Psychography, A Treatise of Psychic or Spiritual Phenomena 1840 - 1892




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 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 printed in The Spiritualist 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


34                                          Psychography.

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 any slate-pencil?"

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 done!"


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 visible.


Dr. M.'s control: "Tell me the Christian name of some friend you would like to be here."

Dr. A.: "Sophia."


General Corroborative Evidence.                             35


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 them."


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:—


36                                          Psychography.

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 conditions.


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


General Corroborative Evidence.                              37

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 slate.


38                                          Psychography.

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.


The account (Spiritualist, 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.


General Corroborative Evidence.                              39

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 distinctly observed.

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


40                                           Psychography.

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.


2. 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


General Corroborative Evidence.                             41

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


42                                           Psychography.

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 being between


General Corroborative Evidence.                             43

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. SLADE.

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 table.

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.


44                                           Psychography.

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.


General Corroborative Evidence.                             45

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


46                                           Psychography.

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


General Corroborative Evidence.                            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


48                                           Psychography.

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 [1876], at one o'clock, Mr. W. Metherell and Mr. G. De Carteret, of Jersey, had a seance 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,


General Corroborative Evidence.                            49


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 pressure."


In attestation of the truth of the foregoing statement, we append our signatures.



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


50                                          Psychography.

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


General Corroborative Evidence.                              51

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 already spoken:—


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 written


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. SLADE.


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 continued.


52                                          Psychography.

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. La Renovation, 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:—


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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 good character.


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. Monck.


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.


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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 were used.


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


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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 displaced.

" SAML."

"Great is the Truth, and it must prevail.

" SAML. 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. 22, '76."

"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. 22, '76."

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


56                                          Psychography.

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?