GENERAL CORROBORATIVE EVIDENCE.
STARTING, then, from the nucleus
of my own experience, recorded, I pledge myself, with the most entire
accuracy, so far as I am aware; I now proceed to adduce the evidence of
others who have observed facts which corroborate those now recorded.
For the sake of orderly arrangement,
I shall bring forward the evidence under various heads.
I.—EVIDENCE ATTESTED BY THE SENSES.
1. By the
Sense of Sight.
I have already said that the evidence
on which I rely most is that obtained in light which is sufficient for
exact observation. I am by no means prepared to say that very
satisfactory evidence may not be obtained independently of eyesight, but
I am quite aware that "seeing is believing." I commence, therefore, with
a record furnished by Mr. E. T. Bennett, of Manor-Villas, Richmond, and
of Sept 21, 1877.
I may premise before I go further
that the language used in the records quoted is that which all
Spiritualists employ. I use it without connecting myself or
desiring to pledge my readers to any
theory. The terms used throughout are used in their accepted
signification without dispute or question.
On Sunday evening, the 9th inst., a
circle consisting of Dr. Monck, Mrs. F., Miss R., a medical man, Mr.
Christian Reimers, and myself, met at Mr. Reimers' house, No. 6, Manor-Villas, Richmond. We sat round an ordinary
table, on which were placed the works of a small musical box, two small
slates, paper, and black-lead pencil. A shaded candle was placed in an
adjoining room, the door being open, so that there was all through the
seance sufficient light to see the various objects in the room, and the
time by a watch.
After some ordinary preliminary
manifestations, Dr. Monck's control addressed the medical man, whom I
will call Dr. A., and asked him to tell him a word he would like written on
the slate. The slates were examined and marked by myself, tied together
securely by Dr. A. As no bit of slatepencil
could be found, a minute fragment of black-lead was placed between them,
which we ascertained would make a mark. Dr. A. then chose the word
"darling," and the slates were placed on the table, and Dr. M.'s and Dr.
A.'s hands on them.
Dr. M.'s control: "Hav'n't you got
Dr. A.: "No. There is a bit of
black-lead in; can't you write with that?" Dr. M.'s control: "Don't like it Shall we get a bit of our own?" Dr. A.: "Yes."
Dr. M.'s control: "My medium will
carry the slates round and place them on the Doctor's head. There; it is
Candle brought. The slates (which had
never been out of sight of the whole circle) untied. Inside wes the word
"darling," written in a large, rather trembling hand, as if with slate-pencil, but there was none
Dr. M.'s control: "Tell me the
Christian name of some friend you would like to be here."
Dr. A.: "Sophia."
Dr. M.'s control: "She is here; and
there is an old man with her, of dignified appearance. He is sorry for
you about something; I think it is about money. He has such a curious
thing on his head, a crown with points upwards, and little balls on
Dr. A.: "Will be give his name?"
Dr. M.'s control: "He says he will
try and write it himself."
The medium asks for a piece of note
paper, holds it in his hand a minute, places it on the table, and a pocket pencil about three inches long by
it. The pencil moves, no one touching it. It makes feeble attempts to
rise. Finally it succeeds, and we see it stand up by itself, and write
as with a firm hand for a few
seconds, and then fall down again. Dr. A. takes up the paper, and finds written the name * *
* * * *, that of a deceased nobleman with whom he had been professionally
connected, and who was a relative of the lady whose name he had given,
and whose rank was correctly indicated by the "curious crown."
Mr. Bennett is familiar with these
phenomena, and refers them to the action of unembodied spirits, using
the phraseology common to those who share this belief. He is no
enthusiast, but a calm and capable observer. Nor are his records singular. I am happy
to be able to call in corroboration a sceptical witness, one who is not
familiar with these phenomena, who approaches them with suspicion, and
is guarded in his statements, most especially in his conclusions. His
prepossessions, at any rate, are not excited in our favour. My witness is
a reporter for the Malvern
News. The Psychic in this
case also is Monck; and the place where the experiment took place was a
house in Malvern, "into which he had never entered till the evening" in question. The
account, somewhat abridged, reads thus:—
Shortly after six o'clock, several
ladies and gentlemen having assembled, most of them strangers to each
other, sat down to an oblong deal table, which had been covered with a
thick Witney blanket, the usual cover being used as a blind to darken
the windows. Every particle of natural light had been shut out, and the
gas turned on full. After the party had sat for some time, Dr. Monck
asked for a pencil and some writingpaper. Three of the former were
placed at his disposal, and he selected ours. A piece of paper was
folded up, on which the pencil was put. He then borrowed some handkerchiefs,
and selected ours, which he carelessly threw over the pencil and paper. In
the full glare of the gas-light the pencil rose and stood upright, Dr.
