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We frequently hear of, and witness manifestations of, what is called “spirit psychometry,” “spirit clairvoyance,” and “spirit clairaudience.” In the earlier chapters of the present book we have spoken of the psychic principles and laws underlying psychometry, clairvoyance, and clairaudience. We have seen that all of these forms and phases of psychic phenomena are capable of being produced independent of spirit guidance, control, or influence. In fact, most of such manifestations are so produced, even when they are considered to be phases of spirit mediumship. But, outside of these manifestations, there are found cases in which such phenomena are produced by the aid, influence, and assistance, if not indeed the direct power of, the controlling spirits of the medium.

Spirit Psychometry and Clairvoyance.

In those instances in which the controlling influence of such phenomena is clearly that of disembodied spirits, we find two distinct classes of the same, as follows: (1) cases in which the spirits aided in the establishing of the psychic rapport, and thus rendered more efficient, clear, and strong; (2) cases in which the spirits exerted their own psychometric, clairvoyant or clairaudient power, and then communicated the result through their mediums to the circle. In the first of above classes, the psychic faculties of the medium really perform the work, although greatly aided by the addition of the psychic power of the spirit. In the second of the above classes, the work is performed solely by the psychic powers of the spirits, and the medium acts merely as the line of communication between spirit and the circle. It must be remembered that the spirits who have passed out of the body are possessed of the same order of psychic faculties as are those still in the body, and that, likewise, on both planes there is a great variation of the degree of such powers between different individuals.

Spirit Psychic Assistance.

From the above, it will be seen that a mediumistic person may practice in psychometry, clairvoyance, and clairaudience, either with or without the assistance of the spirits. In case the spirits are assisting in the direction of performing the psychic work themselves, and then communicating the result to the medium, the medium of course has but to remain passive and receive the communication. In cases, however, in which the spirits assist merely by strengthening the psychic power of the medium by aiding in the production of the rapport conditions, or by lending the psychic power to add to that of the medium, then the medium has but to proceed just as we have pointed out in the earlier portions of this book devoted to the subjects of psychometry, clairvoyance, etc.

Writing Mediumship.

In what is known as “writing mediumship” the medium’s hand is controlled by the spirit, and is caused to write messages to those present, or to answer questions propounded by some of those present at the circle. In some quarters such writing is called “automatic writing,” but inasmuch as this last term is also applied to cases in which the hand of the person writes a message telepathed by a living person, it would seem that the old term “writing mediumship” is still the best one to use in the cases in which the spirit control is using the hand of the medium for the purpose of communication. The following statements made by different mediumistic writers on this particular subject will prove interesting and instructive to the young mediums seeking development along the lines of this special phase of mediumship.

Incidents of Writing Mediumship.

One writer says: “If the medium reaches the writing stage, he generally passes into it in much the same manner that he does into the inspirational speaking. That is, he becomes entranced, and in entrancement of this kind he usually loses his conscious self, although it is not essential that he should do so. He may remain partially conscious, but he will be very pale and will have no control whatever over the hand which does the writing. When the hand that writes is generally the only part of him that becomes numb, one entire side may become limp and inactive, and it is at this stage that a pencil must be placed in his hand all ready for writing, and a large sheet of heavy paper be put on the table before him. It is urged that the pencil be a heavy one, and the paper tough and coarse, for the first writing of a writing medium is not even a fair specimen of penmanship, being heavy and very difficult to decipher. As his hand wanders here and there, his body may sway and the pencil be brought in contact with the paper. When he begins to write, the strokes are crude and jerky and uncertain. The first notes that he delivers to the sitters are very often difficult to make out, and sometimes it is impossible to tell what they are. But this condition will be gradually overcome until the writing is very fair, and finally it can be written on much finer paper and with an ordinary pencil. When questions are to be asked, they may be put direct to the medium, and the answers will be written out and signed by the spirit sending them. As the medium develops, it will not be necessary for him to have the questions put to him verbally. Write the questions on a little slip of paper, and place these slips in his hands. The spirit will read them, and then use his arm as before in writing out answers. But this stage cannot be attained in a day or a week, and it is a sign of the higher forms of development, and should be looked upon by the members of the circle as evidence of the highest order establishing the great success they have attained.”

