Common steps and sub-activities

Table tilting

This method is about how to tilt a table or even get it to rise up above the ground during a seance. In theory the method should be little different to that used for table rapping, but we have found a different source - Elizabeth de Morgan - rather than  Raymond Bayless whose method  for table rapping can be found by following the LINK.

Elizabeth de Morgan was the wife of Augustus de Morgan, whose biography and observations can be found by following this LINK.

Please note that the reason there are no observations for this entry is because we have only just found this method.  A search of the site, however, using keywords such a table tilting produces many examples and the entries for people like D D Home also give plenty of examples.

From Matter to Spirit – The Result of Ten Years Experience in Spirit Manifestation – Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan

There is a general and not unreasonable dislike to paid mediums among those who cannot find out how far such mediums could impose upon credulity; hence the question is often asked,

 'What can be done to enable us to see these things for ourselves?'

To this there is only one answer, ‘You must earnestly and patiently try for yourselves.'

If any number of persons can be found who will do so, let them, having first secured perfect confidence in each other's good faith and a determination to avoid all tricks or trifling, begin their experiments. I suppose six or seven men and women-fewer would be enough, more than seven are too many-sitting round a table. If any one of the party is highly nervous or hysterical, that one should not join the circle, at least in the commencement of operations; for though it is likely that the physical condition on which the power of 'mediumship' depends may exist in him or her in a very high degree, yet the consequences might be injurious to health. Children, in my opinion, should rarely be allowed to join.

The causes of this injurious tendency may be guessed at when we arrive at some conclusion as to the agency at work in producing the phenomena.

Among the party of healthy persons ready to form a circle, it is hardly likely that one or more should not possess the organisation necessary for a medium. As far as I have seen, the faculty often accompanies the sparkling dark eyes and hair of what phrenologists call the nervous-bilious temperament.

Blue eyes and fair hair are also generally favourable, but great exercise of mediumship is likely to exhaust the more delicate constitution of the nervous sanguine. But though these two temperaments, as well as that having blue eyes and brown hair, are very often found in the strongest mediums, it does not appear that the power depends on any complexion or temperament.

The length of time during which the party sitting round the table should remain with their hands placed on it before abandoning any hope of success, depends on conditions not yet known. In general, the question is settled in about twenty minutes. Then, if any effects are produced, the table will appear to throb or vibrate under the hands as if charged with a kind of electricity. Do not attend to the supposition that this arises only from pulsation at the finger-ends produced by pressure. Let it be so.

Further experiment will give rise to further conjecture. Then the table will crack or creak, and some one will have a theory about the wood getting warm. But if there be more than an average amount of 'medium ' power in the circle, the table (which ought not to be a large one) will show symptoms not referable to heat. It will begin to move, and unless the party keep to their resolution to take all that comes without argument, much time and power will be lost in such observations as

‘You pushed it then;'

 'No, indeed, the impulse came from the opposite side, '&c.

The table perhaps will move in a circuitous direction, or perhaps will at once ' tip' down to one side. If it goes round, one of the party will save time by asking the invisible influence to tip it, and the request is almost sure to be followed by the movement required. To avoid confusion, ore person only should speak. Let a request then be made to tip so many times, and, if you find that the desired number of movements occur, agree how many shall stand for ‘Yes,' how many for ‘No,' and how many for 'Doubtful.'

When these preliminaries are settled, ask, 'Can the name be given if the alphabet is repeated?' Suppose the reply to be in the affirmative, it will be better to find out who is to repeat it, as an uncertainty on this head sometimes causes difficulty. It can be ascertained by mentioning the names of those present, and begging that the table may be tipped at the right name. Then if the person indicated repeats the alphabet slowly, not dwelling longer on one letter than another, but giving time after each for the movement to be made, the table will be found to tip at some letter.

Note that, and repeat the alphabet again, and so on till a name is spelled, beginning again after each letter is obtained. The name will in all probability be at once recognised. Then ask for a sentence or communication from the unseen power, which will be given at once by the alphabet and the tipping.