Monck's hands at this time being placed on his head. He removed the handkerchief,
and there stood the pencil, but no writing was on the paper. A sceptical
gentleman thought the pencil was sticking into the table through the
blanket. At the request of Dr. Monck he lifted it up, examined it, and put it
down again. It was no sooner released than it rose up again, and wrote on
the paper a sentence, in the sight of all, respecting the unfavourable
Here it will be noticed that the
light was ample for observation, and that the requisite darkness for the
production of the writing was obtained without any interference with the
facilities for exact investigation. The report concludes with a
confession on the part of the reporter of inability to explain how the
results "witnessed by nine sane ladies and gentlemen" were produced. "As some of them," he
adds, "are well known in Malvern, they can contradict us if we have
stated what is not true."
With the same Psychic, the editor of
The Medium, Mr. James Burns, of the Spiritual Institution, 15 Southampton Row, W.C.,
had a noteworthy experiment,
which he thus records. The persons present were
himself and his wife, and the place
was his own house:—
I had on the table before me several
sheets of note-paper, on which I was taking notes. Dr. Monck took up a
blank sheet and tore it in halves. One of these be folded up into an
eighth of its original size by doubling it three times. Thus crumpled
up, he placed it under a white handkerchief which lay on the table
immediately before him. An ordinary elongating pocket pencil was then put beside
the paper. This pencil had a screw at the point for propelling and withdrawing
the lead, the handle was of a dark colour, and it had a white bone top.
The light at this part of the seance was not on full, as it had been at some
other parts, but there was sufficient for me to read my pencil notes.
Dr. Monck, with his right hand, placed the pencil under the
handkerchief, and continued to move his fingers about over the
handkerchief for a few seconds. We were all intently looking for
whatever might result, when Mrs. Burns exclaimed that the pencil was
writing. I saw it standing up in a sloping position, with the point
towards me, but as the handkerchief interposed between my view and the
point of the pencil, I could not see what it was doing. Before I had
much time for reflection, I saw that the pencil, besides being sloping
with its point towards me, was
in a violent state of motion from side to side, as if it were held by the middle and rapidly
vibrated. This movement was not quite regular; sometimes the jerks made
by the pencil would be longer, sometimes shorter, and complicated by
movements not all in one direction. While I was trying to comprehend
what this could mean, I saw it stand still, and then move gently from
side to side. Mrs. Burns and Dr. Monck said, "It is crossing a word,"
and again the rapid vibration went on as before. In a few seconds more the
pencil fell, and the handkerchief was removed, and the paper was found
opened out and covered with pencilwriting in a vigorous hand.
Dr. Monck now took out his
folding-slate, and gave it to me to clean. I did so carefully. He took a
small crumb of slate-pencil and inclosed it between the leaves of the
Dr. Monck's hand was then moved
towards me, till it rested on my arm. Then it ascended to my shoulder,
and lastly on to my head, where I heard and felt the tremor of writing
going on in the folded slate. Shortly it was finished, and when opened a
message was found written, occupying both sides of the slate.
The writing on paper took three
minutes to transcribe, but it was written in about one-third of that
time. The paper bore the distinctive mark of the packet from which the
sheet had been taken, and one of the observers was able to watch the whole process of writing,
The slate-writing is notable on
account of the evidence from two senses which attested its production.
This seems to be the place to quote a
case of writing executed by a luminous hand, which was visible to at least four persons. I complicate
my evidence somewhat by the
introduction of a new species of Psychic phenomena, that of luminous
appearances, and of hands not those of any person present. Such facts,
however, are familiar to those who have witnessed these phenomena, and
are attested by exact and precise observations.
Oct. 13, 1876) is written by Mr.
H. D. Jencken, barrister-at-law, and the psychic was his wife, the Kate
Fox of the early history of this subject. The house where the experiment
was made was that of Mr. S. C. Hall, editor of the
Art Journal. The date was Sept. 6, 1876. Nine persons were present, including Mr. and Mrs. Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Mayo, and Dr.
Netherclift, of the Chelsea Infirmary.
Several efforts by the unseen beings
had been made to give us "direct writing." Finally, we were ordered to
hold each other's hands, and to contract the circle by drawing close up
to the table. A luminous, small, beautifully-shaped hand then descended
from the side at which I was
sitting, that is to say, at the opposite side to Mrs. Jencken. The hand
seized a pencil which was
lying on the table and wrote the letters "E. W. E."
