© Colin Wilson 1984 
I feel that it is largely my own fault that I missed the pleasure - and profit - of knowing T.C.Lethbridge. He moved to Devon in 1957, the same year that I moved to Cornwall; so until his death in 1971, we were living within a hundred miles of one another. Moreover, in 1965, I picked up a copy of his book, Witches: Investigating an Ancient Religion, and observed opposite the title page that he had written a book called Ghost and Ghoul.
Two years later, I was commissioned by an American publisher to write a book on ‘the occult’, and settled down to research the subject. I actually quoted Witches in the finished book.  Not long after the book appeared, a correspondent asked me why I didn’t contact Lethbridge, since he lived so close; accordingly, I packed up a copy of The Occult and sent it to him, together with a letter introducing myself.
It was his wife, Mina, who replied, telling me that he had died recently. It was only then, lazily and belatedly, that I bought a copy of Ghost and Ghoul, and realized with astonishment - and chagrin - that here was a completely new and original theory about the nature of ghosts, which ought to have been discussed at length in my book. I made a kind of belated apology by dedicating my book Strange Powers, to Lethbridge and his wife Mina.
Since then, I have read all his books, with a growing sense of frustration at the missed opportunity. Now, in introducing his last book, I can at least pay tribute to a man who seems to me to be one of the most remarkable and original minds in parapsychology.
Curiously enough, this interest developed only after the Lethbridges moved to Branscombe, in Devon. Before that, Lethbridge had spent most of his adult life in Cambridge - where he was Keeper of Anglo-Saxon Antiquities at the University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. 
Born in 1901, he came to Cambridge soon after the First World War as a student.  His attitude to Cambridge seems to have been ambivalent; he left there in 1944 because he was sick of it, but returned because he missed it. By 1957 - when Gogmagog appeared - the love affair with Cambridge was definitely over; he felt the place was becoming too brash and noisy, and the hostile reception given to Gogmagog by archaeological colleagues did nothing to strengthen his attachment.
Mina - whose family is from Devon - located Hole House, a fourteenth-century house, with attached cottage, near Branscombe, and felt that this was the place they had always been looking for. She was right; they were exceptionally happy there.
Up to this time, Lethbridge’s major works were Merlin’s Island (1948), Herdsmen and Hermits (1950), The Painted Men (1954) and Gogmagog (1957); there are also a number of smaller works on boats including Boats and Boatmen (1952) and Coastwide Craft (1952). Nothing is more obvious than that Lethbridge thoroughly enjoyed writing. It was probably fortunate that he came to it late.
He had always been a ‘loner’, whose twin loves were archaeology and the sea. By the time he was in his mid-forties, this independence of mind was well developed and was expressed in a style that was easy, casual and personal. Merlin’s Island begins by explaining that the friends whose help he acknowledges are in no way responsible for the ‘damnable heresies’.  In a foreword to Herdsmen and Hermits, T.D. Kendrick, Director of the British Museum, comments with a kind of reluctant admiration: ‘It is here that his opinions, on such subjects, for instance, as the early voyages in northern waters, become almost aggressively memorable, even when one has decided not to believe in them. “This pretty picture may be absolutely incorrect”, he remarks cheerfully when talking of the brooch people.’
Gogmagog: The Buried Gods  is the story of Lethbridge’s search for a giant figure cut into the turf near Cambridge, and it includes a number of startling theories - such as that Druidism and Brahmanism had a common origin at some time in the remote past. It is possible to understand why it aroused academic hostility.
To begin with, a number of references to his friend and colleague Margaret Murray make it clear that he accepts her basic theory, advanced in The God of Witches that ‘witchcraft’ is an ancient nature religion based on the worship of the moon goddess Diana. The theory has always had many supporters, and as many bitter opponents, who regard it as little better than imaginative fiction. Margaret Murray enjoyed the dismay she caused; she even enjoyed teasing her academic colleagues until they were speechless with rage.
