MY SEARCH FOR THE SLEEPING SUBJECT
My search for the time and location of Sadler's
meeting with the Sleeping Subject had been so successful, based on the
report from Harold Sherman, I felt I might meet with equal success in identifying
that unique individual.
I did not. But the clues Sadler provided through
Sherman offer considerable insight into the nature of the episodes, and
the elements which affected the lives of so many people.
Why would we want to know his identity? Sadler
was instructed to not reveal it. Did those instructions hold for all investigators?
I did not receive such instructions. I felt
under no obligation to obey the same commands. God did not tell me I should
or should not engage in such pursuit. If he wanted to keep that identity
a secret then he had to place obstacles in my path which would prevent
My interest was more than idle curiosity. There
were important reasons why the identity of the Sleeping Subject (SS) would
help us understand the unfolding course of the Revelation, and the dangers
it faced as it progressed into the world. The evidence I uncovered suggested
that Sadler relapsed in his strict censure on channeling phenomena, and
that after many years of dependence upon SS he came to a time when that
source was no longer available to him.
Lena died in 1939. If the demise of SS were
nearly coincident Sadler would have been missing two important elements
in his life: the wisdom and cautioning counseling of his wife, and the
lack of instructions from "on high." Or perhaps SS simply stopped exhibiting
that unique behavior. Perhaps he became too old. Or perhaps the Revelators
no longer had a need for him, now that the Revelation was fully revealed.
If so, Sadler no longer had an "instrument" by which he could ask questions
and receive advice. This left a great void, which became an ideal circumstance
for Caligastia to enter into the Sadler household.
If we could identify SS we could determine
personal data, from City Directories, from U. S. Census Reports, from Biographical
Indexes, through contact with descendants or relatives, and so on. We could
get to know his commercial associations, and how he conducted himself in
his business relationships. This would place a keen light on his personal
history, which would show, indeed, that he was a hard-nosed businessman
who did not believe in such nonsense, and that he could not have had a
hand in the creation of the text of The Urantia Papers.
Such knowledge would also help delineate the decisions Sadler made when he created commercial social structures for care of the Revelation, how his personal attitudes led to
such choices, and consequent later dangers to the Revelation. The more we know about such details the more we can assess
the integrity of the Revelation.
But perhaps our Planetary Supervisors intended
that we not have too much information, that we make our assessments based
on faith and truth rather than on technical information.
William Sadler did much to confuse the identity
of the Sleeping Subject. He threw Martin Gardner and everyone else off
the trail by remarks he made in his 1929 book, The Mind At Mischief.
That book became popular and sold numerous copies. Many libraries still
carry it, even if on dusty shelves in the basement. (The sub-title of the
book was Tricks and Deceptions of the Subconscious and How to Cope with
Sadler was perfectly clear on the origin of
Urantia Papers. They did not come through channeling. Although he was
under instruction to not disclose how they came, he was not under any obligation
to state how they did not come. This he did in his presentation to the
group of mainline ministers gathered by Meredith Sprunger.
I repeat his words here:
No living person fully understands just
how The Urantia Papers got translated into the English manuscript
which was authorized for publication.
While this was a perfectly truthful statement
it was intended to deflect further inquiry. Sadler could have gone into
detailed description of the history of his experiences with the Sleeping
Subject, the unfolding of the Revelation through the Forum, and subsequent
developments, but he did not. He was under instruction to not reveal how
the Revelation came. He did not want to become involved in convoluted partial
stories. It was better to leave it with this simple remark.
I can testify that The Urantia Papers
were not the product of automatic writing or any other technique of psychic
legerdemain known to me.
Sadler gave an exhaustive list of all possible
forms of psychic or subconscious phenomena, within his capacity as a Psychiatrist,
to demonstrate clearly that The Urantia Papers did not derive through
any such method. As he emphasized in a further remark:
Note: The technique of the reception of
the Urantia Book in English in no way parallels or impinges upon any of
the above phenomena of the marginal consciousness.