Developing Writing Mediumship.

Another writer on the subject of writing mediumship says to those developing this phase of mediumship: “Your hands may be caused to shake and move about as if you desired to write. You may be quite conscious, or only semi-conscious, but you will feel that you are unable to prevent the movements. In such a case, the sitters should provide pencil and paper and await results. They should speak to the control and request him to work quietly, and in all probability the rapid preliminary scrawls will soon give place to slower and more legible writing. Many persons have developed as writing mediums who have never sat in a circle, and without being entranced. We should advise you, if you decide to sit alone and make experiments in this direction, to avoid excitement, expectancy, and preconceptions. Proceed as though you were speaking to a visible friend, and request that someone will move your hands to write. Provide yourself with a writing pad, or several sheets of paper, and while holding a pencil in readiness, withdraw your thoughts from your hand and arm, and assume a passive condition. If you are strongly mediumistic, words and sentences may be written, but you need hardly expect such results at first.”

Stead’s Method and Results.

W. T. Stead, the eminent English investigator, said: “I hold my pen in the ordinary way, but when the writing is beginning I do not rest my wrist or arm upon the paper, so as to avoid the friction, and to give the influence, whatever it may be, more complete control of the pen. At first, the pen is apt to wander into mere scrawling, but after a time it writes legibly. Unlike many automatic writers who write as well blindfolded as when they read what they write as they are writing it, I can never write so well as when I see the words as they come. There is danger in this, which is most clearly illustrated When my hand writes verse especially rhymed verse for the last word in each line suggests to my conscious mind a possible rhyme for the ending of the following line; this rouses up my mind, my own ideas get mixed with those of the communicating intelligence, and confusion is the result.” The above statement of Mr. Stead becomes doubly interesting and valuable when we remember that through his hand, controlled by a spirit intelligence, came that wonderful series of messages afterward published under the title of “Letters from Julia,” which book excited the attention and interest of the civilized world at the time of its publication, and even to this day enjoys a great popularity.

Automatic Writing vs. Inspirational Writing.

Another writer says: “Inspirational or impressional writing is frequently mistaken for that which is more purely passive or automatic. The medium or sensitive person experiences a strong impulse to write, but does not receive any clear or consecutive train of thought. He sets down one word, and then others follow as fast as he can indicate them, but he must begin to write before the complete sentence is given to him. In other cases, the thoughts flow into his consciousness faster than his pen can record them; but in the truly ‘automatic’ form of communication the mind of the sensitive is not consciously affected. He can read and think about other and entirely different subjects, and need take no more interest in the work than he would if his hand did not belong to him nor than if a spirit laid hold of and guided the pencil. Some mediums who write automatically have to be mentally quiet; they find that if the mind is preoccupied the hand will not write, although, even in such cases, it frequently happens that the amanuensis is ignorant of the communication until he reads it afterwards.”

Use and Abuse of Automatic Writing.

J. A. White, a trance and clairvoyant medium himself, says of the phase of writing mediumship: “There is a great tendency, particularly in cases of automatic writing, to do too much of it. No sooner do some people find that the pencil will move, than they spend all their spare time in this fascinating pursuit, which, in their undeveloped state, I believe to be a dangerous and unwise practice. They are apt to exclaim, when any question arises during the day: ’Let us see what the spirits have to say.’ This, carried to extremes, leads to one thing, and one thing only obsession. I believe in fixing a time, and, unless in exceptional cases, refusing to sit at any other. Of course I am speaking of mediumship when it is in its budding stage. A developed medium can judge for himself, and knows from experience how far to go. It is a favorite trick of a certain class of spirits when they find they have a sensitive who can ‘feel’ them, to give them that pricking sensation in the arm which denotes their presence. ‘So-and-so wants to write,’ and away rushes the medium for the pencil, and sits down. This I do not believe in. I have seen far more harm than good come from it. The proper way to develop, in my opinion, is to sit at home in a small, carefully selected circle, two or three times a week, at stated hours, and with a competent conductor who knows what he is doing.”

