Strange Powers
epileptic before an attack—he has discussed the subject with epileptics in the course of his work for the Samaritans.) It also explains his 'luck', his ability to get what he wants.
    When he came to Cornwall for the first time, he was driving a blue saloon car. He told me that he always drives very fast being an impatient sort of person—but has never had an accident. This, he said, was because his astral body was 'above' the car, enabling him to tell what was coming. I do not think he meant that literally—for when the astral body is being projected, the physical body goes into a trance. He meant, I suspect, that his 'superconscious' enables him to avoid accidents; and he talked about the astral body because he is aware that there is a close connection (perhaps they are even the same thing). He had a typical story about this. One early morning, driving very fast, he was stopped by a police patrol car; an irate policeman asked him if he was aware that he had overtaken dangerously three times within the past five minutes. Robert, with typical precision, explained that he hadn't been overtaking dangerously. 'It's difficult to explain, but it's to do with partial detachment from the physical body. The Society for Psychical Research can tell you about it—I'm a member myself 'I don't care what bloody society you're a member of. Get out of that bloody car...' But, typically, he escaped without a summons, although the patrol car followed him for miles; then, when he thought he'd lost it, another patrol car followed him, obviously alerted by radio to look out for a nut in a blue saloon car.
    The 'superconscious' hypothesis seems to me to explain his rather curious assortment of powers: dowsing, astral projection, 'making things happen' and getting his own way. But it leaves other questions unanswered. For example: are we dealing with 'natural' powers, pure and simple? This was a question also raised in The Occult. Primitive people believe in external forces of good and evil; we have gone to the opposite extreme, and try to account for everything in mechanical or natural terms. For example, Lethbridge's theory of ghosts regards them as 'recordings' rather than living creatures. But Robert Leftwich mentioned that there are times when his wife—and other people—feel that he is emanating a force of evil—not-strong, perhaps, but noticeable. He says that he is unaware of this; it has nothing to do with malignant thoughts. Is he 'picking it up' from outside himself, and unconsciously transmitting it? I do not know, and he certainly doesn't.
    Again, he has the power to stop people smoking. He described the process to me as follows. The subject sits opposite him, and Robert 'attunes' his mind to him. Robert then induces a feeling of numbness in his own fingers. When the subject says: 'My fingers are feeling numb,' he knows the attuning process is complete. At which point he says: 'This is because you're attuned to me. And I can now assure you that you'll never feel the need to smoke again.' This, he says, has been a failure in only one case—and even then, the man gave it up for three years. This sounds closer to telepathy—or straight hypnosis—than to the use of the superconscious. What is the relation between this power of suggestion and the superconscious? Again, I have no idea.
    And yet I am strongly inclined to believe that we are dealing with natural forces. I have just been playing back the tape I made of a conversation with Leftwich a year ago, and I reflect that Paracelsus would have thought it was sorcery. And so it is, in a way. I know about magnetism imprinting voice patterns in iron oxide; but it still seems strange that a tape should be capable of carrying all the vibrations of the living voice—just as it seems strange to me that a wavy line on the surface of a gramophone record can carry all the complexities of a great orchestra. So it is not difficult to believe that there may be other vibrations and fields of

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