I shall now quote the Appendix to The Mind At Mischief, 1929, in order to broaden this discussion.
|SADLER'S SLEEPING SUBJECT|
In discussions of fraudulent mediums or self-deceived
psychics, the reader of this book has several times encountered the statement
that there were certain exceptions to the general indictments there made,
and was referred to this appendix. It now becomes my duty to explain what
I had in mind when those footnotes were inserted.
In the interest of scientific accuracy on the
one hand, and of strict fairness on the other, it becomes necessary to
explain that there are one or two exceptions to the general statement that
all cases of psychic phenomena which have come under my observation have
turned out to be those of auto-psychism. It is true that practically all
the physical phenomena have proved to be fraudulent, while the psychic
phenomena are almost invariably explainable by the laws of psychic projection,
transference, reality shifting, etc. But many years ago I did meet one
trance medium, a women now deceased, whose vision, revelations, etc., were
not tainted with spiritualism. As far as my knowledge extends, at no time
did she claim to be under the influence of spirit guides or controls, or
to communicate messages from the spirits of departed human beings. Her
work was largely of a religious nature and consisted of elevated sayings
and religious admonitions. I never had the privilege of making a thoroughgoing
psychic analysis of this case, and am not in a position to express myself
as to the extent to which her revelations originated in the subconscious
realm of her own mind. I make mention of the case merely to record the
fact that I have met one instance of psychic phenomena apparently of the
trance order that was not in any way associated with spiritualism.
The other exception has to do with a rather
peculiar case of psychic phenomena, one which I find myself unable to classify,
and which I would like very much to narrate more fully; I cannot do so
here, however because of a promise which I feel under obligation to keep
sacredly. In other words, I have promised not to publish this case during
the lifetime of the individual. I hope sometime to secure a modification
of that promise and to be able to report this case more fully because of
its interesting features. I was brought in contact with it, in the summer
of 1911, and I have had it under my observation more or less ever since,
having been present at probably 250 of the night sessions, many of which
have been attended by a stenographer who made voluminous notes.
A thorough study of this case has convinced me that it is not one of ordinary trance. While the sleep seems to be quite of a natural order, it is very profound and so far we have never been able to awaken the subject when in this state; but the body is never rigid, and the heart action is never modified, tho respiration is sometimes markedly interfered with. This man is utterly unconscious, wholly oblivious to what takes place,
and, unless told about it subsequently, never knows that he has been used as a sort of clearing house for the coming and going of alleged extra-planetary personalities. In fact, he is more or less indifferent to the whole proceeding, and shows a surprising lack of interest in these affairs as they occur from time to time.
In no way are these night visitations like
the seances associated with spiritualism. At no time during the period
of eighteen years' observation has there been a communication from any
source that claimed to be the spirit of a deceased human being. The communications
which have been written, or which we have had an opportunity to hear spoken,
are made by a vast order of alleged beings who claim to come from other
planets to visit this world, to stop here as student visitors for study
and observation when they are enroute from one universe to another or from
one planet to another. These communications further arise in alleged spiritual
beings who purport to have been assigned to this planet for duties of various
Eighteen years of study and careful investigation
have failed to reveal the psychic origin of these messages. I find myself
at the present time just where I was when I started. Psychoanalysis, hypnotism,
intensive comparison, fail to show that the written or spoken messages
of this individual have origin in his own mind. Much of the material secured
through this subject is quite contrary to his habits of thought, to the
way in which he has been taught, and to his entire philosophy. In fact,
of much that we have secured, we have failed to find anything of its nature
in existence. Its philosophic content is quite new, and we are unable to
find where very much of it has ever found human expression.
Much as I would like to report details of this case, I am not in a position to do so at present. I can only say that I have found in these years of observation that all the information imparted through this source has proved to be consistent within itself. While there is considerable difference in the quality of the communications, this seems to be reasonably explained by a difference in state of development and order of the personalities making the communications. Its philosophy is consistent. It is essentially Christian and is, on the whole, entirely harmonious with the known scientific facts and truths of this age. In fact, the case is so unusual and extraordinary that it established itself immediately, as far as my experience goes, in a class by itself, one which has thus far resisted all my efforts to prove it to be of auto-psychic origin. Our investigations are being continued and, as I have intimated, I hope some time in the near future to secure permission for the more complete reporting of the phenomena connected with this interesting case.