Advice to Writing Mediums.

A French medium says: “We urge beginners in their own interest not to take up the pencil for automatic writing, or to sit at a table for communications at any free moment, without rhyme or reason, for disorder in experiment is one of the first and most serious dangers to be avoided. An absolutely strict rule should be made not to attempt the effort more than once every other day.” Another writer says: “The communications that are received by the various forms of passive, impressional, automatic, and inspirational writing must not be regarded as valuable merely because of the conditions under which they were obtained, nor because of their spirit origin, real or supposed. Under all circumstances receive with the utmost reserve and caution long-winded communications from notable characters who claim to be ‘Napoleon Bonaparte,’ ‘Lord Bacon,’ ‘Socrates,’ or other great personages; for in the majority of cases, the value of the communication is exactly the reverse of the importance of the name attached. This applies to automatic writings quite as much as to spoken messages. Judge the statement made by the ordinary standards, apart from their claimed exalted origin. If rational, beautiful, and spiritually helpful and enlightening, they are worth having on their own merits; but if they are unreasonable, wild or dogmatic, or pretentious and flattering, they should be discarded; and, unless you change their character after repeated experiments, your attention should be turned in some other direction.”

Drawing Mediumship.

What is known as “drawing mediumship” is but a variation of writing mediumship, at least so far as is concerned the nature of the manifestation. In both cases the spirit control moves the hand of the medium, in one case forming letters and words, and in the other case forming figures, designs, etc. In some rare instances, the spirit control operating through the hand of the medium has produced crayon drawings, water color sketches, and even oil paintings, although the medium himself or herself, was unable to even draw a straight line, much less to execute a finished drawing or painting. The principle governing such mediumship, and the development, thereof, is precisely the same as that governing the phase of writing mediumship previously described.

The Planchette.

From time to time, during the past fifty years, there have been invented or arranged various forms of mechanical contrivances designed to assist in the development of writing mediumship. The most popular of these has been the Planchette, which has enjoyed great popularity for many years past. The Planchette is a little heart-shaped board, having two legs, with tiny wheels at the end, attached to the board. Near the pointed end of the heart-shaped board is a hole, into which a pencil is inserted. A sheet of paper of good size is spread upon a table, and the Planchette is placed thereupon. Then the sitter, or two sitters, place their hand or hands upon the board generally resting only the tips of their fingers lightly upon it. The sitter or sitters then await results.

How to Use the Planchette.

If the sitter is mediumistic the Planchette will begin to move about slowly at first, gradually gathering force and definite direction. After a few preliminary strokes, circles, or lines having been drawn, the Planchette will seem to have been firmly taken hold of by some spirit hand, and will begin to write words and sentences in a more or less ‘scrawly’ fashion. When the writing once begins, questions may be asked of and answered by the spirits. Some persons report that to them the Planchette seems to move by itself, pulling their hands with it; but others report that they feel the movement of their arms and hands, as the spirit propels the machine in the work of waiting. Some know what is being written during the process, while others do not know what has been written until they afterwards read it. Sometimes the writing begins Boon after the sitting is commenced, while in other cases the sitters have to wait a long time, or even to sit several times before the writing actually begins. Sometimes the Planchette will refuse to write for certain persons, but will write freely for others. The general advice is to exercise patience in the Planchette sittings, and not to expect to get the best results at once; and, particularly, not to begin asking questions immediately after the writing begins.

Healing Mediumship.

Some mediums seem to be particularly adapted to the work of healing by psychic force, and this phase of mediumship is known as “healing mediumship.” The healing medium is guided principally by the spirit influence, so far as is concerned the choice of methods of procedure in his healing work. The following directions, however, given by a mediumistic writer, will give the young medium a very good, practical general idea of the procedure to be followed in case his spirit control does not indicate some other method. This writer says:

How to Heal by Spirit Power.