Lethbridge’s book concludes that the ancient religion of prehistoric England was the worship of the earth mother, Magog, who is identified with the moon, and her husband Gog, the sun, and his views could be interpreted as powerful support for Margaret Murray’s theories of ‘wicca’. As I re-read the book, I can see why it would enrage academic historians; what is astonishing is that a member of an academic community - and keeper of a university museum - could write with such breezy independence of mind and such a lack of the usual conditional clauses.
If the attacks hastened Lethbridge’s decision to leave Cambridge, then we should thank his hostile colleagues. The independence allowed his mind to return to a subject that had always interested him: the hidden powers of the mind. His mother had been fascinated by the subject of fortune telling and in the days of his first marriage Lethbridge himself had taken an interest in the powers of a clairvoyant who was able to ‘see’ scenes from the past.
Lethbridge had seen a ghost in his undergraduate days at Cambridge - I shall refer to this again in a moment - and had also discovered, at a fairly early stage, that he was a good dowser.
Now, at Branscombe, they made the acquaintance of an elderly lady who was wholly immersed in ‘occult’ subjects. She talked to them about pendulums, pentagrams and related matters. She was also, apparently, able to ‘project her astral body’, and wander around and visit her acquaintances at night, as he tells in this present book. 
Lethbridge apparently tried his skill with a pendulum, and discovered that it worked. The pendulum is used in much the same way as the divining rod but can give far more information. Not only will it swing in a circle over some buried object (say, a silver spoon) but can also give precise information on the age of the buried object. It can ‘answer questions’ - which leads Lethbridge to conclude that it actually serves as some form of contact between a part of the mind that already knows these things, and our limited everyday consciousness.
I personally have no doubt whatever that certain minds can perceive all kinds of things that are hidden from the rest of us. I spent two days in Utrecht making a television documentary about the ‘paragnost’ Gerald Croiset. Like some freak television set, Croiset’s mind picks up spontaneous ‘pictures’ of other times and other places.
For example, he might be handed a wrapped parcel connected with an unsolved murder case, and say: ‘This contains a cigarette box and a potato sack. The box came from the house of one of two brothers who murdered a teenage girl in a cow barn, and the sack was used to wrap her body…’
Croiset is also able to ‘see’ the future; in many cases of drowning, he has been able to say: ‘The body will float to the surface next Tuesday morning in the vicinity of the maritime museum in the Hague…’, and has been proved correct.
Croiset’s everyday consciousness is apparently able to have direct contact with this ‘other mind’ - perhaps the Superconscious - that knows such things. Lethbridge believes that, for at least one third of mankind (perhaps more), the pendulum can produce the same kind of results, although with less detail.
The experience of using the pendulum, and the sense of freedom from academic restraints, apparently decided Lethbridge to write a book about ‘occult’ topics. The result was Ghost and Ghoul, a book I now heartily wish I had read when it appeared in 1961.
In this book, Lethbridge advances the interesting theory that many ‘ghosts’ - perhaps the majority - are simply a form of ‘tape recording’. This line of thought developed from his experience with pendulums. He had established, to his own satisfaction, that material things retain the impress of events in which they have been involved. A sling stone used in a battle two thousand years ago still gives a reading for ‘anger’ when a 40-inch pendulum is suspended above it.
A paragnost like Croiset might well receive actual impressions of the battle as he held the stone. Is it not possible that many ‘ghosts’ are ‘recordings’ that are played back accidentally when the right observer comes along? The same thing seems to be true of ‘ghouls’, or the ‘nasty feeling’ that can be experiences in certain places.
Lethbridge has a fascinating story, dating back to 1924, of a ghoul he encountered in a chorister’s school in a cathedral close. He and a friend walked into the spot at the bottom of the stairs and experience a ‘wall of icy cold’, imbued with a feeling of misery. When they stepped towards it, the ‘ghoul’ retreated up the stairs. They followed it step by step up to the roof, wondering if it would suddenly materialize and confront them; instead, it reappeared behind them, and they drove it back downstairs to the hall. This ‘ghoul’, Lethbridge thought, had been projected from the subconscious mind of some person who was afraid of a ghost that was reputed to haunt the end room in the corridor.