The first case can only be Ellen White. There
is no other likely candidate. If we were to assume some other person we
would have extreme difficulty finding that person, and would then have
to put aside the phenomenon of White.
He refers to her as a "trance medium." This
means that her prophetic pronouncements, visions, and religious admonitions
derived from an abnormal state of mind. He admits that he had no opportunity
to study White to determine more exactly the causes or sources of her "spiritual"
emanations. It is true that she never entered into the deceptions of "psychism"
as her source of authority, and believed to the end of her life that her
"messages" truly came from God. John Harvey Kellogg had predicted that
after menopause she would no longer experience "visions." Apparently he
was correct, for after fifty years of age she no longer based her authority
on such sources, although she continued to claim divine guidance. Examination
of her work shows purely human origins for her spiritual admonitions.
The other case refers to the Sleeping Subject.
Sadler identifies it also as a case of "psychic phenomena." In giving it
this classification he once again reverts to common terminology, and demonstrates
inability to clearly delineate his thoughts about the processes involved.
In his adherence to professional reporting Ellen White and SS were simply
other cases of psychic phenomena he was unable to classify.
He states that he was brought into contact
with it in the summer of 1911. He also describes "eighteen years of study,"
These are most extraordinary remarks, and have caused endless difficulty. In the summer of 1911 he was making plans to go to Europe to study under leading psychiatric figures, including Sigmund Freud. By that time he had made up his mind to leave the lucrative practice of surgery to enter the uncertain field of psychiatry. His decision was based on several factors:
Another element was his earlier experience with the social outcasts of the cities. Anyone who has worked with those people soon becomes aware of the impact of mental attitudes on life choices, and states of health.
Still another factor, and perhaps the most immediate to his decision, was his experience with the Sleeping Subject. He had consulted with many "experts" in order to arrive at some understanding of that phenomena, and continued to do so for many years. Perhaps he could come to better understanding if he personally became more acquainted with the "hidden" activities of the human mind and their impact on human behavior.
Still more, he had accumulated considerable experience in his contacts with patients who were "psychics." How could he be more professional in the treatment of such individuals unless he became more expert? And what made SS different from them?
All of this accumulated experience was the motivation
for his decision to enter psychiatry. He did not suddenly encounter a Sleeping
Subject in the spring of 1911, study an individual who had not yet begun
to speak strange "pronouncements" until late in that season, (and then
only on the observation of Lena), and learn that the man had moved into
an apartment "in the same block" that fall while he was in Europe. The
entire sequence and detail is awry if we accept the 1911 date. As he stated
in a letter to Willie White on November 6, 1910, "I have had a very
exceptional, and to me, a very remarkable experience." His decision
matured over several years. It was solidified by this remarkable experience.
Therefore the date of 1911 as the first meeting with SS is unacceptable.
We now know the exact circumstances under which
he first met SS. The first meeting had to be in the spring of 1908. There
is only one period in Sadler's life which satisfies his descriptions, and
that was his purchase of a home in April of that year. (That this took
place in La Grange is evident from his date of 1911.)
Many have pondered the reasons why Sadler gave
this false date. He was not a person to be forgetful of dates and times
and personalities. He had an excellent memory. SS created a momentous new
direction in his life; he would not have confused dates. His travel to
Europe would have been etched indelibly in his mind. Every other event
would have had reference against that date. Therefore, it is natural to
believe he gave a false date with intent. If so, he might have been throwing
a red herring across the trail in attempt to divert later researchers from
discovering the actual sequence of events.
Martin Gardner then accepted this date, without
further research, and thought that Sadler had misplaced the year from 1912,
when Wilfred Kellogg came into the Sadler household. To do so Gardner not
only had to move dates, he had to ignore the many details reported by Harold
Sherman. He had to force the "furnished apartment" into some grotesque
rearrangement of the single family Victorian house on South 6th Street,
with the Sadlers sleeping in an "apartment" upstairs, and the Kelloggs
sleeping in an "apartment" downstairs. Anna Kellogg, the intimate sister
to Lena, then becomes a stranger who heard that they were physicians. He
had to ignore the reported later move of the Sleeping Subject into an apartment
"in the same block" in order to be near Sadler, and other absurd rearrangements
of reality in order to maintain his theory.