The power of holding the pencil then
evidently failed. The pencil, which had been held between the forefinger
and third finger, dropped on the table, and the hand raised itself high
overhead, and disappeared. After a short pause it reappeared, descended,
touched the table, took hold of the pencil, and wrote the words "God
bless y—." At the letter y the strength again appeared to give way, the
pencil dropped, the hand rose quickly, and was gone.
I have witnessed so many instances of
direct spirit writing, that this additional instance would have been but
of little attraction to me, but for the fact that others also witnessed
the manifestations, some of whom were not Spiritualists, but merely
witnesses. This gave interest to this seance. The hand, as sketched by
me, was distinctly seen by Dr. Netherclift, Mrs. Mayo, Mr. Mayo, and
others present; each of those present saw the hand from a different
point of view; in other words, the objectivity of the hand was
I inclose the original document,
containing the direct writing, and on the right hand top of the page is
the sketch of the hand. As I was drawing this sketch, several of the guests clustered round my chair, and aided me by
suggestin, how they each of them witnessed the writing. The luminosity
around the wrist was
singularly beautiful. The circumstances under which this direct writing
happened were exceptionally favourable, as a test of the reality of what occurred. The sitting
took place at the residence of Mr. Hall; those who were present retained
the greatest self-composure. The medium was seated facing the direction
whence the hand descended; the writing was done in the centre of the
table, around which we were seated; the position of the hand was at
right angles to Mrs. Jencken. I name these
circumstances to meet in advance any
theory of optical delusion,
hallucination, or any other hypothesis to explain what happened.
[Drawing of hand and pen]
These instances might be greatly
multiplied. I do not propose to adduce more evidence of this kind,
however, having other which advances my argument a step further. I have
shown that the evidence of one sense attests the reality of
Psychography. I now proceed to bring forward cases where the writing is
heard as the pencil grates upon the slate.
By the Sense of Hearing.
In almost all cases where writing is
produced by use of the pencil, I believe the process may be heard,
especially when a slate is used. The evidence of a majority of observers
makes mention of the grating
noise which accompanied the writing.
In several cases great pressure is used, and the pencil is appreciably
worn away, remaining, too, not unfrequently, at the end of the last
letter of the dusty, dry writing, that shows plainly enough how it has
been employed. From a great number of cases I select the following,
giving precedence to those which record experiments with Slade, and
among them to the detailed narrative of the President of the Psychological
Society of Great Britain:—
Having undertaken to examine without
prejudice or prepossession, and to report faithfully, without favour, in
a purely judicial spirit, any alleged psychological phenomena that might
be submitted to me as President of the Psychological Society of Great
Britain, I narrate without comment what I witnessed at a sitting with
Dr. Slade this afternoon.
I sat alone with him, at three
o'clock, in a room at 8 Upper Bedford Place, Russell Square, into which
the sun shone brightly, at a table about five feet by four, having four
legs, no ledge below, and no cloth upon it. Dr. Slade sat at one side of
this table, sideways, so that his legs and feet were not under the
table, but his whole body fully in my view as he faced me. I sat at the
side, the corner of the table being between us. As I sat I could see
half-way below the table, and by moving my head slightly, I could see
the whole space below, which was wholly exposed in full daylight. An
ordinary drawing-room chair was about six inches from the table on the opposite side, six feet
from Dr. Slade. A heavy arm-chair was in the corner of the room, about the same distance from him and from the
table. A slate of the ordinary school size and a piece of slate pencil
were upon the table.
Instantly upon taking our seats very
loud rapping came upon the floor. This was followed by a succession of
furious blows upon the table, jarring my hands as they were laying upon it.
These blows were repeated at any part of the
table desired, by merely touching
that spot with the finger, while the blows, as forcible as if given with a
sledge hammer, were being made. Dr. Slade's hands were on the table upon
my hands, and his whole body to his feet was fully before my eyes. I am
certain that not a muscle moved. Then he took the slate after I had
carefully inspected it, to be assured that no writing was upon it, and placing
there a piece of slate pencil, the size of a small grain of wheat, he pressed the
slate tightly below but against the slab of the table. Presently I heard
the sound as of writing on a slate. The slate was removed, and on it a zigzag
line was drawn from end to end.
Blows of a more gentle kind upon the
table, attended with a remarkable quivering of it, announced, as he
said, that his wife was present, and desired the slate. After the slate
had been carefully cleaned, it was laid upon the top of the table, with
a like piece of pencil under it. Upon the slate he placed his right
hand, and I placed my left hand, and with my other hand I held his left
hand as it lay upon the table. As my hand lay upon the slate, I could
feel, and I did also distinctly hear, something writing upon it. The communication
was evidently a long one; but before I report the result, I desire to note
here a remarkable phenomenon, to my mind the most suggestive that
attended this experiment.