“If you are impressed with the idea that you possess healing power, you can easily experiment upon your suffering friends or acquaintances. If you are mediumistic, and spirits desire to develop you for the healing work, you will readily feel that you are impressed what to do. Your hands will be guided to the proper position, and you will spontaneously make the requisite passes. Magnetic healing has really nothing to do with massage, the induction of sleep, or with any form of mesmerism or hypnotism. The healing medium should centre his thought and interest solely and wholly with the idea of effecting a cure. He will need to be sympathetic, but hopeful. Do not let your patient think about his ailments, but arouse his thought and engage his attention upon some outside subject. Make him feel comfortable, and lead him to expect good results; to do this you must be affirmative and confident. Unless you are impressed, or are controlled, to do otherwise, sit in front and take hold of the hands of the sufferer for a time, then make gentle, short, downward passes over the part affected, and conclude with long sweeping passes from head to foot without contact. For local affections, point your hands at or just touch the spot with your finger tips, or make direct horizontal or slightly downward movements, as if you were throwing something at him. A warm, comfortable room is favorable to magnetizing, and a genial mental atmosphere, created by cheerful and kindly minds in the operator and persons present, will contribute largely to the success of the treatment. You will do well to act upon your impressions and make the passes in whatever way you feel impelled or compelled. If you operate under spirit guidance, you will be impressed more or less clearly how to proceed in each case. In all probability you may sympathetically ‘take on,’ and be affected by, the symptoms of the disease from which the patient suffers, and in that way be able to form an accurate diagnosis of the case; but you must guard against exhaustion, and should always ‘throw off’ from yourself the influence that you have received, and wash your hands thoroughly after each treatment.”

Materialization Mediumship.

One of the rarest, and at the same time the most eagerly sought after phase of mediumship, is that known as “materialization mediumship.” In this phase of mediumship the decarnate spirit is able to draw upon the vital forces of the medium, and those present at the séance, to such effect that it may clothe itself with a tenuous, subtle form of matter, and then exhibit itself to the sitters in the same form and appearance that it had previously presented in its earth life. Many of the most remarkable testimonies to the truth and validity of spiritualism have been obtained through this phase of mediumship, and it is the aim of all investigators to witness, and of most mediums to be the channel of the production of, this remarkable phase of mediumistic phenomena.

In almost all instances of materialization phenomena in the record of modern spiritualism we find that a cabinet was employed. There are two main reasons advanced for the necessity of the cabinet in this phase of mediumistic phenomena. The first of said reasons is that in many cases darkness has been found necessary for the preliminary work of the materialization, although absolute darkness is not necessary in the general room in which the materialized spirit forms afterward appear. The second of the said reasons is that there seems to be a psychic atmosphere created by the blending of the spirit forces with those of the medium, which atmosphere must be kept apart from and unmixed with the auras of the members of the outside circle or the general visitors at the séance.

Why the Cabinet Is Necessary.

Just what is the technical reason for this necessity is a source of argument and dispute among the different authorities on the subject, and it may be said that the matter is not as yet definitely settled. But whatever may be such technical explanation, the fact remains that the seclusion of the medium has been found almost absolutely necessary for the production of the phenomena of spirit materialization. The few exceptions noted in the history of modern spiritualism only go to establish the general rule. For the purpose of a general study of the subject, it may be accepted as a general fact that the production of spirit materialization has as one of its necessary conditions the presence and use of a dark cabinet in which the medium is secluded from the circle or assemblage of persons attending the séance.

How to Make the Spirit Cabinet.