The information Sadler made available to us
through Harold Sherman and The Mind at Mischief, leads to certain
crucial deductions. Not until I had pondered these various pieces of information
for some time did I come to realize the important factors. They not only
caused me to pursue the identity of the Sleeping Subject, they also show
why the Sleeping Subject was not a trance medium, and why another, totally
different, process was at work to lead Sadler along his path of investigation.
It is helpful to list here the several elements
which conditioned Sadler's investigation, and the "clues" Sadler provided
which might lead to identification of the Sleeping Subject.
In order to emphasize the conditions of the relationships between SS and Sadler, I list them more explicitly.
(The distance between La Grange and north Chicago was about thirty miles. In 1910 hardly anyone had automobiles. Travel would have to be by train with night schedules that were few and far between. In 1920 many more people had automobiles but the distance over the unpaved roads of those days would have required more than an hour one way. Thus it seems unrealistic that SS remained in La Grange while Sadler lived in North Chicago.)
The man was truly a "sleeping subject." He was
not in a trance state, as we understand it for spiritualist communications
or channeling. The phenomenon always took place only after the man was
in a complete state of sleep, and his conscious mind was totally immersed
in the natural sleep state.
Sadler used the word "trance" to denote that the
man was not in conscious control of his actions and his voice. Some other
force was at work to produce those effects. Thus Sadler could liken it
to the trance state of the spiritualist medium, who also appears to be
under the control of forces other than his conscious ones. Unfortunately,
because Sadler did not recognize spirit entry into human mind, he could
not distinguish clearly between the phenomenon under which the Sleeping
Subject was controlled, and his postulate of the control of the marginal
consciousness for spiritualist mediums. In the latter case the control
was by malign spirit personalities through use of the mind consciously
relinquished; in the former the control was by benign spirit personalities
without use of the mind. The muscles and voice of the Sleeping Subject
were manipulated mechanically without use of his nervous system or his
The reason for entering into these sessions when
the man was totally immersed in sleep was a guiding principle of all loyal
spirit personalities in the universe. They do not violate the sanctity
of human mind, and they do not violate the God-given right of free will.
When a channeler gives over his mind to the "spirits" he relinquishes his
will; he must submit his mind to control by the spirit mind. Otherwise
the "spirits" could not come into his mind. SS did not know when these
phenomena took place; he was utterly unconscious, wholly oblivious, of
the entire proceeding. He never relinquished his mind to the "spirits,"
and he never engaged in channeling. He did not believe in such "nonsense."
One might argue that invasion of the man's body also constituted violation of his free will. But can we argue that Isaiah's transport to a heavenly world was also a violation of his free will. See Isaiah 6. Or we might argue that Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus was a violation of his free
will. Or that John's visitation by celestial beings was a violation of his free will. See Revelation 1:1, and so on. Does God not have the right to use human mortals at his discretion? Did he not create us? Since the man was permitted to continue in his life, according to his personal decisions, can we say there was serious disruption in the man's exercise of his free will? The inability to grasp the relationship of celestial beings with this world was one of the reasons Martin Gardner was led to think the man entered into these "trances" voluntarily. From Gardner's "naturalist" framework the transactions could not be understood any other way.
Not SS or anyone else knew when the phenomenon would take place. The occurrences were random, and since they occurred only when he was asleep, might take place at any time during the night. Thus Sadler's phrase, "night vigils." They never took place during the day. We can imagine what it was like for a group of human beings to be fumbling around in the middle of the night to travel to the home of this unique individual and to study his behavior -- in his bedroom, in his bed, and in his night clothes, while his wife sat by with all these strangers in her private bedroom, wondering what in the world was going on with her husband. She must have been a permissive personality.
