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


MR. J. W. GRAY, C.E.


We sat down to an ordinary deal, double-flap, Pembroke table. Dr. Slade sat with a flap to right and left, but sideways, so that his legs did not pass under the table. Mr. Fitz-Gerald sat on his right, opposite the flap, and Mr. Gray opposite to Dr. Slade. All joined hands on the top of the table, and at about the middle thereof Raps, and even blows, were then almost immediately heard and felt beneath the table, these being sufficiently strong to cause the table to vibrate distinctly; and in this way was affirmatively answered the question, "Will you write?" Dr. Slade then bit off a small piece of pencil and placed it on a slate, the frame of which bore a mark, so that the slate could not be turned over without detection. The slate was then passed several times partially under the table and withdrawn by Dr. Slade, who held it by one corner, his other hand joining that of the other sitters on the top of the table. At no time was the slate in such a position that the writing could by any possibility have been done by Dr. Slade. After a few of these movements of the slate, and whilst it was partially visible, and apparently close against the table, both Dr. Slade's hands being full in view, a sound as of writing on the slate was distinctly heard, and then, after it had moved three times against the table (to indicate that the writing was finished), the slate was withdrawn, and writing was found thereon, extending right across the slate, lengthwise.


The next experiment was with a folding slate, which had


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been bought by Mr. Fitz-Gerald for the purpose. A crumb of pencil having been placed on one leaf of the slate, and the other leaf folded over it, Dr. Slade took hold of the closed slate between the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, and placed his other hand on those of the other sitters, on the top of the table. The slate was then passed several times beneath the table for the fraction of a second, and was then held by Dr. Slade above the table, in which position writing was distinctly heard on it, Mr. Fitz­Gerald placing his ear close to the slate to make quite sure of this fact. On the slate being then opened, writing was found on one leaf thereof, the words being: "He is not a developing medium;" this being evidently a reply to a remark made by Dr. Slade, a minute or so before, that Mr. Gray was a strong medium. The slates being then removed from the table, we placed our hands on the latter, and Dr. Slade asked that it might be raised. After being strongly tilted once or twice, it was suddenly raised from the floor, and turned over above our heads. The latter movement was so sudden, however, that the exact conditions immediately before it occurred had not been noted. It was therefore suggested that the experiment should be tried whether the table could be made to rise slowly and vertically whilst under careful observation. The request that it should do so was immediately acceded to. The medium placed one foot right away from the table, so that it was well in view of the sitters, and the other foot he placed beneath one of Mr. Fitz-Gerald's, while all hands were joined on the top of the table. It then, and under the closest observation, rose twice about six inches from the ground, the top remaining perfectly horizontal during the movements. Thus ended a most satisfactory seance.

(Signed)              JOHN WM. GRAY.

I fully concur in the above account.





Dr. Slade having kindly volunteered to give a seance to the members of the Experimental Research Committee, we


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assembled to meet him this evening. We gathered in the large seance room, and while waiting proceeded with the routine business of the committee. At about seven o'clock Dr. Slade arrived, and sat for a little chatting with us. He said he could not that evening sit with more than two at a time, and as there were about eight of us, we drew lots for the order of precedence. My lot fell to be in the third couple, and my partner was Dr. Carter Blake. The previous sitters were with the medium about twenty minutes, and experienced some strong physical manifestations, for when Dr. C. Blake and I entered the small seance room we found that one globe of the gaselier had been broken, we were told, by the table having been violently tossed up into the air.


Dr. Slade, Dr. Blake, and I sat down at a small and very rough table belonging to Dr. Carter Blake. My companions sat facing each other at opposite sides of the table, and I sat between them at the medium's right, and thus, as he always held the slate in his right hand when he placed it under the table, I had every opportunity of closely observing him. We used two slates, supplied by a member of the committee, one an ordinary school slate, the other a folding book-slate. We had a number of very short messages, sometimes on one slate, sometimes on the other, obtained in the way which has been so often described. Usually the slates were completely hidden under the table and thus the seance was not so conclusive as the private one I had had with the same medium a week or two before. I observed a mark on the school slate, which, on these 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 of the slate, and not on the under. One little circumstance seems to me very remarkable, and I am astonished that attention has not been more forcibly called to it in accounts of seances with Dr. Slade. [Note A] The crumb of pencil invariably remains at the point where it stops after writing the message, forming a perfect continuation of the last stroke of the last letter. This fact, trifling in itself, to my mind goes far to prove that the message had been written with that identical piece of pencil, and on the upper side of the


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slate. I do not see how otherwise the medium could place it in position with such mathematical accuracy. It may also be thought worthy of record that the style of the handwriting was very dissimilar from that of the message I had received at the private seance above referred to, and that the intelligence purporting to communicate was different also. [Note B. ]


Dr. Slade afterwards took an ordinary black-lead pencil, about six
inches in length, and laid it on the slate above a half sheet of note paper
which I had supplied. He passed them under the table, when the pencil
appeared to drop on the ground. We immediately looked for it, but could
nowhere find it. Dr. Slade then passed the slate with a crumb of slate
pencil on it under the table, and asked where the black-lead pencil had
been put. The written answer was, "On the top of the door;" and on the top
of the door Dr. Blake found it. The door was about ten feet from where we
sat, and none of us had stirred from our chairs from the moment of
entering the room. The incident was a curious one; but as I had not the
means of identifying the pencil, and had not searched the top of the door
before beginning the seance, it does not carry very great weight. [Note C.]


Note A.—Attention has been often drawn to this point in communications which have appeared in the The Spiritualist newspaper.—C. C. B.

Note B.—The handwriting was dissimilar from that of "Allie," Phoebe," and purported to be that of "OWOSSOO."—C. C. B.

Note C.—The pencil found by me on the lintel of the door was identified by me by certain marks as the same pencil placed by Dr. Slade on the paper, and subsequently

dropped. It ought to be stated that my own chair was dragged from beneath me by a force acting on the other side of the room to that on which Dr. Slade sat; and that I was

forcibly touched on the shoulder under like conditions. With these additions I coincide in Mr. G. King's report.—C. CARTER BLAKE.