One of the best kind of cabinets for this purpose is a small alcove room, or other small room adjoining the room in which the visitors sit at the séance. A large closet will also answer the purpose very well, in fact many mediums prefer the closet to any other form of cabinet. If neither small room or closet is available, then it becomes necessary to build or erect a cabinet for the medium. One of the simplest and least expensive methods of building or erecting a cabinet for the medium is as follows: Take a large piece of dark cloth, cotton or woolen, or else a large shawl, and fasten it by stout twine or cord across a corner of the room. It will be better if the curtain is made in two pieces, so as to allow it to part in the middle for the purpose of the entry and exit of the medium, and for the purpose of allowing the materialized spirit form to show itself to the circle. It is not necessary that all light be excluded from the cabinet, and therefore it need cause no worriment if a little light filters in over the top of the curtain; but the lights in the main room should be kept burning “dim and low,” not only for the purpose of aiding in the actual work or materialization, but also in order to preserve the proper conditions when the materialized spirit presents itself between the opened curtains.

How to Use the Spirit Cabinet.

When the cabinet is properly arranged the medium enters it and sits down on a chair provided for that purpose. He should not be disturbed thereafter, but should be encouraged and aided in his work by the maintenance of a quite, reverent mental attitude on the part of the members of the circle. It will be found helpful if a few hymns are sung while waiting for manifestations from the cabinet. The best way to encourage materialization at a regular circle is for gradual steps to be taken leading up to this high phase of phenomena. For example, the circle should sit in the ordinary way at its regular meetings, and devote itself to the production of the lesser forms of phenomena. Then, before adjournment, the medium may go into the cabinet while the circle sits for materialization phenomena. This practice may be made to form a regular part of the proceedings of the circle. But the circle must be very patient concerning the production of this class of phenomena, for the necessary conditions are very difficult to develop, even when aided by the most powerful spirits. Many sittings may be required before even the slightest sign of materialization is obtained but the final result will repay much waiting and watching, much patience and much perseverance. But sooner or later the phenomena will come if the proper conditions are provided for them.

Spirit Phosphorescence.

The first evidence of the presence and activity of the spirit forces striving to produce the phenomena and materialization will probably be the appearance of peculiar hazy phosphorescent lights playing in front of the curtain forming the front of the cabinet. These lights will consist of small globules or balls of phosphorescent light that will dance about, like the familiar will-o’-the-wisp seen over swamps and in damp, woody places. These lights will flit here and there, will alternately appear and disappear. Sometimes they will appear as if a multitude of fire-flies were clustered in front of the curtain. When these fire balls appear the circle may know that it is well on the way to perfect materializations.

Appearance of Materialized Substance.

As the power increases, and the conditions become stabilized and perfected, the manifestations will become more pronounced. It often happens that cloudy nebulous bodies of psychic substance are formed and float around in front of the cabinet, like clouds of steam or vapor illumined by a dim phosphorescent light. Sometimes attempts will seem to have been made to form these clouds into the semblance of the human body, and often these bodies are more or less incomplete, as for instance the arms may be missing, or else there may be dark holes where the eyes, nose, and mouth should be. It may be stated here that the sitters should not be frightened by these sights, nor should mental agitation be permitted to manifest too strongly, as such conditions act to retard further developments. Sometimes perfect hands and arms materialize, but apparently not attached to a body. These hands may float out over the circle, and may touch the members thereof. In rare cases these hands take articles handed them by members of the circle, which articles are then “dematerialized” and vanish from sight, afterward appearing in other parts of the house. Large articles of furniture have been known to be dematerialized in this way.

Materialized Spirit Forms.

Later on, the nebulous spirit forms will take on more definite lines and form, and will become more plainly visible, and will also assume a far more “solid” appearance. When the phenomena reaches its highest phases, the materialized spirit forms can be plainly seen and actually recognized by their friends in earth life. In some cases they will actually leave the front of the curtain and will walk down among the sitters, shaking hands with them, touching them on the cheek, or even embracing some loved one. In rare cases these materialized forms are able to converse with the sitters in the circle, just as plainly as when in earth life.

Scientific Proof of Materialization.