When Sadler said the man showed a surprising lack
of interest in these affairs as they occurred from time to time, he meant
that the man was not interested in the productions of the night sessions.
He was a hard-boiled business man who had no interest in "psychic" phenomena
or in "revelations." But he had a definite interest in getting to the bottom
of the phenomenon which was taking place while he was asleep. Otherwise
he would have booted Sadler and all his companion "Contact Commissioners"
out the door.
In denying these night sessions as similar to
spiritualist séances Sadler again reverts to his customary view
of channeling as communication from dead and departed human companions,
when much of modern channeling is from spirit personalities who claim to
originate from other places in the universe. Thus channeling and the performances
of this man had much in common about the "source" of their pronouncements.
But how can anyone distinguish the difference between communications which
come from the Devil and those which come from God. Why did God not use
some other, more reassuring, method?
The answer to this question is founded on our
ability to distinguish truth from falsehood. This is the kernel of the
decision process unfolding today. Those of us who recognize truth will
also recognize the validity of the source; those of us who doubt will not
be able to distinguish the difference. Our decisions will be based on such
"intuitive" process, which, in reality, is the Spirit of the Father, and
the Spirit of Truth, working within us. Those are the conditions God imposed
Sadler used all the methods at his command in
attempt to understand the origin of the messages. He used psychoanalysis,
hypnotism, and intensive comparison while the man was awake, in conscious
state, to determine the source. He was unable to do so. If the material
had come through the man's mind, memory of it would have been lodged there;
he would have revealed that knowledge through the several psychological
methods Sadler employed in his investigation. Since it is possible to bypass
the conscious mental circuits during hypnosis Sadler should have been able
to locate the material in the man's subconscious mind. He was unable to
In fact, the material was contrary to the man's
habit of thought, what he had been taught and believed, and his life philosophies.
When Sadler searched libraries for similar information he was unable to
find parallels in published material. If Sadler had known about the book
of Oahspe, or had been acquainted with the teachings of theosophy,
he might have concluded differently. But such sources were beyond the interest
or knowledge of both SS and Sadler.
I debated the wisdom of the discovery of SS for
many years. In fact, I strongly felt it were better left unknown. Sadler
had been instructed to not reveal the identity, and held tightly to that
command throughout his life. Those others of his family and the "Contact
Commissioners" who knew that identity also respected that command. And
then a series of events began to unfold which altered my view. Martin Gardner
had forced us to a clear reexamination of our understanding and our concerns.
His gross distortions of reality might be the only record this world would
ever know. Should we correct them? Should we marshal all of our knowledge
and insight into a refutation of Gardner, or more profoundly, should we
offer information to the world which would permit everyone to reach their
own conclusions? I left it in God's hands. If he wanted me to know, and
to convey that knowledge to others, he would show me. If he did not I would
not discover the identity of the man.
We knew from Gardner's research and the letters
in his possession from the files of Harold Sherman that the man's name
was rumored among early members of the Forum. In a letter to Loose dated
September 10, 1942 Sherman states, "It has come to me a number of times
recently that the last name of the subject or instrument was Brown."
This was another fact in Gardner's possession which should have warned
him against Wilfred Kellogg as SS. In my investigations I could find no
Brown who met the several criteria.
What now follows are the details on my attempt to identify SS.
Sherman reported that Sadler told him SS was a
member of the Chicago Board of Trade, and "Stock Exchange." Sadler, and
his son Bill Sadler, Jr., revealed this fact many times. I first heard
of it from Everett Johnson in 1971, who had visited Sadler in 1960 to learn
more of the origin of the Revelation. Chicago had two trade organizations
which dealt with food products. The Mercantile Mart, then known as the
Butter and Egg Board, traded in fresh produce, while the Board of Trade
traded in long-term storage products, in grains. The "Stock Exchange,"
of course, would deal in corporate stocks and bonds. It would have been
highly unusual for SS to be a member of both the Board of Trade and the
"Stock Exchange." If SS were a member of the last he probably would have
been referred to as a "Broker," but that was not the term Sadler used with
Sherman. Perhaps Sadler was confused or perhaps Sherman was confused in
his memory of Sadler's remarks.