It is necessary clearly to
understand the position of the parties, therefore I repeat it.
Dr. Slade and myself sat face to
face. One hand of each of us was laid upon the slate. The side of the
slate that was being written upon was pressed by us against the table.
Our second hands were linked together, and lay upon the table. While
this position was preserved, the writing proceeded without pause. When
Dr. Slade removed his hand from mine it ceased instantly, and as
instantly was renewed when his hand and mine met. This experiment was repeated
several times, and never failed.
Here, then, was a chain or circle
formed by my arms and body, and Dr. Slade's arms and body, the slate
us, my hand at one end of it, his
hand at the other end, and between our hands, and upon the slate that
connected them, the writing was. When the chain was broken forthwith the
writing ceased. When the chain was reformed the writing was at once
resumed. The effect was instantaneous. In this curious fact we must seek
the clue to this psychological mystery.
Some rapid rappings, indicating that
the writing was finished, the slate was lifted, and in a clear and
perfectly distinct writing the following was read. It filled the whole
side of the slate:—
DEAR SERJ.,—You are now investigating a subject that is worthy of all the time you
or any other man of mind can devote to its investigation. When man can believe in this truth,
it will in most cases make him a better man. This is our object in coming to
earth, to make man and woman better, wiser, and purer.—I am truly, A. W.
Again the slate was cleaned and laid
upon the table as before, my hand upon it. In a few seconds the
following sentence was written. Considerable power was used in this
writing, and I could distinctly feel the pressure of the pencil as every
word was written:—
I am Dr. John Forbes. I was the
Queen's physician. God bless you.
Again the slate was cleaned and held
under the table tight against the wood, one half of it projecting
beyond the edge, so that I might be assured that it was tightly pressed against
the wood; but the slate was seized, and with great force drawn away and
rapidly raised above me and placed upon my head. In this position the sound
of writing upon it was distinctly heard by me. On removing it, I found
written upon it the following words:—
Man must not doubt any more, when we
can come in this way.
J. F., M.D.
Then the large arm-chair rushed
forward from the corner of the room in which it had been placed, to the
Again the slate was placed under the
table, and projecting from it. A hand twice seized and shook my leg,
both of the hands of Dr. Slade being at the moment before me, and his
whole person visible.
Thus ended this experiment. All that
I have reported was done, that is certain. How it was done, and by what
agency, is a problem for psychology to solve. For my own part I can only
say that I was in the full possession of my senses; that I was wide
awake; that it was in broad daylight; that Dr. Slade was under my
observation the whole time, and could not have moved hand or foot
without being detected by me.
That it was not a self-delusion is
shown by this, that any person who chooses to go may see almost the same
phenomena. I offer no opinion upon their causes, for I have formed none.
If they be genuine, it is impossible to exaggerate their interest and
importance. If they be an imposture, it is equally important that the
trick should be exposed in the only way in which trickery can be
explained, by doing the same thing, and showing how it is done.
August 8th, 1876.
Mr. George King, of 11 St. George's
Terrace, Gloucester Road, S.W., notes in his narrative, which I append,
the fact which I have just mentioned—viz., that in his experience the
crumb of pencil invariably remains at the end of the writing. This
affords a strong presumption that the pencil is really used:—
At five o'clock in the afternoon of
Saturday, 18th Nov. last, I repaired, by appointment, to the house of
Dr. Slade. I had determined to take with me a slate of my own, and on
the way I tried in four or five shops to find one to my mind. At last I
secured what satisfied me—a folding slate with a varnished wooden case
of somewhat peculiar construction. Each of the two flaps was seven and
three-quarters inches long, by five inches wide, and had a three-quarter
inch frame all round, which projected one-tenth inch above the surface.
When the slate was folded there was, therefore, between the leaves a completely
inclosed cavity about one-fifth inch deep, and nearly air-tight. The slate was
done up in a paper parcel by the shopman, and tied with twine.
Thus armed, I presented myself at Dr.
Slade's door, and was ushered into the drawing-room, where were Dr.
Slade, Mr. Simmons, and two ladies. Dr. Slade and Mr. Simmons were
sitting by the fire, and they invited me to take a chair beside them.
