natural for him to read his father's mind. He has never known anything different since he was old enough to reason about the matter, and he likewise feels that it would be rather strange for him to be able to read the mind of any other person for he does not sense and feel the close attunement between himself and others that he feels between himself and his father.
In other words, from his view-point it is perfectly natural for a child to be closely attuned to his father's mind and no one else's. Therefore, everything that one desires to have Jackie read, explain, or describe must be shown first to the father. If you ask Jackie to describe something that you have hidden in your hand or concealed about your person, he will instantly say, "Show it to my father!" or, "Tell it to my Dad." He says these things in the most child-like manner and without any pretentiousness or show of pomp.
Now I know that this very fact opens the doorway to the argument that the father is carrying on a code system of transmission with his son and that the demonstration is no actual proof of mind reading. But if you are going to argue that this father has taught this little boy in two years a system that is so perfect and so elaborate as would be necessary for such demonstrations, then you are going to attribute to this little boy a far greater mind and a far more marvelous memory than was ever possessed by any other child of his age. You are in no way simplifying the matter by such an explanation but are making it more complex, because it would be more difficult to develop such a system of secret code transmission of thoughts and have a child of his age memorize such a system than it would be to develop the real and genuine method of mind reading.
You can imagine what it would mean to develop a system of code signals, either by words or gestures on the part of the father, that would include not only every possible combination of numbers and fractions and decimals but every kind of a name of an individual, city, town, drug, or medicine in almost any language. The father is not a highly educated man as one can easily determine from his imperfect English. However, the father is not required to know all of these things, such as foreign languages, foreign names, chemical names, scientific names, scientific terms, etc., because all of them must be written down on a piece of paper and shown to the father and then he transmits mentally what he sees written on the paper, or what is whispered to him. In this regard the father is much like the telephone that is before you when you are speaking to someone. The telephone will transmit the most difficult of sounds and terms which are spoken to it, without having any consciousness of what they mean. And even Jackie is unconscious most of the time of the meaning of most of the things he says.
Take, for instance, an envelope which the father picked up from my desk while here in my sanctum. It had a number of foreign stamps on it and attracted the father's attention. He lifted the envelope up and read the printed address in the corner of the envelope. When he finished reading it he merely said to Jackie, who was off in an opposite part of the large room, "Where is this from?" And without a moment's hesitancy Jackie said, "From 18 Sanchelstrasse, Prahague, Czechoslovakia, Europe, and the name of the man is Mr.---." He gave the correct name, which was a long, German name, and this coupled with the long address pronounced in very child-like syllables, is longer than any phrase that could be conveyed by any code contained in the simple question, "Where is this from?"
I wrote on one piece of paper a number consisting of nine figures, and the father merely said to Jackie, "What number?" and then looked at the paper and as he read the numbers Jackie called off the nine figures in their proper order.
That the father often makes errors in his thoughts which he transmits is also evident. For instance, I picked up from my desk an Egyptian scarab and showed it to the father. Jackie could not see what was in my hand and the father only looked at it casually and said, "What is it?" and Jackie said, "A green bug." I asked Jackie where the bug came from and pausing for a moment to concentrate his mind on his father, he replied, "From Palestine." When I said this was wrong, the father said that he had only seen one of these things before and he thought they were souvenirs from Palestine. When I wrote down on a piece of paper the name of the country from which they came and showed this to the father, little Jackie instantly replied, "From Gypt." When his father said that this was wrong, Jackie stamped his little foot on the floor and said, "It is right," for Jackie never allows anyone to contradict him unless he has made a guess. He had missed the first syllable of the word, "Egypt" as transmitted by his father, but I noticed later in talking to his father that because of his foreign accent he spoke of Egypt a number of times with a strong accent on the second syllable and slurred the "E" in front of it in such a manner as to make it almost inaudible. This started me testing the father in regard to many words and after I talked with him a while I found that his accent was very strange and that on many words the boy used the same peculiar accent, although in his childish talk between his demonstrations and in connection with all personal matters the boy has absolutely no foreign accent at all.
Nor is it necessary for the boy to look at his father in order to answer the questions. The boy is still so playful and childlike that in my sanctum he spent most of the time on the floor playing with a small flashlight battery, a roll of films, and a long ruler which he balanced one upon the other and caused them to roll and move for him, much like a kitten would play with similar things. The tripod to my moving picture camera also fascinated him and at one time his little legs and the tripod legs were entangled in a very amusing manner while the father was trying to get him to answer a question. Finally he became fascinated in the radio set and in turning the dials and causing various stations to come in and out and while thus occupied in a distant corner of the room with his back turned to his father and me, he answered seven or eight questions without more than a second's pause for concentration and never turning around to face either one of us.
Things written on a piece of paper are read by Jackie as rapidly as the father reads them. If the father takes an open book and starts to read a paragraph selected by us, Jackie will begin to repeat word for word as the father reads, without the father asking a single question. I tried this experiment with a book containing the most profound and difficult scientific terms, all of which Jackie was able to repeat but with a childish pronunciation that is very laughable at times. For instance, he would pronounce the State of Massachusetts as "Massashussits," and he pronounced the word indispensable as "indispansoosul."
When they were ready to leave my office the little boy and the manager of their act went out on the street and the father remained with me to give me a photograph of the boy. While talking with me he said, "Where was your father born?" I told him the name of a very small and little known town in the State of New Jersey and the father merely whistled for Jackie to come from the street back into my office and pointing at me said, "Where was his father born?" Jackie started to run out to the sidewalk again in disgust, because he thought he had finished his demonstration, and on the way out without even looking at his father or at me or stopping to think, apparently, he called out the name of the town and State as mentioned by me to the father.
Now if such close attunement as this can be established between father and child, it is certainly the foundation for more marvelous development than even this ability to read the mind. Mr. Merkle intends to carry on this development of attunement to such a point that he will be able to read the boy's mind in the same manner. At the present time the little fellow has difficulty in concentrating on a thought and transmitting it correctly to the father. In about only fifty per cent of the cases can the father correctly receive the child's idea, but he says that this is improving as the boy grows in experience. He says that the boy has already told him that at night while resting, or partially asleep, or while riding in the train in deep meditation, the little fellow receives impressions from other minds or apparently from the Cosmic which are very vague and difficult for him to describe. He has already learned the difference between a thought sent by his father and those which come from other sources and he says that the difference is in clearness and strength of the thought. The child is perfectly normal in every other ability and has been examined by psychiatrists, psychologists, medical men and others. They say he has a good memory, but that memory alone will not account for two per cent of his marvelous demonstrations. In the theater he stands on the stage before the footlights with his little chubby arms folded across his chest and stamps his feet when the children or younger people in the front rows become noisy and laugh at his cute expressions, and he becomes impatient when the persons in the audience do not respond and say that his answer is correct. He likes the applause and likes the audience to be responsive in every way.
He will appear at most of the theaters in the East in the next few months and if you have an opportunity of seeing Jackie Merkle in any place I would be glad to have you go and if you sit along the aisles of the theater the father will undoubtedly approach you and if you whisper to the father that you are a Rosicrucian he will be glad to meet you, for he is intensely interested in our work and wants all of our members to see what he has accomplished with this child.

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