It is not the purpose of this book to prove the existence of mediumistic phenomena rather it points out the means and methods whereby the student may obtain such proof for himself or herself. But it may be suggested here that the sceptic may find an abundance of proof of the genuineness of materialization phenomena in the records and reports made by eminent scientists, statesmen, and others. Particularly, the report of Sir William Crookes, the eminent English scientist, will furnish such proof to the inquirer who demands “scientific proof” before he will believe anything out of the usual. Sir William Crookes has given convincing evidence of the genuineness of spirit materialization, even going so far to offer records of the weight of materialized spirits, and their photographs taken by him in some instances the photographs showing the forms of both medium and spirit materialization.

How to Conduct a Materializing Séance.

In sitting for materialization, the circle should maintain the same general demeanor that it observes at other times. Silence or dignified conversation may be indulged in, but joking or levity should be forbidden. Hands should be held, and reverent singing indulged in. It should be remembered that this phase of mediumistic phenomena is not something apart and distinct from the lesser phases which have been described in detail in this book. On the contrary, it is simply a matter of degree, and the same general principles underlie all phases of mediumistic phenomena. Therefore, it is not necessary to repeat the instructions regarding the conduct of the circle, or the rules for the development of the medium. Read the earlier chapters for the same, which are equally applicable in this place as in the places in which they originally appeared.

Trumpet Mediumship.

In what is known as “trumpet mediumship,” the sound of the voice of the communicating spirit is increased in power by the use of a trumpet shaped arrangement of paper, card-board, tin, or aluminum. There is no particular virtue in the material used, and anyone may make a serviceable trumpet out of heavy paper or thin card-board. The principle of the use of the “spirit trumpet” is precisely that of the well-known megaphone, i.e., it magnifies the sound, and increases its carrying power. A spirit speaking in the faintest whisper through the trumpet is enabled to have its voice heard plainly by those present in the circle, where otherwise nothing would be heard. Often the spirit force is so strong that it will pick up the trumpet and carry it around the circle, tapping the various members thereof, and whispering through it into the ear of some particular members. Weak spirits, therefore, who are unable to make themselves heard in the ordinary way, often employ the trumpet with effect in séances. When the trumpet is used, it should be placed on the table, awaiting the use of the spirits.

Spirit Playing on Musical Instruments, Etc.

The spirit forces also sometimes will see fit to play upon musical instruments placed in the cabinet with the medium, the guitar, mandolin, concertina, accordion, etc., being the instruments preferred in such cases. Of course the sceptics will claim that the medium may play the instruments himself or herself, and thus give ground for the claim of fraud; consequently in the case of public séances, and many private ones as well, the medium will insist upon having his or her hands tied, and other precautions taken to eliminate the possibility of fraud and deception. Such precautions are in no way a reflection upon the medium, and are, in fact, demanded by many mediums as a matter of self-respect, self-protection, and the cause of truth. In many cases in which the mediums were entirely lacking in musical education, knowledge, or training, the spirits have performed skilled selections of music upon the instruments in the cabinet.

Independent Slate Writing.

What is generally known as “independent slate writing” is a very interesting phase of mediumship, and one of the peculiarities thereof is that such phenomena is sometimes produced through mediums who seem to possess little or no mediumistic powers in other directions. In independent slate writing there is no employment of the hands of the medium by the spirit to form the letters, words, and sentences of the communication. On the contrary, the writing is done directly by the spirit forces, independent of the organism of the medium. Of course the psychic power of the medium and his vital energy as well is drawn upon by the spirits in producing this form of manifestation, but the medium is sometimes seated out of reach of the slates and in no case actually touches the pencil.

The Slate Writing Circle.

