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Observations placeholder

Laubscher, B J F – The artist who, when in need of inspiration, would put her hand on the planchette - Moenie bang wees vir die dood nie



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

B J Laubscher – Where Mystery dwells

While living in Cape Town I was asked by a colleague to see a female alcoholic who was an artist. She modelled some excellent heads of ancient Bushmen and several specimens of native tribes.

Her work was most impressive as to detailed production of the features characterising and individualising the personality. At the time of my visit she had just recovered from fourteen days of almost alcoholic stupor but was presentable, rational and dignified in speech and bearing.

Towards the end of the consultation I noticed a planchette on top of the wardrobe. I asked her about her experiences with the planchette, and she told me how at times when in need of inspiration she would put her hand on the planchette and receive what she thought was automatic writing. On occasions this would be a description of some head, characterised by the expression of some particular emotion or trait of personality in the facial expression, Such as slyness, cunning, wickedness or naive innocence.

With this would come a mental picture which she would then model.

What interested me especially in this account of her experiences was her story that she had often come to herself in a state which was not a dream, but a vital logical objective experience of visiting some outstanding character often in the far-away Kalahari desert land, where the Bushmen roamed in their tribal traditional way.

She was sure that her spirit left her body and roamed to gain impressions and mental material for her livelihood. I discovered that her bouts of drinking were precipitated by an inborn recurrent depression. I was about to leave her rather lonely little cottage, where she lived with an old coloured servant when an impulse seized me and made me ask her to put her fingers on the planchette with mine. Within moments of our fingers lightly touching the planchette it started rushing wildly all over the large sheet of drawing paper.

I felt that she might be pushing it as I certainly was completely passive. Somewhat annoyed and visibly offended, she denied that she exercised any pressure in any direction. The planchette however continued whirling round and round as if caught up in some maelstrom. She said that it was gathering power. Then the circular movements became slower and slower and suddenly it began to write. I could not see what it was writing and she was looking at the ceiling and not at the planchette.

Abruptly it stopped, as if with a movement of triumph. We looked at the writing. There it was distinct, bold and clear in Afrikaans: "Moenie bang wees vir die dood nie." (Don't be afraid of death) and then the signature with each letter distinctly and neatly formed-"Piet de Villiers Moll." I was to say the least dumbfounded for a moment.

Dr. Piet de Villiers Moll was a well-known Cape Town orthopaedic surgeon who was killed on safari a few days before my meeting with this lady. He was a friend of mine and the night before he left on a big-game hunt somewhere in Central Africa we were together at a social function, where incidentally he and I discussed parapsychological phenomena. He admitted unfamiliarity with the subject and also a resistance of mind to accept the reality of parapsychology.

The source of the experience

Artist other

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Ouija board

Activities and commonsteps