A comparison of Ghost and Ghoul (1961) and Ghost and Divining Rod (1963) enables us to see the way in which Lethbridge’s theories developed.  In the earlier book, he had described seeing the ghost of a woman of about seventy in a garden near Hole House, and advanced the theory that she was a ‘projection’ of somebody’s mind.
Now, in Ghost and Divining Rod, he draws a further conclusion from something he had already noticed in the earlier book: that an underground stream ran under the lane where he was standing, imparting to the atmosphere above it a ‘tingly’ feeling. He also mentions a ‘ghoul’ which both he and his wife experienced on Ladram beach at a spot where a stream ran into the sea.
Could the ‘electromagnetic field’ of the water be somehow to blame - that same ‘field’ that produces the response in the dowsing rod? Is it possible that such fields can receive the impress of an emotion, as the sling stone received the impress of anger, and transmit it later to someone who stands on the same spot? He invents the term ‘naiad field’ for the electromagnetic field of water, and advances the suggestion that mountains and open spaces (like deserts) may also have their own individual fields.
Throughout the nine ‘occult’ books,  Lethbridge’s thought is always changing and expanding. Sometimes he changes his mind completely; more often, he modifies a theory advanced in an earlier volume. None of the books attempts to present a complete ‘system’ of ideas; a theme that is only mentioned in one may be developed in another.  The final impression is of a brilliant, intuitive intelligence that never ceases to develop.
My own impression is that with the book called ESP: Beyond Time and Distance (1965), Lethbridge entered a new phase of his investigation. In the preface, he describes an incident that occurred on one of his early journeys of exploration to Greenland; chasing a wounded bear, he suddenly fell through a hole in the ice and found himself floundering in icy water. Now, he says, something of a similar nature has happened to me again: ‘I seem to have suddenly fallen through into [a world] where there are more dimensions.’
I feel that, up to this point, he had thought of himself basically as an archaeologist and naturalist who was pursuing a rather interesting sideline. Now it seems as if he has suddenly recognized that what he is ‘on to’ may be more important than any of his work as an archaeologist. The books take on a new force and direction; now he experiments non-stop with the pendulum, and makes all kind of interesting discoveries.
For example, a casual remark by his wife - about why some trees are considered ‘unlucky’ - led him to try studying various types of wood with the pendulum. Elder - a traditionally unlucky tree - gave a reaction for maleness and repulsion, while rowan - regarded as a protection against magic spells - gave a reaction for femaleness and attraction. One remembers Tolkien’s hostile trees in The Lord of the Rings, and Robert Graves’ long investigations into the ancient tree worship of the Druids.
It becomes possible to see what Lethbridge meant by saying he felt as if he had stumbled into another world. Like Graves, he believes that ‘earlier men knew far more about all this than we know today’. But Graves also believed that these early men possessed another kind of knowledge than we possess today. Our knowledge is mostly intellectual, a ‘daylight’ knowledge, which Graves associates with the sun; there is another kind of intuitive knowledge, a ‘lunar’ knowledge, symbolized by the White Moon Goddess herself.
This seems to me to be one of the most exciting things about Lethbridge. He is always stumbling on important insights. Sometimes he follows them up; sometimes he merely mentions them in passing. I have heard his books criticized on the grounds that they are repetitive and inconclusive. But this is necessarily so. They are a kind of working journal into which he poured his fresh discoveries and insights year by year; if they are chaotic, they have that fault with the notebooks of Leonardo and the daily journals of every important discoverer.
It is fortunate for us that Lethbridge decided to write down his discoveries piecemeal in seven or eight small books, rather than storing them up for some large definitive work; the book might never have been written, and the notes would still be unpublished.