Dr. Slade shortly said it was time to "light up," and he retired to a
small adjoining parlour. In less than two minutes he returned and asked
me to follow him. The parlour was brilliantly lighted by a gaselier
suspended over a small, rickety, mahogany table in the centre of the
room, and the gas remained at full power during the whole of our
sitting. I examined the table, turning it over for the purpose. It had
four legs attached to a frame, and was about three-and-ahalf feet by
two feet wide, exclusive of a flap on each side. The flap and its
appurtenances on the side opposite to that at which I sat was much
shattered, as if by violent
usage, but on my side there did not appear to be any breakage. The flap against which
I sat must originally have been intended to rest on two brackets, but
one of these had been removed, so that under the corner of the raised
flap which was between me and Dr. Slade there was no impediment
whatever. We sat down, I against a flap of the table, with my back to the
fire-place; Dr. Slade at the end of the table, on my left, with his face towards me,
his left shoulder towards the table and his legs projecting towards the
fire-place. I produced my slate, and undid the wrapper. Dr. Slade had it
for one instant open in his hand, but in my full view, as he dropped upon its
clean surface a minute crumb of pencil. The slate was then firmly
closed, and to my certain knowledge remained so till I opened it myself
in the drawing-room half-an-hour afterwards. Dr. Slade proposed that it
should be tied up, to which I, of course, assented. He got a piece of
twine from the chimney-piece, and, while the slate was in my hands and
his, the leaves were securely tied together, and the twine double
knotted. Dr. Slade placed his left hand with both mine on the table, and for a few
minutes held my slate in his right, but in my full view. I watched it
intently all the time. He said there was a power which prevented him
from putting it under the table even if he would. After a short time, as
nothing came, Dr. Slade placed my slate on the table, under
my left arm, and my left elbow rested
on it almost till the close of the sitting. Dr. Slade never touched it
again. He took a slate of his own, with a crumb of pencil on its surface, and
passed it out of sight under the table, saying, "Our friends have done
nothing for tis yet. Perhaps they do not want to write on the
gentleman's slate while I hold it. Will they write while the slate is tinder his arm and
I am not touching it?" For a second of time scratching was heard on Dr.
Slade's slate, and, when it was brought up, the words were on it "We
will. He then joined his right hand to my left, his left still clasping my
right, and instantly within my slate the sound of writing became audible, and
continued for about ten minutes. At frequent intervals I put my ear
close to the slate to listen, and there could be no mistake. The sound was low,
but very distinct, and I specially noted that we could recognise the crossing
of the "t's," the dotting of the "i's," and the insertion of the
punctuation. It seemed as if a person were writing not rapidly, but
steadily and deliberately, without jerk or pause. Two loud raps on the table announced the
conclusion of the message. Dr. Slade then passed his own large slate,
apparently perfectly clean and dry, half under the table, but so that I could see
the other half and his hand holding it. My own slate meanwhile I placed beside
my right elbow to be out of the way. Dr. Slade asked, "Can you do more for
us to-night?" A scratching was heard, and the word "cannot" appeared
on that portion of the upper side of his slate which had been beneath the
table. The "c" was close to the side of the slate nearest to me, and far
out of reach of Dr. Slade's hand, and the word was written not horizontally but
perpendicularly towards Dr. Slade. The "t" was carefully crossed, and
the fragment of the pencil lay where it had stopped, just at the end of the cross stroke of the "t."
We returned to the drawing,-room, I
carrying my own slate, and there I cut the string that bound it, and
within I found a long message, entirely filling both sides of the slate
and consisting of ninety-nine words, besides the signature "A. W.
Slade." It was carefully written in a good firm hand, and the lines were
straight and even. Each "t" was accurately crossed and each "i" was
dotted. The crumb
47 of pencil, too, was there, with one
end worn away as if in writing.
Had only a few words been scrawled on
my slate, it would have been, under the circumstances, astonishing, but
the result actually obtained is simply confounding, when it is
remembered that the quickest penman, with every facility for writing,
cannot put down on paper, in long hand, with every word at full length,
more than about twenty words per minute, and that writing on a slate,
where there is more friction, occupies more time. By whomsoever it was
done, this message must have taken at least five minutes to
produce; but Dr. Slade had not the slate for that length of time in his
hand—and, be it repeated, it had never left my sight—and for less than
five seconds only was it open. As already explained, it was, except for one instant, firmly tied
up with twine.
It is impossible to describe the
jealous care with which I watched to detect deceit. I could discover
none, nor the possibility of any. I had gone with my mind full of the evidence
given in court by Messrs. Lankester and Donkin, but their alleged exposure
was quite inapplicable to what took place in my presence.
