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THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY

MARGARET DE GAUDRION MERRIFIELD VERRALL

(Mrs. A. W. Verrall), classical scholar. B. December 21, 1859, Brighton, England; d. July 2, 1916, Cambridge, England. Educ. Newnham College, Cambridge. M. 1882, Arthur Woollgar Verrall (q.v.; d. 1912): 2 d. Lecturer in classiscs at Newnham College, Cambridge, 1880-82 (also lectured there at intervals unitl shortly before her death); secretary, 1914-18, University Belgian Committee in Cambridge.

One of the best known of all the early researchers, Mrs. Verrall joined the Society for Psychical Research, London, in 1889, serving on the SPR Council from 1901 to 1916. A close friend of F.W.H. Myers (q.v.), she took part, at his request, in a number of the sittings organized by the SPR with teh American medium Mrs. Leonore Piper (q.v.).

In 1901 Mrs. Verrall herself started "automatic writing," and in the same year produced by this means many messages purporting to be from recently deceased members of the SPR, including Myers. Many of her scripts formed part of the famous SPR "cross-correspondences," in which a number of automatists, including Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Verrall's daughter, Mrs. W. H. Salter (q.v.), produced scripts which, although individually meaningless, appeared, when analyzed and pieced together, to indicate that purposeful intelligences were originating them.

The cross-correspondences have been widely cited as evidence for the survival hypothesis, and were regarded as such by Mrs. Verrall herself. An analysis of many of the scripts which she contributed to the SPR Proceedings in 1906 marked the beginning of an exhaustive study of this type of automatism.

Mrs. Verrall's articles in the SPR Proceedings including "Some Experiments in teh Supernormal Acquisition of Knowledge" (Vol. 11, Part 16, 1889); "On the Apparent Sources of Subliminal Messages" (Vol. 11, Part 27, 1895); "Notes on the Trance Phenomena of Mrs. Thompson" (Vol. 17, Part 44, 1901-03); "On a Series of Automatic Writings" (Vol. 20, Part 53, 1906); "Classical and Literary Allusions in Mrs. Piper's Trance" (Vol. 24, Part 60, 1910); "Notes on the Cross-Correspondence "Cup" (Vol. 25, Part 63, 1911); "Report on a Series of Experiments in "Guessing" (Vol. 29, Part 72, 1916).


Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications


 
 

 

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