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 o
tain 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."