Those who really desire to try the nature of the phenomenon will do wisely not to put test or leading questions, but to take what comes, and wait with patience for an explanation of all incoherencies. I would also say, Let the questions of will-power, and unconscious muscular action, &c., which will naturally arise in the mind, be deferred for the present. It is certain that great activity in the brains of those concerned interferes with the experiment. The sentence received will perhaps contain a special message to the person chosen to repeat the alphabet, or it may be a general greeting or piece of advice, or possibly a direction how to improve the circle by changing places or otherwise.

Take all you can get. If the examination is pursued in a good and serious spirit you have a better chance of receiving communications of the same character, and these are far less puzzling and misleading than the merry but foolish sentences which are sometimes given when the party only assembles for fun. And at this stage of the enquiry all discrepancies must be left for future consideration.

 Perhaps, instead of the table tipping or moving, raps or sounds wilt be heard, like slight discharges of electricity, in or on the wood of the table. With these proceed exactly as with the tipping, first securing a perfect understanding between the source of the sounds and the circle around the table, and then repeating the alphabet as directed.

It sometimes happens that instead of the occurrence of sounds or movements, the hand of one of the party may be agitated perhaps with some violence. If this person takes a pencil, the hand will be moved backwards and forwards, round and round, sometimes in irregular forms, sometimes in long lines of consecutive curves and waves, till at length it settles itself into a steady movement, tracing letters and at length legible words and sentences. The rapidity or slowness of the writing will depend on the character of medium power, and possibly on the temperament of the writer. Additional power is sometimes gained by another person placing a hand on the writer's wrist. The writing should not be allowed to continue if flippant or irreligious sentences are given, nor if the writer feels exhausted.

 

I do not, pretend to account for the fact, at all events not in this place, but I believe that when the communications are foolish or malignant in their meaning, the persons through whose agency they are given will be likely to suffer more or less exhaustion. The movement of the hand may perhaps resolve itself into drawing instead of writing, though it is, I think, generally found that drawing is a later development. This is often more enigmatical, but unless objects of a frightful or very grotesque character are drawn, is most likely of no hurtful tendency.

If, instead of any of the above-mentioned results taking place, one of the party becomes drowsy as if mesmerised, and then falls either into a trance or a series of strange contortions and movements, there is no cause for fear. This very seldom occurs; when it does, it is a proof of great susceptibility in the, medium ' and of power in the circle, and in this ease means are generally afforded, either by the writing of the individual affected or by means of one of the others, to obtain directions either to demesmerise the person, which is done by making transverse passes across the face, or as is more commonly the case, to 'let him alone, he will not be hurt.'

It is well on first trying the experiment to have one person in the party who is accustomed to all the various phases of the phenomenon.

I cannot too strongly impress on those who wish to give the whole a fair trial, the absolute necessity of unanimity, and the great advantage of serious, even religious feeling among the members of the circle. To persons well accustomed to witness these manifestations the foregoing directions may seem unduly minute. The details could not be avoided if the instructions are to be at all useful, and a conviction that they are really needed has led many friends to urge their insertion.

When parties form circles without the presence of a practised ‘medium,' great wonders must not be expected at once. There is a process of development required for even the lowest manifestations, by which I mean those having reference to the external senses of touch, sight, and hearing. Those who mistrust the mediumship of strangers must take the longer but more satisfactory course of gradual development.

I believe that the amount of imposture among paid mediums has been greatly overrated. If they were such well-practised jugglers as is sometimes supposed, how does it happen that hours sometimes pass without any manifestation at ail taking place? But, even after a large deduction is made for imposture on the part of the 'medium,' and for credulity and self-deception on that of the enquirer, a sufficient number of genuine cases of apparent spiritual communication remain to set aside the idea of coincidence, and to challenge enquiry into their nature and origin.