Page 20 - The.Unobstructed.Universe
P. 20

Nevertheless, I did not, and the slippers annoyed me, because I HAD 
remembered many things quite as inconsequential. Only recently, in 

California, was that reference tidied up.

Twice again, at intervals, she prodded me about the blue slippers. Still, 

all I could remember concerning the slippers was her own three references 
to them--each pointed enough to make me realize that in this instance my 
memory, or hers, had failed. I racked my brains trying to remember, for, 

with this solitary exception, Betty's record of evidential personal 
communication with me had been perfect. I did not want her achievement 
even so slightly spoiled! But I could not conjure up the haziest 

recollection. The slippers were out.

The last week in February, 1940, before starting the work of putting this 

book together, I cleaned up a number of matters entrusted to me by Betty. 
Among them was the typing and delivery of several letters she had 
dictated, through Joan, to various friends. One of the letters was to her 

favorite nurse who had accompanied her home from a hospital siege in 1937 
and stayed several weeks in the house. Betty had nicknamed her Johnnie 

and the two women had become very good friends.

I left Johnnie's letter till the last. Betty had said when she dictated 

it, "Johnnie thought I was a nut. At first she thought I was crazy. I 
knew it all the time. I said to myself, 'Well, I'll show Johnnie!'"

I had not seen Johnnie for many months. Beyond Betty's comment that 
Johnnie had thought her "a nut" I had no idea what Johnnie's attitude 
might be toward psychic phenomena. I did know that her training and 

experience had, of necessity, given her a pragmatically scientific and 
probably thoroughly materialistic outlook. Her job is to fight disease 
and death. She does it magnificently, never wavering for an instant. But 

when death comes, so far as Johnnie's training is concerned, the job is 

From the context of the letter I knew it would be either highly 
evidential or--probably--a complete dud. It was full of specific and 
intimate personal detail: And I had not forgotten the specific and 

detailed description of the "house with the square towers" presumably 
intended for Millicent that turned out to have no significance. This 
house and the blue slippers were, before my going to see Johnnie, the two 

outstanding marks against Betty's incredibly high batting average.

As I say, I did not know Johnnie's attitude toward psychic phenomena. 

Neither did I know if--broadminded though she might be about it--she knew 
anything of the technical difficulties of communication or the technique 
of sifting out "evidential." In other words, if there were inaccuracies 

in the letter, would she--as my experience has taught me most people of 
her highly specialized training do--ditch the WHOLE incident and in the 

back of her head write down Betty even more definitely as "a nut." I 
mailed the message, however, but anticipated an impending visit from 
Johnnie with a good deal of diffidence, I must admit.

One of the things that bothered me was an emphatic statement by Betty: 
"The child will get well." What child? Johnnie is a surgical nurse and 

more or less specializes in adult patients; or such was my understanding 
when she was taking care of my wife.

However, "the child will get well" proved particularly and peculiarly 
evidential. In fact, a great part of the letter was evidential, as 
Johnnie, no matter what her personal attitude on psychic phenomena, was 

quick honestly to admit. Some she failed to recognize, but her sharp and


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