Independent slate writing is performed as follows: The circle selects two common slates, or else one folding slate. A small bit of chalk, or a tiny piece of slate pencil is placed between the two slates, the latter being then placed tightly together, and then bound with thick, strong twine in some cases the ends of the twine are fastened with sealing wax. This trying and sealing is for the purpose of eliminating the suspicion of fraud or deceit, and for the purpose of scientifically establishing the genuineness of the phenomena. The bound slates are then placed on the table in the middle of the circle. In some cases the medium rests his hands on the slate, and in other cases he keeps his hands entirely away from them the phenomena itself evidently being produced with equal facility in either case. A written question may either be placed inside the slate on a small bit of paper, or else sealed and placed on top of the tied slates. In some cases the scratching sound of the pencil may be heard proceeding from the tied slates, while on others no sound is heard while the writing is being done. When the slates are opened, at the end of the séance, the slates will be found to contain writing the answer to the question, or else a general message to the circle the writing sometimes consisting of but a word or two, while in other cases both of the inside surfaces of the slate will be found to be covered with writing. It often requires quite a number of sittings before this phase of phenomena is secured; in many cases it is never actually secured in a satisfactory form.

Spirit Paintings.

There are cases of record in which crayon drawings have been produced on the slates by enclosing small bits of various colored crayons therein when the slates are tied together. Again, oil paintings have been secured on the slates, after small dabs of oil paint of various colors have been placed on the inside surface of the slates, a little linseed oil being poured on each.

Fraudulent Slate Writing.

Slate phenomena has been brought into some degree of discredit and disrepute during the past ten years or more, by reason of the fact that a number of unscrupulous “fakers,” or bogus-mediums, employed a system where this class of phenomena was counterfeited by trick methods. But, as all careful investigators of mediumistic phenomena well know, some wonderful results are still obtained, quietly and without publicity or notoriety, in many family or private circles. In this case, and in many others, the very best mediumistic phenomena is often produced in those family or private circles, where mutual sympathy, harmony, and spiritual understanding prevail, and where there is an absence of the sceptical, cavilling, negative mental attitudes, which tend to interfere with the free flow of spirit power and the degree of manifestation. The tiny flame burning on the family altars and in the private shrines serve to keep alive the Light of the Spirit, which is too often dimmed by the public glare of counterfeit and sensational exhibitions of so-called spirit power.

Practical Advice to Developing Mediums.

The young developing medium who has read the foregoing pages of this book will in all probability soon discover just what phase of mediumship is best suited for his natural powers, temperament and psychic constitution. As his innate psychic powers unfold and develop he will be almost instinctively led in the particular directions in which these powers may find the opportunity for the best form of expression and manifestation. And, at the same time, the spirit friends which the young medium will have drawn to himself will have discovered, by means of experimentation, just what phase of mediumship the young medium would best develop in order to convey the messages and communications from the spirit side of life. The following bits of advice from mediumistic writers of good standing will, however, perhaps serve to make the path clearer for the young medium who is reaching out toward the best and most efficient form of manifestation of the powers which he has found are within himself.

Need of Special Development.

A writer says: “As a general rule, the best results of mediumship are secured by special development along the lines of natural aptitude. A ‘Jack of all trades is master of none,’ and such a one is a failure in mediumship as in anything else. You may find it helpful to visit a public medium who is already developed, and who can examine you and give you insight into your natural psychic powers, and counsel you regarding your qualifications and aptitudes, and tell you what to do. But do not attach too much importance to directions received in that way, because so much depends upon the knowledge and power of the operator. One spirit might use you with success in one direction, and another in some other phase; just as one mesmerist may make a subject clairvoyant when another has previously attempted to do so and failed. Nothing but actual experience will settle that point. If, however, after a reasonable amount of patient devotion to the experiment you do not succeed, or are disappointed with what has been done, it will be advisable to effect a change in the conditions. A dissatisfied state of mind is a dangerous one. You may, if you choose, sit by yourself, and try to obtain table movements, or to get ‘automatic’ or passive writing. You can make experiments in psychometry or try crystal gazing, or endeavor to visualize and to become clairaudient, but we should not advise you to sit alone and invite spirits to put you into the trance. It is better to join some good private circle.”

Advice to Discouraged Mediums.