If the Sleeping subject were listed in the La
Grange Village Directory all one need do is locate all individuals identified
as members of the Board of Trade, as Commission Merchants, or as Brokers,
and pursue their personal moves from year to year through addresses and
On Tuesday morning, April 1, 1997 I visited
the Board of Trade in Chicago and obtained a list of members for the year
1908 from Bob Lynch, administrator of the Records Department. On Wednesday
morning I obtained copies of the 1908 La Grange Directory from the women
at the Historical Society. I then spent that afternoon and evening comparing
the lists of more than 1800 persons against one another.
I found ten individuals who were listed as
"Board of Trade." I found another seven who were identified as "Commission
Merchants." I also found another six persons identified as "Brokers." The
question then before me was this, "Did any of those individuals meet the
Sadler stated that the lease of SS expired on
his first apartment that fall, the apartment in which Sadler first met
him, and that he thereupon moved into another apartment "in the same block."
Therefore, the address of SS should change from 1907 or 1908 to 1909, and
should be in close proximity to Sadler.
Of the twenty-three candidates nineteen continued
to live at the same address from 1907 to 1910. Two were not listed after
1908. One man moved between 1907 and 1908 and again between 1908 and 1909,
but to addresses not near Sadler -- certainly not in the "same block."
Also this man continued to live at his last address into 1920. The remaining
man moved to addresses convenient to Sadler, but after 1909. He also failed
to move in the "same block."
Two other possibilities existed. Perhaps the individual
was not listed in the La Grange Directory, just as the Sadler's had not
been listed in 1904 and 1905. This might especially be true if SS lived
in an apartment, rather than in a house. If so we would not be able to
identify him. In the other possibility he might not be identified in any
of the professional categories I explained above. Therefore I examined
the La Grange Directory for all male individuals who were not identified
by trade and who lived within a four-block radius of Sadler. This gave
me another thirty-two candidates. Of those, seven were not listed after
1908; I could not follow their movements. The remaining individuals either
continued to live at the same address, or moved to addresses which were
not compatible with the criteria I had established.
I could test the validity of an apartment in the
"same block" as Sadler by examining the U. S. Census reports for 1910.
When the census takers collect their data they progress up one side of
a street and down the other, in sequential order. They list all family
members, (and servants), with names, ages, and occupations. Thus one is
able to determine not only the household composition of the person under
investigation, but also of all his neighbors. In fact, one can proceed
through an entire Enumeration District to determine all persons at all
addresses for that census year. Obviously this becomes a tedious task,
limited by the practical restraints of time and financial resources.
From village maps for 1909 I was able to find
multiple family dwelling "in the same block" on South 6th Avenue in La
Grange that would indicate an "apartment." But strangely, those addresses
were not included in the Census survey! There was another possibility.
Perhaps Sadler had meant that the man moved "in the same block" on adjacent
streets, on 7th or 5th Avenues. I found none on 7th Avenue, a residential
street like 6th Avenue. 5th Avenue is now La Grange Road, and was the main
business thoroughfare through the Village. I found multiple family dwellings
on that street, but none of the persons were brokers, grain buyers, or
If SS had moved in La Grange to be near Sadler, because he did not want the Sadlers traveling great distances during the middle of the night, then we would expect the same principle to hold after the Sadlers moved from La Grange to north Chicago in 1913. SS also should have moved to the same neighborhood in north Chicago. Unfortunately, with elimination of the three dozen candidates while in La Grange I had no candidates left to follow. I attempted to locate the several who were no longer listed in La Grange after 1909, but again was unsuccessful. The trails were too nebulous, and too many persons with the same names appeared in U. S. Census reports for Chicago and environs for 1920.
I eventually reached the view that lack of identity
of SS may be part of the conditions for each of us to reach our own decisions
regarding the Revelation. Perhaps we might unduly emphasize his importance,
in attempt to avoid the personal crises which will now face each and everyone
I left the effort behind, satisfied that I had been faithful as a researcher, and to the trust others might place in my integrity.