On December 15th I had again an
opportunity, in conjunction with a few friends, of testing Dr. Slade's alleged mediumship. We sat in our own
room, at our own table, and used our own slates, one ordinary school
slate, and one folding book-slate. As the seance was not so
completely under my personal control as the previous one, it is not
worth while describing it with so great minuteness. Suffice it to say
that I sat next Dr. Slade, on
his right hand, and that, as he always held the slate in that hand when
he placed it under the table, I had every opportunity of closely
watching him. We had a number of very short messages, sometimes on one
slate, sometimes on the other. I observed a mark on the school slate,
which, on those occasions when the slate was not passed entirely out of
sight, enabled me to say positively that the writing was done on the
upper side, and not on the under. One little circumstance seems to me
very remarkable: I have already alluded to it above. When one of these
messages appears, the crumb of pencil
invariably remains at the point where
it stops after writing the communication, forming a perfect continuation
of flit, last stroke of the
last letter. This fact, trifling in itself, to my mind, goes far to
prove that the message has
been written with that identical piece of pencil, and on the upper side
of the slate. I do not see how otherwise it could be placed
instantaneously in position with such mathematical accuracy.
The messages always purport to
emanate from some invisible being. The major part come in the name of A.
W. Slade, the deceased wife of the medium, but other so-called "spirits"
are frequently represented, and it is a curious fact that with the change in
the name of the penman the character of the handwriting completely
changes too. It would be interesting to submit various specimens to a
caligraphic expert. The matter of the communications appears to me to be
of far less importance than the manner of their coming. The only one of
any length received by me was that of ninety-nine words above mentioned.
It is couched in somewhat high-flown language, and the subject is the
advantages of an assured knowledge of immortality. It is very much such
as a person of fair intelligence and education might utter on being
suddenly asked to make a neat little speech to a total stranger.
11 St. George's Terrace,
Gloucester Road, S.W., Dec. 18, 1876.
This evidence receives additional
corroboration from the further fact that in many cases the pencil is
worn away, and great pressure has been evidently used. The following is a
case in point:—
"On Sunday morning, Oct. 22nd ,
at one o'clock, Mr. W.
Metherell and Mr. G. De Carteret, of Jersey, had a
with Dr. Slade, at 8 Upper Bedford
Place, London, W. C. Dr. Slade produced two new slates, which were
perfectly dry, and appeared never to have been used before. They were
closely examined by the inquirers. Mr. Metherell then placed them together, with a crumb
of pencil between,
and Dr. Slade tied them firmly to
each other, while Mr. Metherell held them. The tied slates were then
laid on the top of the table, and Dr. Slade touched the frame of the
uppermost one with one hand, whilst his other hand was held by those present, The
slates never passed out of sight of the observers. A noise like that of
writing was then heard, and it appeared to be executed at the ordinary
speed. Dr. Slade then requested the two observers to take the slates
into the next room, and to open them in the presence of two gentlemen
who chanced to be there—namely, Mr. Charles Blackburn, of Didsbury, near
Manchester, and Mr. W. H. Harrison, of The Spiritualist. The
strings were accordingly cut in their presence, and the inner sides of
the slates were found to be filled completely from top to bottom, and
from edge to edge—with writing, including about seventy words
altogether. The writing had manifestly been produced with a piece of
slate pencil applied to the surface of the slate with considerable
In attestation of the truth of the
foregoing statement, we append our signatures.
GEO. DE CARTERET.
W. H. HARRISON.
Mr. Wedgwood, J.P. for Middlesex, who
has had a large experience in the observation of these phenomena,
relates how he obtained writing in Greek and English on two new slates, which he had securely tied together.
The sense of hearing detected
a difference in the sound of the writing from that usually made, and
when the slates were untied, this was satisfactorily accounted for by
the presence of the Greek characters. The material part of Mr. Wedgwood's
evidence is as follows:—
I breathed on the slates, and rubbed
them well with my pockethandkerchief, and putting the rubbed faces
together, we tied them up fast with a piece of cord, with a fragment
of slate-pencil between them. Thus
tied up, the slate was, laid flat on the table, without having been
taken under it at all or removed for a moment from under my eyes. I placed both my
hands upon it, and Slade one of his. Presently we heard the writing
begin, coming distinctly from the slate as I leaned down my ear to listen to it.
It did not sound, however, like running writing, as we both remarked, but
like a succession of separate strokes, as if someone was trying to write and
could not make his Pencil mark, and I expected that it would prove an
abortive attempt. It went on, however, with the same kind of sound for a
long time, perhaps for six or seven minutes. At last there was a decided
change in the sound, which became unmistakably that of rapid writing in
a running hand. When this was done, I took the slates into the other
room, leaving Slade entranced behind, and untying them, I found that on one
face was written in a very good hand the 26th verse of the 1st chapter of
Genesis, in Greek, from the Septuagint, and on the other a message of the
usual character in English running hand. The Greek letters, being each written
separately, was what had given the broken sound of the former part of
the writing, the change from which to the continued sound of running
writing had been so striking.
