Mental science: Para-psychology. (1887). Science, 9, 510-511.
The anonymous author of the note stated that “the term ‘para-psychology’ may be invented to apply to those weirdly imaginative systems of thought by which some intellects strive to satisfy their inner longings, and to make the world seem rational” (p. 511). An example of this mental delusion was a case of an architect who went to India to study “internal truth” and developed a system of symbols, presented in a series of drawings. There were five stages of evolution in his system, the fifth of which was described as “so ideally spiritual as to entirely surpass our finite conceptions, and only glimpsed perhaps now and then by a supersensitive clairvoyant” (p. 511). This fifth stage was said to “require a fourth dimension to do it justice
” (p. 511).
This “para-psychological system” was accompanied by “a fanciful application of arithmetical, geometrical and harmonic progression
” (p. 511). The whole project was described as a “sad spectacle of misused talent (and that can be seen in any insane-asylum)
[that] illustrates the great danger of mono-ideism, and of that unchecked imagination which has prepared so many victims to the snares of a mad symbolism” (p. 511).