THE LAW OF PSYCHIC PHENOMENA.
My object, which he fully understood and appreciated, was, first, to convince him of the genuineness of the physical phenomena, that is, that the slate-writing was performed without corporeal contact of the medium with the pencil, and without the shadow of a possibility of the employment of legerdemain; and, secondly, to demonstrate the utter impossibility of the phenomena being attributable to disembodied spirits.
It must be premised that the medium was in the habit of causing his sitters to write six short letters to as many different spirits. These epistles are written on separate pieces of paper about three inches square, and are addressed to the spirits by name and signed by the writer, precisely as an ordinary letter would be addressed and signed. Each letter is then rolled into a wad as small as possible, and retained in the hand of the sitter until he is requested to deposit them in a pile on the table. When this is done, the medium reaches his hand across the table and touches the wads with the tips of his fingers, the sitter meanwhile watching the proceeding closely, to prevent the possibility of fraud. After the medium has touched each bit of paper the sitter resumes possession of them and retains them for future reference. It may be here remarked that a sitter has the privilege of bringing his own slates with him, and retaining possession of them until the writing is finished. They need not leave his custody for an instant. He may place the bit of pencil between them himself, and then securely lock or tie them together, and hold them as tightly as he chooses on the top of the table, in the broad light of day, while the writing is going on.
The plan suggested to the general on this occasion, and which he carried out to the letter, was as follows:
i. To write three letters to as many spirits of his dead acquaintances, each one couched in general terms, such as, " Dear B., can you communicate with me to-day? If so, tell me your condition in the spirit-land." This could be answered by very general remarks, and would require no specific answer involving any knowledge of the sitter's affairs or anything else.