If it be suggested that the slates
were really prepared beforehand with some invisible writing which was
brought out by the heat of my ]land, I answer (independent of other grave
objections) that the writing as it stands can be wiped out by the merest touch,
and could not possibly in its supposed invisible state have escaped
obliteration when the slates were well rubbed by my pocket-handkerchief.
The same result is noted by observers
who have carried with them their own slates, and have taken special
precautions to prevent deception. A lady whose name I have no authority
to publish, but who is known to me, and who professes her readiness to
give private testimony if desired, records a very
interesting experiment with Slade
(August 16, 1876), in which she and a friend succeeded in getting
writing on her own slate while it lay upon the table in broad light,
with her friend's elbow resting upon it. In every case—the experiment
was repeated several times—the writer "could distinctly hear sounds of
writing on the slate." The record further proceeds, noting that
cessation of writing when the chain was broken by removing the hands, of which I have
Dr. Slade then moved across the room
to procure a larger slate; this we examined to satisfy ourselves that
there was nothing written upon it. The slate was then placed under the
table, with a small piece of slate-pencil upon it, Dr. Slade holding it
with his right hand, and my friend with his left. My friend said he kept
the slate as close as possible to the table, but the pressure caused by
the writing seemed to force it downwards. The result of this was, that
shortly, a distinct sound of rapid writing was heard upon the slate, and
a message, of which the following is a copy, was found to have been
Dear Friends,—It is an undeniable
fact that man is more willing to receive the mysterious than he is to receive
plain teaching that appeals to his own reason, and will be approved by
it. Now all theologians of the present day have the Bible for their foundation;
they all differ, Now as they express the Bible it is the most mysterious
book man's eyes ever beheld; everything there set down is clothed in
mystery, when you look at it from this standpoint. Christ told the
multitudes that he came to establish a new law, that be came to fulfil a
mighty mission, but how few that follow his teaching, or follow his laws
of love. Spiritualism comes and brings its own proof, as this letter is proof
of the presence of. A. W.
This message covered the whole side
of the slate which had been next to the table. The lines were close
together, and extremely evenly kept. We were conversing with Dr. Slade
more or less all the time the writing continued, and I noticed that
whenever I loosed his hand the writing ceased; when I again held it it
I was anxious to have a few words
written upon my slate while I alone held it, which I might presume to
show to my friends. Dr. Slade requested me to move near him, so I changed
places with my friend, and held the slate with my left hand close under
the table. The medium first made a few passes dawn my left arm with his
right hand, then placed it so that all our five hands met in the centre
of the table; the only one which was invisible being my left, which was
holding the slate. In this position, and while my foot was upon the
medium's left foot, his other to be plainly seen, I heard and felt the
pencil writing, and on looking found upon my slate, which had been held
by my own hand alone,
"Good-bye; God bless you. ALLIE."
The same results, I may here add, are
obtained by Slade at the present time.
a paper published in Belgium, has
lately contained a long article detailing the experiences of Canon X.
Mouls with Slade. The usual examination of the table, and preparation of
slate and fragment of pencil, having taken place, Slade held the slate
under the table. "Suddenly," says the Canon, "we heard a kind of grating
noise, and presently a knock, which signified that the slate could be
withdrawn. Upon it were two sentences, one in French, the other in
English." On another occasion, the Canon took his own slate, held it
himself, and again distinctly heard writing going on. What was written
was found to be a long extract from the New Testament, beautiful in
caligraphy, and with the straight lines exactly preserved.
The Baroness von Vay, a name well
known to English investigators of these subjects, lately writes to a
friend after having seen Slade at the Hague, whither he went after his
departure from England:—
Our seance with Mr. Slade, at the Hague, was one of the best ones. I am fully convinced, and so is the Baron, of that medium's genuineness and
We sat in full dayllght at midday,
and got spirit-writing upon our own slates, Slade holding them upon the
Baron's head. He (my husband) felt the writing upon the top of his head,
and we it distinctly. Then Slade held the slate upon the Baron's shoulder,
and again a message was written.
Not to multiply instances respecting
the phenomena observed with
this special psychic, I pass to records which show that the sense of
hearing bears similar
testimony to the reality of the phenomena observed with Francis W.