But it was in the next book, A Step in the Dark, that Lethbridge first stated what may be his major discovery. In ESP, he had noted that the pendulum ‘rate’ for death seems to be 40 inches, and that dead objects also respond to 20 inches; which led him to speculate that 40 inches may ‘represent life force on a higher plane’.
All earthly objects, including such ideas as danger and time, [11 have rates between 0 and 40. But by extending the pendulum beyond 40 - the death rate - Lethbridge discovered that the pendulum responds once again - the new length being its ‘earthly’ rate, plus 40. (i.e. the pendulum now swings over a ‘false position’ to one side of the object. Lethbridge concludes that there is another realm or dimension in which things also exist - beyond death. Moreover, if the pendulum is extended yet another 40 inches, the same thing happens all over again.
But the pendulum gives no rate for ‘time’ on the second level, as if this realm is somehow timeless; after that, on higher levels, time comes back again.  In short, Lethbridge came to suspect that the pendulum is revealing a realm on the other side of death, perhaps several. Its ‘energy rates’ seem to be higher than ours, according to the pendulum.
Oddly enough, the curious researches of Dr Constantin Raudive on the ‘ghost voices’ that sometimes appear on magnetic tape seem to point to the same conclusion; these voices seem to be about twice as fast as earthly speech. 
I may also refer to the theories of my friend Dr David Foster, author of The Intelligent Universe; Foster is a cybernetician, but has become convinced that the genes of living creatures could only be ‘coded’ by higher energies than exist on earth - possibly some form of cosmic rays.  Lethbridge, himself was, from the beginning, much preoccupied with this whole problem of Darwinian evolution - with the question: Could living creatures have evolved through a mechanical system? 
If I needed further evidence that Lethbridge possessed intuitive genius of a high order, it would be provided by his last published book, The Legend of the Sons of God, which appeared posthumously. In 1968, a German publisher had brought out a book called Memory of the Future, which came out in England in 1969 as Chariots of the Gods?. It made its author, Erich von Däniken, a rich man. But by this time, Lethbridge was already at work on The Legend of the Sons of God, which looks as if he had read and digested Däniken. 
For, like Däniken, Lethbridge is preoccupied with the question of the great stone megaliths like Stonehenge - or the stone circle called the Merry Maidens, in Cornwall. When he tested the Merry Maidens with a pendulum, the reaction was so powerful that the pendulum described a circle that was almost horizontal to the ground. He concluded that some great force is stored in these stones. 
His arguments led him to the conclusion that the great stone megaliths could have been erected as guides to descending aircraft - a kind of ‘landing light’. But if beings landed on our earth as long ago as 2000 BC, then they must have been from another planet, perhaps another galaxy. Why are there so many legends of ‘sons of god’ in ancient literature - angels who came down to earth and mated with human beings
The energy stored in these stones - and probably induced by frenzied religious dances - was probably a form of ‘bio-energy’, Lethbridge believes. Presumably the spacemen who visited our earth understood how to utilize this energy.
It seems a pity that Lethbridge never came across the interesting ideas of John Michell and his fellow ‘ley hunters’, who believe that the straight tracks that can be traced on Ordnance Survey maps - ancient bridle paths - joined spots on the earth’s surface in which this bio-energy reached a high level - sacred places like Glastonbury and Stonehenge. I do not know what he would have thought of the theory but I am convinced that he would have taken it seriously.
This whole subject is too big to be discussed here. Lethbridge would obviously have developed his ideas on the ‘sons of god’ if he had lived, and he would probably have done so more skilfully and plausibly than Däniken, whose excesses have led many people to dismiss the whole thing as pure fantasy. I myself was inclined to take that view after reading Däniken; it was Lethbridge’s book that caused me to change my mind.
