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The Value Of Phenomena

The chief value of physical mediumistic manifestations is not, as
generally supposed, that of affording entertainment or food for thought
for those witnessing them, but rather that of affording proof of the
possibility of spirit communication, particularly when spirit identity
is established through the manifestation of the phenomena. A writer
says of this class of phenomena: "A good psychographic medium will
usually obtain writing between closed slates, which may be brought by
the investigator, who can insist upon their not leaving his sight, and
not even leaving his hand. We have obtained writing on paper that we had
previously marked, which was then covered by our own hand, and a
friend's and was untouched by the medium. On another occasion, a slate
which we had personally cleaned was laid on the floor (fully six feet
from the medium) with a small piece of pencil under it (in broad
daylight), and on taking it up shortly afterwards there was found
written on the under side a long message of a private nature from a
deceased friend, of whom we were not thinking. Such phenomena as these
are still good and impressive, they cannot be counterfeited under like
conditions, and even when no proof of identity is given in connection
with the writings, they point so distinctly to the action of a discrete,
disembodied intelligence as to compel the recognition of their spiritual
origin. The evidential utility of physical phenomena lies in their being
inimitable by fraud. Imitations can of course be made which might
satisfy the credible and the gullible, but the conditions for testing
the phenomena we have specially referred to are so simple that no
rational investigator need be deceived; first, to be sure that the
slate, paper, or panel to be used is perfectly blank; second, that it
does not leave the hand of the inquirer, or if it does, that it is
marked in such a way that there can be no doubt of its identification
when it is returned to him; and thirdly (with paintings), to observe if
the paint be wet, and note the time occupied in their production."

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