Mr. George H. Adshead, of Derby, who
has had great opportunity of experiment with this Psychic, records
(Sept. 17 and 18, 1876) a remarkable case of the nature now under
notice. The meeting was held at 27, Uttoxeter Road, Derby; the
light was good, clear gas-light. Present, Mrs. Ford, Mr. Oxley, of Manchester;
Mr. W. P. Adshead, of Belper; and Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Adshead, of Derby.
Omitting all notice of other
phenomena, I notice two cases of Psychography which occurred, one on
each evening. Mr. Adshead brought out and placed a box on the table. A
piece of paper was initialled by those present, and placed, together with a
lead pencil, in the box, which was then securely tied up with tapes, and
these were knotted at the crossings and sealed. On opening the box there
were found on the paper several sentences which had been dictated by the company.
After this Mr. W. P. Adshead cleaned
a slate, placed some pencil upon it, and held it Linder the table, in
close contact with the top of it. Monck held the other end. Mr. Adshead thus
describes what took place:—
We asked that there might be written
on the upper surface, "The former things are passed away," "Blessed are
the pure in heart, for they shall see God." We heard the pencil writing,
and on bringing the slate up found the above sentences written on it in
a clear, neat hand. The experiment was repeated. Mr. Oxley held one end
this time, and the sound of writing was heard, and a sentence suggested by one of the company was found written
on the clean side of the
slate. The slate did not pass from my brother's hand from the moment he
held it under the table after cleaning it until he brought it up with
one side covered with writing. Mr. Oxley was equally positive of the
same when he held it. They each felt Dr. Monck pulling vigorously at his
end of the slate, and they exerted a similar force at their end, so that
it was clear the Doctor's hand was not free, and his disengaged hand was
resting on the table.
Seance No. 2, September 18th.—There
were eight persons present, three ladies and five gentlemen. A lady whom
Dr. Monck had never before seen had a slate passed to her by a sitter,
which she examined and found clean, the slate-pencil which was on the
table a few minutes before we sat down could not be found. An
investigator suggested that it would be a good test if a lead-pencil
Accordingly a lead-pencil was put on
the slate, and the lady held both under the table; the sound of writing
was instantly heard, and in a few seconds a communication had been
written filling one side of the slate. The writing was done in lead, and was very small and neat, and alluded to
a strictly private matter.
Here were three tests at once:— 1. Writing was obtained without the
medium (or any other person but the lady) touching the slate from first
to last. 2. It was written with a lead-pencil at the spontaneous
suggestion of another stranger, 3. It gave an important testcommunication
regarding a matter that was strictly
private. Dr. Monck did not so much as
touch the slate from first to last.
Mr. E. H. Valter, of 51 Belgrave Road, Birmingham,
testifies to the same effect. The senses of both hearing and feeling
testified to the fact of the production of the writing at the time of observation.
Dr. Monck asked any person present to
clean a small folding-slate. This done, he placed a small fragment of
slate-pencil on the slate, and closed it. He then placed it on the head of any
of the persons present, and requested them to place their hands upon the
slate, so as to be quite certain that it did not go out of their possession. The
pencil inside the slate was then both heard by those present to be
writing, and the person who had the slate upon his head could also feel
the pressure caused by the pencil in writing. The time occupied in
writing the communication was only a few seconds, according to its
length, but considerably less time than any person could possibly have written it in. These
manifestations took place in the light, so that all the movements of Dr. Monck
were closely scrutinised. The following are some of the messages given.
The words underlined [printed in Italic], and also those words with a
capital, are exactly as they were written on the slate:—
"Truth is four square, and cannot be
"Great is the Truth, and it must
August 21st, 1876."
"We love you, and are ever about your
paths, studying your well-being, and actively co-operating with you in
every good word and work. " SAML.
Tuesday evening, Aug.
"It is as difficult to shut out from
humanity the truth of Spiritintercourse,
as to exclude the daylight from this room. " SAML.
Tuesday morning, Aug.
This last communication was given on
the morning of the 22nd of August. We had just been observing to each
other that the bright rays of sunlight were rather troublesome, so
that the message was very a propos.
Many other messages were given, some were written on note-paper, marked by
all present, so as to be certain that another paper was not substituted,
and under these conditions the messages were still given, in the light,
and Dr. Monck's hands clearly in view.
The messages or writings are of the
usual type, and I lay no stress upon their substance. I direct attention
solely to the fact of their presence; and I reiterate my desire to seek a
solution of the question, How is writing done under such circumstances at
all? To say that the matter of the writing is silly does not dispose of the fact that writing is there. By what method
is it executed?