A writer gives the following excellent advice to young mediums who have become somewhat discouraged at their lack of success, and slowness of progress: “You have been already informed that you are a medium, and that if you sit you will develop special gifts. But you may say: ’I have sat, and have not developed as I was assured I should.’ That is quite probable. The medium whom you consulted may have misjudged your capabilities; the spirit may have estimated what he could have done with or through you, and, from his point of view, may have been perfectly accurate; but possibly the spirits who have endeavored to develop you were unable to succeed. People often say: ’I have been told many times that I should make a good medium, but I have not had satisfactory results.’ When we hear such statements we are prompt to ask: ’Have you sat for development for any length of time in a harmonious and congenial circle? You cannot expect growth unless you give the requisite conditions. You might as well anticipate a harvest without sowing the seed just because you bought a sack of wheat! The marvelous results achieved by expert acrobats and athletes are due to their indomitable determination to succeed, and their steady and continuous training of eye, and muscle, and nerve. They concentrate their attention and focus all their powers, and are at once temperate, patient, and persevering in their experiments. The same spirit of devotion; the same firm attitude and watchful attention to all the details; and the same observance of the conditions, physical, mental, moral, and spiritual, are needed if you would educate yourself and become a fit and serviceable instrument for exalted spirit intelligence to afford humanity the benefit of their experiences “over there."’”

Avoid Cross-Magnetism.

A popular mediumistic writer has given the following excellent words of warning to young mediums: “Do not go into public promiscuous ’developing circles.’ There is always a danger of ‘cross magnetism’ and disorderly manifestations in such gatherings. Owing to the mixed and inharmonious mental, moral, and physical conditions which necessarily exist where a number of strangers and curiosity seekers are attracted, you run the risk of being affected by undeveloped, unprincipled, frivolous, mercenary, self-assertive, or even immoral spirits, who, being attracted to such assemblies, seek to influence incautious and susceptible people who ignorantly render themselves liable to their control. The people ‘on the other side’ are human beings of all grades; they are not morally purified by passing through the death-change; and as we are constantly sending into their other state ‘all sorts and conditions of people,’ you need not be at all surprised if you get into intercourse with the vain and foolish, the unreliable and pretentious, or the selfish and sinful, if you indiscriminately open the doors of your psychic self and give a free invitation to any spirit ‘passer by.’”

Avoid Psychic Absorption.

“You can waste your time, and you can sit in circles, absorb all kinds of psychological influences, exhaust your own, and in many cases become so filled up with contending influences that you are in a state of psychological fever all the time, or so exhaust yourself that you will become as limp and useless as a rag. This is not the way to use the opportunities you have; and you should avoid the injudicious, promiscuous, and insane methods of development of many who are extremely anxious to develop you as a medium, and who often bring discredit upon the subject of mediumship, and do no one the slightest practical good not even themselves. We admit that the motives of those who conduct public promiscuous developing circles are good in most cases, but their methods are frequently ’injudicious’ to put it mildly. Under ordinary circumstances, your own pure purpose and the spirits who are in sympathy with your exalted desires and intentions, are sufficient safeguards against the intrusion of low, mischievous or malicious spirits, but you should not venture into conditions which require the trained and disciplined will, and the influence of wise and powerful spirits to protect you against danger, until you have acquired the ability to render yourself positive to the psychic spheres of undesirable people, both in or out of the physical body, and can voluntarily become passive and responsive to the true and trustworthy friends whom you know and love.”

The Stewardship of Great Powers.

We can not hope to more fitly close this book devoted to the brief presentation of the facts of the psychic world, and the world of spirit, than by quoting the following words uttered by a faithful laborer in the vineyard of spiritualism: “Spiritualism helps us to understand the ‘unity of spirit’ and ‘the brotherhood of man’ in the divine relationship wherein the greatest among us is the servant of all. The possession of great gifts is an added responsibility. We are only stewards of our powers on behalf or others, and our desire to gain knowledge and influence should be vitalized and dignified by the intention to use them to help, teach, and serve our fellows, and in such service we shall ourselves be blest.”