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




MRS. LOUISA ANDREWS, 66 Spring Street, Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A., a valued correspondent of my own, testifies to obtaining writing under conditions, if possible, even more stringent. She obtained a message in answer to one written by herself inside a slate, which she had tightly screwed together.


During my stay of over two months in the house with Dr. Slade last summer, I took a folding-slate into my bed-room, and with it a screw and a screw-driver—having previously had screw-holes made in both frames. On one of the inner sides of this double slate I wrote a few lines, addressed to a friend in spirit-life, after which I placed a fragment of pencil within, and fastened the two leaves securely together.


In this condition I took it down stairs, and placed it on the top of the table at which the medium was seated. Almost immediately we heard the scratching sound made by the pencil in writing; and after the seance was over, on opening the slate (which I did not do in the presence of the medium, but after returning to my room, where I had left the screw­driver), I found a reply to what I had written, signed with the Christian name of the spirit whom I had addressed-whether written by this spirit or not I cannot say, and any opinion I might form on that point would be worthless except to myself. What I know is, that some power caused writing to be done on the inner side of a folding-slate, which did not leave my possession, and which remained firmly screwed together till I unfastened it.


102                                         Psychography.


Nor is this experiment unique. The same result is recorded as having been obtained by the presence of one William Petty, of Newcastle-on­Tyne. Mr. John Mould, of 12 St. Thomas's Crescent, Newcastle, of the firm of J. Mould & Co., corn-factors, thus writes under date December 22, 1876:—


I have been holding sittings with William Petty in my own house for slate-writing, on a folding-slate, tightly screwed together, and I have had several most successful seances, but the most conclusive obtained was on Wednesday night, when I put a sheet of my own note-paper between the slates, screwed them together, and, after sitting ten minutes, I unscrewed the slate and found a side face drawn on the paper, with a message written below. This experiment was repeated with improved results in the caligraphy of the spirit, who also signed his name.


The sitting was conducted in the usual gaslight of our house. The medium never touched the paper, and had nothing whatever to do with the experiment beyond holding the slate under the table with one hand, while the other rested on the table. The only sitters present were my wife and son and daughter.


The experiment, it will be noticed, was twice repeated, and on the second time with better success than on the first. The same words were written on each occasion. The paper was initialled and dated, and the slates were so tightly screwed together that the point of a knife could not be inserted between them. The Psychic was in his normal state throughout the experiment, and no muscular movements of any kind were noticeable, as he held the slate. Mr. Mould informs me, in answer to a letter of inquiry, that he "had subsequent experiments with the same Psychic, and obtained similar results, with the additional


Writing within Slates Screwed Together.                       103

test of having the screw which locked the slates covered with gummed paper, affixed to the frame of the slate by a seal…. The lad came alone to my house: he never touched the paper, nor even handled the slates until they were securely fastened." During every experiment there was "a full glare of light streaming from a three-globed chandelier, and a large fire." Mr. Mould adds that the persons present on each occasion were confined to his own family, and concludes, "I cannot be sure of anything transpiring around me if I must forswear the evidence of my senses on this occasion."


Mr. Mould is good enough to send me the paper for inspection. It contains the sketch of a profile, and three lines of writing. The latter is very tremulous, and was apparently written with difficulty. In one case a badly-formed letter has been afterwards corrected.