I should add that I have also tried dowsing at the Merry Maidens and, to my amazement, because on the only occasion when I had tried dowsing before - in my own back garden - nothing happened, although my wife got a strong reaction. At the Merry Maidens, a friend, Gaston de St Pierre, showed me how to hold the rod; and as I moved beyond the limit of the circle of stones, it shot up until it was almost vertical. Clearly, it was not responding to water, for the ‘line of power’ runs around the Merry Maidens in a circle, about two feet beyond the stones, and there is unlikely to be a circular underground stream. The centre of the circle also gives a powerful reaction.
The day was too windy to try a pendulum; but I am inclined to doubt whether it would work for me. I have tried it in the house, without result. Again, my wife does it very well. Lethbridge suggests that people with a strong sexual impulse may be poor at dowsing, and this may explain it; anyone who has read my books will have noted the basic sexual theme that runs through them. 
As to the matter of the megaliths, I happened to raise this question with the economist E.F.Schumacher shortly after finishing Lethbridge’s book. Without prompting, he remarked that he had just returned from an extensive tour of the Middle East, in which he had seen many ancient buildings and tombs with their massive stone blocks, and that he found it inconceivable that the explanation of these blocks could be as simple as the academic archaeologists insist. This was my own feeling when I visited the ruins at Baalbek in 1974, and looked at giant carved blocks that must have taken years to shape and move into place.
that if Lethbridge had lived a year or two longer, he would have been something of a cult figure.  The ‘occult revival’ began in the early 1960s in France, and by the mid-1960s it had spread all over the world. This may explain why Lethbridge’s publishers encouraged him to go on producing an average of a book every eighteen months throughout the 1960s.
Some of the experts believed that the ‘craze’ would be over by the early 1970s; but at this moment, there is no sign of it; on the contrary, it seems to be gathering momentum. English and American publishers reprint books that have been out of print for seventy years,  and the paperback houses send out a steady stream of popular books on witchcraft, black magic, astral travel and astrology.
Hardly any of these books have anything new to say, although some of them - like Lyall Watson’s Supernature - are important summaries of what modern science thinks of the ‘paranormal’.
Lethbridge’s books stand out for their clarity, originality, and sheer literary quality. He was a born writer. He was also the sort of person who would, as he became known to a wider public, have drawn disciples and followers. With a figure like G.K.Chesterton’s, he also had some of his personal qualities: kindliness, a child-like humour, and a mind that bubbled with ideas like a glass of champagne.
To my mind, these personal qualities emerge most clearly in his unpublished autobiography, one of the most delightful works of its kind I have read since Yeats’. But they can also be found in this, his last book, The Power of the Pendulum, which is, in some way, one of his most ambitious books.
His aim is to review the whole question of whether the world can be described in terms of scientific materialism, or whether something closer to the religious view is correct. Lethbridge is not religious in the ordinary sense - his wife seemed to think he was probably an agnostic. But a man who believes he has accidentally stumbled on a way of establishing that there are other realms of reality beyond this one, and that the ‘soul’ is probably immortal, has more in common with the religious man than with the sceptic.
In fact, Lethbridge was inclined to believe that such distinctions are unnecessary. ‘What is magic today will be science tomorrow’, he says in one of his books. And this remark could be quoted on the title page of all his books; it catches their essential spirit.
One of these days, some enterprising publisher will gather together all Tom Lethbridge’s ‘occult’ books between two covers - it would not be unmanageably large. When that happens, I think we shall recognise that he is a classic; not just of parapsychology, but of English Literature.
 Source: Foreword to the 1984 Arkana Edition of The Power of the Pendulum by T.C.Lethbridge first published in 1976 in London by Routledge & Kegan Paul; ISBN 1-85063-003-9. [Ed]
 Colin Wilson refers to the anecdote on page 15, in which Lethbridge was led, blindfolded, around the cliffs on Lundy Island, holding a dowsing rod, and accurately detected the position of every one of its buried volcanic dykes. [Ed]
 It was a purely ‘honorary’ post, but Lethbridge was glad of the independence; he disliked university ‘trade unionism’ and the need for academic respectability.
