The art of using but a single
ungimmicked slate for spirit writing at the Sťance table is
explored by Professor Spellbinder. He gives the historic roots of
the method as used by P.T. Selbit and others, along with routines
they published for non-sťance magic from the early 1900's. Then
he brings the effect up-to-date with colored chalks and sends it
back to the eariest days of magic by conjuring up a spirit guide
The spectators are sitting around a sťance table. The slate is
shown and the spectator washes it off himself to see that it is
completely unprepared. The spectator places the slate in a large
envelope and sits on it. The spectator is asked to select one
chalk from among several different colored chalk pieces. Let us
say that he selects a green chalk.
Excellent, says the medium. That color chalk is
the very color this spirit guide always seems to prefer. You seem
to have made contact with the spirit. Perhaps the spirit will
tell you his name. He has never revealed his name before to any
living person. Do you know his name? No? I have written his name
on this piece of black paper. Lets have other members of
the company suggest names for the spirit.
As each person calls out a name, the medium writes it on a slip
of black construction paper using the green chalk. When several
names have been chosen, the slips of paper are mixed up and
placed before the spectator is on good terms with the spirit
Stretch out your hands over the papers, says the
medium. Let the spirit guide your hand to one of them and
slide that one towards yourself.
The spectator does so, and the medium gathers up the unused slips
of paper and places them on a brazier for burning.
Turn over the paper you have chosen and reveal the
spirits name, says the medium.
The spectator turns over the paper and reveals the name written
on it Michael (for example).
Let us see if you have truly made contact with the spirit
guide, says the medium. Remove the slate from the
There, on the formerly blank slate that the spectator washed
clean and has been sitting on all this time, are the mysterious
words written by the spirit in green chalk: My name is
Of course, for the experienced medium, this is just the
beginning of a sťance in which many wonderful spirit
reveleations will continue to be made, but our article just
brings us this far. For those who prefer to use the slate for
less spiritual revelations, like revealing the name of a selected
card, or the name of a famous celebrity, early 1900's excerpts
from methods of P.T. Selbit, S. Wilson Bailey, and Harold Osborne
are also included.
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