 Cambridge remained his base for the next thirty-five years or so with the exception of an eighteen-month break in the mid-1940s, when he and Mina, newly married, tried to become cattle farmers on an island off the west coast of Scotland.
 I am not sufficiently well versed in Anglo-Saxon history to know what these are.
 Gogmagog: The Buried Gods by T.C. Lethbridge; Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1957, ISBN 0-7100-1742-1. [Ed]
 Also mentioned in Legend of the Sons of God: a Fantasy? by T.C. Lethbridge; Arkana, 1990, ISBN 978 0 140 19262 9. [Ed]
 The book that came in between these two was Witches, but since this deals mainly with Margaret Murray-type theories of witchcraft, it need not concern us here.
 The series begins with Gogmagog and end with The Power of the Pendulum.
 For example, the theme of precognition and dreaming is briefly mentioned in Ghost and Ghoul, to be fully developed in The Power of the Pendulum.
 The pendulum gave Lethbridge no rate for time on the first and third whorls of the spiral, 0-40 inches and 80-120 inches, but gave one at 60-inches on the second whorl. Lethbridge eventually concluded that the second whorl was a timeless zone. [Ed]
 Readers may find this short exposition bewildering, but Lethbridge develops the whole idea further in the Power of the Pendulum, and so I can refer them to him.
 Anyone who wants to pursue this point should read Raudive’s book Breakthrough, and listen to the record that goes with it.
 Colin Wilson has summarised David Foster’s ideas in the introduction to The Occult. [Ed]
 His answer - predictably in the negative - is set out most fully in The Monkey’s Tale (1969), the book that followed A Step in the Dark.
 In fact as Lethbridge mentions in his preface to The Legend of the Sons of God, Lethbridge knew nothing of Däniken until a friend sent him the book just as his wife was finishing the typing. [Ed]
 See Needles of Stone by Tom Graves for further details. Guy Underwood reports on his own extensive investigations in The Pattern of The Past, first published by Museum Press in 1969 (Abacus, London, 1972, ISBN 0 349 13411 1). [Ed]
 In the sixth chapter of The Power of the Pendulum (1976)
Lethbridge remarks that: ‘a certain number of people have no psi count at 9½ inches but instead react to a minus rating of 29½ inches. As far as we can judge at present this minus reading is combined with, or due to, some nervous disability. There is also a sex rate at 16 inches, which is distinct from rates for male and female. The normal count for sex is somewhere between 16 and 20 turns. It has been observed that persons who have a high sex rate of over 40 turns are liable to have a very low psi count. This is not invariable; nor is it the case that a low sex count is always found with a high psi. However the pendulum suggests that too much preoccupation with sex is liable to deaden the more intuitive faculties.’ [Ed]
 As it is, admirers have raised the idea of starting a Tom Lethbridge Society.
 It was seventy years ago that the last ‘occult revival’ ground to a halt. [Ed]
 In Colin Wilson’s foreword to The Essential T.C. Lethbridge edited by Tom Graves and Janet Hoult; Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London, 1980, ISBN 0 586 05077 9; there are two comments about an unpublished Tom Lethbridge autobiography: (a) 'Lethbridge, who was born in 1901, came from a west-country family. In his unpublished autobiography, The Ivory Tower, he remarks that family records date back to the twelfth century, and that the Lethbridges are mostly landed people - soldiers, explorers, members of Parliament and churchmen.’ And (b) ‘In the autobiography his life sounds idyllic: digging up Anglo-Saxon remains all day in quiet country churchyards, and sipping port in the evenings with eccentric characters like Sir William Ridgeway, Sir Cyril Fox, James Wordie and Louis Clarke. The story of those Cambridge years is told in The Ivory Tower, that entirely delightful autobiography which will, I trust, see print in the not-too-distant future.’ [Ed]